Frequently Asked Patient Questions
Information to help you prepare for your visit at SF Dental
Looking for a dentist in San Francisco? You’ve come to the right place!
To ensure you get the most out of your first visit, please bring the following along with you:
- Existing x-rays if you have them (You can also ask your previous dentist to forward them to our office)
- A list of medications you are presently taking
- Completed new patient forms (or arrive 10 minutes early to enter the information here on our iPad)
- Dental and medical insurance cards or plan ID numbers (we need the specific plan information, not just the name of the insurance company.)
- Dental appliances such as nightguards, dentures, and retainers for us to clean and/or evaluate
- IMPORTANT: All patients under the age of 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the consultation visit
Please alert the office ahead of time if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, artificial heart valves or joints, rheumatic fever, or if you are currently taking any medication.
Our new patient exam consists of photographs, x-rays, a visual exam, an oral cancer screening using the Velscope, and a consultation thoroughly explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. If you let us know in advance, we can usually also make arrangements to have your cleaning and, in some cases, your necessary dental treatment done on the same day.
For new patients who need a limited evaluation, no problem—please call us to set up a short appointment where a nominal fee will be charged for us to become acquainted with you, your dental conditions, and any concerns you may have.
We work hard to offer the most flexible payment options and eliminate billing surprises. That’s why at SF Dental you can always expect:
- No pressure: Take as long as you need to think about treatment options and ask questions.
- Insurance prequalification: Our advanced software communicates with insurers and prequalifies your treatment to minimize surprises.
- Written estimates: You get a detailed, written estimate up front so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
- Complimentary extras: If your treatment requires a little extra something, you will not be charged for it. For instance, if a crown requires that the tooth be “built up” but that procedure wasn’t anticipated, then you don’t pay for the extra work.
- Cost-saving technologies: We use a range of advanced dental technologies to keep costs down. For example, we offer laser gum treatment at no extra charge, which helps to get the best tooth impression and minimizes follow-up work.
When it comes to paying for your visit at SF Dental, you’ve got several options:
- Full payment: For patients without insurance or a payment plan, the cost for your treatment is due in full at the time of service by cash, check or credit card.
- Estimated patient portion with dental insurance: Our office will provide you with an estimated insurance contribution, based on prequalification with your insurer. You pay the estimated patient portion in full prior to the start of service, and your insurance provider reimburses us for the balance. Please note that you will be responsible for paying any balance due after your insurance has been applied.
- Payment plan with CareCredit: If you need financial assistance to cover your dental treatment, CareCredit provides interest-free loans with no deposit requirements and no annual fee. A payment schedule will be provided to you by CareCredit, and you must make arrangements directly with them to have your treatment covered.
Scheduling an appointment: Existing patients should call, email, or drop in with any dental concerns. Even if you only have a quick question, try to call ahead so we can set up a free 15-minute consultation.
Cosmetic, orthodontic and second-opinion consultations: Please call the sfdental office to set up a free 15-minute consultation. Note that elective treatments such as cosmetic dental work, orthodontics, and teeth whitening will only be brought up as part of a comprehensive examination and as you express interest.
Before coming to your appointment, please call us with your insurance information so we can help you look up your benefit level.
We will need information about your specific plan, not just the name of the insurance provider. Dental insurance companies offer many vastly different types of plans. These plans can even differ among the same employer, or whether you live in San Francisco or outside of the city.
If you have an insurance card, it should have the information we need. In some cases, you may have to contact your HR department or the insurance company itself to get more details on your insurance plan. (Note: Some plans do not issue insurance cards and use your social security number instead.)
Sometimes patients ask us to just “look them up” in the insurance database—but unfortunately there is no such thing! If we don’t have your exact plan information, we will certainly make our best effort to find it. But with literally thousands of dental insurance plans out there, there are no guarantees.
We want your treatment estimates to be as accurate as possible, so you can avoid unpleasant surprise bills in the mail. That’s why it’s important for you to call in with your insurance information ahead of your first appointment, if at all possible.
We are pleased to offer you dental services in English, Spanish, or Korean.