Thursday, December 31, 2020

Why Do I Have Two Different Treatment Plans?

 

Questions From Our Members

E. DeLong of Queens, New York asks: 

“Why would one dentist tell me I need a crown and another dentist tell me I only need a filling?  It seems like someone is trying to sell me something that I don´t really need.”

Savon’s Answer

Dentistry, as is general medicine is called a practice.  The reason it´s called this is because it´s and on-going learning experience, hence… “practice.” The dentist is a person. just like you and me.  The only difference is their training.  The problem with the practice of dentistry is that the doctors practice what they have been taught in dental school.

The difference in the diagnosis from one dentist to another most likely can be attributed to what dental school they studied at.  East coast and west coast dental schools tend to teach a more aggressive style of diagnosing where midwest, southwest and southern dental schools teach a more conservative style.

I have found, for the most part, that the dentist has virtually no knowledge of your finances, insurance or dental plan.  They are simply telling you what they think you need and they leave the finances up to the office manager or treatment manager.

If you feel that you have been over diagnosed don´t hesitate to ask questions.  After all, it´s your mouth and your money.

Original Post is from our January 2021 Newsletter!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

You Still Need Dental Coverage Even if You Wear Dentures!

 We hear this time and time again in our office, "I have dentures now so I will no longer need your plan". As good as that may sound to you as a denture patient, the reality of it is quite the contrary. In fact, now that you are wearing dentures there may be more of a reason to have a good dental coverage. You see, getting dentures is not the end game for going to the dentist. It is the start of a different type of dental visit. The ADA recommends that you still get your check-up every year and also be checked for oral cancer and bone loss. Denture patients run a higher risk of it.


Having no dental coverage at all can lead to very costly dental bills, even if you have dentures. If they break, do not fit properly or even when you just need that twice yearly check-up, the bill can add up quickly and and a dental insurance policy may not provide the best coverage. Dental insurance is a costly waste of money for general dental patients and even more so for denture wearers. The waiting period alone to have anything done with your dentures is bad enough, but they they may offer very limited and minimal coverage for maintenance and repairs. For example, in general, insurance companies can make you wait up to 5 years to be eligible for replacement coverage. Statistically, most problems with dentures happen in the first 2 years. Those who have had dentures for 5 years or more are less likely to have any significant problems with them.

So that's where the dental plan becomes more valuable to a denture patient. Knowing the cost of a repair, re-alignment or replacement is essential. Not having to wait for treatment is the one thing that sets a good dental plan apart from an insurance plan.  With the immediate coverage, coverage on all pre-existing conditions and significant savings, you will always have the peace of mind that you are covered.

Keep Smiling!  

Friday, December 25, 2020

Ways Your Bad Breath Could Mean Bad Health

 Yuck, what is that smell? Could it be your breath? Checking your breath may not just save you from embarrassing social moments, but it may save your life. Recurring bad breath could be a sign of underlying medical conditions.

  • Electric Nose Technology: Detects lung cancer from bad breath- This is a cheaper alternative than doing a biopsy to detect lung cancer. The "electronic nose" detects different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breaths. All you would need is a simple breath test.
  • Breath tests can detect heart failure- By taking a breath test, Researchers can use "mass spectrometry" technology to analyze the sample for molecular and chemical compound signs of heart failure.
  • Fish Breath: Kidney Failure: The fishy breath occurs when kidney failure affects the respiratory system and makes it hard to breathe. This is because the damaged kidneys can no longer filter waste products from the blood and turn it into urine.
  • Sleep Conditions may cause sour mouth- Saliva decreases during sleep, which causes a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Excess Weight- A poor diet and lack of water can play a major role in bad breath. Try drinking large amounts of water and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, this will help keep your breath fresh.

If you notice your recurring bad breath please seek medical help!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Myth or Fact: Are Raisins Bad For Your Teeth?

The Short answer:  maybe not!  

A recent study conducted by USA Department of Food and Nutrition revealed that eating raisins might actually protect against cavities. According to researchers, raisins contain phytochemicals; plant antioxidants including oleanolic acids which help to stop the growth of bacteria that causes dental caries.  

It has long been thought that because raisins are sticky and sweet that they would cause cavities.  This is not the case!  Phytochemicals can prevent the bacteria that causes cavities as well as the bacteria that causes gingivitis, helping to prevent gum disease. 

So, go ahead and snack on a box of raisins now and then!  Just be sure to brush and floss afterward.  

Keep Smiling! 


Does Oral Bone Loss Indicate Osteoporosis?

 Your teeth have been cleaned, x-rayed and examined. You're ready to schedule your next 6-month check-up and be on your way. But instead, your dentist delivers some surprising news: you may have osteoporosis.

You may think your dentist is kidding, but that's probably not the case. Signs of osteoporosis can often be seen on dental x-rays and exams. Oral health and bone health can be directly related. Your dentist can find possible signs of osteoporosis by examining your jawbone, gums and teeth.
Although your dentist may suspect the disease, you can't tell for sure from an x-ray alone. To diagnose osteoporosis, you will need to see a doctor for a bone density test.

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

An Apple A Day Won't Keep The Dentist Away!

 We all know the saying "An apple a day will keep the doctor away".

But your dentist may disagree! It's been revealed that apples are bad for your teeth, just like sweets and sugary drinks.

