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Many people here in the United States and abroad have silver fillings(amalgam) in their mouths placed by their dentists. I am the owner of a couple of 30 year old amalgams. The time-tested longevity of these fillings makes them a lower cost means of filling teeth, yet some toxicity issues arise which I will pass over in this blog to keep it milk-toast and short. The alternative filling material is composite (tooth-colored) and what we use here at Restoration Dental. The composite is much more technique sensitive and requires a slightly different preparation of your tooth as compared to amalgam. Below is a picture of a tooth with an amalgam.
The question is “Does this filling need to be replaced?” I will boldly answer yes. There are many factors that go into this decision, but most obvious on this tooth are the surface cracks. You can see some running parallel with the filling but you may also be able to see the ones running off the left side and top of the picture. Another warning factor is all the gray that we see underneath the hard shell (enamel) of the tooth, this is likely a bit of corrosion mixed with bacteria crawling in at the cracks.
The factors that go into our decision about the tooth needing a crown have to do with the depth of these cracks, your symptoms, the size of the filling, and your grinding and eating patterns. A cool factoid that we all need to keep in mind. Our silver fillings expand and contract when we eat cold and hot. Our teeth also expand and contract, but our silver fillings expand and contract at a rate way faster than our teeth. So these small differences lead to cracking of our enamel over time. So the next time you have cold dessert at a nice restaurant, don’t chase it so quickly with your hot coffee. Peace to you and just say no to crack!!! Words to live by in Brookhaven, Georgia.
Recently we have added a new feature to our practice website that is powered by ZocDoc. Just go to our Contact Us page and click on the blue button. ZocDoc is a technology company that integrates with our scheduling software to show availabilities and can subsequently ease the choice of times to visit us. The company will also email and text remind you if you so choose. Forms can all be filled out electronically, and will also ease the visit. Please tell us what you think by shooting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and as always we celebrate technology and hope it makes your experience more smooth. To read more about their company: http://www.zocdoc.com/press
It is my pastime to observe and process many situations and trends. One of which I am becoming more keenly aware is dis-integration. Although we have yet to see the full gamut of repercussions of a world filled with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites, they have created a means for each of us to connect with far off people or celebrities, to share cool experiences, thoughts, beliefs and to have a voice where we may otherwise not have one. On the opposite side, I have seen it direct our attentions inward, promoting more narcissism and self-centeredness. I will also add they also give many a forum to divide. As an admission, my use of these forums has been used to belly-ache, promote my own pride and agenda, and to draw people alongside me not for the purpose of good. Rants about telecom companies, medical insurance issues, my mad reaction to something or another haven’t been a means of joining people together. What I have realized is that we as humans are bent to be the best, strongest, smartest and proudest correct people around, often to the demise of another Party, Race, Religion, or Stance. It challenges me to find ways to draw people in, or to come into situations to be the voice that would bring people closer together rather than further apart. My applause to those out there in the world who use their social media and social skills to draw people into more intimate community and banding together!
Dental hygiene is crucial to your health and it is often avoided due to ignorance at some times and negligence at others. There are several easy steps YOU can take to improve your dental health and make yourself feel better. Most people do not realize that their dental health can affect not only just their teeth but also their health overall and their mood as well. Poor hygiene may lead to tooth decay, bad breath, and a plethora of diseases.
1. Floss even if you hate it!
With the advent of simple flosspicks the days of strangling your fingers is over! I suggest if you don’t floss at all simply do it twice a week. Set yourself up for success rather than failure.
Flossing takes only a couple of extra seconds in the morning or in the evening. Here is a tip to get you going, use the flosspicks on your commute or keep them by your computer. Your mouth will feel much fresher afterward and it’s a great reminder to continue doing this. Proximity is the key to flossing victory!
Instead of chewing gum after eating or picking up a mint after eating, go brush your teeth. Your breath may smell better for a short period of time but guess what? After that runs out, the food particles are still stick between and around your teeth.
Pick up your toothbrush and toothpaste and let it rip. Pick a toothbrush that you are comfortable with and make sure that you not only brush your tooth for an appropriate time but that you brush over your tongue as well because the same food particles and bacteria proliferate on your tongue.
3. Change Your Toothbrush Regularly
Go check your toothbrush, right now. This article will be right here, waiting for you. Go on. Okay, you checked it? Now, describe it. Is it raggedy? Do the edges curl over? Does it look like someone has been brushing tough spots from the pan with it? Then ditch it.
Better yet, setup your calendar reminder to remind you to buy a new toothbrush every three months. An old toothbrush will do the opposite of help, it can damage your teeth and gums. Make sure you keep up with your toothbrush and check out the bristles every once in a while to see how worn it is. If it looks scary, ditch it right away. Otherwise, keep up with the 3 month schedule!
