Monday, July 22, 2013

Healthy Eating for Good Oral Health


Healthy Eating for Good Oral Health



What you eat affects your oral health destiny. You can dramatically impact your dental health by eating a well-balanced, healthful diet. Research has shown that poor nutrition jeopardizes our oral health which puts you at risk for a number of serious dental problems.

The Food Factor

Our food choices can make a big difference in two of the most common diseases today: tooth decay and gum disease. Certain foods, especially those containing sugar, are directly linked to increased levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Tooth decay results when acids from the bacteria attack the teeth forming cavities. While diet doesn't directly cause gum disease, a condition affecting the supporting tissues of the teeth, researchers believe the disease is more rapid and severe when poor nutrition is a factor. Gum disease is a serious problem, since it can lead to tooth loss if untreated.

Diet and Dental Health

The American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health recommend eating a well-balanced diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, a good variety of breads and cereals, dairy products, fish, chicken, dried beans and peas, and meat. Enjoying a variety of foods is the best way to get all the important nutrients needed for keeping healthy. Beware of fad diets that exclude entire food groups. This can cause nutritional deficiencies.

Snack Smart

Snacking is a favorite pastime, but certain snack choices promote tooth decay such as soft, sweet, sticky foods. Select nutritious snacks better for your teeth and general good oral health, especially colorful, juicy fresh fruits and crisp, crunchy vegetables. Choose your snacks based on any other dietary concerns, such as low cholesterol, low-fat, or low sodium diets.

If you snack on crackers, cookies, or chips, it's better if you eat them in combination with other foods, such as cheese with crackers, rather than alone. This is because these foods when eaten alone tend to produce more bacteria in the mouth leading to tooth decay. Remember, each time you snack, oral bacteria is activated. Drink plenty of water to rinse away some of the disease-causing bacteria. If possible, brush your teeth after snacking.

Select from the wide variety of foods for healthful eating -- that are good for you and your oral health.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Four Ways To Be Understood By Your Dentist


Four Ways To Be Understood By Your Dentist



What do you want from your relationship with your dentist? Oftentimes, this question is answered when there is a dental problem or emergency requiring immediate attention. There is a different approach to your relationship with your dentist that relates to your own needs and dental health. This approach is designed to help you create the kind of experiences you want with your dentist.

You have a choice about this relationship and how it can support and assist you in your life. It begins with the simple question stated at the beginning of this article: What do you want from your relationship with your dentist?

The answer to this question can take many forms. For some people it may mean having a lot of information about their dental health and future. They seek facts to know they are making good, informed decisions. Others may want a friendly relationship in which openness and communication are valued. They want information but, more importantly, they want to know they are important to the dentist and the dental team. Some individuals want minimal information and discussion -- just the facts and the solutions to take care of any problem.

We all have different wants in our relationships with health professionals such as dentists. Here are four tips to assist you in deciding what you want in your relationship with your dentist:

  • Do you want a lot of detailed information about actual problems or potential problems or do you prefer a quick summary of data with recommendations about what to do?
  • Do you like to make quick decisions or do you prefer to think about things before you act?
  • Do you like to talk about what is happening or do you prefer to have your dentist just tell you what is going on?
  • Do you want the dentist to describe a problem situation and solution with pictures so you can see what it happening or do you prefer to go on gut feeling?
Each person looks for different things in their relationships. It is your responsibility to determine what you want and look for that in the relationship with your dentist. The answers to the questions above will tell you something about this.

The next step is communicating what you want so that you are understood. Only you know when someone else understands you. Here are four tips to assist you in this communication process:

  • Tell your dentist that you have some ideas about how he or she can assist you with your dental health.
  • Ask when it would be a good time to discuss your needs and desires for your dental care and relationship with your dentist.
  • Communicate what you want and how that will help you.
  • If you had a negative experience in the past with another dental professional, always discuss what happened. Past hurts or disappointments have a way of negatively influencing present situations that are similar in nature.
Communicating what you want is important to your dentist for it is the best way for him or her to plan for the optimal dental health for you.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dental Costs


Dental Costs



Most everyone is feeling the economic pinch in some way or another. We can't pretend the picture is particularly rosy.

