Monthly Archives: January 2018

What You Should Know About Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

If you have sensitive teeth, you are probably used to making a lot of sacrifices. Refusing ice cream, ordering iced tea without ice, and drinking lukewarm coffee are just a few of the common adaptations people make. Fortunately, there is help. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth, either alone or in tandem with other treatments, can be a big part of the solution. Here’s how and why.

toothpaste sensitive teeth

Dentin Hypersensitivity

The medical name for sensitive teeth is dentin hypersensitivity. Dentin is the soft material inside your teeth, which is packed with nerve endings. It is normally protected by the hard outer layer, known as enamel. When enamel is missing, though, everything you eat or drink can touch the dentin, irritating the nerves and causing intense but short-lived pain. Dentin hypersensitivity is the tendency to frequently experience this irritation.

Common Causes

The most likely causes of dentin hypersensitivity are advanced tooth decay, gum disease, leaking fillings, or a cracked tooth, so it is important to have a dental checkup if dentin hypersensitivity lasts for more than a few days. It can also be brought on by certain dental procedures, so switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and avoid extreme food and beverage temperatures for a few days. Let your dentist know if it persists.

In many cases, though, the cause of dentin hypersensitivity is not clear. Brushing with whitening toothpaste, eating a highly acidic diet, and brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush have all been implicated in some cases. For many people, though, their teeth are just sensitive, similar to how many people have sensitive skin. Your dentist can help you manage the problem through a combination of specially-formulated toothpaste, mouth rinses, and other solutions.

Choosing a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

For mild to moderate sensitivity, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be enough to manage the symptoms. This type of toothpaste is formulated with ingredients that block the exposed nerve endings. This reduces or eliminates dentin hypersensitivity regardless of the underlying cause. For best results, use the toothpaste for at least one month. Some people use this type of toothpaste for a lifetime. Be sure to choose a toothpaste that is high in fluoride, as this will strengthen and protect your teeth, further reducing sensitivity.

Sensitive teeth are a surprisingly widespread problem. Many cases are due to an underlying dental problem that can be successfully treated, but quite a few cases have no specific identifiable cause. Fortunately, toothpaste for sensitive teeth can go a long way toward reducing or eliminating dentin hypersensitivity. If yours persists, your dentist can prescribe further treatments to help you manage your condition. With proper care, there is no reason for you to be doomed to a life of tepid soup and melted frozen desserts.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Choosing Dental Insurance: What You Need to Know

Like health insurance, dental insurance pays a portion of your dental care expenses. Unlike health insurance, though, dental insurance is not covered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That means that dental insurance is not required to provide any particular list of essential benefits, nor are there any limitations on annual caps or waiting periods.

dental insurance

Good dental insurance is hard to find, and many families try multiple plans before settling on one that meets their needs. Still, decent plans do exist. Here is what you need to know to choose a dental insurance plan.

How to Purchase Dental Insurance

Some employers offer dental insurance as part of a benefits package, and some health insurers offer add-on dental insurance plans. However, independent dental insurance is not much more expensive than an employer-sponsored or add-on plan. It is worth shopping around the individual market rather than immediately accepting the first plan you are offered.

Kinds of Dental Insurance

Modeled after health insurance, there are three basic kinds of dental insurance, along with a non-insurance option. Which kind you need depends on your unique circumstances, from your family’s current dental health to your travel habits.

Dental HMO: A dental HMO (health maintenance organization) is typically the least expensive solution, but it is also the most restrictive. All of your dental work must be performed by providers that are in your network, and you will most likely need a referral to see a specialist. Emergency care may or may not be covered out of network, so check the fine print for details. If you travel frequently or want to choose your own specialists, or if your preferred dentist is not in the network, an HMO is probably too restrictive to meet your needs.

Dental PPO: A dental PPO (preferred provider organization) can be thought of as a less-restrictive HMO. The insurance company will pay a higher percentage when you visit an in-network provider, and somewhat less outside the network. Most PPOs do not require a referral for a specialist.

