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Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Go To Waste

epdentistry4kids-2016september0082-8bAs we approach the end of the year, we want to share a tip that can help your family take full advantage of your remaining dental insurance benefits before they expire.

Fall is one of the most fun and busiest times of the year. Most parents are still adjusting to “back to school” routines. There are tons of fun activities from fall sports to pumpkin picking and, of course, preparing for the holiday season. So, why schedule a visit to your children’s dentist, especially if you or you little ones aren’t experiencing any oral problems?

Did you know that if you don’t use your dental insurance benefits this year, you lose them? It’s true – dental insurance benefits don’t roll over to the following year. If you don’t use them, you lose them!

Call us now to schedule a dental appointment for a professional dental cleaning or any dental care you may have been putting off before your benefits expire. Because so many of our patients realize this last minute, November and December appointment slots fill up very quickly. We’ll be happy to discuss your remaining benefits and answer any questions you may have.

Back to School Tips to Keep Your Student Smiling

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Back to school time, for many, is an exciting time – a fresh start to a new school year. This is the perfect time to schedule your child’s dental check up. As you check off your shopping lists for school supplies and clothes, make sure to add a visit to your family dentist and also a time to review your dental hygiene routine at home with your child. This will not only help your child start his school year on a positive note, but can help ensure he stays on track all year long.
Benefit to starting the school year with a dental check-up
  • Allows your children’s dentist to examine your child’s teeth for decay/cavities, ensure proper growth and provide helpful tips to maintain a healthy smile all year long.
  • Decreases risk for additional dental issues requiring additional treatment. The American Dental Association says, “prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences”.
  • Gives your child confidence to start their school year with a healthy and bright smile.
How to maintain a healthy smile throughout the school year
  • When shopping for new school supplies, include new dental hygiene supplies (let your child pick their favorite color or design)
  • Brush and floss at least two (2) times a day. (Make it fun by adding a favorite song or game to the routine)
  • Pack healthy snacks that help protect teeth against cavities (i.e. cheese, apples, carrots, celery)
  • Replace sugary drinks with good old fashion water
  • When participating in organized sports, make sure your child wears a properly fitting mouth guard
  • Schedule routine check-ups every six (6) months
Remember, in order to ensure your child has a happy and healthy school year, we all must work together.  See you at your next visit.

Common Mistakes Parents Make With Their Child’s Teeth

unnamed (31)A parent’s primary focus is to make sure their child is healthy and safe. When it comes to keeping their baby’s oral health, developing good hygiene habits at an early age is key.  It’s no secret that brushing daily and visiting the dentist regularly is very important.  However, there are a few common mistakes parents may not be aware of that can be harmful to their child’s teeth.

Delaying visits to the dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visiting the dentist within the first year. Baby teeth are very important in a child’s development as they are like spacers for their permanent teeth. Visiting the dentist even before their first tooth comes in will help identify any issues and allow your child to become comfortable visiting the dentist early on.  Regular visits are important at any age as it allows your family dentist to examine for any potential issues and also do a thorough cleaning to remove excess plaque that regular brushing can miss.

Prolonged use of sippy cups and baby bottles
Sipping juice or even milk for long periods can lead to tooth decay because the gums and teeth are exposed to sugar and bacteria for long periods.  Bottles at bedtime are especially harmful as there is not enough saliva produced during sleep to wash away sugar and acid.  It is best to have your child finish their drink then brush and rinse before bedtime. For babies you can wipe their gums and teeth with a wash cloth.

Not brushing with their child
Although toddlers love to exercise their independence, when it comes to brushing children’s dentist recommended parents supervise them until they can do it properly on their own. This is a great time to show them how to brush properly and also brush after them to make sure it’s done thoroughly.  It may take some creativity to get them to comply so try making it fun with music or by taking turns brushing each other’s teeth.

MAXIMIZE YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS BEFORE DECEMBER 31ST!