Truthfully, apples are a healthy choice when it comes to nutrients for your body. However, when it comes to your teeth, the amount of acid in an apple can give carbonated beverages a run for their money.

So, why are apples unhealthy for your teeth? According to a study, cross-breeding apples to come up with newer, more delicious apples has lead to a raised sugar content of 50%. The average apple contains roughly 4 teaspoons of sugar. So, between the high sugar content and the natural acid in apples, your teeth are getting a double dose of enamel erosion which can lead to tooth decay.

Maintaining a healthy mouth is very important. It's recommended you see your dentist every 6 months for regular check ups and cleanings.


Information found here.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Could Jaw Pain Be Caused By Stress And Anxiety?

 2020 has been a stressful year for everyone around the world. 

According to Tel Aviv University (TAU), located in Israel, there is has been a significant increase in orofacial and jaw pain since their first lockdown due to the novel coronavirus. 

Research results showed that women suffered from those symptoms more than men ranging in age 35-55 years old. Before the pandemic, about 17% of people had suffered from jaw-clenching during the day but that number has risen to 32% while teeth-grinding at night rose from 10% to 36%. 

If you are interested in more information about this research, you can find the article here!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Should You Disinfect Your Toothbrush?

It is that time of year again, you know, when viruses abound in the form of head colds, flu, bronchitis, stomach viruses...your kids bring it home from school, it's prevalent in the workplace, grocery stores, etc. But this year, we have a new, stronger culprit to add to the usual season of germ infestation, in the form of COVID-19.  It's everywhere that the average flu bug is; and it's meaner. 

When we or someone around us is sick, we tend to reach for that can of Lysol spray or the bottle of bleach and disinfect everything from our doorknobs to our computer keyboards and even the telephone receiver!  But....what about our toothbrushes? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to that.  Research differs on the subject.  Some healthcare providers suggest that you boil your toothbrush or rinse it in a bleach solution and then with clear water, or even replace it.  Others will tell you that there is no need because you cannot reinfect yourself with the same virus over and over as your antibodies will prevent it.  Hmmmm.....not so sure I believe that. Not anymore.  But to be clear, I am no doctor! 

So, who to believe? Personally, I trust my own instincts. To prevent illness from spreading in my household or workplace I will disinfect everything you can imagine that may have have a hint of a virus.  Now, this is a personal thing and others may not feel that way but I prefer to err on the side of caution, and my "phobia" has served me pretty well over the years!  Follow your instincts.  If you think it will help to disinfect your toothbrush then do it, if for no other reason than your own piece of mind! 

Stay Healthy and Keep Smiling! 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Is My Dentist Supposed To Charge According To The Fee Schedule?

 Questions From Our Members

E. Hearing of Dallas, Texas asks: 

“Why does the fee schedule say the price of my crown is one thing, but the doctor charged me more?  Aren´t the doctors supposed to charge according to the schedule?”

Savon’s Answer

Yes, all Savon Preferred Providers are contracted to the Savon Fee Schedule.  Sometimes, especially with crown and bridge work, dental offices bundle the crown and the lab fees into one price, which would make your crown appear higher than what the fee schedule allows.

All of our fee schedules have sub codes (which appear as a letter a,b,c, or d) next to any procedure where the crown, bridge, denture, or partial have allowable lab fees that can be charged by the dentist.

These fees vary depending on what type of restoration you are having done.  We recommend that you verify with the dental office what type of crown, bridge, denture, partial, etc.  you are having done and what is the lab charges on top of that.

If for any reason the math still doesn´t add up, do not hesitate to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance.


Original Post from our December 2020 Newsletter!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Vitamin D is Essential To Your Best Oral Health

 Vitamin D controls almost every cell in the human body, and is a very potent stimulator of the immune system as a whole. It is the only vitamin that is also a hormone! Vitamin D is essential to the absorption of Calcium, as well as many other nutrients. When the body cannot absorb these nutrients, it can impact your overall health and, just as importantly, the health of your teeth and gums. Many people are not aware that they have a deficiency...Vitamin D deficiency is easily detected, but rarely tested for on a routine basis.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency can include bone loss, (which can lead to periodontal disease), also fatigue, depression, stroke, heart disease (which has also been linked to periodontal disease) and even weight loss!

Good sources of Vitamin D are: Fish (Salmon and Tuna) Milk (fortified) Eggs, (yolk contains the vitamin) and Sunlight! 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day is recommended.

If you are over the age of 50, discuss the possibility of routine testing for Vitamin D deficiency with your doctor. It is estimated that 10,000,000 Americans over the age of 50 have osteoporosis.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sharing Toothbrushes, Toothpaste and Containers Could Spread Covid-19

 As gross as it sounds, many people share toothbrushes.  However, I would have never thought sharing toothpaste could cause any harm.

A new study, investigated hundreds of families over a 15 day period and the results are eye opening. The results showed:

  • 55% of Covid-19 positive people who shared a toothbrush passed the virus to other members of the household. 
  • 66% of people who tested positive for Covid-19 and who share a toothbrush container with family members, passed the virus on. **This has always been always been a bad idea**
  • If you share toothpaste among the family, there is a 30% chance you may spread the virus due to cross-contamination.

Important remembers:

  • Change your toothbrush ever three months!
  • If you have recovered from Covid-19 it's important to toss your toothbrush no matter how new it is.
  • Disinfect your toothbrush with antibacterial mouthwash after brushing can help kill bacteria growth.
  • Brush and scrape your tongue. This is the best place for growth of bacteria. 

