Friday, February 24, 2017

When to file a complaint with the Dental Board

I thought this might be worth re-posting, as so many people these days tend to over-react to situations that they feel they are not in control of.  It doesn't apply to everyone, certainly, but nonetheless, I think it bears repeating.

Too often when a patient encounters a problem with a dentist, he/she will go directly to the Dental Board of Examiners before exploring other options for resolution. This is a very time consuming and tedious process, for both the patient and the doctor. There is almost always another way! Here are some tips for resolving issues with your dentist:
  • Make sure the problem is the kind of issue that warrants a complaint with the board. Issues such as billing, overbooking appointments and rudeness by office staff are NOT reasons for a Dental Board complaint. These types of complaints can usually be resolved with a verbal or written complaint to the office manager. If this is not effective, then a written complaint to the owner/corporate entity will usually do the trick.
  • If the issue is a quality of care issue, and you feel that you are due a refund or wish for the doctor to re-do the procedure or replace an inferior product, the first option is to try to discuss the problem with the doctor directly, bypassing the office staff. Be clear and concise. State what you believe is the problem and let the doctor know what you expect him to do. Lack of communication is the number one problem in these types of disputes.
  • If the above option fails, try putting your complaint in a formal written letter, addressed directly to the doctor (never the center or office manager) and send it certified mail, registered (so only he/she can sign) and request a return receipt. Again, state very clearly in your letter of complaint exactly what the issue is and what you would like the doctor to do. Let him/her know that you are aware of all of your options and that you are attempting a resolution before you take the problem to a higher level. You will most definitely get his attention.  Make sure to give the doctor ample time to address the letter. 10 days is usually sufficient, though it doesn't usually take that long. In my years of working in this field, I have found that this option is almost always the most effective.
  • Always try to be open to compromise. 

Remember, don't make a hasty decision! Go to the Board of Dental Examiners ONLY after you have exhausted all avenues for resolving the problem. 

As always, keep smiling!  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Unaffordable Dental Expenses for the Elderly - An Editorial

With our volatile economy, things are bad enough, but it is so much worse for those on limited and fixed incomes, and the real travesty is that there is very little help available for those in need of serious dental care. Medical care can be much easier to obtain.
Dental treatment is fast becoming one of the most costly of all areas in the medical industry. Basic restorative treatment is becoming a thing of the past, with dentists and dental specialists opting for the higher end products and procedures. Root canals, crowns and implants are exorbitantly high priced, as are dentures and prosthetic devices. Having worked in the dental industry as long as I have, I'm well aware of the cost of materials vs. the mark-up.  It's ridiculous, and there is no regulatory agency that can help to even out the cost to make it more affordable. In fact, dental specialists are among the highest priced professionals in the country.  The elderly are probably the most affected by this. They are literally forced to spend money they don't have and are finding that there are limited resources to help with the funding of  treatments and procedures, as government based organizations generally will not cover anything other than extractions for adults.
A good Dental Plan can go a long way toward reducing costs for the elderly, but the fact is, sometimes it just isn't enough. Consequently, many elderly dental patients will go outside of the country to places such as Mexico, or will simply go without the care they need, thereby affecting their overall health. 
No doubt we all know of an elderly family member or friend that has had this problem.

So, the question? How long can this continue?  When insurance is of little or no help and money is limited, there must be an alternative somewhere.  Any ideas anyone? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Missing A Tooth? You Get An Implant Or A Bridge

When you lose one of your permanent teeth you do have a couple of options beyond just walking around with a hole in your mouth for the rest of your life.

There are 2 basic options that you have, an implant or a bridge. Here is the difference between them.

Bridge: A bridge basically "bridges the gap" that was left by the missing tooth. This is accomplished by grinding down the teeth on the sides of the gap and making them into anchoring teeth (abutment teeth). Those 2 teeth are the crowned with a 3 part crown with the middle being a false tooth that closed the gap from the missing tooth.

The advantage of the bridge is that it saves you from having to have oral surgery. The disadvantage is that you have to have 2 crowns put on to teeth that really didn't need them.

Implant: A little more complex and requires some oral surgery. A post is drilled into the jawbone to hold the crown in place. Then a crown is secured on top of that.

The advantage of an implant is that you have that tooth replaced without having to get caps on the other 2 teeth. With the post, it does make it more durable. The disadvantage is that it is a lengthy process that requires multiple visits to your dentist and specialist.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Veneers

Veneers are thin shells of tooth colored material designed to be placed over the natural tooth to improve smiles!

