The Spirit Dental Blog | Stay In The Know

Endodontics & Other Dental Terms You Ought to Know

endodontics

The world of dental care is filled with its own terms that you might have never heard of before. And that could make things pretty confusing pretty quickly. So knowing a variety of dental terms before your appointment could help ensure that you won’t be caught off guard when your dentist throws a new word at you. Plus, when you’re more informed, you might even have fewer questions to ask your dentist, or you might be ready to ask more in-depth questions about your oral health and treatment options.

To help you become a more empowered dental patient, we’ve compiled a list of some of the many dental terms that you ought to know.

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Pregnancy/Prenatal Care and Your Oral Health

pregnancy prenatal care

Did you know that it’s a good idea to take extra steps to maintain your dental hygiene while you’re pregnant? There’s a connection between your pregnancy and your oral health, and how you take care of your mouth could even have an impact on the well-being of your child. So check out the prenatal oral care tips below to ensure you can keep both your mouth and your baby as healthy as possible.

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Senior Dental Care | What You Should Know

senior dental care

Like other aspects of our health, our teeth and gums become increasingly vulnerable to a range of conditions as we get older. But all hope is certainly not lost. Simply being aware of the risks, and taking the appropriate steps to minimize those risks, could help you maintain that gorgeous smile long into your golden years.

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The Cost of Dental Implants Broken Down

a guy calculating of costs of dental implants on a calculator.

Dental implants are really popular, and for good reason. Not only do they look and function just like real teeth but they’re also designed to last a long time too. So if you have a tooth that is beyond repair or you lost a tooth in an accident, your dentist might recommend getting an implant to restore your beautiful smile.

But, wait, how much is a dental implant going to cost you? After all, this is a pretty intensive procedure that takes time and a skilled expert to get the job done right. To help answer this common question, we’ve broken down the cost of dental implants below to give you an idea of what you can expect when you take the plunge.

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Breastfeeding and Dental Health | The Connection

breast feeding

One of the most important decisions that you will make for your newborn is whether or not you will breastfeed. And you might already know about some of the many benefits that your milk could provide to your baby, such as a boost to his or her immune system. But what about your baby’s dental health? And what about your dental health? Is there a connection between oral health and breastfeeding, for both mom and baby?

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Medical and Dental - Bridging the Gap

bridging the gap

As we move into 2018 and start a new year, we have an opportunity to embrace a fresh start when it comes to our health and wellness. But if you choose a health insurance plan to help cover your medical expenses for the next 12 months, what you might have noticed is that it doesn’t include coverage for dental care. And, unfortunately, that’s the norm.

Whether your insurance provider does not offer dental insurance at all, or they do but you can’t afford their plans, there are other options. Keep reading to learn about how you can bridge the gap between your medical and dental insurance needs.

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Nutrition Labels: What's to Come and What We Should Focus On

nutrition labels

Do you make it a point to read nutrition labels when you’re shopping for your groceries? Smart strategy! Knowing the ingredients in packaged food, as well as other important tidbits like the number of calories and the amount of fat and cholesterol in a serving, will help you make the best choices for your health.

But did you know that nutrition labels are set to change? We’ve gathered some info on what you can expect, as well as when you can expect these changes to take effect.

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How Are Dental Claims Handled?

dental claims handled

Have you ever wondered about how your dental claims are handled after you receive treatment and you have insurance? Below is a quick summary of what your dentist does to ensure proper payment for any procedures that you have undergone, along with a few tips on how to submit a dental claim yourself whenever that’s necessary.

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Does Holiday Stress Have You Biting Your Nails?

holiday stress biting nails

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but it’s also the most stressful time of the year, isn’t it? For a lot of people, the holiday season is one that’s filled with busy days, family drama, and concerns about budgeting for gift shopping. So it’s no wonder that so many people start exhibiting some pretty bad habits, like nail biting, as a result of all of the tension.

Are you the type of person who bites their nails when frazzled? Then you might find yourself chewing on your nails more often than usual as the holidays approach and the year draws to a close. But did you know that this habit could harm your teeth?

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Fun, Healthy Holiday Treats

fun healthy holiday treats

‘Tis the season for tasty treats! But before you overindulge by digging into too many sugary desserts that aren’t good for your waistline or your teeth, check out the fun and healthy holiday treats that we’ve compiled below.

