"Quality Dentistry, Affordable Service, Compassionate Care."

Pregnancy and Oral Health

A common question we hear is “If I’m pregnant can I have dental work done?” Preventative dental cleanings and annual exams are not only safe, but recommended. Preventative dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth.  Cavity fillings and crowns should be treated to reduce the chance of infection.

If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is preferred.  The safest course of action is to postpone all cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening until after the baby is born.

Lidocaine is the most common medication used during dental work. Even though it does cross the placenta after administration, it is not toxic to the developing baby. Dental work often requires antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin to prevent or treat infections.  These are labeled as safe during pregnancy.

Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after the birth. In the case of an emergency the American Dental Association has stated that no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.

Be on the lookout for these common conditions during pregnancy:

  1. Gum disease. During pregnancy, teeth and gums need special attention.  Regular tooth brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet and regular visits to the dentist will help reduce dental problems during pregnancy.
  2. Enamel erosion. Morning sickness can be a major symptom of pregnancy for some women. Along with the nausea comes additional acid that can erode your teeth if left in your mouth.  Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water or a fluoride mouthwash to keep the acid level under control.
  3. Pregnancy gingivitis. The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed and trap food causing increased irritation to your gums and potential infection.
  4. Dry mouth. Dry mouth during pregnancy can put women at a greater risk for tooth decay and infections. Remember to drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum to enhance production of saliva.

So, brush and floss daily. More if you experience morning sickness. Keep your appointments. Maintaining dental hygiene visits every 3 to 6 months is important to minimizing gingivitis and the problems that can result.  Morning sickness often fades after the first trimester, so many women find the second trimester the best time for dental visits.

Posted June 7th, 2017

How your dental health impacts your total health

The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health.  Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath.  Gum disease is a problem that not only affects your mouth but also your entire body, often before you have any idea that it’s happening.

There has been increased interest in possible links between oral health and body health.  In one recent study, people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition on top of it.

Bacteria that builds up on teeth make gums prone to infection.  The immune system moves in to attack the infection and the gums become inflamed.  The inflammation continues unless the infection is brought under control.

Over time, inflammation and the chemicals it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold teeth in place.  The result is severe gum disease, known as periodontitis. Inflammation can also cause problems in the rest of the body.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, about three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. Gingivitis is an infection and inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar at the base of the teeth.  Periodontitis is more severe and typically occurs when gingivitis goes untreated or when its treatment is delayed, and the infection and inflammation spread to the ligaments and bones that support the teeth, eventually causing them to loosen and fall out.

Numerous studies have shown that untreated chronic inflammation of the type that characterizes gum disease can spread and lead to more severe health complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, eating disorders and even Alzheimer’s disease.

People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease according to the AAP, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk to develop periodontal disease.

As we get older, the likelihood that we will develop gum disease increases, partly because of naturally occurring bone loss after age 40.  Genetics and certain medications can reduce saliva flow and as we age our mouths produce less saliva. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

To protect your health, practice good oral hygiene every day.

Contact Davidson Family Dentistry as soon as an oral health problem arises.  Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

 

Posted April 6th, 2017

Dental Emergencies and Urgencies

What is a true dental emergency?  An emergency is an event that can be life altering.

Examples of a true dental emergency include:

What should you do with a dental emergency?

What is a dental urgency?  A dental urgency is an event that may seem innocent initially but has the potential to escalate into a more severe event.

Examples of a dental urgency include:

What should you do about a dental urgency?

What about those other worries?

We will do everything possible to see you on the same day you call with your emergencies, urgencies and other worries.  Thank you for your trust in us!

Davidson Family Dentistry

Posted March 6th, 2017

Before scuba diving, consider a trip to the dentist

Researchers report that 41 percent of scuba divers experience dental symptoms in the water.

Due to the constant jaw clenching and fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure underwater, divers may experience symptoms that range from tooth, jaw, and gum pain to loosened crowns and broken dental fillings.

It is suggested that recreational divers consult with their dentist before diving if they have recently received dental care. Since the air supply regulator is held in the mouth, any disorder in the oral cavity can potentially increase the diver’s risk of injury.

Vinisha Ranna conducted the research which appeared in the British Dental Journal after noticing a squeezing sensation in her teeth (a condition known as barodontalgia) while scuba diving. An unhealthy tooth underwater would be much more obvious than on the surface.  One hundred feet underwater is the last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.

The study also found that pain was most commonly reported in the molars. Patients should ensure that dental decay, cracked teeth and restorations are addressed before a dive.

