Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Infant Oral Health Care Tips

Infant oral care is important from the beginning.

Most babies don't start getting teeth until they are around six months old but its a great idea to get in the habit of cleaning their mouth as soon as possible. This will make it easier on the parent in the long run.

Below are some tips on infant oral care:

  • Wipe the gums after every feeding with a soft cloth.
  • Massage the gums and teeth with slight pressure when teething.
  • Brush with a silicone finger brush once the teeth have erupted.
  • Once the teeth have erupted, cut down on night feedings.
  • Start on finger-foods around eight - nine months.
  • Encourage drinking from a open tumbler around ten months.
  • Stop bottle feeding by age one.
It is recommended from the child to see the dentist for the first time when their first tooth has erupted or by their first birthday.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Member Question: Fee Schedules Per State

Questions From Our Members

E. Brighton of Boston MA. asks: 

I live part of the year in Arizona and the other part of the year in Massachusetts.  I have noticed that Schedule of Benefits changes from State to State, can you explain why.

Savon’s Answer

Great Question!  The Schedule of Benefits are broken up into 8 zones.  Zone 1 is Arizona only.  The main reason for that is Arizona is our corporate headquarters.  The rest of the states are in zones 2 through 8.

What zone each state is placed in is determined using the U.S. Census Bureau economic indicators.  The higher the per capita income is for a state the higher the zone is and visa versa.  Alaska, for example is in zone 8 while Arkansas is in zone 2.

Please keep in mind that our mission statement is:  "To provide quality and timely dental care at a price that is fair and reasonable to the member and the dentist".

We understand that the cost of living is higher is some states than it is in others but the income level, for the most part, is also higher in these states.

Using the zone system is the best way to make sure that our members are saving as much as possible while making sure that our providers are not losing money by being in our network.

If you would like to see what zone each state is in please visit our Member Center and click on the PDF Schedule of Benefits.

(the content of this blog was originally posted in our February 2016 Newsletter in the article "Here's Your Answer")

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Great Tongue Scraper Debate-Do You Really Need One?

A "tongue scraper" is exactly what it sounds like.  A tool used to literally scrape bacteria off of the tongue surface, it's supposed to remove the gunk and help keep your breath fresh.  They come in many styles, shapes and sizes and you can get them anywhere you can buy a tooth brush.  If you've never used one though, apparently you're not missing much.  I am personally a fan of the tongue scraper.  I like the extra clean feeling I get after using one, so this news came as a little bummer to me...

According to a study published in an issue of General Dentistry (a peer-reviewed dental journal), tongue scrapers only slightly reduces bad breath.  The most common reason for bad breath, believe it or not, is post-nasal drip.  It coats the back of your tongue causing what is called " oral malodor."  Tongue scrapers remove this mucousy layer quite well, however the results are only temporary.  But according to this study, using a toothbrush can get you the same temporary results, making the ever elusive "tongue scraper" seem not-so-special. 

That being said, one isn't better than the other, it really comes down to personal preference.  I, for instance, will be continuing to love my tongue scraper..  But for those of you who'd rather save the extra few bucks and use a toothbrush, you're in the clear.

Keep Smiling! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mistakes You Might Be Making When You Brush Your Teeth

Face it, majority of us do not take care of our teeth properly.

Below is a list of the most common mistakes people make while they are brushing.
  • Using the toothbrush to long - Have frayed or broken bristles? It's time to replace your toothbrush. The average life span of a toothbrush is about 3 months or after 200 uses.
  • Not brushing teeth long enough - Manual or electric brushing should be no less than two minutes. Anything less than two minutes doesn't give the fluoride in the toothpaste enough time to attach to the tooth enamel.
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing - DO NOT rinse your mouth out after brushing. You can spit the toothpaste out, but the moment water enters the mix, it cuts down the efficiency of the fluoride. (Guilty)
  • Storing your toothbrush in the bathroom - We all do it, right? But you should consider storing your toothbrush someplace else like your nightstand. This is recommended because when you flush the toilet the contents of the toilet bowl are sprayed in all directions contaminating your toothbrush. Yuck!!
Although these are just a few of the mistakes we need to try and avoid while we are brushing, you can click here to get the full list. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Lost Art Of Denture Making

