Summer just got a little brighter…

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Invisalign summer 2015

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Should I Consider Invisalign

Invisalign vs. Braces

People say that the eyes are the window to the soul. The American Dental Association says that the mouth is the window to your overall health. If you treat your smile right, it will honor you with the same courtesy!

There are more important benefits to having straight teeth besides the boost in confidence and self-esteem. Straight teeth are easier to clean, which prevents decay, gum disease, and ultimately, tooth loss. It is more difficult to brush and floss teeth that are crooked or crowded, particularly at and below the gum line. Subgingival plaque (beneath your gums) can even make its way to your bloodstream, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke!

Why Invisalign? I thought braces were the best option for straightening teeth?

While Invisalign may not be the right choice for everyone, it does provide a variety of advantages over traditional metal braces, including:

— No food restrictions! Invisalign clear aligner trays are removable,
so you can take them out before eating your no-restrictions diet, as opposed to the
many food restrictions that come with traditional braces
— Straighten your smile without anyone noticing
— Removable aligners means you can brush and floss just as you normally do, without
the hassle of using special instruments for cleaning between and around metal brackets
— You will not need to know the fear of getting food stuck in your brackets when dining out with friends
— Smooth, clear aligners are comfortable against your cheeks and gums, unlike
rough metal brackets that can scratch and irritate
— Avoid unsightly white spots that often accompany metal braces after removal

I have severe crowding. Isn’t Invisalign only for mild cases?

When it first came out, Invisalign could only treat mild cases for cosmetic purposes. Today, the technology has advanced significantly, and Invisalign can successfully treat many complicated cases, in a fraction of the time as traditional braces. With interactive Clin Checks, you can even watch in full animation how your case is expected to progress.

Does Invisalign cost more than braces? Can I use my insurance to pay for Invisalign?

Invisalign costs the same as traditional braces, and your dental insurance will pay for a portion of it as long as you have orthodontic benefits. Additionally, there are always pricing and financing specials for Invisalign to help make straightening your smile as affordable as possible. Consultations are always free!

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How Can I Protect My Kids’ Teeth This Easter?

Easter is fast approaching; I can tell by the abundance of sweet, tempting convenience store counter-adjacent Cadbury Cream Eggs that tempt me every time I go to pay for gas.
Kids love Easter, and nothing is cuter than the looks on their faces when they wake up to find an elaborately decorated basket overflowing with sweet confections. Nothing also wreaks more havoc on children’s teeth.
If you’re considering substituting the hollow chocolate bunny for sticky Starbusrt or Skittles to salvage your children’s teeth, think again: Chocolate is washed away easily by saliva, while super sticky taffies and gummy candies tend to stick to the teeth, producing acids that creep up between the grooves and fire away at tooth enamel. Ouch!
There are some things you can do to ensure your children enjoy Easter with minimal adverse side effects on their teeth:

1.) Have them eat candy with a meal. This will help counteract the acid produced by the sugars in candy, while also keeping them from overeating.
2.) Have them brush after eating candy. If they are not around a toothbrush, have them drink lots of water to help wash away excess candy particles and acids.
3.) Give them some sugar free gum to chew afterwards.

Another excellent defense against the sugars and acids encountered not only on Easter but during our daily lives in general is having your dentist put dental sealants on your children’s teeth. Dental sealants are comprised of a thin layer of plastic-like material that your dentist brushes into the grooves of the molar teeth, sealing them from decay caused by the acids produced by sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks. Your child most likely already has fluoride treatments during cleanings, which protects the outer surface of teeth; sealants protect the grooves within the chewing surface of teeth. Often, these grooves run deep—too deep for the bristles of the toothbrush to adequately reach—making a challenging task of preventing bacteria from getting into those grooves during regular brushing.

Before and after sealant application

Before and after sealant application

Exactly how do sealants work?

Exactly how do sealants work?

Sealants are typically covered by dental insurance as a preventive benefit up to a certain age, usually between 13 and 16, depending on your policy. Call your insurance company to find out specific age limitations for your children, and give us a call so we can protect those precious molars from harm for years to come, possibly saving hundreds of dollars on fillings, root canals, and crowns in the future.

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Do You Accept My Dental Insurance?

