Monday, December 29, 2014

A Year End Message from our C.E.O. Clayton Parker Jr.: "Out with 2014 and in with 2015"

Thanksgiving and Christmas is over and in the blink of an eye it will be 2015.

As I reflect on the past year I am overcome with many emotions.  I have seen some people have a very successful year but I have seen many more (too many) struggle just to get by and make ends meet.

Savon has not been immune from the trickle down effects of the Affordable Health Care Act and we have felt the pinch as many of you have. In years past (2009 and earlier) no health insurance company offered individual dental coverage.  Between 2013 and now, virtually all health insurance companies offer it. 

These insurance companies have the capital and means to make what they are offering to its’ customers attractive, however in the end people are finding that it is a far inferior product to what Savon offers. The good news is that many members are realizing this and returning to Savon!

We pride ourselves in our customer service and we will go to any reasonable extreme to work with our members and make them happy.  Our phones are monitored by a customer service representative 7 days a week, (and yes… I personally helped one of our members on Thanksgiving Day while I was watching football at home).

For those of you that may be facing financial challenges, we have re-instituted our monthly payment option and the 50/50 option. The early renewal option has also been a great success as it has saved us 
on printing and postage and we have been able to pass those savings along to the members that take advantage of the early renewal offer.

At the request of many of our members, we are exploring the possibility of adding an optional vision and hearing plan to our portfolio and we will keep you posted as progress is made.

I would personally invite, (beg, grovel, implore, request or whatever word best describes it) you to visit to our page on the Better Business Bureau and give us a review.  Please note: This review is for the dental plan not the dentists.

Check Us Out And Review Us!
The Better Business Bureau is a strong marketing tool for us and we have had an A+ rating since they started their rating system.  In the past the only thing the BBB allowed consumers to do was file a complaint against a business. They now allow you to give 
reviews and express their feelings (good or bad) about a business.  Please take a few minutes and give us a review.  It will be greatly appreciated.

This has been a snapshot of Savon for 2014 and in closing, I would like to wish each and every one of our members and their families the happiest of holidays and a fantastic and prosperous 2015.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay with Savon, “your dental plan every step of the way!”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

High Speed Dentistry

We get calls almost daily from people that have been to the dentist and felt they were overcharged because their procedure “didn’t take long enough”.

Those of us that have been around for awhile can remember when a simple cleaning took 45 minutes to an hour and if you needed a root canal… well that could be an all-day adventure.

Welcome to the 21st century and the world of high speed dentistry!

Here is a quick look at some of the advances in dentistry that have made a visit to the dentist less frightening and less traumatic.  A lot of these advances allow the general dentist to perform procedures that, in the past, would have been referred to a specialist.

Anesthetics – The process of getting numb has greatly improved.  With the advent of strong topical anesthetics and stronger injectable types, getting numb can really be a fairly painless process.  I have found that the simple trick of freezing the roof of the mouth makes that shot at least bearable.

Cleanings – In most cases, the process of scraping, picking and digging at your teeth is gone.  The new high speed cleaning machines are almost like a car wash for your mouth.  The use of ultra sound and water gives the hygienist the ability to cut through the plaque in a fraction of the time it used to take.  With the new laser systems that are available, periodontal scaling and root planing are less invasive and much faster.  Over the past 20 years, the average time for a regular cleaning has dropped from 45 minutes to somewhere around 15 to 20 minutes.

Root Canals – Still a word that no one wants to hear!  With the new high speed endo systems it’s really not a big thing anymore.  Gone are the days of drilling, x-ray, filing, x-ray, more filing, more x-rays and so on.  Now it’s kind of like drilling for oil in your tooth.  Once the dentist locates the canal, the system has a tracking device that can allow him to virtually see how deep he is filing, right down to the apex of the canal.  This is a great advancement that has also allowed general dentists to perform root canals that in the past years would have been referred to a specialist.

