Your Smile Dental Care


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How to Manage Your Dental Emergency

Be Prepared for the Holidays

We all look forward to the holidays when we can relax with family and friends and enjoy all the great festive foods that the season has to offer. What we don’t expect, however, is a dental emergency! So what are you to do if you find yourself needing a safe home remedy to tie you over until you can get to your dental office?

 

Break a tooth?

Many things can cause your tooth to break including injury, biting down too hard, cavities and large fillings. If you break or chip a tooth your should see your dentist right away. Even a small chip in your tooth can progress into a much more complicated matter and can cause further damage to your tooth, so it is best to have a broken tooth attended to as quickly as possible. Fixing your broken tooth will depend on the extent of damage and how quickly you are able to arrange treatment so that the tooth doesn’t continue to break. Very small chips can sometimes be smoothed off, but fractures extending into the root area may, in some cases, have to be removed

Your at home steps:

1. Rinse your mouth immediately with warm water to remove any small bits and pieces of tooth and other debris.
2. If you are bleeding form the tooth or mouth area, you can use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding.
3. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion.
4. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
5. Call your dentist

 

Lost a filling?

You may not think of a lost filling as an emergency, but it can be a traumatic and even painful experience for many people. Sometimes both the filling and a piece of tooth breaks off, while other times it’s actually just the tooth and not a filling. Fillings do not last forever and may fall out for a number of reasons. Your dentist will examine the area to determine why it fell out and discuss the repair options with you. Do not delay treatment as the tooth may continue to breakdown and could fracture into the root. There are many occasions when teeth that have broken into the root have to be removed. If you know already that you have a weak tooth that could break, have it attended to before it worsens. The sooner you get to the dentist, the better the chance of  saving the tooth.

Your at home steps:

1. Try to locate the piece that fell out and place it in a small baggie for safe keeping. Bring it with you to your appointment.
2. Rinse your mouth immediately with warm water to remove any small bits and pieces of tooth and other debris.
3. If you are bleeding form the tooth or mouth area, you can use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding.
4. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion. An anti-inflammatory may also control swelling and relieve pain.
5. You can still eat, but should chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your filling fell out. Choose softer foods and avoid those that are sharp or extreme in temperature.
6. As for brushing your teeth, you should try to keep the tooth as clean as possible to avoid added irritation, food impaction and plaque/debris buildup. You will want to brush gently with a very soft toothbrush and rinse with warm temperature water.
7. Do not attempt to sand off any sharp edges as you may do further damage to the tooth. Sharp edges can be annoying and bother your curious tongue, so if you have any orthodontic wax or can borrow some, just soften it between your fingers and apply it over the area. Chewing gum may be used also, but may not stick as well.
8. Do not attempt to glue any tooth or filling piece back into place. It will likely not stick and will cause additional work for your dentist.
9. Call your dentist

Crown fall out or becoming loose?

There are a few reasons why a dental crown may become loose and/or fall out such as underlying cavities, old and disintegrating cement, underlying broken tooth, injury/trauma, or the constant habit of grinding/clenching.

Your at home steps:

1. Wrap the crown in a piece of tissue or gauze then place it into a plastic container.

2. Do not attempt to clean off the crown or it may drop onto the floor or down the drain!

3. Rinse your mouth with warm water and spit out into a cup or bowl. This is done to ensure that there isn’t more pieces of tooth of crown in your mouth that you could swallow or aspirate. Retrieve any pieces you think may be a piece of tooth or crown and place in the plastic container.

4. Sometimes, your tooth is left with a sharp edge  when a crown falls off. Do not try to file it down yourself! If you happen to have any orthodontic wax that is used for braces, you can place it over the sharp edge until you get to the dentist.

5. Never, ever “glue” your crown back onto your tooth. Not only is glue not safe in the mouth, but you make our job more difficult when we have to try to remove the “glued” crown without causing further damage to the tooth or to surrounding teeth. Some patients have also been known to use sticky gums or foods to “glue” a crown in place. Not only do you run the risk of the crown being lost or swallowed, you are providing food for cavity-causing bacteria to further damage your tooth.

6. Same goes for any temporary cements that can sometimes be found in pharmacies. Our concern is that any re-cementation would be very temporary at best and could still leave you at risk for swallowing, choking, aspirating or the crown falling out and being lost. Additionally, self-cementing could cause your bite to be off, which in turn, may cause complications and harm to other teeth. Use these drug store cements or denture adhesive at your own risk!

7. You can still eat, but should chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where your crown fell out. Choose softer foods and avoid those that are sharp or extreme in temperature.

8. As for brushing your teeth, you should try to keep the tooth that was crowned as clean as possible to avoid added irritation, food impaction and plaque/debris buildup. You will want to brush gently with a very soft toothbrush and rinse with warm temperature water.

9. See your dentist as soon as possible. Teeth move when they are not supported by adjacent teeth or biting against opposing teeth. Delaying treatment will cause your existing tooth to shift and your crown will likely no longer fit the new tooth position.

Severe toothache?

Toothaches are considered one of the worst pains you can experience! Cavities, infections, sinusitis, fractures and even getting something caught between your teeth can cause a lot of discomfort. It is very important to understand that pain caused by an infection should be attended to right away as infection can spread to other parts of your body. Obviously, getting to the dentist as soon as possible is recommended, but how can you find some comfort before your appointment?

 

Your at home steps:

1. If you suspect that something is stuck under your gums or between your teeth, try flossing the area gently to remove the offending item, but still see your dentist to examine the area and ensure that there isn’t a more serious issue developing.
2. You may also find relief rinsing your mouth with warm salt water
3. Applying a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion may give you additional relief.
4. DO NOT place aspirin directly on your tooth as it contains an acid that is strong enough to burn your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth.
5. Call your dentist

Tooth knocked out?

A whole tooth (crown and root) that has been knocked out (avulsed) can begin to die within 30 minutes so it is essential that you get to a dentist immediately. The chances of successful re-implantation decreases the longer you wait for treatment. If any other injuries sustained during injury are minor and do not require immediate medical attention, then get to a dentist as soon as possible. Have someone call them to explain what has happened and that you are on your way. If you have any doubt as to whether or not any other injuries sustained are serious, go to the nearest emergency department immediately. You should bring the tooth with you in a cup of cow’s milk just in case there is dental personnel on staff that can treat you while your other injuries are being attended to.

Your at home steps:

1. Only handle the tooth by the crown portion NOT the root so that you do not further damage the root’s attachment fibres. If the root has debris on it try to find a cup and fill it with some cow’s milk or water. Holding the crown, place the root portion of the tooth into the cup of liquid and wiggle the tooth back and forth to try to loosen and slough away the debris from the root surface. Do this ONLY if the root is dirty and do not scrub or use soup.
2. After cleaning, try to put the tooth back into the socket and hold it in place. If it is a child, adult supervision is critical so that they do not swallow the tooth. With a crying, flailing child, this can be near impossible, so use your discretion.
3. If you can’t place it back into the socket, then place it into a glass of cow’s milk or even the injured person’s saliva. Milk contains proteins, antibacterial substances and sugars to help the cells of the tooth and it’s surrounding tissues
4. Keep the tooth moist at all times.
5. There is also a kit available online called  Save-A-Tooth. Find it here through Amazon
6. If there is bleeding, use a moistened gauze or clean fabric to stop any bleeding. No need to clean up around the face; you want to disturb the area as little as possible.
7. If you can not get to your dentist, go to the nearest dental office that is open.

 

 

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Loose tooth?

