What to Do About White Spots on Teeth

Help! I Have White Spots on My Teeth!

A beautiful smile has long been viewed as a sign of health and wellness, and those with terrific smiles tend to feel more self-confident. If you have white spots on your teeth, though, you might feel uncomfortable and reluctant to smile. Fortunately, these spots are both common and easy to treat. Here’s what you should know.

White spots on teeth

Common Causes

White spots on the teeth can have many causes. Most cases, though, are caused by one of the following:

Fluorosis: Large doses of fluoride that far exceed the recommended amount can discolor tooth enamel in children. Fluoride stains may be brown or yellow, but they are often a chalky-looking white.

Enamel Hypoplasia: Enamel hypoplasia, or deficient tooth enamel, can be caused by many factors, from nutritional deficiencies to premature birth and high fevers in infancy. Enamel hypoplasia staining looks much like fluorosis staining, and often appears as a milky white.

Demineralization: Demineralization of the tooth enamel is relatively common among braces wearers, but it can occur whenever bacterial plaque accumulates on the teeth. It causes milky white spots that look similar to enamel hypoplasia.


There are several different treatments available for white spots on teeth. Which you choose will depend on your budget, the severity of the spots, and your dentist’s recommendations. Some people actually use a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results.

Microabrasion: In microabrasion, the dentist removes the top layer of surface enamel from your teeth. This is highly successful for minor surface spots, and it may be combined with a whitening treatment for even better results.

Teeth Whitening: Whitening toothpastes and over the counter bleaches can help with very minor discoloration. To properly treat white spots, though, it is best to have an in-office whitening treatment or to have your dentist prescribe a take-home whitening kit.

Porcelain Veneers: If you have deep and/or widespread white spots, they may not be fixable with microabrasion or teeth whitening. In this case, porcelain veneers may be the best solution. We will remove less than a millimeter of healthy tooth structure to make room for very thin ceramic shells that slip over your teeth. Extremely natural in appearance, porcelain veneers are highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to future staining. Note that if you only need a few teeth covered with veneers, you might choose to have the rest of your teeth whitened first. We will then color-match your veneers to your new bright white smile.

You can minimize the risk of white spots through good nutrition, keeping an eye on your child’s fluoride intake, and keeping braces scrupulously clean. Still, it is often impossible to avoid all white spots. Fortunately, with a combination of preventive measures and treatments, there is no need for you or child to suffer from the embarrassment of discolored teeth.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re ready to start your journey to better oral health, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 to learn how we can help.

Understanding Delayed Tooth Eruption

Should I Be Concerned About Baby Teeth Delayed Tooth Eruption?

New parents are extremely focused on their baby’s milestones, and keeping an eye out for each new tooth is no exception. If teeth do not emerge when parents expect them, panic can ensue. Fortunately, most of the time, delayed tooth eruption is nothing to worry about. Occasionally, though, an underlying condition could be the reason for delayed tooth eruption. Here is what you should know.

Delayed tooth eruption

Normal Tooth Eruption

When a baby is born, most of his or her teeth are already formed beneath the gumline. They usually start to come in when the baby is around six months old, starting with the front teeth and moving back from there. By the age of three, almost all children have a full set of 20 baby teeth.

Abnormal Delays

Averages are just that, and most “delays” in tooth eruption actually fall within the wide range of normal. For example, the first tooth comes in “on average” at around six months of age, but anywhere from four months to 15 months is normal. If your child has no teeth at all by the time he or she is 18 months, it is important to visit the dentist for a full assessment.

Causes of Delayed Tooth Eruption

Sometimes delayed tooth eruption is simply due to normal heredity. If one parent or sibling had teeth come in late, the new baby is more likely to have delayed tooth eruption as well. In addition, babies that are premature or of low birthweight tend to get their teeth a bit later than average.

Less common causes of delayed tooth eruption include Down’s Syndrome, hypopituitarism, rickets, nutritional deficiencies, and rare genetic conditions. It is important to rule out these conditions, and to treat them if present, but they do not cause the majority of cases.

Is Delayed Tooth Eruption Harmful?

Delayed tooth eruption is not serious, but it does increase the risk that your child may need orthodontic work. In fact, children with delayed tooth eruption are 35 percent more likely to need orthodontic care before their 30th birthday. This appears to be the only real risk, though, of delayed tooth eruption that is not associated with an underlying health condition.

