5 Common Dental Questions Asked By Moms and Dads

Q. 1. Even though my child’s baby teeth will fall out, do I still need to take care of them? 5 Common Dental Questions

A. Yes, please.

**letting go of cavities in baby teeth sets a bad stage for adult teeth that have yet to come.

Q. 2. My dentist suggested sealants on my child’s teeth to prevent cavities. Do they really work?

A. Yes, they do.

**prevent early, and there’s less to cure later.

Q. 3. I’ve always been afraid of the dentist, so I “scare” my kid that I’ll take her to see one too if she doesn’t behave. Is that bad?

A. YES!

**negative breeds negative. Make it a positive, fun experience and the beneficial effects will last a lifetime.

Q. 4. I’ve heard letting my toddler sleep with a sippy cup full of milk is not good for his teeth. Is that right?

A. Oh my gosh, yes.

**milk has a lot of sugar that can damage teeth when coating them for a long time. Ditch the cup/bottle or fill it with water instead.

Q. 5. The best thing I can do for my kids is build good habits for taking care of their teeth from a young age and use positive reinforcement. Do I rock or what?

A. Heck yeah you do! (HI-FIVE!) 🙂

**that’s the best any parent can do..rock on!

Need a positive dental experience for you and your family? Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com

Image Source: Simon Howden

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10 Easy, Cost-Effective Fixes For Common Dental Problems

Cost of dental treatment

Do you freak out when you hear the words your dental treatment will cost you…….. ?

Before you down an entire bottle of Tums, take a deep breath and read on.

If you want to keep the cost of dental treatment from out-growing your budget, there’s no better way to do it than prevention. Do your due diligence, and unpleasant surprises will stay few and far between.

Still, life–and teeth–have a way of putting a kink in your plans, so here are 10 easy and cost-effective tools and fixes for most common dental ailments:

1. Warm salt water rinses

Most gum irritations–be they red, sensitive or puffy–come to heel when subjected to a regimen of warm salt water rinses. The salt draws the irritant (or infection) to the surface, where the body eliminates it, and also helps neutralize the acidic environment that fosters bacteria.

Cost: < $1

2. Floss

If you haven’t discovered the power of floss, you’re missing out on one of THE most effective dental tools. It keeps teeth clean, lowers risk of cavities, prevents gum disease, and a bonus: helps prevent bad breath. Its slightly-less-powerful-but-still-effective brethren include tooth picks, proxa brushes, Sonic floss (if you like gadgets), etc.

Cost: ~$2

3. Tongue cleaner

Is it me or do you smell something? Ahem.

Get this handy gadget if you want to part ways with bad breath. This nifty tool will help get the funk off your tongue and make friends with fresh breath.

Cost:~$2

4. Sensitivity tooth paste

Teeth and gums throwing temperature tantrums? Mild-but-constant sensitivity to cold foods and drinks can be soothed into submission with a desensitizing tooth paste in just a few days.

Cost: ~$2-$5 

5. Dental/orthodontic wax

Whether you’re in braces or have a chipped tooth and can’t get to the dentist right away, dental/orthodontic wax is easily gettable from any drugstore, preventing excessive gum irritation and keeping you comfortable.

Cost: ~$4

6. Orabase

Pizza burn? Hot coffee burn? Orabase is a handy topical numbing agent that can soothe minor burns in your mouth and get those gums and tissues to start healing.

Cost: ~$6

7. High flouride tooth paste

Darn those cavities! While there’s no substitute for good oral care at home and regular maintenance at your dentist’s, you can still aim a good power punch at cavities-to-be by using a prescription strength high flouride tooth paste. This is especially useful if you’re prone to getting cavities, but would rather not.

Cost: ~$15-$25 per tube

8. Electric toothbrush

Now, this one doesn’t qualify as “low-cost”….or does it?? Let’s see.

It cleans your mouth better, lowers risk of gum disease, helps prevent gums from receeding, picks up some of the slack if you don’t floss daily, and removes daily stains more effectively and thus keeps teeth fresher and brighter.

So yes, it’s a small chunk of change up front but saves you a ton of $$ over the long haul.

Cost: $100-175 (for a GOOD one)

9. Night guard

Bring out the cavalry, I’m getting on my soap box. Teeth grinding/clenching can chip, grind or break your teeth, cause jaw soreness or pain, and wear out your existing crowns and fillings faster. A night guard is a great non-invasive (i.e. no drill) solution. One guard, less dental work. Plus, many dental insurances cover it.

Cost: ~$300-$600

10. Regular dental check ups

Yes, this IS an easy and cost-effective fix. It costs less to keep up with check ups and annual x-rays to catch cavities when they’re small rather than waiting till they turn into toothaches, root canals and crowns… or worse, losing your teeth.

On the flip side, some NOT so effective fixes: aspirin (for pain), paint on whiteners, overuse of baking soda, whitening mouthwashes, antibiotics (which are often temporary fixes because they treat symptoms, not the problem).

Cost: a lot less than if you didn’t

Don’t want to pay high dental bills? Then form good habits, be consistent, get basic tools, and get regular dental check ups (i.e. good maintenance)…and your stay in the dentist’s chair will be short and sweet.

