James Island Dental Associates
Restorative, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

When you're making decisions regarding the health of your family, it's important to get all the information you need and answers for all your questions. 

At James Island Dental Associates, we are happy to provide you with answers so you can make informed decisions about your health. We've selected a few questions we often hear, and you are always more than welcome to reach out to us if you need more details. 



Dental crowns | Dentist Charleston SCCEREC is the name of a company that has digitized making crowns or caps. With CEREC technology, Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas are able to take pictures of your teeth and make a permanent crown for you in one visit. At James Island Dental Associates, we are able to avoid taking "goopy" impressions and making temporary crowns, while you have to wait for 3 weeks to get your crown.  In one 90 minute appointment, we make your crown start to finish!  

How long do crowns last?

Crowns can last a long time. On average they last up to 10 years, but this is dependent on oral hygiene, diet, grinding, missing teeth, smoking, etc. Let us at James Island Dental Associates evaluate your oral health and any crown concerns you may have. Call our Charleston, SC dental office for more information on dental crowns. 

Computer keyboard with FAQ button | Dentist Charleston SCFinding a Charleston, SC dentist who takes your insurance is important for yourself and your family.

When it comes to twice-yearly teeth cleanings, routine exams, dental emergencies, and common dental repairs—fillings and root canals—our dental clinic accepts most insurance plans.  

However, most plans have a yearly cap. It’s important to contact your provider to learn more about your dental plan, including the procedures that are covered and the amount of your yearly dental benefits. Our office can also contact your provider if you need assistance. 

What’s Not Covered by Dental Insurance

Many insurance companies do not cover sedation dentistry, but we have inexpensive options to help you feel comfortable during lengthy dental procedures. 

Insurance companies also rarely cover cosmetic dentistry—although some offer a full or partial benefit for braces, dentures, or partials.

Cosmetic dentistry treatments not covered by most insurance plans include the following:

  • Caps
  • Veneers
  • Implants
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Other

At James Island Dental Associates, we take the following credit cards:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Citi Health
  • Care Credit

Do not hesitate to call our Charleston, SC dental office if you have questions about payment options or insurance. We always work hard to make sure you can maximize your benefits.

Bone Grafting

POlder woman sitting on beach smiling | Dentist Charleston SCeriodontal disease has a number of symptoms. In its earliest stages, you might experience bad breath or bleeding when you brush and floss. As the disease progresses, however, bone loss is likely. This bone loss can lead to all kinds of problems, including loose and lost teeth. In fact, American adults lose more teeth to periodontal disease than any other dental problem. 

Periodontal disease is a treatable disease, not a curable one. We recommend evaluations that include radiographs (x-rays) and charting over time to determine the extent of bone loss and decide which methods are best for treating the disease in each individual case.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Treatment can involve deep cleanings and/or periodontal laser therapy, both of which our office offers. We recommend you stay on a 3- to 4-month recall for periodontal maintenance so we can examine and stay on top of the disease.

If you have lost teeth and need to replace them, dental implants are a highly effective solution – especially because they help stop the process of bone loss! If you have already lost bone, however, it may not be possible to place an implant. This can be solved with bone grafting, and if you are a candidate, we will be sure to discuss all your options with you so you can make an informed decision about your health.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Woman smiling | Dentist Charleston SCYour smile speaks volumes about you! As cosmetic dentistry procedures become more affordable and accessible, more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a smile they are proud to show off. We're excited to be a part of our patients' transformations!

Both Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas enjoy being able to improve a person's smile and certainly provide these services. Each case can be different, so please call and let us listen to your concerns about your smile. We will work with you to find the best way to improve your smile. 

Cosmetic Dentistry Options in Charleston

Some of the most popular esthetic dentistry services we offer include: 

  • Porcelain veneers – These tooth-shaped shells fit neatly over the front of prepared teeth to enhance and improve your appearance.
  • Cosmetic bonding – Using tooth-colored filling material, we can improve the shape and appearance of individual teeth.
  • Porcelain crowns – We can completely transform the appearance of a damaged tooth by covering with an attractive crown. 
  • Teeth whitening – Many people find that professional teeth whitening treatment is all they need for a big improvement in the appearance of their smile!

Our doctors take the time to get to know you and learn about your lifestyle and your needs so we can recommend solutions that will work well for you.

Dental Implants

Dental implants in charleston scAt James Island Dental Associates, Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas are proud to provide comprehensive implant dentistry. The benefit to you is that when you get dental implants in James Island, SC, you will be working with one of our dentists and the team members you know and trust.