Continue to stay safe!


Information found here!


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dentistry In Mexico - It's Your Decision, But Choose Wisely.

Given our current national situation and with people grasping at straws to get things done, I thought it appropriate to repost this blog.  It is still relevant after all these years. 

The following excerpt was taken from a blog I published way back in February of 2008: "Why would anyone want to risk their health and safety by visiting a doctor or dentist in a country where sanitation standards are questionable and there is no way to determine whether a doctor is reputable; or even competent? There would be no legal recourse for a mistake, no refund, no malpractice insurance."

With time, the economy over the last 10-15 years and many testimonials from people I've talked to while working in this industry, I must say that I have come to an understanding on this subject at least, if only marginally.  I still stand firm on the safety issues of traveling to Mexico for either  medical or dental treatment....sanitation remains a concern except that I now know many of the dental offices there are actually staffed with American Dentists, and in fairness, their american training and work ethic are at or above the standard.  Some of these dentists live there and work, some commute and the overall benefit to the traveling patient is that they can get the treatment they need from a qualified professional at a cost that is way below the standard fees charged in the US. The doctors are not bound to  [admittedly ridiculous] regulations, exorbitant insurance rates and high operating costs that are the norm in the US, thus allowing them to perform dentistry and pass the savings along to the patient. The drawbacks to these seemingly stellar benefits are the risks of complication, and to mention again, safety during travel.  When Mexico is hundreds of miles away and the patient needs further, immediate treatment, where do they go?  They go to a dentist in America who certainly will not fix the problem for free...and well, there you have it.

All that said, there are risks involved, which poses the question,  "does the money saved really outweigh the risk?"  Many think that it does.  I for one, always the skeptic, would need to think VERY hard about it if I were ever faced with that dilemma.
In my humble and educated opinion a good Dental Plan can be far more effective in helping to stabilize the rising costs of dentistry and it's much safer.  It just is.

Keep smiling! 


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Lumineers Vs. Veneers: What's The Difference?

Veneers/lumineers are a type of cosmetic dentistry. They are both made out of thin porcelain, and both:

-Cover only the visible portions of the teeth
-Repair minor tooth imperfections
-straighten and lengthen teeth
-conceal stained or discolored fillings
-are stain proof

The difference?

Veneers: are thin shells that bond to teeth. They are permanent, custom made, and require removal of a portion of the tooth to fit the veneer. Pro- they feel more natural. Con- they can't be removed.

Lumineers: are thinner than the veneers (about the thickness of a contact lens). Your natural tooth does not need to be altered in any way to fit a lumineer. Pro- they can be removed. Con- may feel bulkier than the regular veneers.

Information can be found here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Causes of Chronic Dry Mouth

You might be surprised by how many people suffer daily from a condition known as Xeristomia or Dry Mouth. Dry mouth can be brought on by any number of medical maladies and various prescription drugs. 

Some causes include: 
  • Medications such as antihistamines, sedatives and diuretics,  
  • Chemotherapy
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Poor hygiene and tooth decay
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren's disease, MS and Lupus
  • Dry, arid climate
Most sufferers can find little relief from this condition and find themselves constantly drinking more water in hopes of quenching their thirst.
New studies have shown that gums, candies, rinses and sweeteners containing Xylitol offer comfort to those suffering from dry mouth. Xylitol coats the soft tissues of the mouth sealing in moisture and stimulates saliva flow.
A plethora of amazing over-the-counter products are endorsed by dentists for treating dry mouth. Some products worth checking out are Biotene, Oasis and Sensodyne for Dry Mouth.
Be sure to check with your doctor if you have the symptoms of dry mouth.  Make sure you find the cause before you use any OTC treatments! 

As always, Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, November 5, 2020

I Have A Ringing In My Ears...How Could This Be Related To My Teeth?

Questions From Our Members

B. Bradbury of Houston, Texas asks: 

“I have a constant ringing in my ears and my PCP suggested that I get examined by a dentist.  What could my teeth have to do with this ringing?”

Savon’s Answer

Although we are not dentists, we did do some research and here´s some of what we found.

The constant ringing in the ear is known as tinnitus.

It has been reported that tooth abscesses or impacted wisdom teeth can cause tinnitus.  In such cases dental treatment may cure the condition.  Other times the tinnitus will gradually fade over time.  One way this can occur is by aggravation of existing Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction.  Infection in the tooth or impacted wisdom teeth can cause inflammation that affects the TM joint.

TMJ dysfunction can be treated by dentists who specialize in the condition.  They begin by fitting a mouth guard that aligns the lower jaw with the skull.  When needed, more advanced, non–invasive therapies are developed to relax the muscle tissues.

There have been isolated cases of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus that occurs following dental surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth.

Another way that tinnitus can be caused is by the prolonged neck bending that occurs during dental surgery.  This is referred to as somatic tinnitus and happens when bodily signals due to muscle strain can influence normal auditory pathways.

Unconsciously clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth is known as bruxism.  This is one of the primary causes of TMJ dysfunction and often leads to tinnitus.  It is a habit, which can be broken, not a reflex chewing activity.  It can originally be caused by a number of conditions including allergy, trauma or high stress.  Once bruxism becomes a habit, the original stimulus can be removed and the bruxism will continue.

