Recent News & Events
Posted May 31, 2012:A Healthy Diet is the Key to a Healthy Smile
When viewing the body as a complicated machine, it’s easy to understand how the foods we eat affect our overall health. Fuel the machine with a properly balanced diet, and you provide it the energy needed to get through the day. Fuel your body with foods that don’t offer enough needed vitamins and nutrients, and you begin to feel sluggish and tired.
A poor diet does more than drain you of energy and expand your waistline, it can also affect the health of your teeth and gums. Americans are consuming more sugar in their diets now than in any point in history. This has caused many dentists to become concerned about the long term health of patients teeth due to the increasingly high number of sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and empty calorie snacks people consume on a daily basis. Since most people learn their current dietary habits at a young age, long term eating patterns can determine their overall oral health as an adult.
Every time you consume sugar, the sticky bacteria that clings to your teeth known as plaque begins to produce an acid that eats away at your teeth’s enamel for at least 20 minutes. Given enough time, and plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Since plaque uses sugar as fuel to produce teeth damaging acids, diets high in sugar provide plaque more than enough fuel to do permanent damage to the health of your teeth.
What concerns dentists the most about high sugar diets is the frequent amount of snacking that occurs throughout the day. If, for example, a person drinks three cans a soda a day without immediately brushing afterward, that’s at least 60 minutes worth of damage done to your teeth’s enamel by plaque. If drinking this much soda daily has been part of that person’s diet since they were a child or a teenager, that’s a lot of damage done by plaque to the health of their teeth by the time they become an adult. The sugar found in cookies, candy bars, pastries, energy drinks, sweetened fruit juice, and any other type of midday or late night snack also have the same potential of damaging your teeth as a can of soda.
A poor diet can also deprive your body of needed nutrients that help the tissue in your mouth fight off infection, which could result in the development of periodontal disease, one of the major causes of adult tooth loss. While a poor diet cannot cause periodontal disease, researcher have found evidence that suggests the disease progresses faster in individuals you suffer from poor nutrition.
Fortunately, by controlling and monitoring your diet, you can help ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy. You can do this in several ways:
- Eat a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables contain lower levels of sugar than starches and carbohydrates, so be sure to maintain an equal balance in your diet so you can decrease the amount of sugar you consume daily, while getting plenty of nutrients.
- Cut back on the number of times you snack throughout the day. Whenever you do snack, eat a piece of fruit, a serving of vegetables, some yogurt, or a slice of cheese instead of reaching for a less healthy alternative.
- Your mouth produces high levels of saliva during bigger meals that helps to wash away excess food particles and plaque acids. Since your mouth produces much less saliva while snacking, food eaten outside of a big meal does more damage to your teeth because harmful acids are not washed away. If you can’t brush immediately after a snack, make sure to rinse your mouth out with water instead.
Don’t forget, in addition to practicing a healthy diet, you also need continue to brush at least twice a day and floss daily, and make sure to schedule regular appointments with Drs. Doyel and Aanderud for regular checkups and cleanings.
Posted April 30, 2012:Most Common Reasons for Tooth Pain
Here at Pacific Family Dental, a Sherwood Dentist, we care about your overall health. Visiting the dentist every six months is an important and easy way to stay up to date with your oral health. Most of your oral care is preventative which means the majority of the health benefits happen with the care you do at home. But what happens when you stay up to date with your cleaning visits and practice good oral care but still have tooth problems, such as pain or discomfort? We recommend coming in to see us if you have tooth pain that persists for an extended period of time. Here are common causes of tooth pain, and possible ways to heal it.
Common Causes of Toothaches
Almost everyone will experience a toothache at one point in his or her life. Sometimes eating something extra cold or cracking down on a hard piece of food or candy can cause tooth discomfort. But if a toothache persists over a period of days it is important to know that that pain is an indicator that something is not quite right.
A toothache that lasts a while is typically result from either jaw or more severe tooth issues.
