Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dental Coverage and Dental Facilty, Two Very Different Things

In my experience in the dental coverage industry, I have come to realize that there is a common misconception that the dental center works for or is owned by the dental coverage company. With the changes in the dental coverage industry and the development of in-house plans by the dental centers or corporations that have a dental coverage and dental centers, I can see where the confusion can come in to play. However, in most cases this is not the case.

Dental centers are individual practices or corporate practices. Which means that they are either owned by the dentist or a group that owns the center and hires the dentist.

Dental coverage companies are separate companies such as an insurance company or dental plan that offers discounts on dental services at the dental center.

The connection between the two comes in the form of an agreement between the two entities. When it comes to dental insurance, the dentist agrees to accept the insurance at their office, treat patients that come in, collect the co-pay and bill the insurance company for the remainder. In return, the insurance company will send the dental center new patients and pay the remaining balance.

When it comes to dental plans, the dentist agrees to be a provider on the plan, treat patients and charge the pre-negotiated prices according to the fee schedule. In return, the dental plan becomes a marketing source for the dental center and send them new patients.

Either way, the dental coverage company does act as a liason between the patient and the dental center should the need arise for problem solving.

The Most Common Dental Procedures

People who go to the dentist regularly are probably familiar with the procedures on this list.  It differs now from what used to be the standard...say, 20 years ago.  But if you are one who hasn't been to the dentist in 20 years, well, you may be surprised by what you see listed here.  I have actually come across people who didn't know that some of these procedures existed!  (Let's not even mention the cost.)
Here goes:

1. Topping the list, which is as it should be, Cleanings. Children and adults visit the dentist more for cleanings and regular maintenance than any other reason.

2. Fillings and repairs to cracked or chipped teeth.  Everyone gets cavities -  well, eventually, so it stands to reason that this would be near the top of the list.

3. Root Canals.  This really is a common procedure but not one you would expect (unless you've let a cavity go for many years without a visit to the dentist)...I can't tell you how many people neglect their teeth and are shocked when they learn they need a root canal!

4. Crowns. Typically, these follow a root canal or in some instances, they will be used to strengthen a tooth that is weakened by fillings or chips.  Crowns have come a long way in the industry!  You can now have a crown made and placed in your mouth on the same day.  The process used to take weeks.!
There are also a variety of different types of crowns available these days as well.

4. Extractions.  Dentist's in today's world would much prefer to save a tooth than to extract it.  It is really a last resort type of thing.  They will make every effort (with all the technology we now have) to restore a tooth unless there is absolutely no hope for it.

5. Bridges.  These are done to fill gaps in your teeth where extractions or loss of teeth might have occured. They are anchored to existing teeth and can be done cosmetically to match color and size. When done right you cannot even tell that they aren't your own teeth!

6. Implants.  One of the newer items to the list of common procedures!  This is by far the best, but also most expensive way to replace a missing tooth.  Implants have been around for years but the procedure has been perfected over time and is now very widely used in the dental industry.  As with bridges and crowns, this type of restoration is also used in a cosmetic way, to do full mouth restorations.

7.  Bleaching/Whitening.  Many people are all about the look!  This is a procedure that can be done in the dental office with varying types of products, or it can be done at home.

Keep Smiling!  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Get To Know The Parts Of Your Teeth

Our teeth have play important roles; they allow us to chew our food and provide the shape to our mouth and face! With that being said, have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? Now you will!

Tooth Enamel - This is a protective barrier that surrounds the visible part of the tooth. It's made up of strong minerals, such as calcium phosphate. *Fun Fact: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body!

Dentin - This is found under the tooth enamel and cementum. Dentin is a bone like substance and makes up majority of the tooth structure.

Cementum - This is the coating that surrounds the roots of the teeth. Its similar to enamel but softer. Cementum assists with root stability by attaching to the fibers that anchor the tooth to the jawbone.

Roots - These are anchored into the jawbone allowing us to chew and bite our food.

Root and pulp canals - Located in the tooth is a hollow chamber called the root or pulp canal. This is the part of the tooth that is extremely sensitive and is responsible for providing blood flow and nutrients that are necessary to keeping the tooth alive. When this part of the tooth is damaged a root canal is necessary!

Image result for tooth anatomy

Friday, August 25, 2017

Question From Our Member - Difference Between A Canker Sore And A Cold Sore?

Questions From Our Members

E. Donaldson of Portland, Oregon asks: 

“What is the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore?”

Savon’s Answer

Let me preface this answer by saying that this is not medical advice and I am not a doctor.