Bruxism can also be treated with mouth guards, much like TMJ therapy.  Further treatments may involve biofeedback or hypnotherapy to promote relaxation.

Original post from our November 2020 newsletter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Is It Okay To Disagree With My Dental Treatment Plan?

 Quite often we field phone calls from members who would like to change their dentist because they disagree with a diagnosis. Often times, the perception is that the dentist is "over-diagnosing" on the treatment plan to make more money. Now I can assure you that 98% of the time that is not the case.

 Know that every dentist is different. One dentist may identify something that one did not. Another one may have training or access to new technology that the other one doesn't. Different training, different perspectives...it doesn't mean that one or the other is wrong.  This usually goes way beyond wrong or right. 

How a dentist diagnoses is often dependent on how/where they were trained. Some dental colleges have a more aggressive diagnostic curriculum as others have a more conservative diagnostic curriculum. Depending on which curriculum the school that your dentist went to had, depends on which type of diagnosis you may get.

Although an aggressive diagnostic treatment plan may be overwhelming to patient, it is not always a bad thing. It focuses on the long term solution to your dental problems with more of a restorative style of treatment..
A conservative diagnostic treatment plan is not a bad thing either. It focuses on trying more to save the original teeth that you have, rather than replace it with a crown or something else, until that is really needed. It should be discussed with you and your dentist and it really comes down to what is right for you at the time. 

As I said, it is not that either one of the dentists is wrong or right, or that one is a better dentist than the other. It simply comes down to how they were taught to diagnose your treatment. It does not mean that aggressive diagnostic dentist is trying to rip you off by over diagnosing (which is the common misconception by patients). It does not mean that the conservative dentist is under diagnosing and missing things that need to be done (which is another common misconception by patients)
In fact, an aggressive treatment may cost you more money now, but can save you a lot of money in the future. However, on the flip side of things, the conservative diagnosis treatment will save you money now, but could cost you more in the future.

We commonly recommend and encourage patients to obtain a 2nd opinion when concerned about the particular diagnosis that they are given, prior to just changing to another dentist based solely on a diagnostic result.

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Halloween Candy You Should Be Careful Eating!

Halloween is just two days away! 

Every year dental offices across the country encounter a rush of patients experiencing Halloween candy related dental emergencies!! 

It's extremely common for patients to present themselves to the dental staff with crowns or bridges that have been pulled off, fillings that have been pulled out, teeth that have been chipped or cracked all by these delicious sweets we consume. 

Below are the most common offenders!

Top 5 Worst Culprits
(these are known to extricate crowns, bridges and fillings with ease)

  1. Sugar Daddy
  2. Milk Duds
  3. Dots
  4. Bit-O-Honey
  5. Good n' Plenty

Top 10 Accomplices

  1. Jolly Rancher
  2. Laffy Taffy
  3. Caramel
  4. Gummy Bears
  5. Toffee
  6. Tootsie Rolls
  7. Sugar Babies
  8. Now & Laters
  9. Super Bubble Gum/ Dubble Bubble Gum
  10. Slowpokes

There ya have it! For those of you who have any type of dental work done, watch out for these sneaky little candies...or you may find yourself in the dental chair bashfully blaming your missing filling on one of these sweet little criminals!


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Eggnog Could Be Just As Bad For Your Teeth As Soda!

 I can not express my heartbreak when I found this out. Eggnog is one my of favorite holiday traditions and drinks. So when I read that with the amount of sugar that is in it,  I was quite surprised.

It kind of goes along with my misconception of what eggnog is. I assumed that it is more like milk, thus being better for dental health. I know milk is good for your teeth, I know eggs are good for your teeth. Knowing that both of them are in eggnog, one can only assume that eggnog, too is good for your oral health. Logical assumption... right?

Well it turns out that all of the flavoring, add-ins and sugar that is used to make that unique holiday taste, is enough to offset the good that the milk and eggs provide!

Fear not though, my fellow eggnoggers! We can still savor the flavor and enjoy our favorite holiday drink. Just simply rinse out your mouth really good and/or brush your teeth after you drink and you will be good to go!

The Holiday season is almost upon us again, and with that in mind I thought this blog was worth a re-post.  Enjoy and Keep Smiling!  




Thursday, October 22, 2020

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

This post was originally posted back in 2014, but I feel like it's extremely important for our members to understand.

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 the plan and know what discounts are supposed to be given
  3. They will know what is covered and you will not be misinformed
  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 to 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 maybe 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, October 20, 2020

Is Toothpaste Really Necessary?

 The answer may surprise you!  The fact is, we really don't need toothpaste!  Here's why.

Some toothpastes contain polishing compounds (abrasives), some contain undesirable chemicals (such as sodium lauryl sulfate, a key ingredient in soap...yuk!) fluoride (we've all heard about the controversy there).  Still others contain a healthy balance of all of that and a desensitizing agent as well. Then there's peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen etc. for flavoring.
Trust me, you can do just as well with a drop of peppermint essential oil for a fresh mouth. Or even a dab of baking soda.   
When you consider all the unnecessary additives in a tube of toothpaste, one might conclude that it's better to do without.... but the fact is it really doesn't matter what you use, only how often you brush. All you need is a good toothbrush. You can brush with plain water after a meal, then floss and effectively get the germs off of your teeth!

The more natural things you can use the better, including baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil.  They're easier on the checkbook, and on the smile! 

Keep on smiling! 


