Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Temporary teeth

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If you are missing teeth, you have, basically, three options to replace them:

1.  Removable partial denture
2.  Fixed bridge
3.  Fixed implant

I'm going to discuss #1 today.

Removable partial dentures, for many, are the only affordable option to replace a missing tooth, or, missing teeth. These allow you to eat more naturally, and preserve the teeth that have been baring the brunt of There are, basically, two types: temporary and permanent

The temporary type is sometimes called an "interim" partial, or, "flipper", because it's lighter,  easier to remove, and meant for short-term use. Stability is dependent on the plastic, gum colored material. This type does NOT have a cast metal framework.

The permanent type is more stable (due to the metal framework) and less bulky because the metal can be thinner than plastic. These are considered permanent because they can last for decades.


There are metal-free, permanent, partial dentures available, which are bio-compatible for many with metals sensitivity. The metal-free partials are nice looking, but have their drawbacks, also. In particular, because these partials flex, food can become trapped between the plastic and the gums while eating. Therefore, it's important to brush your teeth AND your partial after eating.


It's important to remember that any removable partial, or full denture is NOT a replacement for teeth; it is a replacement for NO TEETH. Everyone's mouth is different, so at the delivery appointment,  expect to wait while the doctor adjusts the appliance for comfort and function. It may take a few tries to achieve perfect fit, so be patient.

For some, the adjustment is lingual-- related to speech.  If you are older, the reality of wearing a partial denture after a lifetime of NOT wearing one, you will need to allow a couple of weeks for your TONGUE to adjust. You should practice reading out loud for one hour per day, minimum, until your speech improves. (SEE TOP) This is really important for people in communications who make a living by talking.

Next stop on the tooth replacement train....FIXED BRIDGES!!!






Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Stocking Stuffer Idea for 2019


Can I afford dentistry if I don't have insurance?

As a dental practice office manager, I am frequently asked by individuals about options for purchasing dental insurance, even for basic cleanings.  For some reason, insurance companies, the media, employers, neighbors, friends and enemies have influenced people into thinking dental costs are prohibitive without dental coverage.

This is not true.  Period.

What is true are the big discounts large, "group" plans get.  Employees covered by these plans may receive higher maximums and more coverage, but they still have out-of-pocket expenses insurance doesn't cover. "Individual" plans work similarly, but are much more restrictive and costly to the purchaser.

Let's do some simple math to see this more clearly.

Example: an "individual" dental plan may cost $50 per month, just to have it. This is called a monthly premium.  After a year, that totals $600... just to have insurance.

What would $600 buy without insurance?

$600 will buy full-mouth digital x-rays, comprehensive exam, a good cleaning and two white fillings.
$600 will buy 2/3 of a crown.
$600 will buy six cleanings.
$600 will buy three fillings.

In addition to the premium costs, more disadvantages abound with "individual" plans: deductibles, waiting periods (a year or more to get a filling), downgrades (no white fillings allowed) and low maximums ($500 per year is common). As you can see right away, paying $600 for $500 coverage is not economical.

If you purchase an individual plan with a $50/month premium and  a $1000 maximum, you may have to wait a year to get the filling you needed when you had purchased the plan. (If the tooth did not worsen into a crown and -horrors!- root canal therapy, you would be lucky.) The filling will be paid as a silver filling, which is cheaper than a white filling to place. With this "downgrade", 80% coverage will effectively become closer to 50% coverage.

Let's work this out with easy math:

Mr. Smithers needs a filling on his back tooth. He likes to laugh and tell jokes a lot, and his back teeth show when he opens wide to guffaw. He wants a white filling placed, so observers won't be distracted by a dark silver patch in the back of his mouth.
Mr. Smithers' "Individual" plan covers a white filling at 80%. The fee is $120.  A silver (amalgam) filling is $76.
Insurance pays 80% of the silver filling fee ($60.80).
Insurance paid $60.80. You will pay $59.20.
That's about 50%.

It gets better, er, worse, when we apply a deductible.

If Mr. Smithers' plan has a $25 deductible, that cost will be applied to his first filling, as well. Using our above example, insurance will first deduct $25 from the silver filling fee, leaving $51. Insurance will pay 80% of $51, or, $40.80. Mr Smithers' out of pocket cost becomes $79.20, roughly 66% of the fee.

In this way, after a year of coverage, you will have paid more for the dental care than the insurance did.

Now, it's up to you to earmark that $50/month for your future dental needs.  If it takes a while to save, remember, that 's what the insurance companies are doing when they place waiting periods....they're saving your money until their risk is removed.  Then, will you and all the Mr. Smithers out there will be able to get started on that first 34% covered filling!





Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hair 4 Floss?

Extreme Cheapskates, a new show on TLC, is showing us that just using coupons isn't enough to save on dental hygiene.

Check out the videos of unusual dental hygiene habits by clicking the photo below:


http://gawker.com/this-woman-uses-her-hair-as-floss-in-the-name-of-thrift-1647212257

Do you have any "Extreme Cheapskate" dental habits? Would you use these tricks to save a buck?

Leave us a comment!




Thursday, January 1, 2015

Proof Positive...or Negative

There's good news for people who may have metal and other allergies or sensitivities that make them concerned about materials dentists use to restore teeth. A dental materials reactivity test is the relief they've been looking for.
A simple blood specimen is all that's needed for a specialized lab to analyze and provide a detailed report of the results. The report discusses what “families” of materials may not be suitable for that person. Once the dentist has the information, he can use the “suitable” materials for treatment, which is a big relief for the patient.

If you're concerned about existing metal in your mouth or about dental materials, call us and we'll be glad to discuss the test with you.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Fallout on Mars Mission


We can send a man to the moon, but we can’t stop his teeth from falling out along the way.

One would think zero gravity would prolong bone strength because of the low impact, but, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, astronauts in space lose bone density and mass up to 10 times faster than the earth-bound. At that rate, a journey to Mars could be long enough to cause tooth loss! (This is disconcerting news for the Mars Society, which is dedicated to Mars exploration and settlement.)

So, why is space so bad for teeth? As the bone repair mechanisms in the body shut down in space, bone thickness rapidly degrades and the body is depleted of calcium. (That’s good news for the Aeronautical Milk Advisory Board.) Once back on earth, though, the problem will stop, but the damage already done will be permanent.

Kinda makes you think twice about moving to Mars.

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Image credit: http://marsvars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/MarsCartoon2.jpg
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Brave New Year

Setting goals is easy. Follow-through is much tougher. Many of us will gain inspiration from some of my newest patients who have followed through with a remarkable challenge: overcoming their fear of the dentist.

Bravely, they mustered the will to make a change for the better- to improve their oral health, and ultimately, their physical health. They came to our office, either because a friend or family member said great things about us, or because they had read this column, or because we were on their dental plan. The improvements came incrementally, as we proceeded to rebuild their smiles from the ground up. Today, they are smiling testimonials. To them we say:

Pat yourself on the back for being inspirational to others in 2014!

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