These problems could be from a crack in your tooth, possible gum disease, a cavity, or even an exposed tooth root. There are a wide variety of other conditions.
If you have chronic tooth pain visit your dentist as soon as possible so they can help you.
Dental cavities are the most common cause of toothaches. If you have a cavity, you may not initially experience pain. However, neglecting to visit your dentist on a regularly basis can cause that cavity to become worse, which almost always results in a toothache.
The easiest ways to prevent tooth cavities is to brush your teeth twice a day, use a fluoride toothpaste and make sure to floss at least once a day. Along with these easy to do tips, our Doctors strongly recommend that you also follow a balanced diet with limited snacks and participate in regular dental visits and cleanings.
Gum Disease is the second most common cause of toothaches. If you smoke you may be at higher risk. Warning signs often include tender, swollen, reddened gums or gums that have pulled away from your teeth or bleed. Visit your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms. Treatments will vary, depending on the degree of gum disease, which is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms and treat them as soon as possible. Gum disease can cause toothaches in the roots of your teeth, resulting in pain when you eat anything hot, cold or sour.
If you are experiencing tooth pain come visit Dr. Nathan Doyel or Dr. Ben Aanderud for immediate attention. Here at Pacific Family Dental, your health is our number one priority.
Posted April 3, 2012:The History of the Toothbrush
As patients of Drs. Doyel and Aanderud well know, brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While most dentists didn’t start to regularly advise their patients about the benefits of preventative dental care until after World War II, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss have been around for hundreds of years.
Before the invention of toothbrushes people use today, ancient man used small twigs from fibrous trees called chewsticks. By chewing on one end of the stick until the fibers of the wood were loose, ancient man would then whisk way any extra food from between their teeth by using the small fibers like a brush. Chewsticks are still used today in parts of Africa and in some Islamic countries.
The first toothbrush that resembled what we use today was invented by the ancient Chinese who created bristled toothbrushes using hair from the necks of pigs that lived in colder climates.
Despite these early advances in toothbrush technology, brushing one’s teeth for the sake of good dental hygiene didn’t catch on until much later in history. By the late 19th century, multiple companies were mass producing toothbrushes, but very few Americans actually bothered to brush their teeth. It wasn’t until Charles Cassidy Bass, a physician from Mississippi, began proposing the radical idea that a person’s teeth didn’t have to fall out just because they got older, did people begin to consider brushing on a regular basis. As part of his message about better dental health, Dr. Bass developed a brushing technique that still remains part of the curriculum at many dental schools today.
The ancient Chinese, who must have had some of the nicest smiles in the ancient world, were one of the first cultures to invent toothpaste around 500 B.C. The ancient Greeks and Romans also used toothpaste, and added crushed bone and oyster shells to the mixture to provide a better abrasive base for which to brush with.
By the early 19th century, toothpaste that resembles what we use today was being developed. The first toothpaste to have soap added to it (detergent is what makes soap so frothy) was invented in 1824, and by 1873, Colgate was selling the first mass produced brand of toothpaste in a jar. The first packaging of toothpaste in a collapsible tube was marketed in 1892 as Dr. Sheffield’s Creme Dentifrice, but that would be the last great advance in the product’s development until after World War II, when such emulsifying agents and fluoride were added to the mixture.
Archeologist have found evidence suggesting that ancient civilizations used some form of dental floss, but not much is known about what materials they used. The inventor of modern day floss, New Orleans physician Levi Spear Parmly, began promoting the use of his silk made floss in 1815, and the Johnson and Johnson Company first patented a dental floss in 1898. The afore mentioned Dr. Bass was the first person to develop a nylon substitute for floss instead of silk.
Posted March 21, 2012:Filling You in on What You Need to Know About Fillings
Unless you list brushing your teeth as your favorite hobby, and are more likely to find a piece of floss stuck in your teeth than food, you probably have had a cavity.
