Monday, October 31, 2016

Wisdom Teeth Are Very Tricky

I recently had a member call and ask me if they were required to go to a specialist to get their wisdom teeth removed. As usual my first question to them was "have you seen your regular dentist and asked them about it". They told me that they had not yet visited the regular dentist but wanted to save money on 2 visits if they were referred to a specialist.

To answer the base question, the answer is NO. Some general dentist can and will pull your wisdom teeth, if they are comfortable and equipped to do so. My advise was, and always has been, to let your general dentist make that call. Wisdom teeth are more tricky than wise. They can cause you problems or pain especially if they are coming in crooked. In some cases they grow in at an awkward angle and push on your back molars, causing pain and ultimately effecting the healthy growth of the other teeth. In most cases such as that, a specialist would likely be involved. However, if the wisdom teeth are growing in straight and with no issues, then it is possible that your general dentist, if equipped and comfortable with doing so, would be able to extract the wisdom teeth for you.

How the wisdom teeth are growing in can easily be identified through x-rays. If regular check-up and x-rays are taken then the chances of early diagnosis of how the growth pattern of the wisdom teeth is increased.

So in short, (and this applies to any procedure), always check with your general dentist first! Let them make the call to refer you to specialist or not. This, in the long run, can save you a lot of money, time and effort.

If you are a member of our dental plan, please make sure that the specialist that you are visiting is indeed in our network of specialists.

3D Cone Beam X-Rays

The advancement in dental technology never ceases to amaze me. I recently visited a dental center and took a tour of their office. They were equipped with the 3D Cone Beam digital X-ray machine. Being one of rare occasions that my tour of center was given by the dentist, I took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions as to how it worked. He was kind of enough to take the time to do a quick case study with me and what I saw was pretty amazing.

The study was of a patient who had a root canal but was still experiencing pain in the area of the tooth. Looking at the normal bite wing x-ray and comparing it to a panoramic x-ray, a problem was not identifiable as to what would case the pain. Everything looked good with the root canal and nothing appeared to wrong. Then he pulled up the 3D Cone Beam X-ray of the case study patient. There, he was able to zoom in and examine all sides of the tooth and get an excellent digital view of the area. After carefully studying it, he was able to determine that pain was not due to anything dental related, rather it pulmonary related. The case study patient would then referred to a pulmonologist for further evaluation.

This was amazing! The technology that allowed him with just a click of a button to view the tooth from all angles and move the image around as needed was a key part in his diagnosis. Before, to do something like that he would have had to have taken multiple bite wing X-rays from a different angles and compare them to one another closely to find the problem. By using the 3D Cone Beam, the case study patient was only subject to 1 x-ray and the dentist was able to get everything he needed to correctly identify the problem.

3D Cone Beam X-rays are not necessary in every dental procedure and most of the time the patient will be in a situation where simple bite wing X-rays or panoramic X-rays (full mouth) will be sufficient. However, in a case where one is necessary or useful, it is a powerful diagnostic tool for a dentist to identify a particular problem that might have been harder to identify in the past.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Some Halloween Advice: Blackout Make-up For Teeth


Halloween is just around the corner..a few days away, in fact, so I thought I would post this as a reminder for anyone planning to use a Liquid Black-Out product on your teeth as part of your Halloween costume.  Some of the products on the market today are not intended for use on teeth that are not natural. If you have dentures, crowns or veneers or even composite fillings, it could stain your teeth permanently! So, do your homework before you purchase a black-out product and if you should wind up after the holiday with a permanently gray-stained tooth, contact your dental provider right away to get advice on how to remove it.
Have a safe and fun-filled Halloween evening! 
And as always, keep smiling!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Best Way To Pull Loose Baby Teeth

Do you remember the excitement of having a tooth pulled as a child? Maybe your were excited because the tooth fairy was going to come or you could stick your straw through the hole when you drink.

When a child starts loosing their baby teeth, it's a sign they are growing up. There are many unique ways to pull baby teeth, such as; sting tied to a door knob, string tied to remote controlled car and string tied to a bullet of a Nerf gun.

Although these ways are fun, its advised not to pull your child's teeth with these types of props. 

According to the Chicago Dental Society you should these proper steps below.
  • Numb the tooth -  Use a topical anesthetic such as Orajel to numb the area. 
  • Be careful with tools - Avoid using props. Instead use a small piece of gauze and your fingers to pull the tooth.
  • Use a distraction - Talk to the child about their day. Another good distraction is counting. Count to "three" and pull on "two" so the tooth is out before they even know it.
Once you have removed the tooth, have your child gargle with warm salt water to help stop the bleeding. When its time to brush their teeth tell them brush that area softly to avoid irritating it. 
 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dental Implant Advantages

Advantages of dental implants:

Aesthetics:
  • Feels and looks like your natural teeth.
  • Helps preserve the jaw bone.
  • Prevents a sunken-in appearance.
Comfort:
  • They are permanent so you wont feel any movement.
  • You can eat, speak and smile normally.
  • Custom made for your mouth.
Strength:
  • Rooted into the jaw bone, making them strong and stable.
  • Best choice for replacing missing teeth because they are stable.
Longevity:
  • If taken care of properly, they can last a lifetime.
  • May need occasional adjustments.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Dental Provider in Bullhead City

As we continue to expand Savon Dental Plan into the Western Arizona area, we are pleased to announce that we now have another dental provider in Bullhead City. Jennings, Larson & Larson Family Dental is the largest dental center in the Tri-State Area and is family owned. Be sure to check them out at http://www.greatsmiling.com/

A Few Tips for Better Dental Health in Dogs

The Breath Test
Sniff your dog’s breath. If it smells bad and is accompanied by a loss of appetite, vomiting or excessive urinating, might be a good idea to take your dog to the vet.

Check Under Lips
Check your dog’s gums often looking to make sure they are pink, not white or red. His teeth should be clean, without any brownish tartar.

Signs of Oral Disease
Bad breath
Excessive drooling
Inflamed gums
Tumors in the gums
Cysts under the tongue
Loose teeth

Chew Toys
They not only satisfy your dog’s desire to chomp, they also help make his teeth strong. They can help massage his gums and keep soft tartar off his teeth.

Are Expensive Electric Toothbrushes Always The Best Option?

I'm thinking the answer is no.  In this economy, who wants to pay upwards of $80 for a toothbrush that essentially does the brushing for you, not to mention the replacement toothbrush heads, which cost an additional $35 for 3 or 4 of them.  That is not to say that it isn't nice to have a product that helps you do the work; I personally buy the battery powered toothbrushes at a cost of about $6.99.  Each one lasts approximately 3 months, which is the typical length of time the dentists recommend for a toothbrush before you change it out, and that makes the total cost per year about $28 and my teeth feel just as clean as with the more expensive toothbrush (you know, the one you have to charge once a week to keep it going) without the expense.
This is just a personal rant....others may feel differently, but until someone proves to me that an expensive toothbrush is actually better, I'm going with the cheaper option!

Feel free to weigh in on this....doctors and consumers! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

All About Dental Sealants

What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin, white, plastic coating used on the surfaces of your teeth (molars specifically) to help prevent tooth decay.  The procedure is painless and only takes a few minutes.  
How do they work?
Just how it sounds!  The sealant is applied to the molar surface which allows a light, but powerful protective coating to seal in the tiny cracks and crevices that could potentially trap food and bacteria, which could lead to tooth decay and other long-term problems.
When should I consider getting  them?
Most dentists suggest applying sealants as an extra measure in preventive care early on as your adult teeth grow in.  Because most tooth decay in teens and children are found in this area, the earlier you get them, the better.
Do all teeth need sealants?
No, just molars.  Molars are far more vulnerable to tooth decay because they are designed for chewing.  The rest of your teeth are shaped and designed for their specific purpose and sealants just simply aren’t needed.
How long do they last?
The average life of a sealant is anywhere between 5-10 years.  Over time, they can wear down or chip, at which point, they should be reapplied.
Does this mean I won’t get cavities at all?
Definitely not.   While they do offer a strong layer of protection, they are not designed to replace your daily dental maintenance.  They protect, they do not prevent.  Maintaining healthy dental habits will better allow the sealant to do what it is supposed to.
Does my regular dentist do them?
Yes, a general dentist should be able to do it, or the hygienist.  A specialist is not necessary.
Are they covered by insurance?
Because it is considered a preventive procedure, most insurances and dental plans cover sealants at 100%.  Obviously this will vary, so be sure to check with your provider beforehand. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Questions From Our Members - Why Did My Dentist Ask About My Sleeping Habits?

Questions From Our Members

D. Harberstone of Miami, Flordia asks: 

“During a recent dental exam the dentist asked me about my sleep habits, (how many times a night do I wake up).  I didn't question her about her question but since I'm not in any pain, why do you think she would care about how well I sleep?” 

Savon’s Answer

During a dental exam the dentist looks for many different indicators of oral and physical health.  If your dentist notices certain things like worn tooth surfaces, a small jaw, tongue with scalloped edges or redness in the throat, it could conceivably trigger a question about your sleep habits.

What the dentist is looking for with a question about your sleep habits is a condition known as “Obstructive Sleep Apnea1”.  The condition causes repeated breathing interruptions throughout the night; the pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 or more times per hour.

The first sign of sleep apnea is often bruxism (tooth grinding).  If you grind your teeth while you are sleeping, your jaw tenses up and it sends a message to your brain to wake you up and take a breath.

Bruxism is just one sign the dentist sees.  The small jaw, tongue with scalloped edges or redness of the throat may indicate that you snore which is another symptom of sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Although dentists are trained in the symptoms and treatments of sleep apnea, only a medical doctor can make an official diagnosis.

1.  http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/link-sleep-apnea-dentist#1



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