First Step of Implant Process

After you've completed an initial implant consultation to determine if this is the right procedure for your needs, the next step is placing the implant. Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas utilize advanced 3-D technology to help them plan the placement of your implant well before the procedure. This pre-treatment planning results in more accuracy, precision, and a reliable outcome on the day of your surgery. 

After Implant Placement

Once we successfully place your implant, we give it time to heal and integrate fully with bone in your jaw. In this way, the implant becomes a permanent part of your dental anatomy just as your tooth root was. The healing process can take anywhere from three to six months.

When you complete the healing process, our dentists create your final restoration. We can use implants to replace a single missing tooth with a durable and aesthetic porcelain crown. They are also capable of supporting multiple tooth replacement prosthetics such as a bridge or denture.

Contact Our Office

Dental implants are an excellent investment in your oral health and your smile, and your team at James Island Dental Associates looks forward to helping you through the process!

Each case can be different, but three options are available for you:

Dental Implant

Woman smiling | Dentist Charleston SCThe first is a dental implant, which acts as an anchor in the bone and a crown that attaches to the implant. The dental implant mimics a natural tooth by adding security and offering a permanent solution. The crown created to replace the tooth will be carefully crafted to blend in with your other teeth. 

Dental Bridge

The second is a fixed bridge, which involves capping the two teeth adjacent to the space. The caps are joined to a pontic (the replacement tooth) and the whole unit is cemented onto the adjacent teeth. This option provides security and completes your smile, but doesn't offer the same benefits as implants. When multiple teeth are missing, we can discuss using implants to hold a bridge in place, which allows us to avoid altering otherwise healthy teeth.

Partial Denture

The third option is a removable partial denture, which has the missing teeth attached to it and clasps that slide over your natural teeth to help it stay in place. This removable appliance will require extra care on your part and may need to occasionally be refitted; however, it's an option that many people find easily affordable. 

Dentures and Partials

Partial and complete dentures | Dentist in Charleston SCToday’s dentures, optimized for fit and comfort, also have aesthetic appeal. Designed specifically for you, they look just like your natural teeth.

At James Island Dental Associates, our dentists work closely with you and the denture preparation lab to exceed your expectations. Our denture patients are always surprised by the comfort, fit, and natural look of their new dentures.

Types of dentures we offer include:

  • Complete Dentures - customized to fit your mouth, give you an entire mouth of removable but natural-looking teeth and gums.
  • Partial Dentures - much like complete dentures, partial dentures are removable. They fit the contours of your mouth and fill in the spaces where teeth are missing. Partials may fit by clasps around healthy teeth.
  • Implant-Retained Over Dentures - these also look very natural, but they have the added benefit of not slipping because they are held in place with dental implant posts.

Caring for Dentures

Caring for dentures requires cleaning and regular dental visits to assess teeth, gums, and for denture adjustments or relines.

Tips for maintaining your dentures at home include:

  • Cleaning in cool water only
  • Using only cleaners and supplies recommended for dentures
  • Seeing your dentist for realignments and assessments

If you’re considering dentures or replacement dentures, contact our Charleston, SC dental office today!

LANAP Procedure

Man Smiling | Dentist Charleston SCPeriodontal disease can wreak havoc in your mouth, damaging your gum tissue and your periodontal bone. In some cases, bone loss around teeth can be moderate to severe. When there is an excess of unhealthy, infected gum tissue, we recommend periodontal laser surgery (or LANAP).

Before performing the treatment, we first numb you so the procedure is not uncomfortable. Next, your mouth is charted to determine the extent of the bone loss. The Periolase laser is then passed along each infected tooth to remove the diseased tissue.

After the first pass of the laser, your teeth are professionally scaled and cleaned. The laser is then passed along the teeth and as it is pulled out of the deep pocket, it forms a special clot. The clot acts as a barrier so bacteria and debris do not reenter the pocket.

What to Expect After Laser Surgery

After the procedure, there is minimal discomfort. A soft diet is recommended while healing occurs.

The laser allows us to perform this treatment much more precisely and with a lower risk of side effects such as bleeding than conventional surgery with a scalpel. Healing times are often greatly reduced and sutures are usually not needed. If we feel you would benefit from laser surgery for periodontal disease, we'll discuss your options with you!

Pediatric Dentistry

Young boy brushing tooth | Dentist Charleston SCIf you are a parent, you may be wondering why we place such an emphasis on pediatric dental care at our Charleston, SC practice. After all, since baby teeth fall out during childhood anyway, why does it matter if children visit the dentist regularly?

