We hear a lot about the growing number of Americans who lack health insurance. Right now, the number is close to 50 million people. But did you know that twice that many Americans lack dental insurance plans. They are even rarer than medical plans! Some companies do not offer them. Other uncovered people may be unemployed or self-employed, and so they lack dental benefits. In addition, Medicare does not cover many dental services, so many seniors look for additional coverage.
However, some dental services are very expensive. Some people may even put off getting regular checkups or having small problems fixed because they are worried about the bill. When regular checkups, teeth cleaning, or routine fillings get neglected, then small problems can grow into large ones. It is important to figure out how you can afford dental care.
Dental Insurance Policies
A typical dental insurance policy will cover many routine services. You should be able to have checkups, teeth cleanings, and even normal fillings attended to by paying a small deductible or copay. If you need more expensive services like crowns or bridges, it will probably mean you have to be concerned about a yearly maximum which many policies have.
Be sure and check into the details of any policy you plan on buying to make sure you understand how it handles covered services, and how much you will have to pay if the services are covered. Also note the plan’s yearly maximum payout. And finally, take note of which services are not covered at all.
What services are not covered? The answer to that question depends upon the policy. But many dental policies do not cover cosmetic dentistry or orthodontic braces. If you are buying a policy to help you cover those expenses, be sure the policy you pick will help you.
Also note that some plans impose waiting periods on some covered services. For example, a dental plan may cover routine fillings right away, but force you to be insured for 12 months before crowns will be covered.
Many dental policies also have a network or dental providers. This means you will get the highest level of coverage if you stick to that network or participating providers. Sometimes you will get a better deal on uncovered services because of the network.
Dental Discount Plans vs. Dental Insurance
You may also explore another alternative to an actual dental insurance policy. A dental discount plan is not insurance, but does help members save money by giving them a network of providers who agree to charge lower prices to people who join the plans. They are typically much cheaper than policies, and there is usually no waiting period.
In addition if there are participating specialists on the plan, you may be able to find cheaper cosmetic or orthodontic services, even if they are not covered by your dental policy.
You can search the network. Your own dentists, or dentists in your area, may already participate. Sometimes buying an actual dental insurance policy is the right thing to do. But after you consider deductibles, copayments, monthly premiums, and yearly coverage limits, you may find that a discount dental plan works out just as well.
Invisalign hygiene? Here is just one more reason Invisalign clear braces are superior to the traditional metal braces of our parent's time. The gentle nagging of our mother's voice echoes in our mind as we dutifully brush and floss our teeth twice a day fighting plaque buildup to keep our pearls whites healthy and clean. Bulky metal braces can be a hassle to keep clean for aesthetic purposes, but imagine what you can not see hiding around those metal brackets and wires. Invisalign braces have not only revolutionized smile aesthetics, but have changed dental hygiene forever.
The clear Invisalign aligners are removed for every meal, which means that you will not get embarrassing food bits in your teeth and more importantly it makes keeping your teeth healthy and clean a cinch. With Invisalign, brushing and flossing after meals, before bed and upon waking is as simple as if you did not have braces at all. For these brief periods, the aligners can be removed so your teeth can get a thorough brushing and flossing. The aligners also come with their own cleaning solution to help remove any lingering bacteria before they go back into your mouth. As an added benefit, you change aligners every 3-4 weeks depending on your smile needs. This translates to less time each your clear braces actually have to be in your mouth. The cycling of new Invisalign aligners through your treatment can put your mind at ease when it comes to microscopic bacteria in hard to reach places and just when you feel like that cleaning solution is not keeping your aligners clean enough, it is time for a new set. The Invisalign system was designed for easy use and great aesthetics, but dental hygiene is an additional bonus to an already amazing product.
Compare this with traditional braces that require clever maneuvering around bulky brackets, as well as wearing the same set of metal braces for the duration of your treatment. Yes, your bands get changed on a regular basis, but the metal braces are there to stay regardless of the number of cheetos, oreos, or other teeth sticking food you eat. Something as simple as easier teeth cleanings can go a long way to maintaining oral hygiene and good oral hygiene is always the first place to start when seeking that perfect smile. Dental hygiene is just one of the many benefits of Invisalign clear braces.[Top]
If you want a gorgeous smile and straight teeth, but don’t want the show of metal braces, invisalign is the way to go. Invisalign (commonly misspelled as invisaline) consists of a series of clear trays, called aligners, which are custom designed for your teeth and your teeth only. Barely visible, and less painful than traditional braces, it’s no wonder there have already been over a million people nationwide who completed treatment. Using advanced 3-D computer-imaging technology, Invisalign depicts your complete treatment plan, from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position. Then a series of clear aligners are custom-made for your teeth. These ‘trays’ are made of thermoplastic material.
