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What should you ask your dentist after your exam?

Ask your dentist about your treatment plan.

A visit to the dentist can sometimes be more than routine, especially if your dentist recommends a customized diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plan for you. Depending on your case, the recommendation could range from a basic filling (most patients) to a dental implant, braces, a deep cleaning or extensive periodontal treatment.  So it’s wise to ask for clarification and further explanation if you have questions.  Consider asking the following:

  • What part of the recommendations are covered under my dental plan?
  • What part of the treatment is not a covered benefit, and what would my cost be?
  • How much of the total treatment cost will I be responsible for?
  • Do you offer a payment plan?
  • How many visits will be required to complete treatment?
  • What can I expect after treatment? Will I be able to eat?
  • What are the consequences of declining treatment?

It’s always important to understand your dentist’s diagnosis and your plan’s copayments to avoid surprises. Armed with a thorough understanding of your treatment plan, you’ll be on your way to enhancing your smile and improving the health of your mouth, teeth and gums.

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Children's Dental Health is Important - Steps to a Healthy Smile
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents take their child to a pediatric dentist within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday. If that seems early, consider this: Tooth decay is the single most chronic health problem suffered by children and, if left untreated, can destroy the child’s teeth and have a strong, lasting effect on a child’s overall general health. Tooth decay can be caused by bacteria which interacts with carbohydrates in the diet, producing acids that result in mineral loss from teeth. that’s why it’s important to follow these guidelines at an early age:   Wipe infant’s gums with a clean, wet gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. Begin brushing infant’s teeth as soon as first tooth appears twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Parents should use a ‘smear’ of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than two years of age. Twice-daily use has benefits greater than once-daily brushing. Do not nurse or breast feed for prolonged periods. Infants should not be put to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, sugar water, or fruit juice. If an infant falls asleep while feeding, the teeth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed.   As your child gets older, you’ll want to encourage them to drink from a cup by their first birthday. This means moving from the “sippy” cup, which is meant only as a transition from the bottle to a real cup. Be wary of what you put in a sippy cup. Only use water, except maybe during meals. Allowing a child to drink from a sippy cup filled with juice or milk throughout the day continuously bathes the child’s teeth in cavity-causing bacteria.   Dental health habits develop at an early age. Parents should use a dab of toothpaste and perform or supervise a toddler’s toothbrushing. Teach them how to brush, and to spit out – not swallow – the toothpaste. Help them develop good eating habits early on and choose sensible, nutritious snacks.   By being proactive about your child’s teeth will help avoid painful – and potentially costly – dental health problems later.
How to Get the Most from Your Dental Plan
  Going to the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind this holiday season. But while you’re making your to-do list, you might add “make dentist appointment” because December is an ideal time for a visit. Kids are out of school for their holiday break, appointment slots are available, and for many of us, dental plan benefits expire at the end of the year.  That makes getting in to see the dentist a higher priority this month.   If you’re in the middle of dental treatment, it can be important to make that next visit. For example, as patients receiving a dental implant know, there are several steps to receiving your implant. If your last appointment was for bone restoration a few months ago, you may be ready for placement of the implant. Or the doctor may have your permanent crown ready to replace that temporary crown you received a few weeks ago.   Scheduling a cleaning with the hygienist is wise every six months, and more often if you had periodontal care on your last visit. Coming in for an appointment now to continue treatment you’ve started means you can use up deductibles and maximize your plan’s benefits this year.   You may also want to start needed treatment with any remaining benefits you may have this year, and then pick up where you left off with fresh new benefits in January. Many people split care over two year’s benefits this way for best coverage.   Don’t neglect your oral health altogether this holiday season. Squeeze in an hour of your day to see your dentist just one more time before year end.  You’ll know you’re getting the most out of your dental plan, and you’ll feel good about starting off the New Year with a fresh new smile!
How to lighten up your smile for the holidays
Along with a snowy white Christmas, everyone longs for a bright white smile for their holiday gatherings and photos. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they would like to improve most regarding their smile. The overwhelming response: white teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists found that nearly 90 percent of its patients request tooth whitening. Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer with Brident Dental, offers helpful teeth whitening information and tips below: Why do teeth change colors? Coffee, tea and red wine are three primary staining culprits. So are tobacco (tar and nicotine), aging, and certain medications (some antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure). How does teeth whitening work? Whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, two tooth bleaches. They break stains into smaller pieces, making the color less concentrated and the teeth brighter and whiter. Does whitening work on all teeth? No. Bleach works well on yellow teeth, but not as much on brown teeth. And gray tones may not bleach at all. Whitening doesn’t work on caps, veneers, crowns and fillings. Three ways to put a shine back in your smile: Whitening Toothpastes: Brident Dental recommends Opalesence as a safe toothpaste that has polishing agents to provide additional stain removal effectiveness. In-Office Bleaching: Chairside appointments usually require only one office visit at Brident. A dentist will apply either a protective gel to the gums or a rubber shield to protect the gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth. A special light or laser might be used to enhance the action of the whitening agent. At-Home Whitening Kits: Brident Dental suggests using kits that include 10 upper and lower whitening trays with a 10-percent hydrogen peroxide gel solution that are applied to each arch for an hour a day, whitening teeth up to six shades lighter. Over-the-counter whitening strips are available, but the results are not as dramatic.