This mid-priced solution fits how the “typical’ patient receives dental work. You can visit an in-network provider for routine care, but have the flexibility choose someone else when you are traveling, or when you need additional services.

Dental Indemnity: The costliest but most flexible option, dental indemnity works well for those who frequently travel, as well as those whose chosen dentist is not part of a network. You can visit any dentist you choose, as long as that dentist agrees to accept the insurance plan. Dental indemnity plans are typically limited to the United States, but some also cover border towns in Canada and Mexico.

Dental Discount Plan: A dental discount plan is not insurance, but can be a great cost-saving measure. If you choose a dentist who accepts the plan, you will receive all of your care at negotiated discount rates. You can even combine a discount plan with insurance for further savings.

Types of Services

For insurance purposes, dental services are divided into three types: preventive, basic, and major. Preventive care is heavily emphasized, and is usually covered at a far higher percentage than other services. Many insurers also have loyalty incentives, covering each type of service at a higher percentage in the second year and beyond.

Preventive care stops dental issues before they can start. It includes such services as exams, cleanings, and X-rays. Preventive care is generally covered right away at 80 to 100 percent of the cost, and is almost always 100 percent covered by year two.

Basic care is designed to save a tooth. Procedures include root canals and fillings. Some insurers cover basic care right away, while others have a 6 to 12 month waiting period. Basic care may be covered at 50 to 80 percent depending on the plan specifics and loyalty incentives.

Major care is designed to restore a tooth, and includes such services as bridges, dentures, and crowns. A handful of insurers cover major care at 25 percent right away, but most plans have a waiting period of 12 to 18 months. After the first year (or waiting period, if longer), it is typically covered at 50 percent.

The Fine Print

Every insurance plan is quite different, and it is important to read the fine print to learn the exclusions and limitations. Most insurance plans have very low annual maximums, in the neighborhood of $1000 to $1500 per year. Any work above that cost is at your own expense. A few companies have annual caps as high as $3500, with correspondingly higher premiums.

There are also annual and lifetime limits on specific services. For example, your insurer might cover only two cleanings per year, even if your dentist recommends that you receive four. You might only be eligible for replacement dentures every 10 years, or a replacement crown every five years.

Braces and dental implants are handled quite differently from company to company. Some cover them as major services. Some do not cover them at all, or cover them only for children under 18. Some have separate co-pays, deductibles, and annual and lifetime caps on them. Read the plan very carefully if you or a family member are likely to need these services.

Direct Pay vs. Reimbursement

The majority of HMO and PPO dentists, though not all, charge the patient for his or her expected portion of the costs and bill the rest to the insurance company. Some HMO and PPO dentists, and virtually all those who accept dental indemnity insurance, require you to pay the entire bill out of pocket and then wait for insurance reimbursement. Neither is right or wrong, but whether you are able to float the full expense could be a factor in selecting a plan and a dentist.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

How to Save a Knocked Out Tooth

If you or child knock out a tooth, you might start to panic. After all, a tooth that was once living peacefully in your mouth is now lying on the ground. However, it is important to stop and take a deep breath. Roughly 5 million teeth are knocked out in the United States every year, and approximately 90 percent of them can be saved. It is crucial, though, to follow these steps to maximize your chances of saving the tooth.

hockey player How to Save a Knocked Out Tooth

Be Careful

How you handle the tooth can make the difference on whether it can be reattached, and it is vital to protect the tiny roots and nerves. Gently pick up the tooth by the chewing surfaces, avoiding the root end.

Rinse or Wipe the Tooth

If you have access to water, gently rinse away loose dirt. If not, use your hands to carefully wipe away obvious debris from the chewing surfaces, but do not touch the root. Do not use any tools such as a rag or a toothbrush, and do not apply any cleanser including soap or toothpaste.

