What Can Dental Implants Do For You?
Titanium dental implants have revolutionized dentistry over the past thirty-five years. They are one of the few dental treatments that can truly change your life. Dental implants give people their teeth back.
One of the first really cool things that dental implants can do is replace a single missing tooth. If a tooth has been lost, dentists can put in a titanium tooth root and build the tooth back to its former self. This replaces more invasive procedures like dental bridges that reduce and weaken adjacent teeth.
Implant Overdentures: These are full sets of teeth that are supported and attached to dental implants. A denture that fits over and snaps on to a set of implants. A full upper or lower set of teeth can be made that snap in place. If you’ve ever worn a loose denture, you know how frustrating it can be. Implants help to solve this frustration.
Orthodontics (Braces): Implants are often used to help move teeth around. They can help dentists and orthodontists move teeth faster, gentler, and more efficiently by providing a stable anchor point.
Full Mouth Rehabilitation: Full sets of teeth can be made that are supported and screwed onto a set of dental implants. It’s a complex procedure, but it gives patients a full set of teeth that do not come out.
If you are missing one or all of your teeth, be sure to ask your dentist what options might be right for you.
I Love Being A Dentist...
“Dude, you’re going to be a dentist? Don’t you know that everyone hates dentists?”
These were the encouraging words from one of my best friends the day that I received my dental school acceptance letter in 1998.
I’m blessed that I ignored his theory.
While I understand that people would prefer to spend their time anywhere but the dental office, I made the right choice for me. I love being a dentist.
Our patients make it so.
We have patients that bring cookies for our team when they have appointments. Sometimes fresh eggs, or cakes, or kolaches show up. A few juicy rib-eyes made it in the door one time. On another occasion, an extremely nervous patient brought in a bottle of bourbon. We refrained in the office, but enjoyed it after hours. We have some patients that occasionally stop in just for a visit or a hug. Really. A hug. We have been blessed with advice, prayers, throw pillows, baby presents, paintings, thank you notes, and even a homemade quilt.
I’ve gained more knowledge from the people that I’ve met than all of the books in all of the schools that I have ever attended.
We have patients who are professional cowboys, teachers, writers, ranchers, doctors, and poets. We see kids from the age of toddler to the age of “know it all.” On any given day, our sitting area may house a mom, a lawyer, a preacher, and a politician. There is surely some joke about that group somewhere.
We have been inspired by patients and friends who have beaten cancer and those who love life and inspire others with their aura. We’ve seen patients overcome horrible accidents and crippling loss. Quite often, their stories of life make what we do seem small.
Most importantly, we’ve made friends. A lot of them.
We’ve heard stories of traveling the world and camping and graduations and hunting and family reunions. More and more, we are seeing kids grow up and move on and move out. We get to see pictures of grandkids and trophy deer and pet fishes. We get updates every 3, 4, or 6 months. Most of the news is good. When it’s bad, we hug some more.
Yes, dentistry is a rewarding profession. The rewards have nothing to do with teeth, though. The rewards are the people that share their lives with us.
Until next week, please, keep on smiling.
-Suggestions can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
One Way to Improve Dental Insurance…
Opinions vary widely on the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as it is commonly called. One side declares that the ACA has been a huge success, adding health insurance coverage to millions of Americans. The other side declares it an abject failure and is pushing for it’s repeal. In trying to find the truth, one learns that most everything published nowadays tends to lean towards the politics of the writer and/or news source. The true worth or failure of the legislation will only be seen in hindsight, many years from now.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on politics, insurance law, economics, the U.S. healthcare system, or which political party is right or wrong. I did not even stay at a Holiday Inn last night. As a dentist, I took an oath to help my patients. Under our current system, that promise often means that dental offices are tasked with helping patients to utilize and maximize dental insurance benefits by acting as an intermediary. Being stuck in the middle obviously affects my opinions. On any given day, our team would much rather spend our resources fixing teeth and caring for our patients than waiting on-hold to a call center in Chicago.
The ACA has few provisions that directly affect dentistry. There has been expanded coverage for pediatric (childhood) dentistry. We can all agree that, at least the intent to help kids, is a good idea. Let’s prevent cavities, teach children how to take care of their teeth, and keep them healthy and free of tooth pain. The implementation and effectiveness of this intent can be debated. See above about hindsight being the true measure of success someday.
Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences has led to the ACA having an effect on dentistry. One rumor is that insurance companies are struggling and looking for ways to cut costs. Over the past six months or so, our office has seen a backwards revolution in dental plan coverage. Reimbursement for previously routine preventive procedures, such as x-rays, preventive screenings, and healthy gum cleanings have gone silly. All of a sudden, procedures that used to be covered fully are coming back partially paid or even denied. More and more, insurance plans seem to be trying to dictate the amount and the quality of care that patients receive.
What happened to physicians years ago is slowly creeping into the dental profession. Without positive change, we may be headed in a bad direction.
All is not lost, though. Professors and policy makers smarter than me have proposed one solution. That solution is called direct reimbursement. Under direct reimbursement, your employer pays for a certain amount of healthcare spending every year. That gives you, the consumer, freedom to go to whichever doctor or dentist you want and receive the type and quality of care that you decide for yourself and your family. No provider lists, no deductibles, fewer hassles. It cuts out the middle man and allows you to direct your own healthcare dollars.
Under this system, many argue that healthcare costs will actually be reduced due to pressure from informed consumers. Capitalism at it’s best.
There are certainly drawbacks to direct reimbursement. It fits dentistry well, but what happens when someone needs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatments? That is a situation where some type of insurance would still need to thrive. Actually, that is the very reason insurance evolved in the first place. To protect one from catastrophe.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
My Weekday Morning Hygiene Routine…
It is an unfortunate fact that dentists and dental office employees have about the same dental hygiene habits as the general population. You would think we would all be heroes with a toothbrush, but the statistics just don’t show that. We brush and floss about the same as everyone else. And we should know better!
As for me, I’d say I fall somewhere in the middle. During the week, I’m not just a hero, but a bonafide superhero with toothbrush, floss, mouth rinse, tongue scraper, breath sprays, and various other hygiene gadgets. I’m deathly afraid of having bad breath, brown teeth, and/or gum disease in our dental office. On the weekends, though, I’ll admit to slacking off a bit. I’m more of a Clark Kent flosser than a Superman flosser from Friday to Sunday.
We all have our imperfections.
So what is my dentist-level weekday morning hygiene routine?
After my second cup of coffee, I rinse well with tap water. I then use a Sonicare toothbrush and brush with a less abrasive fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. Then comes the floss. I really like the yarn kind that is flavored like mint or cinnamon. It seems to get more stuff out and the floss tastes and smells nice. After getting in-between all my teeth (both sides on each pass), I rinse with a fluoride rinse. Act Bubblegum is my current favorite. Then comes another couple of minutes with the Sonicare and a slightly more aggressive stain removing, fluoride toothpaste. I will generally finish it all off with another fluoride rinse and a couple sprays of Binaca.
Throughout the day, I’ll use mints, breath spray, prescription anti-biotic mouth rinse, water pick, and more brushing to try and keep my breath minty fresh. When you are right in people’s face all day, it’s a common courtesy to try and have fresh breath.
Obviously, not everyone has a job where they can spend 10-15 minutes a day focused on cleaning their teeth. For most, two minutes of brushing and two minutes of flossing twice a day will do wonders. A fluoride mouth rinse will also help prevent cavities. For others like me who are prone to gum disease, a little more work helps to keep the gum disease at bay.
At least on weekdays!
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
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