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Did you know unused dental coverage does not roll over into the New Year? Most insurance policies allow for a maximum dollar amount of coverage each year. If you do not use the entire amount allotted to you, you lose the unused portion.

There is still time to schedule an appointment with your family dentist to make sure you take advantage of any unused coverage for 2014. Whether you need an exam, cleaning or dental treatment, don’t let that coverage go to waste.

Other reasons to schedule an end of the year appointment with your dentist are:

  • Your deductible (out-of-pocket expense before health insurance starts to pay the bills) will reset at the start of the year. If you’ve already satisfied your deductible, now is the perfect time to get those last-minute treatments.
  • Funds in most Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts also forfeit at the end of the year. These are benefits you have paid for so make sure to use them!

Take care of any dental treatments now. Dental issues not only worsen but become more costly the longer they go untreated.

Let us help you maximize your insurance benefits and make sure you enter the New Year with a healthy smile. Call us now to schedule an appointment!

Why You Should Never Delay Dental Treatment

GiovanniAccording to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the most chronic disease in children today. The statistic is now up to 50 percent of children in the US.  To ensure your child maintains good oral health,  schedule regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist.  More importantly, make sure to follow through with further treatment recommended by your dentist.  Here is why:

Poor oral health affects more than just your child’s teeth.  Besides pain and discomfort, studies have shown that poor oral health can also affect children’s development in the following areas:

  • Development of primary teeth
  • Proper chewing and nutrition
  • Development of speech
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Attendance and performance in school

Regular visits to your family dentist ensure that dental issues are detected and treated before becoming more severe. Prompt treatment is key in avoiding: 

  • Severe pain
  • Infections
  • Chronic tooth decay
  • Disfigurement
  • AND ultimately higher treatment costs

Over time, lack of proper oral care can affect other areas of the body.  Studies have linked poor oral health in adults to diseases such as weakened immune system, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and even cancer.  How does this happen? Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up on teeth, which can make the gums prone to infection.  Infection, left untreated, makes the rest of the body susceptible to disease.

“The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.”  http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/dentists-doctors-of-oral-health)

Teeth-Friendly Halloween Fun Ideas

Halloween child friendly treats with bananas and clementines made to look like pumpkins and ghostsThe Fall season is upon us and with that comes many favorites like cooler weather, colorful leaves, all things pumpkin and of course, Halloween! There’s no doubt that for most kids, collecting and eating as much candy as possible is the primary goal.  For parents it can be a challenge to let the kiddos enjoy the season while keeping them healthy, especially their teeth. The good news is that healthy and fun alternatives abound.  Here are just a few:

The Trick Is Healthy Treats – Making healthy treats that look yummy and fun can help children make better snacking choices. Try decorating healthy snacks in fun Halloween themes and make sure they are visible and accessible for your child when it’s time for a treat.

Focus on Fall Fun – Fall activities are a great way to help kids take their focus off of sweets. Pumpkin patches, costume parties and arts & crafts are some popular options. This is also a great time to get some physical activity while enjoying nature. Try going on a hike, bike ride or a simple walk.

Make It About Giving Not Just Getting – This is the perfect time of year to remind children of the importance of giving to others in need. Find out what volunteer opportunities are available in your community and/or consider donating items, money or better yet, a generous portion of their Halloween candy.

Keep An Oral Health RoutineDental professionals agree that teaching your children good oral hygiene habits early on will help them develop and maintain these habits as they get older. Take time this “sweet season” to teach your child about the effects of sugar on their teeth and the importance of fighting tooth decay with a daily oral hygiene routine.  Some easy dental tips to remember are:

  •  Limit sugar intake (hide sweet treats)
  • Avoid sticky candy that clings to the teeth and also hard candy
  • Allow a treat after a meal
  • Make sure they drink plenty of water
  • Brush and floss twice daily and after sweet treats
  • Schedule your next visit with your family dentist  

Sweets may not be 100% avoidable, especially during this season.  However, combining healthy alternatives with a consistent oral health routine will certainly help keep your family’s smile happy and healthy.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