 

Source: Vinisha Ranna, lead author; University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

Posted January 12th, 2017

Night Guards

Night guards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth.  Clenching or grinding can occur during the daytime and/or nighttime.  Not all patients are aware a habit exists.  A patient may come in with facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, or pain in the temporalmandibular joint, also known as TMJ.  Dentists may see wear facets or attrition on the teeth causing a flattened or worn down look that indicate a potential habit or past habit.  Gum recession or notches in the teeth at the gumline known as abfractions can also be signs a clenching or grinding habit exists.

If a night guard has been recommended for you and you choose to not get one or don’t wear it on a consistent basis, further complications could happen.  The symptoms of facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, pain in the TMJ can continue, along with continued wear on the teeth, headaches and breaking down of tooth structure causing cracks or mobile teeth.  If cracks in teeth occur, then the added expense of a crown may be needed.

There are two types of night guards Davidson Family Dentistry recommends, either a soft or hard night guard.  Both are excellent at absorbing forces placed on teeth during the clenching/grinding process.  Your dentist will take a look at your bite and recommend the one that is best for you.  The soft night guard is made in our office and is custom fit to each patient.  It is soft and compressible so it can have a tendency to wear out and need replaced more quickly.  A rigid night guard is made at a lab outside the office and is also custom fit to each patient.  Because it is rigid and non-compressible, it is stronger and generally doesn’t need replaced as often.  The rigid night guards can be blue, green, pink or clear in color.  Due to the materials used and the involvement of an outside lab, the cost of hard night guards is substantially more expensive.

For either the soft or hard night guard, it takes two appointments to complete the procedure.  The first appointment is to take an impression of the teeth, which is where impression material is placed in a tray and then held in place on the teeth until the material sets.  If a hard night guard is being made, we will also do a bite registration which is just simply biting down on some impression material in order for us to get a reading on how your teeth fit together.  The second appointment is 10-14 days later, possibly sooner, to place the night guard and assure it fits properly.  At this appointment, you will also receive a traveling case and homecare instructions.  Once you receive your night guard, you are free to bring it in at any time for a complimentary night guard cleaning.

Some insurances cover a percentage of the night guard cost.  We would be happy to look into your insurance coverage for you.  Night guards are discounted under the Davidson membership plan at 15%.

 

Posted November 30th, 2016

Coordinators – Here to Give You Extra Help!

As we have grown at Davidson Family Dentistry, it has been important to develop our organization structure so that we can continue to deliver the same level of customer service that we had when it was just Dr. David Davidson and a staff of 3.

One of the ways we do that is with team leads who coordinate our activities and make sure we are consistent in delivering a high level of patient care. Another is through continued training for all staff both in and out of the office.  The third way is by having coordinators who manage some of the specialty functions of the office.  We thought we would discuss the role of the coordinators in the office with this blog.

Scheduling Coordinator – Nancy is our scheduling coordinator and it is her responsibility to keep watch on the 21 columns of patient care.  While any of our front desk staff can schedule patients, Nancy double checks to make sure that patients are with the doctor or hygienist they requested, that the correct amount of time has been scheduled, and people who are on our call list for specific times or days are contacted.  She also confirms a number of appointments each day.  Nancy is well suited for this function since she is one of the friendliest people you will meet.

Invisalign and Marketing Coordinator – Mary Ann is our Invisalign and Marketing Coordinator.  While the marketing portion of the job has little interaction with patients, the Invisalign portion gives her closer contact over a year or more with patients who are doing orthodontia through Invisalign.  Mary Ann is a huge believer in using Invisalign since she used it many years ago and has been extremely satisfied with the results.

Sedation Coordinator – Tracy is our sedation coordinator and has a love for helping patients go from fearful to comfortable with dental procedures.  Since many times sedation patients need a number of dental procedures done, she helps them coordinate both insurance and financials.  She also works closely with Dr. Michael Davidson and his two primary dental assistants.  As a trained dental assistant, she can also step in and assist with sedation if need be.

Equipment and Supply Coordinator – Chrissy is our equipment and supply coordinator and she makes sure all 15 of our patient operatories, as well as the sterilization and lab areas, have properly functioning equipment and that all necessary supplies are available.  As one of the dental assistants at Davidson Family Dentistry, her coordinator’s job is not one you see unless equipment is not working or supply prices go up.  However, be assured she and the other dental assistants are very good at shopping for great pricing and staying on top of repair orders.

