Turn Your Child Into the Best Brusher & Avoid Cavities

Sacramento Kids Dentist

Your child’s oral health is very important. It sets the stage for their smile for the rest of their lives. Introducing your kids to good oral health habits at a young age ensures they will carry those habits with them as they get older. 

Consider these facts:

  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from 2007 shows the number of cavities in children ages 2 to 5 have increased from a decade ago. 
  • In a 2004 study, tooth decay was found to be the most common chronic childhood disease, 5 times as common as asthma.
  • A 2000 report found that dental-related illnesses result in a loss of more than 51 million school hours each year.

sacramento-dentist_oral-hygiene-for-kids

Do not fret! You can make oral care fun and easy for your kiddos. 

  • Brush and floss your teeth together to set a good example. (Yes, parents, you need to floss, too)
  • Sing a song or nursery rhyme for 2 minutes to help the process seem to go by faster for your kids.
  • Pick a fun toothbrush with your kids’ favorite character on it.
  • Pick a toothpaste that is flavorful to the child. Ask your dentist for samples.
Sacramento Kids Dentist

This cool toothbrush holder for kids can hold up to 4 toothbrushes. $19.99 at ModCloth.com

Other tips for success: 

1.    Brush teeth twice a day and floss once a day
2.   Change your child’s toothbrush every 3 months to ensure they always brush their best
3.   Have your child’s teeth checked by a dentist twice a year, starting at age 1.
4.   Limit sugary snacks and drinks like juice, sports drinks and soda to help prevent  cavities.

Following these simple guidelines is a great place to start to ensure that your child will lead a life with less cavities and create the habits of a well-oiled brusher and flosser. Good luck, and happy flossing! 

Dental Insurance: A Good Purchase or Not?

Did you know? In the 1960s dental insurance companies paid a yearly maximum of $1,000 and that number has not swayed over the past four decades? The average dental insurance pays a maximum of $1,200 per year. Sacramento dentist Insurance

Dental costs are on the rise and if you are like most you want to know should you purchase dental insurance. Many dental offices now offer great specials to first time patients for a full exam, x-rays, and most include a cleaning. Before deciding to purchase insurance opt for one of these appointments and talk with the dentist about how much treatment you will need. The dental office can help you decide which option would be best for you.

You should investigate the differences between using the proposed insurance through your employer or buying one independently. Weigh the monthly costs of dental insurance versus paying out of pocket for your dental treatment and see what works for you and your family.

A difficult fact for many patients but something very important to remember is that dental insurance is not similar to medical insurance. Many patients are shocked to realize that even though they are covered at 90% that they still have a big balance. The majority of dental insurance plans are designed with the purpose of only covering the basic dental care, about $1,000 to $1,500 per year, and is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage like that of medical insurance.

You might have heard the financial person at your dentist say, “you’re maxed out.” That is a term referring to your yearly maximum that the dental insurance plan will pay for the year. Any service you receive is taken from your yearly maximum. So even if your cleanings and other preventative services are covered at 100% they are done so because it is taken from allowed maximum allowance from the insurance company.

For example, if you have a yearly maximum of $1,200 and you saw your dentist in January and again in July for your biannual cleaning and check-ups at $300 per visit you would have a remaining available maximum of $600 for anything that may come up such as a filling or dental emergency. The yearly maximum will renew automatically each year and any unused benefits will not be rolled over into the next year. Each member of your family has their own yearly maximum so you will not be sharing benefits.

Sacramento Dentist - Dental Insurance Breakdown

A 2002 study of payers of dental care shows that government issued help only consisted of 6% of all bills. The rest was split almost evenly between out-of-pocket costs for the patient and his/her dental insurance.

In/Out of Network Dentists

There are HMOs which require you to go to a specific dentist and then there are PPOs which were designed to allow the patient to pick their dentist. However, more independent insurance companies are popping up calling themselves “PPO” but now have distinguished between in-network and out-of-network. It is the patient’s responsibility to verify if their dentist is in or out of network.  However, the differences are very minimal. If you have a dentist you like, trust, and are comfortable with stick it out.

Other Caveats

  • Co-pay? A lot of insurances have them but not the majority of PPOs. And if the insurance requires one and the dentist doesn’t make you pay for it then that is a red flag. That flag is called insurance fraud. While it may make things better for you right then it could certainly cause trouble in the long run.
  • Is there a “missing tooth clause” for people with missing teeth that they may want replaced later with a bridge, partial, or implant.
  • Differences in coverage for preventative, basic, and major work should be similar to other major insurance plans. Make sure that for preventative services that x-rays are covered, that root canals are covered under basic, and that they don’t have a missing tooth clause under major work. If you know you will need major work but your plan doesn’t cover it then you might want to look into switching or finding other ways to pay for your treatment.
  • Typical coverage: Preventative = 100%, Basic = 80%, Major = 50%
  • Most dental offices these days do not use amalgam (or silver) fillings, but insurances will not cover the full cost of a white filling, it would be a good thing to ask about.
  • Waiting periods – are there long periods of time required to pass before the insurance company will allow treatment to be redone on a tooth. For instance, if you had a filling 3 years ago that needs to be redone and your insurance has a 5 year waiting period, then they aren’t going to cover any of it.
  • All dental insurance companies are not alike so you must figure out which procedures fall under each category.