It’s that time of year again! After the first of the year, we experience an influx of new business that we attribute both to more patients obtaining dental insurance as well as to the goals of those who desire to begin the new year with a new outlook and a new list of personal health goals. Either way, we think that’s great! Oftentimes, a new insurance policy comes along with a lot of questions. The most common question I hear from new patients calling our office is whether or not we accept your insurance. I will do my best to address that question, as well as any additional questions, here.

In order to best serve our patients, Oviedo Premier Dental is proud to be participate in the Preferred Provider Organization, which means that we accept all insurance policies that are part of a PPO network.
A PPO network, in contrast to an HMO or DMO, allows you the freedom to choose your own dental provider, rather than be assigned to just one office, or provided with limited options.

There are some PPO insurance companies with whom we are “in network,” which means that we are contracted with them to charge the same fees, thus lowering your out-of-pocket expense for certain procedures.

The following is a list of PPO insurance providers with whom we are in network:

* The Principle
* The Standard
* Ameritas
* Cigna
* Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier
* Dental Health Alliance (DHA)
* Aetna (as part of DHA)
* Assurant Employee Benefits (DHA)
* United Healthcare
* United Concordia (DHA)
* Lincoln Financial Group
* MetLife
* Guardian

If you have a PPO insurance policy with a company other than one of the above listed, we still accept coverage and file claims; however, we will not be considered in network providers, which means coverage levels may vary. Your individual insurance company will best be able to help you regarding variation in costs between in and out of network providers, as well as to find a list of providers within your network, if staying in network is important to you.

We encourage any additional questions and would be happy to answer via our comment thread. Have a happy and prosperous 2013!

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Oviedo Premier Dental Announces White Winter Teeth Whitening

Brrr! We can definitely feel the chill in the air this season, and Oviedo Premier Dental is gearing up for the 2012 holiday season in style!

Every year, we have our White Winter Bleaching special, which offers $100 off a full take-home whitening procedure. The procedure includes impressions for your bleaching trays–which only take about 20 minutes of your time–and approximately a year’s supply of whitening gel, so you can achieve a brighter, more confident smile while warmed up by the fire in the comfort and security of your own living room! The White Winter special will be going on until January 31st, so you have plenty of time to take advantage.

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Thanksgiving and your Dental Health

Table set for Thanksgiving with hands passing glasses across the table

Photo by Satya Murthy

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the one time of the year when I can look forward to lots of laughter, lots of fun with my extended family–and, what’s ultimately most exciting–lots of amazing food! Thanksgiving is a time when I feel like it’s okay to eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about calorie consumption. As much as the food served on Thanksgiving is yummy in the tummy, however, it also holds the potential to wreak havoc on your teeth!

Sugar + Your Teeth = Decay

Many of the things served on Thanksgiving contain a high concentration of sugar: From pies to sweet potato casseroles and other baked goods, it is important to keep your oral hygiene in check while feasting on sugary delectables, in order to prevent painful tooth decay. If decay does occur, make sure you give us a call to discuss your options before a small issue becomes a big problem!

Bright food/beverages + Your Teeth = Staining

Sugary foods can cause decay, but that is not the only edible temptation that’s after your pearly chompers! Antioxidant-rich, brightly colored fruits and vegetables–especially the coffee, tea, and red wine you may be enjoying–can cause staining. One way to prevent staining from red wine is to pair it with some cheese cubes; the cheese provides a protective barrier between your tooth enamel and the wine. Another thing to remember after drinking such beverages is to rinse out your mouth with warm water after. If staining does occur, our office also provides professional take-home whitening, and with our annual White Winter special, the entire procedure will cost you $100 less until the end of January!

Acid wear

It is actually a misnomer that sugar is the main cause of cavities. While it does play a huge role, the main culprit is something called Streptococcus Mutans–or S. Mutans, for short–a type of bacteria that already lives in your mouth. How they work is like this: You eat a sugary or carbohydrate-rich snack, such as pie, white crackers, bread, or cookies, and the sugar breaks down to form plaque on your teeth. As you go on with your day without brushing away the plaque, the S. Mutans eat it. You may be thinking, “Well great, then; problem solved,” but that is not the case. As the S. Mutans eat the plaque on your teeth, they are simultaneously sticking to your teeth, producing harmful acids that eat away at your tooth enamel, causing decay and sensitivity. Not fun! Some people naturally have less enamel on their teeth than others, which makes them predisposed to more sensitivity at the hands of these evil destroyers of dental enamel! Luckily, for people suffering from painful sensitivity due to inadequate hard enamel, our Oviedo office offers chairside veneers–the most recommended solution to this type of sensitivity.