New parents tend to panic at any variation from the “typical” development schedule, but individual differences are actually quite normal. Have your child checked by a dentist if she has no teeth by 18 months of age, and otherwise try not to worry.

As a precaution, all children should be assessed for orthodontic issues in early childhood, and those whose teeth erupted late are at higher risk for orthodontic trouble. In most cases, though, delayed tooth eruption is simply due to individual variances and is not likely to lead to future issues. When the baby teeth do arrive, be sure to brush them carefully!

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

What to Expect from a Special Needs Dentist

Those with special health care needs (SHCN) need and deserve the same high quality dental care as anyone else, but not all dentists are equipped to address the additional challenges of working with patients with special health care needs. Special needs dentistry is a branch of dentistry dedicated to meeting those needs.

special needs dentist

Looking for a Special Needs Dentist for Children & Adults?

Dentistry and Special Health Care Needs

Special health care needs include all types of physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, developmental, and sensory impairments, not just orofacial conditions. Those with special health care needs may face challenges to dental care that are not immediately obvious. For example, the patient may be unable to lie flat in the dental chair. She might need extra emotional comfort during even a routine exam, or might not understand what is happening during a treatment. The patient may have medical equipment such as a feeding tube or a drain that must be protected.

The dentist and all staff members working with patients with special needs must be able to recognize these issues and must be flexible in coming up with ways to address them without compromising the quality of care. Special needs dentistry often requires thinking outside the box.

Special Needs Dentist Appointments

Patients with special health care needs generally require more time and more accommodations than traditional patients. Therefore, their appointments are generally set during less busy times, similar to how appointments are set for particularly complex dental procedures. The dentist and staff will fully customize their approach, focusing on the patient’s comfort throughout the appointment.

Many special needs dentists request that patients who need special accommodations make an initial consultation appointment before any exams or treatments take place. This lets you sit down with the dentist and talk about your needs, and work together to figure out which accommodations will work best for you. This is particularly helpful for those whose needs are not immediately apparent, such as those living with complex hidden pain conditions or cognitive disorders, but it can be useful for all patients with special needs. It also allows the dentist and staff to plan ahead for your next visit, making sure that everything is ready for you.

Choosing a Special Needs Dentist

When making the initial appointment, let the receptionist know that you or child has special needs. The receptionist should be helpful and responsive, listen carefully, and perhaps make a few suggestions.

During the consultation, the dentist and staff should show a general understanding of special health care needs and how they affect dental care. Of course, it is not reasonable to expect them to be experts in any specific condition, but they should be aware of the need for flexibility, and should show a willingness to listen and try to understand. Expect them to take a detailed health history and write down any specific requests you make.

Above all, special needs dentistry requires compassion, collaboration, and a team spirit. General anesthesia may be needed for some special needs patients due to their specific challenges, but it should never be used simply for convenience. A good special needs dentist can work around most health challenges while maintaining an excellent attitude and providing the same high quality care that any other patient is given.

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.

Pediatric Orthodontics: What to Expect at Your Child’s First Appointment

What Will Happen at My Kid’s First Orthodontic Appointment?

If your child has been referred to an orthodontist, it is normal to feel stressed out and a bit overwhelmed. Orthodontic care can seem complex, and you might worry about everything from how your child will feel to how you will pay for treatment. Fortunately, there is no need for concern. The pediatric orthodontics staff will walk you through each step of the process. Here is what to expect at your child’s first appointment and beyond.

pediatric orthodontics

First Appointment

Most pediatric orthodontics appointments begin with introductions and a brief office tour. This helps both you and your child to feel comfortable and takes away a lot of the nervousness that occurs in an unfamiliar environment.

Next, the orthodontist will want to determine whether your child needs treatment, and what procedure(s) might be the best. Your child will receive a complete clinical examination, including x-rays and oral photos. The orthodontist will consider all of the clinical findings and provide a diagnosis and a thorough explanation of any issues that were found. Dental impressions may be taken to assist with treatment planning, or you may receive a recommended treatment plan first, with impressions taken right before treatment begins.

With the treatment plan in place, you will receive a detailed breakdown of costs, along with a full review of your insurance benefits and expected out of pocket payments. Staff will explain your options for payment plans and financing if needed.

You will receive a detailed description of any needed appliances such as braces or a palate expander, as well as an estimated treatment length. You will also learn how often your child will need appointments.

The appointment generally lasts for one to two hours, depending on the complexity of your child’s orthodontic needs. You will have plenty of time to ask questions and ensure that you fully understand what to expect.

