5 Benefits of Dental Membership Plans

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Uncategorized

Dentist Explaining Patient X-ray Result

Going to the dentist without insurance quickly adds up with each appointment. As an alternative, consider signing up for a dental membership plan. This pre-paid membership is paid directly to the dentist offices and covers a whole year of visits. Memberships work differently than insurance, so for first-time membership purchases, learn about the benefits and what is included in your membership.

1. 12-Month Membership

A dental membership is based on a 12-month window. The membership lasts for a whole year but is not based on a calendar year. For example, if you sign up for a membership in July, the full membership will last until July of the next year. You do not lose your membership benefits at the end of December.

With the flexibility of the membership, you may time out the membership sign-up date to match your affordability. For example, if you typically file for a tax return in February, consider the annual membership from March to March. When each March rolls around, you will use part of the tax return to pay for the membership so you can easily afford payments.

If your job offers a quarterly bonus or holiday bonus, you may time the membership around the dates. Budget and plan accordingly to easily fit the membership into your spending.

Help Your Kids Stay on Track With Dental Care During Divorce

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Uncategorized

Little Girl Brushing Teeth

Children often experience many changes during a divorce, but they don’t need to miss a step when it comes to their dental care. Your children’s oral health is affected by both their daily choices and habits. Regular visits to the dentist’s office is another big part of taking care of your children’s dental and overall health. Here’s how to help kids stay on top of their dental care during a divorce.

Get Duplicates of Toothbrushes and Other Dental Care Tools

Children who are going between two homes sometimes keep track of a lot of different items. When possible, get duplicates so kids won’t have to be consistently packing for each home. When it comes to dental care, make it as easy as possible for kids to stick to the healthy habits you worked hard to teach them. That includes having a toothbrush they love at each parent’s house.

CAlso make sure that your kids have floss, or the interdental cleaning device they like to use, and mouthwash in each home. If you have a dental care chart to track your kids’ habits, consider putting it online in a shared file so they can easily track their habits no matter which house they are in.

3 Ways to Pay for Dental Care Without Dental Insurance

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Uncategorized

Woman Dental Care

Paying for dental care when you don’t have dental insurance isn’t as terrible a proposition as many people might believe. You may even find that some of the solutions out there are even better than using dental insurance. No matter your situation, you don’t have to avoid dental care because you think you can’t afford it. Here are several ways you can pay for dental care without dental insurance.

1. Look for Free or Discounted Local Services

Several options for free or nearly free dental services are out there. A few places to check include:

  • Dental schools
  • Public or free dental clinics
  • Volunteer or donated labor dental clinics

How to Care for Your Teeth if You’re Away From Home

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Black Girl with White Smile

If you spend long periods of time away from home, you need to care for your teeth even when your normal toothbrush, dental floss, and mouthwash aren’t on hand. Bacteria and plaque accumulate throughout the day regardless of where you are. Here are some tips to help you care for your teeth and keep them healthy when you aren’t home.

Avoid Sugar-Laden Foods

The most effective way to fight tooth decay is to prevent the bad bacteria that cause cavities in the first place, and you can greatly reduce the bacteria in your mouth by watching what you eat. Bacteria need certain food to grow on, and they won’t have any if you don’t eat the type of food that they like.

Electronic Cigarettes and the Impact on Your Oral Health

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E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are becoming a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. Fewer chemicals are in e-cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a negative impact on your health, including your oral health. This is because e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which will damage your gums and teeth.

Here is some important information about the impact of electronic cigarettes on your oral health.

Increased Risk of Oral Cancer

Traditional cigarettes contain tobacco leaves, which are treated with a variety of chemicals. Many of these chemicals, such as arsenic, benzene, and ethylene oxide are linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer, including oral cancer.

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Cavities

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Dental Procedures & Services, Uncategorized

In 2012, researchers estimated that around 91 percent of adults between 20 and 64 suffered from some level of tooth decay on their teeth. Tooth decay is an epidemic that if left untreated can lead to cavities. While a lot of information about preventing and treating cavities is out there, this information might not be accurate unless it came from your dentist.

Here are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions associated with dental cavities.

4 Fast Facts About Root Canal Treatment

Written by Valley Oak Dental on . Posted in Dental Procedures & Services, Uncategorized

Everyone has heard the term root canal. However, many patients are confused about the what, why, and how of root canal therapy.

You may be advised to undergo root canal therapy, or you may have a family member who needs the treatment. Here are four quick facts about root canal treatment to help you understand a bit more about the procedure.

  1. Root Canal Treatment Fixes Issues Inside the Tooth

Teeth have more than what you see on the surface. An intricate endodontic system is tucked inside the hollow center of each tooth, and this area is also called the root canal.

The endodontic system is made up of a material commonly called pulp. Pulp provides a cushioned pathway for nutrients and sensation to reach the tooth.

6 Signs of Dental Discomfort in Nonverbal Children

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6 Signs of Dental Discomfort in Nonverbal Children - Valley Oak Dental

As an adult, you know the signs of common dental ailments and emergencies such as infections. Unfortunately, when your children experience the same symptoms, they may not only not understand what’s happening to their teeth but also may not be able to express their discomfort to you.

This issue with identifying dental problems is particularly common with children who are nonverbal, either due to their age or to another characteristic such as autism, delayed speech development, or a behavioral issue affecting speech.

Luckily, in most cases, parents can identify the need for their child to see a pediatric dentist by watching for nonverbal clues that their child is experiencing discomfort, such as the following six.