Crowns and Bridges – For the dental offices that make the investment, you no longer have to wait days or weeks to get your crown or bridge back from the lab.  A new process called Cerec allows the dentist to make the crown or bridge right in their office with a wait time for the patient of an hour or two.  Along with all of these advancements comes a huge capital outlay for the dental office.  The Cerec system alone has an initial investment of almost $100,000.00. 

So my friends, when you go to the dentist and you’re out quickly just remember that we are in the 21st century now.  Technology has touched every part of our lives.  Dentistry is much faster and far less frightening.  Technology now allows you to visit the dentist, get in, get out and get on with your day.  It does however, come with a price and the cost of time has basically been replaced with the cost of the new equipment.  In the long run the patient is still the winner.  You are not paying any more than you have in the past (inflation taken into account) but you are getting higher quality dentistry at a much quicker pace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Truth: Did You Know That You Can Microwave Your Dentures?

Whenever I'm scanning the internet for interesting and unusual blog material, it seems I never come up empty handed! I found an informative article about using the microwave to clean dentures. Yes, apparently it can be done, and it is said to be much more effective at removing bacteria when used along with a denture cleaner than with just the cleaner alone.
Here is the link to the article. It explains the effectiveness and gives some handy instructions to boot!
**Note: Before you try this you MUST make sure your dentures have no metal parts!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Your Dentist Said They Take Your Dental Plan... But Are They Authorized To?

We run into this a lot here at Savon Dental Plan. A valued member will call in and talk to us about their dentist only to hear the bad news from us that the dentist that they are going to is not credentialed with our office. We get the same response each time.. "Our dentist said that they accept your plan." That may be the case. Most dental offices will agree to honor the plan in order to retain you as a member, but still, that does not mean that they are a credentialed provider for the plan.

The reasons that you want to make sure that the dentist or specialist you are going to are credentialed with your coverage plan are:

  1. They will have the most up to date fee schedule.
  2. They will be familiar with plan and know what discounts are supposed to be given
  3. They will know what is covered and you will not be mis-informed
  4. They will be able to verify your coverage via roster or phone call
  5. If you as a member has a problem with the pricing discount, the plan will be able intervene and help you.

I can not stress this enough. Going to a dentist that is not credentialed with your plan puts you at financial risk! That dentist is under no obligation to give you the discounts or may be charging you off of an out-dated fee schedule. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, make sure that whatever dentist you are seeing is authorized BY THE PLAN to take the plan that you have. 

To see a current list of Savon Dentists, Click Here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good And Bad Food For Your Teeth

Eating the right foods just might be the key to long lasting healthy teeth and gums!

Good Foods-
  • Fiber rich fruits and vegetables
  • Milk, yogurt, and dairy products
  • Green and black tea
  • Foods with fluoride
Bad Foods-
  • Sticky candy and sweets
  • Starchy foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Anything that will dry the mouth
Remember to keep up with your oral hygiene, brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and exams!

Friday, December 12, 2014

New Study: Drinking Coffee May Reduce Your Risk Of Oral Cancer

Although this idea is still being researched and is yet to be confirmed, the study is appearing to be promising. 

A brief on oral cancer:

People who use tobacco or alcohol are naturally at a higher risk of developing oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  People who have HPV (human papillomavirus) are also at a high risk as recent studies have shown. Oral cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages due to the fact that the symptoms can easily be mistaken as something else.  Common symptoms include mouth sores that don't seem to heal, or pain that will not go away.

Where coffee comes in:

There have been many studies over the years linking coffee to a reduced risk of mouth cancer.  The study which brings us here today actually began in 1982.  Nearly 1 million people took part, submitting their health and lifestyle information, including their tea and coffee intake.  When the study began, all participants were cancer free.  After nearly 30 years of monitoring and follow up, the results of the study were astonishing.  Out of the near million people who participated, 868 people died from oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  When the relation to these deaths with coffee and tea consumption was analyzed, it was found that participants who reported drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% reduced risk of death from oral cancer than those who reported drinking less or only having an occasional cup.  Gender, alcohol and tobacco were not a factor.  The link to decaffeinated coffee was insignificant and the link to tea drinkers was non-existent.