When the sticky bacteria known as plaque comes into contact with sugar, the pesky plaque starts producing acids that slowly eat away at your teeth’s enamel. Brushing helps to remove the plaque from your teeth, but failing to brush regularly gives the acids produced by plague time to slowly eat away at your teeth’s enamel. The cumulative effect of those acid attacks can cause a cavity to form in a tooth that needs filling.
Dental fillings have come in many forms since the art of dentistry evolved from the days when toothaches were blamed on precocious demons and invisible worms. During the Civil War, dental fillings were made of a variety of substances, including lead, gold, silver, tin, platinum, and aluminum. During the mid-19th century, asbestos was even used to fill the space between a filling and a sensitive tooth.
Fortunately, dentistry has come a long way, and many advances in dental materials and techniques have provided dentists a variety of ways to create natural-looking smiles.
Determining which dental filling is right for you depends on a number factors. Your overall oral health, where the filling will be placed, the chewing load that particular tooth will bear, how many visits are needed to prepare the tooth for a filling, and cost can all influence the type of filling that best fits your needs.
The most common type of filling for over the last century, amalgam fillings are made of a stable alloy comprised from several different types of metal. Generally consisting of a combination of tin, silver, mercury, and copper, amalgam fillings are durable, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. The use of mercury in amalgam fillings has generated some controversy in the past, but the when combined with the other elements, the mercury is render stable and safe for use. Because of their durability, amalgam fillings work well for molars located in the back of the mouth were most of the real chewing actions happens.
Amalgam fillings do have some drawbacks, including short-term sensitivity to heat and cold immediately after being implaned, and their shinny appearance causes them to stand out from your teeth’s natural color.
A mixture of glass or quartz filler combined with a resin medium, composite fillings are designed to blend perfectly with your teeth’s natural color. Composite fillings offer decent durability and can withstand a moderate amount of chewing pressure. They also require less tooth structure be removed when preparing your tooth for a filling, which could result in a smaller filling being installed than if Dr. Doyel used an amalgam filling.
Composite fillings may cost slightly more than an amalgam filling, and generally take longer to place. Composite fillings can also become stained or discolored over time.
Used less commonly than composite or amalgam fillings, ionomers fillings are made from a mixture of acrylic acids and glass powder to mimic the color of your tooth. Glass ionomers are fairly delicate compared to other types of fillings, and are often used in areas that experience little chewing pressure, such as between teeth and at the root structure.
Posted February 20, 2012:Losing Baby Teeth
Do you have a child who is losing their baby teeth? Losing a baby tooth is the ultimate sign of a child stepping into the big kid world. To a child, losing their baby teeth is significant and more often even more memorable then learning how to read, write and even ride a bike.
If your child is losing their baby teeth it is important to recognize how important it is. To them, this is the big deal, so much so they keep track at school, of how many they have lost compared to their classmates. Baby teeth loosen as their roots dissolve, which clears the way for permanent teeth to grow in. In general the bottom two front teeth are usually the first to go. And then usually the top two front teeth. Here are some tips to help you with your children when they lose their baby teeth.
When do children lose their baby teeth?
Most children get their first loose tooth around age 5 or 6. It can happen as young as age 4 or as old as age 8 but in general the first and second grade is when children start to lose their baby teeth.
How long does it take to fall out after it is loose?
After a baby tooth becomes loose it will take about 2-3 months to fall out. Most of the time the teeth tend to fall out on their own. This is an exciting moment for a child who could be going about their day and then all of a sudden their tooth falls out. Sometimes teeth fall out in food or get stuck in food, or even get swallowed, which is harmless.
Loose teeth can also be extremely stubborn; sometimes they hang on by a thread for many weeks.
Is it okay for kids to wiggle them free?
Yes it is absolutely okay for children to wiggle their loose teeth. If there’s no root left, you should be able to pull it out rather easily. But don’t force the tooth, and do not ever tie it to a string and yank — if the root is only half dissolved, it could break and become infected.