Conclusion

Dental insurances companies are raking in a lot of dough between your monthly premiums and your co-pays. Make sure that you are making the best decision for you and your family.

Yearly maximums are not going to be going up anytime soon and dentists know that. To help finance your dental care, many dental offices are now offering interest-free payment plans.

Teeth Whitening – Three Options to a Brighter Smile

Seriously, is there a better accessory to that glowing skin that we are all blessed with every summer than a perfectly white smile? I say no, but if you said “six-pack abs” I wouldn’t disagree.

Image

Really though a perfectly white smile is attainable with the technology that is readily available to ordinary people, like you and me.  Celebrities, other rich guys and their trophy wives are no longer the only people that can enjoy teeth that are NOT stained by years of coffee, wine, and tobacco. You can, too!

There are three types of whitening that you should consider: in-office, professional teeth whitening, at-home whitening trays from the dentist, and teeth whitening strips.

Option 1: In-office teeth whitening. If you are getting ready for a photo shoot, a wedding, a vacation, or any other milestone event the only way to go is an in-office professional teeth whitening at the dentist. You are looking at a $500-$700 bill but the results are instant and will continue to get better over the course of the next two weeks.

Option 2: Take-Home Teeth Whitening Trays. Have an event coming up in a month that you are preparing for? I mean really preparing, like, have your outfit purchased, hair appointment made, car rental scheduled and guaranteed prepared. If so, then take-home bleach trays from the dentist are an awesome option. They come at a significantly lower cost than in-office bleaching and can be used for as long as you want, provided that your teeth don’t shift. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth to create the trays and they should be ready within 24 hours. Your teeth will reach the maximum whiteness after approximately two weeks.

The bleach that you will use at home has a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide. You can purchase bleach from your dentist, dental assistant, or hygienist anytime that you want. Bleach trays are also a good idea for those who dropped a big payment on the in-office bleaching and who would like to maintain their white smile for years.

Option 3: Teeth Whitening strips.  Just want whiter teeth but are in no rush? Guess what? Those whitening strips work wonders at removing surface stains for anyone. Smoker? Coffee drinker? Wino? Soda pop lover? You are in luck! Whitening strips cost anywhere between $35-$50 for a two-to-four week supply. Read the instructions carefully for how long and frequently you should wear the strips. Some teeth whitening strips requiring wearing them two times a day for 14 days straight while others are less strict, and also less effective. Teeth whitening strips are also really effective at maintaining a white smile.

Who shouldn’t buy in to teeth whitening: those with veneers, tetracycline staining, or dead teeth. There is nothing any dentist can do to make your teeth whiter. See a dentist near you to visit your options.

No teeth whitening toothpaste or magic teeth whitening light will replace regular dental visits. One might be surprised at the amount of surface stains a simple teeth cleaning will remove.

Get your tan on, folks! And take along a white smile and some sunscreen.

Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Teeth & Gums

We love reading SHAPE magazine around here so we were pretty happy to see this article: “10 Bad (Dental) Habits to Break”. The SHAPE magazine article outlines 10 very specific ways to treat your teeth. No guess work, love that! You can read about why the following 10 things are so dang important.

Teeth Cleaning Sacramento

  1. Brushing too hard
  2. The wrong toothpaste
  3. Forgoing Floss
  4. Drinking lots of soda
  5. Foods that stain
  6. Frequent snacking
  7. Using teeth as tools (seen this before?)
  8. Neglecting problems
  9. Avoiding the dentist
  10. Ignoring your lips

If you are experiencing pain and are in need of an emergency dentist in Sacramento or you are looking to establish a new dentist in Sacramento you can visit us today!

Call 916-649-0249 Today!

Tricky Tooth Killers

There are attacks on own teeth everywhere we look: the food we eat, the medications we take, our hormones. Silent, and tricky, these tooth killers can harm you in ways you haven’t thought of before.