1. Avoidance of Hard or Chewy Foods

If you’ve ever had a serious dental problem, you know that oral discomfort can worsen when you attempt to eat foods that put a lot of pressure on the affected tooth. Hard or crunchy foods ranging from apples to nuts can exacerbate the issue, as can chewy or sticky foods like sweets.

If your child usually enjoys apple slices with lunch or gummy candies as a treat but suddenly shows disinterest or even vehement disgust with these items, he or she may have a toothache rather than a new food preference.

Will Mouthwash Really Keep Your Mouth Healthy?

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Uncategorized

You don’t want to get a cavity, so you brush and floss every day. But what about using mouthwash? You may wonder if it can help prevent tooth decay or bad breath, or you may wonder if it can take the place of brushing your teeth.

Many people are not sure if they should use mouthwash, but answers are available. This blog will cover what types of mouthwash you can buy, how effective they are, and how to use them.

Eating Disorders and Teeth: What You Need to Know

Written by Valley Oak Dental Group on . Posted in Uncategorized

Your diet has one of the most significant effects on your total oral health. Drinking too much soda can accelerate tooth decay, while drinking wine or coffee can lead to stains. Some dietary problems are particularly harmful; eating disorders affect the whole body, including teeth.

Since eating disorders can affect people of all ages, it’s important for you to know the risks and signs of eating disorders. If you’re a parent, you can catch the behavior and put your child in treatment before any serious damage is done. If you’re a roommate, spouse, or friend of someone who struggles with body image, you can likewise take action to get them help.

Here’s how eating disorders affect the teeth, what you can do to realize there is a problem, and why relying on your dentist as a health professional can help stop related tooth diseases before they progress too far.

Tooth Problems

The most common eating disorders are bulimia and anorexia nervosa. Those with bulimia go through episodes of binging and purging, either through induced vomiting or laxatives. They might also “purge” through hours of excessive exercise. Anorexia is controlled starvation where the person gradually but decisively reduces their nutrient intake to almost nothing.

The effects of these disorders on the body are marked, but the teeth are affected in the following ways:

  • Increased decay, especially on the backside of the teeth. The increased decay comes from the acidic nature of stomach contents. Occasional vomiting during illness is normal, and the teeth can handle it. Daily or even weekly vomiting will take its toll. In severe cases, the enamel completely erodes and teeth begin to lose their height. 
  • Bleeding gums. Both bulimia and anorexia will lead to a lack of vital nutrients. The soft tissue of the gums is sensitive and will bleed more frequently due to poor vitamin and mineral balance. 
  • Dry mouth. Eating disorders enlarge salivary glands, leading to less saliva. Dry mouth increases the risk of dental caries.
  • Cracks and sores. Nutrient deficiencies of iron, vitamin D, calcium, and B-vitamins will make the mouth more prone to canker sores, bad breath, and decreases moisture. It’s not uncommon to see white-tinged gums or cracked lips from excessive dryness. Increase sensitivity caused by these wounds will make brushing and flossing painful. 

As you can see, dental trouble from eating disorders can lead to serious dental injury, like gum disease and advanced decay. Fortunately, this damage happens gradually, and your dentist should notice the damage to the teeth. 

Help From the Dentist

Dentists are often the first line of defense when it comes to catching disordered eating, so you should always use and recommend a dentist your trust. If you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important that you or your loved one are honest with your care providers when they ask about the tooth damage. 

Eating disorders have many stages for recovery. It might take months before harmful behavior begins to subside. Your dentist can provide solutions to protect the teeth from too much harm as you work through treatment. Your dentist will likely discuss:

  • Restorative solutions for damaged teeth. When you (or your loved one) are fully in recovery, if you need restorative or cosmetic treatment like crowns, implants, or whitening, your dentist can devise a timeline for when these treatments will be wise. 
  • Protective methods to save teeth from further damage during healing. Unfortunately, as with many behavioral disorders, eating disorder recovery does not happen with the flick of switch and some medication. Healing requires time and patience, and slip ups occur. Your dentist can provide a dental care plan to navigate the ups and downs of recovery. 
  • Continued examinations. It helps for recovering individuals to be accountable to a dentist. As such, it’s important to stick with cleanings and x-rays both during and after recovery. 

Your dentist can give you more in-depth information about the right care for your specific situation. 

Help at Home

Recovering individuals need plenty of home support. Be aware of the signs of eating disorders, and try to remain supportive of attempts to heal. For dental health care at home, you can remind yourself or a loved one to:

  • Rinse out your mouth after meals or after a relapse. Brushing directing after purging can be harmful to the teeth, but it’s still important to dull corrosive effects by rinsing. 
  • Take prescribed vitamins and minerals. These will help to prevent tissue damage in the mouth. 
  • Stay out of the bathroom after meals, and perhaps take a short walk out of the house during this time. This activity can help curb the desire to purge immediately after meals. 

You should also refrain from commenting on weight. Don’t use ultimatums or increase shame by saying things like, “You’re harming yourself and your family.” Instead, provide words of encouragement and empowerment.

Also, never reduce the severity of an eating disorder with statements like, “You can choose to feel better,” or “You can improve if you only put your mind to it.” These statements simplify the complexity of eating disorders, which normally have several triggers and underlying psychological causes.

For more information on how your dentist can help you or someone you know with the dental problems caused by an eating disorder, contact us at Valley Oak Dental Group Inc.