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Detergent Foods: Clean your teeth while you eat!

July 29th, 2020

Did you know that there are certain foods you can eat which help to clean your teeth? We call them "detergent foods." In dentistry we look at the impact of food in three ways: the kind of food, how often it is eaten, and when it is eaten. Detergent foods should be the last piece of food you consume during a meal for best results. Think of them as the closest you can get to brushing your teeth.

A healthy diet is important for oral health as well as overall health, but here are some particular foods that can help clean your teeth and mouth:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Celery sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese

As you can see, detergent foods are usually foods that are firm and crisp. They act like scrubbers on and around your teeth and gums and bring your mouth's pH back to 7.0, which is optimal.

Which foods are the worst for your teeth?

Cookies, cakes, breads, chips, crackers, soft drinks, dried fruit, and candies (what many people’s diets are full of) provide carbohydrates (sugar) to the bacteria in your mouth causing an acidic environment and increasing the chance of cavities and decay. These foods are sticky and don't rinse easily from your mouth. Avoid letting these foods sit on your teeth after eating them.

It also depends on how often you consume these foods throughout the day. For example, if you drink soft drinks, it's best to have it all in one sitting instead of sipping it all throughout the day. Doing so causes the perfect environment in your mouth for bacteria to flourish and your saliva never gets the chance to neutralize its pH.

This is where detergent foods can come into play. When you're about to finish your meal, have an apple, celery stick, or carrot. It will act like a "natural toothbrush." Also, try to make these detergent foods the basis for snacks you have throughout the day.

Always remember, these foods are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You still need good dental hygiene regardless of what you're eating! For more tips and tricks for ideal oral health, ask Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel the next time you visit our Rochester office!

How do I know when I have a cavity?

July 22nd, 2020

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics frequently field questions about cavities and what causes them. Patients will typically ask, “I brush twice a day and floss regularly, as well as rinse with hydrogen peroxide, so a cavity is unlikely, right?”

Not quite.

When cavities, also known as caries, are in their initial stages, people often will feel no symptoms, and they won’t experience any pain or discomfort. It’s not until the tooth decay has reached a certain level that patients begin to notice the signs. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel as soon as possible:

  • Dull or sharp toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity or mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • The presence of a sticky, tarry feeling when biting down
  • Puss or discharge around a tooth, especially when pressing on your gums
  • Visible holes or discoloration in your teeth (usually black or brown)

Cavities can happen at any time, to anyone, no matter how old you are. Routine dental care is important to prevent cavities or the onset of tooth decay, so it is important to visit Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics for regular cleanings. If you are overdue for a checkup or think you may have a cavity, please give us a call at Rochester office to schedule an appointment.

Osteoporosis and Oral Health

July 15th, 2020

Today, Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics thought we would examine the relationship between osteoporosis and oral health, since 40 million Americans have osteoporosis or are at high risk. Osteoporosis entails less density in bones, so they become easier to fracture. Research suggests a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw, which supports and anchors the teeth. Tooth loss affects one third of adults 65 and older.

Bone density and dental concerns

  • Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without it.
  • Low bone density results in other dental issues.
  • Osteoporosis is linked to less positive outcomes from oral surgery.

Ill-fitting dentures in post-menopausal women

Studies indicate that women over 50 with osteoporosis need new dentures up to three times more often than women who don’t have the disease. It can be so severe that it becomes impossible to fit dentures correctly, leading to nutritive losses.

Role of dental X-rays in osteoporosis

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) released research that suggest dental X-rays may be used as a screening tool for osteoporosis. Researchers found that dental X-rays could separate people with osteoporosis from those with normal bone density. As dental professionals, our team at Main Street Dental Clinics are in a unique position to screen people and refer them to the appropriate doctor for specialized care.

Effects of osteoporosis medications on oral health

A recent study showed that a rare disease, osteonecrosis, is caused by biophosphenates, a drug taken by people for treatment of osteoporosis. In most cases, the cause was linked to those who take IV biophosphenates for treatment of cancer, but in six percent of cases, the cause was oral biophosphenates. If you are taking a biophosphenate drug, let Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel know.

Symptoms of osteonecrosis

Some symptoms you may see are pain, swelling, or infection of the gums or jaw. Additionally, injured or recently treated gums may not heal: teeth will be loose, jaws may feel heavy and numb, or there may be exposed bone. Some of the steps you can take for healthy bones are to eat a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular physical exercise with weight-bearing activities, no smoking and limited use of alcohol, and report problems with teeth to our office, such as teeth that are loose, receding gums or detached gums, and dentures that don’t fit properly.

For more information about the connection between osteoporosis and oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel, please give us a call at our convenient Rochester office!

Avoid Brushing After Every Single Meal!

July 8th, 2020

Here is some surprising yet worthwhile advice you might be hearing for the first time: Brushing after a meal can be incredibly bad for your teeth if you do it after eating certain foods.

Enamel is an extremely hard mineral on the exterior of each of your teeth. It’s actually the hardest substance in the human body: It’s even stronger than your bones! Its only weakness is that acids in the food we eat can easily destroy enamel.

