Do I need dental insurance?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Many people have dental benefits through their employer. But what about those who don’t? Is it worth it to pay for individual dental insurance? There are many different companies that provide dental insurance. Within each company there are different plans such as PPO, DMO, HMO and etc. Which one is the right one for you?

I am going to be brutally honest and tell you what it best from a dentist perspective. PPO insurance plans are among the best plans for both the patient and the dentist. One reason is that the plan pays the closest to the dental fees. It is marked down to 40% discount from the traditional dental office fees. Usually, the patient has to pay their deductible and a percentage of the procedure, usually 20%-50%.  Insurance will cover the rest. How does this benefit the dentist when they are getting less than what they normally would? The dentist accepts the insurance negotiated rate so their office can appear on the insurance directory, hence getting more patients.

DMO and HMO do not pay for treatment even close to the traditional dental fee rates. They are much lower payments for the dentist but the patient pays a lower copay, or none at all. As a result there are few dentists that accept these plans. Therefore, the wait to get an appointment and the amount of time you spend in waiting room is longer. The dentist is usually overloaded with patients because they will need to see a high volume of patients in order to make ends meet in their business. As a result there may be a lower quality of care provided due to time constraints. This is just a general statement and not all offices provide poor quality care.

In conclusion, it is best to fully research each company and plan to find what is right for you. You may also want to contact the dentist you plan on visiting to see which plans they accept.

 

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My child broke their adult tooth, now what?

Written by: Dr. Srinivasa, DMD of Paramount Dental Care

You know how it goes. Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. When it comes to your child getting hurt, it is important to first evaluate how serious the injury is. If your child was knocked unconscious or there is heavy bleeding, it is time for a trip to the emergency room. If you are just dealing with a broken tooth and some tears, here is how to proceed.

First things first, call your dentist and make an appointment. If the tooth was knocked out with the root, put it in a glass of cold, milk (preferably whole, not skim) or a Hank’s balanced solution. Do not wrap the tooth in a paper towel or anything dry! If the tooth dries out, this reduces the chances of it being able to be reinserted. Once your dentist has reinserted, the dentist will place a splint to keep the tooth in place so it can heal.

If the tooth was chipped or broken, check your child’s mouth and gums for all pieces of the tooth. Put any pieces you may have found into a cold glass of milk, or a Hank’s balanced salt solution from your local drug store. Have your child hold a clean piece of gauze to the area for 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. You may also administer an OTC pain reliever such as Tylenol for pain. Lastly, it is important to remain calm! Your child may feel stressed out after losing a tooth and it is important to help them feel safe.

For a minor chips, your dentist will most likely file down the tooth until it is unnoticeable.  If you are dealing with a larger break, your dentist may put the pieces back together with a filling material. If a filling material won’t work, a crown may be necessary.

Common Myths About Dental Hygiene

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Myth #1: White teeth equal healthy teeth. Even though your teeth may be white, you can still have cavities on different surfaces of your teeth. These surfaces aren’t seen when you are smiling. For example, cavities can form in-between your teeth or on the gum line. You dentist may only be able to see these by x-ray. These cavities may be caused by plaque (food particles, bacteria and minerals) getting stuck in-between your teeth, gum line or the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your tooth.

Myth #2: Gum disease isn’t common. Gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is called periodontal disease which in layman’s term means bone loss. You can have bone loss and not even know it. It can be diagnosed by dental xrays and a clinical exam by your dentist.

Myth #3: It is ok to drink soda as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. You may think that diet sodas without sugar are the way to go, however all sodas are extremely acidic. Acid weakens your enamel which puts you at risk for cavities. Here is a video of what happens if you leave a tooth in soda.

Myth #4: Brushing your teeth harder will clean them faster and better. Brushing your teeth hard will do more harm than good. Doing this can cause your gums to recede, and can also cause your teeth to be more sensitive. Brushing in a gentle circular motion is the ideal way to brush.

Myth #5: If your gums bleed, you should stop flossing. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gingivitis or  periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease.  If you notice your gums bleeding, you should see your dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

What Are The Benefits Of Invisalign Over Traditional Metal Braces?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Paramount Dental Care is an Invisalign certified dental practice in Secaucus, NJ. Many of my patients ask me about the benefits of Invisalign when compared to traditional metal braces.

The most attractive advantage to Invisalign patients is that no one can tell you are wearing them. With metal braces, you may feel embarrassed to talk or smile. This is especially common for adults with braces.

One advantage of Invisalign is that you remove the aligners when you eat. While wearing metal braces you must cut out certain sticky or chewy foods that can get caught on the metal braces and damage them. You also run the risk of food getting stuck in the braces with out getting cleaned out, causing decay and bad breath. With Invisalign, you can eat what you wish, brush and floss as you normally would, and reapply your aligners.

Metal braces have brackets that may cause pain/sensitivity to those who wear them. Invisalign has a smooth surface that feels similar to your natural teeth.

 

 

Caring For Your Braces

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Braces not only straighten your teeth, but also correct your bite, crooked, crowded or spaced teeth. This helps maintain good oral hygiene. Food cannot easily get stuck between your teeth because they are aligned. However, while wearing braces you must take impeccable care of your teeth.

It is necessary to brush after everything you eat, and to floss 1-2 times per day. You must brush often while wearing braces to prevent getting food buildup around the brackets. This buildup will cause white spots on your teeth. The white spots are demineralized enamel. Colgate Booster Plus is a great toothpaste that your dentist can prescribe if you start getting white spots. If you cannot brush right after a meal, rinse your mouth with water making sure to wash away all food stuck in your teeth or braces. Be sure to perform a detailed cleaning before you sleep at night.

While you have braces on, you will need to avoid eating certain foods. You will mainly need to avoid sticky, hard or chewy food. Some examples: gum, candy, bagels, hard rolls, popcorn, caramels, corn on the cob (you can cut the kernels of the cob and eat them with a fork!), nuts, and ice.

It is important for children who play sports to wear a mouthguard. Custom mouth guards molded to your child’s mouth work best in protecting braces and teeth.

Make sure you make it to your dental appointments, which will be approximately every 4 to 8 weeks. However, be sure to call your dentist if you need immediate care.