Why would someone want to get veneers? 
  • To cover stained or discolored teeth
  • Repair chipped or damaged teeth
  • Close gaps between teeth
  • Straighten and align teeth
Process of veneers?
  • Can take one or two appointments.
  • The dentist will clean the teeth and determine the correct shade for the veneers.
  • They will remove a small amount of enamel on the teeth to make room to place the veneers.
  • An impression will be taken and sent to the laboratory meanwhile a temporary veneer will be placed until the new porcelain veneers are ready.
  • When the new veneers are at the dental office the dentist will remove the temporary veneer and bond the new veneers to the teeth.
Care for your veneers the same as you would your natural teeth. 

*Veneers are not forever, they will need to be replaced at some point no matter how well you take care of them. 


Monday, February 13, 2017

Protect Your Toothbrush During Flu Season

The flu season is among us and I was one that fell victim to it's not so welcoming arrival. The on-set is quick and it packs quite a punch. Although there are many ways to combat it and even avoid getting it all together, there is one avenue that is often overlooked, your toothbrush.

One thing that I noticed when I was down with the flu was that I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Whether it was to use the facility, shower, allow my last meal to resurface, get medication or just splash some water on my face, the bathroom was my room of choice. I am sure you all know what I mean. In the bathroom too is where I spent most of the time coughing and sneezing.

Luckily I live alone so I didn't have to worry about infecting anyone else, but for those of you who don't, you should really keep something in mind. Is your toothbrush out in the open in the bathroom? If it is, like mine is, then when that family member is in the bathroom sneezing and coughing the virus could infect your toothbrush. Then, despite your best effort to quarantine yourself off from the your sick loved one, as soon as you use your toothbrush you now run the risk of being infected.

So just keep that in mind when you or someone in your family comes down with the flu this year. Quarantine yourself and your toothbrush too, because let me tell you.. this is not one flu virus that you want to get. Trust me on that one.

Lastly, always remember to replace your toothbrush after you are feeling better. The last thing you want to is have it coming back for a round 2.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Surprising Uses for Whitening Toothpaste-Who Knew?

Here are five toothpaste "hacks" that may not be commonly known. I may just have to try some of these myself!
  • Remove crayon from painted walls.  All you need is some toothpaste and a damp cloth, buff lightly then rinse the area.  Off it goes!
  • Scuffs on linoleum or tile floors.  Again, just a little toothpaste and a damp cloth.  Works like a charm.
  • Fingernails and Toenails.  This one I wish I had thought of myself!  Wet an old (emphasis on old) toothbrush, add toothpaste and generously apply to fingernails and toenails. Wait a few minutes, then scrub a little bit.  Rinse.  They will look fresh and bright!  It takes away the yellowing effect. Of course it would!  It works on teeth, right? I love this!
  • Clean jewelry.  It shines up diamonds and gold just as good as any jewelry cleaner would, and you already have it in your cabinet.  
  • Headlight haze.  How many of us pay good money to have the headlights treated after yellowing and scratching occurs?  Buff it out with toothpaste. If nothing else, you may be able to put off the expensive treatment for awhile. 
  • Skunk Spray Deodorizer.  Never would have thought of this one! The instructions I read are as follows: If your pet encounters a skunk, try this.  Wet him down, rub toothpaste into his fur, then rinse. Apparently the fluoride helps to eliminate some of the odor.  Not sure about this one.  I'd check with the vet first.  Some toothpaste contains xylitol, which is known to be a health risk for pets.
Enjoy!
Keep Smiling! 

Dental Floss Sewing Kit Hack

I was scrolling through Pinterest last night and I came across this neat dental floss sewing kit hack. Nothing is worse then having your clothes rip or losing a button in the middle of the day and not having anything to fix it with.

Here is how to make a portable sewing kit!

Instructions:
  1. Peel off the label from the container.
  2. Open the container and reuse the spindle the floss was originally on. *Glue a grommet to each end, this will help you wind the thread on to the spindle without the thread falling off, after the thread is wound on remove the grommet (will not close correctly if left on)
    1. dental floss sewing kit hack
  3. Cut a small piece of elastic or ribbon and hot-glue it to one side of the container. This is the needle holder.
    1. dental floss sewing kit hack
    2. dental floss sewing kit hack
  4. Place the spindle back into the container with the thread running counter clock-wise.
    1. dental floss sewing kit hack
  5. When you need to sew, open the container grab your needle and cut the the thread the same way you would the floss!
    1. dental floss sewing kit hack
Click here for full directions and pictures!