Healthy teeth thrive in an environment that has the proper pH balance. That ensures your mouth doesn’t start the process of demineralization. That’s what happens when alkaline turns into acid, which attacks and softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Pores and fissures form, and that’s when the harmful bacteria go to work.

Our mouth’s pH level fluctuates depending on what we eat throughout the day. Examples of the most common highly acidic foods include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of pH in your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid.

Can brushing your teeth immediately after a meal lead to even more damage? The answer is yes!

Eating highly acidic foods causes your teeth to be more susceptible. If you brush your teeth when they have been weakened by acids, even more destruction can happen to your enamel. Your toothbrush’s bristles will actually wear away some of your enamel. So it’s healthier to wait at least an hour after eating or snacking to brush.

Good preventive measures to take instead of brushing after you eat include:

  • Rinsing or drinking water
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Consuming dairy or non-acidic foods to conclude your meal

These practices help produce saliva, which in turn restores a healthy pH level in your mouth and coats the teeth with minerals they need.

Once you’ve allowed time for your mouth to be restored to a healthy pH level, you may brush your teeth as you normally would. Keep in mind that acidic foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth and take the right measures to prevent spiking pH levels.

Most important, don’t forget to wait to brush at least one hour after you eat!

Still have questions? Call our Rochester office and schedule an appointment with Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel.

Happy Fourth of July

July 1st, 2020

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Drs. Osman Swedeh, and Chris Stenzel and our team at Main Street Dental Clinics wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

How to Handle an Unexpected Dental Emergency

June 24th, 2020

Regardless of the type of dental emergency you experience, it is important that you visit Main Street Dental Clinics for emergency dental care as soon as possible. A chipped or cracked tooth requires professional attention, as bacteria may gather in these areas, potentially causing infection that could require a root canal. Remember, you may be capable of managing pain, bleeding, and swelling at home, but by visiting our office for immediate treatment, you can fight infections and minimize lasting damage to your mouth, teeth, and gums under the expert care of our emergency dentist.

24/7 Emergency Dental Care

Main Street Dental Clinics is proud to offer emergency dental care around the clock, seven days a week. Dental emergencies do not wait for regular business hours, and if you experience a serious dental emergency, you need immediate treatment. Whether you have a broken tooth or if you have bitten through your tongue, do not hesitate to visit us day or night. Until you arrive at our office, however, there are some helpful steps you can take if you encounter a serious dental dilemma.

Managing Your Dental Emergency

If a toothache is causing problems, you can probably keep the discomfort under control until our emergency doctor can treat you. Start by checking the gums that surround the affected tooth for inflammation, bleeding, or foreign objects. There may be food lodged in the gum that could be removed by flossing. You can control pain by placing a cold compress against your mouth, or by using an over-the-counter oral numbing agent.

More serious situations may be extremely time sensitive, and require immediate emergency attention. For example, if a tooth is completely knocked out, carefully clean it with water. Try to place the tooth back into its socket or briefly store it in a cup of milk if it will not fit back into the gum. Never pick up a tooth by the root or force it into the socket. Come straight to our office, as your tooth will need to be replaced within a short amount of time. Similarly, if you have bitten through your lip or tongue, the American Dental Association recommends carefully cleaning the area before coming as quickly as you can to our emergency dental office for treatment.

Remember, there is no reason you should live with discomfort. By visiting our Rochester office immediately in an emergency, you can take control of your oral health comfortably and safely.

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

May 27th, 2020

Fifty-eight percent of Americans visit the dentist at least once a year. The bulk of these will have some kind of insurance plan, which covers some (or all) of the costs associated with dental treatment.

Dental insurance, however, can be complicated. There are deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. How much do you need to pay? What's covered in your plan? Where do you get your plan? This blog will answer these questions and provide you with all the information you need to know about dental insurance.

Why Do You Need Insurance?

Dental work can be expensive. Even a check-up can set you back around $300. Sure, this covers your exam, x-rays, and, perhaps, a cleaning, but finding this money every 6 months or so can be difficult. Dental insurance works in a similar way to other types of insurance, like car insurance. In simple terms, you make a "claim" on your dental insurance when you go to the dentist for a check-up or require specialist or emergency treatment. You will pay insurance premiums every month. Nearly every dentist in the United States accepts dental insurance.

How Does It Work?

There are various dental insurance plans on the market. Like you would do with car insurance or home insurance, you will need to find the best financial products based on your specific budget and circumstances. Dental insurance plans can vary considerably, so it's a good idea to do your homework and read all the fine print. Find out what's covered in your plan and talk to the insurer about how much it will cost you. You can usually apply for insurance plans online and receive your insurance documents via email.

What's Covered?

The majority of dental plans will cover preventative care, like cleanings and x-rays. These services, usually, won't require any additional cost. Other services, such as gum disease treatment, fillings, and extractions, might require additional expenses, depending on the insurance plan. These are known as "out-of-pocket expenses."

