Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What Is A Root Canal?

Has your dentist referred you to an endodontist to get a root canal(endodontic treatment)? Millions of teeth are saved each year with root canal treatment but most people don't know what it entails, they only know it has a reputation of being pain full.

A root canal is a treatment of the pulp of the tooth that is inflamed, infected or dead. There are many reasons why the tooth has became inflamed: deep tooth decay, faulty crown, chip/cracked tooth or even damage to the tooth.

Treatment Options Image 1

During the procedure the inflamed or infected area is removed and the inside of the tooth in carefully cleaned, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like substance called Gutta-percha. The tooth most likely will need a crown to protect it from fracturing in the future. Depending on the dentist some do the crown right away and some wait a brief period of time to make sure you are pain free before continuing on with the crown. After the restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Treatment Options Image 2

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Difference Between A Regular Cleaning And A Deep Cleaning

Have you ever been told you need a deep cleaning? If you are not in the dental field, you may not know the difference between a routine cleaning (Prophylaxis) and a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).

Routine cleaning (Prophylaxis) - These cleanings are generally done every 6 months (If you are wearing braces your dentist might recommend coming back more frequently) to keep your teeth and oral tissues healthy by removing calculus, plaque and stains. this procedure is completed in one appointment.

Deep cleaning (Scaling and root planing)-This cleaning is longer in duration than a regular cleaning. Plaque and tarter on the surface of the teeth create the right environment for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria irritates the gums and can cause bleeding. If you notice your gums are bleeding while you are brushing or eating this is the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis. If you leave this untreated, gingivitis can create periodontal pockets below the gum line causing the bone structure to weaken. Deep cleaning or root planing smooths out the surface of the roots, removes bacteria and infected portions of the teeth. Tarter deposits and plaque under the gumline are also removed by scaling.

Part of good dental care is understanding dental terms!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tips To Avoiding "Sticker Shock" at the Dentist Office

It's no secret that the cost of medical care in this country is unbelievable, if not completely unrealistic, particularly for the uninsured.  Dentistry is no different.  The cost to maintain your healthy smile is high enough, but should you need restorative care you can expect to pay a high price for it in this market.  Even if you're lucky enough to be insured, your cost for just one visit can exceed your insurance benefit, leaving you to pay for the remainder of the procedure out of pocket.  Here are a few ways to avoid "sticker shock" at the dentist's office:

1. See your dentist every 6 months for a checkup.  Many people wait YEARS to see a dentist, opting to go only when they have a problem.  Good preventive care is the key to keeping your dental bills cheap.  Have that small cavity filled! It costs much more for a root canal down the line if you wait.

2. Discuss your treatment options with your dentist.  If you still feel the cost is too high, get a second opinion.  Another dentist may opt for a more conservative treatment, saving you money.

3. Whether you are insured or uninsured, look into the possibility of a good discount dental plan. Insurance benefits will only go so far...often only $1000-$1500 per year.  As I mentioned before, one can exceed that amount in a single visit to the dentist for a restorative procedure. Discount dental plans (Such as Savon) typically do not have a limit...you will continue to receive that discounted fee no matter how much work you need. 

For a better comparison between insurance and dental plans, visit our comparison zone!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Is It Important To Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that most people get in their late teens and early twenties. Most often the wisdom teeth are misaligned and require removal.

When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they might position themselves horizontally, angled toward or away from the second molar, or be angled inward or outward. Poor alignment can cause some major issues such as; damaging the other surrounding teeth, jawbone and nerves.

Wisdom teeth can become impacted, they are enclosed by soft tissue or only partly emerge through the gums. Partial eruption can cause  pain, swelling, sore jaw and can be prone to tooth decay and gum disease since they are hard to reach for cleaning.

Some dentist recommend removing wisdom teeth before they emerge or if they are growing near the nerve. Many dentists believe its best to remove the teeth before the roots fully form, when someone is younger they recover faster from surgery. Many young adults have theirs removed before it causes problems.

Wisdom teeth may not need to be pulled if they are:
  • Healthy
  • Grown in completely
  • Positioned correctly and biting properly
  • Able to be cleaned

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Aloe Vera - It Has Amazing Properties!

Aloe Vera is used for healing in many cultures. It has been known to heal burns and scrapes, stomach ulcers, skin irritations, etc., so it makes perfect sense to incorporate it into our daily routine for oral care! There are many products out there that contain Aloe Vera, including toothpaste and oral rinses.

Here are some facts about Aloe Vera and it's medicinal qualities.
  • It is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral
  • It has regenerative qualities
  • It has pain relieving qualities
  • It is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • It boosts immunity
  • It has nutritional benefit
There is a ton of information available on the web about Aloe Vera. It is definitely worth checking out.
Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What To Expect On Your First Visit To The Dentist

A first trip into a new dentist office can seem overwhelming especially if you don't know what to expect. Usually as soon as you walk in you are bombarded with paperwork, then the assistant calls you in and plays 20 questions, then the dentist comes in and looks in your mouth, then someone else comes in and tells you what all you need to have done. Sound familiar? When I explain it like that, I am sure you can see how that can be overwhelming. Well, here's a little secret... It doesn't have to be. If you basically what to expect and follow a few simple tips then this whole process can be quicker a less stressful. Here are some expectations and tips for you.

What to expect:

1. Paperwork: When you get there, you will be asked to fill out the new patient packet. This includes medical history and contact information, HIPPA Policy, Consent for treatment and some other inner office papers that they are required to have on filee.

2. Full Mouth X-Rays: Depending on your dentist, this will be done as FMX or Panoramic. This is a necessary step that they must take because it gives the dentist a view of the condition of your dental health at that time as well as reveals some of the work that has previously been done by another dentist.

3. Comprehensive Exam: This is the point that the dentist is actually looking at your teeth and examining their health status. Depending on the the dentist's finding, a Perodontical Evaluation may follow.

4. Suggestion Plan Of Care: (Treatment Plan): This is the where you find out what the dentist saw during your examination, what he/she suggests as course of treatment, and what the cost for it is.

TIPS For Making The Process Easier:

1. Prepare for the paperwork: Prior to going to your first dental visit, gather all of the pertinent information that will need, such as Insurance or Coverage Plan information, medical history and a list of any and all medications that you are currently taking.

2. Do the paperwork ahead of time (if applicable): Some dental centers have their new patient information packets available for downloading on their websites. Prior to your first visit, check out their website and see if they have them available. If so, download them, fill them out and take them with you. This alone can save an extra 15 minutes in the office as well as give you more time to gather the essential information.

3. Be Early, Be On Time:  For your first visit, you always want to be there approx 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. This will allow the time for you to fill out paper and for them to ask any questions that they have.

4. Don't Freak Out Over The Treatment Plan: The treatment PLAN is just that.. A PLAN. It is not written in stone. Remember that dentist is not making this stuff up. What is on your treatment plan is a diagnosis from the doctor and plan of action that they would like to take. A treatment plan is developed with the goal of bring you to optimal dental health. However, again it is a plan. You have the choice as the patient to decide if you would like to proceed with the whole treatment plan, do 1/2 of it or none at all. What is done is your call.

I hope that these tips have helped.