Blanchard Family Dentistry | Monthly Blog in Winterset

 

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How do I get dental coverage?

Many people have dental plans through their employer; however, there are other options available for those that need dental coverage. It’s important to know all of your options when choosing the plan that’s right for you and your family.

Typical dental plans are not designed to cover all dental procedures. Here are a few things to consider: deductibles, coinsurance, annual maximums, exclusions (such as orthodontia treatment), frequency limitations, and fixed dollar amounts. Because every policy varies in its coverage, it is wise to check on benefits with your insurance company before you have any major dental treatment.

Resources and financing options:

  • Ask your dentist. Some offices offer a dental membership savings plan.
  • The Affordable Care Act- Healthcare.gov.
  • ToothWisdom.org offers a list of resources by state for those that are 60 years and older; or are the caregiver of an adult in need.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)- provides free or low-cost health and dental coverage for children up to the age of 19.
  • State assistance programs.
  • Shop around. Many insurance companies, such as Delta Dental, offer insurance coverage to the public.
  • CareCredit.com- finance dental treatment with no to low interest payment plan options with qualified credit.  

 

No matter which type of coverage or financing options you choose, the most important thing to remember is to use it. Putting off dental treatment can lead to more serious health problems and costly dental procedures.

 


How can I help my child have a healthy smile?

The month of February is recognized by the American Dental Association as National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about oral health and to promote healthy smiles for kids. It is estimated that over 51 million hours of school are missed every year due to dental problems. Approximately 44% of children in the U.S. will suffer from pediatric dental disease before they reach kindergarten. An even more alarming fact is approximately 17 million U.S. children go without dental care every year!

Pediatric dental disease is the number one reason children go to the ER every year, not ear aches or broken bones. Caries (cavities) are the most common chronic childhood illness.

There are several things that you can do for your child to prevent them from becoming a statistic.

  • Good oral habits start at home.
  • Teach them how to brush twice per day and floss once per day.
  • Provide the necessary supplies, such as a toothbrush every three months.
  • Use a fluoride mouth rinse daily.
  • Make it a fun routine. Set a timer, use a brushing app, or use a tooth brushing sticker chart.
  • Visit your dentist every six months.
  • Watch your child’s sugar intake. Sugar that’s not removed can cause cavities.

 

When it comes to cavities and oral disease prevention, knowledge is power.


Blanchard Family Dentistry in Winterset IA


Why is it important for me to take care of my teeth?

If you don't take care of your teeth, unhealthy gums and cavities can occur. Lack of oral hygiene can also affect your appetite by causing pain or difficulty when chewing your food. Your teeth play an important role in your speech; without your teeth, enunciation can be drastically different.

5 Tips to a healthier smile:

  1. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice per day for two minutes each time. Be sure to brush your tongue also. This will reduce your risk of plaque and toxins.
  2. Floss your teeth at least once per day. Your toothbrush cannot get in between the teeth, but food can.
  3. Use a fluoride mouthwash. The fluoride helps strengthen the enamel.
  4. Choose the right foods and drinks. Food and drinks that contain sugar are bad for your teeth because the sugar “bathes” the teeth which cause the bacteria and acids to break down the enamel.
  5. Visit your dentist office every six months. In addition to checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist and staff can educate you on proper oral hygiene methods. Regular cleanings and exams will help you keep your healthy smile longer!  

 

Make your oral health care a part of your New Year’s resolutions. Studies show that oral health is linked to other systematic issues, such as heart disease. The healthier your teeth are, the more you will show off your bright, confident smile.

Blanchard Family Dentistry in Winterset IA


How Cavities are Created by Sugars

This is a great question, especially with all of the holiday sweets that are coming up!   Sweets can be a big temptation for everyone, and knowing how they affect teeth and what you can do to protect yourself from decay is important.

Carbohydrates (sugars) can include processed sugars, natural sugars, starches and milk sugars.  These sugars and starches are what your body uses as quick fuel.  This is why you get a “sugar rush.” 