Does Your Employer Have Dental Insurance Plans?

Some companies offer dental insurance plans to their employees. This is a great way of getting the dental coverage you need for no additional cost. Again, there will be restrictions when it comes to "free" treatment and out-of-pocket expenses. Research suggests that 77 percent of Americans have dental benefits, usually from their employer. However, many people are unaware that they have these benefits or never use them.

Different Types of Dental Coverage

There are three main types of dental coverage in the US:

A Dental Health Maintenance Organization, or DHMO, provides you with access to various dentists that accept your insurance. Depending on the service, you won't pay any fees at all. However, you might not be able to visit a dentist who is not part of the insurance company's network. If you do, you could incur additional costs.

A Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO, also provides you with a list of dentists that accept your insurance. You can visit dentists who are not on this list, but expect to pay more in out-of-pocket costs.

A discount or referral dental plan provides you with discounts on dental services from a list of dentists. You won't receive any free services, but you will get discounts on dental care and treatments.

Understanding Dental Insurance Billing

When you visit the dentist for a check-up or other service, you will be billed at the end of the treatment. If you don't have to pay anything for the service because of your insurance plan, you will just need to sign the relevant documents. If you need to pay for the service, the dentist's office will bill you.

How Much are Premiums?

This all depends on the service you choose. Some dental plans will set you back around $200 a month, but the majority are far less expensive. You will need to pay premiums, however, even if you never visit the dentist.

"The monthly premiums will depend on the insurance company, your location, and the plan you choose," says Investopedia. "For many people, the monthly premium will be around $50 a month. This means that you're spending $600 on dental costs each year even if you don't get any work done."

Dental insurance doesn't have to be complicated. Follow the tips above and you can find a cost-effective plan that caters to your budget. Do your research and find the right dental plan that suits you.

Call us today to schedule a consultation or check-up. We’re happy to help you and your family on the road to better dental health!

Why Do My Teeth Tingle? 4 Reasons Explained!

March 19th, 2020

Teeth tingling is a prickling or stinging sensation in your teeth and might be accompanied by inflammation or bleeding gums. Usually, this is nothing to worry about, and your dentist will provide you with relief for the sensitivity.

There are a number of factors that cause teeth tingling, and making an appointment with your dentist will help you identify the source of the problem. Four reasons to why you might be experiencing teeth sensitivity that we'll cover include

  1. Pulpitis, or a toothache
  2. A worn tooth enamel
  3. Teeth grinding
  4. Gum recession

1. Pulpitis

Pulpitis, often referred to as a toothache, is an inflammation of the dental pulp — the connective tissues and cells in the center of your teeth. If the pulp comes into contact with irritants — such as impacted food in the gum, tooth decay or gum disease — you might experience a tingling sensation on your teeth.

Avoiding cold and hot food or taking an over-the-counter painkiller could reduce some of the pain. But it's best to visit your dentist, who will take an X-ray of your teeth and prescribe the right treatment. Sometimes, pulpitis can be reversed with a simple tooth filling.

2. Worn Tooth Enamel

Your tooth enamel — a hard substance that covers the crown of each tooth — can become worn down over time, causing your teeth to tingle. Acids from sugary drinks and processed foods often break away the enamel surface, making it more sensitive to irritants. Hard toothbrushes are another culprit of tooth enamel erosion, and you might experience a tingly sensation if you brush your teeth too hard.

[RELATED: Do you brush your teeth properly? Find out!]

Your tooth enamel could also be eroded due to

Unfortunately, you can't restore your tooth enamel after it's been damaged, but there are a number of ways you can take better care of your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends you use a soft-bristled brush for teeth cleaning, for example.

Another solution for ceasing wear on the enamel would be to limit your intake of sugary, acidic, and highly-processed foods. Switch to foods that promote oral health, such as cheese, leafy greens, and yogurt.

3. Teeth Grinding

Most people grind their teeth at some point in their lives. Regular teeth grinding, however, increases sensitivity and could damage your jaw bone. Bruxism — the medical name for teeth grinding — affects 10 percent of Americans, and is characterized by a clenching of the teeth, which usually occurs during sleep.

Oftentimes, teeth grinding is a result of stress or anxiety during the day. Other causes can include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, sleep apnea, too much caffeine, and depression. Bruxism sometimes can be a side effect of a new medication as well.

There are a number of treatments for bruxism, and many of these will stop any tingling sensation you experience. A dentist might recommend you wear a mouthguard, for example, or suggest muscle relaxation and breathing techniques to lessen the symptoms.

4. Gum Recession

Gum recession is another cause of teeth tingling. This occurs when the gum tissue pulls away to reveal more of the tooth, creating gaps between the teeth and gum line. When bacteria fills these gaps, you might experience mild sensitivity or a dull pain. Various factors cause gum recession, including genetics, vigorous tooth brushing, and poor oral health.

Even if you take care of your dental hygiene, you might still develop a receding gum line. "Some people may be more susceptible to gum disease," says WebMD. "In fact, studies show that 30 percent of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth."