Future Appointments

If you choose to proceed with treatment, you will make an appointment for your child to have the appliance placed. At that appointment, you and your child will learn how to care for the appliance, and any new oral hygiene routines that must be used to care for the teeth while the appliance is in place.

In most cases, your child will need an appointment every 6 weeks or so. This allows the orthodontist to check the progression of treatment and make any needed adjustments. Your child may also need occasional emergency appointments, such as if a wire pops or severe mouth irritation develops. At the first appointment, you will learn what signs to look for to determine if a visit is needed.

Orthodontic treatment can seem scary, but there is no need for fear. Your child’s orthodontist and staff are there for you and your child every step of the way.

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.

What to Do About Common Problems with Braces

Problems with Braces? Savannah Dental Can Help!

Braces have long been the most common treatment for specific orthodontic issues. While they work well, braces can sometimes cause minor oral problems. Many issues can be cared for at home with simple techniques. Here are some suggestions.

upper jaw expansion


Soreness is extremely common in the first three to five days after you have your braces placed. You may also feel sore for a few hours after each adjustment. You can relieve tenderness by rinsing your mouth vigorously with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of slightly warm water. You can also use Orajel or a similar over the counter topical medication. If needed, an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or ibuprofen may be used.

Your braces may also cause mouth irritation to the cheeks, tongue, and lips, especially during the first two weeks. Your orthodontist will show you how to apply wax to the braces to minimize irritation.

Broken Bracket

The braces are bonded to your teeth with a strong dental cement, but individual brackets may occasionally break free, especially if you bite into hard or sticky food. This will not damage your tooth, but the bracket will need to be re-bonded. You do not need an emergency visit for a broken bracket, but you should make an appointment at your earliest convenience rather than waiting for your next scheduled visit. If the bracket is loose but still connected to the arch wire, leave it in place if possible, coating it with wax if it irritates your mouth. If the bracket comes off the wire, put it in a safe place and bring it to your repair appointment.

Loose Band

Like a broken bracket, a loose band is not an emergency, but it must be repaired as soon as it is reasonably convenient. If the band stays in place, leave it where it is. If it comes off completely, put it in a safe place and bring it to your repair appointment.

Poking Wire

Most of the time, a poking wire has simply slid to one side or the other. Look in the mirror to see if it appears uncentered. Use tweezers with very light pressure to gently push it back into place. If you are unable to do so, or if it appears centered, use wax over the poking area to prevent irritation. You can also use a pencil eraser to gently move or bend the wire so that it no longer pokes. Let your orthodontist know about any poking wires at your next visit or make an emergency appointment if you develop mouth irritation that you cannot manage at home.

Popped Wire

If a wire pops out of place, use tweezers to gently put it back where it belongs. If you are unable to do so, try using wax to minimize discomfort. As a last resort, you can use small, sterilized fingernail clippers to clip the wire behind the last tooth where it is still fastened in place. Let your orthodontist know what happened at your next appointment or make an emergency appointment if all or most of the wire popped.

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.

Upper Jaw Expansion: Understanding This Orthodontic Procedure

What is Upper Jaw Expansion and Should I Do It?

A lesser-known but highly useful children’s orthodontic procedure, upper jaw expansion sounds much more intimidating than it actually is. It is used to widen the palate and increase the dental arch length, making room for teeth to grow in. Here is a brief overview of upper jaw expansion.

upper jaw expansion

Reasons for Upper Jaw Expansion

Upper jaw expansion is typically performed for one of three reasons:

Dental Overcrowding: If the jaw is too narrow, the teeth do not have room to properly emerge. Upper jaw expansion in childhood can reduce the risk of expensive and frustrating corrective procedures as an adult.

Crossbite: The upper teeth should gently close around the lower teeth. If the upper jaw is too narrow, though, the upper teeth may close inside the lower teeth instead, leading to chewing problems and facial asymmetry.

Breathing Issues: A particularly narrow upper jaw could make breathing through the nose difficult. Constantly breathing through the mouth can cause bad breath and dry mouth, and may make the child more susceptible to pollution and airborne bacteria.

Age Guidelines

Upper jaw expansion should be performed between the ages of 5 and 15, preferably at the lower end of that range. Older teens and adults who require more than slight upper jaw expansion generally need surgery.