So many people can relate to this: the long and tedious process of fitting a new set of dentures. What goes into the process is mind boggling. The dentures must fit the jawbone. They must fit your facial structure. The teeth must be the right size. Your jawbone must be able to support dentures, possibly requiring bone grafts. Then there are the adjustments after the many fittings...The cost alone is bad enough; the high price of dental prosthetics is becoming unmanageable. Many people, primarily the elderly, are opting for economy dentures made by labs that basically use an assembly line process for manufacturing. Add to that the lack of good denture technicians (not that there aren't any...it's just a dying breed), and consequently, the end result is generally an ill-fitting set of dentures that end up in a drawer or the medicine cabinet because the patient will revert to their old set in favor of comfort, even if the old ones are loose. Typically, you get what you pay for, sorry to say! Then, of course, there is the use of denture adhesives. Just how much adhesive can one person use to secure an ill-fitting set of teeth?

This brings me to the explanation for the title of this blog: The Lost Art Of Denture Making. Many dentists are opting out of standard denture making for the patient altogether...it's simply too time consuming, and due to so many factors, unpredictable. Basically, when fashioning a denture for a patient, it's a crap shoot, whether they are made in house or at the lab. Dentists today are choosing instead to go with implants, or implant supported dentures. This is a much better option than loose fitting, ill-made dentures that float around in your mouth, however, it is much more expensive, and a little more time consuming, but the end result is a more solid, comfortable fit for the patient. Technology today has made it possible to have a completely false set of teeth that look , feel and function like normal teeth. If you are one of those poor souls who knows exactly what I'm talking about, maybe you would be a candidate for implants or implant supported dentures. Ask your dentist for his/her opinion. It could greatly improve your lifestyle and your overall health.
Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dental Pain In Pets

We all wish our pets could tell us what they want or if they are in pain. Right??

So if you notice any of the signs below, contact your veterinarian to schedule an exam.
  • Bad Breath - "Doggy breath" and "tuna breath" is not normal. This can be a sign of periodontal disease.
  • Altered Behavior - You know your pet the best, so if you notice anything unusual such as; chewing on one side of the mouth, not grooming themselves or just acting grumpy, these could be an indication of dental pain.
  • Bleeding - Bleeding from the mouth is usually do to periodontal disease or could be fractured teeth.
Although these are just a few warning signs of dental pain in your pet, always call the veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and the correct pain medication.

Don't let your furry pet suffer in silence.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is Your Dentist Prepared for a Chairside Emergency?

It isn't a common occurrence, necessarily.  But it does happen.  Medical emergencies in the dental chair can't always be prevented but the risks can be drastically reduced if the patient and the doctor are completely transparent and open with each other about illnesses, medication and health history. All dentists have at least some training for medical emergency treatment, however in addition he/she should have at least one staff member trained in CPR, and have an emergency plan in place which includes emergency phone numbers, a defibrillator, medications on hand and procedures to stop bleeding, etc. He should take your blood pressure reading and heart rate prior to treatment, and again after treatment. If administering general anesthesia, he should be anesthesia certified. Some states issue separate licenses for anesthesia. Always make sure he is certified, or that he has a certified anesthesiologist on staff!
That said, here are some helpful suggestions for the patient to remember when having a procedure done:

  • Disclose all medications that you take daily, even if it is just an aspirin or something over the counter. 
  • If you have ever had high blood pressure, let the dentist know!
  • If you suffer from acute anxiety, say so!  Many dentists cater to the anxious patient. Things can be done to help you with that. 
  • If you are pregnant, let him know!
  • If you have allergies to medications, let him know! 
  • If you have taken anything prior to your visit for relaxation....a sedative, an alcoholic beverage, marijuana....seriously, he needs this information. Many people will do this before a visit and not disclose it thinking it won't pose a problem. The dentist isn't going to judge you, but he is going to treat you and there is a serious liability factor involved, especially when it comes to anesthesia, so don't hold anything back!  

The medical history of the patient is the single most helpful thing for a dentist to have before treatment begins.  Your honesty is imperative.  He cannot effectively manage your treatment plan without this knowledge!

Keep Smiling!