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Maintaining Dental Health with Diabetes

diabetes

Did you know that if you have diabetes, your risk of oral health problems might be higher? But don’t worry; there are some easy steps you can take daily to support the strength of your teeth and gums. With the right strategy, you’ll be able to maintain that lovely smile for years to come, so check out the tips below to get started.

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5 Tips For A Brighter Smile This Holiday Season

holiday smile

The holiday season is here again, which means it’s time to celebrate with delicious feasts and tasty treats. But before you overindulge, consider the health of your teeth and gums, which might take a hit as you focus on having fun at all of those holiday parties.

To help you maintain a brighter, healthier smile throughout this holiday season, we’ve compiled five tips that are easy to follow. Check them out below and get ready to impress your dentist at your next checkup.


  1. Choose Holiday Foods Wisely

Eating right throughout the holiday season won’t only help you maintain your waistline; it could also help you maintain your lovely smile. Try to follow these guidelines whether you’re at a family gathering or your annual office party:

  • Try and limit the amount of candy that you indulge in so you can keep all of that sugar off of your teeth in hopes of preventing cavities. Also consider choosing chocolate instead of other sugary, sticky sweets. Chocolate tends to wash off the teeth with greater ease than, say, a candy cane.
  • Help undo some of the damage of all of the sweet treats you eat by having a variety of crunchy vegetables and fruits. Also choose whole grains over refined carbs, and opt for water rather than sugary beverages.
  • When you don’t want to drink plain water, stick with beverages that are clear or light in color, rather than dark drinks like red wine. Doing so may help prevent stains and keep your teeth whiter.
  1.  Stick to Your Routine

The hectic holiday season could make it easy for anyone to feel too tired or distracted to stick to an oral hygiene routine. But going to bed without brushing your teeth or failing to floss at least once a day could be a recipe for new cavities in the new year. So no matter how many parties you have to attend or how much traveling you have to do, it’s highly recommended that you do your best to keep your mouth-cleaning routine the same. In other words, your daily schedule might change, but your brushing and flossing schedule shouldn’t.

  1. Take Your Toothbrush with You

Yep, that’s right, it’s a good idea to take your toothbrush with you when you head off to a holiday party. Just buy a mini toothbrush, mini toothpaste, and a mini package of floss that will easily fit into your purse or pocket. Then, when you’re done eating, you could head to the bathroom and freshen up your mouth. This may not work if you’re at a fancy party, but it could work just fine if you’re at a family gathering. Plus, if you’re too tired to brush when you get home, it’ll already be done!

Okay, we know it might be a little weird to take your teeth cleaning kit with you when you’re off celebrating the holidays. So if that’s not really your thing, consider just chewing on some sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum, including spicy cinnamon gum, helps freshen breath while stimulating the production of saliva, which helps flush away food particles.

  1. Try Not To Use Your Teeth As Gift Openers

If you find yourself having trouble opening up a present, you might be tempted to use your teeth, but don’t do it. If you try to use your teeth as tools, you increase the risk of injuring your gums or your jaw, and you might even crack a tooth. Now that’s a recipe for disaster, especially when your dentist’s office is closed for the holiday! So whether you’re having trouble with a package or a bottle, grab the appropriate tool to get it open, and only use your teeth for chewing food.

  1. Don’t Be Naughty – Keep Your Dental Appointments!

Despite the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year, try your best to stick to your dental appointments. If you have a checkup or a cleaning coming up, it’s best to go rather than to reschedule. In this way, if there are problems brewing in your teeth or gums, you can catch them so they won’t get in the way of your holiday fun. And if you know that you should see your dentist shortly after New Year’s, this is a great time to schedule your appointment so you won’t forget.

The end of the year is also a good time to evaluate your dental insurance needs. You can look for a plan that will be affordable and give you the coverage you need for the next 12 months so you’ll have peace of mind that your smile will remain bright and beautiful until the next holiday season rolls around.

See? We told you that our five tips would be easy to implement. Now go ahead and take in everything that this special time of year has to offer!

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What Are We Thankful For? Dental Benefits!

thankful

With Thanksgiving and all of the end-of-the-year holidays approaching, it’s a perfect time to reflect on everything that we’re grateful for. And one thing that we are definitely thankful for is dental insurance.