Insurance Specialist – Kathy is our insurance specialist and works one on one with many patients to coordinate insurance coverage for dental work.  Dental work, because of the equipment and supply costs, lab expenses and time involved, can be expensive.  Many patients who have dental insurance coverage want to know what assistance, if any, their dental benefits will provide.  Kathy heads up our preauthorization process and is very good at calling patients to explain the Estimate of Benefits received from their insurance companies.  After spending years as an officer in the insurance industry, we are pleased that Kathy is at Davidson Family Dentistry.

Posted November 10th, 2016

Time to Think about Using Flex and Insurance Benefits

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and is a busy time of the year for everyone. However, most insurance and flexible benefit plans work on a calendar year basis and if you don’t use your benefits before year end, they are gone and new benefits start next year.

If you know you have dental work that needs to be done or if you suspect that you have some work that needs done, now is the time to get it scheduled.  This is especially true for those of you where your coverage limitations under your insurance policy is set at $1000 or $1500.  In the dental world, it doesn’t take long for those benefits to be used up.

By waiting you can end up needing to pay the cost of needed dental work out of pocket or paying for more procedures (i.e. a root canal and a crown vs. just a crown.)

We have lists of patients with dental work which has been preauthorized by insurance companies but not yet scheduled.  Some of you are waiting to see if you will have other dental work that you need to get done in 2016 (i.e. something is hurting) before going forward with dental work on teeth that are not currently hurting.  Now is the time to schedule that work.  Remember that crown and bridge work takes at least two appointment times with space between them.  Implants, partials and dentures take more appointments than that and everything must be finished by December 31st.

Sedation appointments for wisdom teeth removal or other procedures for Thanksgiving week and winter holiday are also filling up quickly.  The hygiene schedule fills quickly during that time as well for workers and students who find it difficult to get away during non-holiday times.

Finally, remember that while most insurance companies provide that cleanings need to be six months apart, some provide two cleanings at any time during a calendar year.  It is always important to figure out what your individual dental insurance policy provides.  Flex programs are almost always on a calendar year and if your benefits are not used during the year, they are lost.

Our six dentists and nine hygienists are available Thanksgiving week and the whole month of December so that we can help you meet your dental needs in the most financially advantageous manner possible.  Please give us a call.

Posted October 26th, 2016

OCTOBER SPECIAL!!

For the month of October we are running a “Whitening” Special!! Whitening trays will be $125 for upper OR lower arch! Regularly $180 each this is a GREAT bargain! Call our office today 515-279-3848 to schedule an appointment and put the pizzazz back in your smile!

Posted October 3rd, 2016

Sealants

Sealants are one of the best cavity prevention measures available today.    Sealants help prevent cavities on the biting surface of molar teeth by filling in deep grooves and pits where food particles and bacteria tends to hide. Most insurance companies cover it at 100% on both 6 and 12 year molars for children.

The American Dental Association recommends children receive sealants as soon as the adult teeth erupt. It is quick, easy, painless and relatively cheap (as opposed to future dental bills).  However even as an adult, if you have teeth that have deep grooves and pits that do not already have sealants or restorations in them, we would encourage you to consider getting sealants.  While most insurance don’t cover sealants for adults, it is still much more economical to get a sealant than a filling.

The next time you and your family are in the office, ask the dentist about applying sealants to molars.

Making Smiles Happen!

Davidson Family Dentistry

Posted August 23rd, 2016

TEETH AND SPORTS

It’s that time of year again. The nice weather of the summer allows people to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. School is just around the corner and with school comes the fall sports season. It’s always great being active this time of year but it is important to stay safe doing your favorite activities.

Many activities require protective equipment to help prevent injury. Biking, roller-skating and football all require helmets to protect your head. It’s also important to think about protecting your teeth! Chipped and broken teeth are common sports and outdoor activity injuries which can easily be prevented by wearing a mouth guard.

A mouth guard is a simple appliance which can be made to fit your teeth to provide protection from bumps, falls and collisions. This protection can mean that a broken tooth is no more than a bruised lip! We would recommend wearing a mouth guard for all contact sports as well as any activities where you may accidentally fall or bump teeth.

There are many types of mouth guards. Although, they can be bought at many sports stores, the custom made ones from Davidson Family Dentistry are better (and easier).  The most important thing to remember is that you and your family need to actually wear them each and every time.  The quality makes no difference if the mouth guard isn’t in your mouth!

Have a great rest of the summer!  Go USA in the Olympics!!

Making smiles happen,

Davidson Family Dentistry

 

Posted August 3rd, 2016