If you have sustained an injury that causes your tooth to loosen but NOT fall out you should:

Your at home steps:

1. Leave the tooth alone and do not put pressure on it.
2. If you begin to swell, apply a cold compress along the facial side of the injury in a 10 minute on, 10 minute off fashion.
3. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Call your dentist.

 

Jaw injury?

If you suspect that you have sustained an injury to your jaw, you will need to proceed to your nearest ER or urgent care with an x-ray department.

Your “on-the-way” steps:

1. Apply a cold compress to the injured area.
2. Keep your jaw as still as possible
3. You may also want to take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Many ERs do not have any dental personnel on staff, so you will need to see your dentist after you are discharged so that they can evaluate the area further for any dental damage such as broken teeth/roots, severed nerves, tooth socket widening, bone fragments, etc.

 

Suspect an abscess?

Dental abscesses can be life-threatening! Because abscesses are serious infections that can damage your oral health and spread to other parts of the body, you need to seek medical attention immediately! Even if the pain or swelling subsides, you still need to see your dentist right away as this type of infection does not go away without treatment. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with a gum or tooth infection include:

  • swelling
  • sever and/or radiating pain
  • foul odour
  • fever
  • tender or swollen lymph nodes
  • earache, headache, sinus pain
  • white pimple on gum
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • fatigue

Your at home care steps:

1. Do not try to break open or pop any pimple on your gum
2. Rinse with warn salt water
3. Take an anti-inflammatory to help control any swelling and relieve pain.
4. Call your dentist.

 

Prevention

It has been our experience that most dental emergencies tend to be problems that had been growing for a while and have decided to show up just in time to ruin your good night sleep, weekend, holiday or vacation! This is why we always recommend preventative dental care every 6 months as the best way to detect and treat dental problems while they are usually small and simple to repair. Every year, we include a few days over the holidays to remain open in case you or family and friends need our help or need to complete any outstanding dental treatment before the end of the year.

 


Rather than researching home remedies online or taking advice from friends or friends, call your dentist first.
Only they can offer you the safest, “specific to you” advice on what you can do at home.

 


 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Lost or Broken Dental Cap (Crown)

Hey, if the crown fits…

At Your Smile Dental Care, we recommend dental crowns when a weakened tooth needs added support and strength. And, although we used a special type of dental cement to permanently adhere the crown to the underlying tooth, dental caps have been know to fall off.

A dental crown may come loose or fall out for a number of reasons:

 

1. Cavities

If it is not a dental implant crown, then you still have your natural tooth underneath the crown. Like your other teeth, it is still susceptible to cavities if you are not meticulous about your home care or in attending regular professional cleanings. If part of your tooth gets destroyed by dental decay, then the crown may no longer fit snugly around your tooth. Bacterial plaque and its damaging acid continues to seep in where this protective seal between the tooth and the cap has been breached, further destroying tooth tissue. As the tooth continues to break down, the crown will become loose and eventually fall out. Sometimes the crown even comes off with the tooth still inside. Usually still fixable, but it sure makes patients say, “Yikes!”

This is why dental visits are so important! Regular visits allow us to monitor the health and fit of your dental crowns so that we can catch problems before they become bigger issues – like losing a crown.

 

2. Grinding

Don’t be surprised if you are not even aware that you grind or clench your teeth – most people aren’t! You may wake up with sore teeth and jaws, have loose teeth, have chips or fractures in some teeth, or  experience tooth pain or sensitivity. The incredibly strong forces that are put on your teeth when grinding or clenching can cause dental crowns to become loosened or even chip/break. Dr. Sam Axelrod advises patients who clench and grind to wear a custom-made guard over their teeth at night for added protection. A nightguard will put your teeth into proper bite and protect your teeth and dental crowns from wear and damage.

 

3. Injury or Trauma

Some injuries can be so severe that a crown gets knocked right off a tooth. It may be that the dental crown was already loose and all it needed was a sudden jarring hit to knock it off!

 

4. Disintegrating Cement

Gradually, over time, the cement that holds the crown in place can break down and dissolve. This leaves the bond between the existing tooth structure and crown weak and the crown simply falls out. Again, you dentist will monitor the seal at your dental check-ups to ensure that the integrity of the cement is still intact.

 

What to Do…

It is understandable why most patients panic when their crown falls out. They know that their tooth is no longer protected by the crown and they may even begin to feel some sensitivity to hot and cold food, biting down, tooth brushing or breathing in air.

 

Take these 10 steps to increase the likelihood of saving your crown and tooth:

1. Wrap the crown in a piece of tissue or gauze then place it into a plastic container.

2. Do not attempt to clean off the crown or it may drop onto the floor or down the drain!

3. Rinse your mouth with warm water and spit out into a cup or bowl. This is done to ensure that there isn’t more pieces of tooth of crown in your mouth that you could swallow or aspirate. Retrieve any pieces you think may be a piece of tooth or crown and place in the plastic container.

4. Sometimes, your tooth is left with a sharp edge  when a crown falls off. Do not try to file it down yourself! If you happen to have any orthodontic wax that is used for braces, you can place it over the sharp edge until you get to the dentist.

5. Never, ever “glue” your crown back onto your tooth. Not only is glue not safe in the mouth, but you make our job more difficult when we have to try to remove the “glued” crown without causing further damage to the tooth or surrounding teeth. Some patients have also been known to use sticky gums or foods to “glue” a crown in place. Not only do you run the risk of the crown being lost or swallowed, you are providing food for cavity-causing bacteria to further damage your tooth.

6. Same goes for any temporary cements that can sometimes be found in pharmacies. Our concern is that any re-cementation would be very temporary at best and could still leave you at risk for swallowing, choking, aspirating or the crown falling out and being lost. Additionally, self-cementing could cause your bite to be off, which in turn, may cause complications and harm to other teeth. Use these drug store cements or denture adhesives at your own risk!

7. Rather than researching home remedies online or taking advice from friends or friends, call your dentist first. Only they can offer you the safest, “specific to you” advice on what you can do at home.

8. You can still eat, but should chew on the opposite side of the mouth from where you crown fell out. Choose softer foods and avoid those that are sharp or extreme in temperature.

9. As for brushing your teeth, you should try to keep the tooth that was crowned as clean as possible to avoid added irritation, food impaction and plaque/debris buildup. You will want to brush gently with a very soft toothbrush and rinse with warm temperature water.

10. See your dentist as soon as possible. Teeth move when they are not supported by adjacent teeth or biting against opposing teeth. Delaying treatment will cause your existing tooth to shift and your crown will likely no longer fit the new tooth position.

 

Swallowed or Aspirated Crown

What happens if you accidently swallow a crown?

Usually a crown is small enough that it just goes through the digestive tract without complication. However, there is always a risk that the crown can become stuck in the throat obstruction of the airway. You would begin immediate action as you would with any other type of choking. See here for Choking Victim instructions.

Aspiration is an entirely more serious matter than involves the crown being accidentally “breathed” into the respiratory tract during swallowing, coughing or hiccupping. In a case like this, you will need to be evaluated immediately at your local hospital emergency or the nearest urgent care with a radiology department. A chest x-ray will determine the location of the crown and the attending physician will arrange for prompt retrieval to prevent further complications.

 

If you have lost your crown or are facing any kind of dental emergency, please give us a call right away. At Your Smile Dental Care, Dr. Sam Axelrod and his team of caring professional will be happy to answer your questions and make all possible arrangements to help you.

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Need to know what your Dental Insurance Plan covers?