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Are You Cleaning Your Electric Toothbrush?

 Most people brush their teeth, rinse off the toothbrush, place it back in its holder and hopefully replace it every 6 months.

Well, an electric toothbrush needs a little more TLC. It's still important to clean the head of the toothbrush after every use and replace it every 4-6 months. But, did you know that cleaning and caring for the electrical base is just as important?

Below are a few steps to keep your electric toothbrush kicking:

  • Unplug the base and wipe it down with a mild cleanser or bleach solution.
  • Using the same solution, dip a cotton swab (q-tip) in it and clean the area where the head attaches and around any buttons.
  • If there is excessive gunk build-up, use a toothpick to gently loosen it. 
  • Sanitize if possible. Sometimes electric toothbrushes come with a sanitizing machine, use it!
  • To ensure the best battery life, use the toothbrush until it dies. Then recharge it, and repeat the process. *keeping the toothbrush constantly plugged in, will eventually ruin the battery*








Tuesday, October 13, 2020

In-House Dental Plans - Sounds Good, But Is It?

There are many dental centers that now offer their own dental plan. This is a great concept for the dental office, but what is the benefit for the patient?  You may be surprised to learn that it can be very limited.

By providing a plan for their patients, the dental office can help the patient save money on their treatment plan. The office will then discount the fees based on their usual and customary rates (UCR). This may sound good for the patient, but when compared to an independent dental plan, the savings are not always significant.  Also, the coverage offered by that center in most cases does not extend past that office or corporation. Consequently, if a problem arises with quality of care or if the patient is unhappy with the dentist for any reason, they will have to forfeit their plan benefits to go to another facility.

If you are being lured into an in-house dental plan by your dental office, take the time to study your options.  Many facilities have jumped in to the ring of dental plan coverage but some have not done their homework; that is they may not be compliant with individual state law or insurance commission rules and regulations.   Make sure your savings are reasonable and that you have options when it comes to specialists and treatment guarantees.  

Keep smiling! 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Can I Be Charged A Covid-19 Fee?

Questions From Our Members

J. Garcia of Santa Fe, New Mexico asks: 

“When I finished my dental appointment and went to check out and pay my bill I noticed that I was being charged $15.00 for a COVID-19 surcharge.  Can you explain what this is, and what´s the difference between that and the normal Bio–Hazard Disposal Fee?”

Savon’s Answer

Dental centers, as a rule, have always maintained a clean and sterile environment.

The Bio–hazard fee that we have always allowed helped offset the relatively minor cost of the chemicals needed to sterilize the operatories.  With the new stricter government regulations for COVID-19 sterilization, the cost of the chemicals needed have sky-rocketed.

Most dental and medical facilities are now charging a COVID-19 surcharge to cover these additional costs.  Although it´s not popular with patients, this additional fee has been approved by the agencies that help control and regulate the medical industry.

The surcharge is not only showing up at medical facilities, you can also find it added to your bill at many restaurants.  It is our hope that this additional cost will go away at some point as we find our way back to “normal” life.  If it doesn´t go away then we will have no choice but to incorporate it into the Schedule of Benefits at some future point.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Ever-Growing Spectrum of The Dental Arts

 Technology is rapidly advancing, particularly in the dental industry. So, it is no surprise that dentists are branching out into other fields. Simple dental caries, bruxism, orthodontic malocclusion and misalignment of the jaw have long been treated by the dentist, while treatments for varying ailments such as sleep apnea, migraine headaches, ringing in the ears and even Tourette’s syndrome have always fallen into the purview of an MD or a medical specialist.  However, by advancement of technology, dentists are now able to integrate dental treatments for things like TMJ or structural Maxillofacial problems with the jaw into treatments for these ailments, among other things. 

Devices such as TMD splints, night orthotics and post-orthodontic appliances are proving to be useful for a variety of ailments.  It seems that misalignment of the jaw can contribute to a myriad of ailments...including sleep apnea, digestive issues, poor body posture, muscle spasms, decreased strength overall along with muscle aches and pains, to name just a few. 
If you suffer from any of these ailments, you might consider consulting with your dentist as well as your healthcare provider.  There may be a simple solution out there for you!

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

How often do you think about your taste buds?

 When your taking a bite of a big, juicy burger or sipping on a milkshake, you know one thing... It tastes good, right? Ever think about why that is?

Your tongue and the roof of your mouth are covered in thousands of these tiny little buds. When you eat, your saliva helps break down food. Your taste buds send little messages to your brain which tell you all kinds of information like whether or not the food tastes good, if it's hot, cold, sweet, sour, etc.

Taste buds are most important because they are play the biggest part in enjoying different foods and flavors. As a child, you would have been more sensitive to different foods because your taste buds were not only on your tongue, but on the roof and the sides of your mouth. As an adult, you may notice certain foods you were unable to eat as a child, taste better. This is because your taste buds are more centered to your tongue area and are now less sensitive.

Here are some facts about your taste buds:

-Buds that taste bitterness are located at the back of the tongue. Sour taste buds are located on either side of the tongue, with salty/sweet buds on the tip. The center of the tongue does not have many taste buds.

-Taste is the weakest of the 5 senses

- Girls have more taste buds than boys

-We have nearly 10,000 taste buds inside our mouths


Original post: September 29th 2008 by Moobiedoo

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Importance of Good Hygiene With MS Patients

 The effects of MS are widespread over the body but one thing many don't consider is how it can affect your oral health, both directly and indirectly.