Losing baby teeth is usually painless. But sometimes the edge of the baby tooth cuts into the child gums and can cause pain. Pay attention if this happens because the gums could become swollen and some kids will complain that it hurts. A topical treatment of ibuprofen can help ease the pain. Please ensure your child maintains a healthy diet even if it hurts to eat or chew. Vegetable soup, pureed fruits or any healthy soft food will help them maintain overall balanced health.
Losing baby teeth can be an exciting time for your child and you. Make sure they continue to brush her teeth twice daily, and help them with flossing.
Posted January 19, 2012:Unique Ways to Get a Brighter Smile
The New Year is a time when healthy patterns emerge. It is out with the old and in with the new. If getting a brighter smile is on your New Years Resolution list then we have some creative ideas to help you reach your goal.
Sure it may sound a little hokey but studies prove that optimistic people are happier. And when you are happy you smile more. People who smile are more confident, friendly and approachable. If you look at the world as a glass half full kind of person you will instantly have a brighter outlook on life and your smile will shine from the inside out.
Embrace a Healthy Diet
Eating right is a top priority for most people in the beginning stages of the New Year. But continuing to focus on your health is important, not only for the longevity of your life but for your oral health as well. Make eating healthy a lifestyle not a quick diet. Eating a healthy diet will benefit your smile in many ways. By choosing healthy foods you will decrease your risk for many diseases, like cancer, high cholesterol and obesity. When you take care of yourself you feel better and will naturally want to smile more.
It seems backwards to think that the best way to take care of your teeth is to smile, but the truth is the more you smile the better you feel. And you can have outstanding oral care but if you don’t smile and share yourself with others, then you won’t be able to share all of that good health habits that you practice daily. Let your self-shine with a happy healthy smile.
Drink Lots of Water
Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day is not only good for your health but it is great for your teeth. When we eat food, particles and bacteria build up on our teeth. Drinking water before, during and after a meal will help wash food particles away. This can help reduce plaque build up and the potential for cavities to form. If drinking water is hard for you because of the lack of flavor add some flavor to make it more enjoyable. We recommend adding cucumbers or fresh lemon.
Avoid Home Whitening Remedies
Home whitening remedies such as baking soda with water can damage teeth. For a real long lasting brighter smile visit your dentist for the their recommendations.
Posted December 19, 2011:Keep Teeth Healthy Over the Holidays
The Christmas holiday celebrations tend to bring excess food into our lives, especially traditional desserts, candy and other goodies. Keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright through the holiday season with these simple tips.
Keep Daily Dental Routines
Along with excess, the Christmas season brings chaos when it comes to regular schedules and routines. Since the increase of sugary foods during the holiday season leads to a rise in the production of plaque on teeth, daily dental routines become even more important.
Even as your schedule is interrupted with trips out of town or extra days off from work, keep the daily dental routines that ensure a healthy smile. Brush teeth after each meal, or at least once in the morning and once at night before bed. Floss once a day, combining it with the morning or evening teeth brushing. These good habits will keep away the unwanted gift of tooth decay.
Schedule Snacks and Meals
There’s more down time during the holidays, which when combined with the increase in sweet and salty snacks can be a dangerous situation when it comes to the health of your teeth. To help prevent tooth decay, keep a regular schedule of snacks and meals whenever possible.
Closely monitor the kinds of foods eaten during the day and in the evening, limiting dietary choices as much as possible to vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and whole-grains. A helpful tip includes incorporating crunch fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples during this time of year – the natural crunch helps get rid of bacteria that eventually turns to plaque.
The Best Candy for Teeth
It’s impossible to avoid candy and goodies during the Christmas season. While you consider the options at your next holiday gathering, keep in mind that while sugar as a rule isn’t good for your teeth, there are alternatives that can help keep your teeth healthy.
- Candy that contains xylitol doesn’t contain the refined sugar that results in the build-up of harmful plaque on the surfaces of teeth.
- Sugar-free gum or mints can help keep your mouth busy when faced with sugary temptations.