While your gums can heal, they cannot grow back. However, a surgical procedure called a gum graft can potentially reverse the damage of gum disease. Pinhole surgery is another procedure that's minimally invasive and will help to correct a receded gum line.

Seeing a dental hygienist for a regular cleaning could prevent gum recession getting worse. The hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of your teeth, instantly destroying harmful bacteria. Better oral care, such as flossing, will prevent the bacteria from returning in the future.

What to Do About Tingling Teeth

Teeth tingling is more than a nuisance. It signals that there is an underlying issue with your teeth that you need to resolve. One in eight people experience tooth sensitivity in some form, according to a recent study. Only a dentist, however, knows how to fix the problem and prevent this unwanted sensation from getting worse.

The doctors at Main Street Dental can help with any questions or concerns you have about sensitive teeth. Request an appointment today!

Dental Insurance Waiting Periods

February 6th, 2020

If you haven't had dental insurance recently, you might be overjoyed at the chance to purchase coverage. Dental procedures can be expensive, and you may have even postponed care due to financial concerns. Before you run to the dentist for a root canal or porcelain crown, you should take a good look at your dental policy. Depending on your particular policy, you may well have a waiting period that limits coverage on some procedures for the first months or year after making your first premium payment. Before making a claim, you need to understand exactly what your policy covers and when that coverage kicks in.

Length of Waiting Periods

Dental policies differ wildly. Some dental policies have no waiting period on benefits. For instance, an employer-provided policy usually does not have any waiting period. Once the policy takes effect, the full benefits are available. A few private policies may also come with no waiting period, although they are usually more expensive plans. Unfortunately, many privately purchased policies, including those on the government healthcare marketplace, come with a waiting period that can range from six months to a year or longer. During this time, major dental work is not covered, and some basic procedures may not be either.

Major Dental Work

Major dental work is considered to be procedures such as crowns, root canals, bridges, dentures, and other complicated restorative work. If you need some advanced work done on your teeth, buying a policy doesn't guarantee that you can get that work done when you need it. That means you may end up paying full cost for a crown even though you are paying a monthly premium.

Once you've met the waiting period, your coverage will kick in; however, most policies only cover a percentage of the costs. In fact, they may still only pay 50% of these procedures even after the waiting period. Of course, it depends entirely on your particular insurance plan.

Your dental policy will likely have a yearly cap on it as well, which means that you may have to pay more out of pocket on items that are covered after the waiting period. Dentures, bridges and individual replacement teeth are costly. You can easily exceed a $2500 annual policy limit even with 50% or more coverage.

Preventative Care and Basic Procedures

The good news is that preventative care is usually covered during the waiting period, and if you have a policy, you should take advantage of these services. You can get your teeth cleaned and examined during the waiting period and have it covered under the policy's terms. Some basic procedures may be covered as well, either immediately or after a shorter waiting period, perhaps in three months versus six. In some instances, the work may be covered at 100% or require a reasonable co-payment. Again, the terms of various dental policies differ, even those offered by the same company.

To be certain that you are covered for a specific procedure, you should check with your insurance company before you see your dentist. That way, you won't have any unpleasant financial surprises when you get there.

Waiting Period Dental Care

If you need dental care during your waiting period, you should consult with a dentist. You can take advantage of your preventative exam and discuss whether you can afford to wait for a crown or bridge. If waiting will affect your other teeth or overall health, you need to find a way to proceed. Discuss your financing options with your dental professional.

Buying Coverage

Although dental waiting periods can be frustrating, going without any dental coverage at all can be harmful to your physical, financial and emotional health. Currently, the best and most affordable dental coverage comes through an employer's group policy. You can purchase individual policies, usually at a higher cost and often with a lower level of benefits. Still, just taking advantage of preventative care can keep you from developing serious teeth and gum issues.

Buying coverage now also protects you in the future. You may be problem-free currently but develop an issue six months or a year down the road. Dental insurance, even a less-than-stellar policy, can help you pay for the care you need.

When you have dental questions, you should take them to an experienced dental clinic. Main Street Dental Clinics are staffed with experienced professionals who understand the complexities of dental insurance and can help you plan your care. Don't ignore your dental needs. Consult with an expert dentist before you have a serious problem.

What Does Dental Insurance Normally Cover?

January 6th, 2020

Many Americans don't know what's covered in their dental insurance plans, and an invoice from their dentist's office often surprises them. Here's a guide to what's covered (and what's not) in the majority of dental plans.

What's Usually Covered

Typically, dental insurance will cover the following:

Check-ups

You will need to visit your dentist, usually twice a year. Your insurance plan will usually cover the cost of these check-ups, which means you don't need to pay any additional fees after the service.

X-Rays

If you require x-rays as part of your check-up, your insurance plan will usually cover these, too. X-rays will determine the overall health and condition of your teeth.

Cleanings

If you need a clean as part of your check-up, your insurer will often cover the cost of this service. A cleaning can remove any plaque on your teeth that might cause problems in the future.