Am I covered?

This is one of the most common questions that our patients ask us, whether it is in response to a recommended treatment plan or just a general inquiry.

It is an important question because it is obviously one of the greatest factors that a patient takes into account when considering dental treatment. And although, treatment may be necessary for your dental health, no one wants any surprises when it comes to finances.

 


“It is becoming increasingly difficult for dental practices to gather information from your insurer on your behalf.”


 

Even if you already have an employee booklet that was given to you by your employer, it can sometimes be difficult to interpret or may not explain all the limitations your plan may apply to your covered benefits. Under Ontario’s Privacy Act, it is becoming increasingly difficult for dental practices to gather information from your insurer on your behalf. Oftentimes, they want the subscriber of the plan (the employee) to be present in the office to grant permission and that is not always practical.

When a patients needs to be seen by a dentist for an unexpected emergency or last minute appointment, they do not always have the luxury preparing for their visit. If we have to initiate immediate treatment in order to save the tooth, waiting for approval of a cost estimate is also always a choice. An inquiry to the insurer over the telephone about treatment eligibility can be further complicated if they do not wish to disclose the information about the plan’s benefits without the policy holder’s written permission (regardless of the emergency circumstances) or they want to review the treatment case and dental images first.

This is just one of the many scenarios that take place when dealing with dental insurance. It can be an exercise in frustration especially when you are faced with having to make an immediate or timely decision about your dental health needs. When treatment cannot be delayed and is a same-day necessity, the uncertainty of insurance coverage can trigger an additional worry for patients.

 

Dental Speak

Understanding your dental policy and the terminology used can be confusing. If you ever want to call your insurer to get a general breakdown of your policy there are a number of important terms and questions you may want to know and understand before making an inquiry:

 

Basic Services – Most insurance companies classify routine maintenance and restorative treatment under basic services. These include, but may not be limited to, exams, cleanings, fluoride, x-rays, sealants, fillings and extractions. Your plan will likely limit the frequency under which they will pay for such procedures and you should be aware of these date/frequency limitations.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “What procedures are considered Basic under my policy?  How often can will these Basic services be performed?”

 

Major Services –  Most insurance companies classify Major as those services that go beyond the scope of routine procedures because they involve more complex or extensive treatment in order to restore or repair a condition where breakdown, loss or damaged has occurred.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Am I covered for major services? What are those major treatments and the associated limitations that I should be aware of?”

 

Fee Guide (aka. Fee Schedule) – is an annual suggested fee structure that is put together by a provincial or state dental association and serve as a guide when dentists are billing patients. Most insurance companies will base their fees according to this annual fee schedule. In order to make a dental plan more affordable for an employer to offer to employees, they may choose a plan that pays at a previous year’s suggested fees. For example, if you have an appointment in 2017 and your dentist bills you at 2017 prices, but you plan pays out at 2015 prices, you will pay the difference in fees between these two dates. From year to year, some dental fees increase, some decrease, while others may remain the same price. Dentists are not required to follow any fee guide, but most do. If the dentist practices a specialty such as oral surgery or endodontics you should inquire about their fees.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “What fee guide does my plan follow?”  “Does it cover both General and Specialist practitioners?”

 

Deductible – Similar to a car deductible, it is the annual dollar amount you must pay before your insurance policy takes effect. It usually is an annual deductible and is applied to your first visit of the year. You may have a deductible for each member on your policy or just one for the whole family.

Case Scenario 1: If your first visit of the year is a covered expense under the terms of your policy and you are charged $100.00 for the treatment, under a policy family deductible of $25 your insurer will pay $75.00 ($100 minus the $25 deductible). Subsequent dental treatment for your family members within the year will not be subjected to this deductible as it has already been applied.

Case Scenario 2: If your first visit of the year is a covered expense under the terms of your policy and you are charged $75.00 for the treatment, under a policy family deductible of $100 your insurer will pay not pay anything as the $100 deductible has not been met yet. In fact, there is $25 still outstanding and will be applied to the next visit in that particular year. Subsequent dental treatment for your family members within the year will not be subjected to this remaining deductible as only $75.00 has been applied.

Sometimes, the deductible is only applied to certain treatment procedures such as major services. Understand that any premium or co-payments usually do not count towards this deductible.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my policy have a deductible and is it single or family? How much is the deductible? Is it applied  to all covered procedures or only certain treatment?”

 

Annual Maximum – Most dental plans have a certain dollar amount that they will pay towards your dental treatment per year. It involves a specific benefit period (January to December for example) and once this maximum dollar is reached then you are responsible for paying any remaining costs. It is important to understand that, if at the end of this benefit period, you still have a portion of this dollar amount still available and do not use it, it is usually lost and does not carry over into the next benefit period. Annual maximums vary depending on the policy and they are another way that employers and insurers limit their costs. There may be a different dollar amount applied to basic treatment as opposed to major services. It may also be applied to each individual under the policy or be a dollar amount for the entire family.

Case Scenario 1: If you have an individual annual maximum of $1000 and you have seven cavities totaling $700 and have not used any other monies from your plan during that specific benefit period, then you still have $300 remaining.

Other consideration that can affect this dollar amount of deductible, co-payments and type of dental services – basic or major.

Case Scenario 2: If you have an individual annual maximum of $1000 and you have seven cavities totaling $700 and have not used any other monies from your plan during that specific benefit period, but your plan only pays 80% for this type of basic treatment and has a $25 deductible, then they will pay $535 toward the dental cost leaving you with $465 remaining.

Unfortunately, the annual maximums that many insurance companies offer do not match the realty of today’s dental healthcare costs.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my policy have an annual maximum? Is it a single or family maximum? What period does it cover? How is it applied – basic, major towards any treatment? What happens to remaining dollars at the end of the benefit period? Does my policy have a lifetime maximum? How can I best keep track of this annual maximum?

*TIPSometimes, a patient needs a lot of dental treatment during their benefit period. They may choose to have only the treatment that is covered by their annual maximum, and then delay the remaining treatment until their benefit period renews. Sometimes, it may be a viable option for you, while other times, delaying dental treatment can lead to higher costs in terms of fees, pain, complications and disease progression. Always consult your dentist if you are considering delaying recommended treatment. Oral health can be unpredictable, especially if you do not visit your dentist on a regular basis.

 

Co-Payments (aka. co-insurance) – is the percentage of the procedure bill that your insurance does not pay. It is your portion of the dental cost. If your dental office bills your insurance directly, then you will pay this fee after each dental visit. If you pay your dentist first and are reimbursed by your insurer then they will pay the covered costs minus this co-payment.  Co-payment are usually expressed as percentages.

Case Scenario: your dental policy may cover basic procedures at 80% and major services at 50%. You will be responsible for paying the remaining 20% or 50% respectively. For basic treatment, your insurer will pay $60 of a $75.00 dental bill.  If you were charged $500 for a major service your insurer will pay $250.00. Other factors will also be accounted for such as annual maximums and deductibles etc…

Again, it is a way for employers or insurance companies to limit their costs of offering dental coverage. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a dental policy that covers 100% of all treatment. Like a deductible, a co-payment represents your portion of your dental expenses. Some patients ask their dentists to waive or write-off their co-payments, but each dentist in Ontario has a legal and ethical obligation via-a-vis the insurance company to collect all co-payments from a patient.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “What co-payments am I responsible under this policy? Are there different co-payments for different types of procedures?”

