edmond dentist

Edmond Dentist: How to get the most out of your benefits.

As the end of the year draws to a close and your calendar fills up with obligations getting to the dentist may be the last thing on your to-do list. However, your Edmond Dentist wants to reinforce how important it can be to get in before the end of the year. If you have dental insurance chances are you aren’t taking full advantage of everything you’ve paid for.

What happens to your benefits at the end of the year?

You can save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the year ends. There are dental insurance programs run on a fiscal year(usually October to October), however, most of the dental insurance programs run on a calendar year, ending on December 31st each year. If you haven’t used your dental insurance plans then it’s sitting there with unclaimed benefits and will go to waste at year’s end.Dental insurance companies count on customers not claiming their maximum amount of benefits and in turn, they make millions of dollars off of patients.

Have you considered splitting up your big visits?

If you’ve used some of your benefits and know that you have a large procedure you need to get done, don’t hold off. Some procedures can be split into multiple visits, allowing you to schedule part of your visit before the end of the year and the final part in January the following year. This will allow you to use all the benefits you’ve paid for this year and maximize your use of benefits the following year. Not all procedures can be split up this way so make sure to ask your Edmond Dentist about how you can get the most out of your dental insurance.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to use your benefits. Call us today and schedule a meeting at 405-340-0411.

The Impact of Oral Cancer Screening

It has been beaten into your brain, you have heard it so many times you could scream... The American Dental Association recommends you see your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and check-ups. One of the reasons it is recommended to have regular check up's for your mouth, much like for the rest of your body, is to screen for any abnormalities. The impact of oral cancer screening is just as vital as screening for cancers anywhere else. According to The American Dental Association, 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. The 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64% therefore, when cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced. Oral Cancer can range from your lips all the way to back of your throat and everywhere in between. Look inside your mouth and think about all that surface area. As your dentist, I make it a point to look for any signs or symptoms of anything abnormal in your mouth, this does not just include decay in or on your teeth. I am looking for any redness, lumps, lesions and your bite. When I ask you questions about how your mouth is feeling, I am wanting to know if you are having any soreness, tenderness, and swelling. What you may think something that is not that big of a deal, it may be. When I am asking about your family history - though it may seem strange that I am a dentist, as you know, having an idea of what the family's history of illness is can be an indicator in your own body.

 

I encourage that if between your regular visits to your dentist's office you notice anything that seems off, do not hesitate to give your doctor a call. I am sure he/she will be more than happy to schedule an appointment even just to put your mind at ease. Keep in mind there are many things that can stick out to indicate something may be abnormal. According to The American Dental Association, the symptoms of mouth or throat can include:

 

  • A sore or irritation that does not go away
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

 

Patients over the age of 40 tend to be more at risk of these factors, it has however been found in patients younger than that. Contributing factors can include tobacco/nicotine users of all kinds, HPV has even been associated with certain types of oral cancer. Keeping your mouth healthy with brushing, flossing, fluoride use, regular dental visits, a good diet, and keeping your mouth moist will not only assist in presentation of tooth decay but oral cancers as well.

 

For more information about oral cancers please visit http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-cancer or http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/

5 Reasons You May Need Orthodontics

Orthodontics are not only for teenagers anymore, adults can benefit just as much from orthodontics (braces or clear aligners). The advancements in orthodontics over the years is absolutely astounding. General dentists are even able to take on some cases now. If you have ever wondered about the benefits of orthodontics, here are 5 reasons you may need orthodontics:

 

  1. To improve your overall oral health. Too much crowding or spacing in your teeth and create little harbors of plaque and bacteria which we already know can lead to decay, gum disease and bone loss. Straightening your teeth will help to eliminate some of these issues with regular brushing and flossing. Maintenance of your oral health and prevent costly and timely restorations in the future.
  2. To relieve discomfort stemming from poor alignment of your upper and or lower jaw. The human body is so intricately connected that even if your bite is off by mere millimeters your body will find a way to compensate in one way or another to feel normal.
  3. To tie directly into the poor alignment of your upper and lower jaw, you may notice that you have an overbite or an under bite.
  4. Reducing a "gummy" smile. Are you embarrassed about having a gummy smile? The only option available many years ago was to due crown restoration on each tooth, not anymore!!
  5. This brings us to cosmetic. Straightening your teeth can add confidence to your smile that you didn't even know you were missing.