Just as with the rest of your body, bacteria are present in the mouth and affect what happens.  When you eat any of the different types of carbohydrates the bacteria in the mouth breaks down the sugars and produces acids.  The acids that are produced sit on the tooth surface and break down enamel, causing soft spots and cavities.

Sipping on things like soda, sweet tea or flavored water all day can be very harmful to your teeth.  Switching to diet drinks can help with this problem.  Gums and candies that have Xylitol in them are also very good for reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth.  You can also rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after you’ve had something sugary to eat.

The best thing to do to prevent tooth decay is not to eat sugar…..  This probably won’t happen though.  As long as you take care of your teeth, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a sweet treat!

 


Mouth Guards


Fall sports are a fun time for kids of all ages!  There are some precautions you should take to protect your child’s smile while they are playing sports.  Athletic mouth guards are the first line of defense against dental injuries in contact sports.  For sports like football, players should always wear a protective helmet along with their athletic guard.

Athletic guards can be purchased at a few different places.  You can find them at many pharmacies and sporting goods stores.  These athletic guards are mostly the “boil and bite” type.  These guards provide protection but tend to wear out easily and can warp or distort with additional heat.  Once this happens, they are not effective in protecting a player from injury.

Custom made athletic guards from your dentist are the best option for optimum protection.  They are more expensive than the “boil and bite” guards, but they are custom made for the athlete.  This ensures a proper fit and better protection from injury.  Your dentist will take an impression of the teeth and fabricate the guard for you.  This can be done in office or a laboratory so delivery times may vary.

 Your dentist can help you decide which option is best for your athlete, just let them know you need an athletic guard.  Whichever route you choose, any protection is better than no protection at all!

Blanchard Family Dentistry in Winterset IA

Back to School

Q:  Why do I need to have a dental exam for my child before they go back to school?
A:   The State of Iowa passed legislation in 2007 that requires all students entering kindergarten and ninth grade to have a dental screening.  This was to help promote the importance of oral health and improve the health of our children.  You must submit a dental screening form from the Iowa Department of Public Health to your child’s school when you register them.  The school will provide you with a screening form, or you can ask your dentist if they have a copy.  You must use this form for your child’s school dental screening.
If your child had an exam recently, there is no need to take them back to the dentist.  For kindergarten exams, they are accepted if your child has been seen since age 3.  Ninth grade exams will be accepted if they have been done one year prior to registration.  Call your dental office and they can send a screening form to your school for you.  
Although this screening is only required twice for the school system, your child should be seen every six months by a dental professional.  Regular dental cleanings and exams are a necessary part of keeping your child’s mouth healthy.  Even if you are helping them brush at home, a professional cleaning, x-rays (if needed) and an exam by a dentist are the best way to detect signs of cavities and provide treatment if necessary.

Why do I need to have a dental exam for my child before they go back to school?

The State of Iowa passed legislation in 2007 that requires all students entering kindergarten and ninth grade to have a dental screening.  This was to help promote the importance of oral health and improve the health of our children.  You must submit a dental screening form from the Iowa Department of Public Health to your child’s school when you register them.  The school will provide you with a screening form, or you can ask your dentist if they have a copy.  You must use this form for your child’s school dental screening.

If your child had an exam recently, there is no need to take them back to the dentist.  For kindergarten exams, they are accepted if your child has been seen since age 3.  Ninth grade exams will be accepted if they have been done one year prior to registration.  Call your dental office and they can send a screening form to your school for you.  

Although this screening is only required twice for the school system, your child should be seen every six months by a dental professional.  Regular dental cleanings and exams are a necessary part of keeping your child’s mouth healthy.  Even if you are helping them brush at home, a professional cleaning, x-rays (if needed) and an exam by a dentist are the best way to detect signs of cavities and provide treatment if necessary.