Transport the Tooth in the Mouth

Your or your child’s own saliva is the best way to protect the tooth. If possible, carefully push it back into its socket. Otherwise, place it between the cheek and the gum tissue. Do not drink or eat anything, as you could damage or even swallow the tooth.

Milk Makes a Good Substitute

If there is severe oral trauma, the tooth belongs to a very small child, or there is some other reason not to transport the tooth in the mouth, gently submerge it in a glass of milk. Specialized dental solution is also available, but procuring it immediately is generally impossible. It is usually used by dentists to prolong the lifespan of knocked out teeth once they reach the office.

Do not submerge the tooth in water. This will likely cause severe trauma to the root, killing the tooth and making it impossible to reattach. Rinsing is acceptable, but prolonged exposure to water is never okay.

See the Dentist ASAP

A knocked out tooth is an extreme dental emergency, as most successful reattachments occur within 15 to 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked out. It is worth trying to save a tooth that has been knocked out for even an hour or more, especially if it has been kept in the mouth, but the chances of success drop dramatically after the first 30 minutes. If your regular dentist’s office is closed, go to the nearest emergency dentist. Emergency dentists are available 24/7, 365 days per year.

Although a knocked out tooth can be scary, it is actually quite common, and there is an excellent chance for the tooth to be saved. If you or your child knock out a tooth, take a deep breath and remain calm. Follow the tips above, see a dentist immediately, and follow up with your regular dentist within a few days.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Tooth Discoloration: Common Culprits

Scrupulous oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, as well as two professional cleanings per year, are the best way to keep your teeth white. You can also have them professionally whitened in our office or with a take-home bleaching system. To make sure your teeth stay as white as possible, though, it is important to pay attention to your diet. Here are some of the most notorious tooth discoloring foods and beverages.

Tooth Discoloration: Common Culprits

Dark Berries

Dark berries are excellent for your health, but carry a risk of staining your teeth. Among the worst stain inducers are raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and blackberries. Fortunately, though, you don’t need to cut dark berries out of your diet. Instead, drink plenty of plain water right after consuming them or drinking their juice, and follow up with a dairy product to neutralize their acids.

Tomatoes and Citrus Fruits

Brightly colored tomatoes and citrus fruits are a beautiful and healthy addition to any meal, but they are high in acids that can erode your tooth enamel, exposing the yellow-tinged dentin. Dark green vegetables such as kale and spinach contain natural tooth protectors, so dig into a salad before consuming these items when possible. Otherwise, be sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with plain water after enjoying a glass of orange juice or a hearty tomato sauce.

Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are highly satisfying, and entire cultures have developed around their preparation and consumption. However, they contain high levels of tannins, which can stain your teeth. Dairy is a natural tooth cleanser, so try adding a bit of milk to your coffee or tea. When practical, try drinking from a cup with a lid, which can keep your teeth from becoming coated. After you finish your tea or coffee, drink some plain water to rinse your mouth.

Wine

Most people are aware of the staining power of red wine, which contains tannins like coffee and tea. However, you might be unaware that white wine erodes tooth enamel like citrus foods. Alternate a glass of plain water after each glass of wine.

Curry

Curry is an incredibly popular spice in Indian cuisine, but it can gradually cause your teeth to yellow. Fortunately, many curry dishes contain natural tooth cleansers such as celery, carrots, apples, or cauliflower. Drinking milk or water with your curry dish can further help to protect your teeth.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has an intense flavor that makes it a natural choice for vinaigrette dressings, but its dark, sticky nature can contribute to tooth staining. Thankfully, crunchy vegetables will help clean the balsamic vinegar from your teeth. Avoid totally saturating your salad, and include a wide variety of vegetables rather than just iceberg lettuce. Drink a glass of water afterwards to finish rinsing your mouth.

You don’t need to give up your favorite foods and drinks to protect your teeth from staining. Instead, practice moderation, pair products that stain with natural tooth cleansers, and drink plenty of plain water. In tandem with scrupulous oral hygiene, these simple steps can help keep your teeth looking their best.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.