sleep apneaDentistry has changed a lot over the years. It used to be you would only go to the dentist for a filling, root canal, or teeth pain. And, since the these visits were often less than pleasant to, folks didn’t go out of their way to go to the dentist. Thankfully fear is no longer an issue and dentists can now help you with things other than your teeth.

Dental fear is prevalent in many people, as it should be, since your mouth is very sensitive – and susceptible to pain. Plus, if someone is standing over you with a sharp tool going into you mouth – it can be a bit nerve racking.

Dentists can now help you deal with dental fear through oral sedation. Sedation medication focuses on anxiety rather than localized pain like anesthesia. The most commonly recognized drug for sedation is Valium. How sedation medication is administered is up to the dentist. (It could even be started the day before the procedure.) And, of course how much you may need or which medication is best for you, are reasons to consult your neighborhood dentist.

Now, let’s say that you are not anxious about visiting the dentist, you just don’t go because you have other things to worry about, like the fact you’re not sleeping, nor is your family, because the train that is your snore, keeps everyone awake.

Though snoring is not a 100% cause or sign that you may have sleep apnea – it may be.  There is a lot of information on sleep apnea available online and of course you should consult your dentist or physician if you are concerned you may have it. The point is, if you believe you have sleep apnea, your neighborhood dentist may be able to treat it.  Dentists can help with sleep apnea by making a splint for your mouth called a mandibular advancement splint.

Chances are, you or someone you know, is either anxious or suffering from sleep apnea. Once you have attained the proper medical advice and find that you may be suitable for either of the above procedures, make an appointment with your dentist, they would be happy to help you find the best course of action to take.

Every day, the importance of oral care becomes more and more prevalent. If your eyes are the gateway to your soul, your teeth are the gateway to the health of your body.

Every day, that gateway becomes more and more clear; things like periodontal disease and gingivitis can be hints of something more sinister going on your body. However, this article is not about why you should go to the dentist – hopefully you already know that. This article is to give some helpful hints at picking the right dentist, once you decide you need one.

There are probably more dental offices than Starbucks or McDonalds, and more and more sprout up every day. There are chains, groups of dentists and solo dentists.  (If you don’t already have a dentist you go to regularly, you can of course consult your phone book or conduct an Internet search).

However, for me personally, I like to do the research on my own, check out the offices and the people working there – shopping, basically. Of course, before I go shopping I like to ask people I trust, for example: what their favorite red wine is, or a good vegetable to go with pork chops, even if they saw a particular movie and liked it. There is so much of everything out there, if you shop blindly, you could end up becoming blind with too many choices.

Chances are, unless you live in a town with one stop sign, you have many dentists to choose from. Ask your friends and family if they have a dentist they trust and like.

Getting a referral from your friend or family may be all you need. If so, perfect, make that appointment. But what if you asked three people and each of those three people gave you a different name?  This is where the shopping comes in. Visit each of the three places (I would recommend not visiting more than 5 – otherwise you’ll be blinded by choices).

When you visit your prospective dentist, it’s a simple personality test. Prices will be different but not different enough to influence your choice of whom you get along best with.  Is their team friendly? Is their waiting room clean and orderly? If you enter an office and can’t tell in the first 1 minute if you like it, move on to the next one.  Keep in mind this personality test is between you, the dentist, the team or staff, and the office space; a score of 95% or less is an F. Of course there are some dentists who may not specialize in what you need done.

teethThe definition of plaque is really very interesting as described by Wikipedia:

Dental plaque is a biofilm, usually a pale yellow that develops naturally on the teeth. Like any biofilm, dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria . . . It has been speculated that plaque forms part of the defense systems of the host by helping to prevent colonization of microorganisms that may be pathogenic.

It is not a huge leap to compare plaque to the Great Wall of China. The building of plaque never ceases and the Great Wall took centuries to build and it’s still not complete. The Great Wall was built to keep attackers out while at the same time keeping people in. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space; if you have a lot of plaque build-up, it can be seen pretty easily, too.

If we heed only Wikipedia’s definition above, one might wonder what is so bad about plaque.  The above definition is only a partial one and there are many more resources available online or at your local dental office that will point out the drawbacks of plaque. While building up its defenses the same material that protects erodes the enamel of the teeth.  Of course the erosion does not take place over night. And, neither will the “take down.”

Like the Great Wall, plaque is very formidable. Both will never be totally deconstructed however, the Great Wall is maintained and cleaned for its millions of visitors. Plaque helps protect against billions of visitors, too  (microorganisms). However, if you do not keep the plaque at bay (it occurs naturally, and can not be cleaned 100% away) it will destroy your teeth.

So, get into see your dentist, help them help you control plaque. Ask your dentist if the recommended twice-yearly cleaning is all you need, or, if there are other issues to deal with like periodontal disease or gingivitis.  Remember your dentist is the expert and they love helping people get the oral care they should have; it’s what they do!

 

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Rob Boudon

There is a prevailing thought out in the world that dentists are expensive. There is also a relatively new type of currency that is starting to take traction, a bitcoin. A Bitcoin is considered a cryptocurrency. If you don’t know what a bitcoin is or what cryptocurrency is, that’s ok, hardly anyone does.

A bitcoin is just a different way to pay for something. A bitcoin’s value fluctuates, kind of like a stock. It is the rising popularity of bitcoins that begs the question; is there another way to pay for something that folks consider expensive, like dentistry?

Yes, and no. As of yet I have not found a dentist that accepts bitcoins. However, many dental offices are more than willing to help their patients come up with the best payment plan that will work for tem.  Some dentists offer in-office financing, some offer financing through a third party vendor.

Like any financing, the interest rate you will end up paying depends of your credit. However, most dentists are aware our economy is still in rough shape and will be willing to work with those with bruised credit.   The thing you as the patient need to decide: Is the interest rate you will be paying worth the health benefits a major dental procedure will afford you.

Obviously if you want to do some financing to get diamond incrusted teeth, maybe you should rethink that. Financing for a root canal, implant or other device that will help you enjoy eating healthier, better, and in less pain, may well be worth the finance charge.

Of course there is dental insurance, but that may be as hard to get as health insurance through Healthcare.gov. And, keep in mind anytime you can pay cash directly, you will pay less.  But, also keep in mind; taking care of your teeth is not like a kitchen renovation on a kitchen that still works. Without proper dental care your health will suffer.

So, call your neighborhood dentist and make an appointment to come in and talk to them about finally getting that filling, crown, implant or root canal. The worst-case scenario is that the financing may not be available. The best-case scenario is that you can work out a payment plan with your dentist and finally have the dental care you deserve.