Our Veteran's Smile Day ended up with 50 Veteran's treated with $23,543 of free dental care! Thank you to everyone who helped make this special day happen! Also, thank you to Farelli's Pizza for donating all the pizzas (yum!), Patterson Dental and Henry Schein Dental for donating materials, Sessler Inc for about a million donuts, and Mountain Mist for water and coffee. What a great feeling to serve those who have served our country.
This month (December 2015) we are donating all the proceeds from New Patient exams to Toys for Tots.
Winter is here, and with it comes many of our beloved holidays such as: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas , New Year's, and let us not forget the football season. What does the mentioning of these holidays bring to your mind? I think of : candy, sweet desserts, and all the yummy holiday specials that I’ll be enjoying over the months.
All of us have heard and know that candy “rots” our teeth, and I’m sure we all know by now that sipping on soft drinks does the same thing. This also goes for energy drinks. They are packed with sugar and caffeine. But one thing we don't think about is the carbohydrates that we consume such as: potato chips, breads, or innocent snacks like raisins, that we might give our children to eat between meals. Hey raisins are fruit, right?!
Well as dental professionals would explain to us, all of the foods like potato chips, raisins, cereals and breads (with higher starch and sugar contents) do tend to “stick or cling” to our teeth much longer after consumption then fresh fruit or cheese would. Bacteria that live in our mouths “eats” these foods, turning them into acids. Lack of tooth brushing combine with those acids, and our saliva form into sticky plaque. The acids in plaque erodes enamel, the strongest structural defense of our teeth, creating holes in the teeth which are called cavities. Our saliva helps to buffer the acid and keep our mouths as clean as possible, but regular brushing and flossing are a MUST to keep plaque from forming on our teeth and causing decay.
So the solution to less tooth decay would not be, no sweets or carbohydrates, but consumption of them at meal times and of course- regular tooth brushing! As we all know health of our mouths links to our overall health.
Do you all remember that old saying “ An apple a day keeps a doctor away”, could it possibly be “ An apple a day keeps a tooth decay away”?!?
Natural sugars and little to no starch content will be easier cleaned by our saliva which in turn causes less plaque and less decay… Happy Holidays!
I would like to make this month’s topic super exciting, but I’m not sure that is possible. So hopefully I can at least offer some helpful information.
When I asked friends and family things they would like to know about dental insurance, most said the same thing, “Why doesn’t my insurance cover _____”. The thing to remember about your insurance is that it is meant to help offset the cost of dental care. Very few dental plans cover everything 100%. Keep in mind that insurance companies are a business, they want to make money. So if you pay into a dental plan each month but rarely use your benefits then they are making money. What I tell friends and family is at the very least get in twice per year for your cleanings, exams & x-rays. Most plans cover those service 100%.The best advice I can offer for not wasting money is to have a better understanding of what your plan covers and if it has any limitations. Know if your plan is a calendar year (Jan – Dec) or if it is a plan year (year to year from when you signed up.)
If you are on a calendar year plan and need any dental treatment, the end of the year is fast approaching. Remember that any of the yearly maximum that is not used is lost, and starts over in January of the next year.
If you are in the market for new dental insurance, here is some important information to ask:
“Does the plan have any waiting periods?” – Some plans have six month to one year waiting periods for certain procedures such as crowns, bridges and implants. So be aware of that beforehand just in case you need those types of treatment.
“Does the plan have a missing tooth clause?” – What this means is if you are missing a tooth prior to obtaining coverage, they will not pay to replace the missing tooth with a bridge, iImplant, or partial denture (removable bridge.)
“Does the plan require you to go only to a certain list of doctors?” - Some of the new plans available require you to go to specific clinics such as Brite Smile & Sunrise Dental. We are preferred providers for the following insurance companies: Delta Dental, Regence, Premera, Cigna, Principal Financial, Watchtower, GEHA. We are also in the process of contracting with Metlife, Aetna and United Healthcare.
“Are the dental plans available on the health exchange accepted everywhere?” – Unfortunately no, most of these plans require doctors to sign separate contracts to accept the plans.
We are always happy to answer questions about your dental plan, please let us know if we can be of assistance.