On the other hand, we've all heard the term "false economy." In difficult financial times, some people put off the dental care they need and wait for things to "get better." When it comes to dentistry, that's false economy.

We know budgets go through ups and downs. We also believe that catching small dental problems before they grow will, in the long run, save dental costs. A lot of expensive damage can happen over time.

Say you miss a regular cleaning. You're inviting gum problems, which multiply painlessly, to set in. Old fillings can crack or leak - decay may invade the tooth beneath the filling. Inattention to broken restorations eventually means a crown, certainly the more costly alternative to early repair.

Don't put off dentistry. Don't sacrifice your family's health for economy's sake. When it comes to your mouth, in most cases, a small problem only gets bigger - and more expensive. Preventive care is money in the bank.

Your dentist would like you to share your concerns with his or her financial coordinator. They'll do their part by helping you keep healthy with dental financing. For patients who qualify, they probably can arrange a personal dental loan plan for your care. They're there with options. And they believe good dentistry is good economy.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tooth Whitening Basics - Why Are My Teeth Discolored?


Tooth Whitening Basics - Why Are My Teeth Discolored?



If you're embarrassed by your discolored teeth, you're not alone. There's a reason cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening, is a multibillion dollar industry. We all want brighter, whiter teeth. While it would be nice to get the smile you'd love naturally, that just isn't an option. So, who's to blame? Why are you struggling with tooth discoloration to begin with? Good news - it may not be your fault!

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration

There are a number of causes of potential tooth discoloration, and some are completely unavoidable on your part. While the precise cause of your tooth discoloration may be difficult to peg down, chances are one or more of the following causes are to blame.

  • Food and Drinks. You may have heard that coffee, tea and soda can stain your teeth, but did you know certain veggies, like potatoes and apples, can stain them as well?
  • Tobacco. This is a given. Smoking and chewing will not only discolor your teeth, but can also cause gum disease or contribute to oral cancer (among other health conditions).
  • Poor Dental Hygiene. If you don't want to give up your morning coffee or kick your smoking habit, then you're going to have to try to compensate with excellent dental care. Regular brushing and flossing can reduce the odds that you will stain your teeth. Regular check ups and cleanings are critical, too.
  • Disease. Ahh… finally, we're discussing possible causes for tooth discoloration that aren't your fault. Several diseases that affect tooth enamel and dentin can lead to tooth discoloration. What's more, treatments for certain conditions, such as chemotherapy to fight cancer, can discolor your teeth. If you're pregnant while suffering from one of these ailments or undergoing one of these treatments, the teeth of your developing child may be affected as well.
  • Medications. Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and doxycycline, can discolor your teeth, particularly if used before the age of 8. Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth, while antihistamines (like Benadryl), antipsychotic drugs and antihypertensive medications also cause discoloration.
  • Genetics. When all else fails, blame mom and dad.
  • Age. Nothing escapes the affects of age - not even your teeth.
  • Environment. Excessive fluoride from environmental sources, such as naturally high fluoride levels in the water, can contribute to discolored teeth.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What To Expect in Dental Implant Cost and Treatment Issues from Your Implant Dentist


What To Expect in Dental Implant Cost and Treatment Issues from Your Implant Dentist



If dental implants are what you need to best replace your missing teeth, you should select a implant dentist with in-depth knowledge of and prior experience with all aspects of the treatment. It is important to know that dental implant treatment consists of two components: a surgical phase and a restorative phase.

Traditionally, a dental surgeon, like an oral surgeon or a periodontist, performs the surgical component. A general dentist, or prosthodontist and laboratory technician, performs the restorative component.

As implant dentistry has become more sophisticated, the restorative dentist, at times, also has become the one that places the dental implant. However, each clinician involved in implant treatment must be aware that the type of final restoration a patient wants dictates the position, size, and number of the implants within the jaws.

What Types of Dental Implant Restorations Are There?

For each unique missing tooth situation, there is an equally unique way to use implants to replace teeth. However, all of the treatments can be placed in two categories: removable or fixed prostheses.

