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.

This Year’s Resolution: Dental Health

It’s January, the gyms are busy, and the Kale is practically flying off of produce stands across the nation. In addition to resolving to eat better and move more, many people are also focused on receiving the preventive medical and dental care they need to keep their bodies in top condition. However, in order to do that, you need to find a great family doctor and dentist who can help you to reach your goals.

Finding a dentist can be especially challenging if you live in a big city, where thousands of dentists are actively marketing their services. Fortunately, one organization has made it easier than ever before to find a great dentist: Opt-In Dental Advantage.

Feel Secure With The Opt-In Code of Ethics

In order to protect patients across the country, Opt-In Dental Advantage asks participating dental providers to abide by a very particular code of ethics. In addition to treating each and every patient with respect and consideration, the Opt-In Code of Ethics also asks dentists to do the following things:

• To only provide dental care at a quality level they would be proud to show another dental professional.
• To bill insurance companies properly for treatment performed, with the codes representing the actual treatment.
• To be transparent with patients regarding clinical benefits, procedures, and expenses, and to avoid “up-selling.”
• To provide a written diagnosis to patients upon their request.
• To provide second opinions, including findings and treatment options.
• To stay current with continuing education.
• To provide patients with an emergency dental care number.
• To only provide services allowed according to state law and the state Dental Practice Act.

In addition to networking with thousands of dentists who promise to abide by this code of ethics, Opt-In Dental Advantage also makes it easy for people to find a dentist in their area. With a simple-to-use dental directory tools that allows prospective patients to search for a dentist based on address, city, zip code, or state, patients can quickly narrow down dentists in their area who have promised to follow these guidelines.

Tips for Finding A Great Dentist

Of course, narrowing down the list of dentists in your area is only the first step. After you know which dentists are members of the Opt-In Dental Advantage network, you need to find a dentist office in your area where you feel comfortable.

Take the time to study dental websites for the dentists in your area. Read the dentists’ biographies, take that virtual tour of the office, and read through recent patient comments. If you can tell that everyone is raving about a particular practice and that the dentist takes his or her business seriously, visit the office in person.

Pay attention to the way you are treated when you arrive at the office. Talk with the front desk staff about things like accepted insurance plans, office policies, and payment options. The more you know, the easier it will be to make your choice. While you are there, make sure that the dentist offers preventive care, which can help your family to stay healthier this year.

Health Benefits of Preventive Care

Preventive care is absolutely essential to helping your family to avoid dental decay, oral pain, and periodontal disease, which is why you should ask about services like deep cleanings, dental sealants, and oral cancer screenings. Preventive dental care can do more than save you time and money. In addition to preventing embarrassing tooth damage, a proactive approach to dentistry can also help to keep your loved ones healthier—since periodontal disease has been tied to other life-threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

Find Your Next Dentist Today

Resolve to enjoy a healthier smile in 2017 by finding a dentist in your area today. Use the free tools offered on the Opt-In Advantage website to search for dentists in your area that meet your criteria.

Happy Holidays from Opt-In Dental Advantage

During 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.

What’s the Point of Preventive Care?

Did you know that 33% of Americans didn’t visit the dentist last year? And even more shocking, 25% of Americans don’t regularly brush and floss their teeth. If you fall into either of these categories, it’s time for a change that can save you time, money, and pain.

What is Preventive Care?

Preventive care is everything you do to keep tooth decay and gum disease from ever happening in the first place. Most issues such as cavities and periodontal disease can easily be avoided by even the most basic preventive care. Good preventive care includes brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, as well as rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth after every meal. It also includes regular dental checkups to spot the warning signs of dental disease, and treatments such as dental sealants and fluoride varnish meant to strengthen and protect healthy teeth.

How Does Preventive Care Save Me Time?

Taking a few minutes every day to take care of your teeth saves you hours of restorative care down the road. You won’t have to take time off of work or other activities to visit the dentist for a procedure that can last 2 or 3 hours, or even require multiple treatments. Also, if you regularly visit a dentist you trust, and tooth damage does happen unexpectedly, you’ll be able to quickly get an appointment with a dentist you trust rather than frantically Googling “find a dentist near me” and having to consult a dentist you don’t know for your emergency dental work.

How Is Preventive Care Less Painful?

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily should not cause pain. (If it does, try using a softer toothbrush and increasing the frequency of brushing and flossing.) However, if you allow plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth, the restorative care necessary to treat the cavity can be uncomfortable, not to mention the pain of a toothache beforehand.

How Does Preventive Care Save Me Money?

The cost of a toothbrush and toothpaste is minute in comparison to how much it costs to get a root canal or filling. Even routine checkups are less costly, and are more likely to be covered by insurance. It is in your best interest to brush your teeth twice a day and visit the dentist regularly to care for your teeth. If it’s been a while since your last appointment, find a dentist today!

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Improve Your Life

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about making your smile look picture perfect. Believe it or not, that brighter, whiter smile can actually improve your life in some pretty powerful ways. Here are just a few of the ways cosmetic dentistry benefits you, and why you should find a dentist in your area who can help you reach your smile goals.