As the disease progresses, motor function becomes impaired, pain can be intense, the immune system is suppressed.  Brushing and flossing can be difficult for these patients as motor function and dexterity are essential to be able to exercise proper hygiene.

In addition to motor function, medications can cause dry mouth, which creates a perfect place for bacteria to grow and leads to cavities and gum disease.  The use of steroids can weaken the immune system which in turn allows infections to flourish.

Depression is another factor in oral health management.  Depressed individuals may tend to push aside personal hygiene including brushing and flossing, so keeping a watchful eye on your loved one is important as they may need a gentle nudge here and there to get them back on track.

It is so very important that MS patients keep good oral hygiene.  To do that, they may need assistance.  In the event that it isn't possible, here are some suggestions that may help to make brushing a little easier for them.


  • Buy a thick handled toothbrush or wrap some type of gripping material around the handle to make it easier to hold.
  • Invest in an electric toothbrush.  It's easier to hold and doesn't require a lot of movement.  
  • Another good investment might be a Waterpik! Again, it requires less dexterity and movement. 
  • Ask a caregiver or a family member for help.
  • Schedule additional cleanings at the dentist.  Instead of the usual 2 per year, schedule 4 instead.  This helps keep ahead of gum disease.               
Keep Smiling!                                                                                                                                                                       

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Get Shades Whiter!

 What is the Zoom Whiting all about?
Zoom Whiting is a bleaching process that lightens the discoloration of enamel.

What is the process for the procedure?
First, you will begin with a short preparation to cover your gums and lips leaving only your teeth exposed. Next, the assistant will apply a whitening gel all over your teeth, then they will apply the light. Now is the time to sit back and relax.

How long is the procedure?
This procedure will last a total of 45 min. Three 15 min. sessions. Between each session, the assistant will reapply the whiting gel.

Are there any side effects?
Some people may experience sensitivity. On rare occasions, tingling may occur after the treatment. You can ask your dentist to prescribe an anti-sensitivity toothpaste before treatment.

This is a fast way to achieve a brighter smile but in my opinion, it's not worth the pain afterward. I have had this procedure twice. The first time, I had no idea what to expect. The second time, I was told the gel was reformulated for people who have sensitive teeth...Well, all I can say is, I will never have this done again!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Effect of Vaping On Oral Health

The nicotine in vapor can cause periodontal disease and cause your gums to recede. However, it does not have the same effect as a normal cigarette.  That is not to say that it's healthier for you!

Although vaporizers with zero percent of nicotine can be easily found on the market, most of them still contain a certain percent (the amount varies from 0 to 35 mg/ml)

Nicotine is harmful in so many ways and when it comes to teeth it causes the following:

• Gum recession
 – by reducing the blood flow through the blood vessels, nicotine deprives the 
gums from oxygen and all other vital substances.

• Periodontitis (gum infection) – inflammation around the tooth which damages the soft tissue around the teeth and the bone that supports it

•Gingivitis – inflammation around the teeth usually caused by bacteria. Nicotine promotes the gum’s susceptibility for this condition.

So, consider that the younger you are, the earlier you may begin to see symptoms of gum disease. Although it is better than cigarette, the risk is still there.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Cracked Tongue?

 Have you ever experienced a cracked tongue? Me neither. 

Cracked tongue is where a person's tongue has one or more groves alongside the surface of the tongue. These cracks can be very minimal or very deep. Although this may seem extremely painful, people have mentioned that they usually only feel a burning sensation after they have eaten acidic food or drinks. 

As of right now, there is no rhyme or reason for cracked tongue syndrome but there has been some research that has found a few links connecting the two. These include:

  • B12 Deficiency
  • Low Zinc levels
  • Low Iron levels
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
If you are experiencing cracked tongue syndrome, it's important to step up your oral health routine. Make sure you remove any food particles that may become trapped in the groves. If you do not remove these you are putting yourself at a higher risk of different bacterial infections. 


Image found on google.



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Can Obesity and Gum Disease be Related?

 Researchers have been working to verify the suspicion, but as it appears now, people who suffer from obesity could be at a higher risk of developing gum disease than everyone else.


The reason obesity raises the risk?

Obesity causes the body to release proteins containing flammatory properties called cytokines.  These cytokines could potentially damage or injure the gum tissue, which could likely lead to gum disease.   However, half of the US population over 30 suffer from gum disease.  Gum disease itself also releases cytokines, which if you're obese, could lead to other dangerous inflammatory diseases throughout the body.  

To get the latest information on this study, check out the original article HERE.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Could Your Mouth Be Causing IBD?

As you may know, oral health can affect more than just the inside of a mouth. Poor oral hygiene can cause other serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes but could it also be causing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

Nobuhiko Kamada, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine in the division of gastroenterology at U-M Medical School has been collecting and researching the different types of bacterias found in a person's gut. During his research, Dr. Kamada has found that the overgrown bacteria found within the gut of a person who suffers from IBD is also linked to bacteria that is normally found inside the mouth. 

Dr. Kamada contacted the dental school and asked them "does oral diseases affect the severity of gastrointestinal diseases?"

After further research, a study was published in Celi, which shows that oral bacteria found in the gut can worsen inflammation. 

If you would like to read more about the study click here!


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Are Mail Order Braces For Everyone?

