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Ashland OR dentist

Gum Disease? Meet Your New Best Friend: Arestin®

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Gum Disease? Meet Your New Best Friend: Arestin®

Regular brushing and flossing are essential parts of oral home care. But gum disease won’t go away on its own. Because it’s an infection, it needs to be treated professionally. In our office, we often combine scaling and root planing (SRP) with application of an antibiotic medication called Arestin®.

Because of the way gum disease progresses, the longer you wait to take action, the greater the chance you may need painful and expensive surgery to get it under control. Arestin® is a locally administered antibiotic (LAA) in powder form that we place directly into the infected areas—or pockets—in your gums. Arestin® powder is made up of 100,000 tiny microspheres, invisible to the eye. These microspheres contain the antibiotic drug minocycline, which is released over time into the infected pocket. This means Arestin® keeps working to kill bacteria long after you’ve left our chair. 

Moft of the time, our patients are pleasantly surprised to find that their medical insurance's prescription coverage applies to Arestin®. It is typical that a $30 copay will enable our patients to receive $1,000 worth of this medicine. 

How Arestin + SRP Works:

01. Your dental professional removes plaque and tartar above and below the gumline with SRP. 

01. Your dental professional removes plaque and tartar above and below the gumline with SRP. 

 02. ARESTIN® microspheres are placed into infected pockets using a special plastic applicator. 

 02. ARESTIN® microspheres are placed into infected pockets using a special plastic applicator. 

  03. The antibiotic is released over time, helping to reduce bacteria as your gums heal.

  03. The antibiotic is released over time, helping to reduce bacteria as your gums heal.

If you have any questions regarding gum disease or how Arestin® can help, let us know! We're happy to share some insights or schedule an appointment to help evaluate your unique needs and oral health. 

Images and content courtesy of Arestin®.

 

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Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)

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Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)

So you have a cavity, a broken tooth or an old leaking or breaking filling that requires attention. In my view, if the area of the tooth affected is greater than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then you have a choice to make: a plastic (aka composite) filling or a lab fabricated partial crown (also called onlays). A filling of this size is generally around $275. It is stacked in a jelly form into the tooth where it is then light cured to become hard. You can imagine that its strength, while incredible for the jelly-to-rock transformation, is somewhat limited as compared to a partial crown constructed outside of the mouth and then glued in place.

Partial crowns/onlays are fabricated with modern chemistry, under pressure and subjected to massive crystallization heat - outside of the mouth of course! Partial crowns cost $1100 and require only two hours to make start-to-finish. They can be done with no temporary filling if you are in a digital office like ours, or two weeks if a dentist sends out to a lab while the patient wears a temporary filling. If the problem area on your tooth is smaller than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then the modern composites offer great strength at that size, look great, flex like a natural tooth, and provide a unifying strength to the tooth due to its adhesive nature. But will a filling last if it is two thirds or greater? Maybe. And that’s where the decision rests. Let’s jump right into the main question.

Ask yourself if you mind the filling not lasting in order to save the money or if you would prefer to spend a little more to have something that will last longer. (Yes insurance covers both, just be sure to have great photos/xrays and maybe even a pre-authorization from your insurance company for an onlay).

If money were not a consideration, I would choose an onlay. I would choose a more flexible material such as Lava Ultimate if it was slightly smaller and on a premolar, or Emax if it was slightly larger and/or on a molar. That said, stopping decay or handling a problem immediately with a filling is much better than letting it go or blowing your budget on a single tooth if you have several teeth to work on. I’ve done large composites that last for years. It’s an especially common choice for students and people getting started or restarted in the workplace who just need to buy a little time. We monitor these large fillings closely. After a few years or in the event of breakage, often the patient is ready to graduate the filling to an onlay.

There is no right or wrong answer; just a risk-tolerance preference and financial comfort level assessment.

I hope this post helps you decide between a partial crown/onlay or a filling. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or contact our office.

Thank you for your interest.
Aron

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Insurance Update

Today's blog post is brought you by a special quest author, our office coordinator, Nikki Kirkland, to keep you updated on our insurance information. Here's Nikki ... 

As a service to our patients, we are happy to submit dental claims and maximize insurance benefits to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.  Our office accepts all major insurance carriers, including most employer-sponsored group plans and many individual plans. Currently, we are a Delta Premier Provider, which means our Delta Dental and MODA subscribers benefit from our in-network agreement and fee schedule. We are also a participating provider with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, which includes LifeMap, HMA and RGA dental plans. To better serve our patients and community, several additional carriers are being considered for our participation.

As the end of the year approaches, it is important to keep in mind that most dental plans renew on January 1. Dental insurance is unique in that patients have an annual maximum allowed, and any unused benefits at the end of the year are lost. Now is an ideal time to schedule pending treatment and use those remaining insurance dollars. The same concept applies to flexible spending and healthcare savings accounts.

Many of our patients do not have dental insurance, but will still benefit from fair and competitive fees, treatment plan discounts and monthly payment plan options. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is here to assist you with any questions you may have.

> Please don’t hesitate to contact our Office Coordinator, Nikki with any financial or insurance related concerns.

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Toothbrush Selection

There are so many toothbrushes on the market – how do you choose? Angled heads, electric brushes, ergonomic handles, biodegradable, etc. All these choices can make it tough to decide which brush is right for you. In this article, we’ll decode some of these options and help steer you in the right direction.  

What’s the Difference Between Hard and Soft?

When we talk about “hard” or “soft” toothbrushes, we are referring to the stiffness of bristles on a toothbrush. In theory, stiffer bristles are designed to better remove plaque, food bits and staining. However, our recommendation is to always go for a softer brush. This simple fact is that most people actually brush too hard! Brushing too vigorously is compounded when using a hard-bristled brush and can cause damage to sensitive gum tissue - especially near the gum line.

So next time you come across a hard toothbrush, save it for cleaning the kitchen grout instead!

Natural or Synthetic Bristles?

Most toothbrushes are made from a synthetic material. However, recent advances have been made to promote the production and usage of natural material toothbrushes – for both bristles and handles. Popular materials for these types of brushes are plant or wood fiber. In our opinion, either is fine for your pearly whites, but we love the idea of toothbrushes which are better for the environment! Try a natural toothbrush out when you have the opportunity.

Heads and Handles

There are almost infinite possibilities in brush and head styles. Rather than take too much time describing them all, we’ll get down to business. Here’s what you need to know: It doesn’t matter much. Instead of getting weighed down by the choices, just choose one that’s comfortable to use and inspires excellent hygiene (cheetah print anyone?).

Electric or Manual?

This is where we’ll make our strongest recommendation. We are huge fans of electric toothbrushes! They are powerful and easy to apply the right pressure with. Another great benefit is that many models come with a timer, encouraging people to brush for a full two minutes more often than they normally would. A study by the American Dental Association found that most people brush for only a minute and half.

In addition, the sonic waves emitted by the vibrating brush are proven to be more effective at loosening food and plaque. We had a patient in Invisalign treatment compare brushing her aligners with a manual toothbrush after forgetting her electric brush on a two week vacation. After the experiment, she claimed she would never use a manual toothbrush again! She said the difference, when she could actually see what she was brushing (opposed to the teeth in your own mouth), was an obvious one.

Finding “The One”

Still wondering which toothbrush is best? Don’t worry about it too much. Consistency in your dental hygiene makes a bigger impact on your dental health than any style of toothbrush. Brush two times a day, floss daily and keep your regular hygiene appointments.

If you still have questions about choosing a toothbrush or any other dental care topics, feel free to drop us a line. 

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