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Healthy Horizons Blog

Should You Refill Porcelain Fillings That Have Worn Down?

Each year in the United States, more than 100 million dental fillings are fitted in dental patients’ mouths. This form of restorative dentistry can be designed to match the exact color and shape of your teeth. Mercury-free fillings offer a host of benefits for the wearer, such as increased confidence, dental treatment and enhanced comfort.

Despite the advantages, fillings can wear down over time as a result of eating, drinking, nail biting, and general wear and tear. Chips, cracks and gaps are a few signs that your porcelain fillings have worn down. The question on your mind right now may be, “Should I get them refilled?” Let us help you answer this question, and more, by taking a look at the options and risks.

Why Should I Get a Damaged Filling Refilled?

Even if you brush daily, bacteria can set up permanent residence inside your mouth. Every time you eat, the bacteria create plaque, which can cause cavities and tooth decay. Replacing these holes with fillings can keep bacteria from infecting the teeth and gums, thus ruling out the possibility of future dental problems.

Even if you have permanent fillings in your mouth, they may not last forever. The pressure your teeth face on a daily basis can take its toll on porcelain fillings, resulting in the teeth being exposed to food particles and bacteria. Replacements will prevent extensive tooth decay from setting in.

Are There Perils Associated with Not Replacing Fillings?

Fillings usually fall away from the tooth when decay sets in. A decayed tooth is not as strong as a healthy tooth; therefore, the filling does not have enough edges on which to cling. There are a few risks to take into account if you lose a filling, such as discomfort, pain and additional decay. It is even possible that the tooth may fall out completely unless you get professional dentistry services.

When in Doubt, Check It Out

If you’re worried about damaged dental fillings, you should ask a dentist for a consultation. For a limited time, Natural Horizons is offering a free dental consultation at our Fairfax office – a $300 value. Click here to request a consultation.

4 Signs Sedation Dentistry Might Help You

Visits to the dentist can be scary. There’s no denying it. However, sedation dentistry can help you overcome that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to go to the dentist. Sedation dentistry allows patients who dislike dental procedures to have their teeth cleaned and worked on while they are asleep. Instead of using a local anesthetic, the patient is put into a light sleep using medication before the procedure begins and is gently awakened afterward.

Four signs that sedation dentistry might help you

Sedation dentistry isn’t right for everyone, but it can help to make good oral hygiene more tolerable for those people with an aversion to the dentist. Below are four signs that you should consider sedation dentistry:

1. You cancel or no-show your dental appointments. If keeping your dental appointments is a challenge for you, it might be because you’re scared of the dentist. Sedation dentistry can help you keep your mouth healthy without all that anxiety.

2. You fidget. It’s not just kids who have trouble sitting still. Some adults do, too. If that describes you, you might be better off with sedation dentistry. That way you won’t get jabbed with the pick or other instrument as you move around.

3. You gag easily. Some dental patients tend to gag easily and are especially uncomfortable with all of the instruments and the suction device in their mouths. Sedation dentistry offers a good alternative for these patients.

4. You need a lot of dental work. Even the most stoic dental patient can get anxious when facing having several cavities filled or multiple dental procedures done at the same time. Plus, all that poking and drilling hurts after a while. Sedation dentistry offers a peaceful and less upsetting way to get all of the dental work you need done at one time.

Sedation dentistry can take the fear, dread and anxiety out of going to the dentist. Natural Horizons Wellness Centers offers sedation dentistry in Fairfax. Call us today at (877) 292-1571 to schedule a dental appointment.

Children Automatically Get Dental Coverage

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) has certainly fueled a national discussion on health care, and few people have remained neutral on the subject. However, one of the bright points in the program is that it provides for free dental coverage for children under the age of 19.

Poor dental health is linked to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s disease. It makes sense to invest in good dental health children to help maintain optimal health as they grow. For parents, understanding the dental insurance aspects of the Affordable Care Act will help you make informed choices for your family.

The Affordable Care Act and Dental Coverage for Kids

The way the Affordable Care Act’s dental program works is slightly different in each state. Some states, such as New York, include dental insurance with the various health insurance packages offered there. In such states, there is no additional fee for child dental coverage. In other states, such as Ohio, dental insurance is optional. Although dental coverage there carries a modest fee for adults, the coverage is free for children. Families can opt to include the children’s dental coverage in their package even if they decide against purchasing dental insurance for themselves.

Although plans in each state differ slightly, most dental plans for children cover the full cost of twice-yearly dental wellness exams and teeth cleaning, as well as partial coverage for things like X-rays, fluoride treatments, root canals, tooth extractions, cavity fillings and emergency care. Cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as orthodontics, caps and implants, are generally only covered if deemed to be medically necessary.