What that means now:

While we would all love to believe that coffee is the cure for oral cancer, unfortunately, more research needs to be done.  There are many factors that would need to be considered before they can determine coffee as a guaranteed treatment.  There are also many other types of cancers, this study only focused on one.  So, for now, myself and my fellow coffee drinkers can simply feel a little bit better about our consumption.  As more research and studies unfold, however, I imagine we can expect to see a breakthrough on this idea soon.

Until then, Cheers to coffee!

Information obtained from various online sources.

Posted by Moobiedoo 2013

Thursday, December 11, 2014

When It Comes To Dentistry… The Good Old Days Weren’t That Good.

Have you ever seen a 62 year old man sit in a waiting room trembling because he was at the dentist office?  You might think that he was afraid of the dentist but in reality he has a phobia about needles.

Being a child of the 60’s (9 years old at that time) going to the dentist was the worst thing one could ever imagine experiencing.  For me personally, it was the most traumatizing event in my life, so much to the point that 51 years later I’m still paying the price.

Let’s look at dentistry in the “good old days”

First the chairs were really hard and uncomfortable and they had straps… yes straps attached to them.  If you had a problem sitting still or you were nervous, no problem, you got strapped into the chair to the point that you couldn’t move at all and in some case that included you head.

Next the dentist walked in with what looked like a foot long needle.  There was no topical antiseptic back then so he just pulled your mouth open and shoved that needle in.  The worst shots of all we in the front of your mouth under your nose (it felt like the needle was going to come out your eyeball) and in the roof of your mouth (it felt like he was trying to shove a golf ball up your nose).  If you survived that and became numb, he went to work on you.  The first thing he told you was not to swallow.  Then he’d start drilling with the assistant spraying water in your mouth to keep the drill from overheating.  Because you were told not to swallow, you felt like you were drowning.  After what seemed like a year of drilling and spraying, they put this thing that looked like a toilet bowl in front of you and told you to spit.  Then they gave you a cup of water and told you to rinse and spit.  While you’re doing all this rinsing and spitting, you’re watching the pieces of your teeth falling out along with what seemed like a gallon of blood.  The two words that struck fear in the heart of men, women and children everywhere back then were “Root Canal”.  That procedure was torture, straight out of the inquisition period.

As Far as restoring your teeth, you usually had somewhere around 3 choices:  Stainless Steel Crowns, huge fillings or extractions and flippers (usually 1 or 2 teeth denture).  As if it wasn’t bad enough that half my friends had steel crowns across the front of their mouth, I really felt sorry for the ones that wore braces.  Oh yeah remember, the railroad tracks so big and bulky and the external headgear that they had to wear all day.  Remember the old transistor radios and how they could actually make the sound come out of their mouths.  Yes my friends, those were the good old days of dentistry and me personally, I say good riddance to them.

With all my childhood experiences, I swore that I would only go to the dentist when I hurt more than they could hurt me.  For the better part of my life I’ve kept that vow and because of that I don’t have the smile that I would like to have.  I’ve had a cavity on the back of my front tooth for years but wouldn’t go to the dentist because it didn’t hurt.  It finally started bothering me so I went.  They took some x-rays and put me on an antibiotic with a follow up appointment.  The tooth stopped hurting so I rescheduled the appointment.  The day came for my new appointment and even though I wasn’t in pain, I took the plunge and went.  I was like a kid again, trembling, nervous, upset stomach, the whole bit.  I told the dentist of my fears and he just smiled and said “relax, I won’t hurt you”.  Yeah, I’ve heard that before.