 Clear braces are the current rave...and many young adults and teens are hoping to escape those "ugly metal braces".  But are they right for you?  Maybe not!


Clear braces may sound like a more attractive deal than they really are.  There are many mail order types available, ranging from $79 kits to $1895 packages that allow you to take your own impressions, mail them in and then wait for the aligners to come in the mail.  What many people don't understand is that there are  certain dental maladies that clear braces cannot fix, such as a tooth that has not fully erupted or grown in, or a twisted tooth, or even a misaligned jaw.  Those things require metal braces. While companies like Invisalign have come a long way in recent years, i.e. treating more severe cases of malocclusion, there are still advantages to wearing metal braces. Additionally, you may be required to wear clear braces for a longer period of time than you might with metal braces.  

Clear braces are expensive.  Although some insurance companies now cover Invisalign, be sure to see a certified Invisalign provider to make sure it is the right fit for you!  

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Are Virtual Dental Visits A Feasible Option?

 In our September 2020 Newsletter, a Savon member asked: "Are virtual dental visits a feasible option?"

Savon's response was: "If you are using a virtual visit to replace a visit for a dental problem then I don´t think it´s a feasible option.

Virtual dental visits have been in use since 2012 in areas where dental care is inadequate and dentists are limited.  In most of these cases a dentist works virtually with a hygienist to assess the needs of the patient and schedule appointments as required.

While this system works for undeserved areas you are always better off actually seeing a dentist in person if possible."

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Food For Your Oral Health - The Good and the Bad

 Have you ever wondered what you've eaten that causes dental caries (cavities)? Or, on the flip side, have you ever wondered what foods have contributed to your good dental health?


The following is a list of the five best foods for your teeth, followed by the five worst.  

BEST FOODS

1. Milk
2. Yogurt
3. Strawberries
4. Green Tea
5. Sugar Free Gum

WORST FOODS

1. Raisins
2. Lemons
3. Soda
4. White Bread
5. Gummy Candy and Hard Candy

Eat the good stuff, and Keep Smiling!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Dental X-Rays

One question that I get asked constantly is "why is my dentist taking X-rays"? Well, 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. Also, ask yourself, if w
ould you rather take the x-rays and see potential problems or be blindsided?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Why Dentists Aren't Retiring

"I just realized my dentist is older than dirt! Shouldn't he retire?"  "Is it safe to see a dentist that is well past retirement age?'  

These are some of the questions I have been asked recently.  The answers are complicated.      

The average age in the U.S for a dentist to retire is 68 years, according to a study done in 2017.  That said, I have known dentists who have continued to work into their seventies.  

Following the recession in 2008, many dentists were actually forced out of retirement.  Many who may have retired during that time chose instead to continue working.  Many simply love the work....and the income!  

There is no guideline for when a dentist should retire.  If he is able to practice at age 74, then bravo!  Many will continue to practice but at a diminished capacity, sticking to the simpler procedures.  

If you have doubts or are skeptical about getting treatment by an elderly dentist, you can always contact your local Board of Dental Examiners to see if there are any recent complaints or if his/her license is restricted.  Most often, though, they are able to perform just as well as they ever did.  Chalk that up to experience! 

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Do's and Don'ts For Dog Dental Health

 I came across a picture from www.dgpforpets.com that explained what you should and shouldn't do for your dogs dental care, and I thought I would share it with you!

DO'S:

  • Brush your dogs teeth at least once a week.
  • Check your pets mouth and gums for abnormalities once a month. This includes looking for swollen gums, brownish tartar on teeth, bad breath and loose teeth.
  • Invest in a chew toy. This will help remove tartar build up.
  • Look for foods and treats formulated for dental care and approved by Veterinary Oral Heath Council (VOHV).
DON'TS:
  • Use human toothpaste. Fluoride is extremely dangerous for pets. 
  • Ignoring signs of gum disease. Visit your vet at least once a year.
  • Give up - slowly introduce your dog to teeth brushing. It will be new and they may resist but don't give up, they will eventually become used to it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

DIY Tooth Repair-Would You Dare?

I thought this one was worth re-posting as it is so relevant in today's DIY oriented world.  Especially now, with the COVID crisis and dentists working reduced hours or taking emergencies only.  The definition of "emergency" has changed somewhat with all this going on.

Anyway, here goes:

There are all kinds of stories out there about people fixing their own broken or decayed teeth, dentures, crowns and whatall; some are even using dental floss and fishing line to craft DIY braces...but, is this taking it a little too far? Probably, but it is a world of extremes we live in and lets face it, dentistry is high priced and unless you have excellent credit or say, 10 to 15K in an account earmarked specifically for dentistry, it's not really affordable. I would venture to say that lack of affordability and fear of the dentist are the two major reasons why people might try to repair their own teeth or dentures.

There is a shift occurring in the way people think and do things nowadays and goodness knows there are endless supplies of DIY solutions out there, so why not for dentistry, right? Afterall, you can find almost anything you need on Youtube! How hard can it be, after all? Now, don't get any ideas just yet. Google some of those stories! Trust me, they didn't all end well. Having said that, there are some success stories too...so just try to use common sense (please) if you plan to attempt a home repair on your teeth, and maybe keep these simple, humorous yet "common sense" suggestions in mind.

