Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Connection Between Teeth Grinding and Migraine Pain

 A Migraine headache generally causes pain on the one side or on the top of your head, but the problem may actually start at the base of your skull, at the top of your neckline.  Teeth grinding, or TMJ, could be the culprit!   

TMJ, or your temporomandibular joint, is the joint that connects your skull to your jawbone.  It is the reason you are able to chew food, yawn (without your mouth sticking open) and even talk.  When the muscles surrounding it tighten from constant teeth clenching or grinding, it can cause a variety of painful problems. Among those, headaches, tooth pain from the constant compression, jaw pain and pain that radiates into the shoulder.  If you are prone to migraine, teeth grinding can trigger it.  

If you think this may be causing or triggering your migraine headaches, see an Oral/Maxiofacial Surgeon to get a diagnosis.  There are treatments available.  

Thursday, December 21, 2023

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!
* Whichever 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!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Wisdom Teeth - Do We Really Need Them?

The issue of whether to extract healthy wisdom teeth in young adults has been hotly debated over the years.  The general theory is to extract now, avoid problems later. There are pros and cons to this theory, of course, but  I suppose It's like having an appendectomy...or a tonsillectomy. Afterward you discover that you really didn't need them to begin with! Wisdom teeth, afterall, are not positioned for adequate chewing. It isn't like they are essential. The fact is, teens and people in their early twenties heal faster.  A wisdom tooth extraction (or any extraction, really) is kind of like an amputation.   It isn't so easy when you're older.  Conversely, smokers, diabetics and people in poor general health or with compromised health have a harder time healing and can experience more complications than younger, healthier people. People in good health tend to heal faster.  It's that simple. Not to mention that a good percentage of wisdom teeth never erupt; they remain impacted and can actually cause the teeth to shift and affect your bite.  I guess I have mentioned the pros to this theory and not really any cons!  Feel free to chime in if you can think of any reasons why not to have your wisdom teeth extracted!

We'd like to know your opinion on the subject, both doctors and patients!

Keep Smiling!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Dental Plan Scams

Just a friendly reminder...

"In these slow economic conditions, I have found a new scam that as a potential purchaser of a dental plan you should be aware of.

Since we are a dental plan, we spend many hours each week monitoring what's happening in the dental field. One of the newest things popping up is dental offices offering their own dental plan.

This may appear to be a great offer to the patient of the dental office BUT it should raise a couple of red flags too.

1. For a small fee (usually under $100.00 per year), paid directly to the dental office, they will lower their usual fee by as much as 50%. The main question to ask yourself is, "Why are their usual fees so high to begin with". We all know that such a small membership fee doesn't offset the discount that they are offering.

2. Does the fact that they are willing to drop their fees if you purchase their dental plan cause a trust issue with that dental office? When I have the chance to explain in detail like I did in paragraph 1, the majority of the people I talk with usually develop some level of a trust issue.

3. What happens if you decide that you don't like the dental office, don't agree with the treatment plan, or move too far away making it almost impossible to continue to go to that dental office. Is another dental office going to accept the plan that you purchased? I can say with 99.9% accuracy the answer is NO!! You are now stuck with a dental plan that you can only use at one office or a mega office (a series of offices managed by a group) and nowhere else.

Dental plans like Savon do one thing. They provide their members with quality, affordable dental care at over 13,000 dental offices nationwide. The dental plan controls the fees, not the dental office. If you have a problem with a dentist, simply choose a new dentist. If you feel you were overcharged, the dental plan is there to act on your behalf in sorting out the issue.

Don't get caught in the trap of purchasing a dental plan that may be good only at the dental office or dental group that sells it to you. Investigate all of your options and find a good solid dental plan that works for you."

Original post from C.J. on August 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

How to Ask Your Dental Office if They Accept Your Insurance.

 NEVER ask your dental office if they take your insurance! Ask instead if they are "in network" with your insurance.  This is something we at Savon Dental Plan encounter frequently. Typically, the dentist office will say that they do accept your insurance. But there is a huge difference, and it could wind up costing you a small fortune in fees that are ultimately not covered, or covered sparingly. 

They may very well accept your insurance, but that doesn't mean they are in-network!  Out-of-network costs are much higher than in-network costs.  Fees are usually pre-negotiated between the dental insurance and in-network dentists. Dental providers can charge exorbitant fees (basically whatever they want) if your treatment was done by an out-of-network dentist, leaving the balance of what the insurance company doesn't pay up to you. 

The key to getting the savings ($$$) and protection you deserve (and pay for) is to know your insurance benefits and do your homework before choosing a provider. Get an understanding of the terminology.  You will be happy you did in the long run. But contact your insurance company, not the dental provider.  They will direct you to an in-network provider.

Keep smiling!

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Antioxidants And Oral Health

Are antioxidants good for our oral health? The answer is YES!

According to a presentation at the 2019 ADA FDI World Dental Congress, presented by Karen Davis, RDH, antioxidants found in dark chocolate and berries can help boost oral health!

Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, and K can help reduce plaque, prevent gum disease, aid in healing mouth sores, and promote collagen synthesis.

Davis recommends "consuming a healthy supply of antioxidants daily".

You're in luck because antioxidants can be found in many types of foods, such as:
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dark-colored berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nuts 
  • Cinnamon
  • Tumeric
If you are prone to gum inflammation you can even apply antioxidants topically. The major benefit of applying antioxidants topically is that it is immediately absorbed into the mouth tissues and start releasing anti-inflammatory agents right away!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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!