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When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

wisdom teeth removed

Wisdom teeth, or 3rd molars, are the teeth furthest back in the mouth. They typically begin to emerge in early adulthood, between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth are an evolutionary holdover from a time when humans had larger jaws and needed more molars to efficiently grind plant matter. As human mouths became smaller and dental care improved, wisdom teeth became increasingly problematic. Wisdom tooth removal is a common dental practice to treat or prevent issues from occurring.

If your dentist has recommended that you have your wisdom teeth removed, you might be wondering if it’s really necessary. It is important to understand why your dentist is recommending your wisdom teeth be removed, so you can make the right decision for your oral health.

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Do You Really Need a Root Canal?

need a root canal

When people hear the words, “root canal,” the scenario that often comes to mind is that of a painful dental procedure that costs too much money. But those popularly held misconceptions are just that: misconceptions. In fact, the only pain you should be thinking about when your dentist recommends a root canal is the pain that is, or will be, caused by the infection in your tooth.

Your root canal will involve the use of a local anesthetic that numbs the area around the tooth, and the tooth itself. Dentists can even offer a calming medicine, like nitrous oxide, to ensure the experience is as painless as possible. You don’t need to buy into the stereotype that a root canal has to be an extremely painful experience.

A root canal is an excellent solution for those who want to save their teeth. More good news is that you should not assume the affected tooth will have to be extracted in the future. The vast majority of root canal treatments are terrific successes that are pain-free.

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How to tell if your dentist is independent or part of a chain

How to tell if your dentist

More and more these days, the dental office you go to may not be independently owned. While that’s not an issue for some, others have expressed concerns that a dentist employed by a corporate chain might be subject to management’s decisions for pricing and procedures.

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Our Top 8 Dental Care Tips

dental care tipsBy now, you surely know that’s it’s important to brush at least twice each day and floss once a day. But you may not hear as much about the following important dental care tips:

1. Limit your consumption of acidic foods and drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can cause tooth enamel to wear away, causing your teeth to become more sensitive and look more yellow. It’s best to reduce or eliminate carbonated drinks altogether, since they all contain acid. If you do drink soda, or other acidic drinks such as juices, use a straw. Consume acidic foods like fruit and pickles with meals whenever possible instead of snacking on them throughout the day. It also helps to rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods or drinks.

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How to Find Quality Dental Care After a Move

quality dental careMoving to a new area is almost always a stressful experience. It’s also an experience filled with a long to-do list: unpacking, redecorating, contacting service providers, and learning all you need to know about your new community.

Included in that list is finding a new dentist. If you’ve had the same trusted dentist for years, the idea of finding a new one may seem daunting.

To make the process a bit simpler, we’ve put together the following list of tips. We hope they’ll be a help as you look for a new dentist you can trust and feel comfortable with.

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The UnRegulating of Patient Protection

Each state protects its citizens through a board of dentistry that holds every dentist accountable for dental care provided in the office(s) they own. Although it’s rare, accountability becomes important when a patient accuses a dentist of a transgression. Today, corporately owned and/or managed dental offices, falling outside the protective clutches of state dental boards, are making patient protection effectiveness more difficult to understand.

 Children Mistreated

In 2012, Bloomberg News reported alleged abuse and overtreatment of children by dentists employed by Private Equity owned dental clinics. In the report, was a story about how a 4 year old boy treated at school suffered baby teeth root canals and crowns that, according to his mother, were not needed and performed without permission. According to the article’s author, Sydney Freedberg, “Management companies are at the center of allegations of…unnecessary procedures, low quality treatment, and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-17/dental-abuse-seen-driven-by-private-equity-investments.html. Dental Management Service Organizations, known as DMSOs, are corporations often funded, owned and/or managed by Private Equity companies. State dental boards have no jurisdiction over their activities and do not regulate them.

Regulatory Protection Caught between Teeth & Profits?

Also reported by Bloomberg, U.S. Senators Grassley and Baucus have questioned whether one Private Equity owned dental chain under federal investigation has focused “more on achieving self-imposed quotas via assembly line service than proper patient care,” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-31/republicans-target-dental-bill-that-private-equity-hates.html. Dentists are obligated by law to provide dental care that restores and/or maintains health, and not recommend or provide services beyond patient needs and desires. Accusations are, dentists in corporate dental offices might be providing treatment that patients don’t actually need, placing the profit needs of corporations over of the clinical needs of patients, as in the sad story of the 4 year old boy. Unlike a private practice dentist, a separate corporate entity such as a DMSO operates outside the jurisdiction of state dental board accountability. Continue reading about The UnRegulating of Patient Protection

Quality Dental Care, Know What To Look For

Ever had a bad haircut for $10, 50, or even $100 or more? What’s crazy is no matter how much hair cutters charge or their skill level, their state licenses indicate they’re all the same. Of course, we can see a bad haircut, and, hair always grows back. Not so easy with teeth.

What is Quality Dental Care?

As in every walk of life, it should come as no mystery that dentists also vary in knowledge, training, and skills. Further, as a measure of professional integrity, while the vast majority always views their patient’s best interest as foremost, a few might place profits first. That’s why it is important to know that quality dental care will normally be the most comfortable and healthiest, last the longest, and include only what you need and want.

Dental school education includes science classes and training in basic clinical skills. Because our dental school education is limited, clinical knowledge needs to continue well past the four years of structured education. That means one measure of quality will be your dentist’s commitment to continuing education, learning the latest clinical information, techniques, and materials. Of course, while knowledge alone does not guarantee quality dental care, it is always a necessary component.

Another aspect of quality, clinical skills, are most often hidden from sight in dimensions of microns too small to see, affects fit (health) and function (comfort). Clinical skills, dependent upon training, natural abilities, dedication, and experience, help determine all aspects of how well your dentistry will perform. One thing about skills that is universal to all professions is, the more carefully one works, the better the result. To assure high quality, your dentist will only work at a pace that is predictable and comfortable for the two of you.

Patients looking for quality care should always seek a dentist known for having professional integrity, knowledge, and skills. However, because not every dentist abides by the OPT-In Dental Advantage Code of Ethics, listed in the Resource section of our website, www.optindentaladvantage.com, there are certain precautions that should be considered: Continue reading about Quality Dental Care, Know What To Look For

Dental Insurance Wars: Creating Winners & Losers

dental insuranceWe all feel lucky to have dental insurance. And, truthfully, most patients and their dentists have relatively few issues filing claims and receiving payment for them. While this tends to give the perception of savings, it can also be misleading, because most covered claims are small and straight forward. But sometimes insurance can become more difficult to manage when we need something more expensive, like a crown or a root canal, maybe a new denture supported by dental implants.

As claims are filed for more complex and costly services, determining the value of having dental insurance can become more complicated.

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