Posts for: December, 2016
Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”
With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.
Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.
But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss. To learn more about tooth pain in wisdom teeth and within your mouth in general, watch our video here.
In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.
So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
You've no doubt heard about certain foods and beverages that increase your risk for dental disease. These foods, often high in added sugar or acid, can lead to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
But have you heard about foods with the opposite effect — actually protecting your teeth against disease? Many of these dental-friendly foods are plant-based and fibrous: they stimulate saliva production, one of the mouth's best disease-fighting weapons.
But there are also some foods you might not expect to make the good list for dental health. Here are 3 surprising foods that could help you fight dental disease.
Cheese. We've long recognized milk as important to dental health — but cultured dairy products like cheese are also good for teeth. Cheese stimulates saliva, which neutralizes acid and replenishes the enamel's mineral content. Cheese also contains decay-stopping minerals like calcium, phosphorous and casein. And although milk cheese contains the sugar lactose, this particular type triggers less acid production than other sugars.
Black & green teas. You may have heard about the staining effect of tea, and avoided it as a result. But both forms of tea are also rich in antioxidants, substances that protect us against disease, including in the mouth. Black tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens enamel against cavities. If you drink tea, of course, you should exercise diligent hygiene to reduce any staining effect.
Chocolate. Yes, you read that right, chocolate: unrefined cocoa to be exact, which contains a number of compounds that resist decay. Ah, but there's a catch — chocolate in the form of your favorite candy bar usually contains high amounts of sugar. Sweetened chocolate, then, is a mixed bag of decay-resistive compounds and decay-promoting sugar. To get the benefit you'll have to partake of this favorite food of the Aztecs in a more raw, less sweetened form.
Of course, there's no single wonder food that prevents tooth decay. Your best approach is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and quality protein while limiting sugar-added and acidic foods.Â And don't forget daily brushing and flossing, coupled with regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups. Having a comprehensive dental care plan will help ensure your teeth remain healthy and disease-free.
If you would like more information on food choices and dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition & Oral Health.”
Wondering why you are still being billed if your dentist accepts your insurance? Well, the answer is both simple and complex. Dental insurance companies rarely pay for 100% of the bill. As soon as a treatment or procedure is scheduled, your dentist and his or her staff will begin working with your dental insurance company in order to verify what benefits you quality for and which ones you don't. Those benefits which are covered by your insurance company will be billed to them, and then the rest will be billed to you.
Some dental insurance plans also cover a co-pay which will help reduce additional expenses and fees. This is why it's important to review what all your plan covers and what is doesn't. Knowing this beforehand can help prepare you (and your wallet) so you won't be surprised or overwhelmed once you receive your final bill. Since billing for dental procedures and treatments can be confusing at times, the staff at your dentist's office should be able to assist you in coming up with an estimate. While an estimate can give you an idea of what you might be paying out-of-pocket, you should consider that added costs may arise depending on the difficulty of the procedure and other issues that are unforeseen.
The best way to avoid being shocked by your bill is to discuss your benefits with your insurance company and with your dentist before having the procedure or treatment performed. Knowing what all you are covered for upfront will give you peace of mind and help you better understand how billing is handled. You may also want to speak with your dentist about payment plans offered and the forms of payment that are accepted. Most dentists will accept cash, credit cards, debit cards or checks, but it's always a good idea to ask.
If you have a question about dental insurance, give our Fairfax Dentist a call and our insurance specialists will guide you through what is covered. Remember that most insurances will not carry over to the new year, so now is a great time to schedule your comfortable and convenient appointment in our Fairfax dental office. We also have dental offices in Merrifield, VA and South Riding, VA. Contact us today!