Need more? Or just need to get started? Call us, email us, or Facebook us:

(214) 522-3110   www.raodentistry.com    Facebook: Rao Dentistry

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How To Get More From Your First Dental Visit

Dental VisitIf you’ve been away from the dentist in a while, and have (finally!) decided to get back on the wagon, your first visit is a great opportunity to start a good, long-term relationship.

To begin, I strongly recommend you choose your dentist based on a referral from friends, family or co-workers. Strong online reviews can also be an alternative if you’re new to an area.

To help ensure the optimum first visit–because it tends to be more involved; you are new to them and they to you–here are some tips:

Before Your Visit

1. Check out the website, location, reviews, and what services are offered, and ensure they match your needs.

2. When making the appointment, get the highlights–insurance questions, verify appointment time, appointment length, etc.

3. You know there will be paperwork, so check if it’s available online.  If not, make plans to be there 10-15 min ahead of your time. If you carry dental insurance, remember to bring your card. This gives you plenty of time to get it done, or else paperwork will spill over into the time the dentist or hygienist could be giving you their attention.

4. If you’ve had x-rays within the last year, request them from your previous dentist, or get new ones taken. Regular check ups and x-rays are key to staying in maintenance/small problems-easier-to-fix mode instead of darn-I-have-an-emergency-and-it’s-gonna-be-painful-and-cost-twice-as-much mode.

During Your Visit

5. If you have specific questions or issues, be sure to ask them (write them down and make a list if you think you might forget).

6. If you have any appliances you want checked, such as a night guard, retainers, snore guard, etc., take them with you so the dentist can check the fit and even freshen them up.

7. If you feel the discussion with your dentist is too complicated, please do not hesitate to ask and clarify. Discussions about your oral health should be a two-way street. And knowing the ‘why’ makes the ‘what’ and ‘how much’ easier to understand and modify if/when needed.

8. At the end of the visit, be sure to ask any questions that come up during your appointment. You can also consider buying any recommended products (they’re often at better prices than retail or pharmacy). Pick up a business card or two as well, so as to have their contact info handy.

9. Relax! Every dentist and their team are aware that most people are somewhat anxious and uncomfortable during a dental visit. If something is uncomfortable, say so. Modern tools and technology can make dental treatment much more comfortable than in the past.

Keeping an open mind and a good attitude can allow the dental team to do their best, and in return, you get their best. Most dentists really do want to try to keep your visits comfortable and pleasant, and help you achieve and maintain great oral health. And your first dental visit can pave the way.

Ready to find your dental home? Call or email us:

(214) 522-3110        www. raodentistry.com

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How To Prevent Your Teeth From Breaking

This has been a summer of hot temperatures, hail storms and the Olympics. prevent teeth from breaking

And broken teeth.

Is there an ice-chewing convention in town that I don’t know about?

Pretty much every week this summer, we’ve had folks break their teeth on “salad” or “oatmeal”, or my favorite, while “flossing” (ahem).

Okay, now I know not everyone is crunching on ice (or hard candy), but if there IS a community event of the sort, I’d appreciate some advance notice.

It goes without saying–but I’ll say it anyway–we’ll take take of you and your teeth as needed, but let me take this moment to harp on something, which is the concept of preventing such a tooth calamity.

If you know/suspect/have been told that you clench or grind your teeth, please consider getting a night guard. A custom guard from your dentist is the ideal choice, but if that’s over your budget, get one from a drugstore.

All that muscle action on your teeth can not only chip or break your teeth, but weaken the fillings and crowns you already have. Not to mention trigger jaw pain and headaches.

If you chew ice, consider quitting. Your teeth WILL eventually lose that battle. Trust me.

Switching to shaved ice is a tad better, but only a tad.

If you have a cavity you’re aware of, it will only get bigger (I have yet to hear of one that self-heals). It’s worth it to get it taken care of while it’s small, before it gets big enough to cause you pain or break your tooth (and your wallet).

Skipping x-rays, just this once? Well, okay, but know that without them we can’t see in between your teeth or what’s going on under your crowns and old fillings. You need to be comfortable with taking that risk more than your dentist.

Contrary to popular misconception, we don’t take pictures of your teeth for a secret dental Facebook society. We take them to gauge your oral health and diagnose more accurately.

Small problems caught early = easier to fix

A couple of things to keep in mind–if you’re a “cruncher”, i.e., a lover of nuts, granola, chips, etc., take it easy when you eat those things. An almond is just as tasty as 4 plopped in your mouth all together, and less risky.

See? Making a few small changes can keep you miles away from a dental emergency, a tooth ache or looking like a hillbilly.

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
~ George C. Lichtenberg

Don’t want to be a statistic? Ask us how to get prevention for your teeth into high gear:
(214) 522-3110                www.raodentistry.com
Image source: Phaitoon

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6 Signs You Have The Wrong Dental Insurance

wrong dental insuranceThe dental insurance offered to you at work is the product of an agreed affair between your employer and the insurance carrier.