Importance of Primary Teeth

There are several reasons to protect your child’s “primary teeth.” When learned early in life, good dental habits can set you up for decades of success. It helps to teach children to properly brush and floss while they still have their baby teeth so that they are fully prepared when their permanent teeth arrive. Even more importantly, baby teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually grow in and take their place. It is crucial that baby teeth remain in the mouth until the permanent teeth are fully ready to erupt — losing baby teeth too early due to decay, cracking, etc. could cause problems to the development of the dentition. 

It is also important to help keep your child’s tooth line along the gums healthy while they still have their primary teeth. Healthy gums typically mean a healthy mouth overall, and strong oral hygiene habits help reduce your child’s risk of developing gum disease. 

Contact Our Charleston Office

At James Island Dental Associates, we are prepared to take care of all your family’s pediatric dentistry needs. For friendly, gentle, and caring kid’s dentistry in Charleston, SC, call our dental office today. 

Porcelain and Ceramic Crowns

Dental crowns | Dentist Charleston SCCEREC is the name of a company that has digitized making crowns or caps. With CEREC technology, Dr. Weir and Dr. Thomas are able to take pictures of your teeth and make a permanent crown for you in one visit. At James Island Dental Associates, we are able to avoid taking "goopy" impressions and making temporary crowns, while you have to wait for 3 weeks to get your crown.  In one 90 minute appointment, we make your crown start to finish!  

How long do crowns last?

Crowns can last a long time. On average they last up to 10 years, but this is dependent on oral hygiene, diet, grinding, missing teeth, smoking, etc. Let us at James Island Dental Associates evaluate your oral health and any crown concerns you may have. Call our Charleston, SC dental office for more information on dental crowns. 

Preventative Care

Man in dental chair | Dentist Charleston SCWhile brushing and flossing at home are important elements of keeping your teeth healthy, preventative dentistry doesn't stop there.

It is a general rule to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by a dentist every six months.

Importance of Regular Dental Cleanings

Why every six months? Even with outstanding brushing habits, plaque can still build up in some areas that are difficult to reach. If the plaque is allowed to remain there for an extended period of time, it will calcify into tartar, which can only be removed with a hygienist's professional tools and technique. Seeing us every six months keeps plaque and tartar build-up to a minimum and offers you a fresh start with perfectly clean, healthy teeth. 

Seeing you twice yearly also allows us to keep tabs on your oral health. Certain issues can develop under the radar, without symptoms. If you wait to see the dentist until you experience symptoms, more complex treatment may be required. Identifying problems in their earliest stages allows for more conservative treatment options. Your hygienist is often your first defense against gum disease. Not only will a professional cleaning help prevent gum disease, hygienists are also skilled at identifying the first signs – signs that you are likely to miss. 


Gum disease in the US is widespread, and estimates indicate that nearly half of all adults over age 30 have it. In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and is easy to treat and reverse. The reason it’s so prevalent is that many people don’t recognize the signs.

At James Island Dental Associates, we’ve seen the severe consequences of untreated gum disease. By making you aware of its symptoms, our dentists in Charleston, SC hope to motivate you to seek the prompt treatment you need.

Signs of Gum Disease to Look For

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that affects your gum tissue and, eventually, the bone that supports your teeth. Signs to look for are:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush
  • Swollen, inflamed, or irritated gums
  • A change in the way your dental bite feels
  • Bad breath that mouthwash can’t resolve
  • Teeth that feel loose to the touch

Schedule Your Next Teeth Cleaning in Charleston, SC

If you notice any of these, you may have gingivitis. Our dentist in Charleston will first need to perform an exam to determine the extent of gum disease. Based on those findings, we will develop a treatment plan to get the infection under control.

Please call us at (843) 762-1234 to schedule a teeth cleaning to get started.

Tooth brush and paste | Dentist Charleston SCBleeding gums can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes, blood in the sink when you brush can indicate that you are developing gum disease. In other cases, it might be an indication that you are brushing too aggressively or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too firm. Brushing aggressively can lead to gum recession, so it's important to make sure that you are using good technique when you brush.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day – in the morning after breakfast and at night prior to going to bed. We also recommend flossing daily.

When brushing for two minutes in small circular movements with a soft bristle toothbrush, you are using good technique. When flossing, make sure the floss is smoothly gliding between the teeth, underneath the gums, and hugging the sides of each tooth.

If both of these techniques are followed for one week, sensitive bleeding gums will feel and look much healthier.

Schedule A Dental Appointment

If you don't experience any improvement, please reach out to us and schedule an exam. You could be developing gum disease, and the earlier we can put the brakes on this serious and chronic condition, the better! 

