Use it or Lose it: Why You Should Maximize Your Dental Benefits

2014 is quickly approaching and that means there are only two more months left to maximize your dental benefits before they run out.

On December 31, 2013 you will lose any money or allotted cleanings if not used up. The cost of major dental work can easily be avoided by maintaining good oral hygiene and routine cleanings and treatment. Maximizing your dental benefits before the year ends allows you to get all of the necessary work done that is needed.

To find out if you have coverage available, contact your insurance company, or simply call us at (916) 649-0249.

Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry wants to ensure none of your money is wasted and all of our patients get the most out of their insurance. So why not call today to schedule an appointment and use all of your benefits for this year?

If you would like to learn more, please call us at Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry. Dr. Hoang Truong is a Sacramento Dentist serving patients in Sacramento, CA.

Not a Gateway Dental Patient?

No problem! If you are not a Gateway Dental patient, we invite you to come in before the year ends. We currently have a New Patient Special. The special includes an exam, x-ray for only $79!dental-insurance-end-of-year-2011

No Cavities? You Can Thank The Fluoride!

People fall into three categories, there’s the “What the heck is fluoride” category, the “NO! I don’t want fluoride” category, and the “Duh, give me the fluoride” category. Although we’re hoping that our patients fall into the latter of the three we know that certainly isn’t the case. Our office is in Sacramento County, a county that does not fluoridate its water. An interesting concept considering that the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls fluoridation “one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century.” (Read that here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm)

What’s all the fuss about anyway? Fluoride was introduced and the rates of tooth decay decreased significantly in communities who adopted fluoridated drinking water. Fluoridated drinking water was so successful that soon it seemed everything contained fluoride:  orange juice, milk, toothpastes, drops, gels, and ingestible tablets. So while decay was on the decline, over fluoridation was on the rise.Fluoride In Water

This sparked an enormous debate that is still going strong and is not wavering. Over fluoridation called fluorosis, can create dark spots or white spots on the teeth because fluoride used too much will be poisonous. Fluorosis is rarely a result of fluoridated drinking water.  Just like one drink at the end of a long day is fine, 19 drinks will kill you. The CDC, American Dental Association (ADA), and most national health agencies endorse fluoride.

Think about this, less tooth decay means less visits to the dentist and less of your money going to the dentist, but yet all the dental associations and all the dentists you know ENCOURAGE you to get fluoride. That must mean that is a beneficial mineral for your teeth.

Fluoride provided in the office is not swallowed; it is applied topically, just like toothpaste. The fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth by filling the porous surfaces of your teeth with vitamins and minerals. According to the CDC, every $1 invested in fluoridated saves approximately $38 in dental treatment costs.

But still, this effort to fluoride communities has been called an unconstitutional form of mass medication and the culprit for medical issues such as AIDS, Down syndrome, all forms and cancer, the list goes on. Although no scientific data validates these claims, fluorosis (over fluoridation) does occur. Therefore, babies younger than 6 months old should not be given fluoride, their formula should not be prepared with fluoridated water and children that are younger than 2 years of age are advised not to use fluoridate toothpaste. For all children, toothpaste use should be monitored, kept out of their reach, and made sure to be spit out.

For information on flossing visit this article: https://bestsacramentodentist.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/irritated-bleeding-gums-and-flossing_sacramentodentist/

Irritated, Bleeding Gums and Flossing

While Urbandictionary may describe floss as “flaunting expensive merchandise such as iced-out Rollies and Gem-encrusted Pimp goblets” we are talking about the kind of floss that goes between your teeth.

Why is it that every time you go to the dentist the first thing that they ask you about is “How have you been doing with flossing?” Before I worked for a Sacramento Dentist  I used to lie and tell them I did it all the time. But guess what, they know that you are lying. They just knowSacramento Dentist.

Your gums are telling an entirely different story than what you are telling your hygienist. They know because you have deep pockets that are forming in between your gums and teeth.

They know because your bleeding gums aren’t getting any better. They know because your irritated gums are puffy.

Most people do brush their teeth twice a day and think that because they do that then flossing isn’t necessary. But that’s false. Do you notice that you have redness or bleeding gums when brushing, frequent gum swelling, bad breath, or loose teeth? Then you have a gum problem.