If you have dental insurance, you already know about the peace of mind that this type of coverage can provide, and it may have already helped you save a lot of money too. If don’t yet have dental insurance, below are a few of the reasons why so many people love it.


Preventive Care: Keeping Major Problems at Bay

When it comes to your dental health, preventive care can go a long way towards—you guessed it—preventing expensive, major problems that would otherwise occur later on. Want to avoid the dreaded root canal, as an example? Seeing your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup, x-rays, and cleanings will help him or her spot minor problems and fix them before they escalate. And that could save you a lot of time, money, and pain in the long run.

The great thing about dental insurance is that it could cover most or all of those routine checkups and necessary procedures that your dentist uses to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. And every time you see your dentist, he or she can give you even more tips on how to keep your teeth and gums super clean. Trust us, that personalized information is invaluable.

Basic Procedures: Get Your Teeth and Gums Back to a Healthy State

Sometimes, even when you see your dentist on schedule and you do your best to keep your teeth and gums clean at home, problems still arise. For example, you might have a cavity in between your teeth caused by debris that flossing missed, or your enamel might wear down over time. Thankfully, your dentist knows how to fix those problems in the most efficient and pain-free ways.

Receiving basic care in the form of dental fillings for cavities, as one example, can be pricey. But if you have the right dental insurance plan already in place, you could rest assured that at least part of your bill will be covered on your behalf. After all, getting your teeth filled shouldn’t drill a hole in your wallet too, right?

Major Services: When Decay Has Gone Too Far

While a basic filling might suffice sometimes, other times, it isn’t enough. Sometimes the decay in a tooth is so bad that your dentist will have to perform a more intense procedure. And he or she might recommend getting a crown, implant, or bridge to make your teeth look their best.

The more advanced the dental procedure, and the more visits that are required to complete it, the more expensive it will all be. Once again, though, dental insurance can come to your rescue. Choosing a plan that covers major services and that comes with the added perk of a whopping $5,000 annual maximum* could help you get the treatment you need without breaking the bank.

Emergencies: You Can’t Predict What’s Going to Happen

Whether it’s due to a sports injury or an accident, a dental emergency could happen at any time. A chipped tooth or a tooth that has been pushed right out of its socket needs to be treated as soon as possible in order to salvage it.

It’s certainly helpful to be prepared by knowing what you can do during a dental emergency to increase the odds that a tooth can be saved. The other step that you can take in advance involves simply shopping for a dental insurance plan that will help pay for the cost of expensive emergency treatments. Ahh, what a relief!

Think Dental Insurance Is Expensive? Think Again!

In terms of price, dental insurance is probably more affordable than you think. There are a variety of individual and family plans available that will cover what you need at a price that you’re comfortable with. You can even choose from plans that have networks or that give you more freedom to choose your dentist. And there are plans that have no waiting periods, which means you don’t have to wait to receive the care that you need to make your mouth healthy again. Aren’t you glad dental insurance providers have your back?

Ultimately, a dental benefits package is all about giving you peace of mind and helping you save money, which is why we’re so thankful for it. Like other forms of insurance, this is an investment into your health, so it’s definitely worthwhile. Start shopping for your ideal plan today!

*The $5,000 annual maximum plan(s) may not be available in all states.

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Oral Health and Genetics

oral health and genetics

Have you ever wondered if your genes play a role in how resistant your teeth are to decay and how healthy your gums are? Well, it turns out that, yes, like other medical conditions, oral health problems could be genetic. So if your family has a history of conditions that affect the teeth and gums, you might be at an increased risk of developing those problems as well, regardless of how strict you are with your oral hygiene routine. Check out the information below to learn more.

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How to Prepare For Your First Dental Implant Procedure

first dental implants

Your dentist might suggest a dental implant when he or she is unable to salvage one of your teeth. Rather than being left with a missing tooth, a dental implant can be used, as it will look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. It’s no wonder that this is such a popular dental procedure!

If you’ve opted to get a dental implant, knowing what to expect will help you move through this new experience with confidence and ease. So check out the information below on how you can prepare.


