Learn great tips and tricks from our top contributor, Captain Smiles. We've got answers and info to help you maintain healthy dental health at Spirit Dental!

Dental Insurance Crisis - Dental Insurance - Medicaid Advantage Dental Insurance

The national debate on health insurance has dominated the headlines ever since President Obama was elected and made health care reform one of his first mandates. Ignored in all this is the dental insurance crisis. 
Over one hundred million Americans do not have dental insurance and the lack of coverage is leading to such probles as school absense, unemployment, and even death. Experts say that the most common disease among children is chronic dental decay. 
Nationally it is estimated that over 51 million school hours are lost each year because of children with dental problems. It is frustrating because these problems and loss of productivity are completely preventable.

One third of the population of the United States does not have dental insurance. Its a catch 22 situation. The answer of course is to buy dental insurance and the main reason people do not have dental insurance is because they simply can't afford it.

Medicaid only provides dental insurance to low income families in only nine state's. Most dentists in those states refuse to accept it because the payouts are so unreasonably low. There is a dental crisis going on in this country and it is one of the many items that were overlooked during health care reform.

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Free Dental Cleanings - Spirit Dental - Free Preventative Cleanings

Spirit Dental Insurance is one of the most popular dental plans in the country. One of the top reasons for that is that the plan offers three free dental cleanings per year as opposed to two with other dental insurance plans.

Your teeth are one of the first things that anyone notices about you. Having an extra cleaning every year keeps them cleaner and whiter, making them more attractive to others. Tom Mayer of Direct benefits says that is just one of the many reasons that Spirit is the best dental insurance plan in the country.

Spirit was designed to be a ground-breaking dental insurance plan. There are no waiting periods. You can start using your plan right away. Major services are covered, which include crowns, root canals, dental implants, dentures and bridges.

Another great feature is that you have the option of $1,200, $2,000, and $3,000 deductibles. The majority of dental plans have $1,000 yearly deductibles and that doesn't go very far at the dentist's office when something major happens.

If you are looking for a great dental plan, Spirit Dental just may be the right plan for you and your family.

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Dental Spending - Dental Spending Decline - Dental Care

Patients spent less out-of-pocket and dental spending declined slightly in 2009, the first year-to-year decline since government analysts began tracking the National Health Expenditure Accounts in 1960. Dental spending per capita also declined which is certainly another sign of the recession.

The economic recession that officially ended in June 2009 "profoundly influenced" health care spending during the year, according to a report prepared by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary National Health Accounts and described in the journal Health Affairs.

Government analysts said a slower rate of growth in consumer out-of-pocket spending for health care compared to 2008 "was due mainly to declines in out-of-pocket spending for dental services, services provided by nursing care facilities, and physician and clinical services, sectors that account for a relatively large share of out-of-pocket spending.

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Dental Drill Noise - Dentist Fear - Noise Cancelling

It is widely known that the sound of the dental drill is the prime cause of anxiety about dental treatment, and some patients avoid trips to the dentist because of it. This new device could help address people's fears and encourage them to seek the oral healthcare treatment they need.

The prototype device works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones but is designed to deal with the very high pitch of the dental drill. Patients would simply unplug their headphones, plug the device into their MP3 player or mobile phone, and then plug the headphones into the device, allowing them to listen to their own music while completely blocking out the unpleasant sound of the drill and suction equipment. The patient can still hear the dentist and other members of the dental team speaking to them but other unwanted sounds are filtered out by the device.

Containing a microphone and a chip that analyses the incoming sound wave, the device produces an inverted wave to cancel out unwanted noise. It also uses technology called 'adaptive filtering' where electronic filters lock onto sound waves and removes them, even if the amplitude and frequency change as the drill is being used.

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February is National Dental Health Month - focus on children's habits now

Everyone knows that brushing every day is a key to strong, healthy teeth - but that's not all there is to do.  

Figures from the Adult Dental Health Survey reveal that common dental products such as mouthwash and dental floss aren't being used as part of an all-round routine, with just 31% of people using mouthwash and just 22% using floss.

The same data also showed 42% of adults only use a toothbrush and toothpaste, with only 27% saying they use an electric brush.

That could be why two in every three adults have visible plaque, and also why one in three children will start school with obvious dental decay.

That's also one reason why the American Dental Association (ADA) promotes February as National Dental Health Month, and often has a focus on children's oral and dental health, so as to star the right habits early.  

Some common tips to teach children about dental care include:

Start healthy habits early. The standards are:

  • Brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, or for better results, brush after every meal.
  • Floss teeth daily, or use an interdental cleaner to remove plaque from the gumline area and the sides of the teeth.
  • Limit the number of between-meal snacks.
  • Visit the dentist regularly.