Cranberries and Cavity protection?!

Recently, scientists discovered a compound found in cranberries and some red wines that can actually ward off the harmful devastation caused by S. Mutans! Hyun “Michel” Koo, D.D.S, Ph.D. at the University of Rochester Medical Center has been researching these compounds, which disrupt the enzymes (called glucosyltransferases), that the S. Mutans use to build glucans. Glucans are the basic precursors to plaque, which is what provides a sort of safe haven for the S. Mutans to survive and thrive. Koo says, “These molecules don’t outright kill S. Mutans. Instead, they disrupt the two most harmful actions of this pathogenic organism: Acid production and glucan production.”

Although this breakthrough proves promising, as far as scientists finding a way to isolate the compound in order to make new dental products to protect against cavities, Koo does not suggest that you go crazy on the cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving! Typically, cranberry sauce–as well as cranberry juice cocktail–contain a lot of sugar. While the compound is still present in the cranberries, the amount of sugar used to make it a Thanksgiving favorite tends to counteract the positive effects of the compound in cavity prevention.

Tips for a More Tooth-Friendly Thanksgiving

There are ways to enjoy your favorite holiday while also protecting your teeth from the potential hazards it possesses. The following are some simple tips for keeping your oral hygiene in mind in order to prevent painful and often expensive dental problems later on:

1.) Avoid grazing: The way that S. Mutans produce glucose is by sitting in the plaque on your teeth. At holidays like Thanksgiving, it’s very easy to “graze,” or spend most of the day just mindlessly wandering back to the hors devours table for sugar-laden snacks. When you do snack (because it is inevitable), either brush or rinse out your mouth with some warm water.

2.) Decrease the sugar: If you’re cooking some meals or desserts this holiday season, it is possible to reduce the amount of sugar used in the most popular, albeit destructive, holiday dishes, without anyone even noticing! Try cutting the sugar in the cranberry sauce, for instance, in half. The same goes for the pumpkin, apple, and other fruit pies. If you feel that reducing the sugar will leave these items lacking in sweetness, honey is a fantastic all-natural sweetener that does not contain all of the harmful properties of sugar, either health or tooth-wise, and we promise that nobody will even notice a difference!

3.) Balance sugar with protein: Let’s face the facts: We know you’re going to snack on the sugary foods. We know this because, despite working in the dental field, we will all definitely be doing the same thing. We do not promote deprivation or party-spoiling, but we do encourage you to eat the sugary stuff in conjunction with a well-balanced, protein-laden meal. This helps your teeth in a few ways: First, eating causes an increase in saliva production, which aids in washing away sticky substances to keep them from sticking to your teeth. Second, proteins, such as the turkey and ham on the dining table, helps counteract the negative effects of the sugary stuff. Third, (speaking of turkey), it is very high in calcium, which is known to help recalcify teeth.

4.) Carry a toothbrush, if you’re traveling. Brush, but not too often, and make sure you are flossing daily!

5.) Mind acidic foods: If you’ve eaten foods high in acid, such as citrus fruits, coffee, tea, or wine, rinse your mouth with warm water first, and wait at least 60 minutes to brush your teeth afterwards. Acidic foods and beverages make the hard enamel on your teeth resemble soft sandstone, which just gets brushed away when you brush. Basically, you are brushing away layers of protective tooth enamel when you brush your teeth directly following a meal rich in acidic foods!

6.) Make sure you are scheduling your six-month checkups regularly at Oviedo Premier Dental in order to ensure that any small dental issues are caught early, before they become huge problems!

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Tips for a Happy Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and the doctors and staff at Oviedo Premier Dental enjoy celebrating just as much as the next person! If you are still undecided on a costume, or worried about how to keep those pearly white chompers the vision of health, we are your definitive source for all things both dental and Halloween-friendly!


DIY Costume Ideas:

* Spinning toothbrush: This is so easy; all you need is a sweatsuit with a hoodie, a matching long piece of fabric to drape around your legs (to make the toothbrush body), and a bunch of drinking straws.