Parents are given a list of dentists who are participating in their state’s children’s dental program. In most cases, there are dozens, if not hundreds, located within the state.

The deadline for opting into the Affordable Care Act program for 2014 is today, March 31. If you miss this deadline, the plans won’t become available again until later this year.

Natural Horizons offers a full menu of dentistry services in Fairfax, Virginia, including corrective procedures for children and adults. Call us today at (877) 292-1571 to schedule a dental appointment.

Choosing a Dental Plan Under Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) has raised many questions for individuals seeking health insurance. Even among those that understand what it means for their medical insurance, some may wonder what their dental insurance options are under the Affordable Care Act.

Although each state’s program is somewhat different, all 50 states allow for citizens to purchase dental coverage in conjunction with their health insurance plan. The best aspect of this part of the program is that coverage for children under age 19 is provided at no cost to the insured family.

Questions to Consider When Signing Up for Dental Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act

There are many questions to consider when you’re deciding which dental plan to choose. Below are a few points to ponder:

1. What’s covered? Although most dental plans cover twice-annual checkups and teeth cleaning, the rest of the coverage can vary significantly. For instance, some plans offer a discount on cosmetic procedures, like orthodontics; others do not.

2. Cost vs. benefits. Unfortunately, not all of the dental plans make sense financially. For instance, Ohio’s basic dental plan is $15 per month and covers two wellness exams and cleanings per year. However, in many regions of the “Buckeye State,” you’ll pay around half of that if you pay for the services out of pocket. It’s smart to do a little research before you blindly sign up for a plan.

3. Nearby dentists. Does the plan you’re considering have any dentists who practice near to your home or office? Even the best plan doesn’t make any sense if you have to drive an hour to see the dentist.

The deadline for opting into the Affordable Care Act program for 2014 and the dental care plans is next Monday, March 31. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be able to sign up for any of the plans again until late in the year.

Natural Horizons Wellness Centers offer a full menu of dental health services at our Fairfax dentistry office. Call us today at (877) 292-1571 to schedule a dental appointment.

Oral Care Tips for Cancer Patients

Oral care during cancer care is extremely important to maintaining overall health and a strong immune system. According to the National Institutes of Health, one third of cancer patients suffer with oral complications when undergoing treatment, even if no pre-treatment dental issues are present.

Mild oral health issues during cancer treatment may not have a major impact on the patient’s life, but serious cases can make simple tasks such as eating, talking and swallowing troublesome.

From an increase in saliva to severe bad breath, there are various signs that your cancer or treatment is leading to mouth problems. The cancer care specialists and dental team at Natural Horizons can help you take steps towards prevention and treatment of oral health complications.

Causes of Oral Health Complications During Cancer Care

Head and neck radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and some biological therapies are all linked to oral health issues. Cancer therapy is generally vital for survival, but while stunting the growth of cancer cells, healthy cells may get damaged, too. Here’s an overview of prevailing problems/causes:

  • Dry Mouth - Often linked to dehydration, allergies and anxiety, dry mouth (otherwise known as xerostomia) can be extremely uncomfortable. It may be caused by drug side effects and radiotherapy.
  • Sore Mouth and Ulcers – When the moist tissues inside the mouth become inflamed, you may be left with painful ulcers. Cancer treatments commonly associated with sore mouth or ulcers include vincristrine, epirubicin, doxorubicin, fluorouracil, sunitinib and erlotinib, among others.
  • Taste Changes - Cisplatin, methotrexate and vincristine are three of many cancer drug treatments that can create a metallic, salty or bitter taste in the mouth.
  • Mouth Infection - Cancer patients going through chemotherapy or biological therapies are susceptible to infections, which if not treated with anti-fungal drugs can turn into painful thrush.

Coping with Cancer-Related Mouth Problems

Pre-treatment oral care significantly slashes the risks of future oral complications, such as stiff jaw. It will allow for prompt identification/treatment, reduced pain and better quality of life. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the success rate of patients completing the planned cancer treatment.

Ideally, you should put the following mouth care tips into action to minimize/prevent changes:

  • Visit the Dentist - Prior to receiving cancer care, get dental cleaning, a full mouth examination and impressions for fluoride trays at a local dentist.
  • Personal Dental Hygiene – Brush three times a day, floss daily, use fluoride gel, and eat a low-sugar balanced diet.
  • Banish Bad Habits – Cut down (or quit) smoking tobacco, steer clear of spicy food, drink eight glasses of water daily, and avoid caffeinated beverages.

Pain Medication - Reduce discomfort by using strong painkillers such as Tylenol. Refrain from using non-steroidal medication products, as these can cause gum bleeding.