Keep on the look out for Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually caused by plaque that produces toxins which irritate gum tissue. During puberty, gums can become more sensitive to these toxins because of hormonal changes. If your kids notice any of the following signs of gum disease, take them to the dentist:

  • chronic bad breath
  • a bad taste
  • pus that appears at the gumline
  • red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • detachment of gums from the teeth
  • teeth that have loosened or changed position

Watch What They Eat

Kids are known for eating sweet snacks, fast foods and meals on-the-run, and these are habits that create tooth decay and dental problems. If desserts are going be eaten, they should be eaten at meal times when other foods help neutralize their damaging effects. When snacking, encourage eating foods that are good for teeth like nuts, popcorn, cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, and sugarless gum or candy.

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Heart Disease - Poor Dental Hygiene - Dental Health

Researchers in the UK have determined that there is another reason for people to continue flossing and brushing their teeth. It turns out that the same bacteria of the gums that causes dental plaque may get in the bloodstream and cause clots that will increase risk of heart disease and heart attack.

This study was conducted by researchers for two different universities in Ireland and was presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Nottingham, UK.

The leading professor of the study presented the findings at the meeting. He also stated that poor dental hygiene can result in gums that bleed which provide bacteria a route in the bloodstream, where they cause blood clots that can lead to a heart attack.

He added that everyone needs to be aware that it’s not only blood pressure, cholesterol, exercise, and diet that people need to be aware of, but that poor dental hygiene will increase the risk of heart problems.

Disease of the gums and tooth plaque are the result when Streptococcus bacteria builds up in a person’s mouth of they don’t floss and brush regularly. Disease of the gums makes the gums bleed, which permits bacteria to go in the bloodstream.

The study found that after the Streptococcus bacteria got in the bloodstream, they use a protein that stays on the outer surface, hijacks the blood platelets and forces them to make blood clots.

The bacteria encase themselves completely in the platelets that are clumped together which enables them to hide from antibiotics. This helps the bacteria because this clumping of the platelets can result in the inflammation of the blood vessels which can cause blood clots that may block the blood supply to the brain and the heart, heart valve growths.

A study is now being conducted to determine how the protein causes the blood platelets to clump together to see if there is a way to block it. This work is being accomplished by the use of a new blood flow model that mimics the circulatory system in humans

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Dry Mouth - Drugs - Dental Health Articles

People who take multiple drugs for health conditions may be more likely to notice effects on saliva or taste, a study concludes.

The study involved 531 people who visited a cardiology clinic in Saudi Arabia. About 14% of them had at least one oral symptom, including:

  • Dry mouth (8%)
  • White or grey patches in the mouth (4%)
  • Problems involving the sense of taste (2%)

For most people, these conditions were not bothersome.

Dry mouth was more common in women, and in people with diabetes.

No specific heart drug was linked with any of the three conditions in this study. But the researchers did find that people who took multiple drugs — including drugs for non-heart-related conditions — were more likely to have mouth-related symptoms.

Many drugs for heart conditions can have effects in the mouth. For example, some drugs for high blood pressure or congestive heart failure can cause dry mouth. Dentists call this condition xerostomia. Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Experts recommend that people give their dentist a list of the drugs they are taking, and their doses.

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Dental Insurance - Dental Coverage - Health Insurance

About three out of four persons under age 65 years with private health insurance had some type of dental coverage. Among persons with dental insurance, more than one-half had a single-service dental plan only, or in addition to dental coverage through their comprehensive health insurance plan.

Non-Hispanic white persons were more likely to have dental insurance through a single- service dental plan only than non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, or Hispanic persons. Poor persons (less than 100% of poverty level) were more likely than higher-income persons (400% or more of poverty level) to have dental coverage through a comprehensive plan only.

Approximately 45 million persons under age 65 years with private health insurance did not have dental coverage in 2008. About 7 out of 10 persons who directly purchased their own private health insurance plan had no dental coverage compared with about 2 out of 10 persons with employment-based insurance. About 40% of persons with less than a high school education had no dental insurance of any kind.

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National Dental Hygiene Month - Dental Hygiene - NDHM

With the theme "Healthy Habits are Easier than You Think" for its National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) celebration this October, the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), in collaboration with Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, manufacturer of Orbit® sugarfree gum, promotes the idea that good oral hygiene habits are simple to establish and maintain, even for the person living an active lifestyle.

"It is imperative to our overall health to have a healthy mouth," ADHA President Caryn Solie, RDH, said. "Brushing, flossing, rinsing with an anti-microbial mouth rinse and chewing sugarfree gum are easy ways to help avoid issues that could affect the status of your oral health."

"Brush, Floss, Rinse, Chew" is a reminder that maintaining good oral hygiene habits can have lasting effects. Keeping a healthy mouth can help prevent oral disease.

Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice daily can reduce plaque build-up and the risk of diseases like cavities and gingivitis; flossing removes plaque and food particles under the gumline and between your teeth; rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouth rinse is another important step in preventing gum disease; and chewing sugar-free gum like Orbit® after eating stimulates saliva production, which helps fight cavities, neutralizes plaque acids, remineralizes enamel to strengthen teeth and washes away food particles.

In tandem with this initiative, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation has established a Community Service Grant Award program with the ADHA Institute for Oral Health to fund initiatives providing oral health services and education in all 12 of the ADHA's districts across the country.