 

Coverage period – This term basically means the period of time for which you or a member of your dental plan is covered for insured benefits. It can be used to describe a benefit year or the period of time that your policy is in effect. Some plans kick in only after a specified “waiting period”, so it is essential that you call your insurer to ensure that you are eligible to use the plan before you make a dental appointment. Additionally, you may only be covered for basic services for a period of time before any major coverage applies.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “When is the exact date that I can begin using this plan?” “Up to what age are my dependents covered and what conditions apply?” “What happens if I am laid-off or go on leave from my job?” “Is there a wait period for any procedures such as major treatment? “Is there anything else that can affect my eligibility under this plan.”

 

Single/Family – Single refers to the individual policy holder/employee and Family includes their spouse and at least one child. Single coverage usually costs less in premiums than a family plan. Clarify with your insurer who is covered under your plan and ensure that their personal information (spelling of name, date of birth etc…) is correct. If you are living in a co-habitation arrangement with a common-law spouse or separate with your spouse, ensure that you understand how it can affect their eligibility under the plan. Lastly, you may want to know if your yearly deductible applies to the family as a whole or each individual member of the plan.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my policy cover my family?” “Do we have one maximum dollar amount for the whole family or do we have individual annual maximums?” “Is my plan’s annual deductible single or family?”

 

Frequencies – Your insurer often limits the number of times that they will pay for a particular dental procedure. The time lapse between two identical procedures and the limitation your insurer will place on having the same procedure performed again can be very problematic for patients if they are not aware of these plan limits. For example, you may be covered to have a check-up examination every 6 months. There are other plan frequencies applied to different treatment such as crown replacement (ie. every 5 years), orthodontics (ie. once in a lifetime), fillings (ie. once every 3 year for same tooth, same surfaces) or new patient exam (i.e. once every 36 months).

When making an inquiry to your insurer, it becomes a little trickier when asking about frequencies. If you think that a tooth has had dental tx performed on it in the past, your dental provider can make this inquiry to your insurer on your behalf.

 

Examinations – There are different types of exams that a dental provider may perform. The exam that is arranged for you depends on the situation and the amount of time involved for the dental provider.

Complete Exam (Procedure code 01101 baby teeth, 01102 mixed baby and adult teeth, 01103 adult teeth) – Exams that warrant a complete verbal, visual and radiographic (x-ray) evaluation of a new patient or of an existing patient that requires a more comprehensive assessment of their oral health status. It generally centers around in-depth information gathering to the extent that allows the dental team to acquaint themselves with a patient’s past medical/dental history, chart pre-existing dental work, diagnose current conditions and develop a plan for future care. Most insurers pay for this every 2-3 years.
Recall/Check-up (Procedure code 01102) – A regular, periodic maintenance examination of a pre-existing patient to ensure no dental problems/issues have arisen since your last check-up exam. It usually coincides with  a regularly scheduled cleaning. Every 6-12 months
Emergency Exam (Procedure code 01105)- An exam that is required in an unexpected, urgent situation such a fractured tooth, extreme pain or swelling of an area of the mouth. Insurers may limit how many of these exams can be done outside of your regular check-up exam.
Specific Exam (Procedure code 01104)- An examination that is required apart from your regular check-up exam for the assessment/diagnosing of a specific area or tooth of concern and is not urgent in nature. Again, your insurer usually place limitations on the frequency of this type of exam.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “How often can I have a check-up exam?” “What are my plan’s frequencies concerning emergency and specific exams” “How often can I have a complete new patient exam?”

 

Specialist – If you have been referred to a Specialist, typically their fees are higher than the suggested provincial fee guide for General dentists. Additionally, you will usually pay up front for your treatment at a Specialist office and be reimbursed by your dental insurer according to the terms of your policy. Although your insurer may not cover all of the fees, it may at least defray some of the cost. Ensure that you know the payment policy of the Specialist you will be seeing and how you are to submit a claim for treatment to your insurer.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my policy covers Specialist fees and at what percentage and up to what maximum dollar amount?”  

 

Composite on molars – This is term that is used to describe a white filling on a molar. Some plans will only pay for an amalgam fillings on back teeth where aesthetics are less of a concern since most people cannot see your back teeth. Many dental offices no longer provide amalgam material as a choice for fillings when a tooth is decays or fractures. There is a cost difference – with the composite white filling being slightly higher in price – so insurers will scale their payment of white fillings to the amalgam price.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my plan cover composite on molars?”

 

Dual Coverage – This is when a patient has dental coverage through 2 separate dental plans – usually their own plan and then an additional plan through another employer, school, spouse or partner. Other dependents and children oftentimes have coverage through both parents. When there is eligible coverage under 2 dental plans one becomes the Primary plan that pays first and the other plan is the Secondary policy that pays all or some of the cost that the Primary does not. When submitting your claim to your Secondary insurer, you will need to enclose proof of Primary insurance payment before they will cover the remaining cost. You may not “double dip” meaning – both insurers require that you fully disclose the presence of dual coverage as you cannot claim your dental fees in such a manner that results in both the Primary and Secondary insurers reimbursing you or the dentist for more than 100% of the claim. Having 2 plans to help defray the cost of dental treatment helps to lower your out-of-pocket expenses, not profit from it. When your Primary claim is submitted, it will include details that will indicate to your Primary insurer that you have Secondary coverage and vice versa. If, for whatever reason, you no longer have the benefit of a Primary plan, you may need to provide proof to the Secondary insurer before they step up to their new position as Primary Benefit provider.

When making an inquiry to your Secondary insurer, you would ask:  “What kind of proof do you require to pay a Secondary claim?” There are two types of Statements of proof that are available – both referred to as EOB: Explanation of Benefits. One is the statement that the Primary carrier sends along with the dental cheque (it may be in postal, email or online form) while another form of proof that is sometimes accepted is the insurer’s response to the electronic submission that your dental office sends over a specific carrier network online and has the phrase EOB on the response.

 

Secondary payments – The is the benefit/money that is paid by a Secondary insurer as in the case of dual coverage or a Health Spending Account. See above. They are not the initial insurer that pays for a dental claim.

 

Health Spending AccountA Health Spending Account is a type of benefit that provides payment for healthcare-related expenses that are over and above any insurance benefits that an employee may have. Typically, a patient would pay the dentist bill first then provide receipt of payment to their HSA for reimbursement.

When making an inquiry : You would make any inquires about a HSA to your employer or  Human Resources department.

 

Orthodontic coverage – This refers to any type of treatment involving re-positioning of teeth like dental braces. It is typically categorized under major treatment and often has it’s own lifetime maximum and co-payment limitations. Generally, your orthodontic provider will submit a treatment plan to your insurer for consideration before any benefits will begin to be paid out and usually these costs are paid out over the course of  the treatment.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Does my policy include orthodontic coverage?” “What is the maximum dollar mount I can claim under orthodontics and is it a lifetime maximum?” “Is there an age restriction?” “Does treatment have to be provided by an orthodontist?”

 

Assignment of benefits – As a courtesy to patients, some dental offices will submit and bill your insurance company directly then wait for payment of the covered portion of treatment. Dentists are not required to do this. The full cost of the procedure is ultimately your responsibility. Understand, that many offices may not offer assignment of benefits for a number of reasons. It is getting increasingly difficult to do business with or make inquires on behalf of patients to insurance companies who implement very strict information policies based on their interpretation of Ontario’s Privacy Act. Lastly, dentists treat you based on your needs – not your dental plan. A dentist is still obligated to recommend treatment based on sound, evidence-based diagnosis even when your benefits do not completely match your health needs. Providing dental care while being a third party and fee collector to an agreement between a you and your insurer is a relationship that many healthcare providers do not wish to engage in.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Will you make payment directly to my dental provider?” “Do you accept electronic claim submissions?”  Your dental office will then have additional information about this electronic claim process.