Teeth Whitening at the Mall:  Does knowing that they are more than willing to pour 35% hydrogen peroxide on your gum disease and cavities make you feel good? If it does than you need to research about the effects of teeth whitening on your oral health. If it doesn’t, you’re my kind of patient. These types of services are unaccredited and are being shut down all over the country. A typical teeth whitening requires a dental office visit, exam, and any cavities or gum disease to be treated prior to receiving the bleaching treatment.Oral Health and Diabetes (click here for teeth whitening tips)

Sports Drinks & Energy Drinks: these highly acidic beverages create pitting in the teeth and other forms of tooth erosion. Pitting and erosion results in your teeth being uneven on the surface and they are more likely to stain easier and more quickly. In addition, erosion makes your teeth more susceptible to decay. If you must drink these highly acidic drinks do it through a straw to avoid pitting and tooth erosion on the fronts of your teeth.

Pregnancy:  your hormones play a gigantic part in your oral health. Increased levels of pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen boost circulation, which brings more blood to the gums and puts you at a higher risk for infection. Pregnant women with bloody gums are significantly more likely to have a preterm baby, according to many studies. If you are trying to get pregnant your best bet is to visit the dentist so that you can address all your oral health issues before you conceive. (Or read our preggo article here) 

Medications: many medications and diet supplements have side effects such as decreasing salivary flow in the mouth. The lack of saliva can lead to dry mouth, bacteria, and tooth decay. Products like biotene can help with dry mouth so tell your dentist if you are experiencing dry mouth.

Using teeth as tools: using your teeth in absence of other tools might cause them some harm.  My grandma has a perfect triangle in between her two front teeth at the very bottom where she keeps her pins for sewing. See my granny uses her teeth for all sorts of things, like tearing open packages, biting her nails, and that’s just the small stuff. Her teeth have become her go-to place to store the needles for sewing which have created a permanent change in her teeth. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing is a bad idea: it can lead to chipping and cracking.

Are you a suspect in these dental crimes? Studies prove that taking better care of your teeth can improve your overall health, especially if you are pre-diabetic or your family has a history of heart disease. If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning call a dentist near you today. (or read our oral health article) 

Oral Health & Pregnancy: Prevention is the Key to Keep Your Teeth

Tending to your teeth is far down on your list of concerns when you are pregnant. But, it should be closer to the top. Good dental care during pregnancy is essential, not only for your own health but also for your baby’s.

Female Dentist in SacramentoGrowing belly. Random hair growth. Swollen breasts. With all the extreme changes that occur in pregnancy, it would be nice not to worry about the things in your body that stay constant, like, oh… the inside of your mouth?

Sorry, you’re not that lucky. Like it or not, even your gums are hijacked by pregnancy hormones. Increased levels of pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen boost circulation, which brings more blood to the gums, according to Sally J. Cram, DDS, a periodontist and spokesperson for the American Dental Association.

Low levels of plaque that might have been insignificant before you conceived can cause worrisome problems now. In fact, most pregnant women experience some degree of gingivitis, which is identified by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Left untreated, gingivitis can escalate to gum disease. So why is this a big deal? Women with this condition are significantly more likely to have a preterm baby, according to many studies, including one published last year in the Journal of Periodontology.

If you skip brushing or flossing for just one night, within 24 hours your gums may be red, swollen, or bleeding. If you continue to put off brushing and flossing, you could develop gum disease, or periodontitis, which can cause bone loss. Bone loss equals tooth loss.

There are other barriers than just your unusual hormones. The carbohydrates you may rely on to suppress nausea (crackers, anyone?) also bathe your teeth in sugars. Pair that with the morning sickness and heartburn and your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Gum disease can also trigger a premature birth. In a study of 1300 women who gave birth, studied the dental records of the 13 percent who had delivered prematurely. They found that those who had periodontal disease were four to seven times more likely deliver prematurely than women with healthy gums.

Here’s how to keep your teeth healthy:

  • Brush and floss at least two or three times a day. However inconvenient, the reality is that it is important that you give your teeth and gums more attention.
  • Switch to a softer toothbrush if brushing makes your gums bleed.
  • Don’t skip your annual dental checkup. Try to time it to take place during your second trimester.
  • Seek an appropriate level of care, your dentist will advise you on what that is. If you’ve had gum problems in the past, you may need more frequent monitoring. If you have larger treatment you can be treated while you’re pregnant, though that’s no guarantee and special precautions will need to be taken.
  • Make sure your diet includes plenty of vitamin C.

If you show them a little extra love you can keep your teeth and gums in tip-top condition during pregnancy.

Q & A with the Dental Hygienist: Eight Ways to a Healthier Smile

Cosmetic Dentist Sacramento

1. What’s the biggest problem that you see with patients who come in terms of oral hygiene?

Most patients do not like to floss and think that it is no big deal.

2. How often should I brush and floss?

In an ideal world you should floss after every meal or snack. But, at least twice a day at morning and at night when that is not possible. The best time to loss is at night if morning is not possible because you do not want to leave remnants of food in between teeth to rot.