4. Healthy Eating
Ditch the coke, pick up your water. One can of coke or any soda has over thirty grams of sugar, and all of it gets filtered through your teeth. On top of that, soda drinks are often very acidic which promotes tooth decay even further.Try to stick to solid foods and eat plenty of fruits instead of candy.
Now, you know what I said about ditching chewing gum? Pick it back up (a new piece preferably!) because chewing sugar-free gum helps saliva production which helps removing bacteria. The American Dental Association even recommends chewing gum.
5. Keep Up With Your Dentist
One of the most important things you can do is seeing your dentist. It’s recommended to see your dentist every six months for regular check-ups and cleaning. Seeing your dentist can help you figure out if you’re on the right track, and what’s going on in your mouth. If you’re showing symptoms of a disease, or a cavity forming, a dentist can catch it in time and provide treatment. On top of that, cleaning always helps! Even with brushing and flossing, you may not be able to get everything out. A dentist has special tools that you don’t have to help you out.
There are of course, other ways you can improve your health hygiene like avoiding smoking and tobacco, keep up your health overall, stay away from too much alcohol, choose the right toothpaste for you and so on. Discuss it with your dentist the next time you go!
The Ins and Outs of Dental Insurance
Written by Janell C. my receptionist and insurance coordinator.
I will try to explain the basics to you. When a dentist agrees to be “in network” with an insurance company, the dentist has agreed to a monetary contract with the insurance company benefiting the insurance company, the dentist and usually the insured party. In this arrangement, a dentist is only allowed to charge a certain amount for services, and the fees are dictated by the insurance company and the area the dentist works. In turn, a dentist profits from this relationship because they will receive patient referrals through the “in network” insurance company. Finally, the “in network” patient benefits because the dentist has a cap on how much he/she can charge per service (a very large coupon book); therefore, the patient usually has lower out-of-pocket expenses.
So, you may ask yourself, “Why would someone choose to go out of network?” It could be a matter of convenience, perhaps the patient wants to work with a particular dentist, and often the price is only slightly more. This doesn’t minimize the fact that if someone needs a large amount of treatment that the cost difference grows exponentially, but keep in mind that even if you are going to an “in network” dentist your plan likely only helps you with about $1000 a year.
If a patient does choose to go to a dentist that is “out of network,” most traditional insurance plans pay based on percentages and it usually has maximums and deductibles. Keep in mind; these percentages are based on the fee schedule that the insurance company sets. Therefore, 100% does not necessarily mean that you will not have to pay anything out-of-pocket. In actuality, it is 100% of a set fee. For example, if x-rays were taken for a patient, the doctor may charge an office fee of $60.00, but the insurance company may only pay $50.00 for that service, so the patient would be responsible for $10.00.
Some dentists will attempt to make their office fees close to the average insurance fee schedule; therefore, choosing to go “out of network” doesn’t necessarily cost the patient much more. Subsequently, a dentist that practices this fee policy will be able to charge both “in network” and “out of network” patients similarly.
So, continuing on with our insurance lesson, there is another type of dental insurance that is becoming very popular and mainstream. It is usually referred to as an Individual Fee Schedule. This type of insurance varies greatly based on the policy. These Individual Fee Schedules can be “in network” or “out of network” also. These fee schedules may cost you less to participate, but in general, offer lesser benefits. Some Individual Fee Schedule policies cover all dental services at 100% of the “reasonable fee.” Usually policies like this have a lower Maximum amount. If you are “in network,” the doctor’s charges are lowered, but if you are “out of network” the patient would be charged the higher office fee and the insurance would pay the “reasonable fee,” thus leaving the patient responsible for the difference. These plans in general leave more of the costs in the lap of the patient.
So, here at Restoration Dental, we accept any patient that has a traditional PPO insurance plan or an Individual Fee Schedule as long as the patient is allowed to go “out of network”. We are “in network” with BCBS of GA 200/300 and some of the BCBS Individual Fee Schedules, Cigna Radius PPO, Aetna PPO, Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier.
In addition, because we strive to keep our office fees fair, even those individuals without insurance are still charged an equitable fee.
The only insurance plans that we are unable to accept are DMO/HMO insurance policies. These policies dictate that you go to a specific dentist, and we have not signed up with any of these insurances.
So, if you are looking to have a fabulous dental visit and to receive excellent care, visit Dr. McNay and our staff. We are happy to create that experience for you, your family, friends and coworkers. Come join us. We would love to have you as part of our practice.
I will be the first to brag on my neighborhood in Tucker. The neighbors have committed to look out for one another, to stop while walking around the neighborhood to talk, to care for one another’s children or to just enjoy an adult beverage together. There is something very comforting and welcoming about calling a place home and knowing there are people there who call you friend. It has only been recently that I am going to say we have rival awesome neighborhoods in my work vicinity. An amazing new patient was telling me some of the activities that happen on a weekly, monthly and celebratory basis in Ashford Park, Drew Valley, and the surrounding neighborhoods here in Brookhaven. Things happening like parades, wine tastings, beer tastings, block parties, neighborhood watch programs and a strong sense of community. So if anyone is interested here are some links to their neighborhood associations and civic associations.
