Frequently Asked Questions


Educating our patients about the optimal procedures and materials available to them is part of our practice. A number of questions are asked frequently and so we put together this resource for our patients to use before or after their visit. We always welcome questions, concerns and/or constructive criticism. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to call our office : 843.593.8123 or email us:

Why a biological approach to dentistry?
We believe that offering patients a holistic, natural approach to dentistry addresses how the health of your mouth affects your overall wellness, and how your overall wellness affects your mouth. We advise and offer programs on preventive care and nutrition, customizing a treatment plan that addresses the underlying issues of the dental problems more effectively. This approach allows us to prevent dental disease from reoccurring & reduces your need for future treatment in addition, assisting with your overall body health.

What makes a dental practice biological? 

The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Technology (IAOMT) states “In using the term biological dentistry, we are not attempting to stake out a new specialty for dentistry but rather to describe a philosophy that can apply to all facets of dental practice and to health care in general: Always seek the safest, least toxic way to accomplish the mission of treatment and all the goals of modern dentistry, and do it while treading as lightly as possible on the patient’s biological terrain. A more biocompatible approach to oral health is the hallmark of biological dentistry.”
Our team at Bluffton Center for Dentistry does everything to promote and treat the mouth in ways that support the health and well-being of the body as a whole. We aim to minimize the use of any potentially toxic dental substances, we also rely on special equipment, safe protocols and a highly-trained team to keep our practice biological.  We have 9 different facets that we like to include in our biological approach, you can read about them here.

What is your earliest/latest appointment? 

We offer a different schedule depending on the day of the week, but we have early appointments and later appointments to work with your schedule.

Do you have Saturday appointments? 

We do offer some select Saturday appointments but not every Saturday. Call our office to find out what Saturdays are available.

How can I whiten my teeth?
Before whitening you may want to question your motives for whitening, this can help pinpoint the exact treatment that will best suit you. We offer a variety of in-office treatments for whitening teeth such as: Zoom [UV light] whitening or customized whitening trays.  If you’d like some at-home options, we offer whitening trays and whitening pens available for purchase.   We also have some natural tips for “at-home options” too!

Why you do you recommend not using fluoride?
In accordance with our biological approach and with guidance from the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Technology [IAOMT], we believe that exposure to fluoride causes more harm than good throughout the body. If you’d like to read more about the IAOMT’s position and our adapted methodology, please read the IAOMT’s position paper on fluoride.

Do you take insurance? Are you in network with my insurance?
We are no longer in network with any insurance companies. However, we will fill out your insurance forms and submit them for you so you can be reimbursed according to your contract with your insurance carrier. If you have more questions about why we went out of network with insurance companies, please see our longer answer here. 

Do you have an in-house payment plan? 

We don’t currently offer an in-house payment plan. But we do offer third party financing with a Wells Fargo line of credit. Ask our front office staff for more information.

What is the difference between veneers and crowns?

A fundamental difference between veneers and crowns is how much of the tooth is “covered over.” A crown encases the entire tooth, a veneer just its front side.

Does Dr. Porcelli see children?
We do see children in the office, and we are happy to have been voted Favorite Family Dentist in Bluffton by the readers of Hilton Head Monthly!

How much is a cleaning? 

It depends. A standard cleaning is $103, but if it has been awhile since your last cleaning, we may need to spend a little more time with you and put a little more energy into the cleaning. We will always communicate the cost of treatment with you before we begin anything.

Do you use air fresheners, like Febreeze or Plug Ins? 

We only use essential oil diffusers, which do not use any added chemicals. We use natural essential oils only.

What kind of cleaning products do you use in the office? 

We only use cleaning products that have natural, chemical free ingredients. 

What makes an acidic mouth?
An acidic mouth is having a pH of less than 6.5. Keeping in mind that cavities occur when pH is 5.5 or less. Some foods, sugar, and soda beverages can contribute to this acidity in the mouth, allowing disease such as cavities to develop. Those acidic foods include red wine, pickles, soft drinks, energy drinks, artificial sweeteners and many others.

How do I keep my mouth neutral?
Water is a neutral base that helps the balance of the pH. After consuming a risky food, please swish out with water or if at home swish with a little bit of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid in the mouth. Also, cheese helps to bring the mouth back on a neutral state.

Can I bring my dog with me to my visit?