All of the above treatments are preventative care procedures. These treatments won't fix any problems with your teeth and gums, but they can prevent you from having oral health issues in the future.

What's Sometimes Covered

This all depends on your insurer, but some dental plans will cover the following:

Fillings

You might require a filling to cover a hole in your tooth. This usually happens as a result of poor diet or oral hygiene practices. This is a simple, common procedure.

Crowns

You might require a crown to replace a damaged or decayed tooth. This process is a little more complicated than having a filling, but many insurance companies will cover the cost of this treatment. If they don't, you might have to pay for all (or some) of the procedure through out-of-pocket expenses.

Tooth Extractions

If you have a tooth that has been severely chipped or decayed, there's a chance you might need to have it removed. Like crowns, some insurance companies cover the cost of tooth extractions.

Root Canal

Root canals are far more common than you might think. In most instances, your insurance company will cover the cost of this treatment, which means you won't have to pay any additional fees. If your insurance company doesn't cover the cost of the above treatments, you may need to pay for a portion of the service through out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure to check and see what is covered by your specific plan.

What's Not Covered

Again, this depends on the insurance plan but, generally, insurance companies won't cover the cost of the following:

Orthodontics

If you need braces or other orthodontic work, your insurer might not cover the costs, especially if you are an adult. Some insurers might pay for some of the treatment, and you will need to pay for the rest. Other insurers will expect you to pay for the whole treatment.

Periodontics

Periodontics refers to the structures that surround the tooth. Unlike some of the procedures above, periodontal treatment can be costly and time-consuming. Most insurers will expect you to cover the cost of this treatment yourself (or at least the majority of it).

Cosmetic Dentistry

Again, insurers won't usually cover cosmetic treatments, such as veneers or teeth whitening. You can either choose to have one of these treatments carried out by your regular dentist or go elsewhere.

It All Depends on the Plan

What's covered in your insurance plan will all depend on the insurer. This is why it's important to do your research and read the small print before you purchase dental insurance. If you have insurance through work, find out what's covered — and what's not.

"Most plans follow the 100-80-50 coverage structure. That means they cover preventive care at 100%, basic procedures at 80%, and major procedures at 50% or a larger co-payment," says Web MD. "But a dental plan may elect not to cover some procedures, such as sealants, at all."

Find a dental plan that caters to your individual circumstances. This will provide you with peace of mind in the event of emergency treatment like a root canal or an extraction.

Military Dental Insurance Plans

November 27th, 2019

Are you an active duty member of the U.S. military or a retiree who has served? First, thank you for your service. We appreciate the sacrifices you and your family have made for our country. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

Here in the southeast Minnesota area, our service members, retirees, and their family members are an integral part of our communities. And Main Street Dental Clinics is proud to provide dental care to our military families. But we understand that many of you have questions about your available dental coverage. So, we’ve put together this overview to help answer some of your questions about military dental insurance and retired military dental insurance.

Tricare Dental Plan

As a member of the military, chances are that you’ve heard of Tricare. This is the predominant medical insurance offered to service members and their families. United Concordia administers the Tricare Dental Plan (TDP).

Who can get TDP?

TDP is available to the dependents of active duty service members. This voluntary dental insurance is also available to eligible members of the National Guard, the Reserve, and their family members. Covered individuals can seek dental services under Tricare within the U.S. and overseas. To be eligible, the family member’s military sponsor must have no less than 12 months remaining of their military service commitment. Unmarried children of service members age out of the plan at 21 years, or if they’re in college when they reach 23 years of age. Enrollment periods are 12 months long.

What are some of the Costs?

TDP costs include cost shares and monthly premiums. The premium amounts differ for single plans and family plans, and the military sponsor’s status determines the amount. Currently, the monthly premium for a single active-duty dependent plan is $11.39, and the family plan premium is $29.62. Reserve member premiums are higher.

Your cost-share is your out-of-pocket expense and varies depending on the type of dental service you receive. There are set contract year maximums and lifetime maximums that apply to certain services.

What does it cover?

TDP addresses preventative care, routine services, fillings, orthodontia, and other select dental care. Some examples include:

  • Exams and x-rays
  • Tooth extractions
  • Oral surgery
  • Root canals
  • Braces
  • Dentures and crowns
  • Some chronic conditions

How do you sign up?

You can visit milConnect to enroll online with a DFAS or DoD Self-Service account. You can also receive enrollment information by phone or USPS. Call 844-653-4061 within the continental U.S. to speak with a United Concordia TDP representative for more information.

Active Duty Military Dental Insurance

While you’re serving in the U.S. military, you typically access dental care on base from military dental professional providers. However, in some situations, you will need to reach out to civilian dentists for care. This may be due to the remote area where you’re located. Or you may need dental services that aren’t available from the on-base provider.

Referrals

Your military dental provider will give you a referral with an Appointment Control Number (ACN) to obtain services from a civilian dentist in-network via United Concordia. You can then contact an eligible dentist directly to set an appointment.