Long story short, after 3 ½ hours, I walked out of the office having had an extraction and a 4 unit bridge done.  I took the shot under my nose and through the roof of my mouth and I never felt a thing.  The advances in dentistry have brought this profession into the 21st century.  Now we have strong topical antiseptics, products to freeze places before the shot, suction so you don’t feel like you’re drowning, oral cameras, digital x-rays and the list goes on and on.  Going to the dentist is still not my favorite thing, but I have made a new vow to continue to go and practice the good oral hygiene that I preach to everyone.  Although there are excellent dentists everywhere, I want to personally thank Dr. Gary Core of Apple Dentistry in Phoenix, Arizona for his caring, understanding and helping me let go of a lifelong phobia.  With that I say, “Goodbye to the good old days of dentistry and welcome to the new and vastly improved days”.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Good Dental Coverage is Essential

Working in the dental industry, I couldn't help but notice the downtrend caused by the great recession with respect to dental insurance, dental plans and even dental appointments.  While dental health (understandably) was not on everyone's mind at the time, with the introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the current instability of the the economy it is more important than ever to obtain good dental coverage if you can. Keep in mind that many insurance companies do not cover dental.  Many offer the coverage but it is so limited that it may as well be non-existent. Unfortunately, prices for dental procedures have not gone down to match the economy either, so it's as important as ever to make sure that your family is covered in the event that treatment is needed! 

Tip: A good dental plan is an excellent way to help keep the cost of dentistry down, and in most cases can be used as a supplement to dental insurance. If you are insured, it's a safe bet that your dental insurance plan has limitations.  A good dental plan doesn't.  Take a minute and do some research on Dental Plans vs. Dental Insurance.  You might be surprised to learn that a dental plan has much more to offer!  

The following site is a good place to start!

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Benefits Of Straight Teeth!

  1. Better Brushing - Overlapping teeth can trap food and straight teeth allow easier brushing/flossing.
  2. Clear Speech - Crooked teeth can cause many speech impediments.
  3. Easier Eating - Crooked, crowded teeth compromise chewing.
  4. Less accident - prone teeth - Protruding teeth are more prone to breaking also mouthgaurds may not fit correctly.
  5. Fewer headaches - Uneven wear puts pressure on the jaw resulting in chronic headaches.
  6. Improved gum health - Lower risk of gum disease.
  7. Better overall health - Tooth decay and gum disease is linked to heart disease and high blood sugar.
  8. Affordable dental care - Few issues mean few expensive treatments.
  9. Lower risk of soft tissue injury's - Cuts sores and infections can result from crooked teeth pushing against soft tissues in the mouth.
  10. Self-Esteem - Confidence in any situation!

If you are interested in getting straight teeth contact an orthodontist!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

How to nurse a weekend toothache

So it's the weekend and everyone is busy.. And where are you? At home with a toothache, wishing Monday would hurry up and arrive so you can get to a dentist. Here's a few tips on how to make it throughout that painful weekend with out suffering completely:

- Try rinsing your mouth out first. Take a mouthful of room-temperature water and rinse vigorously. Many times, a painful toothache can caused simply by trapped food.

-If that doesn't work, try flossing GENTLY. This should get rid of the problem, unless your problem is something other than just stuck food.

-Numb the pain- Take a shot of whiskey (do not swallow it), and hold it in your mouth right over the painful tooth. Your gums will absorb the alcohol and it will numb the pain.

-Rinse with salt water- Make sure the water is room temperature. This is very soothing and cleansing and will help keep it from getting any worse.

-Massage your hand- No, I'm not kidding. Rubbing an ice-cube in the V-shape between your index finger and your thumb for 5-7 minutes can reduce the pain by 50%.

-Put a little clove oil on it- You can purchase this over the counter. Simply drop a little right on the tooth.

-Try not to bite- This is a no-brainer. Obviously, if you have a toothache, try not to bite on that side whatsoever.

-Try icing it up- This may not work if you have sensitivity to cold. If you don't, you might try sucking on an ice cube- on or near that tooth. If sucking on an ice-cube isn't going to work, try puting an icepack on your cheek in 15 minute intervals.

-Shut your mouth- If you are having sensitivity to cold, breathing through your mouth can cause even more pain. Try breathing through your nose.