The quickest fix to your gum problems is to start flossing immediately. There is a chance that it may be painful and that bleeding will occur, that’s okay. The food and gunk between your gums and teeth has to be cleaned out somehow and it sure isn’t going to happen just from brushing.

However, when you are brushing, angle your tooth brush at a 45 degree angle, that way you can maximize the use of your brushing and you will be able to get under the gum line a little bit. Again, this does not replace brushing.

 

Frequently pondered, but not always asked, questions:

Sacramento Dentist

The probing instruments that hygienists and dentists use to determine pocket depth. Healthy gums measure under 3 mm.

  • What do all the numbers mean? Your teeth are numbered, unless you are a kid in which case they are lettered, and often times they aren’t referred to as “the molar on the top left” but instead as “You need a filling on #14.” In addition to that the hygienist probes, or inspects, the soft gum tissues around the teeth. The hygienist uses a periodontal probe that is used to measure the depths of pockets around the tooth to identify the state of health of your gums. The numbers correlate to how deep the probe goes down into the gums by the millimeter. The smaller the number, the better.
  • What is a pocket? Flossing is the most effective tool for cleaning the tight spaces between your teeth. The floss scrapes up and down each tooth picking up clinging bacteria and food particles. Pockets indicate the presence of abnormal spaces between the tooth and the gums.  When the pockets form a crevice, or space, is created where fluids, food debris, and bacteria float around.  The depth of the pocket is constantly trying to fight off what has gotten trapped in there.

The next steps for you is to begin flossing immediately. There are lots of YouTube videos that can show you how to floss if you aren’t sure if you are doing it properly. Do it twice a day, religiously. And if you aren’t flossing well just tell your hygienist your concerns at your next appointment. She can show you what is going on in your mouth and how it will reduce gum irritation and bleeding gums.

Happy Flossing!

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.

Get Them to Brush: A Guide For Parents

Get Your Kids to Brush

Kids of all ages teens and toddlers (even the occasional adult child) need to be taught and reminded about dental health and its importance. The following tips can be used to help parents get a head start on dental heath for their family. With only 50% of the US population seeing a dentist regularly, every bit can help.

Some kids are better than others and take to brushing and flossing immediately, while some kids see taking care of their teeth as another fear chore. Help the kids  in your life see the importance of dental health with these creative tips and tricks.

Teach your kids about their teeth

For kids who don’t like to brush, simply handing them a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste is not going to cut it, you must do more. You can do more by teaching them all about their teeth. Help kids see the different types of teeth that are in their mouths. By explaining that each tooth has different shape, different job, and therefore a different location. There are four types of teeth: incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and molars. Use the following information to help explain the teeth and their jobs:

  1. Incisors: Located in the front of the mouth (four up top and four on the bottom), the eight incisors have chisel-shaped crowns that cut food.
  2. Cuspids: Located next to each incisor, the four cuspids have pointed edges to tear food.
  3. Bicuspids: Loacted next to the cuspids, these four pairs of teeth crush and tear food.
  4. Molars: The 12 molars come in sets of three at the back of the mouth. The wide surfaces of these teeth grind food.

Read books about dental health

In addition to teach your kids about the teeth and their jobs you should read with your kids. It is easier for young kids to grasp dental health if they see the it illustrated in a book. From the time your children are infants, you should be incorporating books about oral hygiene, teeth brushing, and flossing. There are even books about visiting the dentist. Incorporate these in to their regular reading. This also can decrease your child’s anxiety and fear about the dentist. Ask your librarian to help you located dentist books. They might even be able to order some for you!

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a good resource for parents to find books that help explain dental health to your kids. Read “Visit the Dentist with Marty” at ADA.org and let your kids play a game that teaches kids about healthy snacks called, “Let’s Raid The Kitchen!” on the hygienist’s portion of the ADA website.

Do an experiment

There are several websites available to parents that give step-by-step instructions and provide guided experiments that can make learning about dental health and oral hygiene more fun. Check out http://www.HealthyTeeth.org for information created by dentists for your younger children. Content ranges from sugar bugs to bad breath and covers everything in between.

Good luck, parents!! May the force be with you!