 

Braces come in all shapes and sizes anymore. There are traditional or metal braces for more extensive treatments on adults. Metal braces are recommended for adolescents as well because clear aligners such as Invisalign® or ClearCorrect tend to require more discipline with use. Clear aligners allow you freedom to straighten your teeth virtually invisibly. There are also options like MTM® (Minimal Teeth Movements) or Fastbraces® that are much faster than traditional braces. Most offices in your area, dental or orthodontic will offer free consultations allowing you to meet with a doctor to go over all of your concerns and see what options best suite you.

Do You Really Know How To Floss?

Let's face it - flossing is a little tricky. Are you doing it properly? Are you doing it often enough? Are you using the correct flossing instrument? Are you getting sick of your dental hygienist lecturing you at every dental appointment about flossing? The question of the day is do you really know how to floss? I personally always love when I get my teeth cleaned and the hygienist finishes off my cleaning with a good thorough flossing. They are able to get in to all the areas that it seems like I cannot. How am I supposed to fit my hands ALL the way back there??!? I wanted to simply the technique for you at home - so it doesn't seem so daunting.

Step 1: Grab some floss, the ADA recommends about 18 inches. Really just grab enough to be able to use some clean floss after each tooth.

Step 2: Get the floss between the teeth and all the way up to the gum line gently and "wrap" your tooth with the floss. Use an up and down and back and forth (or zig-zag) motion to get all those surfaces.

Step 3: Once all your teeth are squeaky clean, rinse your mouth very well - you did just clean out a lot of bacteria from under your gums.

Easy enough, right? If you are a type of person that struggles with standard floss, there are lots of other options out there to help you achieve your flossing goals and make your hygienist beam with pride at your next cleaning. I she has even offered you a handheld flosser at one of your appointments. Take her up on it next time. The technique with these is similar but it gives you the luxury of not having to struggle getting around those back teeth and hard to reach places. All the major dental companies have created water flossers or air flossers as well. The water and air flossers are easy to use, gentle and incredibly effective. Have a lot of bridge or crown work, maybe even braces? We have floss for that too! Special floss to get around those wires to keep your gums healthy! Remember, flossing is the most effective way to keep plaque out of your gum tissue and off of your teeth in between your dental cleanings. Research your options and start flossing - this way if someone should ask do you really know how to floss? You can say, YES and I have the gums to prove it!

Fluoride, nature’s cavity fighter

Have you ever sat and wondered to yourself, "What is fluoride anyway and why is my dentist all about it?" - Well, I am here to fill you in. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in all water sources without additional fluoridation. Depending on the region you live in the level of naturally occurring fluoride may be different. The mineral itself is renowned for strengthening teeth and helping prevent tooth decay. Fluoride, nature's cavity fighter! According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) 92% of adults between 20-64 have had decay in their permanent teeth and 26% of adults the same age have untreated decay. Now, don't get me wrong - these statistics are not simply because people chose not to have fluoride treatments at their dental cleanings or refuse to drink fluoridated water, there are many reasons as to why tooth decay occurs. Fluoride is simply an overlooked good.