Remote Areas

If you’re stationed in an identified remote area – such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other sites located more than 50 miles from a military dentist – you can receive eligible routine care from civilian in-network dentists. Some services will require prior authorization.

Line of Duty Care – Active Duty Dental Program

Reserve service members may be able to receive LOD emergency dental care while on active duty if they’re injured, fall ill, or contract some form of dental disease and can’t receive ADDP care.

Retired Military Dental Insurance

The Tricare Retiree Dental Plan administered by Delta Dental was the dental insurance offered to military retirees and their family members for several years. But at the end of 2018, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program replaced TRDP.

 

FEDVIP offers coverage under six national dental insurance plans and four regional plans:

  • Aetna Dental
  • Delta Dental
  • FEP BlueDental
  • GEHA
  • MetLife
  • United Concordia Dental
  • Dominion Dental
  • EmblemHealth
  • Humana
  • Triple-S Salud

Eligible retirees and their family members must sign up under the new program to receive coverage, even if they were already previously enrolled in TRDP. Benefits, rates, and premiums vary greatly, depending upon the carrier and plan you choose. You should view the options and compare them to determine what works best for your family.

 

[RELATED: Simple Tips to Reduce Everyday Wear and Tear on Your Teeth From Eating and Drinking]

 

If you reside in the southeast Minnesota area and you’re looking for a dental service provider, consider Main Street Dental Clinics. We offer a full range of family dental care, including emergency dental appointments. Contact us to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Why Does My Tooth Feel Loose?

April 3rd, 2019

We live in a world where strong healthy teeth are a prized possession so it's no wonder people go to great lengths to enhance their teeth because, after all, it's one of the first things that people often notice about us.

What if your teeth aren't as healthy as you thought and you've noticed that one of them has started to feel loose? If this is what you are experiencing right now, understandably, you'll want to know why it's happening and what can be done about it. So, let's look at some of the common causes and solutions to an adult tooth feeling loose.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the most common cause of loose teeth. It's caused by a build-up of bacteria and tartar around the gum line, which over time erodes away the tissue and bone. If this is the reason behind your loose tooth there are two things which can improve it. A deep clean is ideal and can fix the problem if the tooth is a little loose but in the case of a very loose tooth, the best form of treatment would be a splinting procedure as this supports the damaged tooth while the gums strengthen and heal around it.

Mouth Injury

Any trauma directly to the mouth or lower face can impact on your teeth and cause them to loosen. If your mobile tooth is a result of an injury of this kind, you may be tempted to wiggle it with your tongue. Try to refrain from doing this because it will only loosen it further. If you can leave it alone, the gum supporting the tooth should heal thus securing the tooth back into position.

Grinding

Grinding your teeth on a regular basis will not only damage the enamel around the tooth but over time it can loosen them as well. Many people who grind their teeth do it at night while they are sleeping. If this is the case it's best to wear a mouthguard at night as this will prevent further damage to your teeth and allow them to heal and repair.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition which is usually seen in women over the age of fifty. The disease affects bone density, causing bones and gums to weaken. This typically affects the bone in the gums and as a result, can lead to receding gums and even tooth loss. The best course of preventative action is to increase your calcium intake through foods or supplements as this will help to strengthen your jaw.

Medications

While prescribed medications are often beneficial, there can be side effects. Both prescribed steroids and acid reflux medications have been shown to cause calcium deficiencies which can weaken the jaw. If you suspect that a medication is affecting your teeth, discuss it with your physician and dentist to see what can be done.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman's hormones change and the surge of estrogen and progesterone can negatively impact the gums, causing teeth to become less rigid. While it is a cause for concern, the good news is that it's often temporary. Once you have had your baby and your hormones start to settle down, your gums should be restored to their pre-pregnancy state.

Visit Your Dentist

If one of your teeth has loosened it's always best to go and see your dentist. They will be able to examine and monitor the damaged area and recommend the best course of action.

What Dentists REALLY Think During Your Exam and Other Reasons Not to Be Embarrassed at the Dentist

April 1st, 2019

One-third of the U.S. population has skipped out on necessary dental treatments or preventive care due to anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. Are you one of the millions of Americans that avoid the dentist out of anxiety or embarrassment? Just know that you're not alone!

Dentists have heard and seen it all and are prepared to walk you through your worries, anxiety, and concerns in order to get you the care you need. The doctors at Main Street Dental take your comfort especially serious. But, you don't need to take our word for it. See what our patients say about the care we provide:

Blooming Prairie Reviews

Mankato Reviews

New Richland Reviews

Owatonna Reviews

Rochester Reviews

Besides having a caring and professional dental team on your side, it's comforting to realize what your dentist is really thinking during your appointment and that you have no reason to feel embarrassed.

4 Things Your Dentist Is Thinking During Your Dental Exam

Fear of pain and of being judged are usually at the top of the list of reasons that keep otherwise rational and health-conscious adults from going to the dentist. Despite the fact that the American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends a dental exam and professional cleaning every six months to a year to maintain your oral health and prevent tooth decay and gum disease, many people skip going to the dentist until something goes wrong. In extreme cases, dental phobias are so strong that people choose to live with pain, which can lead to serious oral and even bigger health problems.