Steps:

1.) On the fabric that will be draped around your legs, use stencils and paint to draw the toothbrush logo of your choice, whether it is Sonicare, Oral B, etc.
2.) Attach bunches of drinking straws to the inside of the hoodie. When you pull the hood up, the bunches of straws will resemble the circular bristles on a spin brush!
3.) Hit the streets, mall, etc., and prepare to be adorable.

* Toothpaste: The steps for this are similar to the spinning toothbrush, except that in place of a sweatsuit, drinking straws and a hoodie, you will be using a large, long t-shirt or night gown, and a fez hat (for the cap). On the long shirt or nightgown, paint on your favorite brand of toothpaste.

* Dental Floss: The is super easy, and can be accomplished relatively quickly. If you and a friend are trying to make it to a last-minute Halloween party and have zero ideas, this is a great throw-together, and would pair perfectly with a pal dressed as a spinning toothbrush, a tooth, etc. There are a variety of ways to design this on the go, using objects that you probably already have lying around your house.

Steps (Using a box)

1.) Using a large, white box, cut a hole through the top for your head to fit through.
2.) On the front of the box (just like in the spinning toothbrush example), paint the logo for your favorite dental floss.
3.) Using a piece of rope, yarn, shoelaces, or basically any type of rope-y material, you can fashion the floss to be strung across the top of the box.
(Another idea: If you do not have a box and would rather use two large pieces of cardboard to fashion your floss container, the string or rope acting as floss can serve the purpose of fastening the floss container costume around your neck).
4.) Optional step: Draw or cut out a flap that looks like the opening of the floss container.

* Tooth: I have seen parents use this on babies, and it is too adorable for words! It will also help keep baby nice and warm and cozy on a chilly Halloween night. Pairs perfectly with an older sibling dressed as a spinning toothbrush. Just adjust the steps as appropriate for use on babies vs. adults.

Instead of writing out the steps for this one, here is the link to the blog where I found it. Incredibly creative! http://www.julieannart.com/2012/09/tooth-tooth-fairy-costume-diy-tutorial.html

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Your Oviedo Dentists Recommend Wearing a Mouthguard

Colored Mouthguards


You can use them to make a statement by matching to your team’s uniform colors!

Mouthguards are thinner these days, and can also be clear

Football season is upon us, as well as for many kids playing sports in school. Whether it’s football, rugby, soccer, baseball, or roller derby–such as the sport of our own front desk girl–it is important to protect those precious chompers from injury!

Years ago, most scoffed at the idea of wearing a mouthguard; they were all so huge and bulky-looking, making closing of the lips impossible, and rendering it all but unlikely to convince kids–especially tween and teen-aged girls, who cannot look anything less than fabulous in front of people they know–to put the things in their mouths for any reason! Nowadays, however, mouthguards can be quite fashionable. For instance, Pro-Tech (the brand of choice for our front desk girl’s roller derby team) makes a line of mouthguards that are thin (so they can close their lips AND understand each other when speaking), ventillated (making water breaks much easier), and come in a variety of fun colors, including clear or white. They are relatively cheap (between $25-$45), and also able to be re-molded by dropping in boiled water for 30 seconds.

For the most options as far as fit and customizability, your dentist can have a mouthguard made for you by first taking impressions of your teeth and then sending those impressions to a lab. You can choose the color, and even add custom decorations, such as favorite team logos, and the dental lab will make you a custom mouthguard, designed specifically for your teeth!

The bottom line is: Tooth restorations can be expensive! Protect your most valuable asset from harm by investing in a mouthguard, and you may be able to avoid costly dental procedures needed as a result of preventable sports injuries.

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Grills, or “Grillz:” a Trend with a Mixed Reception

Ryan Lochte’s infamous diamond-studded grill

“Grills,” or “grillz,” are mouth pieces, typically gold cast, that cover some or all of the teeth. Made poplular in hip hop culture by such rappers as Nelly and Paul Wall, most are removable, cast from an alginate impression, and fit the same way as one would wear an athletic mouth guard. Some die-hard fans of the trend choose a more permanent way to express themselves via decorative teeth, by having anchor teeth prepped with gold-cast crowns to anchor the rest of the grill in place. A recent resurgence of the fad was witnessed in the mouth of Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte, whose choice to wear his infamous American flag grill on the podium was met with some criticism in London, when officials asked that he remove the it while at the podium. The diamond-encrusted mouth piece was designed and fabricated for the athlete by rapper Paul Wall, and cost Lochte upwards of $25,000.

