Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Check the frequently asked questions below to see if we have the answers you're looking for!

Appointments

What are your office hours?

Please read our office hours below:

M - Th  |  9am - 5pm
Friday  |  9am - 2pm

Please note that our office will be closed in observance of the following holidays:

New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas

How do I schedule an appointment?

For your convenience, we offer the following methods to schedule your appointments:

  • Online scheduling: To request appointment availability, please click here to fill out the form. Our scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm your appointment.
  • Call our office at 509-464-4100.
  • Email us with your preferred date or day of the week and time range, and our scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm your appointment.

How often should I schedule regular check-ups?

The American Dental Association recommends twice-yearly exams and cleanings. Some people may need more frequent check-ups based on their dental needs. After your first exam, we’ll be able to determine the best frequency for your dental health.

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

  • Completed new patient forms.
  • Insurance card/information.
  • List of current medications and medical conditions.
  • X-rays taken in the last 6 months (if available).

What if I need to reschedule?

Please call our office at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment. We’ll work with you to help you find another date that fits your schedule.

Treatments

What happens during my first visit?

We will conduct a thorough examination on your first visit to determine the best course of action to achieve dental health and your goals. We will:

  • Take full mouth x-rays to identify any current problems and to use as a baseline on future visits to detect early signs of problems.
  • Assess gum condition and health.
  • Examine teeth for cavities and condition of old dental restorations.
  • Perform a head and neck exam, including salivary glands and lymph nodes, for swelling or other abnormalities.
  • Screen for oral cancer and TMJ (jaw joint).
  • Clean and polish your teeth.

Why do I need to discuss my medical health with the dentist?

Many medical conditions present additional symptoms in the mouth and can affect oral health, so your medical information is very important in diagnosing issues with your teeth, gums and mouth.

How often do fillings need to be replaced?

Fillings can last for many years, but over time they wear down, discolor, crack and sometimes fall out. Early detection of problems with fillings can help you avoid getting cavities under the filling and causing more serious decay. Let us know if you’re experiencing any pain. We’ll check your fillings at every visit to determine if any need to be replaced.

Do you use composite (tooth colored) or amalgam (silver) fillings?

Composite fillings are widely preferred to amalgam today to fill new cavities and replace old fillings needing repair. Using composite fillings allows Dr. Harker to remove less tooth structure, which leads to more conservative dentistry.

Are x-rays necessary?

Absolutely. Dental x-rays are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools. Many oral conditions occur between teeth or under the gums or bones, undetectable by the human eye, and may have no early signs or symptoms. Left untreated, these conditions can create serious dental and general health problems, including loss of teeth and heart problems. Early detection with x-rays can make treatment much less painful, faster, and less expensive. The ADA recommends a full mouth series of x-rays every 3-5 years, and bitewing x-rays to be taken at least once a year.

Sedation

What types of sedation do you use?

To help anxious patients relax, oral sedation and inhalation sedation are available.

What is Oral Sedation?

Oral sedation has an amnesia effect and most people don't remember much of the appointment. We provide you with medication to be taken before your appointment, allowing you to be fully relaxed by the time we begin your dental treatment. You may not be safe to drive, so you should expect to have someone bring you to our office and take you home after your appointment.

What is Inhalation Sedation?

Known as nitrous oxide or “laughing gas,” you’ll experience a feeling of euphoria after just 2-3 minutes of breathing in the gas. You’ll be aware of your surroundings and able to respond to questions. Inhalation sedation has very few side effects and is eliminated from the body within 3 to 5 minutes after the gas supply is stopped.

CHILDREN

When should I start cleaning and brushing my child’s teeth?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should begin cleaning your child’s gums with a soft cloth soon after birth. As soon as the first tooth appears, start brushing twice daily with a soft infant toothbrush and just a smear of toothpaste. When you come in for your child’s first visit, we’ll show you how to brush properly.

At what age should I schedule my child’s first visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visiting the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears, or by the child’s first birthday. We can look for potential problems and help your child get to know us as their friend. These early visits can make your child’s experience with a dentist a positive one.

Can my teenager come alone to the appointment?

Please note that patients under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all visits. We want to meet with both of you to discuss findings and treatments, and to address your questions and concerns.

Insurance / Financial

What payment options do you offer?

MyDentist offers several payment options:

  • Cash, check or credit card at time of service
  • Payment plans – For major treatments, we will work with you to develop a payment plan.
  • Insurance - We accept most major insurance providers! Call us for details.
  • We accept Care Credit 

Do you require payment at the time of the visit?

If you have insurance through one of our approved providers, only your estimated portion of the fees will be required at the time of service.

If you do not have insurance, we will require payment at the time of service or as specified in your payment plan.

Do you offer financing options?

Yes, through Care Credit we offer both short-term interest-free financing and longer-term financing with low monthly payments. We will be happy to work with you to find the best payment option for you!