The Evaluation

When getting a dental implant, you might be required to sit through more than one surgical procedure, so you may not be able to get it all done in one day. Before getting started, your dentist will thoroughly evaluate you to determine exactly what steps should be taken. He or she will likely perform a complete exam, and then a treatment plan will be designed specifically for you, taking into account things like the health of your jawbone and the number of teeth that are going to be replaced with implants.

Throughout this process, you might end up meeting with a few different dental specialists, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and a periodontist. Any evaluation or consultation is a perfect time to ask questions, as well as talk about medications that you take and any medical conditions that you’re currently dealing with. Whether you take supplements, over-the-counter medications, or prescriptions, share this information with your provider so that he or she can make the appropriate decisions for your care to avoid complications.

This may seem like a lot, but don’t worry, as it will all be worth it in the end when you have that beautiful, complete smile again!

The Payment Options

Because dental implant procedures may require multiple trips to your dentist, and because they are so involved, the cost could be quite high. This is why it is a great idea to discuss payment options with your dentist in advance so you will know what to expect.

If you don’t want to pay for everything out-of-pocket, look into dental insurance. Providers like  Spirit can help cover the costs of dental implants and other major services*. That should definitely put your mind at ease!

The Big Day

Once you have been evaluated and your dentist has set you up with an appointment for your dental implant, it’s time to do some prep work at home the night before the procedure and the day of the procedure.

  • You may be required to fast before your appointment, depending upon the sedation that will be used. Also, make plans to have someone drive you to your appointment and take you home. And if your dentist has prescribed any medications to take prior to the procedure, such as antibiotics, follow his or her instructions regarding when to take the medicine.
  • It’s a good idea to prepare some soft foods in advance so you won’t have to worry about making yourself food after your procedure. Foods like soups, smoothies, and pastas are great choices, as your mouth will be sensitive and these are easy to prepare and store ahead of time.  
  • It might be tough, but getting plenty of sleep the night before your appointment will help your body be ready for the procedure, as well as the recovery that will follow. Then, on the day of the procedure, wear comfortable clothing, take any oral sedatives that were prescribed, and do your best to relax. You’re in good hands!

It’s recommended that you plan to take at least three days following your implant procedure to just take care of yourself. Get loads of rest and follow your dentist’s instructions to allow healing to occur. Go ahead and take a few days off from school or work; you deserve it!

Enjoy the Results!

Once your dental implant procedure is complete and you’re all healed, you should find that your new tooth feels comfortable and functions just like your other teeth. You’ll be ready to smile bright again, and you’ll have a full set of chompers that you can use to indulge in all of your favorite foods!  

*Missing teeth prior to coverage are not eligible. Please review plan details prior to purchase.

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Open Enrollment: Time To Start Planning

open enrollment

It’s that time of year again; open enrollment is here! That means it’s your chance to shop for the right health insurance plan, especially if you aren’t currently covered or you aren’t happy with your existing coverage for any reason.

What should you know about open enrollment in order to make the most of it? Check out the information below to learn the ins and outs.

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Preparation for Wisdom Teeth Removal

preparing for wisdom teeth

Oh boy, your dentist has told you that you need to have your wisdom tooth—or teeth—removed. First, take a deep breath, and rest assured that this is a common procedure that is performed countless times every day by professionals all over the country. To get you prepared for the operation, here are a few helpful tips on what to do as well as what you can expect throughout the process.


First, Ask Lots of Questions

To begin preparing for your oral surgery, you should ask plenty of questions (and you probably have a ton of them, right?). Don’t hesitate, don’t be afraid, and don’t be embarrassed to ask these questions, as any good provider will be happy to talk with you to put your mind at ease.

You might want to know what the recovery will be like, how many wisdom teeth are being removed, how your teeth will be removed, and how difficult the surgery will be. You might also want to know if there is the possibility that nerve damage will occur as a result of the extractions, and you could also ask for an estimate of how long the procedure will take.

Basically, by asking all of these questions, you can get specific answers about your teeth and the procedure that you will be going through. Asking questions is the best way to get all of the facts as you prepare for what’s ahead.

Prepping for the Day of the Surgery

The good thing about wisdom tooth removal is that it’s almost always going to be an outpatient procedure. This means that you will be able to go in for the procedure and then leave once it’s over and you have recovered. That’s good news!

