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13 Oct 2020
October 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

How are Dental Savings Plans Different from Insurance?

Family Dental Health discuss financial options for Portland patients without insuranceUnderstanding any type of medical or dental insurance can be a challenge, especially for uninsured folks trying to find a plan on their own. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, about 74 million Americans had no dental insurance coverage at the end of 2016. One possible solution is dental savings plans (also called dental discount plans). 

Dr. Case would like to talk about plans like these and their potential to reduce out-of-pocket dental costs for patients (who doesn’t like to save money?).

How Do Dental Savings Plans Work?

With a dental discount plan, the consumer pays an annual fee, just as they would pay for a buyer’s club membership to Costco or Sam’s Club or for emergency roadside assistance insurance like AAA. In return, they get access to a dental network that offers special savings to plan members, usually in the form of percentage-off discounts. For example, if a participating provider offers a 40% discount on crowns, that crown will cost $600 rather than $1,000 for the dental savings plan holder.

There are no exclusions for preexisting conditions and no annual cap on costs under a dental discount plan. A patient is free to choose the plan offering them the most savings, pay the plan’s annual fee with the full knowledge they need extensive work done, and be in the participating dentist’s chair as soon as they can book an appointment for the procedures they need!

When Do Dental Discount Plans Make Sense?

If you already have traditional dental insurance and know you’ll need a lot of work done this calendar year that won’t exceed your policy’s annual limits, a discount dental plan is probably not necessary for you. However, if you are postponing a costly procedure until the next calendar year, or you have a child or teen that needs braces soon, a discount dental plan might be just the thing.  Before you sign up, do your research—find out what providers in your area are on the plan, which procedures the plan covers, and whether the discount the plan has the potential to actually save you money.

Differences Between Dental Savings Plans & Dental Insurance

  • Discount plans generally cost less than dental insurance.
  • Dental discount plans require services paid upfront (or a payment plan is negotiated at the time of service if the provider allows). There will be no reimbursement from the plan later—and as a result, there is no claim paperwork to complete. While paying for services upfront can present a hardship, there are also no surprises.
  • There are no annual maximums, deductibles, copays, premiums, or preexisting conditions with a dental discount plan.
  • Some dental discount plans cover elective services such as teeth whitening, orthodontics or other cosmetic dentistry procedures.
  • Some dental discount plans throw in bonus savings on chiropractic, vision, or hearing, particularly those plans that are geared toward seniors.

Family Dental Health loves to help our patients get the care they need in a way that will work for them. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. Case today to learn more or schedule a visit!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Sep 2020
September 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesPatient Care

Types for All Stripes: Teeth Whitening

Teeth whiteningWhiter, brighter teeth are on the top of everyone’s smile wish list – and for good reason! White teeth look young and healthy. The good news is that teeth whitening is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve your smile, and the results are almost immediate. If you’re already taking good care of your oral health, whitening your teeth will truly put the polish on all of your efforts.

Teeth Staining 101

Your unique smile and lifestyle determine the color of your teeth. The hard, outer surface of every tooth is called enamel. Enamel is usually white or off-white, but health and environmental factors can make it turn yellow, brown, or gray. Your mouth may do the talking, but your teeth can say a lot about your habits and health.

  • Coffee, tea, red wine, soda, sports drinks, and tobacco are the biggest causes of stains in healthy teeth. Limit these to preserve your natural pearly whites.
  • One dark or discolored tooth may be the sign of a more serious problem. It’s important to see a dentist that can get an accurate diagnosis for a single discolored tooth.
  • Aging causes your enamel to thin. This causes yellowing and sensitivity in teeth.

Bleach & Brush

All teeth whitening involves either bleaching out stains or rubbing them away. Light abrasives can scrape surface-level stains off your enamel, but bleach moves through the layers of the teeth to remove deeper stains that give teeth their true color. Both options work by breaking down stains to make them less visible. 

Carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide are the two dental bleaching options. Carbamide peroxide may be preferred because it’s less acidic and works longer. Small amounts of these chemicals have been approved for teeth whitening without harming your teeth.

Yellow teeth respond best to whitening procedures and can be brightened many shades. Brown or gray teeth may not respond at all and you should speak with a dentist first before attempting to whiten them.

