How long after the final impressions are taken can a dentist wait before sending it off to the lab for the work to be started before it or the prepared teeth could be compromised and also, what is the most ethical way of requiring payment for dental work.  For example I'm planning to have  $5,000 worth of work done (crowns) Should I be required to pay a portion in advance or the entire amount up front. What is generally customary?

Dear Laurie,

Every dentist is different.  40 years ago when I started my dental practice, I allowed patients to make payments over time for work that was done.  Today, it is becoming more common to have the patient pay in advance, or pay each visit as the dental work is being completed, with the last payment being made prior to completion of care.  So there is no one ethical way of requiring payment for a case.  The agreement is made between you and your dentist.  Between each patient and their dentist.  

Your question about impressions depends on what impression materials are being used.  The materials that can sit the longest at room temperature without distorting is vinyl polysiloxane.  All other materials must be "poured" (have plaster poured into them to make the model of your teeth) within 24 hours.

Prepared teeth begin to become compromised at the moment they are prepared.  Every person has their own individual reactions to this process.  The general rule is to be sure the prepared teeth are protected, usually by temporary crowns, for the duration of treatment until completion.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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