1Cold Sores;  also called fever blisters are a common viral infection.  They are tiny, fluid-filled blisters on and around your lips.  These blisters are often grouped together in patches.  After the blisters break, a crust forms over the resulting sore.  Cold sores usually heal in two to four weeks without leaving a scar.

Cold sores spread from person to person by close contact, such as kissing.  They're caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) closely related to the one that causes genital herpes (HSV-2).  Both of these viruses can affect your mouth or genitals and can be spread by oral sex.  Cold sores are contagious even if you don't see the sores.

There's no cure for HSV infection, and the blisters may return.  Antiviral medications can help cold sores heal more quickly and may reduce how often they return.

2Canker Sores;  also called aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums.  Unlike cold sores, canker sores don't occur on the surface of your lips and they aren't contagious.  They can be painful, however, and can make eating and talking difficult.

Most canker sores go away on their own in a week or two.  Check with your doctor or dentist if you have unusually large or painful canker sores or canker sores that don't seem to heal.

1Where we got our information on Cold Sores   2Where we got our information on Canker Sores

Original post can be found on our September 2017 Newsletter!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nitrous Oxide - Things You Never Knew!

I thought it might be fun to repost this, as a member of our Dental Plan called a few days ago looking for a doctor who would use Nitrous Oxide.  She said there don't seem to be many anymore (although there really are) and did I know that "overseas this stuff is used as a recreational drug?" I laughed and said that I DO and I actually blogged about it a couple of years ago.  So, here is that blog in it's entirety for you all to enjoy.  I found it informative and full of humor, and definitely worth posting again.
At some point, you may have been treated to a dose of Nitrous Oxide at the dentists office; you know, the gas that makes you loopy, leaves you feeling kind of drunk in the dentist chair so that you don't care what is happening?  This is a drug with many names and as it turns out, many uses.  Here are some fun (and some serious) facts about the drug we've come to know as laughing gas!
  • It is also known as: Happy Gas, NOS, N2O, Hippy Crack, Sweet Air and Inhalation Sedation!
  • It is in high demand in many circles in Europe as a recreational drug.  (Second only to marijuana, in fact.)  
  • It is both an Anesthetic and an Analgesic.  
  • It is used in Motor Racing to enhance engine capability.
  • It is used in Rocket Launching as a propellant.
  • It is a Greenhouse Gas, making it a major Air Pollutant.
Who knew?  Now, when you visit the dentist next you can give the dental assistant a lesson on the versatility of Nitrous Oxide!  Between giggles, that is.

Keep Smiling!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Myths About Caviities

Cavities are no fun at all. No joke about that! However, there are a lot of myths out there about cavities. Let's see if we can play myth busters on a few of them.

MYTH: Only Sugar Can Cause Cavities:
FALSE:  Sorry mothers, I hate to take away your reason for you kid to have that candy car. Yes, sugar does cause cavities, but that is not the only culprit. If you want your kiddo to stay cavity free the you better steer them clear of bread and pasta too. The have starch, which is another cavity culprit.

MYTH: Extra Brushing Will Heal or Slow Down The Progression Of A Cavity
FALSE: Tooth enamel does not grow back. When you have a cavity, you need to get it filled. If you don't you will eventually need a root canal and/or a crown. Brushing will not heal it or slow it down. Now, on the positive side, brushing will reduce the risk of obtaining more cavities and it will also keep the cavity clean and reduce the risk of infection.

MYTH: If I Have A Cavity, I Would Feel It
FALSE: Well, mostly false. If you feel the cavity and are experiencing pain, then you are probably dealing with a serious cavity that is much more advanced. When a cavity is starting chance are really good that you will not be able to feel it. Which is all more the reason why regular dental checkups are so important.

So here are some we have busted. I am sure there are many more. Do you have any that you would like to know about? Comment on this blog and we will try to find out if it is Myth or Fact!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Got A Cavity? Get It Fixed Sooner Rather Than Later

I was in a networking meeting a couple weeks ago and giving the presentation was a hygienist from one the local dental centers who also a provider on the plan. He showed a very through presentation on the progression of a cavity.

A small cavity, when caught and fixed is not really a big deal. A simple filling and you are good to go. Relatively in expensive and easy to do. However, if that cavity is ignored, then it gets worse and that simple filling takes more time to fill, which usually means more drilling into your tooth. If that cavity is ignored even longer, then you are at risk of cracking a breaking the tooth as soon as you eat something that is hard and need a crown.

Eventually, an ignored cavity will get big to be able to fill and get down to the root. That's when you are in a lot pain, at risk for abscess or infection and will most likely need that dreaded root canal and a crown. We ALL know how expensive that can be.