"Wrigley is committed to improving the general understanding of the role of sugarfree gum as part of a healthy oral care routine," says Pat Alexander, Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program. "We are committed to providing services that help improve oral health and lives; this extends to our support of the American Dental Hygienists' Association National Dental Hygiene Month."

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Dental Implants - Dental Technology - Implant Information

Dental implants have offered a successful way to restore teeth for more than 20 years. New challenges for improving the process include shortening the time to restore functionality and meeting aesthetic demands. Altering implant surfaces to help promote bone integration is one solution. SLActive, a new chemically-modified surface for titanium, the standard material of which implants are constructed, has shown positive results in this area.

An article in the August issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology reports a 98.2% success rate for SLActive at dental patients' one-year follow-up. A noninterventional study was conducted to compare these results with previous findings of high survival and success rates among the same type of implants in a controlled clinical trial.

In this noninterventional study, results were obtained under common dental practice conditions where patient selection was not restrictive and technique was not controlled. Thirty dental clinics in Italy participated, and 226 patients were treated. Patients presented with a variety of risk factors, and both early (48 hours to 3 months) and traditional (3 to 6 months) loading of the implant was performed.

Osseointegration-the connection between living bone and artificial implant-can determine stability of the implant over time. Surface properties of the titanium implant, such as topography and roughness, can assist the chemical and biological interface that occurs in the early stages of healing and thus influence the long-term outcome.

The 98.2% success rate of this study was similar to that reported in formal clinical trials. The high success rate in both studies shows that the SLActive implant surface can be safely used with consistent, predictable results. Patients can expect integration of their implants that restores functionality for chewing and speech as well as aesthetics.

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Periodontal Therapy - Preterm Birth - Dental Health Articles

US scientists have found a strong link between the success of gum disease treatment and the likelihood of giving birth prematurely, according to new research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

There are a number of factors such as low body mass index, alcohol consumption and smoking which are associated with an increased rate of preterm birth. More recently researchers have reported that oral infection may also be associated with such an increase.

This study looked at 322 pregnant women who all had gum disease. The group was split into two groups; one group received scaling and root planning - cleaning above and below the gum-line - and oral hygiene instruction while the other group only received oral hygiene instruction.

The incidence of preterm birth was high in both the treatment group and the untreated group; 52.4% of the women in the untreated control group had a preterm baby compared with 45.6% in the treatment group. These differences were not statistically significant.

However, the researchers then looked at whether the success of treatment was associated with the rate of preterm birth. The women were examined 20 weeks after the initial treatment and success was characterized by reduced inflammation and no increase in loosening of the teeth.

Within the treatment group of 160 women, 49 women were classed as having successful gum treatment and only four had a preterm baby (8%). In comparison, 111 women had unsuccessful treatment and 69 of these (62%) had preterm babies. These differences are highly statistically significant.

The results show that pregnant women who were resistant to scaling and root planning were significantly more likely to deliver preterm babies than those where it was successful.

The mean age of the women in the study was 23.7 years, 87.5% were African-American and 90% had not seen a dentist for tooth cleaning.

Marjorie Jeffcoat , Professor of Periodontology at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the paper, explained: "Our research group is very excited about these results. First these data show that pregnant women can receive periodontal treatment safely in order to improve their oral health. Second in a high risk group of pregnant women, such as those patients who participated in this study, successful periodontal treatment, when rendered as an adjunct to conventional obstetric care, may reduce the incidence of preterm birth. Future papers will address the role of antimicrobial mouth rinses in reducing the incidence of preterm birth."

Professor Philip Steer, BJOG editor-in-chief, said: "Researchers have previously suggested that severe gum infections cause an increase in the production of prostaglandin and tumour necrosis factor, chemicals which are associated with preterm labour. This new study shows a strong link between unsuccessful gum disease treatment and preterm birth.

"However, we need to bear in mind that 69% of women failed to respond to the dental treatment given. Therefore more effective treatment will need to be devised before we can be sure that successful treatment improves outcome, rather than simply being a marker of pregnancies with a lower background level of inflammation that will go to term anyway.

"It is important that pregnant women are given advice on dental treatment, however it is also important to note that there are many other causes of preterm birth that should also be tackled, such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption and obesity."

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Cavities - Stress - Children Dental Hygiene

In young children, certain social and psychological factors seem to increase the risk of tooth decay, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada did the study. They kept track of 132 kindergarten children for 2 years. Nearly half of the children had tooth decay.

Decay was linked with three factors:

  • High levels of decay-causing bacteria
  • High levels of a hormone called cortisol
  • A family income below poverty level

Children with the most decay had high levels of decay-causing bacteria in their mouths. They also had high levels of cortisol in their saliva. Cortisol is released in response to stress. It aids in the body's digesting of sugars.

The researchers also examined any baby teeth that were normally lost during the study. Children with more cortisol in their saliva had baby teeth with thinner, softer enamel.

The authors suggest that the process of producing a cavity in a tooth is influenced by factors such as poverty level and stress.

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Martin S.
Ashley was a great help in finding me some no waiting period orthodontic insurance!