- Chocolate – especially dark varieties – in moderation can offer health benefits and is less likely to stick to teeth when frozen.
The types of candy to avoid during the Christmas season include those that sit a long time in the mouth, like hard, filled or chewy candies. These stick around in and around your teeth long afterward, contributing to the increased chance of tooth decay. This would definitely be an unwanted gift as you celebrate the holiday season!
Nothing can replace regular, professional dental care and treatment. As the new year approaches, give Pacific Family Dental a call at 503-925-9595 for your next appointment or request a personal appointment online!
Posted December 19, 2011:Dealing With Dental Anxiety
Going to the dentist is an essential part of a comprehensive dental care plan. Avoiding regular dental exams and teeth cleanings can lead to a number of serious complications when it comes to taking care of your smile. However, just considering going to the dentist results in overwhelming fear for a variety of people.
If you feel anxious and fearful about going to the dentist, there’s great news! Modern dentistry techniques and technology allows the dentists and staff at Pacific Family Dental to alleviate your anxiety while you receive the best dental care for your unique needs.
How? By partnering with each patient in a long-term relationship.
A Relationship That’s Honest
If you feel any level of fear or anxiety when considering a dental visit, we want to know about it right away. This kind of honesty regarding your fears allows us the opportunity to discuss them openly with you and provide you with the care that you need in order to have a healthy smile. We want to know not only your fears, but your expectations when it comes to great dental care. This kind of open conversation builds our relationship with you that will last for many years!
Answers to Questions
One way to build this relationship is to give us the opportunity to answer any questions you might have, ranging from simple procedures to more complicated treatment options. If you know of sensitivity that triggers a fear of the dentist, such as a specific sound or taste, let us know so that we can as you pertinent questions and provide appropriate alternatives for your highest level of comfort.
One of these alternatives to alleviate anxiety during your dental visit may involve covering you with a warm blanket or providing an MP3 player with relaxing music. Other practical ways to deal with dental anxiety include making sure you have plenty of time for the appointment so that you don’t feel rushed, a special signal that lets your dentist know that you need a break, and sedatives – such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) – administered during your appointment.
At Pacific Family Dental, we’re interested in building a long-term relationship as we achieve your dental goals. Dealing with dental anxiety is a great way for us to partner with you as we work together to keep your smile healthy and bright. Call Pacific Family Dental at 503-925-9595 for your next appointment or request a personal appointment online so that we can begin building this important relationship to ensure your best health.
Posted December 15, 2010:Interpreting Tooth Pain
Symptom #1: Momentary hot or cold sensitivity to foods or drinks.
Possible Problem: May not be a problem. You may have experienced some minimal gum recession exposing sensitive portions of your teeth. Or you may be clenching your teeth while you sleep and the following day the teeth are more sensitive. There could also be a hormonal component to the sensitivity.
What to do: Try using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Brush and floss carefully and completely. If this doesn’t help, call us to check with an x-ray and other pulp testing procedures.
Symptom #2: Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment.
Possible Problem: Dental work may cause temporary nerve sensitivity.
What to do: Wait 5 to 7 days. If the pain persists or worsens, call us to evaluate any nerve (pulp) damage.
Symptom #3: Lingering (20-60 minutes) pain after eating hot or cold foods.
Possible Problem: This usually means the pulp has been damaged somehow.
What to do: Root canal treatment will likely have to be performed. Spontaneous pain – especially if it wakes you up at night – can become an obvious symptom of nerve damage.
Symptom #4: Sharp pain when biting down.
Possible Problem: Biting pain alone may indicate a cracked tooth. A crown is usually needed and often the nerve has been involved. If this biting pain is accompanied by cold sensitivity, an emergency root canal problem has developed.
What to do: Call us for an immediate evaluation and/or root canal treatment. Take an over-the-counter analgesic to stop the pain. Airplane flights or dramatic altitude changes can worsen your symptoms.
Symptom #5: Constant and severe pain with pressure, swelling of gums, and sensitivity to touch.