Implant dentist use removable implant dentures when a patient is missing all of his or her teeth. Fewer dental implants are necessary when used in conjunction with a removable denture.

Conversely, more implants are necessary when used in conjunction with a fixed bridge. Fixed bridges feel most like your natural teeth and are usually more desirable than removable dentures.

Mastering new surgical and restorative techniques as they are developed is the mark of an excellent implant dentist as well as overall dental implant dentistry. A implant dentist's meticulous attention to fine detail conveys a feeling of confidence to the patient. The implant dentist should be committed to restoring full function to the missing teeth as well as recreating natural-looking teeth. These are the qualities a patient should look for in a implant dentist to place and restore their implants.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What is the Cost of Dental Implants?


What is the Cost of Dental Implants?



Many people considering implant dentistry wonder how the cost of dental implants compares to the cost of a more traditional three-unit bridge.

Generally speaking, the cost of a three-unit bridge can range from $2,000 to $3,000, while the cost of a single implant tooth is approximately $3,000.

One important factor to consider when making the decision is that if the teeth that are associated with a bridge fail due to recurrent decay or periodontal disease, the entire dental bridge must usually be replaced. Or the addition of a new filling or build-up of the teeth may be required. The cost of any foundations under a new bridge will add to the replacement cost.

If and when a dental implant crown has to be reconstructed, most likely, it would be due to the wearing away of the dental crown material itself. The only reconstruction cost would be for that of a new implant crown and would not involve any work on the adjacent teeth.

The cost of dental implants over your lifetime, therefore, is likely to be much lower than the cost of a traditional three-unit bridge, and is the most natural replacement for a missing tooth.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Teeth Implants: The Permanent Solution to a Lost Tooth


Teeth Implants: The Permanent Solution to a Lost Tooth



Whether it's due to accident or decay, tooth loss can be a pretty traumatic event. But it's not irreplaceable. If you lose a tooth, you might be surprised at the options modern dentistry can offer to replace that missing tooth.

If it's a sudden, accidental injury and you lose the entire tooth, roots and all, it may even be possible to replace the tooth in its socket. But time is of the essence, the tooth replacement must ocur within an hour of the accident.

A more realistic alternative is a tooth implant. Teeth implants are the next best thing to having natural teeth restored to your mouth. That's because, instead of being a removable device inside the mouth, like dentures, implants are permanently anchored into the jaw itself.

The key to a successful dental implant procedure is called osseointegration, or the meshing together of implant and bone. Good candidates for dental implants need jawbone ridges that are in good shape and healthy oral tissues. Then, when the implant device is inserted, a chemical and mechanical bond is formed. The jawbone actually grows into the dental implant.

The thing to remember is... if you lose a tooth, it's not the end of the world. Tooth implants are only one of your options. Regardless of the cause of your tooth loss, there's something you can do to recreate a healthy, natural-looking smile. Contact your dentist today to get more tooth implant information.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dental Implants: Spare Parts, Small Miracles


Dental Implants: Spare Parts, Small Miracles



In spite of the tremendous reduction in dental cavities in the past 20 years, a missing tooth or teeth remain a problem in the adult population. The sheer numbers of tooth loss in people over 35 indicate many of us could benefit from dental implants.

Tooth implants have been part of many dentist practices for over 20 years. The success rate has been, and continues to be, over 95 percent.

Many people are now considering using implants to replace one tooth, or all their missing teeth. Many adults with missing teeth have partial or complete dentures and bridges, and they work fine.

However, conventional prostheses may not do for everyone - the patient may have trouble with a removable denture or is otherwise unable to chew. These are the very people who could stand to benefit most from as a few as two teeth implants.

How does the dental implant procedure work?

A root-form tooth implant is inserted into the upper or lower jawbone. After a healing period of a few months, posts are attached to each implant. Then a fixed bridge or overdenture is placed - the business end of the implant. Only the tooth part is visible.

For certain people, a single tooth replacement to bridge a gap is called for. Another patient might want to stabilize a lower denture.

The procedure is no more uncomfortable to the patient than a simple tooth extraction.

