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Dental FAQs

How is your office different from other cosmetic dental practices?

My approach to cosmetic and restorative dentistry consists of an initial consultation to learn patients' needs and wants. Next, I create a digital rendering of teeth to show patients their new look. Finally, a 3-D prototype is created by hand to ensure that objectives are met before procedures begin. I spend a lot of time educating patients and developing treatment plans. The planning stage is what I focus on. I'm a detail person. I spend as much time making prototypes, testing and planning out each case as I do performing the actual treatment. I think that's important, so I get very predictable results and my patients are confident about the services I am providing.

Why should I choose a "cosmetic & restorative" dentist rather than a general dentist?

This can be confusing to patients. All dentists graduate from dental school as "general dentists." There is no recognized sub-specialty of dentistry that is called "family", "implant", "restorative", "reconstructive" or "cosmetic." However, dentists can choose to associate with one or more of these terms in order to best describe the emphasis of their practice. Because people demand cosmetic services more often, it is important for dentists be accredited by the AACD.

What does it mean for a dentist to be accredited by the AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry)?

The AACD is the most prestigious group of its kind in the world. It serves as a credentialing body for cosmetic dentistry and is dedicated to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry. Its stringent accreditation process includes several stages including the completion of three workshops, the passing of a written exam, the practical application of one's knowledge and skill through the completion of five unique cosmetic dental cases within five years, and the passing of an oral exam.  With over 7,000 members only about 250 dentists are currently certified and only 5 in Georgia.

How do I know if a dentist is qualified for cosmetic & restorative procedures?

The most important advice I can give patients is to be discerning. Ask the dentist, "How many cosmetic cases have you done?" "How much of your practice is cosmetic dentistry versus general dentistry?" and of course, "Are you accredited by the AACD?" You should also ask your dentist, "Can you show me photographs of cases you've done that are like mine?" This is a really important question if you are having a cosmetic procedure done.

How long will the results of whitening last?

Generally speaking, a person’s whitening results never completely return to where they started. However, results fade with time especially if a patient smokes, drinks coffee, cola or tea. For these patients, it is a matter of wearing whitening trays for a few to reach that dazzling white smile again.

How long will veneers last?

We currently have cases we completed 15 to 20 years ago that have not required repairs or remakes. Longevity is influenced by routine dental care and good home care.  Proper management of habits like grinding and clenching are also important to the longevity of porcelain veneers.

I would like to have cosmetic dentistry work done, what are my payment options?

For patients who prefer affordable monthly payments we offer Care Credit or Chase Health Advance payment options. Both plans are specially designed for dental treatment. Please visit or for more information.

Does Dr. Merriman accept my dental insurance?

We are a fee for service office. Dr. Merriman is not contracted with any insurance companies. However, as a courtesy we will gladly file insurance claims electronically so you may receive reimbursement from your insurance company in a timely manner. Please keep in mind that most insurance companies do not cover cosmetic procedures.

Can I get an estimate over the phone for Dr. Merriman's cosmetic procedures?

Due to each patient's individual needs, fees are generally not quoted until a treatment plan has been established. Because there are different treatment options, we cannot quote a fee without first examining a patient.

Can I fix the spaces between my teeth without braces?

Sometimes, orthodontics is not only the best way to close a gap but is the only way to properly treat these situations. However, small to medium spaces or gaps can easily be modified. Several options are available to achieve the desired results, including INVISALIGN, please call our office for a consultation.

My crown doesn’t match my other teeth, can this be corrected?

Often, this can be accomplished after careful study and examination of the patient's models and photographs. It is important to determine the impact of treating the one mismatched crown versus treating multiple teeth in order to get the desired result. To achieve a natural smile, multiple teeth are often involved.

What can I do about the silver fillings in my teeth?

Tooth colored resin and porcelain are now routine in dentistry and are the material of choice when old, silver fillings require replacement.

Why is it important to have my bite fit correctly before having any cosmetic dentistry performed?

An improper bite can lead to failure of crowns and veneers. These materials are very much like glass and because of that are breakable. It has been determined that a human being can generate over 1000 lbs per square inch of pressure when they bite. Managing these forces, especially in a patient that grind their teeth, becomes absolutely paramount in delivering a smile that not only looks magnificent but also lasts. Bite evaluation and treatment are important to the longevity of a beautiful, healthy smile.