 

Estimates – A written treatment plan (and images/x-rays, if requested) that is submitted to your insurer to determine whether any or all of the dental procedures in the treatment plan will be covered by your plan. Most insurers no longer provide verbal authorization over the telephone and recommend that you send them an estimate for any treatment over $300-$500. In this way, you will know in advance what your plan will cover and what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. It is important to remember that a pretreatment estimate does not guarantee payment from your insurer. Your insurer will calculate benefits according to your current eligibility, any deductibles that may be applied and how much is remaining of your yearly allowed maximum.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “Can you tell me over the phone if I will be covered for “such and such” treatment.  If not, approximately, how long will the estimate process take?” When making an inquiry to your dentist, you would ask: “Will you submit an estimate to my insurer for the proposed dental treatment and await their reply before we proceed?” Will it be safe to postpone advised treatment until my insurer replies?”

 

Age Limitations – This is another restriction in coverage and applies to limiting or denying benefits based on age. An example is fluoride or orthodontic braces that may be limited to children under a certain age or the termination of coverage once a dependent reaches adulthood. Many plans allow dependents to still remain eligible for benefits as long as they are still in school full time and can provide proof of this. Ensure that you provide your insurer with any pertinent information they require for your post secondary school aged child to remain eligible.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “What are the age restrictions that limit the eligibility of any members on this plan? What information do you require in order for my post secondary children to remain eligible?”

*TIP – Know the date when your child will no longer be covered under your policy due to any age/school restriction and ensure that they receive a comprehensive dental examination and complete any recommended/outstanding treatment before this date. Waiting until last minute will put unnecessary time constraints on both you, your dependent and your dentist.

 

EOB – A statement issued by your insurer showing what the dentist billed for each procedure and how much the insurer paid. Oftentimes, the statement will contain additional information with respect to why a particular procedure was not covered, the remaining balance of your yearly allowable maximum and perhaps some information pertaining to frequencies.

When making an inquiry to your insurer, you would ask: “How will I receive an accounting of what my dentist billed and what you, the insurer pays – Email? Online? Mail?

 

Other Consideration….

Alternative  Provision: When it comes to dental treatment, your dentist will usually make recommendations based on your individual circumstances. You may be fortunate enough to have several different options available to you. When it comes to options, however, each option generally comes with their own set of advantages/disadvantages in terms of cost, material, long-term prognosis (outcome), stability, patient comfort and compliance, success, limitations, etc.  When it comes to your insurer providing payment for any particular treatment, you are limited to the terms of your policy.

Alternative  Provision 1: Your insurer may agree to pay for your treatment, but only if your choose a less costly option or another treatment option of their choosing. The least expensive alternative is not always the best treatment option for you. For example: Your dentist may suggest a crown for a tooth that has been heavily restored and your insurer may only pay for the tooth to be repaired using pins and filling material. What happens when that tooth breaks sooner than later because the filling did not provide the necessary coverage/support/strength? What happens if the break extends down into the root and the tooth has to be removed?

Alternative Provision 2: Your insurer may agree to pay for your treatment, but will only pay out at the price of a less costly option or another treatment option. For example: Your dentist may suggest an implant in the area of a missing tooth. Your plan may provide benefits for a less expensive option, but agrees to pay for your implant, but only up to the price they would have paid for the less costly option.

It’s great to have dental coverage until you find out that your plan does not cover your individual needs – needs that become more complicated with due to age, neglect accidents, disease or wear. Remember, your dentist treats you not your dental plan.

 

Pre-existing Conditions – There may be a clause in your policy that restricts benefits if your particular condition already existed before you had your current dental plan. One such common condition is the “Missing Tooth.”  If your dentist recommends that that you replace a missing tooth/teeth with a bridge, implant or denture, but this tooth was removed before you were insured under your dental plan, your insurer may not pay any money towards restoring your condition back to ideal dental function. Likewise, for treatment of gum disease if they can prove that the condition of your gums and supporting structures of the periodontium were already compromised before your plan came into effect.

 

Whew!

This is a lot of information to take in.

In dentistry, we work with many, many different types of dental plans – all with various limitations and rules. Although a dental office may become familiar with a certain number of dental plans in their particular area or community, it is not practical to expect dental staff to be fully knowledgeable of all the individual plans available.

Your dental coverage is usually part of an overall benefits package offered by your employer and is designed to help employees offset their healthcare expenses. It is generally not based on your dental care needs – needs that are necessary to keep your smile happy and healthy!

 

Help Us to Help You!

Prevention is the number #1 way to keep dental costs down!

Prevent dental disease by practicing good oral hygiene and nutrition.

– Brush and floss daily
– Limit sugary drinks and snacks
– Don’t smoke or use tobacco/marijuana products
– See your dentist at least once a year for a thorough examination and cleaning.
– Except for water, space your food intake to 4-5 hours apart to allow saliva to repair damage from acid attacks. – – If you must snack, choose raw, crunch vegetable or fruit.

Prevent  insurance complications for your dental office by informing them of any policy or personal life changes that could alter your coverage such as: changes to employment status changes (as in the case of a temporary layoff), a child in post secondary school or a change in marital status.

Prevent small issues from becoming bigger problems by maintaining regular recare visits and attending to dental issues when they are small and under control. This will go a long way in reducing the likelihood of unexpected emergencies and their associated costs in terms of pain, dental fees and future restorative care.

Prevent dental cost surprises by understanding the ins and outs of your dental plan including what’s covered, limitations and what you are expected to pay before having treatment done.

Prevent future worries by taking the time now to consider future dental costs when planning for your overall healthcare needs in retirement.

Prevent disappointment by taking the time now to discuss treatment options and expectations with your dentist. This includes asking about any risks, future maintenance, long-term prognoses, as well as the consequences of delaying or opting out of treatment.

Prevent any miscommunications by practicing good dialogue techniques with your provider, including the insurance company. Practice active listening, repeat back what you understand and ask for clarification when necessary, be open about your concerns including financial considerations, voice any objections immediately, know what your portion of the bill will be etc…

 

Understanding dental insurance is crucial to making smart decisions about your dental plan’s features. Now that you have a solid grounding in the basics of dental insurance, you’ll be better prepared to understsnd you own plan’s features and help you and your family get the dental care you need!

Who’s taking care of Your Smile?

 

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 


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The New Patient Exam

 

 

Because there is a doctor shortage in Ontario, most people do not have the luxury of choice once an opening in a practice becomes available. They either accept the physician available or wait further.

However, dentists are plentiful in many Ontario cities. Nonetheless, having too many choices can also frustrate your search for a new dentist. Life is busy and oftentimes too many choices can be overwhelming.

If finding “the one” is proving to be more difficult than you anticipated, we hope that you will find all the information you are looking for in our blog:   Tips: Choosing A New Dentist

What is involved in a New Patient Exam when you see a new dentist?

We get many calls to our office from people asking if we are accepting new patients. At Your Smile Dental Care, we love welcoming new people to our dental family. Your first phone call to our office is the first step in understanding what to expect during your first visit and how to prepare for it.

 

Record Transfer

Your previous dental history often provides information that may be vital to your future care with a new dentist. As such, your dental records can be transferred from your previous dentist to our office by signing a release form that gives your current dentist permission to transfer your private dental information. Because this is a process that dental offices carry out routinely, records are usually transferred in a cooperative and timely fashion so that they can be reviewed by our staff before you come in for your first appointment.