The success of the new dental implants is due to osseointegration, the meshing of implant and bone. The properties of the implant are such that a chemical and mechanical bond is formed. The jawbone actually grows into the implant. This contributes to the stability and comfort of the implant - and a patient rediscovering the joys of steak and fresh apples.

Give your dental implant dentist a call. Or find one using our search form above. Tooth implants might work for you.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Periodontal Disease


Periodontal Disease



Which affliction is more widespread?
  • Terminal lovesickness
  • The heartbreak of psoriasis
  • The common cold
  • Periodontal disease
Not even winter colds (or Cupid's arrows) strike as many of us as gingivitis - gum disease. As many as 75% of adults will be victimized sometime in their lifetimes.

If this infection could grow on your arm, you'd be horrified. Instead, periodontal disease does its dirty work out of sight: inside your mouth. Left alone, it opens up gaps between gums and teeth. Too soon, you're on your way to losing your teeth entirely.

How can I stop it?

Mouth disease comes from sticky, invisible colonies of bacteria called plaque that live in the crevices between gums and teeth. Left by themselves, these critters organize to do their damage. If they're disorganized at least once every 24 hours, they never get time to recolonize and continue the infection.

Periodontal (gum) disease and gingivitis prevention is a matter of disturbing these bacterial pests daily. That means first brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Then working dental floss down between the margin of your teeth and gums to dislodge plaque colonies that have built up during the day.

So much of your periodontal and gum disease treatment depends on what you're willing to do about your dental health. With vigilant home care and regular exams, together with your periodontist you can beat the statistics.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tooth Bleaching Before Dental Crowns from Your Dentist


Tooth Bleaching Before Dental Crowns from Your Dentist



If you require crowns to be placed, it is a good idea to evaluate how you feel about the color of your existing teeth before beginning the process. If you like the color of your teeth, the dentist will then match the crowns to that color. On the other hand, if you feel you would like to whiten or lighten your teeth, it is a good idea to communicate this to your dentist beforehand about tooth whitening. Once the final restorations are made, it will not be possible to change their color without redoing them.

At-Home Teeth Bleaching

If you desire whiter teeth before the crowns are placed, the best way to achieve this is to talk to your dentist about at-home teeth whitening. With this procedure, custom-fitted plastic trays will be made for your teeth and you will be given some small tubes of dental bleaching material. Your dentist will show you how to place a small amount of bleaching material in the tray and then place the tray in your mouth. The tray is then worn for one to two hours in the evening, depending on the type of material. The biggest advantage of this method of teeth whitening compared to procedures that are done in your dentist's office is, that you are the one who can control how white your teeth will be. Since you are the one in control, you can stop bleaching whenever you feel you have achieved the desired color. The typical bleaching time is one and one-half to two weeks, but it may be longer.

Sensitivity to Tooth Bleaching

Your teeth may become sensitive to cold air or liquids during the tooth bleaching process. This is normal and will subside and finally go away when you stop bleaching. There are a couple of things you can do to decrease this sensitivity if it arises during the tooth whitening process. One is to only bleach every other night. The other is to have your dentist prescribe for you a fluoride gel that you can place in your custom bleach trays every other evening. The fluoride acts to decrease the sensitivity by coating or sealing the tooth surface. It will not affect the color of your teeth. This is the most reliable way to decrease sensitivity while you bleach. Once you get your teeth to the desired color, your dentist will have you wait about three to four weeks before taking a color match of your new white teeth in order to make the final restoration. During this time, the color of your teeth will be stabilizing.

Once the Restorations Are Placed, What Can You Expect?

Teeth bleaching is a very predictable method for getting white teeth, but the results will not last forever. Since the restorations were placed when your teeth were at their whitest, you will most likely find that in one and a half to two years, the restorations may begin to appear lighter than your natural teeth. This result is to be expected. It is not caused by a change in color of the restorations, but rather by your own teeth getting darker. At this point, all that is required is to, once again, bleach your natural teeth until the color is evened out. Usually, this only requires bleaching a couple of times. After the color is evened out, you can then expect to have the color stability last for another one and a half to two years.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Selecting An Affordable Dental Plan for Your Family


Selecting An Affordable Dental Plan for Your Family



What is the best and most affordable family dental insurance plan for me?