There are many reasons why people avoid making time to go to the dentist. Some reasons have to do with cost, lack of dental insurance, or time constraints. Then there are some who just put if off or keep forgetting to make an appointment because they are not experiencing any discomfort or have any nagging reasons like bad breath or a rough spot in their mouth to remind them. Some people are afraid of making an appointment because it has been a few years since they have been and don’t want to be embarrassed admitting they have neglected their oral health. And some people are just afraid because of previous experiences they have encountered in the dental chair.
I would like to give you some good reasons to ditch any and all excuses mentioned above and get into see your dental team at Parkland Pacific Dental. I am a registered dental hygienist at Parkland Pacific Dental and from my own personal experience most people who take the time to face their issues and get into the dental chair are surprised to find their fears were unmerited.
Before I address some of the excuses or reasons listed above, I first want to let you know what is at risk if you avoid seeing your dentist on a regular interval. Besides the obvious, like getting dental infections such as cavities and periodontal disease treated before you lose teeth, there are some silent and life-changing consequences you can hopefully avoid. Most significant is getting screened for oral cancers. Oral cancers usually are not painful when they are in the early stages and by the time a person has symptoms that would cause them to seek out medical or dental advise they can be very invasive or advanced. Every time you get a dental check up, the dentist and hygienist are looking not only at your teeth but also for any suspicious looking tissue in and around the mouth. Also there is more and more information on the correlation between the health of your mouth and your overall systemic health. The most well known is the link between the health of your mouth and your cardiovascular health. Most people have probably been made aware that regular checkups and professional dental cleanings are important to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as increase blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke. There are also studies that show a direct correlation to chronic inflammation in the oral cavity (puffy, bloody gums) and a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and autoimmune chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and type II diabetes, especially for people who already have some biological tendency for those illnesses. Some reports suggest it is not real clear if the connection between chronic inflammation and biological tendency toward these illnesses is correlated or causal, however it is agreed upon that if you have any chronic conditions, unhealthy mouths can exasperate the symptoms. And for all the women of childbearing age, they should be aware that chronic inflammation in a pregnancy can lead to premature and low birth weight babies. Some insurances companies recognize this and cover/pay for more dental cleanings (3 to 4 instead of 1 or 2) during pregnancy. So, I am not just urging you to come to the dentist because I work in the dental field and enjoy helping people maintain health, it is because the evidence is out there showing you are risking your overall health not just a toothache, bad breath, and broken teeth.
If you have been putting off a visit because you are worried about the cost and don’t have dental insurance, you can call and find out before you arrive what to expect. Our dental office offers cash and senior discounts, and in some cases we can offer a dental package that includes routine exams, radiographs, and cleanings at a discounted rate. And the bigger picture is when you weigh the cost of going to the dentist for regular semi-annual or annual exams and cleanings to the cost of ignoring your oral health there is no question which is less expensive in the long run.
If making time to make the call to schedule appointment during office hours is keeping you away, Parkland Pacific offers the option of email and/or leaving a message to receive a text, email, or phone call back to answer your questions and schedule an appointment. Our dental office also offers flexible schedules to accommodate most scheduling needs.
If fear is keeping you from making your dental appointment because your memory of the dental office is less than a pleasant experience, just know the dental office of today is much more comfortable. Fear is sometimes irrational and trying to convince you of that is usually not enough to change it and that is why Parkland Pacific Dental offers medications and nitrous to help you relax during your dental appointment. If it is a fear of embarrassment what will be found because you notice a dark spot or stain that won’t brush off, if it is the start of an infection, the sooner you address it the more options you have to repair the situation. Waiting too long can lead to unnecessary discomfort and tooth loss.
Recently I encountered someone who had not been in to the dental office in several years due to lack of dental insurance and once they saw the pictures of their teeth covered by plaque and mineralized plaque (also known as calculus or tartar build up). And the pictures after removing the debris hiding under the calculus were nice, beautiful, white, teeth! No cavities. They were so happy to have made the choice to come in to our office and have us examine and clean their teeth. You can also see how puffy and red the gums where with all the plaque and tartar (calculus) on the teeth, but after it is cleaned off they start to get healthy almost immediately.
So give us a call or send us an email to schedule your visit to our office. You may also have a hidden treasure of a beautiful smile, let the dental team at Parkland Pacific Dental help you find your treasure.