Possible Problem: Your pulp is completely abscessed, causing the teeth and surrounding bone to become infected.
What to do: Call us immediately to save the tooth with root canal treatment. Even strong pain medication does not help at this stage.
Symptom #6: Any pain, gum boil, or swelling that happens in a tooth that has previously had an old root canal.
Possible Problem: Tooth may be re-abscessing due to an undiscovered root canal or inadequate seal of the canals or a fracture of the tooth.
What to do: See us for preventative antibiotics so the problem doesn’t worsen. Most likely the old root canal will have to be re-done. Or surgical correction may be necessary. If the root is fractured, then the tooth will be lost.
Posted December 14, 2010:Teeth Whitening
Whitening is a bleaching process that gently lightens stained or discolored teeth. Whitening uses a safe and effective gel designed to produce oxygen when in contact with the surface of the teeth.
The outer layer of each tooth, called the enamel, contains pores that can hold stains. The whitening process virtually erases stains and brightens your teeth, without damaging your enamel or your gums.
Custom trays are made from molds of your teeth. In these trays you place the whitening gel . These trays are worn for as little as one hour a day for two weeks. In-office whitening is also available at 4 to 6 times the cost.
In-office whitening is also available for more immediate results. In as little as one appointment we can whiten your teeth several shades. Schedule a Cosmetic Consult with one of our Doctors to discuss your options.
Posted December 13, 2010:Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
In Preferred Provider Organization programs you must choose from a specific group of dentists who have agreed to provide minimal dental care for the contracted cost. Participating dentists have agreed to discount their fees so they can be a part of the program, and must often limit treatment options. Treatment choices are usually limited to the least expensive option regardless of desires of the patient for higher quality care.
Patients are funneled or referred to these participating dentist by the insurance network. If the patient chooses to see a dentist who is not designated as a “preferred provider,” that patient may be required to pay a greater share of the fee-for-service. Only about 81% of the monies spent on a PPO program goes to actual patient care. The remaining 19% goes to the insurance company. In a PPO, patients are limited in the choice of doctor and the quality of care they can receive. The largest PPO in Oregon is Oregon Dental Service (ODS).
Pacific Family Dental is fee approved for ODS, but we do not participate as preferred providers. Meaning we participate with ODS as an indemnity or UCR program only (see UCR programs). Unlike other indemnity programs, however, with ODS the UCRs are known and accepted fees. Our commitment to the highest quality dental care keeps us from participating in managed care programs, such as PPOs or HMOs (See Our Mission Statement).
Posted December 13, 2010:Indemnity or UCR Dental Insurance
Indemnity or UCR plans are the most common insurance programs. The initials UCR stands for Usual, Customary and Reasonable. In these programs you may find a dentist of your choice and the dentist is paid on a traditional “fee for service” basis. Monthly premiums are paid to the insurance company by employers. Indemnity plans often pay for services based on a variety of fee schedules. These plans often have a pre-determined deductible, a dollar amount which varies from plan to plan, that the patient must pay before the insurance carrier will begin paying for care. Once the deductible is met, then the insurance pays a customary 50% to 80% of the insurance company’s UCR fees. Leaving 20% to 50% or more of the total fee to be paid by the patient.
Unfortunately, UCR rates are often arbitrarily set by the insurance company and are not representative of local dentists’ fees. In fact, it is not unusual for the same insurance company to pay different UCR fees to the same dental office, depending on the plan purchased by different employers. This means insurance companies often have different UCRs for the same geographical area and for the same group of dentists. The American Dental Association considers this dishonest and has taken legal action against the larger insurance carriers.
Often insurance carriers set the UCRs far below the area’s usual professional fees, so patients may wind up paying more out-of-pocket. These insurance companies send out an “Explanation of Benefits” letter to patients with claim-denial language that states: “the provider has charged excessive and unreasonable fees”, when in fact the fees charged are below the average for the geographical area. This is very misleading to patients and the American Dental Association has filed several law suits in 2002 alleging that insurance carriers have interfered with the dentist-patient relationship, and have attempted to influence patient care. Only about 82% of the monies spent on a UCR program goes to actual patient care. The remaining 18% goes to the insurance company.