Finding a dentist and an affordable dental plan can be a confusing experience. Although there is no one "best" affordable dental plan, there are some plans that will be better than others for you and your family's dental insurance plan needs. We will try to guide you in simple terms. However, rather than just giving you answers, the best thing we can do is to make sure you are equipped with the right questions.

There are three major things to consider, each with their own unique set of questions. By considering the questions thoroughly, you will arrive at the right and affordable dental plan for you and your family.

  • How affordable is the plan (cost of care)?
  • How much will it cost me on a monthly basis?
  • Should I try to insure just major dental expenses or most of my dental expenses?
  • Can I afford a policy that at least covers my children?
  • Are there deductibles I must pay before the family or individual dental insurance begins to help cover my costs?
  • After I have met the deductible, what part of my costs are paid by the family dental insurance plan?
  • If I use dentists outside a plan's network, how much more will I pay to get care?
  • How often do I visit the dentist and how much do I have to pay at each visit?
  • Does an affordable dental plan include services that match my needs (access of care)?
  • What other dental providers are part of the individual or family dental insurance plan?
  • Are there enough of the kinds of dentists I want to see?
  • Where will I go for care? Are these places near where I work or live?
  • Do I need to get permission before I see a dental specialist?
  • Are there any limits to how much I must pay in case of a major illness?
  • Is the prescription medication which I need covered by the dental insurance plan?
  • Have people had good results when covered by a specific, affordable dental insurance plan (quality of care)?
  • How do independent government organizations rate the different dental plans?
  • What do my friends say about their experience with a specific plan?
  • What does my dentist say about their experience with a specific dental plan?
If you consider these elements carefully when choosing a affordable dental plan, you can be assured the best possible outcome.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Scheduling and Planning for Dental Financing


Scheduling and Planning for Dental Financing



Long-term dentistry always works best with a plan. So as each New Year begins, some dentists sit down with their patients and organize dental health care - in phases - for the coming year.

In the spirit of prevention, one patient might be scheduled for cleanings and periodic examinations to watch closely for developing problems, and catch them before they grow. Another patient may call for complex restoration and will visit more often; in this case, the dentist will propose treatment step by step, over time.

Prearranged care makes sense. You know what to expect from the practice, and can plan your time and dental costs accordingly. By phasing treatment, your dental fees are minimized and, in the end, you still arrive at the same finished product - a healthier you. Moreover, you'll rest assured, knowing you're getting the care you need. Because postponed dentistry inevitably means more dentistry.

For insured patients, tight guidelines are in place for pre-determination of coverage, submitting claims, and timely reimbursement. As treatment is planned for the year, you must monitor your benefits "bank" through the months, to be sure you're making the most out of your coverage. When year-end approaches, treatment may accelerate to take advantage of any remaining benefits before the next New Year, and a new deductible.

Everyone is different: different needs, comfort level, and financial situation. So most dentists are flexible. Insured or not, patients deserve choices. Your dentist is willing to work with you and arrive at a schedule that suits you, a schedule you'll both respect.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sterilization of Dental Equipment


Sterilization of Dental Equipment



The times are trying enough without having to worry about a visit to the dentist. There is much talk about the transmission of disease in any given medical environment. Well, we're here to say dentistry in our practice still is a safe and healthful experience. And it's not just a matter of trust.

It took the AIDS epidemic to bring it to the public eye. But we've been guarding against it at our dental office since the day we opened our doors.

I'm talking about communicable disease. AIDS is the one you hear most about, but there are others. A quiet new killer (HCV, hepatitis C virus) currently infects about four million Americans who will never be able to rid themselves of it. Here at the office we're also aware that hepatitis B, tuberculosis, influenza-even the common cold-are communicable. The good news is that the same strict standards of asepsis (cleanliness) we use against one disease also defend us against all the others.

You may not be aware of all we do to ensure your protection from cross-communicated viruses. In fact, it's a large part of our day, and we're committed to the task.

We use disposable items wherever we can. Every surface in the operatory is secured against airborne bacteria with physical barriers. Our sterilization procedures are complex, monitored by an outside agency, and, not incidentally, much more than OSHA, the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and local agencies require.