Fluoride works by fighting acids in our food and drinks that attack teeth and cause decay. Think of fluoride as D vitamins in your milk - or juice with added calcium, it is simply an added benefit to help protect your very precious smile. The American Dental Association suggests that "for children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush your children's teeth twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist or physician. For children 3 to 6 years of age, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and brush teeth twice a day. Always supervise your child's brushing to make sure they use the right amount of toothpaste and try and get your child to spit out most of the toothpaste." The ADA also states that "if you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride to your teeth during your dental visit. Your dentist might also tell you to use a special fluoride rinse, paste or gel at home." The ADA is absolutely correct in this, and I practice it here in my office. Why not take advantage of fluoride, nature's cavity fighter. For more information about fluoride or fluoridation head straight to www.mouthhealthy.org/fluoride

Dental Phobia

Did you know that it is estimated that as many as 58% of US adults have some degree of dental phobia? I ask myself constantly where this anxiety comes from - is it from a past dental experience, negative dental propaganda or something much larger. I tend to ask my anxious patients what exactly about dentists or dental offices make them uncomfortable. In older generations I cannot tell you how many times and stories I have heard about their dental phobia stemming from when they were children. Dental insurance was not always (and is still not always) a benefit available to most people and chances are even if you had it, your dentist did not accept it. Most families could not afford regular dental care and would therefore wait until there was a dental emergency before going to see good ol' Dr. Rootcanal (kidding, of course). Prolonging these visits to when someone in the family was in discomfort only made the situation worse. On occasion, a families could not afford the anesthesia used to avoid discomfort, this made for and extremely uncomfortable procedure. If something got too uncomfortable or if the patient would not hold still, some dentists would use a papoose board to strap the patient down. In these unfortunate situations, the patient, usually a child, had no control. Dentists were/are portrayed as cold, calculated and uncaring for shock value in movies and sadly dental instruments were used as torture devices by some very bad people in history. Luckily - our industry has changed, a lot.

The most reliable way to help a patient deal with dental phobia, is to give control back to the patient. We do not confine patient to their dental chair or the operatory. I highly recommend you allow me to treat you in the operatory, but if you need to stop and get up and move around, take a break - you are allowed to do so as often as you may need. Waiting rooms and operatories are designed with a more welcoming, comfortable feel. In-office amenities such as noise cancelling headphones, televisions, and music are available for your comfort. These things will help keep your mind off of the dental room As with most phobias, there are many way to conquer your fear; solutions such as meditation, guided imagery, acupuncture are in my opinion among the more extreme and may not be the answer for everyone. If those aren't for you - gentle sedation such as nitrous oxide (N20 or laughing gas), moderate sedation such as oral medications and total sedation using IV medications (take me to dream land) are always options. Rest assured, we can and will do our best to make you comfortable no matter the degree of dental phobia you may have experienced, and most importantly I will always take the time to listen and provide recommendations.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil (coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil is recommended) for 20 minutes each day. The benefits are said to help prevent gingivitis and plaque buildup - some also say it can help prevent cavities among other health benefits. It is really difficult for someone in my profession to try a different oral health technique to really get a grasp on the dental benefits of it. I say this because anyone in the dentistry profession has a tendency to get regular cleanings and check up's and often times more than every six months. As the "oil pulling" trend is becoming more popular, patients are asking me how I feel about it - so I did it. My oil pulling experience was interesting. Swishing coconut oil for a solid 20 minutes each day was trying on me, my jaw got tired and it seemed like 20 minutes lasted a lifetime. I did read that there are other, shorter methods to do this - but I wanted to try it as authentically as possible.

I did notice right away that my breath felt like it was fresher. I am not able to attest whether it was the refreshing coconut oil or if it really genuinely cleaned bacteria and plaque off of my gums and teeth. After a few days of this painstaking task, I did notice less tissue breakage when I flossed meaning my gums were a little healthier. I will have to have one of my hygienists tell me how well I did at my next hygiene cleaning where they can check under the gum line and take my periodontal readings. All in all, I can see how oil pulling has some benefits. I would not recommend oil pulling as a substitute for regular hygiene appointments and dental check up's and I certainly do not suggest skipping brushing or flossing regularly either, but as an addition to your current healthy dental hygiene habits, I say go for it. Let me know if you have tried it and how you feel about it.

How do you choose the best dentist for you?