Alternatively, some people prefer to begin this process at their current dental office. The key point is that this undertaking requires your signature. Some offices simplify this process by sending you the documentation to your mobile device for an electronic signature or for you to print, sign, then photo capture before sending back. The idea is to get the process started quickly and efficiently so that there is no interruption in patient care.

 

Booking Your Appointment

Once the records are received and reviewed, a New Patient appointment can be scheduled for a convenient date and time. Sometimes, this appointment can be booked in advance and in anticipation of receiving your dental history records promptly. Knowing what to expect during your first visit depends on your individual dental needs – be they Check-up, Emergency or Consultation

The 3 Types of New Patient Exams

 

1. The Complete Exam

Because you will be a new patient to the office, you will have a full exam even though you may be due for your periodic check-up exam.

Why do you need a full exam?

Many things can alter your oral health care in between dental visits. As a new patient to our office, it is necessary to evaluate and become familiar with your dental and medical history and current status before we even pick up any instruments to clean your teeth. This initial exam is a very important step and consists of a detailed and thorough exam and information gathering session. It will include:

  • A review of your medical and dental history
  • An examination of all oral structures in your mouth, not only your teeth
  • Your teeth will be checked for things like decay, wear, damage, bite, mobility etc.
  • Your gums will be examined for pocket depths, bleeding, recession, and overall health
  • An oral cancer screening will be performed
  • Your past dental work will be checked for signs of damage, wear, fracturing, looseness, etc.
  • We determine if x-rays will be necessary to help us access and identify areas of concern
  • As we examine we chart of all this data
  • When we move onto the cleaning phase of this appointment, we continue to analyse your dental health
  • We will discuss al findings with yo and recommendations will be made, including any treatment plan going forward
  • Of course, we will encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns with us during this examination

Naturally, all of this takes times and is a crucial step in getting to know you, your health and your individual needs.  The more we know about you and your overall health, the more effective we can be in addressing your dental care needs. Your subsequent dental cleaning will then be tailored to your “specific to you” needs. For any future dental check-ups, we will have a baseline and reference point that allows us to provide continuity of care.

 

2. The Immmediate Exam 

If your dental concern is of an immediate or emergency nature, then you are likely seeking an appointment as soon as possible. Understand that there is a difference, however, between what is considered an emergency and a non-emergency issue.

A true dental emergency is typically anything that involves any dental issue that requires immediate attention in order to save a tooth, if there has been a traumatic injury involving bleeding of the mouth or if you need relief from severe pain. Most offices can accommodate you into their same or next day’s schedule with the anticipation of providing you with an assessment then determining what form of relief or temporary treatment can be offered immediately. A discussion will then take place concerning what long term remedies may be necessary for your “specific to you” dental issue.

A non-emergency new patient appointment would concern a dental problem that poses no immediate threat to your teeth or life, as in often the case with infections or trauma. Some examples are a lost fillings, chipped tooth, moderate pain/discomfort that you can manage with some pain relief, or the recementing of fixed dental work like crowns, bridge or braces.

 

3. The Consultation Exam

Perhaps you do not have an immediate problem, but are looking to move forward with some elective or comprehensive dental treatment. You may just wish to have a dentist offer you some treatment options or a 2nd opinion. This is especially common with patients who are interested in teeth straightening, implants, cosmetic treatment or complete dental makeovers.

This no-hassle, first New Patient appointment will likely consist of some information gathering and a discussion about your “unique to you” dental situation. A visual exam can only yield so much information. Having current radiographs or other pertinent dental records available for this visit will allow the dentist to assess your current dental status more accurately before offering an informed recommendation. For more complicated issues, sometimes a secondary visit is necessary. Which brings us to…

 

Why do different dentist offer different treatment plans?

 

 

No two patients are alike and that is important to understand when you are comparing your dental options with another person. The confusion arises when different dentists offer different recommendations for the same patient. It is important to understand that you are fortunate if you have more than one option available to you. It means you have choices!

Your dentist is there to help you make an informed decision based your dental health, finances, values and your commitment to maintaining a healthy mouth moving forward. Dentists, themselves, come to their conclusions based on a variety of factors including training, occupational experience, office technology, passion, thoroughness of patient assessment, confidence in patient’s future compliance/efforts, prognosis,  and whether they are conservative or progressive in their approach to patient care.

Lastly, it can also be a challenging situation if a person is looking for a quick, inexpensive and long-term solution for rather complex dental issue.

How can you prepare for your first visit to a new dental office?

There is some information that must be gathered in order to ensure that there is continuity of care and to identify any medical issues or medications that can challenge your dental care going forward. To ensure that all information pertinent to your care is available to your new office, be prepared to bring with you or arrange for the following:

  1. Updated medication list.
  2. Family doctor’s name and telephone number.
  3. Details surrounding any current medical treatment you are receiving.
  4. Your dental insurance information. Most people have a dental ID card that has been issued to them by their employer/school. In the absence of this, be prepared to have your insurance information written down including – Name of employer, Name of Insurer, Policy and ID number
  5. If you are anticipating that your first visit will be an expense covered by your insurer then you will likely want to ensure this. Your new dental office will usually work with you to gather this information and will likely be part of the records release process from your previous dentist in addition to contacting your insurer.
  6. The need to take a prophylactic antibiotic before any dental treatment is a decision that should be made in consultation with your physicians and is a matter that should be reviewed regularly. If you have been advised to continue being pre-medicated before dental treatments, inform your new office in order to ensure that you are prepared for treatment.
  7. Confirm your appointment the day before you arrive to ensure that all pertinent information has been received
  8. Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth!

 

We hope that you now have a clearer understanding of what different new patient visits consists of. To make an appointment at Your Smile Dental Care or to get more information about your first visit, call us at (905) 5SMILES. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 


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What is a Periodontal Screening?

Does your smile pass the Test?

No doubt, you have heard how important it is to take care of your gums for the health of your teeth, but it can also affect your overall health. Gums, also known as gingiva, is a barrier tissue that covers and protects your teeth and the bone that surround and support your teeth.

When gums become tender, swollen and begin to bleed, it is usually a sign that the body’s immune system has been triggered.

Our mouth is home to a complex ecosystem of microorganisms. While much of the bacteria is our mouth are beneficial in preventing disease, there are some that are harmful if allowed to take over. The proper balance of these germs is critical for a healthy mouth. Certain processes take place everyday to keep this balance from being disrupted so that a response from our immune system is not triggered.

Some patients become aware that something is going on when they begin to notice bleeding when they brush their teeth. Others have had progressive gum disease for a long time and are surprised to learn of it.

Periodontal Screening

Watchful Eyes

Your dentist and dental hygienist are trained to not only help you maintain healthy mouth and teeth, but they are always monitoring your mouth for signs of the onset of gum disease. By routine – usually once a year – they will perform a gum evaluation called a periodontal screening.

During this screening, they are assessing the health of your supporting gum and bone structures and evaluating the look of your gums.

Healthy gums are pink and firm. Unhealthy gums are red, swollen, spongy-looking and may bleed. They also look for signs of gum loss (recession) and use a tiny instrument called a probe to measure the depths of the pockets between the teeth and gums. The pocket is a free space located around each tooth. In between each tooth it is where your floss enters for cleaning.