Metal instruments are cleansed in an ultrasonic bath before autoclaving in chemical pressurized heat. Handpieces, for instance (you know them as drills), take an hour's preparation-heat-treated then cooled-for each patient. We disinfect everything in sight.

All this costs, but it's worth it.

We wouldn't be here if we didn't care about you, your health, and your good looks. We want you to feel comfortable, all the time. Please ask about our sterilization program and we'll be more than happy to show you what we're doing.

You know we care about open communication in our dental office. This letter is another way we hope to show it.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Five Things You Should Know When Choosing A Dental Insurance Plan


Five Things You Should Know When Choosing A Dental Insurance Plan



You've heard time and again that dental insurance can protect you and your family from dental and financial catastrophe. Even cheap insurance with minimal coverage will most likely save you big bucks over the course of your lifetime. A quick Web search will show that insurance is big business, and your options are becoming more expansive - and complicated - by the day. Not sure where to begin? Here are five things to consider when selecting family dental plans or an individual dental insurance plan that works for you!
  • Shop around! Finding a plan that works can be quite a feat. Even when employers offer dental insurance benefits to their employees and their families, it often isn't enough. This means you'll need to shop high and low until you find the best plan for your budget and lifestyle. The Internet has made all of this much easier - you have access to informational materials on a multitude of companies right at your finger tips. Be sure to read all the fine print; when it comes to your health, surprises are rarely a good thing.
  • Know your limits. All insurance plans have maximums - some good, others bad. A low maximum on your total benefits is never a good thing. That means if something major (and expensive) comes up, you may have to delve into your own pockets. A second maximum applies to your yearly deductible, which is the most amount of money you'd be expected to pay for your own care. A low maximum on your deductible is a great thing, so be sure to do the math when comparing policies.
  • Maintain control over your health. A dental insurance company may or may not have your best interests at heart, but, either way, they're somewhat removed from the situation. It's important that you have a say in your dental health. For starters, shouldn't you be able to choose your dentist, or at least have a plethora of options should one provider not work out? It's also important that you and your dentist have a lot of pull when it comes to making important decisions - an insurance company should never put unreasonable restrictions on the type of care you can receive.
  • Look for the 3 R's (sort of): PRevention, Restoration and EmeRgency Care. Having access to these three types of dental care is critical for lifelong oral health. Preventive care reduces the likelihood that you'll develop a dental condition that could have been avoided. Restorative care ensures that things that do go wrong, such as damaged or decayed teeth, will be fixed. Finally, emergency care you'll receive the proper care when you need it immediately, such as if your tooth is knocked out. Some family dental plans cover other specialty care, like orthodontics, so consider your needs and go from there.
  • The waiting game. Some insurance companies make you wait a certain period of time before they will cover certain procedures. If you need immediate attention, find a policy that supports it. If everything's in order, however, a minor wait may not be a major issue for you.
A carefully selected family or individual dental insurance plan could not only save you in a pinch, but ensure good oral health for life. It's critical, however, to do your research and read the fine print. Don't let your dental insurance company take you for a ride!


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dental Information, The Costs Associated With Root Canal Treatment


Dental Information, The Costs Associated With Root Canal Treatment


What are the Costs Associated with Root Canal Treatment?

There are many factors that affect the costs and payment associated with root canal treatment. Each patient and tooth presents a different set of circumstances. Generally the cost of root canal treatment is directly related to the chair time necessary to perform the treatment as well as to the costs of the dentist staff, training, and technology that the dentist has available when performing the procedure. Be sure to ask your dentist about patient financing, dental treatment financing, or if there is a possible loan for dental work available.

