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.



How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

Will Charcoal Toothpaste Whiten Your Teeth?

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

It seems like you cannot open your Instagram explore page these days without seeing someone brushing their teeth with a sludgy charcoal mixture. What is this stuff? Will it make my teeth whiter?

Charcoal toothpaste is made of activated charcoal, a type of carbon with tiny pores that increase the absorption of chemical reactions. I hate to break it to you, but there is no dental research showing that activated charcoal toothpaste is an effective way to whiten teeth in comparison to professional whitening treatments. In fact, the American Dental Association warns activated charcoal may be too abrasive for tooth enamel.

From my personal experience seeing patients who used charcoal toothpaste (even 1 time per week), the results were not promising. The charcoal powder became embedded in a pocket in-between the tooth and the gum. This formed a gray line below all of the gums. The charcoal also gave a grayish tint to the gums.  However, there was no noticeable whiteness. It appeared that the charcoal made the gums darker in shade, causing the tooth to appear whiter. Hence, not actually whitening the tooth itself.

In my opinion, charcoal toothpaste tricks you into thinking you are naturally whitening your teeth. You  need to brush extremely hard to get the charcoal toothpaste off, causing you to brush more which may give the illusion of a whiter smile. Do not waste time and energy (and tooth enamel!) on this product.

Teeth Whitening 101

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Regular cleaning visits to your dentist help remove plaque build up and staining from your teeth. Avoiding substances that stain teeth can stop further discoloration, such as cigarettes, coffee, wine and dark tea. You can also maintain whiter teeth by asking your dentist about the available whitening options at their practice. These whitening systems are stronger than what is offered over the counter, and will make your teeth noticeably whiter to friends and family.

Studies of teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effects on the hardness or mineral content of teeth enamel surface or existing fillings.

However, please keep in mind that existing restorations such as tooth-colored fillings, crowns, bonding, veneers, and bridges will NOT lighten with any whitening treatments. Pre-existing dental work may need to be replaced to match the new tooth shade achieved in the natural teeth. Your dentist will make you aware of this prior to the whitening procedure, and give you options.

The immediate days after teeth whitening are critical for the teeth whitening process. The tooth’s pores remain open the next few days after teeth whitening which is why your teeth continue to whiten. It is important to avoid foods or drinks with high amounts of artificial coloring, such as ketchup, mustard, coffee, tea, and red wine. For coffee drinkers, if you must have caffeine, try an energy drink, or drink coffee through a straw. Smokers should not smoke during the next few days to get the best results.

Once in-house teeth whitening is complete, a patient can whiten their teeth at home until they achieve a shade that they are pleased with. However, this is not necessary if you are happy with the shade achieved by your dentist. Whitening at home can easily be done with bleaching trays or at home whitening gels. After the desired shade is reached, a patient needs a touch up every three to four months.

At Paramount Dental Care, we offer a variety of whitening plans. Below is an overview of what we offer. Call us today to set up a consultation. 201-864-4700.


option 1

option 2

option 3