Finding someone who your trust to take care of your smile can be a daunting task, after all - it is only your smile. Doctors in general tend to abide by a strict code of principals, ethics and professional conduct; however that is not all that makes a good match. How do you choose the best dentist for you? The majority of the new patients that come to my office for the first time come on the personal recommendation from a trusted colleague, friend or family member. Asking a friend or family member is typically the go to when searching for something new and different. The American Dental Association has done everything they can to make alternate searching fast and easy. All American Dental Association Members have promised to follow the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, which consists of five ethical principles: 1. Self-Governance 2. Do no harm 3. Do good 4. Fairness and 5. Truthfulness (for more information go to http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/e/Ethics-and-Dentistry).

Other things to consider when choosing a new dentist are if office is near your work or home, your schedules work together, there are options available for after-hours emergency care, you feel comfortable in the office, the office appears clean and orderly, the staff is friendly, etc. Now-a-days most of this information can be located online. If someone has had a bad experience, the internet will know about it. Most dental offices have professional WebPages that allow you to preview the office, fill out forms, and see pictures of the Doctor and other staff members - pre acquainting yourself with office before you even make an appointment. How do you choose the best dentist for you? Only you can answer what your personal expectations and needs are. For more resources or information on how you can find an ADA dentist in your area go to http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/find-a-dentist

Make a plan, pick a day and quit

Every November the American Cancer Society promotes the "Great American Smoke out." Its purpose is to encourage tobacco users to make a plan, pick a day and quit. We all know there are a million and five reasons to quit using tobacco. The education organizations like the American Cancer Society providers for free is almost overwhelming!

It is no secret that tobacco use affects the heart, lungs, throat, skin etc. - but did you know, according to the American Cancer Society, that smoking and chewing tobacco can increase your risk for bladder and cervical cancer as well? 5 years of quitting tobacco the risk for these cancers decreases to that of a non tobacco user. There is a multitude of immediate benefits of quitting as well, all of which are located on the American Cancer Society's webpage http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-benefits

From a dental standpoint, smoking and chewing tobacco causes staining of the teeth, bad breath, and gum disease (which can cause tooth loss) not to mention it can lead to mouth and/or throat cancer. Tobacco can even threaten current dental treatment you are undergoing or have already completed. The instability tobacco use causes to gum tissue can make you more at risk of losing restoratives on teeth. If you needed more reason than this, quit because you deserve a life without addiction. My office will always offer the incentive of "Quit smoking for 6 months and get free bleach trays." As this year comes to an end, make it your resolution to make a plan, pick a day and quit for good!

Understanding Dental Insurance

Now that the end of the year is approaching a lot of you are going through plan after plan your employer has selected for your medical, dental and vision plans. I hope this will help in understanding dental insurance better and will assist in helping you choose the correct plan for you. One of the largest misconceptions about dental insurance is that it works hand in hand with your medical insurance - it does not. Dental insurance is a completely different animal. The way I can best describe it to a patient is to think of it strictly as a discount - no more, no less. Dental coverage is decided by how much your employer pays into the plan, it has nothing to do with what your dentist would recognize as the best possible treatment. It is a contract between your employer and the insurance company and they are deciding what amounts your plan pays and what is covered. You as an employee have every right to let your employer know if your coverage is not adequate for your health needs.

So many of my patients will tend to select the treatment option that is covered by their dental insurance and not what is recommended. I feel I must point out that your health is the most important thing. As many of you know I tend to recommend to my patients what I would to my own mother or father to keep their mouths healthy; it is not my practice to overextend your wallets. Many dental offices, including mine, try to help take all the guess work out of dental insurance. We will call and get full breakdowns from each company to get an overview of what is covered and what is not. We will file all of your claims so you do not have to mess with the paperwork and follow up ultimately saving you a lot of time and money. Dental insurance is just one part of staying healthy. If you ever have any questions on how your insurance works - we will be more than happy to take the time to explain all of the ins and outs. We will help you understand what your insurance will cover and how to plan accordingly. Remember, the least expensive option is not always the best option. This goes for dental, medical or vision. Understand your insurance; it will make your life a lot easier when it comes to deciding what is best for you.