All UCR programs have limitations and exemptions. This means the contract that you and your employer have with your insurance company almost always covers only lower quality materials and services, which may not be the best treatment choice for you and your family. That is why it is very common for patients to choose dental treatment that their dental insurance won’t full pay for. In addition, all UCR programs have a yearly maximum allowable benefit. Unfortunately, the annual limit of dental insurance benefits hasn’t changed in 40 years. Back in 1960, a typical annual coverage maximum was $1,000. 40 years later it still sits at about $1,000, despite inflation and the cost of living increases. To stay up with inflation, that $1,000 in 1960 would have to increase to about $7,000 today.
The benefits have remained the same, while the premiums and costs of services have greatly increased. And most insurance plans often exclude new treatments they can label as discretionary; even common treatment such as implants, veneers, white fillings, bonding and whitening. In many cases, your insurance company wants you to only consider the cheapest dental procedures. But we believe that you should be able to choose the best, most durable dental treatment and materials for you and your family.
Most insurance companies not only want providers to limit the choice of procedures offered to patients, but the insurance carriers often refuse to share critical information with providers. In addition, any information shared with providers is disclaimed with a non-guarantee statement. Meaning insurance companies reserve the right to mislead providers with false, out of date information or change information after sharing it with providers. So it is always best for you to call your insurance carrier to verify your benefits or to inquire about coverage.
The staff at Pacific Family Dental will be glad to share with you the procedure codes you will need to provide to your insurance company in order for you to estimate your patient portion. Our staff is glad to attempt an estimate for you, but because of misleading tactics of insurance companies those estimates cannot be guaranteed. Other tactics used by UCR plans is what is called delay tactics. The most common delay tactic is refusing to pay for treatment without completely unrelated x-rays. For example they may refuse to pay for treatment completed on a patients upper right teeth without x-rays of the lower left teeth. These tactics used by insurance companies cause an increase in expenses resulting in higher cost to the patient.
Posted December 13, 2010:Capitation or HMO Dental Plans
Capitation plans are another form of managed care. They are also called a Dental Health Maintenance Organization or HMO. Participating dentists are paid a set amount for each person enrolled in the plan, rather than for actual treatment provided and whether they visit the dentist or not. Unfortunately, this type of plan encourages a “significant delay” in treatment, minimal services and the use of lower quality material. In other words, the provider looses money every time you require treatment or need to be seen, although a small co-payment is due at each visit.
The best financial situation for participating providers is to delay care or limit treatment options to the least expensive option regardless of desires you may have for higher quality care. And you can only see participating dentists and specialist, regardless of the quality of care you feel you are receiving. If you decide to see a dentist which is not on the HMO list of providers, charges for service will not be covered by the plan. Only about 73% of the monies spent on a HMO program goes to actual patient care. The remaining 27% goes to the insurance company.
Posted December 13, 2010:Home Dental Care Tips
Regular home dental cleaning and hygiene are an important part of maintaining a healthy smile. Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.
A few tips for proper home dental hygiene include:
Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.
Posted December 10, 2010:Direct Reimbursement Dental Insurance
In Direct Reimbursement programs, your employer reimburses you directly for part or all your dental treatment. Usually all types of treatment are covered and you can see any dentist you choose. In addition, you are free to choose the quality of care with which you are most comfortable. The American Dental Association views this as the best employer-patient insurance plan available today. About 95% of the monies spent on a Direct Reimbursement program goes to actual patient care.
Since an insurance company is in business to make money, they make more when they sell a plan that provides less benefit to the patient and more to the administrator of the program. Unfortunately because of this, Direct Reimbursement Programs are often the last ones employers are told about. If you would like to learn more about Direct Reimbursement programs, contact the American Dental Association (ADA).