There are many factors that influence the amount of chair time necessary to treat any particular tooth:
  • The position of the tooth in the mouth.
  • The number of roots and the number of canals within these roots.
  • Root curvatures and the length of the roots.
  • The presence or absence of calcifications within the root canal space.
  • Special dental considerations. For example, it may be more difficult for the dentist to work through an existing crown or a bridge than to work on a tooth with only a small previous filling. Also, some teeth may have been severely broken down by past dental disease and these may have to be "built-up" before root canal treatment can even be started so that an aseptic field can be established and maintained during treatment.
In addition to the chair time involved for treatment, other factors are also taken into consideration when determining a fair fee for root canal treatment:
  • The cost of technology. Dentists who use state-of-the-art technology for certain procedures have invested in microscopes, computer digital radiography, ultrasonics, and specialized training courses for themselves and for their staff. The costs of these items are shared by those patients who benefit from them.
  • The costs of the dental office overhead include staff, rent, and supplies in addition to many other expenses. These costs vary significantly in different areas of the country.
  • Fees vary among practitioners due to differences in their endodontic treatment philosophies, which in turn dictate the chair time required, the materials selected, and the technologies utilized.
In conclusion, there can be marked discrepancies in the fees charged for root canal treatment by different dentists. Ultimately, the best value for care is treatment that is done once and works over a period of many years. Conversely, the most expensive dental treatment is the treatment that may cost less initially but does not work predictably and needs to be redone one or more times. The wise dental consumer does not make a treatment decision on the basis of cost alone.

Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Root Canal Treatment?

Dental insurance will usually help with a portion of the endodontic treatment fee. A variety of dental insurance plans are available. A specific benefit package is selected contractually by each employer for the benefit of the employees. Some benefit packages may restrict or not recognize certain procedures, while in other instances the yearly maximums are unrealistic for anything other than the most basic care. The dentist will make a professional judgment and treatment recommendation based on what is best for the patient, not on what is best for the for-profit insurance company. The total fee is the patient's responsibility but the dental office will work with the insurance carrier to get the maximum contracted benefit. The patient should speak with the dental treatment coordinator before treatment begins in an attempt to estimate the available insurance benefit.  Be sure to ask your dentist about patient financing, dental treatment financing, or if there is a possible loan for dental work available.



DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Scraping Your Way to a Healthier Mouth: The Benefits of Tongue Scraping


Scraping Your Way to a Healthier Mouth: The Benefits of Tongue Scraping



Want to reduce bad breath, gum problems and tooth decay? Grab a tongue scraper! While the practice of removing food and bacteria trapped between your taste buds has been recognized and recommended by dentists for half a century, true tongue scraping is a relatively new phenomenon. Perhaps its sharp increase in popularity is the result of recent studies touting about all the wonderful things that come from removing all that "gunk," including healthier teeth and gums and sweeter smelling breath.

Tongue scraping is an easy way to improve your oral health. People with bad breath, particularly smokers or those with a taste for pungent food, will notice an improvement. Also, those who suffer from a fungal condition called "Brown Hairy Tongue" will benefit tremendously from a good tongue cleaning. For those with sweet smelling, fungus-free mouths, know that tongue scraping will reduce the bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay. In other words, just about anybody will be better off for the effort. So, how does it work?

A bit of research will tell you that there are dozens of tongue scraping appliances on the market today. One of the most popular and inexpensive types is a soft, flexible plastic strip that you bow and pull along your tongue. It's an incredibly simple design with the potential for amazing results. Two or three strokes are usually sufficient. Please note, scraping should be done before brushing your teeth. It's quick and easy; the most difficult part of the entire process is actually seeing what's been in your mouth.

If you're not interested in actually buying a tongue scraper, a toothbrush will work fairly well. Though they aren't nearly as effective in removing debris and bacteria from your mouth as tools made for the job, it's far better than doing nothing at all. If you'd like to learn more about tongue scraping, or would like help finding the right method for you, contact your dentist's office, or mention it during your next check-up!


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Oral Hygiene and Bad Breath


Oral Hygiene and Bad Breath



Bad breath (halitosis) has been the subject of a lot of laughter and some pretty bad TV commercials over the years. Yet, if you're like nearly one in five patients dentists see, you know the embarrassment and insecurity it can bring.

There's no one reason for persistent halitosis. You may have the very best dental hygiene in the world, and still suffer from bad breath. Sometimes it's undiagnosed periodontal disease. Or it could be sinus problems or digestive ailments brought on by stress or other factors. Even though the primary cause of persistent halitosis is almost always a treatable medical condition, millions of dollars are spent yearly for mouthwashes and breath fresheners that barely mask the problem, much less solve it.