Drew Valley http://drewvalley.net/
Brookhaven Fields http://www.brookhavenfieldsonline.com/
I am glad to be a dentist for your families here in Atlanta and specifically Brookhaven. Thanks for letting me be a neighbor.
Many of the Brookhaven and Tucker parents have asked me about tooth brushing for their children. How long should they brush? How much toothpaste? How to get them to brush at all? Is full body Velcro available at Walmart? This is simply advice from one professional based upon a beautiful blend of realism ( having four children myself) and some scientific evidence.
The first picture is the amount I have found to be totally satisfactory for my non-spitting toddler. It gives him a hint of the flavor of adult toothpaste and a small amount of fluoride. My opinion on the time of tooth brushing has much more to do with the technique. I strongly encourage every parent to reserve the first 30 seconds of toothbrush time at every session, then the hand-off can occur. If your toddler controls the toothbrush the entire time then little good is being done even in two minutes time.
The second picture is for the spitting child of any age, even into adulthood. Many commercials show the long ribbon of toothpaste covering the entirety of the toothbrush and this is simply misleading you to buy more toothpaste than you actually need. Your toothbrush is doing most of the work, thus my minimalist thoughts shall ring out. The next time you brush your teeth try to use this much toothpaste and see if it is just as effective.
This final section is a video of a reasonable toothbrushing technique for a child. The important rules involve angling the toothbrush toward the gums and short massaging movements. The most important aspect is to remove the piled up bacteria at the gumline of all the teeth. Thanks to Annelise for being my little guinea!
A wise man once gave me his opinion of the mouth, and it has caused me to tweak my perspective. He spoke at length about the mouth being the gateway and a pretty accurate barometer to its owner’s health. Every piece of food passes through the mouth, its breakdown is started by the body’s ability to chew, and not only are our teeth important but the enzymes in our saliva that start the process of digestion. This will be a good indicator of how hard our stomach has to work. The condition of the gum tissue and visible cavities point to the types of bacteria and their control of our system. The flatness and chipping of front teeth point to evidence of nighttime or daytime grinding.
SO, what can you tell me about the teeth you see above?
This is likely a man due to the facial hair. This person has seen lots of sun on his lips and thus has freckling changes. Gum tissues are pink so not much active gum disease. From a dentist’s perspective I can tell you this person has probably played some sports and has gotten popped in the mouth a few times(small craze crack lines on the front teeth). He has had braces because of some missing bicuspids.
Now to expand on the thought. When I look into the mouth, I see a snapshot of the present. This present snapshot can also tell me much about your past. It may be an absolute revision of the past as my teeth are above. I was so crowded that I had two rows of teeth both on top and the bottom. My dentist removed 7 teeth in one sitting and gave the orthodontist the room he needed to revise and sort. I have had a fair amount of fillings and restorative work. I have been hit in the mouth and head more times than I can count. The joy is that I still have more stories to tell with my smile and my teeth as we all do. Do people recognize your smile and teeth or are you hiding behind your lips or hand? What story do your teeth tell?
I am continually amazed at the sheer volume of marketing opportunities. I have never been that popular, but I will say I have become way more so since opening my own practice. So many advertisements and so little time. I don’t want to intrude on people’s privacy, but our routines have been inundated with volumes of marketing trying to invade our sight, smell, touch and daily experiences. Ever wonder why BK has such large exhaust fans and pump out the smell way before lunch time even starts? How about the advertising on the side of your web wanderings? The mass of commercials on radio and TV? I have learned to turn all the ads off in my mind, but it’s in my best interest to get out into that world. That’s why I value our patients who have referred their friends to us. I am gratefully honored by your trust! You all make an amazing group on which to do dental work!
Currently reading three different books and dabbling through two magazines, I found the most intriguing subject in the fly fishing magazine. The editor has obvious interest in the sport but also the season that generates much excitement in terms of hunting and fishing in the midst of beautiful colors and crisp air. He laments the fact that he only gets to enjoy one autumn a year, trying his best not to neglect his family, work and friends in search of quiet streams and the hunt. He goes on to say, “I just need to remember to embrace what we have rather than lament what we don’t”. These are good words to remind me that Autumn is a welcome season for us here in Atlanta. It is finally possible to stand outside without sweating a gallon or being whelped repeatedly by mosquitoes. My wife wisely chose October for our wedding day. “10-4 good buddy” is an expression that I will use even into my senility to remember the glorious 70 degree day we celebrated. Although it is sad to think that this season will not last very long, I embrace these days of glorious weather and beautifully painted landscapes!
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