Frequently Asked Questions
We have provided this section of frequently asked questions and their answers for your convenience. If you have any further questions call Dr. Becker’s office and we will be glad to answer them for you.
What is Dr Becker's background?
Dr. Gerald L. Becker D.D.S. practices general dentistry with an emphasis on integration of dentistry with medicine. He has 36 years of dental practice and teaching experience in biological dentistry integrating the art, science and technology of dentistry and medicine.
His goal is to provide the safest, longest lasting dental restorations and ongoing oral health for our clients.
His dental office in Shoreline is a teaching/preceptor site for Bastyr University of Natural Medicine. He has lectured at Bastyr on TMJ; dentistry related to physical medicine; and cranial pathology. He also gives presentations to groups of naturopathic physicians about dentistry and contemporary topics in oral health. Dr. Becker was named one of Seattle’s Top Dentists in Seattle Magazine in 2004 and 2006.
Puget Consumers Checkbook Magazine ranked his practice as one of the best in Western Washington from 2000-2009. He is also rated among the best dentists by internet Angie’s List 2009. He can be reached by phone 206-542-4848. His office is located at 715 N. 182nd Street, #401, Shoreline, Washington 98133 near 182nd and Fremont.
Why should I see Dr. Becker for my dental care?
During the past 9 years, from 2000 to 2009, thousands of Washington State dentists have been independently monitored and rated by Puget Sound Consumers’ Check Book magazine. On the basis of 9 specific criteria, only a few dentists qualified as having the “best” practices. Less than one percentage point separated the top five dental practices in Western Washington. We are honored to have received nearly the highest ratings among these five dentists.
Seattle Magazine peer selected ratings ranked us as a “Top Dentist” in the 2004 and 2006 dentist issues. The internet "Angie’s List" gives us the highest ratings among dentists. We are proud to be among the highest ranked dental offices in King County and Western Washington.
The high technical quality of our care, the value for the health care dollar, prevention techniques, thorough diagnostics and communication, producing expected results, and superior overall care and service, all contributed to our complimentary ratings. Working hard for our patients is our vision and purpose, and we are appreciative of this recognition of our achievements in dentistry.
Our commitment is to continue to earn your confidence and trust in the years to come. We will continue to do our best to improve the oral health of our community and make a true difference in the lives of our patients. Your dentistry is a serious responsibility for us. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to serve you today and in the future.
Do we accept new patients in our practice?
Yes! New patients are always welcome in our Shoreline office. We are proud that a vast majority of our clients are referred by people who are already in our practice or from members of the medical community. We also offer second and third opinions about care suggested by other offices and help clarify dental treatment options and alternatives available to you.
How soon can I make an appointment?
Appointments for routine care or new client examinations are usually available within a few days of your phone call. We may query you about your reason for calling so we can give you the appropriate personal time to address all your concerns. Emergency patients are usually seen the same day they call or referred to an appropriate specialist for care.
What are your hours?
Our patient care hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 AM until 4:30 PM.
Do you accept dental insurance?
About one-half of our patients have dental insurance. We file your dental claim either by mail or electronically. We assist you in utilizing your benefits to their fullest potential and coordinate treatment to that effect. You are personally responsible for any fees for your dental care.
As is usual in dental care, insurance often pays for only part of the fee based on the terms of your dental insurance contract. If you have insurance, our administrative staff will help you make financial arrangements to take care of the remaining balance on your account.
Do you coordinate dental treatment with my medical doctors?
After your initial examination in our office, we communicate in writing with your referring medical provider. We tell them what our findings are and make specific comments and recommendations about our proposed treatment for you. They are asked to contact our office and you to establish any supplement protocols or dietary changes that will help you during your dental treatment experience. Cranial and body work may be suggested if bite work or TMJ treatment is needed.
What happens at my first new patient examination visit?
We are very through. Our initial examination takes from 1 to 1 ½ hours depending on what your needs are. The first thing we do is sit down with you in our consultation room and ask you about your dental concerns. We want to know about any problems you have. You can tell us about your health history and dental health goals. We then take a set of digital x-rays of all the roots and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
We perform the following:
- An oral cancer exam
- Bite evaluation
- TMJ exam
- Decay exam
- An evaluation of your existing dental work
- Check for gum disease
- Take photographs of your existing fillings, teeth and smile
Most importantly, we show you our findings and begin to explain the general state of your dental health. After you leave, all of the data we have collected about your dental condition is reviewed by Dr. Becker and a treatment plan is created to sequentially address any concerns. We will go over these findings in detail at your next appointment and give you a written copy of recommended treatment for your records. Options will be discussed. Being fully informed will help you make your best decisions.
How do you remove old amalgam fillings?
Your protection from mercury is a primary concern for us during your appointment. After getting your teeth numb, we place a water tight “rubber dam” which isolates the teeth we will work on from the rest of your mouth. We then use a fresh drill and water spray in a handpiece to remove the mercury amalgam from the tooth.
Ideally, we attempt to remove amalgam in chunks rather than dust, so as to minimize mercury vapor exposure from the old filling. High speed suction is used to remove water, mercury amalgam particles and air from around the tooth so as to minimize your exposure. We place a rubber nose piece over your nose giving you fresh air to breathe. For further protection, the air in the treatment room is circulated though a special filter to remove any ambient mercury vapor.
I just want my teeth cleaned!
There are several types of teeth “cleanings”. Your type is determined by the amount of gum disease in and around your teeth. The more disease, the more complicated and time consuming your dental hygiene cleaning will be. It could take only one hour, or several. We do not know how much time you will need until we do your examination. Occasionally, rough or broken fillings contribute to gum problems and compromise the best outcomes from a cleaning. These are repaired before gum treatment is begun. Your initial patient examination will tell us if this would be beneficial.
Not performing a pre-treatment examination is below the standard of care in the State of Washington, and in addition, does not allow us to know how to best serve you.
Does Dr. Becker treat children?
That depends. The most important part of pediatric dentistry is the creation of a positive experience in the dental office for the child. We do not usually treat very small children because we have an office oriented toward adults. Some children may feel more comfortable in a true pediatric office with small chairs, lots of other kids running around, bright colors, etc. More mature children do well with us in our family atmosphere. Children are treated on a case-by-case basis very successfully.
What about Autism and dentistry?
Dr. Becker is a consultant to a web list-serve of over 400 families dealing with autism. He ongoingly works with parents of autistic children to improve their dental health. He is familiar with biomedical intervention in treatment of autism and has attended DAN meetings here in the northwest.
Our practice also treats highly functioning children after examination and involvement of the parent in treatment decisions. Dr. Becker is a referral source for children requiring sedation during dentistry and is available for consultations at any time about children’s’ dental health issues.