Don't freak out just because you have a cavity. It is fixable as long as you do it soon. If you procrastinate then it will no only get worse. Timing is everything! Get your cavities fixed sooner rather than later!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

DYI Dental Dog Treats

Dental health is not only important for humans, its also important for our fur babies!

Are you tired of paying for those expensive dental treats from the store? Why not make your own?

Dental Treats for Dogs:

  • 3/12 Cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 tbls Food grade activated charcoal
  • 1/2 Cup of packed chopped parsley (or 1/4 cup dried)
  • 1/2 Cup packed chopped mint leaves (or 1/4 cup dried)
  • 1 Cup of chicken broth or water
  • 4 tbls coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Liquid Chlorophyll
  • 1 Egg
If you cannot find activated charcoal and liquid chlorophyll, or if you do not feel comfortable feeding these to your dog, you can omit these from the recipe without any issue.
Directions:Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl mix together brown rice flour and activated charcoal and set aside.  Using a food processor, mix together the parsley, mint leaves, chicken broth, coconut oil and liquid chlorophyll.  This does not need to be super fine, so a few spins will do the trick.
Now, add the egg to the dry mixture, and then slowly add the wet ingredients to the mixture while stirring slowly.  Mix the dough until it starts to ball up.  Your dough should be fairly dry to the touch, and not sticky when it's done.
Flour your work surface and kneed the dough a bit.  Then roll it out into 3/8 inch thickness (you can go thinner if you like).  Cut out your shapes and place them onto your cookie sheet.
Bake these treats 30 minutes, then flip them and bake for an additional 30 minutes.  After that, turn you oven off and let the treats sit inside.  This will help completely dry them out and give them that extra crunch we are looking for.  Once your oven is cooled, you can pull out the treats!
*There are many different  recipes online, I just selected one!
Dental Treats for Cats:
Unfortunately I was unable to find any homemade recipes for cat dental treats but according to Veterinary Oral Health Council the best cat treats for dental are: Feline Greenies - Feline Dental Treats and Purina Pro Plan Dental Crunch Cat Snacks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dental Life Hacks!

  • Use inexpensive foam hair rollers to help improve your grip on small your toothbrush!
  • Use clothes pins to prevent your toothbrush from touching dirty counters while travelling!
  • Need a toothbrush squeezer?  Use a large binder clip or a bobby pin!
  • Use a utensil holder to organize toothbrushes in a drawer!
  • Remove crayon from a wall using toothpaste!
  • Use a new toothbrush to remove the cornsilk from a ear of corn!
  • Toothpaste can be used to remove odors from hands, dishes, baby bottles and other items!
  • Use dental floss to cut cakes, cheese and other soft solid foods!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Make Your Dental Health a Priority!

If keeping up with your dental needs is a priority for you, or even if it is a new personal goal, stick with it!! In case you haven't noticed, even as the economy is improving,  the price of dentistry isn't getting any cheaper. If you have dental insurance or a dental plan, keep it! If you don't, now is the time to get it. It can help keep the rising cost of dental care down. It's more important than ever to have some type of coverage. Note: Dental plans are generally less expensive than insurance and tend to discount more procedures and products than traditional insurance. Below is a link to Savon Dental Plan. Let the facts speak for themselves! It's a very informative site and it doesn't cost you anything to learn!

How Can A Dentist Tell If You Have Health Problems?

Have you heard the saying the mouth is the window into ones overall health? That's right, your mouth is a tattletale ;)

When you get your dental examination the dentist isn't only looking at your teeth and gums. During dental examinations, dentists have been known to find evidence of many other problems such as heart or liver disease, diabetes, arthritis, HIV and many more.

So how can a dentist tell if you have underlying health problems?

  • Inflamed Gums and Loose Teeth - This can be a sign of heart disease. If you suffer from periodontists (gum disease) the bacteria in the gums can travel to the heart and contribute to coronary artery disease.  The bacteria could also increase the formation of clots from further plaques build up in the arteries that interferes with blood flow to the heart. 
  • Gum Disease, Bleeding Gums and Loose Teeth - These are all signs of diabetes. Diabetics have a slower time healing so any infection to the gums can contribute to heart disease or a stroke. 
  • Bleeding Gums, Dry mouth and Tooth Erosion - Dentist can spot a eating disorder with just one look at the mouth. The stomach acid from vomiting wears away the tooth enamel making teeth super sensitive. 
  • Rampant Caries, Dry Mouth and Lesions - These are signs of HIV. If not treated this can lead to infection of the soft tissue inside of the tooth (pulp) and the formation of an abscess.
Whether or not you have natural teeth or dentures, its very important to maintain good dental hygiene!