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OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics

Do you know how to find a dentist? Selecting the right dentist can be easy when you know they abide by the OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics. The right dentist is concerned with your overall oral health, not just your teeth. One way to make sure you receive the right oral care is to understand the OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics:

  • Patients are treated with the right care, respect, and consideration as the dentist would provide to themselves and their own family.
  • Dentists will provide high quality levels of dental care they would happily showcase to other dentists.
  • Each patient will be treated by the dentist using a custom dental treatment plan unique to your specific oral health needs.
  • If a patient has dental insurance, the dentist will only bill for the services they provide.
  • The dentist will work with each patient to ensure they understand the procedures needed and will provide truthful information about the procedures without any “up-selling” tactics that many other dentist’s use.
  • When patients have been told they need certain treatments, OPT-In dentists are the ones to turn to for a second opinion.
  • When a dental emergency arises, you must be able to trust your dentist. A good dentist will always provide an emergency contact number for their patients.
  • Quality dentists will stay updated with the latest technology and education to clearly understand modern techniques and procedures used in dentistry.

Adhering to the OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics helps patients see how committed a dentist is to their patients. A good dentist will treat you like family, and they will always be open and honest with their patients about various treatments and costs.

 

How to Choose a Dentist

Once you have scheduled a consultation with a dentist, come prepared with questions for them. What are some of your main concerns related to your oral health? Learn about the dentist’s education and practice. It pays to spend time with the dentist to not only obtain the answers you need to trust them, but to also get to know them. Many people stay with their dentists for years to come, which is why it is so important to spend time conversing with the dentist and becoming familiar with each other.

If you want to find the right dentist for you, find an OPT-In dentist you know you can trust for your oral health needs.

Happy Holidays from Opt-In Dental Advantage

christmas cookiesDuring 2016, the Opt-In Dental Advantage Network has grown significantly, making it easier than ever before to find a list of great dentists in your area and find a local dentist office that suits you. Here at Opt-In, we believe in connecting patients with dental care teams that know what it means to offer patient-oriented care. We want to thank all of our incredible members for their commitment to the Opt-In Code of Ethics, and for making the field of dentistry better through their attention to detail and their love for their patients.

We also want to wish all of our readers season’s greetings. During the holidays, we see an influx of people looking for qualified dentists, partly because this season isn’t always as kind to our smiles as it is to our spirits. We’re committed to helping you find a dentist who suits your family’s needs, and to preserving your beautiful smiles. Here are just a few dental health tips to keep you comfortable throughout the holidays.

Holiday Dental Health Tips

Focus on Your Dental Health

This time of year, you might find yourself eating more, which is why you should also increase your focus on your dental health. Brush your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to floss. Schedule preventive care appointments with a dentist in your area to have your teeth inspected and repaired. By paying attention to your oral health, you can keep your teeth comfortable and beautiful all season long.

Avoid Hard-to-Chew Foods

Skip those pistachios and avoid the temptation to chew the ice in your holiday punch: hard foods can cause all kinds of dental problems. From chipped teeth to damaged dental work, choosing foods that are hard to chew is like asking for dental damage.

Find A Dentist

You never know when a dental emergency will occur, which is why everyone should find the best dentist in their area. Look for a dental care professional who is dedicated to offering emergency care and providing a range of services, so that you can be prepared for anything.

Happy Holidays from the entire Opt-In Dental Advantage network! We wish you many smiles and an amazing new year.

Got Gum Disease? Get Treatment Promptly.

Gum disease may start slow, but if an infection is left to run its course, the damage will be serious and permanent. If you have even an early stage of gum disease, the best course is to get treatment before problems multiply. If you have gum disease, find a dentist or periodontist quickly to save you from worse problems later on.

The Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease begins when plaque (a sticky, colorless, bacteria-filled film) isn’t removed from teeth. When you don’t brush and floss, plaque builds up on your teeth and hardens into tartar, which can’t be removed with simple brushing. This tartar and the bacteria it contains start to irritate your gums. Without professional help, this infection will turn into the first stage of gum disease: gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis include gums that appear bright red and swollen, and often bleed during brushing and flossing. At this point there is no permanent damage to teeth or the underlying support structures. With proper daily dental hygiene and regular cleanings, gums will heal.

Unfortunately, if left untreated, gingivitis will progress to a more serious stage of gum disease: periodontitis. Once infected with periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and pockets start to form between the root of the tooth and the gum. Periodontal pockets shelter bacteria that can’t be reached with brushing.

After this point, periodontal disease can progress rapidly as the body’s immune system releases antibodies to kill the harmful bacteria. These antibodies are actually harmful to the sensitive bone and tissue found in your mouth, breaking them down and removing support for the teeth, which can eventually fall out.

Consequences of Periodontitis

Tooth loss is the most obvious result of untreated periodontal disease. A smile full of gaps is a blow to self-confidence, but can also make it much harder to maintain a healthy, varied diet. This is reason enough to take gum disease seriously, but research shows that gum disease may also affect your overall health. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and premature birth are all correlated with gum disease. The bacteria that infect your gums can have serious and possibly life-threatening effects on the rest of your body, so protecting your gums is protecting your health.

If you have gum disease and are scouring the internet for a quality “dentist near me,” consider using the Opt-In Dental Advantage network. We work to help patients find dentists dedicated to quality care, allowing each patient to get the treatment they deserve. Use our free Find a Dentist tool today to find a periodontist in your area.

The Health Effects of Too Much Sugar

how sugar can affect your healthAs pumpkins start to line people’s porches and children get excited about finding a great costume, it can be easy to forget just how much sugar most people eat during the Halloween season. Although the holiday is great fun for everyone, all of that sugar can be hard on children’s little bodies—and the treats you have at home can be hard on yours. Here are just a few of the serious health effects of eating too much sugar, and why you should curb your sugar intake throughout the year.

Less Brain Power

 

If you feel a little loopy after lunch, it’s not just your imagination. Eating excessive amounts of sugar has been shown to cause reduced performance in the hippocampus, leading to brain fog. Since this portion of the brain is crucial for creating new memories, people who eat high levels of sugar may struggle with remembering key facts and dates, or carrying on a conversation without losing focus. Some researchers even suspect that high sugar levels cause problems with gradual cognitive decline as people age, which is why they are researching the link between sugar intake and degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dental Decay

Although you may assume that sugar causes dental decay, the real root of the problem lies in the bacteria that those sugars fuel. The human mouth is filled with over 25 different varieties of oral bacteria that consume simple sugars. As these bacteria grow and multiply, they produce acids that can eat away at your dental enamel, causing cavities.

In addition to contributing to dental decay, candies, such as those frequently eaten at Halloween and throughout the holidays, can be exceptionally hard on dental work. Caramel and taffy can pull out dental fillings, and hard candies like peppermints and root beer barrels can cause painful dental fractures.

Extended Hunger

When you eat lots of sugar, your body responds by triggering the pancreas to release extra insulin. The role of insulin is to help the cells of your body to metabolize blood sugar, turning the things that you eat into energy. Unfortunately, when you consume too much sugar, your blood is flooded with insulin, which blocks another crucial hormone called leptin. Since leptin is responsible for triggering the “full” sensation you get when you are satisfied, excessive sugar consumption can lead to you eating more and more food.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

If your body is constantly subjected to exceptionally high insulin levels, your cells stop knowing how to respond to the sugar spikes, and your body can become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is tied to other issues including high blood pressure, fatigue, brain fog, hunger, and extra weight around your stomach area. Over time, the body can become so insulin resistant that it stops knowing how to metabolize sugar altogether, causing full blown diabetes.

