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Patient Education

Regular Checkups Can Save You Thousands

It might sound crazy, but spending $100 on your teeth can actually save you thousands. How? First let's look at what $100 covers. The average cost of a dental exam and cleaning is $50 - $135. If you have dental insurance, your out-of-pocket expense may range from nominal to nothing for basic dental care services including X-rays.

Now let's go over how this can actually save you thousands.

If you have dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease or even oral cancer, regular dental visits give your dentist a chance to catch it early on. That's key. Because the earlier your dentist diagnoses a problem the easier it is to treat. For example, if you have gum disease and let it go unchecked (and untreated) for too long, you may need extensive -- and expensive -- gum disease treatment. Regular dental checkups allow you and your dentist to stay ahead of problems, which can translate into thousands saved.

A professional dental cleaning is also a must because it's the only way to effectively remove tartar (hardened plaque). Even if you brush and floss regularly, that’s not enough. Besides looking unsightly (tartar is a "stain magnet" and often has a brown or yellowish tint), tartar also contains cavity-causing bacteria. Preventing the need for a mouthful of fillings every year easily adds up to thousands saved in the long run.

Perhaps one of the most important reasons to invest in regular dental exams and cleanings is that it has a positive impact on your overall health. Recent studies have shown that there’s a link between periodontal disease and heart disease; when the former is present, the latter is twice as likely.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease can have a domino effect on your health. The bacteria caused by periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and attach to your heart's blood vessels, causing dangerous blood clots. Another scenario is that the plaque buildup caused by periodontal disease can cause the heart's blood vessels to swell.

In this way, regular checkups and cleanings are not only money-saving but life-saving. And that’s priceless.

New Dental Patients: Dentist Exams & Checkups

During your first visit, we will spend time getting to know you and your concerns, and gathering information about your dental health so that your dental exams, dental checkups, and other dentistry procedures go as smoothly as possible. We review your health history, take any necessary x-rays, perform any indicated tests and evaluate your oral health. If you are having pain or discomfort, we will address that as quickly as possible. If you are interested in cosmetic changes, we may also take photographs.

With every examination, we also perform a dental risk assessment. Risk assessment is determining what is most likely to cause someone future problems and then recommending steps to reduce and minimize those risks to the extent possible. We are all unique individuals with different genetic makeup and life histories. While we cannot change our past, we can make choices in our habits and in the dental treatment we choose to avoid future problems and be as healthy as possible.

We will discuss your treatment options and alternatives available and give you a written fee estimate for any procedures recommended. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss your concerns. We want you to be informed and comfortable with any dental care that you choose to have done.

What to Do During a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is always a stressful situation, but it can become absolutely nerve-racking when your dentist is out of the office. Whether it's late Saturday night and your dentist won't be back in until Monday, or if your dentist is out of the country on 2-week vacation, a dental emergency can be difficult to manage on your own. There are some basic things that you can do to prevent or cope with dental emergencies when they occur.

The best way to handle a potential dental emergency is to avoid it in the first place. The most common dental emergency is pain or swelling from an infected tooth. In most cases, this does not happen suddenly, overnight. Typically, a person has some degree of pain or discomfort for several days or even longer before they are in severe pain and in need of emergency dental care. The best advice is to visit the dentist at the first sign of any discomfort in the teeth or gums.

If a dental emergency does occur when your dentist is unavailable, there are several things that you can do. Pain in the teeth or gums can often be effectively handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), to be taken as directed. Rinsing with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water) can help temporarily relieve puffy or swollen cheeks and gums. Some-store bought products like Orajel® can also be effective in relieving minor soreness of the gums. If you have a broken tooth, a piece of wax or even some soft chewing gum can cover a sharp edge until you can get to the dentist.

Your dentist should also be available for advice if a dental emergency occurs. Thanks to cell phones and answering services, patients can often reach their dentist after office hours. This gives the dentist the ability to contact the pharmacy for antibiotics and pain medication should they feel that patients need them. If your dentist is going to be out of the office for more than a few days, he or she should have another dentist available to treat any dental emergencies that may occur.