-Take Aspirin- And no, don't put it directly on your tooth or gum, this can cause damage. Actually take and swallow an aspirin every 4-6 hours.

-Keep it cool- Try to avoid getting to warm or hot. And definitely avoid placing heat on the area. Heat draws infection to the surface, making it worse and more painful.

This information is not intended to replace regular, professional dental care. Do-it-yourself dentistry is never a good idea. These tips are to GET YOU BY until you can see a dental professional. This information was gathered from various online sources.

Repost by MoobiDoo April 14, 2009

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fun Facts About The Mouth!

* People whose mouth has a narrow roof are more likely to snore!
* 85% of the population can curl their tongue!
* Expect to gain 256 colonies of bacteria from kissing!
* If your mouth was completely dry, you would not be able to distinguish the taste of anything!
* Taste is the weakest of the senses!
* Which ever hand you use to write is the side you will chew your food!
* Humans have unique tongue prints just like the fingertips!
* The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body!
* There are about 9,000 taste buds on the surface of the tongue!
* Humans produce about 37,854 liters of saliva in a lifetime!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dental Funnies

A little Dental humor to brighten your day.  

Enjoy, and Keep Smiling!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why Does Your Dentist Take X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are a important part of dental treatment because they can detect damage to the teeth and gums that are not visible during a routine visual exam.

Some of the most common reason for x-rays are listed below:

  • Looking for decay between the teeth - sometimes decay is not visible to the naked eye.
  • Checking for bone loss associated with gum disease - Gum disease can cause bone loss and the x-ray can show how advanced it is.
  • Checking for decay under fillings - Sometime decay under the fillings can occur and the only way to detect this is by x-rays.
  • Looking for infection at the tip of the root - Infections can appear at the bottom of the teeth where the bone is, which x-rays are needed to confirm.
  • Examine before procedures - Dentist need a full view of the area they will be working on, whether it is braces, fillings and tooth extractions.

So next time you get upset about having another set of x-rays taken, remember this is for your own oral health!

Would you rather take the x-rays and see potential problems or be blindsided?

Dental Myths - Uncovered

How many of these have you heard of?

Myth: Brushing more than once a day can harm tooth enamel.
  • Well, sort of. Brushing multiple times a day with anything other than a soft toothbrush could possibly harm your enamel. That's why most dentists recommend you use a soft bristle toothbrush, and brush preferably after each meal.
Myth: There's no need to take a young child to the dentist because their baby teeth will fall out anyway.
  • As soon as your child develops a tooth, it's time to pay attention. Neglecting your child's baby teeth can cause major and even painful problems for them presently, as well as possibly causing major issues for them once the permanent teeth come in. It is never too early to teach your children about the importance of proper oral hygiene.
Myth: Chewing sugarless gum is the same as brushing.
  • Nothing replaces actual brushing (with a toothbrush) and flossing. Chewing sugarless gum in between meals can help clean the surface of your teeth and may also freshen your breath, however, it does not remove plaque and food that may be stuck in between your teeth. Also, it does not effectively remove plaque and build-up around the gum line which is what a toothbrush and floss are designed to do.
Myth: Women should avoid the dentist altogether while pregnant.
  • Due to the amount of vitamins and nutrients the baby needs, pregnant women often find that they develop more dental problems during this delicate period. It is for this reason that regular dental visits should continue and are, if anything, more important during pregnancy. Of course, there are certain dental procedures that pregnant women should avoid, such as x-rays and dental surgery, but your dentist will advise you properly and this should be no reason to skip out on your dental care.
Myth: I can't see any problems with my teeth, so I don't need to go to the dentist.
  • Not all dental problems are visible. You could have a cavity the size of Texas and never see it because it could be on the back side of a molar or in between two teeth. Too many people go by the notion that "if I can't see it or feel it, it's not there." As with many health related issues, you don't always know that there's a problem until it's too late. If you could physically see every problem in your mouth, what would be the purpose of dental x-rays?
These are just a few myths I found and did a little research on, but all comments or additions are welcome!