But the good news is that it's never too late to go to the dentist, whether your last appointment was three, 10 or even 30 years ago!

If you are afraid that your dentist might judge you and your dental habits, remember that dentists are trained professionals whose career and livelihood revolves around helping you get the dental care you need.

Here are a few things dentists wishes you knew about what they're really thinking during your appointment.

1. They can tell if you've been flossing (so don't bother lying about it).

Dentists do not have a crystal ball that magically lets them in on your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits — your gums tell them everything they need to know. Rather than feeling guilty or embarrassed about the fact that you have been neglecting regular flossing, schedule an appointment for a checkup and cleaning to get an accurate assessment of your oral health, and go from there. Good oral hygiene habits do not have an expiration date — you can start any time.

While you're likely to hear the consequences of not flossing from your dentist, here's a quick reminder of what can happen if flossing isn't part of your dental hygiene routine:

  1. bad breath
  2. gum disease
  3. cavities
  4. tooth loss
  5. weight gain
  6. pneumonia

If you're concerned about your dentist noticing the lack of flossing you've been doing, just floss! It's not too late to start.

2. They wish you had come in sooner.

The longer you put off dental treatment, the more damage you are likely to have by way of tooth decay or gum disease. As medical professionals, dentists want what is best for your teeth and gums, and they are strong advocates of preventive treatment.

You may even be someone who takes care of your smile diligently; however, going to the dentist regularly is still essential for the health of your entire mouth. Dentists can detect problems that you might not see or feel. If you visit the dentist regularly, they will be able to take measures to prevent the problem from progressing. If you wait too long, there will be more time and money involved in fixing the issue.

Normally, people can get away with visiting the dentist twice a year. There are some groups of people, however, who should consider seeing the dentist more often. High-risk groups include:

  1. pregnant women
  2. smokers
  3. people with gum disease
  4. diabetics
  5. people with weak immune systems for bacterial infections
  6. people who are prone to getting cavities or plaque buildup

Don't put off seeing the dentist before it's too late. Visiting your dentist every six months will save time, money, and pain.

3. They wish you'd kick your smoking/sugar/alcohol habit.

The things that are bad for your general health are also bad for your teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing every day and going in for preventive dental treatment, a healthy diet low in sugar and alcohol (and no smoking!) is also an important factor in your oral health. You may already know that eating and drinking too much sugar can lead to cavities, but alcohol dries out your mouth, limiting the flow of saliva that is essential to neutralizing harmful oral bacteria.

Smoking is proven to be damaging to your body, including to the health of your mouth. Smoking can lead to stained teeth, gum disease, tooth loss, and even mouth cancer. Smokers may find that they have bad breath more often than non-smokers. A short-term solution to this would be mouthwash to kill the bacteria in your mouth. Although, it won't cure the bad breath or any other oral ailment.

4. They're not here to judge you.

As health professionals, dentists aren't interested in judging you or making you feel bad. All they really care about is your oral health. Rather than worrying about what they might think of you on a personal level, think of dentists as partners who are on your side and working to protect your oral health.

The most important goal the doctors at Main Street Dental Clinics have is to provide comfortable and quality dental care to all patients. No set of teeth will come as a surprise to them. If it's been a while since you've seen the dentist, and you're in the southeast Minnesota area, request your FREE dental exam and X-rays here!

6 Things That Can Happen When You Don't Go to the Dentist

March 29th, 2019

Brushing, flossing, and proper nutrition are key for good health. But good personal dental habits may not be enough to prevent dental issues and disease. To maintain good overall health, you should include consistent dental visits. Failure to do so may have dire consequences.

Potential Effects of Insufficient Dental Care

Most people understand the most common consequences of avoiding the dentist. You may suffer from cavities and gum disease. And these issues can get far worse over time. The longer you delay dental care, the more damage you may suffer.

1. Tooth Loss

Untreated tooth decay and gum disease can lead to the loss of one or more of your teeth. Regular check-ups can identify problems before they advance to that point. But neglect and no dental treatment are a recipe for pain and loss.

2. Gum Disease

Long term neglect is a common cause of periodontal disease of the gums. If you’re ignoring tender, inflamed, and bleeding gums, you may be inviting periodontitis. Early intervention with a deep cleaning at the dentist can stop this disease in its tracks.

3. Oral Cancer

Screenings for oral cancer are a vital part of preventative dental care. Early detection may be helpful for the prevention of mouth cancer. These screening are even more important when you’re in a high-risk group. This includes smokers, heavy drinkers, and people with a history of extreme sun exposure.

4. Other Health Problems

Poor dental care can affect far more than the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Every part of your body is interconnected. Neglecting one system can have a detrimental impact on your overall health. For example, periodontal disease is linked to many diseases.