Due to South Carolina Dental board regulations, only authorized service animals will be allowed in our office. Authorized service animals should have documentation that they are trained as service animals and the patient has a disability which the animal is trained to help.  We will require you to bring in the necessary documents before receiving treatment.

Can I bring a companion with me? 

If you’d like to bring a companion with you for help in transportation, translation or for other services, you are allowed. We have a comfortable reception area that companions are more than welcome to wait in while you receive your treatment.  If you prefer to have your companion join you in the treatment room, we will do our best to accommodate our patients’ needs. We do require that they wear personal protective equipment while in the room.

How long should I plan to be at my appointment?
Please plan to be at our office for about an hour if you are scheduled for a regular cleaning. If you are scheduled for a longer procedure, our team will be happy to let you know how long to plan on being in the office. We always do our best to see you promptly and on time.

Do you offer sedation? Can you help me deal with my gag reflex or anxiety I have surrounding my appointment?
We do offer sedation as necessary. If you have anxiety or fear of dental procedures, we will prescribe medication that will help you to relax and overcome anxiety. We believe patients have the right to be comfortable and we practice anxiety-free dentistry protocol.

Will I see the same team members [hygienist or assistant] when I come back next time? 

Yes, we do our best to create a consistent experience for our patients. By working with the same hygienists and assistants, we can provide better care for you by forging a relationship with our team members.

Will I need to, or have to, get bitewings or X-rays?
Potentially. X-rays and bitewings allow us to see disease, which we cannot see by just looking in your mouth. We like to keep your file up to date and usually that includes bitewings/X-Rays annually. Also, if you have had a dental emergency, we may require that you get new, updated X-rays to reflect the current state of your mouth.

Why do I need a cleaning?

A professional cleaning is needed because there are things that we can do professionally that are not able to be done in home.  Especially, cleaning under the gum to remove “splinters” of tartar that could cause bleeding and infection. For us to guarantee the restorative work we do, we must have you be complainant with your hygiene appointments.  We require that you keep up with your treatment as recommended by the doctor for us to keep our guarantee.

Do your hygienists hand scale or use a Cavitron? 

Our hygienists create a personalized approach based on your needs and the doctors’ recommendations for when you come in for a cleaning. We believe a combination of these methods is the most ideal way to clean your teeth.

Why do I have to see the doctor when I want to come in for a cleaning?

The doctor is the only person who can diagnose disease in your mouth and advise you of a protocol to treat any problems.

How long will I be numb after my appointment?
If we use local anesthesia, it usually wears off completely within 2 hours.

How long do I have to wait to eat or drink after treatment?

Generally, a couple of hours after the treatment. However, it will depend on the procedure that you are having. The doctor and assistant will advise you at the time of the appointment.

Do you do orthodontics in your office?

We do offer Invisalign for minor tooth movements. If you have a need for other services, we have a trusted network of orthodontic offices in the area that we would be happy to refer you to.

Do you extract wisdom teeth? 

Yes, we do extract wisdom teeth.

Do you place implants? 

Yes, we have an implant specialist, Dr. Jay Friedman who practices with us. He is here the first week of each month. To see the kind of implants we offer, please look at our implant dentistry page.

Do you offer nutrition counseling? 

Yes, we do offer nutrition counseling with our dentists, and Dr. Danenberg offers his 12-Week Total Body Coaching Program that is a structured program including nutritional counseling, education regarding ingredients, and making healthy choices with diet and lifestyle.

Do you do Zoom/UV whitening? 

Yes, we offer this as well as offering custom applied whitening trays as well as offering various take-home treatments for whitening.

Do you have a designated room specifically for amalgam/mercury removal? 

Yes, all of our dental-procedure rooms offer a closed-door. We also have a specialized room for our Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique (SMART) procedures.

How many doctors are in your office? 

We have three dentists that practice at Bluffton Center for Dentistry. Dr. Richard Porcelli is in the office most days. Dr. Alvin Danenberg is here with us one day a week, and Dr. Jay Friedman is in town one week each month.

Do you have specialists in your office?

Yes! Dr. Porcelli specializes in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Danenberg specializes in periodontics and Dr. Friedman is an implant specialist.

Do you have a functional nutrition practitioner?

Yes! Dr. Danenberg is a certified functional nutrition practitioner. In June 2014, he received his Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (CFMP) designation as well as his certification as a Certified Primal Health Coach.