Because dentists take halitosis seriously, some offices have established Fresh Breath Centers. These Centers are dedicated to determining the source and extent of a patient's dental health problem and then treating the cause, not simply covering it up.

If halitosis is a problem for you, you are encouraged to visit an office near you. Their approach will be as thorough and as caring as it is with any of other professional dental procedures. You'll begin with a breath gas analysis that identifies and measures odors. Based on the findings, a simple, effective treatment program will be recommended - so you won't have to worry about bad breath again.

If this problem is undermining your self-confidence, practice preventive dentistry and please call a Fresh Breath Center near you for a consultation. You can schedule an analysis, and get back on the road to breathing freely again.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oral Health and Fluoride


Oral Health and Fluoride



We've all heard the success story of fluoride, perhaps the most dramatic turnaround of a population's dental health in history. But we're finding the benefits of fluoride extend beyond decay prevention in our children. There's something in fluoride for adults, too.

As we get a little older, the gums tend to recede, exposing the tooth root. Since the root surface is dentin, rather than tough, protective enamel, the root becomes more susceptible to decay. Dentin is closer to nerves, too, so teeth can be sensitive to heat and cold.

Fluorides can help with your dental hygiene program. The numbers in a recent University of Iowa survey are impressive. At the end of a year-long study, adults aged 54 to 93 enjoyed 67% less decay on the root surfaces (and 41% less on tooth crowns) than non-fluoride users. We've seen the same kinds of success when it comes to gum problems with fluoride, there is less plaque, less tartar, and less bacteria all around to multiply into gum disease.

Gel-Kam

Many patients know Gel-Kam well.

Gel-Kam is a prescription stannous fluoride, much more effective than other fluoride compounds on the market.

Just after you visit your dental hygienist to have your teeth cleaned is a good time to introduce you to Gel-Kam. Right away it restores the fluoride lost during dental cleaning. At home, you apply Gel-Kam once daily, after your regular preventive dentistry regimen.

We're seeing good results with Gel-Kam. It's easy to use and it's safe - a low fluoride concentration that still works.

Your dentist is likely to recommend a home fluoride program if you're having recurrent caries, difficulty in keeping free of plaque and calculus, or gum recession.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oral Health and Early Disease Detection


Oral Health and Early Disease Detection



Most of your dentist's patients enjoy robust health, and he or she is thankful for that. In fact, if you are faithful about your "recall" appointments (regular check-ups) he or she probably sees you more often than your physician does. That means much more to him or her than finding a small cavity, or more than a chance to catch up on your comings and goings between visits.

As your primary dental health care provider, your dentist has a singular and weighty responsibility: early detection of disease. When he or she sizes up the health of your gums, tongue, neck, jaw, the mental check-list is long, he or she looks and feels. He or she "invisibly" observes your general health, head, skin, glands, sinuses (and teeth, of course).

What is your dentist looking for? Simply put, anything wrong. Among them: dry mouth, bacterial infections, any lesions on the mucous membranes, gum color and texture, soreness or ulcerations, you get the idea. It's important for you to share with your dentist any general health problems you may have noticed or changes in medications. He or she needs the whole picture.

Practicing preventive dentistry is very important. There are more than 200 known diseases of the oral cavity. Your dentist is on the look-out for all of them. Not only can an oral problem signal local trouble, but it may indicate something systemic, something throughout your body.

For this reason, your six-month recall visit may be the most important exam you have all year. If a cavity is found, that can be fixed. If evidence of something more serious is found, then you benefit from the advantage of early detection.

Your dentist and dental hygienist want all of their patients to take these exams seriously. A cavity or canker sore, after all, is one thing. Your whole health, quite another.


DR. GARY SIGAFOOS
LaJolla Periodontics

Follow @GarySigafoos on Twitter and do a “Like” at LajollaGumDiseaseCare Fanpage. If you're looking for an experienced periodontist to care for gingivitis and periodontial disease in La Jolla, contact Dr. Sigafoos,(858) 568-8941.