 

7 New Year’s Resolutions For A Healthier Smile

Making a list of resolutions or goals is a great way to start the New Year.  It’s the perfect time to resolve to let go of old, bad habits and take on new, healthier ones.  One common topic you will find on many lists is “health”.  While on that topic, why not include resolutions for a healthier smile this year?  Studies have shown that good oral health helps promote good overall health.  In the same way, diseases in the mouth can lead to other health issues.  That is why it is especially important to maintain good oral hygiene.  For this new year, resolve to be better to your mouth.  Use these 7 tips to help you meet your goal:

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

It’s no secret that eating fruits and veggies is important for your overall health.  Good nutrition helps improve the entire immune system and also helps fight common oral disorders, including gum disease.  Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery also help clean plaque from teeth and freshen your breath.

Limit Your Coffee, Tea & Red Wine

Beverages like coffee, tea and red wine are known to stain teeth.  Some stains can be superficial and polished off during your scheduled cleaning with your family dentist, but drinking these beverages frequently can also cause internal staining of the tooth enamel. Limiting these drinks and rinsing with water to help get the dark liquids off the teeth will reduce staining as well as risk of decay.

Drink More Water

Drinking plenty of water comes with many health benefits. Water keeps your body hydrated, energizes your muscles, and cleanses your body of toxins.  Water also contains zero calories and unlike acidic and sugary drinks that are harmful to your teeth, it helps prevent decay by flushing your teeth of food and acid.

Brush Twice a Day

Brushing twice a day is essential for removing plaque from your teeth.  Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth on a daily basis and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars in your food and beverages producing acids that eat away at the tooth enamel.  Not brushing regularly allows plaque to sit on the teeth and causes the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity.  That is why it is so important that you brush twice daily.  Be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush; stiffer bristles and aggressive brushing causes gums to recede and can wear enamel away from the teeth.

Floss Daily

Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health.  Plaque that is not removed daily by flossing between teeth can eventually harden into tartar. As the tartar, plaque and bacteria continue to increase, the gum tissue can become red, swollen and possibly bleed when you brush your teeth. This is called gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease.

Visit Your Family Dentist Twice A Year

By seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you can help prevent dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment.  During your visit your dentist not only performs a deep cleaning to remove stains and tartar from your teeth but also screens for any other possible conditions.

Don’t Delay On Dental Treatment

A small cavity, left untreated, can easily grow into a large tooth abscess and require a root canal and a crown rather than a small filling.  Treating tooth decay early means that smaller and less invasive treatments will be required. This helps maintain the structure and stability of the remaining tooth, not to mention keeps treatment costs lower.  If left untreated, decay can also spread to other teeth and may cause infections throughout the rest of the body.

 

6 Reasons To Use Your Dental Insurance Before the End of the Year

Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? While some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, most run on a calendar year. If your dental insurance plan is on a calendar year, these 6 reasons will show you why you should make a dental appointment now.

1. Yearly Maximum
The yearly maximum is the most money that the dental insurance plan will pay for your dental work within one full year. This amount varies by insurance company, but the average is around $1,000 per year, per person. The yearly maximum usually renews every year (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year). If you have unused benefits, these will not rollover.

2. Deductible
The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another.  However, the average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50 per year. Your deductible also starts again when your plan rolls over.

3. Premiums
If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and other dental problems.

4. Fee Increases / Changes in Coverage
Another reason to use your benefits before the end of the year are possible fee increases. Some policies raise the out of pocket costs and / or lower the covered benefits at the beginning of the year.

5. Dental Problems Can Worsen
By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later.

6. Use Up Your Existing FSA Contributions
Another good reason to take care of dental work now is to spend any remaining balance in your flexible spending account (FSA). This is an account that you establish through your employer, and that you may have elected to have some of your pre-tax pay put into. If you don’t use all of your FSA contributions by the end of the year, you lose them.

