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  • Richard D. Downs, D.D.S

  • Aaron J. Rauen, D.D.S

  • Jack E. Osterhaus, D.D.S

(563) 556-8388

FAQ's

I am a new patient and would like to get started. What will my first appointment be?
Congratulations on your decision to get started with us! We welcome new patients for a consultation visit or you can skip ahead to the new patient exam. During a consultation visit, we will take photos of your smile/teeth. Our doctors will review these photos with you and discuss treatment options. During the new patient exam one of hygienist along with one of our doctors will do a very thorough exam. Also, we will take photos and any necessary radiographs, and you and your doctor will review these together. Afterwards, our doctors will customize a treatment plan for you.
I hate the dentist. How is your office Different?
No one ever enjoyed going to the dentist, until now. Dr. Richard Downs & Dr. Aaron Rauen have created a serene dental center, where going to the dentist is (believe-it-or-not) a pleasure! With tranquil surroundings like cascading waterfalls, and featuring nitrous oxide (laughing gas), music with headphones, this is not your father's dental office. In fact, it seems more like a spa than a dental office. Our patients feel pampered each time they visit us. Come see for yourself.
What does the new patient exam consist of? Is it covered under my insurance?
During your new patient exam our doctors will do a very thorough exam. Also, we will take photos and any necessary radiographs, and our doctors will review these with you. Afterwards, our doctors will customize a treatment plan for you. Often, insurance companies cover a portion of this visit.*