You change aligners every 2 weeks, so your teeth move little by little. Average treatment time is about a year but varies depending on the severity of your case. Mild cases might even wear invisalign for as little as six months! This is a major plus compared to metal braces, as metal braces typically take a lot longer to get the job done. This is because with metal braces, you have to come in to see your orthodontist about every 6 weeks to get the metal and wires tightened. With invisalign, you change trays every 2 weeks, so teeth are moving and adjusting more frequently. This also makes invisalign a lot less painful than traditional braces because since you’re changing trays so often, you can do smaller movements each time. Whereas with braces, they are tightened less frequently, so you will have a lot of tooth movement with each adjustment, causing much greater pain.
All You Need to Know About Invisalign is Right Here!
The invisalign process starts out with your first trip to the orthodontist. Once you decide to do it, your orthodontist will take some molds of your teeth. This is relatively painless but not the most pleasant feeling to have that gooey stuff in your mouth. The whole process takes under 10 minutes after which your orthodontist sends your molds to invisalign. Once they have your molds, they construct a customized video which you will be shown on your next appointment. This video will show how your teeth will move after each tray, and you will basically see the shifting of your teeth from beginning to end result. It’s very motivating to see what your teeth will look like upon completion. Once you approve the video, it could take up to around three weeks for your trays to arrive.
Invisalign ships your complete package of trays to your orthodontist, who will then schedule for you to come in so that they can teach you how to put on and remove your first tray. There are also 2 things that may need to happen before starting your invisalign. This is where the importance of having a really good orthodontist comes in.
1- Attachments – Some cases require attachments, which are little clear bumps that are glued to your teeth and hardened with a light. The purpose of them is to help the aligners shift certain teeth more than others. These are clean and usually unseen, and are removed once your invisalign treatment is complete.
2- Filing your teeth – In some cases, your orthodontist might need to file down your teeth from the sides a bit to create room for your teeth to shift (if your mouth is overcrowded). Invisalign will send them a chart of which specific teeth need to be filed and how much from each tooth.
Once You Begin
Will Invisalign Affect my Speech? Many people wonder if invisalign will impact their speech. Some people may temporarily experience a slight lisp for a day or two. Once the tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, speech will be normal again.
Is Invisalign Painful? Invisalign is generally much less painful than traditional braces. In fact, you mostly only experience some pain and discomfort for the first day or two of each tray, since each tray will be tighter and put more pressure for your teeth to move. It is recommended to put each of your new trays in at night and take an Advil if necessary. This way, your tray will loosen up a bit by the time you wake up.
After starting invisalign, you have to keep your tray on for at least 22 hours each day. That gives you 2 hours a day to have them off for meals and brushing. You CANNOT eat while wearing your tray. You are allowed to drink water. Make sure to never drink any hot beverages while wearing your trays, as this will melt the plastic. According to the invisalign site, you are allowed to have your trays off for 4 hours a day, but this is NOT recommended. When you were given your ‘estimated’ treatment time, it is estimated based on how well you follow your regimen. The closer you stick to your schedule of switching trays and the less you have them out, the sooner you will see results.
Caring for your Teeth and Invisalign Trays
You should be taking extra better care of your teeth while using invisalign! You should brush your teeth after every meal. In addition to that, make sure you brush the trays as well to prevent odor. Most invisalign users will notice an odor when they remove their invisalign, and this is normal but can be aided by brushing the inner and outer part of the trays with the remainder of your toothpaste after brushing. You should also floss every day! In addition to brushing and flossing, we recommend a cleaning agent for your retainer such as RetainerBrite. This will keep your trays clean and odorless. You must soak your invasalign in water with retainerbrite at least ONCE a day, or two if you can fit it in morning and night.[Top]
We all know that dental insurance has a very important role in today's society. Not many people know that unhealthy teeth can affect a person's overall health and can also lower self confidence. Nowadays due to many factors people find themselves in the situation of having to visit their dentist at least once a year. Sometimes taking proper care of your teeth necessities having to spend a lot of money on dental procedures that is why buying insurance is a lot wiser.