After they’ve hit the (spread) sheets a few times, they mutually agree to offer a few plan options that you get to choose from.

Please note that your dentist is not involved here, since no one likes a third wheel.

Yet somehow dental insurance companies have managed to shove under the covers the fact that they have not increased the amount of coverage in 40+ years.

Suffice it to say, neither you nor I can expect any changes to that unfaithful move anytime soon. Well, not without a dirty fight anyways.

However, getting some is better than none for most people these days. At the very least, your basic visits are covered, and so are varying parts (note: part, not “all”) of most dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, dentures, etc.

Still, some glaring red flags can alert you that you may not have the “average” insurance, but one that is altogether wrong:

1. The plan is neither a PPO nor a DMO….but a NO-NO.

2. When you call them about your dental benefits, they don’t allow humans to answer the phones.

3. The fine print says they will pay on your claim only on the 4th Tuesday of every other month, but only if it’s raining.

4. The insurance company’s philosophy is that they prefer not to pay for prevention, and certainly not for major treatment. (Yeah, I’m still scratching my head on that one.)

5. The insurance company denies coverage due to a pre-existing condition: that you have teeth.

6. The insurance company prefers that you DON’T see a dentist.

The above points may be somewhat funny, but are somewhat true.

To avoid getting into a messy tangle, it pays to know the different plan options available, and also to note the fine print on the plan you choose, i.e., having a general idea of what’s covered and what’s not.

Being informed keeps you on top. This way, if you and your dentist have to go all the way to figure out why the insurance company isn’t paying, at least both of you will be on the same page.

But, should you discover that you indeed have the wrong dental insurance and desire good oral care, I encourage you to sack it and find a better one as soon as possible.

(214) 522-3110                    www.raodentistry.com

Image source: Grant Cochrane

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Is Keeping Your Mouth Healthy Really That Important?

painting of two faces

No, not unless you want it to be.

Dentists can preach to you high and low, but it all comes down to what you want to believe, what’s important to you.

If you don’t want to, don’t get your teeth cleaned professionally.

If you don’t want to, don’t “fall” for the preventive stuff.

If you don’t want to, don’t get a cavity taken care of while it’s small (it’s only real when it hurts, right?)

As much as we encourage and educate, it’s still your call.

A sonic toothbrush is not nearly as exciting as a new pair of jeans, or a fancy haircut.

But neither is eating healthy, nor exercise.

No, not unless you want it to be.

Either way, the decision is yours. As long as you accept that, and own it, we can all be friends.

So what happens if your jeans don’t fit in a few weeks, or your tooth hurts?

Don’t worry–we’ll still take care of you (your teeth, that is), because that’s what we (love to) do.

It’s just that most times, we could’ve done it for a lot less (time/money/treatment), if you’d done it sooner, or done your home work.

Like I said, it’s your call.

If a healthy mouth is what you want, call or email us:

(214) 522-3110                 www.raodentistry.com

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Almost Famous: Sex And Oral Cancer

In the range of ‘popular’ cancers, the one that often flies under the radar is oral cancer.

But is it really a big deal? It seems to pale in comparison to the cancers of the breast, pancreas, cervix and the like. Well, until a celebrity brings it under the spotlight.

Famous or not, however, it is a force not to be messed with. No sireee.

Here’s why:

  1. More than 40,000 Americans will get it this year, and it is predicted only about half will survive it
  2. It usually spreads silently and painlessly….there may not be a red flag signalling for your attention
  3. Survivors have a 20% higher risk of developing a secondary cancer….after the initial occurrence
  4. More people under 40 are being diagnosed with it, and it used to affect mostly those over 40
  5. Historically, the main causes have been smoking, or smoking + alcohol (risk increases 15X). But there’s a new kid on the block–and growing fast via sexual transmission–HPV-16 (Human Papilloma Virus)

All in all, it may be the ‘underdog’ of cancers, but still a force to be reckoned with. The numbers, unfortunately, are on the rise, especially in women (rising from 1 in 7 to 1 in 3).

The scary thing is that because of its stealthy nature, it is often diagnosed after it’s spread to other parts of the body. And treatment for oral cancer is not an easy road either. I’m talking radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and restorative procedures after that.

As in many health issues our nation faces today, lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the quality of our life. Modern science can do (and has done) a lot to improve it, but while we’re waiting for a magic pill to solve whatever ails us, there is the smarter alternative of taking charge of our own health.

Preventive measures for oral cancer include:

  • Early detection
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • A healthy diet, high in fruits and vegetables
  • Regular exercise
  • Safe sex (especially the young ones, since their rates are rising via HPV)

Last, but not least, every dental check up you come in for does include an oral cancer screening with us. We’re in that area more often than your physician, and thus more likely to spot something early on.

Any lumps or bumps are documented and you are informed. A follow up with us or a specialist is always discussed if anything out of the ordinary is suspected.

Till the number of those affected with oral cancer approach zero, smart lifestyle choices and early detection are your best bets in making sure that oral cancer does not grab center stage in your life.

(214) 522-3110          www.raodentistry.com

Image Source: photostock

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