Regarding hygienic concerns when wearing grills, dentists remain skeptical, although inconclusive; there is no strong evidence on either side regarding the long-term negative effects of indulging in the trend, although those who wear grills are urged to do so only seldomly. In addition to opting to sport removable grills, patients who insist upon wearing them are encouraged to take the same rigorous care as they would their own natural teeth, including brushing and disinfecting, to prevent plaque from building up and causing decay in underlying natural teeth.

The cost of grills can range anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousands of dollars. The cheaper versions are typically constructed from metal alloys, or a mixture of metals, and can cause allergic reactions. They can be made by jewelers; however, in many states, the act of taking an impression of someone’s teeth is defined as “dentistry,” and therefore requires a dental license. Even though the mouth pieces resemble jewelry, using jewelry cleaner to shine them is very strongly discouraged, as most of the chemical cleaning compounds are very abrasive and can result in accidental poisoning.

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Dental Facts & Myths: Interesting and Crazy Things You May Not Know

* Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body; however, we do NOT recommend that you use your pearly whites to open bottles!

* The plaque found on your teeth is home to more than 300 different species of bacteria. Listerine, anyone?

* The average person spends about 48 seconds per day brushing their teeth, but dentists recommend at least 2 or 3 minutes.

* 6 is the magic number–magic number of feet away from your toilet you should store your toothbrush in order to avoid airborne particles from toilet flushing making their way to your bristles, yuck!

* In 1994, a West Virginia prison inmate braided dental floss into a rope, scaled the wall, and escaped! We suggest that you use it to clean the 35% of your teeth’s surfaces that you are missing when only brushing, rather than to escape from any prisons (better yet, just don’t go to prison, ok?)

* The common practice of placing a cap on your toothbrush is actually more detrimental–bacteria favor the moist environment, which increases reproduction.

* According to a recent survey by Time magazine, 59% of people would rather have a dental appointment than sit next to someone who is talking on a cell phone (and I don’t blame ‘em!)

* At least 3 out of 4 Americans suffer from some form of periodontal gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss for people over the age of 35. The good news: Gum disease can be prevented and controlled!

* In China, in 1498, the first toothbrush with bristles was made, using hair from hogs, horses, and badgers. The first official commercial toothbrush was manufactured in 1938.

* A snail’s mouth is no larger than the head of a pin, but can contain over 25,000 teeth!

* In early America, blacksmiths often also served as dentists. How about a tooth filling to go with your new horse shoes?!

* In Egypt, mummies have been found with fillings comprised of resin and malachite, and gold wire was used to bind together loose teeth.

* The Romans, in 200 AD, used pretty impressive dental technology! They restored cavity-ridden teeth with gold crowns, and utilized fixed bridgework to fix gaps from missing teeth. They also used a form of toothpaste concocted from honey and crushed eggshells.

* In Medieval Germany, the only cure for a toothache was to kiss a donkey.

* 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss.

* What’s the object most often choked on by Americans? A toothpick! Wouldn’t it just be easier to floss?

* The average woman smiles about 62 times per day! A man? Only 8.

* 50% of people surveyed say that a person’s smile is the first physical trait they notice.

* Like your fingerprints, everyone has a unique set of teeth. Even identical twins have different “dental fingerprints”!

* The stone-faced farmer in artist Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic” painting was actually the artist’s dentist!

* Sports-related injuries account for approximately 5 million missing teeth per year, so make sure you wear a mouthguard, if you or your little ones are athletes.

*Americans spend $100 billion per year on hair care products – and only $2 billion a year on dental care products. What good is great hair without a great smile?

* Contrary to popular belief, George Washington’s famous dentures weren’t made from wood. His four pairs of custom chompers were crafted from gold, ivory, lead and a mixture of human, donkey, and hippopotamus teeth (take care of yours and you won’t have to think about it!).

* The cotton candy making machine that made widely consumed cotton candy possible was co-invented by a dentist. Before it was cotton candy, the fluffy confection was called “fairy floss.”

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