Well, I know the first one is futile, but I still feel the need to say it:
   
     DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!!!   followed by:

      - Super Glue can be TOXIC. It is also permanent. Trust me! You don't want to glue your lips shut.
      - Gum doesn't hold. Really, it just dissolves.
      - Dental Floss was not intended for use in home orthodontia. Neither was fishing line, rubber bands          or paper clips. 
      - Seriously, shield your eyes if you're going to actually use that Dremel tool.
      - Put the pliers away and forget you even thought about pulling your own tooth.

Now, on the flip side, there are products out there that you can buy OTC and use to TEMPORARILY (and I cannot stress that word enough) temporarily, repair a broken tooth or cover a lost filling and yes, believe it or not, you can even make a temporary tooth if you happen to have one missing and there is a wedding to go to on Saturday.  Notice I'm not naming any products here. If you dare to make your own dental repairs you'll just have to Google the rest of the info yourself. :)

Keep Smiling!

   
   

   

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Delaying Dental Appointments Again?

 Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended delaying any non-essential dental appointments again due to Covid-19. This means that any routine check-ups, dental cleanings, and preventative care should not be provided until the WHO has seen a significant drop in COVID cases. Who knows when that could be since we are already going on 6 months. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) has released a statement which states " respectfully yet strongly disagrees" with the World Health Organization's interim guidance recommending that "routine" dental care be delayed in certain situations because of COVID-19.

"Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is an essential health care." ADA President Chad P. Gehani said. "Dentistry is essential health care because if it's role in evaluating, diagnosing, or treating oral disease, which can affect systemic health."

The ADA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have set their own guidelines on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within dental practices. These include:

  • Screening patients for travel and signs and symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.

  • Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures.

  • Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.

  • Using a rubber dam when appropriate to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.

  • Using high-speed evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.

  • Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.

  • Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs, and bathrooms.

What are your thoughts on delaying non-essential dental appointments again?


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Does The Art of Dentistry Justify The High Cost?

 So often we will have someone call our office and they are absolutely shell shocked at the cost of a dental procedure or a treatment plan.  Let me start by saying that dentistry is rarely simple anymore. It is a science, yes, but it is also a fine art, and in many cases you get what you pay for. Cosmetic dentistry, in particular, is among the most costly. If you've ever seen a full mouth reconstruction done, you'll have great respect for the dentist/artist.  This is a craft that requires at least 8 years of schooling, constant continuing education and even further instruction and practice to be able to perfect these restorations and perform oral miracles.  Not to mention the high cost of the technical machines and tools needed.  If you understand that, you understand why the cost is so high.  But, if you are one of those people who visits the dentist every 10 or 20 years, there is no avoiding the shell shock factor, which is why I've linked this blog to an informative page.

I recently found a site that gives the average consumer an idea of what restorative dentistry costs.  It is broken down by procedure and it's probably the most informative, simple breakdown I have seen to date.  If you are considering cosmetic restoration or have many dental issues and are in need of a full-mouth makeover, look HERE  first.  I think you'll be glad you did.
The moral of the story here is to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings (for prevention, if nothing else) and stay informed. Don't become a shell shock victim!

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Question From Our Member

 Questions From Our Members

D. Rockwell of Buffalo, New York asks: 

“I need to visit the dentist but I also need to know that their office is safe and clean during this pandemic.  What should I be looking for from the dentist?”

Savon’s Answer

Even before this pandemic, dental offices were always some of the cleanest medical facilities.  Considering that every procedure produced some sort of human bio–hazard side bar, the dental offices we already ahead of the current Covid–19 hygiene standards.

This being said, the A.D.A. (American Dental Association) lists some steps dentists can take to help prevent transmission of the disease in their offices, in addition to standard precautions, including:
  • Screening patients for travel and signs and symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.

  • Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures.

  • Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.

  • Using a rubber dam when appropriate to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.

  • Using high-speed evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.

  • Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.

  • Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs and bathrooms.
Since most dental offices follow the guidelines published by the A.D.A., I would be pretty comfortable visiting my dentist even in these trying times.

Original post is from our Aug. 2020 Newsletter

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Natural Treatments For Adults With Thrush

Adults and children of any age can be afflicted with thrush.  

Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the tongue, gums, inner cheeks or lips.  It looks like a white pasty coating on the tongue or patchy white sores on the inner cheeks or roof of the mouth.  
Babies, people with compromised immune systems and diabetic people are commonly prone to this type of infection.  It can be difficult to treat, but there are some things you can do at home to help.

1. Check your diet! Avoid sugar and starchy foods. Large amounts of sugar and white carbohydrates can bring on or worsen a bout of candida (Thrush).  Eat fresh raw vegetables and lean proteins or yogurt, or you can eat foods that contain vinegar, such as sauerkraut or pickles to actually ward off the infection.!
   
2. Try a natural remedy such as grapefruit seed extract (a few drops diluted in water,just wish a few times a day) coconut oil ( excellent to cook with in place of vegetable oils), plain, sugar free yogurt (yogurt contains healthy bacteria that helps to balance the ph in the body).  Adults with the infection can also take acidophilous capsules or liquid to help reduce the growth of bacteria.

3. Remember to clean your toothbrush and your tongue scraper with a bleach/water solution after each use to avoid reinfecting yourself when you brush your teeth. 

4.  For babies, always see your healthcare professional.  Their sensitive little mouths require a doctor's care.   

These are some of the ideas I came up with from around the web.

Enjoy, & keep smiling!