Professional Whitening Treatments

  • Your Portland dentist can use the highest concentration of dental bleach in our office. To get professional whitening results in one visit, simply make an appointment and prepare to be amazed.
  • Your dentist can also make you a custom bleaching system to use at home over a couple of weeks. The kit includes a lower concentration of bleach and trays made to fit your mouth.
  • Some professional whitening treatments use lasers to enhance or speed up whitening results.
  • Veneers may be the best option for severely discolored teeth with the added benefit of being able to better shape or fill in your smile’s imperfections.

At-Home Whitening Treatments

  • Most toothpaste helps whiten teeth, though the results will take longer and not be as noticeable as professional bleaching. All toothpaste uses gentle abrasives to rub off surface stains. For bleaching toothpaste, look for the key ingredients: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Whitening strips and gels are similar. Your results won’t be as dramatic, but these options cost much less than professional treatments and can be found right on your drugstore shelf.
  • Natural remedies for whitening teeth include oil pulling and activated charcoal. You can learn about these DIY options online, but nothing will replace the important role of your dentist who cares about your oral health. Find a holistic dentist if you’re interested in learning more about more natural teeth whitening.

Lasting Results

Teeth whitening results should last at least six months and can last much longer depending on each individual person and their oral hygiene habits. You can really prevent new stains by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and limiting teeth-staining habits and substances. Talk with your dentist if your teeth feel sensitive after whitening. 

If you’re interested in achieving your brightest smile, call Family Dental Health today to make an appointment!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Aug 2020
August 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Dental Implants: A Brief History of Tooth Replacement Innovation

Dental Implants: a brief history of innovationToday’s dental implants boast a long-term success rate of near 97%. Because implants support surrounding teeth, encourage new tissue growth and continued bone formation, and give patients back full chewing ability and a complete smile, they have become the industry standard for tooth replacement. 

Today, your Portland dentist, Dr. Case, would like to share some interesting history about dental implants and how we got to where we are today.

History of Dental Implants

    • 4,000 Years Ago: The first record of temporary dental implants were bamboo pegs used to replace missing teeth in China.
    • 3,000 Years Ago: The first recorded case of a metal replacement tooth (a copper peg) fixed to a jawbone occurred in the mouth of an Egyptian king. Experts believe it may have been placed after death due to how painful placement would have been to a living person. There is also evidence that the Egyptians tried to stabilize teeth with ligature gold wire around this same era.
    • 2,300 Years Ago: An iron tooth was found among real teeth in a Celtic grave in France. Experts again concurred replacement teeth like these were likely to have been placed after death.
    • 2,000 Years Ago: People replaced missing teeth with human teeth purchased from underprivileged people or teeth stolen from corpses or animals. Teeth like these would be rejected by the host due to infection.
    • 1,350 Years Ago: An excavation of Mayan ruins in Honduras uncovered a jawbone with what may be the oldest recorded permanent tooth replacement using seashells. The replacement tooth had actually begun the process of fusion with the jawbone, indicating that it was placed during life, not after death.
  • 800 AD: A stone implant was found among cultural artifacts from early Honduras.
  • 18th Century: A European doctor implanted a still-developing tooth into a rooster – and the tooth integrated with the rooster’s tissues.
  • 1886: A porcelain crown mounted on a platinum disc, silver capsules, corrugated porcelain, and iridium tubes were some of the materials to make implants during this time without much success.
  • 1930s: Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock are believed to be the first to place the first endosteal (in the bone) implant made of a biocompatible metal.
  • 1940s: A number of different doctors continued to experiment with and design implants made of different types of metal, perfecting the design along the way to allow for greater stability in the jaw.
  • 1952: A Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Branemark discovered titanium fused and regrew bone while studying blood flow in rabbits.
  • 1960s: The 1960s saw more innovations in implant design from many different doctors. Implant design expanded to allow for placement into the maxilla or the mandible and to accommodate more than one missing tooth. 
  • 1965: Branemark placed his first titanium implant into a live human volunteer. Branemark continued to research bone healing, performing experiments and publishing studies, eventually making dental implants a commercial endeavor in 1978. 
  • 1980s: The 1980s ushered in the use of titanium for implants, which have continued to improve to the present day. Recent developments include antibiotic coatings to prevent infection and even more biocompatible materials like zirconia and ceramic.