*We do not know in advance what services (if any) YOUR insurance company will cover. We can only guess based on what other patients' insurance companies have done in the past. All insurance companies (as well as the hundreds of different plans within each individual insurance company) vary on what they will or will not cover. We are happy to submit claims for our patients.
Do you take my insurance?
We will help you to receive maximum 'out-of-network' insurance benefits for any treatment. We are listed providers for United Healthcare, Delta Dental, WEA, Blue Denta & Hawk-i. We are happy to submit claims for our patients. We are a fee for service office which means our patients pay for their portions of services on the day the services are provided. We do not know in advance what services (if any) YOUR insurance company will cover. We can only guess based on what other patients' insurance companies have done in the past. All insurance companies (as well as the hundreds of different plans within each individual insurance company) vary on what they will or will not cover. As with all medical providers, many times our fees will exceed what your insurance company will pay. We make sure our patients understand the cost of every procedure before we start.
What type of payments do you accept?
We accept cash, check and most major credit cards. We offer payment plans through Care Credit & Chase Health Advance. Crystal, our Financial Coordinator will review the different types of payment plans with you at your appointment.
I am a new patient with your office and I just want my teeth cleaned and nothing else. Why is a new patient exam necessary just to get my teeth cleaned?
Hopefully you have chosen our practice because you want to receive excellent dental care. Our goal is to provide excellent treatment for our patients. That includes thorough exams for the purpose of understanding your overall oral health. What if you had a small cavity that did not hurt, and your doctor did not do a thorough exam? So, your doctor did not 'find' your cavity. Later your tooth abscessed (which can be very painful) and you needed to have a root canal and possibly a crown. You would probably be upset that your doctor did not find this problem sooner. What if you had oral cancer, and by finding it in the early stages, your condition was treatable? Our doctors want to provide excellent treatment for you and, in order to do so, must do a thorough exam in order to know and understand your overall oral health.
What exactly are veneers?
Porcelain veneers are used to create brilliant smiles. Veneers are very thin pieces of porcelain that actually bond to your teeth and improve the shape and/or color of your teeth. The porcelain bond to your teeth is nearly as strong as the natural enamel bond in teeth. One of the most successful procedures in dentistry today, porcelain veneers may be the best way for you to achieve the gorgeous smile you want and deserve.
How long do veneers and Lumineers last?
When cared for properly, porcelain veneers and Lumineers can last for a very long time (10 or even 20 years). On average, they probably last 8 to 15 years. Failures are typically caused by poor oral hygiene or failure to wear a night guard when one is recommended. In most cases the word "failure" only represents that a new veneer must be made to replace the old one. The tooth is usually fine though.
I have a gap between my two front teeth. What are my options for closing the gap?
Gaps between teeth (especially gaps that show in your smile) can take away from the beauty of your smile. Depending on the size of the gap, there are several options. For extremely large gaps, orthodontics (Invisalign or Clear Correct) is usually recommended. For small to moderate gaps, bonding or porcelain veneers may be the best solution for you. Our doctors will discuss your options with you and together we will customize an ideal treatment plan to give you the gorgeous smile you deserve.
I have chipped/broken my front tooth. What are my options for correcting this?
Fractured front teeth are unsightly. The broken teeth are uneven and have a negative effect on your appearance. Depending on how large the fracture, there are several restorative options. Sometimes bonding will restore small fractures or slightly chipped teeth. For larger fractures or broken teeth, porcelain is usually the best option to restore and strengthen the teeth. Before jumping into treatment, however, our doctors first want to know why your teeth are breaking. It is important to find out so that your restorations will be more predictable and last longer. Our doctors will discuss your options with you and together we will customize an ideal treatment plan to give you the gorgeous smile you deserve.
I have a lot of old fillings (silver) in my mouth that have been there for a while. One is sensitive and the others are just ugly. What are my options?
Old silver fillings leak, causing decay to re-enter the tooth (which may or may not cause sensitivity). Not to mention they are unsightly. Options for silver filling replacement include direct composites (tooth-colored fillings) or porcelain inlays and onlays, all of which provide an optimal aesthetic and healthy result.
Porcelain inlays and onlays are mentioned a lot. What are they exactly?
Porcelain inlays and onlays are state-of-the-art, conservative dental restorations. Essentially they take the place of silver fillings, but they provide more strength to the damaged tooth and have the added benefit of looking just like the natural tooth. In comparison to crowns or 'caps', inlays and onlays require less removal of tooth structure and replace only what is needed (i.e. old fillings and decay). The porcelain inlay/onlay is a conservative, aesthetic, and long lasting treatment for replacement of silver fillings. They can last 15-20 years or longer.
What is that black line I see around the gumline of my crowns (or other people's crowns)?
The black likely indicates that there is metal underneath the white porcelain part of the crown. The black line you see around the crown was probably not there when the crown was placed. Over time, chronic inflammation of the gum tissue causes it to bleed easily and perhaps recede from the metal, exposing it. No longer is it necessary to have metal in crowns or that unattractive dark line. Drs. Downs and Rauen use all-porcelain restorations.
How does professional whitening work?
Rembrandt Sapphire Whitening is an in-office whitening procedures that can be performed only in a dental office. A patented whitening solution is applied to your teeth and a light (with a specific frequency) activates the whitening solution. The result is a whiter smile in about an hour (total appointment time is about 2 hours).
How many shades whiter can I get with Sapphire? How long does it last and is it guaranteed?
Your teeth may whiten six-to-ten shades, depending on what color your teeth are to start with. We will do a basic exam of your teeth, check the beginning shade of your teeth and identify the type of staining in or on your teeth. This will enable us to better estimate the results you will achieve. You can help to maintain your dazzling smile by avoiding staining foods and beverages (e.g. coffee, tea, red wine) and by visiting our hygienist for frequent cleanings. If you are like many of us who wish not to give up our simple pleasures (coffee, red wine), once your professional whitening is complete we will provide you with complimentary take-home whitening trays to maintain your pearly whites.
I want to whiten my smile but I am also thinking about getting bonding or veneers on my front teeth. What should I do first?
Our doctors recommend whitening first to their patients. Once your teeth are as white as you like, then our doctors will match the bonding or veneers to that whiter shade. Our whitening procedures work quickly, so in no time you will have the beautiful smile you want and deserve.
I have some bonding and a crown on my front teeth and I would like to whiten my teeth. What are my options for whitening my smile?
Teeth whitening procedures are just as they sound. They whiten teeth. The bonding and crown will not whiten and will appear darker after your teeth become whiter. However, this should not keep you from having the white smile you desire. It may be very simple to upgrade your bonding and crown after your whitening procedure. Chances are the new bonding and crown will be better looking as well. When you visit our office, our doctors will work with you to customize a treatment plan to achieve a gorgeous white smile!
I am missing a tooth and am considering an implant. What is the process for an implant? Are implants more feasible than dentures?
Oftentimes, implants are the best restoration for a missing tooth. Our doctors will discuss all of the options (and the pros and cons of each option) with you in order to customize an ideal treatment plan for you. The implant process is relatively simple and requires two steps. First, the implant is placed into the tooth-socket where your tooth root used to be. Second, a restoration is created and placed on the implant to restore the crown of your tooth. Our esteemed specialist places your implant and our doctors make the restorations.