3. What are the benefits of flossing regularly?

Healthy gums, helps keep the teeth’s foundation of bone level, no bleeding, fresh breath, good check-ups, less cavities, less money to be spent on treatment because teeth are healthy, improves overall health of the body because the bacteria content that can cause heart problems is significantly decreased, decreased chance of bacteria between teeth being passed from mother to unborn child which leads to low-term newborns.

4. What are the dangers of not flossing on a regular basis?

I just mentioned that bacteria found in plaque can be passed from expectant mothers to their fetus. But there are studies that show a strong link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Not to mention that not flossing can lead to the loss of your teeth which could mean periodontal surgery and that costs money.

5. What is a deep cleaning and why would I have to get one?

A deep cleaning involves scraping the crown and root of the tooth to get rid of built up calculus and debris. Someone would need one if there are deep pockets between the gums and teeth and there is calculus present on the roots of the teeth.

6. What percentage of new patients that you see need a deep cleaning? Is it expensive?

Approximately 30-40% of the new patients that I see a month need a deep cleaning. It is expensive. But, have normal cleanings on a regular basis will eliminate the need for this type of invasive cleaning.

7. Why is flossing painful for patients? Will it always be painful?

Flossing is only painful for patients who have swollen gums, periodontal disease, or who only floss sometimes. Healthy gums do not hurt when flossed unless one is flossing incorrectly. Your hygienist can show you how to floss correctly.

8. Any other tips or products that you have for patients?

For patients who don’t like to floss with the string I highly recommend the Reach Flosser, it has a big handle so you don’t have to stick your hand in your mouth. At $3 a piece it is really affordable. The Air Flosser is a new device that can be used to floss. It costs about $70. Things like waters picks are good at removing plaque but does not replace flossing.

“Dirty Mouth? Clean It Up!”

What is good oral hygiene? The mouth should look and smell healthy, meaning that your teeth are free of debris (feel like flossing?), gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss, and bad breath is not a common problem for you. Bleeding gums and constant bad breath? Time to make a dentist appointment! Good oral hygiene allows you to smile and be confident. It is good for your overall well-being.

While it is unlikely that poor oral hygiene is the sole cause for the related conditions below, poor oral hygiene combined with the other risk factors can be a dangerous combination. Gum disease has been linked to heart attacks, clogged arteries, diabetes, and premature births.

Severe forms of gum disease have been linked to heart disease, clogged arteries, strokes, too. Gum disease has also been known to cause premature birth in pregnant women. Have diabetes? Your body’s inability to control your blood sugar and fight infections leaves your gums undefended against disease. Those with diabetes  tend to lose their teeth much quicker due to increased bone loss caused by erratic blood sugar levels. And tooth loss is often prevalent in those with HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.1

It does make you wonder why taking care of our mouth is so low on the totem pole of things to do. The bacteria in your mouth is usually harmless when brushed and flossed away. But, when inflamed gums begin to bleed, then passage into the blood stream is provided for more than 700 kinds of bacteria.2  Scary, right? Once the bacteria is in the blood stream there is potential that they can stick to the walls of your arteries which is why poor oral hygiene is linked most often with cardiovascular diseases. Aggressive antibiotic drug treatments can potentially reverse the effects that poor oral hygiene has on your health.

To protect yourself in between dental check-ups you should brush and floss twice a day, schedule regular dental check-ups, and replace your toothbrush every four months. Dr. Truong strongly suggests the use of an electric toothbrush. It is an investment that your teeth will thank you for later in life. The end result, however, will remain the same for those that choose to put the cleanliness of their mouth on the back burner. Regardless of how healthy you are, if you don’t take care of your teeth, you are at risk for some nasty diseases.

1. http://www.mayoclinic.com 2. http://www.healthnewsrack.com

Best Sacramento Dentist!

Cosmetic Dentist Sacramento

Dr. Hoang Truong

Welcome to Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry of Sacramento. Home of Dr. Hoang Truong, The Best Sacramento Dentist, and her extraordinary staff!

Our Services Include:

Cosmetic Dentistry (i.e., veneers, bridges, inlays/onlays)
Sedation Dentistry
Teeth Whitening
Extractions
Root Canal (endodontics)

 

Dr. Truong is a family dentist with a comprehensive dental facility based in Sacramento. Our care is patient-focused. No pushy sales people just good dentistry. Dr. Truong educates and trains herself and her staff rigorously to provide her patients with the very best care as well as cutting-edge technology. Dr. Truong and the Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry staff follows strict safety procedures.

Why is Dr. Truong so great? She has the smallest hands in Sacramento! Small hands means maximum comfort for her patients.