Family Dental Health can give you all the information you need about the history of implants and how they exist today and everything they can do to bring back your full, healthy smile. If you are curious to discover more about implants or wonder if you could be an implant candidate, contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jun 2020
June 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Services

Dental Inlays & Onlays

Dental inlays and onlaysCracked, broken, and decayed teeth require restoration or they will break down further until they become infected and/or require extraction. At Family Dental Health, our goal is to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Depending on the extent and location of the damage, we will likely recommend an inlay, onlay, or crown. Different levels of the same idea, these restorative dentistry treatments are custom-made to protect your tooth and restore it to its full, healthy, and functioning condition.

Another reason you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown is due to extensive tooth decay breaking down your tooth that requires more than a simple filling to fix, or an old filling that needs to be replaced. Here’s how these options compare:

  • Fillings: only fill a small, center portion of the biting surface of your tooth; is not a treatment for extensive damage
  • Inlays: fill a larger portion of the biting surface than a filling contained within the cusp
  • Onlays: fill and cover the biting surface of your tooth including up and over the rounded ridges (cusps)
  • Crowns: cover the whole tooth; all or most of the portion visible above your gums

Benefits of Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays can be a great intermediate solution between a filling and a crown. Family Dental Health can help determine if you need an inlay or onlay. If you do, here are some of the benefits:

  • While considered a relatively “old” technique, inlays/onlays are still the most appropriate and most effective treatment in many cases.
  • Your tooth can withstand 50-75% more chewing pressure with an inlay or onlay.
  • Inlays/onlays are a restorative dentistry treatment that holistically heals your tooth.
  • Inlays/onlays can last longer than fillings.
  • Inlays/onlays are made with porcelain or resin to match your natural tooth color.
  • An inlay or onlay is less expensive than a crown.
  • Sometimes an inlay or onlay can be completed during one dental visit.
  • An inlay/onlay fits perfectly over your tooth so there will be no bulging that bothers your tongue, cheek, or bite.

Getting an Inlay or Onlay

If you’re in the Portland area and need an inlay or onlay, Dr. David Case has you covered! Depending on your case, the inlay/onlay treatment will either require one or two trips to the office.

For the two-visit process: the tooth is prepared by cleaning out any decay and taking an impression. You may be given a temporary filling just to protect the tooth from further damage. The inlay or onlay will then be made in a lab using your impression. You’ll return for a second visit to remove the temporary filling and have your inlay/onlay permanently placed on your tooth.

For the one-visit process: the tooth will still be prepared with a good cleaning. But instead of taking impressions, the dentist uses digital technology to take a photo of your tooth and create a perfect inlay/onlay right there in the office. You’ll relax until it is ready and they will place it on your tooth, all in one day.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a professional assessment of what kind of filling, crown, inlay or onlay you might need.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Apr 2020
April 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all.

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease—#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education.

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13 Mar 2020
March 13, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Services

Crowning Glory: Esthetic Dental Crowns

The first known dental crowns were made as far back as 200 A.D. when Etruscans used gold to create crowns and bridges. Can you imagine what the process must have been like without the technology we have now? If you’d rather not, we can’t blame you!

Thanks to digital x-rays and impressions, dentists today can create crowns that blend in so well with the rest of the mouth, you’ll forget you weren’t born with them. The updated materials appear very natural, especially ceramic and porcelain.

But I Love Gold!

Gold is still an option for crowns today, and it’s not a bad option in terms of durability—they’re extremely fracture-resistant and seal well to prevent recurrent tooth decay. However, gold is usually the most expensive material for the creation of crowns, and most people want their dental restorations to be a secret only they know—especially if the tooth in need of crowning is an incisor or canine.

For those anterior (front) teeth, porcelain and ceramic are excellent crown options; they’re the most economical solution and can be color-matched to blend in with your smile perfectly.

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13 Dec 2019
December 13, 2019 by David CaseDental Services

Dentistry for Kids: What the Tooth Fairy Won’t Tell You

Babies and kids are constantly growing and changing, and their mouths are no exception! Throughout childhood, kids lose their baby teeth, gain adult teeth, and they begin to take ownership of their own oral health. From brushing to braces to practicing their smiles, oral health is important for every kid at every stage. Read on for tips to help keep your kid smiling for life—we know you love to see your child smile, and so does Portland dentist Dr. David Case!

