For many Americans, paying for dental care can be a challenge, especially for dental procedures beyond teeth cleaning and filling cavities. Whether you have dental insurance or not, there can be a substantial out of pocket cost associated with quality dental care. Dental insurance is typically known as a “maintenance plan” that will cover cleanings, X-rays, and up to half the cost of a crown. The maximum annual benefits, $1000 to $1500, have not changed in the last 50 years despite the rise in dental costs. If you need a lot of work done, your dental insurance will only cover part of the expenses and you will have some significant out of pocket costs.
So why the high costs in the first place? First, dentists want their patients to realize that dental care is not a commodity. Oral health is like any other medical health – you want professional, specialized care. Most people do not choose an oncologist or a cardiologist based on price, so why would they choose a dentist based on price? As in many cases, you get what you pay for. One dentist quotes you $790 for a crown and another quotes you $1900. Labs differ in the quality of the products they produce. You want your dentist to use a high-quality lab, even if it will increase your cost. The last thing you want is to pay more money out of pocket to re-do a bad procedure and have to pay for another one.
Overhead costs for running a modern dental practice are huge. Those flat screen TVs you enjoy watching while having your teeth cleaned? Those polished tools that are barely felt in your mouth? Those fast and high quality X-rays that you have developed? Those cost money. While you may not appreciate them at the time you open your bill, you appreciate them at the time of your visit.
Many people dread going to the dentist, and even more dread paying for it. But your expenses are not wasted. Oral health is a crucial part of your overall health. Call your Johns Creek dentist before you go. Whether you have dental insurance or not, it will ease the pain of receiving your bill by knowing beforehand what procedures will be covered and how much they will cost you.
Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli
Many people think that the most common factor in dental stains is whether or not you smoke. While tobacco can have very damaging effects on your teeth, there is another factor that may shock you – what you eat and drink. Matthew J. Messina, DDS, puts it best when he says, “if you’re worried about spilling your food or beverage on your white tablecloth, you can be sure it’s got the potential to stain teeth.” The color found in many foods and beverages comes from intensely pigmented molecules. When these molecules come across tooth enamel, they latch on and can remain permanent stains.
Top Teeth-Staining Foods and Beverages
Red Wine. Red wine is notorious for staining teeth. It is highly acidic and has those intensely pigmented molecules that cause stains quickly on tooth enamel.
Sugary Drinks. All soft drinks and sports drinks can cause stains on your teeth, not just darkly colored ones. That is because the high sugar content of these drinks eats away at your tooth enamel. When your already compromised enamel then meets the pigmented molecules from the excess sugar, your pearly whites receive a double whammy.
Tea. Tea is rich in stain-promoting molecules. In fact, most dentists will tell you that tea is a bigger component to discolored teeth than coffee. Tea has almost twice as many pigmented molecules than coffee.
Berries. If you have ever dropped a strawberry, blueberry, or cherry onto your clothes, you won’t think twice about how staining berries are. These are intensely colored foods, and as healthy as you may be eating them their colors may last longer than you’d like.
Candy. The best way to put this is: if your tongue turns a funny color after eating a piece of candy, there’s a very high chance the color of your teeth will also be affected. While candy may be the most minor factor in dental stains, consumed regularly the sugar content will eat away at your enamel and leave behind stains.
To avoid stains left behind by these foods and beverages, there are simple measures you can take. Sipping beverages through a straw will help keep your front teeth whiter. Swish your mouth with water after eating or drinking something that can cause stains on your teeth. And of course, brush and floss!! If you tend to indulge in teeth-staining foods and beverages and are hoping to avoid a discolored smile brushing after every meal (and snack) is your best option. Finally, see your Johns Creek dentist twice a year for a teeth cleaning and dental exam.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel
Orthodontic patients have many extra surface areas in their mouth that need to be kept clean. From brackets, wires, temporary appliances or bonded retainers, these small areas are prone to collect food debris, plaque and tartar buildup. Keeping those areas clean protects your tooth enamel from becoming decalcified or developing decay.
Here are some tips for keeping your teeth clean and healthy when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment:
Use an electric toothbrush. Electric brushes remove more plaque biofilm than manual toothbrushes, and many models offer different sized brush heads that can allow for easy access in hard to reach areas.
Rinse with fluoride every night. If you’re not already using a prescription fluoride gel, use an over the counter fluoride rinses after you brush your teeth each evening. This helps restore vital minerals into the teeth and prevent weakened enamel and decay.
Use a water-flossing device. Water flossers are more convenient than traditional floss and can remove bacteria from between the teeth. Some water flossers also have detachable brush tips that can be used to remove debris around brackets and under the wires between your teeth. Most people find water flossers to be very easy to use, and many studies show that they actually clean better than regular flossing.
Get regular dental cleanings. Once plaque has calcified into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Cleanings every 6 months can help keep your mouth healthy and freshen your breath.
All too often, younger patients don’t keep their mouth clean enough and as a result they can develop white decalcified circles on their teeth on the areas where brackets once were. Ask your Johns Creek dentist or orthodontist to check to see how well you’re cleaning your teeth and if there are any areas you are missing.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel
Deciding whether or not to get dentures is a very personal event. Most dentists recommend dentures when other tooth replacement options such as dental implants are not an option due to inadequate bone health or patient preferences. Full or partial dentures are an economical treatment choice to replace several missing teeth or all teeth at just one time. Dentures may be worn on the upper or lower arches, or on both.
Full dentures are made of an acrylic material that matches the shade of your gums and teeth, giving your smile a natural appearance. Partial dentures use metal or acrylic clasps to snap on around existing teeth to hold the appliance into place. How your dentures fit is extremely important, as this will decide how well you talk, eat and smile every day. A properly fitted denture will never require the use of adhesives or pastes to hold it into place. Instead, a detailed impression of your mouth allows for a close-fitting appliance that creates a suction to the roof of your mouth to stabilize it during the day.
Getting used to your dentures can take a little practice at first. In the beginning you should wear your denture all day without taking it out often. This helps your mouth become accustomed to the appliance and helps you become comfortable eating and talking with it. Take your dentures out every night to allow your oral tissues a time to relax and be cleaned with a soft toothbrush, preventing any type of infection under the appliance. Your dentures should be soaked overnight and brushed thoroughly each morning to reduce tartar buildup. Remember to see your dentist twice each year to have your fit check, an oral exam, and have your dentures professionally cleaned.
Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli
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