Limiting Your Sugar Intake

Fortunately, you can ward off the health problems tied to consuming too much sugar by doing what you can to curb your sugar intake. Start by cutting your sugar levels by avoiding things like sweets, cakes, and candies. If you decide to indulge, enjoy a single slice of cake or a few pieces of candy and then stop. To avoid health problems tied to excessive sugar, men should consume no more than 37.5 grams per day, and women should keep their sugar intake under 25 grams of sugar per day. Read the back of nutrition labels and avoid foods that would max out your sugar allowance in a single sitting. Remember that beverages, including seemingly healthy drinks such as milk, can be high in sugar. For example, a single cup of 2% milk has a staggering 12 grams of sugar.

Visit With Your Family Doctor and Dentist

To learn more about how sugar may have already affected your health, take the time to make an appointment with your family doctor and dentist. If you need to find a dentist in your area, search for “dentist near me” or consult Opt-In Dental Advantage. We maintain networks of great dentists who are committed to practicing according to our code of ethics, so that you can keep your family safe and happy in the dentist’s chair. Find a dentist near you today!

Knowing Your Dentist Can Save You Money

When you visit your dentist, who’s making the decisions about your care? Sitting in an isolated corporate center, national dental chain executives over-diagnose and financially fleece unsuspecting patients, according to New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.

On June 18, 2015, the Schneiderman published a press release explaining the $450,000 settlement reached with a private equity owned, dental management company (DSO). In the settlement, the DSO was ordered to stop “making decisions about patient care in New York clinics.” With similar settlements in other states, the DSO has paid over $2 Million dollars in fines.

The settlement requires the DSO, with $635 Million in annual revenues, to “not dictate the care provided by dentists and hygienists at dental practices, not split patients’ fees with the clinics, which is illegal in New York, and make clear to consumers that the company is not a provider of dental services.”

Many dental offices in the U.S. are owned and managed by DSOs. One of the problems that can arise with these corporate owned practices is that decisions about patient care are made off site by someone other than the dentist who is examining you. And often, these decisions are made to maximize profit rather than based on what is best for the patient.

“Medical and dental decisions should be made by licensed providers using their best clinical judgment, and should not be influenced by management companies’ shared interest in potential profits,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By enforcing New York’s laws banning the corporate practice of medicine and fee-splitting between medical practitioners and non-licensed individuals and entities, today’s agreement ensures that New Yorkers receive quality dental care.”

This company has also been fined by Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and in October, 2015, Indiana, for similar or other alleged violations.

According to the press release, the complaints filed by several hundred consumers were about specific dentist office locations of the DSO “regarding quality of care, billing practices, misleading advertising, upselling of dental services and products the consumers felt were unnecessary, and unclear or incomplete terms for the financing of dental care.” The attorney general’s investigation “revealed” that the DSO had developed “extensive control” over the offices it managed, including sharing profits. According to Attorney General Schneiderman, the DSO “routinely makes business decisions for the clinics that directly impacted patient care. Those practices included incentivizing and otherwise pressuring staff to increase sales of dental services and products…” including, hygienists being told “to sell more products and services to patients.”

The DSO refuted the allegations, but per the settlement, agreed to remain independent of each practice’s dental care decisions and fees, bank accounts, and financial decisions.

Dental management companies marketing to consumers have their own organization. Many, including the above, agree to a “code of ethics” as a condition of membership in the Association of Dental Services Organizations (ADSO).  The Attorney General’s allegations, if true, would be a violation of ADSO membership ethics. Does that mean all ADSO members’ ethical standards are suspect?

We don’t believe every DSO violates ethical standards. But it tells a cautionary tale that we need to be careful, because a well branded dental office might not always be the best place for quality dental care. Another question is do dental organizations have a responsibility to protect patients. For the members of OPT-In Dental Advantage, the answer is yes. We believe patients deserve as much protection as possible. Considering that the above company has been fined in multiple states and has faced large numbers of patient complaints, leaves us wondering how many dental organizations agree with us.

When looking for a good dental office, Find a dentist you can trust, one that will be there for your entire family today and for years to come. And, be sure to check out our Code of Ethics to help you judge your dental visit, because a great relationship provides peace of mind and lasting value.