Has your dentist told you that he or she will use general anesthesia to remove your wisdom teeth? In the days leading up to the procedure, it will be necessary to get in touch with a friend or family member who will be able to drive you to the oral surgeon and back home. You don’t want to be driving while woozy from the anesthesia!

Also, if general anesthesia will be used, there will likely be restrictions set upon what you can eat and when you can eat prior to the procedure. For example, the dentist may tell you that you need to start fasting the night before your appointment, as the anesthesia might make you feel nauseous and cause you to vomit. Be sure to follow these instructions closely.

Keep in mind, too, that prescription medications may not be safe to take prior to your surgery, so ask your dentist about what you should do if you take medicine daily for any reason. And even if you take over-the-counter medications that you can get without a prescription, it’s best to ask your dentist about taking them the day of your surgery, just to be sure it’s safe.

You might also be given antibiotics prior to and after your procedure, so it’s important to remember to take those according to your dentist’s instructions, as they could help prevent infection.

Here’s What You Can Expect

Not all wisdom tooth removals will be the same, as some are more complicated than others, especially if the teeth are impacted or infected.

Generally, though, in order to remove a wisdom tooth, the oral surgeon will start by making an incision in your gums in order to properly expose the wisdom tooth. Then he or she will remove bone in order to get to the root and remove the tooth in its entirety.

After the extraction is complete, it’s time to clean the area, stitch up the wound, if necessary, and put a piece of gauze over the extraction so that a blood clot can form and bleeding can stop.

What About After the Surgery?

Your dentist will be able to give you instructions on how to take care of your mouth following the extraction of one or more wisdom teeth. You may be advised to keep your head up and use a cold compress to help reduce swelling—there might be quite a bit of swelling and maybe some bruising.

Your dentist will also give you pain medications that you can take, and will likely advise that you get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Also, you might not be able to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for at least a day after the procedure.

It’s a good idea to stick with soft foods and liquids, such as lukewarm soup, applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, pasta, smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream (yay!) so that you don’t irritate the area where a tooth was removed in the days following the surgery.

Try to Remain Calm—We Know It’s Hard!

It’s totally normal to feel nervous about having your wisdom teeth removed, but experts recommend getting as much rest as possible the night before your procedure. It might be hard to get some sleep, but resting will help your body and mind remain as alert as possible the day of your surgery, and it could help prepare your body for healing afterwards.

Get the Support of a Great Dental Insurance

The info above will hopefully help when it comes to reducing your fears as you prepare for wisdom tooth removal. But to ease your mind regarding the financial burden of having this procedure done, consider signing up for a dental insurance plan that will cover the cost of major services.

Once your problematic wisdom teeth are removed successfully, you should start feeling better within a few days if you follow your dentist’s instructions closely. So if your wisdom teeth are causing you problems and your dentist has recommended extraction, view this as a positive step towards having a healthy, pain-free mouth again.

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Time For An Appointment: Overcoming Dental Visit Anxiety

overcoming dental anxiety

It’s totally normal to be nervous when you have to see the dentist. Ask around and you’re sure to find that a good percentage of people will tell you that they dread trips to the dentist, and they may even postpone making appointments because they get so anxious. But the truth is that you do need to see your dentist regularly to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy for many years to come.

Dental appointments are a part of life, but they don’t need to be terrifying, and you can rest assured that you don’t have to feel anxiety when you go to the dentist. With the tips below, you could overcome your fear and receive the care necessary to maintain that gorgeous smile.

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Spirit Extras - Beyond the Plan

spirit extras

There’s more to Spirit than the dental plans that we offer. In fact, there are quite a few extra perks and benefits that you may not be aware of, so we thought we’d outline them below so that you can get to know Spirit a little better.

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Teeth Whitening Strips OR Professional Whitening

teeth whitening strips

Everyone loves a big, bright, white smile. And everyone can have a brilliant smile, thanks to the many whitening products and treatments that are on the market today. But what’s better: your typical over-the-counter whitening strips, or the professional whitening treatment that your dentist offers? We break down the pros and cons of each of these popular options below so that you can make the right choice for your teeth.

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Jodi has worked with me to get the right date for payment and made something usually very tedious into a 1, 2, 3 and done! She is great!!!
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