Now the first thing to do when buying dental insurance is to choose a dental plan. There are a variety of dental plans available from which you can choose one that will cover your needs. Basically there are three major categories of plans. The first one is the PPO plan which means you get to choose form a list of in network doctors and you have to pay a specific coinsurance amount of money (for example 30%) for each dental service. The second plan is the managed care or the DHMO plan. This means a certain dentist will be paid a flat fee and in return he will provide a certain type of treatment at no cost for you. This type of plan is also usually the least expensive. In the third category we have direct reimbursements or DR which means that you will be reimbursed the amount of money you spend for any type of dental service. This one is great because it gives you the ability to choose any dentist you like.
Here are some important questions that you need to ask and they will help you choose the best dental insurance:
• if you and your dentist get the choice of course of treatment
• can you choose the dentist yourself?
• Does the insurance cover emergencies, diagnosis and maintenance procedures? Also does it cover cleanings and x-rays?
• if there is an away from home emergency what is the protocol and what is the coverage?
• does it cover major dental care, dentures and implants?
• what is the percentage of the premium that goes to coverage and the percentage that goes to care?
If you do not have enough time to go and visit a dental insurer, then the best thing to do is to go online and search. You will get all the information you need without having to lift a finger or having to waste time going out. Not only you can get information faster but you can also find many websites that offer great discounts if you buy the insurance from their site.[Top]
Many people think of orthodontists as providing only traditional braces. However, orthodontics has come a long way in recent years and your orthodontist can treat problems with a wide variety of options. Braces can be made of many different materials optimized for strength, versatility or subtle appearance. Your treatment option may include standard braces on the outside of the teeth, clear ceramic braces that are more difficult to see, or lingual braces placed on the back of the teeth. Aligner trays are also used for orthodontic treatment. These are removable and needn’t stay in the mouth as permanently as braces.
Orthodontic treatments are not used solely to improve the appearance of the teeth, though this is usually the most noticeable change to onlookers. Having teeth that are properly aligned and a correct bite is very important. If your teeth are misaligned, you may not be able to clean them properly. When your floss and toothbrush can’t get the job done, your teeth will decay, develop cavities or even fall out. An incorrect bite can make it difficult to speak or eat. Over time, a bite that isn’t corrected will wear your teeth unevenly. Many such problems are also uncomfortable and even painful.
If you believe that you or your child may need orthodontic treatment, you should talk to your dentist or orthodontist right away. Treatment works best when it is performed on children and adolescents. The jaw and teeth are easier to reposition while the face is still growing and developing. Once a patient has reached adulthood, treatment may become more difficult. Different treatment options must be used and the time it will take for adjustment to be complete is usually much longer. This is not to say that adults cannot see a orthodontist however, as treatment options can always be explored.
There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate a need to see a orthodontist. With children, you should look for a very late or very early loss of baby teeth. Children who regularly suck their thumbs or keep other objects in the mouth on a regular basis are at greater risk for oral problems that will need to be treated with orthodontics. Difficulty speaking, chewing, biting and closing the mouth are other early signs of a problem that you should talk to a orthodontist about. Breathing through the mouth, though a more subtle sign may also indicate a problem.
Once all the teeth have come in, you will be able to see a more visible indication of whether orthodontic treatment is necessary. If the teeth appear crowded, out of place, or protrude from the mouth, this is a problem that may need to be corrected. If the child can bite into the roof of the mouth, frequently bites into the cheek or grinds and clenches his or her teeth, talk to a dentist or orthodontist immediately. Though treatment isn’t always possible until children lose their baby teeth, it’s important to talk to a orthodontist early so you can assess the situation and develop a plan of treatment.[Top]
Do you have an over bite or under bite? If so, you may have been told you need corrective jaw surgery, more often known as orthognatic surgery.
For people with jaw abnormalities, every day tasks like eating and even sleeping can be affected as the jaws do not align with each other. They can also cause pain and affect your affect facial appearance.
In some cases orthodontic elastics can be used to realign the jaw during your regular orthodontic treatment. But this really depends on the severity of your overbite or underbite. While elastics can work quite well in some cases, it is usually advised that patients with severe over or underbites get corrective jaw surgery to permanently resolve any jaw issues.
During this procedure your jaw is disconnected and re-aligned to the ideal position. Sounds painful right? Do not worrry, you're asleep for the actual procedure. However when you wake up you will not be able to talk as easily and you will be in some pain for the first couple of days as you heal.
