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If you have never gotten a cavity, consider yourself lucky! According to the Mayo Clinic, cavities are one of the world's most common health problems. The website dentistry.edu, an education resource for those in the dental profession, notes that one in four adults have cavities at any given time. Some people are more prone to cavities than others due to factors like genetics, diet, oral hygiene, and overall bone health. The good news is that cavities, if detected early and treated, can stop growing or spreading. If small enough, they can even be treated without a filling.
What Causes Cavities?
There are several factors that can create an overall picture of your oral health, including cavities. Some of the most common factors are simply tooth location and access. Cavities in your back teeth are far more common than your front teeth, simply because it is harder to brush and floss correctly the further back you go. Back teeth also have more ridges and grooves that can collect tooth decaying bacteria. It is very important that you floss these areas often, and keep them as clean as your smoother front teeth.
Food and drink choice also has an impact on your overall health. We have been warned since we were children about candy and sweets, but there are also lots of drinks and foods that are acidic and corrosive that may contain no sugar at all. As mentioned in earlier blogs, the duration of time you spend nursing a drink can also be increasing your chance of a cavity, so if you are going to drink a soda or sweet tea, don't bathe your teeth in sugar or acid all day. Have your beverage in one setting, then rinse and brush.
The other major causes of cavities are inadequate brushing, eating disorders, infrequent flossing, heartburn, not enough fluoride, age, and worn or aging dental work. These cavities, if left untreated, can cause pain, tooth wear, bad breath and odors, swelling and abscesses, and chewing problems that can lead to choking hazards. It is very important to treat cavities early, and some are too small to be detected with the naked eye, so remember not to skip your annual x-rays and cleanings.
Can Cavities Be Reversed?
While technically, there is no way to regrow the bone tissue once it has receded, some cavities can be stopped in their tracks before more aggressive intervention such as deep cleaning or fillings must be used to mitigate the damage. Prevention is the best way to avoid cavities. Flossing, fluoride wash, yearly or twice yearly cleanings, and proper brushing are all vastly more affordable methods of controlling cavities than waiting until you are in pain or can visibly see a cavity before visiting your dentist.
Bendel Family Dentistry accepts most dental insurance, including the dental insurance offered to education professionals at LPSS and the Diocese of Lafayette. With insurance, most first visits have no out of pocket cost to the patient, and cover X-Rays, cleaning, and a whole mouth health exam by a licensed dentist. We want to be your dentist for life! Call us today for a free benefits check.
If you haven't been to the dentist's office in a while, you are certainly not alone. According to the ADA, more than a third of Americans do not complete the minimum recommended annual visit to the dentist. Whether it is a lingering fear of the big chair from childhood or an issue with financial ability, many of the things that have long plagued dentist's in keeping a full schedule of patients have improved significantly. Since oral health is so interlinked with other health issues, we wanted to revisit some things that might make you reconsider visiting your dentist yearly.
While it is true that any procedure can be uncomfortable or even downright painful, dentistry has come very far in the last decade in interventions that help patients receive the proper oral care they need with less painful results. In fact, patient fear has spurred oral health professionals to use research and development to create new devices, methods, and plans of care specifically to reduce harm to the patient. Smaller needles, quieter drills, less clinical office atmospheres with more of the comforts of home, and noise cancelling headphones have all been reported by patients to improve their experiences during exams and treatment.
As with any other type of medical advances, anesthesia improves from year to year. The more data that dental device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies collect about efficacy, the more laser focused they can make their treatments to provide the most effective numbing experience that ends when the procedure is over so that the patient can return to work the same day.
Dentistry is Expensive
Another common notion that has been difficult for dentists to shrug off is that it costs a lot of money to keep your mouth healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Preventive care in dentistry has gotten so good that you are practically guaranteed to have an A+ from your dentist on every visit if you simply get your teeth cleaned twice a year and use good oral health at home.
Preventive care is the number one way to keep the cost of the dentist way down. If you have any dental insurance at all, chances are that your first visit to Bendel Family Dentistry will have no out of pocket expense to you, the patient. Of course, as always, we are happy to provide you with a free benefits check, and we are very transparent about our billing practices because we know no one wants to be surprised by their bill. What we do want, however, is for you to be surprised by how pleasant your service and experience was with Dr. Frances Chauvin and her staff. Call us today for a free benefits check or to schedule your appointment.
If there is one expense that frustrates nearly everyone, it's insurance. Between auto insurance, homeowners, medical, dental, vision, liability and so much more, we spend a good portion of our incomes protecting our businesses, belongings, assets, and bodies. One of the most common questions I get asked as a dentist is, "Is dental insurance really worth it?" Much like any other insurance, the answer is "it depends how you use it." If you see a dentists bi-annually for cleanings and x-rays, dental insurance can be a very affordable alternative to paying out of pocket for preventative care. Most of our patients who carry dental insurance pay no out of pocket expense for their first visit.