For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth - offering a great life-improvement for these patients. Sometimes, a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures - another terrific improvement in the lives of so many denture-wearers.
Dentures, Partial Dentures, Implants: Which one is right for me?
At your New Patient Exam, our doctors will do a thorough exam and we will take photos and necessary x-rays of your teeth, gums and jaws. You will review these digital images with our doctors and together you will develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

Oftentimes, implants are the best restoration for a missing tooth. Our doctors will discuss all of the options (and the pros and cons of each option) with you in order to customize an ideal treatment plan for you. The implant process is relatively simple and requires two steps. First, the implant is placed into the tooth-socket where your tooth root used to be. Second, a restoration is created and placed on the implant to restore the crown of your tooth. Our esteemed specialist places your implant and our doctors make the restorations.

For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth - offering a great life-improvement for these patients. Sometimes, a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures or partials - another terrific improvement in the lives of so many denture-wearers.
I would like to get gold caps placed on my front teeth. What does this involve? Does our office offer this?
Beautiful smiles come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. While many people prefer porcelain veneers for a typical smile makeover, others would like to have gold placed on their front teeth. The processes (porcelain veneers and gold onlays) are very much the same, starting with a New Patient Exam. From here our doctors will customize a treatment plan to fit your goals for your mouth, teeth, and smile.

For patients who are missing many or all of their teeth, implants may be the solution for restoring all of the missing teeth - offering a great life-improvement for these patients. Sometimes, a few implants may be placed in order to stabilize floppy dentures - another terrific improvement in the lives of so many denture-wearers.
Do you have gaps in your teeth?
Unfortunately, the majority of people do not come by beautifully straight and perfectly spaced teeth naturally. Choose from a number of safe cosmetic dentistry procedures that can correct gaps in your smile, including porcelain veneers, and dental bonding.
Would you like whiter teeth?
Our dentistry team uses one of the most effective whitening treatments in the country - choose Sapphire Professional Whitening to see as much as an 8-shade improvement in about an hour! We also offer custom home whitening, which can whiten teeth in only 7-10 days. The effectiveness and convenience of these cutting edge whitening techniques will give you that gleaming smile you have always wanted.
Would you like to have that perfect smile?
Consider a total smile make over from Abbadent Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Choose from a variety of advanced cosmetic dentistry treatments like porcelain veneers, bonding, porcelain crowns, laser gum surgery, implants, and teeth whitening to get that gorgeous smile you've always wanted.
Migraines and headaches bothering you?
Severe, recurring headaches may be a sign of a neuromuscular dysfunction. Our experienced neuromuscular dentists utilize advanced diagnostic technology to find and treat TMJ/TMD problems. Learn more about neuromuscular dentistry, and then schedule a free TMJ/TMD evaluation.
Pain in your jaw muscles?
Pain and soreness in the jaw could be a sign of TMJ/TMD. Dr. Downs and Dr. Rauen are experienced neuromuscular dentists who have helped thousands of Iowa residents restore balance to their bite and put a stop to the symptoms. Learn more in our neuromuscular dentistry section.
Do you want an alternative to removable dentures and bridges?
Dental implants may be the way to go! Our advanced implants look, feel and function like natural teeth. They are anchored directly into the jaw bone, so you can eat, speak and chew normally. The best part is, you will not even be able to tell they are "faux teeth!"
Is piercing of the tongue and/or lips bad for your teeth?

I have noticed quite a number of broken teeth from tongue piercing. I have also seen infections. Below is an article from smile-on.com about lip piercing.