However, it's worth it for those who suffer from severe overbites or underbites. Along with orthodontic treatment, this procedure resolves jaw pain and improves the overall appearance of the face.
Depending on the type jaw spacing issue you have, your jaw surgery may include moving your upper jaw, lower jaw or both. This surgery is only done on skeletally mature non-growing individuals, and patients can usually return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.
Healing time can vary depending on your age and how much adjustment needs to be made, but it can be anywhere from two weeks to more than a month.
Will you need this surgery as part of your orthodontics plan? Well, it may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. However with any orthodontic treatment orthodontists face biologic limitations as to what can realistically be achieved with braces alone. During your first visit your orthodontist will be able to tell you if corrective jaw surgery is the correct treatment option for you.
The usual sequence of events in such a surgery / orthodontic treatment plan is as follows:
1. Diagnostic records are taken and a comprehensive treatment plan is developed in conjuction with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
2. Braces are placed on the teeth and over time the teeth are placed ideally on each dental arch. The bite may get worse as this step progresses.
3. Jaw surgery is performed to address the skeletal concerns.
4. After an appropriate healing time your case is finished and the braces are removed.[Top]
Breathing is something that we do automatically to stay alive and so most of us do not think twice about it. It is perfectly natural to breathe through the mouth at certain terms such as when running or lifting heavy objects, however if breathing occurs through the mouth habitually then it can lead to many health problems. These problems can be particularly severe for children as mouth breathing can affect the long term development of the face and jaw.
So Why Breathe Through the Mouth?
Normal breathing is when we breathe through the nose with the mouth closed. The most obvious reason for someone to be a mouth breather is that they cannot get enough air through the nose. Common reasons for blocked nasal passages include:
- Allergies – which can cause polyps or swelling of the nasal lining
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Deviated nasal septum
- Respiratory infections – cold or flu
Signs that may indicate nasal breathing problems or airway obstruction are:
- Snoring, sleep apnoea
- Frequent upper airway infections
- Sounding ‘stuffy’ during the day/night
- Dark circles under the eyes
Effects on Teeth, Jaw and Posture
As mentioned before, mouth breathing can lead to many health problems, in particular dental health problems. When we breathe through the mouth, there is loss of saliva and dryness of the mouth and this can increase the risk of tooth decay and inflammation of the gums.
Also, mouth breathing can lead to alterations in the jaw and facial growth. The normal resting position of the tongue is up against the roof of the mouth to compensate the forces of the cheeks, however when a person breathes through the mouth, the tongue drops. This leads to the narrowing of the upper jaw and elongation of the lower jaw, resulting in the long, narrow face shape, typically known as ‘long face syndrome’. Due to the narrowing of the jaws, crowding of the teeth, overbite problems and malocclusion can be seen.
Adjustment in head posture is another effect that can result. Chronic mouth breathers tend to tilt the head backwards and lean the head forward in front of the shoulders to keep the airway open. This enables them to breathe better, however can have lead to long term problems of the neck and back.
Treatment of mouth breathing depends upon the underlying cause. This requires a multidisciplinary approach where your dentist, GP, ear-nose-throat specialist (ENT) and sleep physician may be involved in determining the treatment needed. Treatment may include prescription of certain medicines, surgery and myofunctional therapy and breathing exercises.
Airway obstruction is a common cause of mouth breathing and sometimes a full assessment by an ENT is needed to decide the treatment of the obstruction. Often certain medicines can be prescribed to increase nasal airflow and reduce obstructions like swelling of the nasal lining and polyps. For more complicated blockages such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, surgery may be necessary to remove them.
Sometimes even after removal of the airway obstruction, mouth breathing is still present as it has become habitual. If this is the case, myofuntional therapy along with specific breathing and muscle exercises can help in establishing nasal breathing. Exercises that aim at strengthening the facial muscles along with specific oral appliances encourage nasal breathing and therefore can aid in the proper growth and facial development. This is imperative in young children as they are still in their growing stages.
Your Dentist Can Help
Mouth breathing is a serious problem that can impact on general and dental health. Our role as a dental practitioner is to identify and treat mouth breathing early, especially in children, and to refer to appropriate specialists if needed. The earlier we address this condition, the more likely we can reverse the effects. This means a healthier life, a more natural face and profile and a beautiful, healthy smile.[Top]
With Baby Boomers reaching a certain age, the benefits of adult orthodontics become very appropriate. This generation is not going to succumb to aging gracefully. They're going to go out fighting the whole process. If you are going to look after your health and pay attention to your body's needs as you age, you can not ignore your dental health.