In Network? Out of Network? What It Means For You:
According to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website, the definition of "In Network" is as follows:
"When a doctor, hospital or other provider accepts your health insurance plan we say they’re in network. We also call them participating providers. When you go to a doctor or provider who doesn’t take your plan, we say they’re out of network. The two main differences between them are cost and whether your plan helps pay for care you get from out-of-network providers."
What this means is that you can choose to go to whatever provider you want, essentially. If you have a neighbor who is also a pediatrician, you may want your kids to go see her, and the good news is that you can! The only thing that "Out Of Network" means in this case is that if your neighbor is not listed as an "In Network" provider with your particular insurance, you may have to pay more out of pocket.
It is helpful to think of insurance networks like loyalty reward programs (airline miles, discounts for frequent diners at a restaurant, punch cards for a free product after you buy x amount) for healthcare providers. When a provider joins a network, they agree to accept a pre-approved amount for every procedure or service. This eliminates surprises for the patient and for the insurance company.
Finding In-Network Providers
By law, insurance companies must provide you with an app, a website, or at a minimum, a booklet or index that lists all of its "in network" providers. At Bendel Family Dentistry, one of the services that we offer all patients and potential patients is a free benefits check. Our helpful front desk staff can do research on your behalf to help you figure out what your insurance will and won't cover. We believe in transparency of pricing, and we are more than happy to help you answer any questions. We want to be your dentist for life! Call us today to schedule your appointment. We accept most major insurance carriers, including Aflac for the LPSS.
There's nothing like a picture of a group of friends and family showing off their beautiful smiles. This holiday season, we have put together a list of reminders and tips to help you get through the holidays while caring for your pearly whites.
1. Carry Floss Picks
The popularity of floss picks over traditional floss seems to be growing. A trip to the local pharmacy will give you flavored and unflavored options, as well as waxed and unwaxed. Their portable size makes it convenient, and they are far more discreet to use than whipping out several feet of traditional floss. Floss tape is still the preferred method of daily cleaning, according to the ADA. This is because floss picks only clean a portion of the tooth and gums, while floss tape can reach under the gum line and sweep debris and food off of the enameled surface of the tooth, but floss picks cannot be beaten for a quick sweep between brushings.
2. Mix Up Your Snacks
It's impossible to resist a slice of pie or cake after a big meal, but did you know that certain foods can act as street sweepers in your mouth? Grab a carrot or two and crunch on those after your sweet tooth is satisfied. It's not as effective as brushing, rinsing and flossing, but the keratin in carrots can attack plaque between meals and naturally keep your breath smelling neutral.
3. Skip the Hot Chocolate
Coffee and Chocolate drinks are especially hard on your teeth because of the high sugar content, dark, tooth-staining color, and acidity that can eat away at enamel. If you can't give up your caffeine, try to stick with drinking it all in one short setting instead of all day long, and remember to floss and rinse throughout the day.
4. Stick to Your Routine
Holidays almost always mean at least a little bit of travel for most Americans. Whether you are visiting Grandma in the mountains, or staying at a fancy hotel after your office Christmas party, remember to stick with your home routine even when you are abroad. Pack a small kit with your floss, toothpaste, mouth rinse, and sugar free gum for daytime maintenance.
5. Book Your Post Holiday Cleaning Now
The holidays can be hard on your teeth and gums. Schedule your post holiday cleaning now, and make your continued oral health a New Year's Resolution. Dr. Frances Chauvin & her staff at Bendel Family Dentistry want to be your dentist office for life. We accept most dental insurance, and in many cases there is no out-of-pocket expense for your first visit.
As a family dentist office, we see our fair share of sugar related cavities. Parents are often quick to point out candy and sugary foods as prime suspects, but there's a misunderstanding about what an important role beverages play in oral health as well. It's not just sugar that causes tooth decay, some drinks are high in acid, and can wreak havoc on your oral health if not kept in proper check.
Sugar + Time = Formula for Cavities
Most people already know that sugar gives fuel to the bacteria that destroy our teeth and gums. There's a little bit more to the equation though. It's not just whether or not you are putting sugar near your pearly whites, it also has to do with how long the sits there. For example, eating a single Oreo cookie and brushing/rinsing afterward is actually pretty low on the list of risky foods or beverages for your teeth. However, chewing a piece of gum that has sugar in it all day or sipping on a sweet coffee drink all day exposes your teeth to harmful and destructive bacteria for longer periods of time. Remember that sugar plus time should be a big part of how you reframe your thoughts about your oral care.
Liquids with a low pH are considered "acidic" beverages. While the acids are not strong enough to mess up your stomach (most of the time), they can be messing up your smile. And again, time is of the essence. People who drink sodas and kombucha tea all day, as well as several types of energy drinks are all at higher risk for decay due to the acid content of these beverages. Remember water is always best, but if you are going to drink a sugary beverage, drink it in one sitting and brush/rinse when you are through.
At Bendel Family Dentistry, we want to be your dentist for life. If you are looking for one of the best dentist experiences in Lafayette, contact our office today for a free benefits check. With insurance, most first visits are at zero out of pocket for our patients.