Root Canals

Diagram of root canal procedure | Dentist Charleston SCAs dental procedures go, root canals have a reputation for being one of the worst. Much of this reputation, however, has been unfairly earned. With rare exception, root canals are very standard procedures that feel similar to having a dental filling completed or a porcelain crown placed. 

Relieve Pain with Root Canal

Many patients are worried that their root canal procedure will be painful, but there is usually nothing to fear. The reason for needing a root canal is typically because a patient is already in significant pain due to an infection deep within a tooth. Root canal treatment is given to attempt to save the tooth and alleviate the pain, not to cause additional pain! Every root canal that is performed at our Charleston, SC dental office is done to remove damaged tissues and pulp from the tooth, which will typically provide instant relief in the affected area. 

Contact Our Office

It is normal to feel uneasy about dental procedures such as root canals, particularly if you have never experienced them before. If you are scheduled for a root canal at James Island Dental Associates, we are available to answer any questions you may have about your upcoming procedure. Our caring Charleston dentists are available Monday through Friday of every week. Call us today at (843) 762-1234. 

Sedation Dentistry

Woman sitting in dental chair fearful of dentist | Charleston SC DentistUnfortunately, millions of Americans put off treatment every year because of fears that dentistry will hurt. This can create a cycle in which problems are allowed to develop and worsen, and by the time a fearful patient seeks help, the condition is quite painful and requires extensive treatment, which only serves to validate their fears. 

At James Island Dental Associates, we are dedicated to breaking this cycle and helping everyone get the comfortable dentistry they deserve.

We treat a number of fearful patients and are very attentive and caring when it comes to making you comfortable.

Comfortable Dentistry in Charleston 

After thoroughly evaluating your medical history, we can provide four options to help keep you comfortable during treatment:

  1. Local anesthesia (numbing)
  2. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) + numbing
  3. Oral sedation (taking a pill) + nitrous oxide + numbing
  4. IV sedation

Each treatment and service can involve different levels of anxiety, so we help you determine which modality is best suited for you.

In addition to these methods, you'll find that our office is comfortable and filled with friendly people who make your comfort their number one priority while you are with us. You can enjoy your favorite TV program while we care for you or just kick back and relax. 

Teeth Whitening

Woman getting teeth whitened | Dentist Charleston SCProfessional teeth whitening in Charleston, SC is superior to anything you can purchase online or in the store, and our professional teeth whitening treatments are a practical and affordable way to dramatically enhance your smile. 

With store-bought kits, you never know how the products will react with your teeth and gums. There is no dentist standing by to weigh in on the ingredients or to monitor or instruct you on the application. Also, store-bought teeth whitening gels will not be prescription grade.

At James Island Dental Associates, we find that patients are either sensitive to store-bought products—often because too much of the gel drips onto the gum—or they are disappointed with the outcome. 

At James Island Dental Associates, we offer a few teeth whitening options to fit your budget, your lifestyle, and your unique needs. One of our cosmetic dentists will evaluate your teeth and gums before making the appropriate recommendation. Also, our custom trays, designed to fit your mouth, will keep gels where they belong – on your teeth! 

Contact Our Dental Office

If you’re looking for professional teeth whitening in Charleston, SC, get in touch with us today. Our teeth whitening options offer dramatic results, and we will always provide the safest and most appropriate system for you. 

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Tool extracting tooth from jaw | Dentist Charleston SCTooth extractions are often a last resort but are sometimes necessary if you have a particularly problematic tooth, overcrowding on your jaw, or issues with wisdom teeth

Significant Decay or Trauma

If tooth decay or damage has spread to your jawbone, gums, or surrounding teeth, in some situations, this tooth will have to be removed to preserve your oral and systemic health.


Sometimes your jaw is simply too small to accommodate all your teeth. Tooth extraction helps your remaining teeth align to fit your jaw. If overcrowding goes untreated, teeth begin to twist and shift, which leads to a crooked smile. If you plan to have orthodontic work done, your dentist may opt to extract some teeth in preparation for this work.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are located in the back of your mouth and don’t erupt during toddlerhood, but come in much later. Often, wisdom teeth can’t fully erupt through your gums because of your other teeth. This is called an impaction, and it can lead to infection and irritation. Dental professionals often remove wisdom teeth to help protect your other teeth and preserve your alignment.

If you feel you might need extractions in Charleston, SC, contact our dental office today.

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We are open and very excited to be seeing patients. That being said, safety is still the utmost concern. We are adopting new procedures in the office to keep both you the patient, and our staff safe. For more information, see our Covid-19 page detailing our new operating procedures