Dental Care in the Total Picture
Forget about aesthetics for a minute and think about how good dental health effects the rest of your overall health. Maintenance of your teeth allows for proper mastication of your food, which leads to better absorption of nutrients and minerals into your body making you stronger and healthier.
Neglected teeth can become infected. These infections can cause permanent damage to any of your internal organs; including damage to the arteries and chambers of the heart, which may lead to a shorter lifespan. A neglected infection of the teeth or gums can be potentially deadly.
Although young people are the main target for tooth alignment with the assistance of braces, more and more adults are seeking out a better smile as well. Now that orthodontists have developed braces that are essentially invisible, there has been an increase in the number of adults using them. By aligning their teeth, adults can not only chew better, but the pain that can accompany improper alignment can be reduced or even eliminated.
It has been proven that the individual with good self-esteem and pride in their appearance is happier, which in turn can mean living longer. So opting for braces, porcelain veneers, or even bleaching to improve your dental health and appearance only adds to your overall well-being.
We have even reached a stage where dental caps can be fashioned to match the color of our natural teeth. Unsightly silver fills are a thing of the past, and by having them replaced, the risk inherent in the mercury contained in these filling is removed.
Old wire rigged bridges are now being replaced by permanent teeth that can be attached to your own natural teeth or even to the jawbone. Another highly washed after dental procedure is whitening. Although the very young are bleaching their teeth to achieve a perfect smile, adults are finding that bleaching can eliminate the discoloration of smoke-stained or aging teeth.
Orthodontics have even developed porcelain veneers that can be applied to severely deformed or damaged teeth. Gone are the days when dentists yanked out your teeth and replaced them with dentures. Now anyone with proper dental care can keep their own teeth even into advanced old age.[Top]
If you are unsatisfied with the way your teeth look or function, orthodontics can help. Crooked, overcrowded, or protruding teeth have an effect on more than just your appearance. The positioning of your teeth can influence your susceptibility to tooth decay and gum disease, the way the teeth align, in addition to your total oral health and well being.
Ortho Treatment changes the positioning of your teeth and in so doing improvements their appearance and functionality. Orthodontic treatment can also greatly enhance facial physical appearance and how your jaw muscles and joints operate. Using braces, retainers, or other devices to provide slight pressure over the span of several months or even years, your teeth can be slowly shifted into the desired location.
Orthodontic complications can be a result of accidents or behaviors, such as finger and thumb sucking or tongue-thrusting or may be caused by genetics. Your local orthodontist can treat the following orthodontic problems: crowed or crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, open bite (when the backside teeth match up and the front teeth do not), inadequate or excess of gaps in between your teeth, extra or missing teeth. Every orthodontic issue is different, but the most frequent orthodontic issues treated with children are often incomplete alignment, while for older patients it is crooked and crowding teeth.
Orthodontics may focus on dental removal only, or orthodontic treatment could also take care of the control and modification of facial structural growth. Orthodontic treatment may be performed for purely aesthetic motives as well, such as restoring the overall appearance of your teeth. In the end, treatment not only improves your visual appeal, but your oral health at the same time.
Crowded, crooked and protruding teeth have an effect on your physical appearance and may affect self confidence. Your teeth are also prone to decay and develop gum disease because they're more difficult to brush and floss thoroughly. Lots of people are unwilling to smile because of their teeth. Misaligned teeth change your bite, oftentimes leading to difficulty in chewing some foods as well as unnatural wearing of the teeth. Protruding teeth are more easily broken and chipped. Misaligned teeth can affect the positioning of your jaw bones, possibly triggering discomforts and muscle tension.
It's best to get started with orthodontics as early as possible. 75% of teenagers need orthodontic treatment, yet Much on the child's face is developed at this age. By leading facial development soon through the use of functional appliances, 79% of the orthodontic treatment can be corrected before the adult teeth are present. Young patients in between the ages of 8 and 11 tend to be far more cooperative than patients twelve to fourteen. One final benefit of earlier orthodontic treatment is the fact that children will be required to wear fixed braces on their adult teeth for less time.
As always, see your local orthodontist for an examination.[Top]