Improve Self-Esteem

Being able to smile without worrying about how your teeth look can do more than make family picture day less stressful. Having a mouth full of clean, healthy white teeth can improve your self-esteem, since you won’t have to be self-conscious about how your teeth look.

Cosmetic dentists can improve the look of your teeth using a wide number of techniques, including whitening, dental bonding, and contouring. In addition to changing the color and surface texture of your teeth, cosmetic dentists can align your teeth with orthodontic procedures, making them easier to clean.  

Climb The Corporate Ladder

If it seems like your yellow teeth are holding you back, it might not be your imagination. One study that focused on job applicants and their dental appearance found that candidates with straighter, whiter teeth were 58% more likely to be hired and had a 53% chance to earn a larger salary than other applicants with unsightly smiles. Although the exact reason for the difference is unclear, researchers suspect that applicants with more beautiful smiles might be more likely to exude confidence and happiness. Since confident employees tend to represent their companies in a more positive light, employers are more likely to hire you if your smile looks well-kept and professional.

Cosmetic Restorations Protect Your Smile

Cosmetic restorations help to protect your other teeth and oral tissues, since smooth, straight teeth are less likely to collect debris or cause oral lacerations. Simply having your teeth repaired by a cosmetic dentist can help you to prevent oral injuries and lend you a hand against decay.

If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, look for dentists in your area by searching for “dentists near me” in your favorite search engine, or allow Opt-In Dental Advantage to help. We can give you a way to narrow down dentists in your area to find the ones that would be a good fit for your family. Dentists who are a part of the Opt-In Advantage network have promised to abide by a code of ethics, helping you to keep your family safe, happy, and comfortable during your appointments. Find an Opt-In dentist today!

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.

Choosing the Wrong Doctor was a Painful Mistake

In March 2013, I came down with flu-like symptoms. I was weak, and my stomach was bloated and acidy. I thought it would pass, but instead it worsened. I called a colleague for a physician referral, but was directed to a different physician who, after an exam, said I needed a CAT scan costing several thousand dollars.

I asked, “No simple tests, no antibiotics, just go directly to the CAT scan?” I thoroughly researched symptoms, tests, and potential cures. An expensive CAT scan wasn’t mentioned. When I refused, he prescribed an antacid, but for only half the recommended dose. After I reported no improvement, the doctor once again told me I needed a CAT scan. Instead, I gave up on the physician at Penn Medicine and obtained antibiotics as suggested by the latest research—which worked.

The physician, one of hundreds at Penn Medicine, failed to properly diagnose my condition and caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering. As patient care is more and more driven by profit instead of medical science, finding a good, trustworthy doctor becomes more like winning the lottery. Penn Medicine provides the facilities and a certain reputation—but in the end, it is individual doctors who provide the care.

Does that mean all physicians at branded health centers are bad? Of course not. Penn Medicine and others have many fine clinicians and great facilities. But there are no guarantees. I was lucky. I understood what was going on. But unsuspecting patients are frequently talked into procedures they don’t need, or denied insurance benefits they’re entitled to.

The same things are happening in dentistry. Business minded people are bringing wholesale changes to dental care that aim for profit above all. Dental patients are having a harder time finding trustworthy dentists, while insurance companies invent new ways to deny claims. Both increase profits at the expense of patient care.

I was able to draw my own conclusions and obtain a more effective, much less expensive treatment. However, most people don’t have a background in dentistry. If you’re not a dental professional, you’ll need help to know where to look.

This website is full of information about what to look for—and what to look out for. Once you’ve done some reading, you can search for a dentist in your area who has agreed to our Code of Ethics. One of our most important tenets is that the dentists in our network won’t try to up-sell you. There will be no unnecessary, expensive procedures. A doctor living by the Opt-In Code of Ethics will only recommend services that will actually help you.

Every doctor-patient relationship should be based on mutual trust. Don’t be fooled by big brands and shiny buildings. They provide the facilities, but they don’t provide care. How you are actually cared for is the job of your doctor. Search the internet, talk to friends and relatives, and don’t be shuffled to someone you don’t know. And read our Code of Ethics before selecting a dentist.

The Health Effects of Too Much Sugar

As 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!

How Can I Find the Best Dentists Near Me?

When you’re new to an area, it can be intimidating to find a dentist near you that will be the best choice for your entire family. Fortunately, by knowing what to look for, you can whittle down the possibilities in no time. Here are just a few tips for finding a great dental practice.

Use Online Search Tools

The Internet is packed with useful tools to help people to find different businesses, and finding a dentist is no different. Use your favorite search engine to do a quick search for “best dentists near me.” In addition to finding practice addresses, phone numbers, and photos in an instant, you can also find each dentist’s website so that you can explore their practice from the comfort of your own home. You can also go to a site specifically designed to help you find a dentist.