  • Heart disease: Research shows that oral bacteria may cause or worsen some cardiovascular conditions, like endocarditis and stroke.
  • Dementia: Many studies show a correlation between poor dental health and mental decline from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Respiratory infections: Increased bacteria from periodontitis may cause more distress for those suffering from respiratory disease.
  • Diabetes complications: Inflammation from gum disease can worsen some symptoms of diabetes.
  • Pregnancy complications: Low fetal weight and early labor are possible consequences of periodontitis.
  • Infertility: Sperm health and the ability to conceive may take a hit from poor oral health.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Research shows a link between chronic periodontitis and ED.
  • Osteoporosis: Brittle bones are another condition that may be linked to gum disease.

5. More Sick Days

Pain from toothaches and related illnesses have financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources reported 20.5 million missed work days related to dental health problems. It impacts education, too. Statistics for missed school reveal that 51 million hours of school were lost to poor dental health in a single year.

6. Cosmetic Issues

Health issues are your most serious concern. But even if you’re lucky enough to avoid disease, your appearance may suffer. Cracked, chipped, and stained teeth are potential hazards of insufficient dental care. Bad breath may be an issue, as well.

Dental Care for Better Health

Visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and seeking dental treatment, when indicated, are key to better health. But even if you’ve neglected this care for many years, you can still benefit from a return to the dentist. Dentistry has undergone many advancements. Many treatment options are available for ailing gums. You may even still be able to save failing teeth with a root canal.

Implants and dentures can replace missing teeth and improve how you look and feel. It’s never too late to pursue good dental health, and an experienced dental professional can guide you.

Have you been avoiding the dentist for several years? The dental team at Main Street Dental is prepared to help you with your dental care needs. Contact our team today to schedule an exam.

What Does a Numb Mouth Mean?

March 25th, 2019

If you have a numb or tingling feeling in your mouth, tongue, lips or gums, it can be quite a strange and sometimes frightening experience. The good news is that a numb mouth is usually nothing to worry about and can be treated and relieved easily.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common reasons for a numb feeling in the mouth and what you can do to relieve the problem.

What are the Symptoms of a Numb Mouth?

Numbness can be described as a loss of feeling or sensation in a particular body part. You may feel numbness in your leg if you have been sitting down for a long period of time or in your hand if you fall asleep on your arm. This type of numbness can usually be relieved by shaking out and moving that body part to get the blood flowing freely again to nerves and blood vessels. Numbness in the mouth, on the other hand, is a less common occurrence and may need further investigation or action.

Also known as perioral numbness, mouth numbness is an odd sensation, especially if it has occurred for no obvious reason. You may feel it on one side of the mouth, just the tongue or throughout the mouth. Unlike hand or leg numbness, it can sometimes take a little more time to find the cause of mouth numbness and the appropriate treatment. For this reason, it is often important that you follow up with your doctor or dentist as soon as you notice the problem.

Common Causes of Mouth Numbness

Mouth numbness is often caused by irritation or pressure to the nerves in the mouth. There are many different causes, including:

Allergic Reaction

If your mouth comes into contact with a food type, substance or chemical that your immune system recognizes as harmful, your body will react. Often, the first signs of an allergic reaction are swelling and tingling in the mouth. This is your body's way of telling you to stop ingesting the substance that is triggering this reaction.

Autoimmune Diseases

There are a number of autoimmune diseases that cause the body to attack itself. This can cause widespread inflammation in any area of the body including the mouth. If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease such as Multiple Sclerosis or Lupus, see your doctor immediately at the first sign of mouth numbness.

Infections

Viral infections such as shingles and bacterial infections like Lyme disease can result in nerve injury and inflammation in the mouth. If you are experiencing numbness or paralysis of the mouth or tongue out of the blue, make an appointment with your primary care doctor for further investigation. If you have recently received dental treatment, speak to your dentist in the first instance.

Cavities

A cavity in your tooth can also be the cause of mouth numbness. This occurs when the nerves in the lips or mouth become slightly inflamed. You should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further nerve damage from occurring.

Vitamin or Mineral Imbalance

Certain vitamins, such as vitamin D and vitamin B12 are essential to maintaining the healthy functioning of nerves. If you have a deficiency of either or both of these vitamins this can lead to nerve injury and damage. Conversely, mouth numbness can also be caused by exposure to too much vitamin B6.

A calcium deficiency can also cause tingling in the mouth and other symptoms such as muscle cramps and hyperventilation. In most cases, over-the-counter vitamin and mineral supplements are effective at treating these symptoms. See your healthcare provider for further guidance if required.

When to See a Doctor

If you have not recently received dental treatment and you experience sudden mouth numbness on its own or alongside other symptoms such as fever, facial or muscle pain or swelling, see your doctor for a diagnosis.

When it is an Emergency

It is rare that mouth numbness is caused by a serious condition, but if you have difficulty breathing, facial drooping or weakness in other body parts, you should call 911 immediately. Difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing, throat tightening and hives can all be signs of a severe allergic reaction. Again, call 911 immediately.

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