Schedule your appointment now to ensure you are maximizing your benefits!
Visit MD4K.com today!

 

Baby Tooth Decay…It’s Possible and Preventable

Baby teeth may be temporary, but the care you give them can have long lasting effects. Baby teeth are considered place holders for adult teeth. If they are lost early, it can lead to future spacing issues of permanent teeth. In addition, early tooth loss due to decay can lead to poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and can even damage future adult teeth. Taking preventative measures early on is key to a lifetime of good dental health.

BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY

Believe it or not, letting your baby go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice can cause decay. This is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. The frequent and prolonged exposure of drinks that contain sugar, including baby formula and milk, leads to decay. Why? Because during sleep less saliva is produced and these liquids are able to sit on your baby’s gums and teeth as they sleep. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce acid that attacks the teeth.

  • Avoid giving your baby milk or juice at bedtime. Use water or a pacifier as good alternatives.  Also, avoid dipping the pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Avoid sugary drinks in general and limit juice and other beverages to mealtimes instead of allowing your baby to have bottles or sippy cups throughout the day.
  • Transition to a drinking cup as soon as your child is able. Drinking from a cup is less likely to cause liquid to collect around teeth.

BACTERIA PASSED FROM MOM

Tooth decay can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. Because bacteria can be transferred through saliva, there are some things that mom’s and caregivers should be careful not to do.

  • Avoid sharing anything that would transfer saliva including cups, spoons, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Do not clean a pacifier with your mouth.

ORAL HYGIENE FOR BABIES

Even before the first tooth erupts, you can begin practicing good oral hygiene on your baby’s mouth to ward off any attacks on their future teeth.

  • Gently wipe down your baby’s gums at least twice a day with a soft, damp washcloth. This will keep bacteria from clinging to your baby’s gums, which can damage their baby teeth as they come in.
  • When the first baby teeth start to come in, you can begin to use a toothbrush and water to clean the teeth. Make sure to use a soft brush with a small head and large handle. Brush gently around the teeth, including the front and back.
  • Schedule an appointment with a children’s dentist when your baby’s first tooth comes in.
  • At about age 1, you can begin using a pea-sized amount of a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Wait to use fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least 2 years old.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance.

5 Steps To Help Your Child Overcome Fear Of Dentists

A visit to the dentist may seem routine to many, but for children who fear the dentist, it is anything but routine.  Fear of the unknown and/or fear of pain are very common fears among kids and are often the reason why they might cry or act out when it’s time to visit the dentist.  Fortunately, parents are not alone in their quest to ease their child’s fear of the dentist.  Most children’s dentists and their staff are trained to work with kids and know how to help them cope with their fear.  Parents can also help prepare their child at home using these five recommended steps:

Talk ­­Teeth: Make oral health a common topic in your home. Picture books and cartoon dental videos are great resources.  Also, during your daily and nightly routines of brushing and flossing, have fun role playing “going to the dentist”.

Start Early: Children’s dentists recommend that you start taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth comes in (around 1 year old). These early visits will often consist of quick check-ups and gentle cleanings, which are great way to introduce your child to kid’s dentistry.

Schedule A Pre-Visit:  A pre-visit to the dentist is a great way to familiarize your child with the dentist’s office without any overwhelming exams or procedures that same day.  Meeting the staff, seeing the fun environment and getting answers to questions can help ease any fears, making the actual appointment much more pleasant.

Leave The Details To The Experts: When preparing your child for their first visit to the dentist, keep the explanation positive and simple.  Let the trained staff and children’s dentist explain procedures and treatment to your child. You might want to say something simple like: “The dentist is going to check your smile to make sure your teeth are strong, healthy and clean. Avoid negative words like shot or pain.

Discuss The Option Of Sedation With The Dentist: Some children need more help relaxing to allow the proper amount of time for their treatment.  When more extensive work is needed, sedation can especially be a great benefit.  There are several options and methods for sedation for children. Your child’s dentist can explain these options and recommend the appropriate one for your child.