The American Dental Association

The American Dental Association maintains lists of registered dentists across the country. The website gives patients the option of either entering their own address to find dentists near their home, or searching for dentists based on their location, specialty, or last name.

The Opt-In Network

At Opt-In Dental Advantage, we are not only interested in giving you lists of dentists near you, but in connecting you with dentists who meet our standards of quality and ethics. While we may not be the deciding factor in your choice, we can give you a starting point in your search.

Check Qualifications

After you find one or more dental practices that you are interested in, take the time to check the dentists’ qualifications. Search online for your state’s dental licensee board, and look to see what kind of license your prospective dentist carries. For example, if you are looking for a periodontist who offers dental implants or might offer another type of in-office dental surgery, make sure that they carry an oral and maxillofacial surgery permit, not just a general dentistry license.

Also, look into the dentist’s educational background to see where they went to school, when they graduated, and whether or not they have kept up with continuing education. Check to see if they belong to any professional associations, such as the ADA, local dental associations, and state dental associations. These types of professional memberships help dentists to stay up-to-date on all of the latest dental research, which protects you as a patient.

Look for Patient Reviews

A good recommendation can help you to narrow down your search fast, which is why it is a good idea to look for patient reviews. Talk with friends and family members about who they use, why they use that dentist, and what they like about the office. Check the dentist’s web pages and social media pages to look for patient comments and reviews.

Look for reviews that seem to offer a fair, objective opinion, and keep in mind that people are more likely to comment when they are upset. If you read negative reviews, see whether or not the dentist or the patient directly commented on the negative feedback. A practice that communicates kindly and intelligently with patients will be easier to work with than a practice that ignores comments or handles them unprofessionally.

Get a First Impression

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to stop by different dental practices to get a good first impression. Pay attention to how you are greeted when you enter the room, and whether or not the practice seems eager to earn your business. Taking the time to talk with the actual staff members or the dentist can make finding the best practice for you much easier. While the ultimate choice of dentists will be up to you and your priorities, by following this guide, you will at least find a competent and well-regarded dentist-and that is always worth the effort.

Stop Smoking, Lose Pounds, Get Healthy

Many people smoke to keep their weight down without realizing everything else that is happening to them.  We have all heard about how bad smoking can be for our general health. But, many don’t know how bad it can be for oral health. Smoking not only stains teeth brown and yellow, it also increases gum disease, decay, and tooth loss, and even a deadly form of oral cancer. That means smoking can be more expensive than just a pack of cigarettes.

The CDC reported in 2014 that about 20% of the US population smokes tobacco, causing over 480,000 premature deaths, annually, from cancer, diseases of the heart, lungs, and other related diseases. A known fact is many people won’t quit smoking out of fear of gaining weight. Interestingly, Kruger et al reported in 2005 that obesity from poor diets and lack of exercise is the second leading cause of premature death. So, how do we address all the health issues from smoking without adding the problems associated with weight gain?

The Role of Nicotine

In the 1930’s, cigarette companies began promoting smoking as a way to avoid weight gain. According to research conducted by Lycett and others, tobacco industry suggestions were reinforced by the fact that “approximately 10% of smokers who quit smoking gain close to 30 pounds in weight.” As it turns out, there are good reasons why body weight goes up when people quit smoking. Nicotine initiates the release of chemicals in the brain and central nervous system that decreases hunger and increases metabolism rates. When acting like a diet drug, nicotine also initiates the actions of other chemicals that together, destroy fat cells. Hofstetter reported  that “nicotine increases 24-h energy expenditure by ~10%.” Other deleterious effects of nicotine include “insulin resistance” (diabetic complications) and resistance to inflammation (injury and infection control), as reported by Benowitz, and also reported by Miyazaki.

Controlling Body Weight

When people stop smoking, the effects of nicotine on metabolism (faster) and appetite (decreased), reverses, resulting in weight gain from caloric increase, if there is no balancing increase in exercise. Those seeking support to overcome these problems find only mixed results. McGovern and Benowits reported in 2011, “One group of smokers received standard smoking-cessation counseling, a second group received this counseling plus diet advice to prevent weight gain (that is, weight control), and a third group received the standard smoking-cessation program plus counseling to reduce their concerns about gaining weight.” They found that after 1 year, those who focused on “reducing concerns about weight gain, rather than controlling weight gain itself” had more success with weight control.

Many prefer to take a pill for a quick fix. Unfortunately, as reported by Kenny, “…these medications appear to delay, rather than prevent, post-cessation weight gain.” In fact, their findings indicate that after medications have run their course, weight returns as if no medications had been taken.

Do it Now

As we all know, smoking can lead to a lot of problems, including reports of chronic disease inflammation, constricted arteries, increased blood clotting, cancer, and complications from diabetes. We also know it causes many problems in our mouths that can lead to tooth loss and oral disease. Quitting smoking has always proven difficult. But with the right help, and a personal commitment, our overall health, our oral health, and our general appearance will be improved and extended for many additional years.

Photo from the Quit Smoking Community