 

Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affected more than 45 million Americans last year.  Sensitivity can be caused by many different things, including: worn enamel, decay, cracked teeth, worn fillings, and exposed roots.  If the protective covering (enamel) is worn or cracked, it will let heat, cold, acids and sweets into the small tubes that lead to the nerve of the tooth.  This is what gives you the zing when you experience sensitivity.

There are many different treatments for tooth sensitivity.  The first thing that you should do is to visit your dentist to see what is causing your sensitivity.  If the sensitivity is caused by worn tooth enamel, a sensitive toothpaste may be helpful.  The toothpaste contains ingredients that plug the small tubes that lead to the nerve and block sensitivity.  When you are using the toothpaste, you have to give it time to build up enough product to plug the tubes.  It should start working in a couple of weeks.

If your dentist finds that your sensitivity is caused by a more serious problem, such as decay, receding gums, or a fractured tooth, they will give you treatment options.  Depending on the diagnosis, the tooth could need a filling, bonding or root canal treatment to restore it and prevent more sensitivity.

There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the cold treats of summer without sensitivity!

Image result for icecream smiles

Electronic Cigarettes 

It is great if you are trying to quit smoking, not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well.  It has been known for a long time that smoking can cause cancer, periodontal disease and other medical problems from the chemicals that are contained in the smoke. 

Although e-cigarettes do not contain as many chemicals as a traditional cigarette, there are still harmful substances found in the vapor that is produced.  A study done in 2011 showed that up to 8% of users experienced dry mouth and sore throats after 24 weeks of use.  This study is one of the few that has been done since the e-cigarettes have hit them market.  The American Dental Association and the National Institutes of Health are proposing more long term research on the effects that e-cigarettes have on oral health and the body.

We applaud your efforts to stop smoking, however, using e-cigarettes may not be addressing the problem 100%.  The best option is to visit your doctor and discuss the options that would be right for you.  There are patches, gums and even medications that can help you stop smoking.  Your doctor may also be able to get you in touch with a support network for people in the same situation as you.  Whatever you do, don’t give up, your body will thank you! 

    Image result for e cigarette

Accidental Tooth Loss

Losing a tooth from trauma, or avulsion, is never fun.  There are steps you can take to save that tooth for years of future use.  If the tooth is simply broken, call your dentist right away.  They should be able to get you in and do an exam to determine what treatment needs to take place.  This could involve a filling, root canal treatment or extraction depending on damage.

 If the tooth is knocked out you should put the tooth in a small container and cover it with whole milk. Don’t scrub or rinse the tooth off.  If you don’t have milk, place the tooth between the cheek and gums.  Place pressure on the area to stop any bleeding and use a cold compress to ease pain.  Call your dentist right away and bring the tooth with you.  The dentist may be able to re-implant the tooth into its socket.  Because of the trauma, the tooth will probably need a root canal treatment after healing for a while.

Prevention of accidents will be the number one thing you can do to protect your smile.  Wearing athletic guards during sports can help to prevent lost and broken teeth.  These can be custom fitted by your dentist or you can get generic ones at most pharmacies.  Be safe this summer, but don’t be afraid to have fun!

Image result for tooth accidents

 

Oral Cancer Awareness

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Almost 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year. When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment outcomes are greatly improved.

It’s more than just a routine cleaning! Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any changes in your oral health will be detected early. Although you might not be aware of it, your dental professional is looking for signs that could indicate disease not just cavities. He or she will examine your head and neck, checking for sores, lumps, bumps, and any abnormalities. If your doctor identifies any suspicious looking areas, he or she will recommend that you seek further evaluation.

Signs and symptoms:
• Red or white patches
• Pain, numbness, or tenderness in mouth or lips
• A lump, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
• A sore that just won’t heal on its own
• Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close

Factors that may contribute to oral cancer include smoking, smokeless tobacco, alcohol use, and the human papilloma virus. Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you have any concerns.

 
 

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."
- Henry Ford