Treatment Techniques

There are three basic ways to expand the upper jaw, depending on the patient’s unique needs:

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE): A fixed appliance that is bonded to the upper molars, a rapid palatal expander puts even pressure on both sides of the jaw. A screw at the center of the expander is turned at designated times with a special key, gradually increasing the pressure. This allows extra bone to grow into the space, slowly expanding the jaw.

Removable Palatal Expander: Used most often in teens and adults who need only slight jaw widening, a removable palatal expander resembles an all-chrome partial denture. The expander must be handled with care.

Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE): When a great deal of expansion is needed, or an adult or older teen needs significant jaw expansion, SARPE is generally recommended. First, a custom fitted appliance is created. Then surgery is performed to separate the upper jaw into segments. The appliance gently spreads the jaw segments apart, creating space for bone to grow.

If your child’s permanent teeth have not yet fully grown in, an orthodontic retainer will likely be used after upper jaw expansion to keep the space open until the teeth are in place.

Upper jaw expansion is not exactly comfortable, but it should not cause outright pain. It can save a great deal of time, discomfort, and money later in life. Make sure your child thoroughly cleans the palate expander when brushing and flossing. If a removable expander is selected, monitor your child to be sure it is being properly used. The effort you and your child put in now will pay off in the long run.

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.

Baby Pacifiers: Fears vs. Facts

Facts vs. Myths About Baby Pacifiers

Baby pacifiers inspire a great deal of debate among parents. Some argue that their kids will not fall asleep without using one, while others claim that even brief pacifier use can destroy a baby’s developing teeth. In reality, pacifiers are neither as dangerous as some believe or as safe as others claim. Here’s a look at the fears versus the facts.

baby pacifiers

Child Age

Infants have a strong sucking reflex, and find pacifiers to be soothing. Sucking on a pacifier can regulate how deeply a baby sleeps, reducing the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Pacifiers have not been shown to cause any harm to the oral health or development of babies under 2 years of age, and the benefits are significant, so pacifier use IS recommended for this age group.

For children aged 2 and above, though, things are different. Those who still use pacifiers or suck their thumbs should be discouraged. These behaviors could interfere with oral development, misalign the baby teeth, and put children at risk for ear infections.

Pacifier Design

Pacifier design is another vital consideration. For example, latex nipples should be avoided, as they can lead to a latex allergy and are at risk for babies biting through them. A silicone nipple is highly preferred.

Plastic shields are nearly ubiquitous on pacifiers, and there is no significant difference between colors and shapes. However, the shield must have holes to prevent choking.

It’s easier for a baby to grasp a button on the back of the pacifier, but a ring back is easier for parents to retrieve when dropped. Likewise, a glow in the dark back makes late-night retrieval simpler. A nice, but not required, feature is an automatic cover that will protect the nipple when the pacifier is dropped.

Pacifier Safety

Like any object, a pacifier may be made more or less safe depending on the precautions that are taken. For example, any attachment cord should be no longer than 6 inches to minimize choking risks. Glued on novelty parts are generally not safe, as they may come off and form a choking hazard. Although it is generally safe for a baby to fall asleep sucking a pacifier, it should never be inserted into the mouth of a baby that is already sleeping. The pacifier should be washed daily with a mild soap solution and thoroughly rinsed.

In addition, be careful not to use the pacifier as your default solution for a fussy baby. Babies cry for reasons ranging from hunger to a full diaper. Make sure your baby is clean and fed, and that plenty of cuddles are given, before offering the pacifier. Ideally, the pacifier should be a tool for bedtime and unusually fussy periods rather than a simple go-to.

Weaning Your Baby Off a Pacifier

Since your baby should not use a pacifier past the age of 2, it is best to start the process of weaning around the first birthday. This provides plenty of time to make the transition without worrying about your child’s oral health.

Start with some simple restrictions on pacifier use, and gradually increase those restrictions. For example, you might allow use of the pacifier only at home, and then only at naptime and bedtime. Insist that your child remove the pacifier when talking. Minimize overstimulation and be sure that the child is getting plenty of sleep and does not get too hungry, as she is more likely to crave the pacifier when not feeling her best. Offer plenty of love and support instead of the pacifier.

When you and your child are ready, quit the pacifier cold turkey. It is easiest to do this when connected to an event, such as a family vacation, but you can just choose a date. Expect some crying and anger. Remain calm, offer comfort, and remind the child in a matter of fact way that the pacifier is no longer an option. It can be tough, but the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for both you and your child.

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.

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.

What You Should Know About Sensitive Teeth

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

What to Look For in a Dental Health Plan

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

See the Emergency Dentist for 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.