In a healthy mouth, this free space becomes attached gum about 2-3 mm of the way down. When bacteria is allowed to accumulate in this space inflammation occurs that triggers the immune system to send white blood cells. Unfortunately, the WBC not only destroys bacteria but gum tissue also. When the attachment portion of the gum tissue gets destroyed, the pocket become deeper and more bacteria, dental plaque and food can accumulate.

If left untreated or unnoticed, this pocketing will lead to bone loss. Eventually, enough bone is lost that the tooth becomes loose and cannot be saved.

Early detection is key

This is why it is important to identify this pocketing early in order to prevent further gum and bone loss. There are various treatment options available for gum disease and your dentist may refer you to see a gum specialist (Periodontist) for ongoing care.

Unfortunately, gum disease is called a “silent disease” that often goes unnoticed until a significant amount of damage occurs. This is usually the case for people who do not see a dentist routinely where the health of their teeth and gums can be monitored on a regular basis.

Periodontal disease has long been the leading cause of tooth loss in adults which is why every patient should have a periodontal screening performed annually. Early detection is key and can make all the difference.

The good news is that gum disease is an easily preventable disease. By simply brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and attending to regular dental check-ups and cleanings you are already helping your mouth and teeth.

To keep them in tip-top shape you need to start looking at your other habits:

  1. Meal frequency – Reduce snacking in between meals to allow your saliva to repair damage done by acid attacks. Read here
  1. Do not sip on sugary drinks or coffee/tea with milk, cream and/or sugar frequently or all day long.
  1. Use an antiseptic mouth rinse once a day
  1. Ensure that other medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease is monitored by your physician regularly and is under control.
  1. Consider a smoking cessation program as smokers are almost three times as likely as nonsmokers to have periodontitis
  1. Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that  helps to control inflammation.

Suggestions:

  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • nuts and legumes
  • olive oil
  1. If you suspect gum disease, never ignore the signs and see a dentist.

Signs:

  • red, swollen gums
  • tender and/or bleeding gums
  • loose gums that have pulled away from your tooth
  • sensitive teeth
  • pain when eating
  • receding gums; tooth appears longer
  • spaces between tooth and increased food impaction
  • loose fitting partial dentures
  • persistent bad breath

 

Keeping your gums healthy and strong is the simplest way to maintain your overall health and help to ensure you keep your teeth for life. If it has been a while since you have been to the dentist for a check-up or suspect you may be having problems with your gums please contact our office today at 905 – 5SMILES (905.576.4537). You’ll be glad you did!

Your in better dental health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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Hopeless teeth

The Audacity of Hope…

types-of-fracturesMost dentists will tell you that the last thing they ever want to have to do is to remove a permanent adult tooth. In fact, they will fight tooth and nail to try to save one (sorry, tacky pun?)

When a patient presents us with a tooth that has severe decay, infection, badly broken down restorative work or has been injured from trauma, the first thing we must do is evaluate the health of the remaining portion of the tooth and its surrounding supportive bone.

To us, it’s not so much what we can see above the gum line that determines treatment options, but the quality and health of what is remaining below the gum line. To that end, our goal is to preserve what remains then develop a sound treatment plan to replace what is missing.

Although treatment may also involve healing nerve and gum tissue, patients are always amazed to learn that as long as their tooth has sound root structure and enough supporting bone surrounding it, we can save it!

12-5-2016-4-38-27-pmSurvial

Without the benefit of a crystal ball, there will always be uncertainties, but a good dentist makes treatment recommendations based on all the clinical and x-ray evidence concerning the compromised tooth while giving considerable thought to predicting the likelihood of long-term survival.

At Your Smile Dental Care, we also know from experience that a patient who is willing to care as much about and for an affected tooth as we do is more likely to keep the tooth for as long as possible. Many conditions that the patient may regard as “hopeless” can actually be fixed and the tooth can last for many more years once successfully treated.

Sometimes, a patients will ask us to remove their teeth because they are tired of frequent discomfort and wish to avoid future dental maintenance and associated costs. Others, surprisingly enough, have told us that they’d rather have false teeth (dentures) than have to deal with ongoing dental problems. While no two cases are ever alike and each patient has their own unique set of circumstances, we are bound to explain that removing teeth unnecessarily does not solve the issue of discomfort and dentures bring with them their own assortment of issues.


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Removing a tooth may bring immediate relief from pain, but, unless you replace it with a suitable alternative tooth, a silent breakdown process begins that starts to destabilize the dynamics of the mouth (Dental Collapse).

 

But what happens when a tooth cannot be saved?

The hopeless tooth…

Sadly, there are times when conventional therapies fail or a tooth  is so badly infected, fractured or is so loose from inadequate bone support that we must decide if the dentition is better off without it.

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We call this prognosis hopeless. Nowadays, however, modern dentistry has treatment options that can replace your tooth with one that looks and functions almost as well as healthy, natural ones do. Dental implants have revolutionized the way we replace missing teeth without having to resort to dentures or remodeling adjacent teeth to accommodate a fixed bridge.

Helping our patients understand the thought process that goes into our treatment recommendations is crucial so that they can weigh the information and make well-informed decisions.

If you think that your teeth are in a “hopeless” state of disrepair, you may be surprised to learn that you have more options than you think.

Give us a call at (905) 5SMILES to book a consultation today!

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 


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You Don’t Need to Fear the Dentist!

 

Avoiding the Dentist?

Covering mouthIf the mere thought of going to the dentist causes your heart to race and your hands to sweat you are not alone. While many people will choose to make dental health care one of their New Year priorities, according to Statistics Canada more than 40% of Canadian will give the dentist the brush-off because of dental anxiety.

Although there has been many significant advances in dental techniques and technology, many people still feel uncomfortable in a dental office. This is because the body is simply amazing! It is designed for self-preservation and is equipped with an incredible internal response system when it senses danger. Even when you brain attempts to rationalize and calm your fears, your body may already be sending you the strong urge to escape.

It’s no wonder people avoid coming to the dentist or cancel their dental appointments. Trying to reason with such a strong fight/flight/freeze mechanism can be challenging. You may not be able to eliminate all of your fears, but you can learn to manage them despite your body’s physical reactions.

If you are determined to make your health and well-being a priority this year here’s what:

You Can Do…

1. Admit your fears – If you are already thinking about going to the dentist you are likely already feeling anxiety. Discuss you concerns with a trusted, empathetic person. Avoid speaking to someone who may intensify and reinforce your fears by recalling their own fears or experiences. We are also here to listen and help make your visits to us as comfortable as possible.

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-m2. Look for a new dentist – If you do not already have a dentist , email or call around to look for a dental office to call home. Convey your fears and concerns to them then review their responses. Did they respond? Did you feel rushed on the phone? Did the staff sound informative and sympathetic? Although time-consuming, this will help you narrow down your search which will save time in the long run. Perhaps you would like to visit the dental office first and meet the staff. If taking a tour will help, a good office will be proud to show off their practice. Finding an office that is willing to help you become more comfortable right from the get go will most likely be there to help you cope with your fears and concerns in the future. If you think you have found the right place schedule an exam then proceed to a cleaning.

3. Know your fear – Let us know what you like or dislike. Is it the noises? Fear of the needle? Water in your mouth? A past experience? Perhaps you prefer to be in control or like distractions. If you can identify the source of your fear or already know what puts you at ease then communicate this to us and together we can find a solution. Everyone prefers anxiety-free surroundings – even us!

4. Know the facts – Although, we always explain what we are doing to our patients, some people need more information in order to feel in control of a situation. If however, knowing too much will aggravate your fears, let us know and we will inform and assure without alarming you further. Everyone has their own comfort level. Let us know yours.