Tuesday, March 29 2005 smile-on.com:  Lip Piercing 'Can Shrink Gums' (no surprise here)  Researchers have found that having a lip piercing is bad for the gums and can make them shrink back from the teeth.  The longer people wear the piercing, the worse the recession is, researchers from Ohio State University in found - in a study of 58 young adults.  In 2003 The British Dental Association reported the same risk with tongue piercings in the BDJ. Oral piercing - a trend growing in popularity - can cause life-threatening infections and reactions, it said. The Ohio team said that people with lip piercings were far more likely to have receding gums than those without piercings, reports the BBC. When the dental researchers examined the young people's mouths they found average recession depth was more than double in those with piercings, compared with those without piercings.  Dr Dimitris Tatakis and his team presented their findings at a conference of the International & American Association for Dental Research. Professor Jimmy Steele, from Newcastle University's Dental School in the UK, told the BBC that people who had, or were considering getting a lip piercing should take heed of the findings. `The metal of the lip stud is physically rubbing over the gum at the neck of the tooth causing the gum to recede. Once this has happened, you don't get the gum back and it often becomes more difficult to clean and therefore even more prone to gum disease in the future. The effect is quite localized so it will only be one or two teeth affected - but they are front teeth, so not ones you want to lose.'

Is Mountain Dew and Coca Cola really that bad for my teeth? And what about sports drinks?

Sugared sodas are very bad for your teeth. We are seeing more and more people, especially teens, with rampant tooth decay from excessive soda drinks. The most popular seem to be Mountain Dew and Colas. Remember, if you are going to drink these beverages, drink them with a meal. Drink them quickly and do not sip on them for hours. It is the length of time they are in your mouth that is the most damaging.

Here is a surprise. Sports drinks are even worse than the sodas. Here is an article on that subject:
Operative Dentistry - JADA 2005 Jan/Feb
Effects of sports drinks and other beverages on dental enamel
J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, MSc, PhD
Matthew M. Rogers, DDS

Abstract
A high percentage of people consume soft drinks that contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and various additives. The popularity of sports (energy) drinks is growing and this pilot study compares enamel dissolution in these and a variety of other beverages.

Enamel dissolution occurred in all the tested beverages, with far greater attack occurring in flavored and energy (sports) drinks than previously noted for water and cola drinks. No correlation was found between enamel dissolution and beverage pH. Non-cola drinks, commercial lemonades, and energy/sports drinks showed the most aggressive dissolution effect on dental enamel. Reduced residence times of beverages in the mouth by salivary clearance or rinsing would appear to be beneficial.

Should I clean my infant's gums after feedings?
Wipe the gums with a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad. Parents should brush children's teeth daily with a soft wet toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Supervise your child's brushing to ensure proper brushing habits.  To prevent nursing bottle mouth, if you must give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time, fill it with plain water -- not milk, formula or juice.
Are Electric Brushes Better?

Below is an article from smile-on.com

Wednesday, May 18 2005:  The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) has warned consumers to be cautious when choosing expensive electric toothbrushes after scientists found that many of them are no more effective than ordinary manual brushes.  The BDHF was speaking after the Cochrane Review 2005 found that many consumers are paying extra for the same performance. The news comes after the Foundation's own National Dental Survey 2005, completed last week, found that nearly one in two people now use an electric toothbrush.  Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF, commented, `Nationwide, millions of people are going out and buying electric toothbrushes because they assume that they will be better for their teeth - but this isn't always the case. The only brushes to genuinely offer improved performance are rotating oscillating brushes. These have small circular heads that rotate in opposite directions and can help reduce plaque by around 11 percent.  `However, other electric brushes are much less effective. In fact you can get just as good results using a manual brush as you can using an expensive sonic toothbrush - so think twice before you go spending your money!'  The Foundation's advice came during National Smile Week (May 15-21), the biggest oral health campaign in the country.

What are the Health Effects of Radiation?
A report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) states that, although no radiation is risk free and can increase the risk of cancer,  the health risk posed by radiation from x-rays and other health procedures is so small that it should not deter people from seeking needed medical care.  The report states that in the United States people are exposed to background radiation at an average dose of 3 millisieverts annually, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the radiation dose from a dental x-ray ranges from 0.04 to 0.15 millisievert