Caring for Kids’ Teeth

Your child’s first teeth—often called “baby teeth”—make their momentous early arrival and continue to serve many purposes until they fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. Baby teeth hold a place in the jaw, paving the way for the adult teeth to grow in properly.  Kids who develop cavities are more likely to develop them later as adults. Don’t dismiss the importance of oral health for kids, even though there’s so much transition in their mouth in these early days.

Basic oral health for kids includes brushing and flossing twice a day. Be sure your child is brushing long enough (and having some fun) by playing a favorite song that’s roughly two minutes long to brush along to. Very young children may still need help and supervision to be sure they’ve thoroughly brushed all their teeth. But don’t wait to teach your kid how to do this on her own—kids are more likely to participate if they feel empowered and valued in the process.

For kids 3 and up, fluoride toothpaste is safe and recommended for the best tooth care and prevention. Kids need good nutrition for growing, healthy bodies—teeth and gums included! Serve meals with lots of vitamins and minerals and make sugary snacks and drinks a rare treat to prevent cavities and tooth decay. And of course, take your child to see the dentist twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings.

Care for Every Occasion

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27 Nov 2019
November 27, 2019 by David CaseDental HealthDental Services

Are Your Teeth Safe from Coffee Stains?

First things first, put your worries away! We are not about to tell you that your coffee drinking days are over. We know that each shot of caffeine is crucial and we cherish our coffee, too! Here at Family Dental Health, we want to educate you on what causes coffee stains and what you can do to fight them.

It’s no secret how Portland residents feel about their coffee, and we’re not about to get in the way of that love. However, we will help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful[LINK]  with tips that won’t drastically affect your lifestyle. Dr. Case and the rest of us at Family Dental Health are your oral health allies!

So let’s start off with the basics. Why does coffee stain your teeth?

Coffee is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to stained teeth, and the discoloration can be so bad it mimics cigarette stains. So what’s the secret? What can you do to keep your teeth shiny, but still get your caffeine fix?

Coffee and its Active Ingredient: Caffeine

It is best for your oral and overall health to keep your coffee consumption to a safe limit. Excessive caffeine, regardless of the source, spells negative effects for your heart and stomach and can lead to serious health problems over time. That being said, we won’t tell you to do anything crazy, like quit drinking coffee.

Guard Your Teeth Against Coffee Stains with These Three Tips

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13 Oct 2019
October 13, 2019 by David CaseDental Services

Dental Bridges 101

A hole in your smile is never a positive thing. It negatively affects physical appearance, eating, speaking, and your overall sense of confidence and well-being. Let Family Dental Health bridge the gap between where you are with your smile and where you want to be!

A missing tooth or teeth can also cause jaw pain and bite misalignment. Without a full set of teeth, your other teeth tend to move into the empty space, causing unnatural alignment in your bite and jaw—which can be very uncomfortable and can lead to bigger headaches and TMJ/TMD problems.

Portland dentist Dr. David Case shares how each tooth plays an important role in your health and everyday life, and how dental bridges can restore your smile and the function of your teeth.

Types of Bridges

Depending on your needs, there are three common kinds of dental bridges that your dentist may recommend. The difference between each type of bridge is how they are installed and secured.

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13 Sep 2019
September 13, 2019 by David CaseDental Services

Bonding: A Perfect Smile is Always in Style

Whether you’ve never been thrilled with your smile, or it lacks the luster it once had, dental bonding is a multipurpose cosmetic and restorative dental procedure that can be performed on patients of all ages. Bonding has the capability to fill gaps, correct damage, and refurbish the overall structure and look of your teeth. Family Dental Health wants every patient to feel good about their smile, but if you feel less than confident in yours, we may recommend a simple and affordable treatment called dental bonding.

What is the Bonding Procedure?

There are two different types of dental bonding: direct composite bonding and adhesive bonding. Adhesive bonding attaches a separate restoration to a tooth, so that type of bonding is used for veneers, crowns, bridges, inlays, and onlays. This article will focus on direct composite bonding, which is its own minimally invasive smile makeover procedure—and the one most people think of when they hear the terms “bonding” or “dental bonding.”

Dental bonding is a noninvasive treatment where tooth-colored material—either composite resin or a modifiable ceramic—is applied directly to the teeth. Once complete, the bonding procedure restores and rejuvenates the teeth, both in appearance and in structure. Unless bonding is being used to correct decay, the procedure rarely requires anesthesia and can be performed in a single dental appointment!

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