5. Don’t hurry – If you are not in need of immediate dental care then why hurry? You’ve waited this long, so go slow and face your fears one step at a time. Start off with an examination. Once you have completed this stage and are ready you will be better prepared to move on to the cleaning appointment. If all goes well and you are in need of further care then we can take baby steps together!

29-12-2014 6-30-52 PM6. Be realistic – Your dental health is as individual and personal as your are and your treatment will be specific to your situation. Comparing dental treatments with friends is like comparing other health conditions. No two people are the same. Diagnosis and treatment recommendations depend on your pre-existing dental and health conditions. Short and long term prognosis depends on many factors such as severity of conditions, patient cooperation, health history, body response, maintenance, other conditions of the mouth, age and lifestyle. Understanding your current state of dental health will help you make informed decisions moving forward. Your dentist should be open to answering all of your questions, and if possible, offering treatment alternatives.

7. Control your imagination – Our imaginations can both amaze and terrify us and it is easy to conjure up all sorts of scenarios that will likely never occur.  Learning to tame your thoughts so that they do not interfere with your emotions will help empower you so that you can attend to your needs.

8. Find closure – Previous traumatic experiences or conditioning can severely immobilize a person and prevent them from ever moving forward. Speak with your family doctor or regional health department about your situation and ask them to refer you to a professional who deals specifically with these types of fears so that you can begin to take your first steps towards recovery.

04-08-2014 11-54-04 PM9. Bring a friend – Sometimes, bringing along a friend or family member or even a stuffed animal can put you more at ease. If you wish, you can appoint them as your advocate who can help ask questions and communicate your fears and concerns. If having them in the treatment room helps perhaps you dentist will allow you to have this support as long as they do not aggravate an already anxious situation.

10. Bring your own music – Although we have music in our operatories, sometimes people would rather bring their own devices and listen to their own music. Whatever helps!

11. Be a good role model – If you do not want your children living a life of fear you must help them develop positive and responsible attitudes. Studies have shown that most children are more likely to pattern their future choices and behaviours after their parents and carry the habits they learn as children into adulthood and throughout their lives. Your positive remarks and optimistic outlook about dental care will empower your children and help to ensure that they will continue to benefit from your great example!

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We Can…

29-12-2014 6-35-38 PMWelcome you – At Your Smile Dental Care we strive to make you feel comfortable and valued from the warm welcome that greets you at each visit to the high degree of personal attention we offer you throughout your treatment. We understand the importance of gentle dental care and always encourage open communication. Most of our new patients found us by word of mouth. We appreciate the care entrusted to us and consider these referral from family and friends the greatest compliment a dentist can receive.

Provide sympathy – We do more than just work on teeth. First and foremost, we recognise these teeth are attached to a person who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We all have fears. Dealing with patient fears is what we are trained for and being afraid means different things to different people. A person’s true feelings can manifest themselves in a whole host of ways. Some people react physically with tense muscles, rapid breathing or heart rate, nausea, sweating, and dizziness, while others become angry, silent, or talkative. We must always be sensitive to the fact that, in a dental setting, a person may have difficulty conveying their thoughts, feelings and opinions. Patience with our patients is key while we strive to reduce their anxieties and allay their fears while providing painless, quick treatments.

Stay up to date – A good dentist and staff continually strives to provide the best possible care for their patients so that they have the option to choose the best treatments available today. Staying current on all the latest techniques and technologies helps a dentist to obtain and maintain a level of care that meets or even exceeds industry standards. Ask your dentist and staff what they do to stay up to date. They should be proud to tell you!

shaking-hands-1097209-mEstablish trust – We believe that clear and concise communication is the cornerstone of trust in dentistry. The patient/dentist relationship depends on a solid foundation of trust. We know that if a patient has had trust issues in the past with a dentist or other healthcare provider it will influence how likely there are to trust another dentist. These past experiences sometimes makes it difficult for another dentist to gain a patient’s trust let alone form a lifelong partnership. We have seen firsthand that patients are more likely to follow through with advice and treatment and achieve optimal oral health when they trust their dentist.

Communicate – Patients appreciate clear, honest, and straightforward communication. Your dentist should face you when speaking, use plain, everyday language and avoid using terms that are too technical. It is important that you are asked if you understand the information being presented and be given the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification. Most dental offices will have pamphlets or printed material on hand for you to take home for further reading. If you have further questions or concerns once you leave the office, do not hesitate to call your dentist.

Listen – We all know that communication involves being an active listener as well. Oftentimes, being a good listener requires that you pay attention to other cues and signals that a person may be giving. Anxiety and stress can make a person afraid to ask to have information clarified or cause a person to shut down making it further difficult for them to absorb information. We may explain a treatment plan and ensure that a patient has had the chance to ask questions and gather additional information, but we must always appreciate that sometimes information is still being digested by a person long after they have left the office. We aim to make certain that our patients understand their oral health care needs. This may require additional guidance by encouraging our patients to make further inquires if necessary.

Accommodate – We can schedule your appointments at a time and date that is best for you. Early morning appointment usually work best so that you are not worrying about your visit all day long. Perhaps spacing out your treatment over a series of shorter appointments or over an agreeable and suitable period of time will help you cope and manage your visits better. We offer a wide range of services for all ages including cosmetic, implant and emergency dentistry. We are wheel chair accessible and are able to move our dental chairs to accommodate most wheelchairs.

music-to-my-ears-40789-mProvide lifelines – Different people cope and manage their stress in different ways. Some people need distractions such as movies, music and periods of rest, while others need to feel in control at all times and like to watch using a hand held mirror. We allow our patients to stop treatment at any time by raising their hand. Sitting up briefly, going for a short walk or having a responsible and trusted family member or friend present in the room can also be beneficial. We offer conscious sedation in the form of laughing gas to calm fears and we have throat spray to help alleviate gagging.

Professional – As stated earlier, every patient deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We never make our patients feel ashamed or embarrassed about the condition of their teeth or that they have not attended to regular dental care in the past. We are all about moving forward. If you made it through our doors and into the dental chair that is incredible progress which we believe is cause for celebration. We treat all patients equally, while offering personalized, individual care. In return, all we ask is that our patients respect our time  and commitment also by honouring the appointment times we schedule for them or informing us of appointment changes well in advance so that we can care for another patient in need. Maintaining regular oral care visits will also help us to detect problems early so that we can help you avoid repeated crisis situations.

Follow up – Don’t be surprised if we provide some TLC with an after care telephone call just to see how you are managing. It’s our way of letting your know that we care for you and your health long after you have left our office. This also allows you to make further inquires or gage the progress of your recovery.

Offer payment plans – If the cost of your treatment is the source of your stress, you can discuss your payment options with our friendly staff. If you qualify, we can help you set up a committed repayment schedule that allows you to achieve oral health sooner than later.

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Your First Step

The first step to successfully managing anxiety is learning to understand and recognize it. Although your body is designed to become anxious around perceived threats, it becomes a problem when you cannot control your fears when there is no real danger. We understand that your fears are real, but when they prevent you from taking charge of your dental needs conditions will only worsen causing you further grief.

This year resolve to make dental care a normal part of your life. Dr. Axelrod and his team of caring professionals at Your Smile Dental Care have helped thousands of people conquer their dental fears, take control of their oral care and achieve optimal oral health. As you get to know and trust us, you will soon find that your fears will lessen and your anxiety levels will become more manageable.

Remember…you are not alone!

Yours in better health,

The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 5SMILES (576-4537)
(416) 783-3533