Finding an Experienced Dentist in Monroe, North Carolina

2020-07-16T16:55:10+00:00June 17th, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Crowns, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General, Oral Health, Teeth Whitening|

There are fewer things more stressful than finding a new health provider, much less finding an office and staff to trust you and your family’s smile with. Whether you’re searching for the right dentist to advise your oral health regimen, or are simply in the market for a new dentist, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to equip you with the right knowledge to find an experienced dentist suited for your treatment needs.

 

Find an Experienced Dentist—Don’t Get Unnecessary Treatments

In need of a second opinion after getting a hefty price estimate for a procedure, you’re not sure you really need? Had a bad experience with a previous dentist and searching for a new practice to rebuild trust with? Waited so long for a dental visit that you’re just ready for a fresh start and motivation? No judgments and no worries! Finding an experienced dentist does not have to be an ordeal.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by your search for the right dentist. From Google searches, Yelp reviews, to scouring websites and seeking out word of mouth recommendations, there are many ways in which we try to find a great dentist. If you’ve moved recently or switched insurance companies, it can also be difficult to move on from a long-time dentist and find another that meets all of your expectations.

Where should you even start? We have laid out the most important considerations in your search for the right experienced dentist.

 

Question 1: What makes a good dental practice?

You have probably asked yourself this before. What makes a good dentist? Is it a staff of gentle hygienists? A dentist who spends time in the room with the patient? The cheapest treatment options around? Let’s discuss it!

 

Expectations should be met with every point of contact, including staff

Whether you are making your first call to inquire about services, scheduling an appointment, or entering the practice, the staff should be welcoming to patients. Practices that leave patients in the waiting room without greeting and without respect for patients’ time are red flags that the dental practice does not respect the time of their clients. A friendly, punctual staff ensures that the visit is great from start to finish.

 

Active listening

Between the hygienists and the dentist, you need a practice that listens to what you say. As the patient, you are the best advocate and knowledge base of your own health, and a good dental practice values that. By listening to your concerns and requests, and acting on what they hear, rather than talking over the patient or not spending and giving the time to the patient to speak their concerns, the patient will collaborate with the dental practice to ensure they are receiving the best treatment options.

 

Attempts to know the patient

In a larger practice, we do not expect our dentists to know the patient’s entire history, but no patient wants to feel like another file on the shelf. A dentist taking the time to know you can affect the level of care that the patient gets. Whether that’s making friendly conversation or taking a few minutes to read your chart, attempting to know the patient can make all the difference in your dental care.

 

Question 2: What are the warning signs of a bad dentist?

Fraudulent dentists certainly are not the norm, but more often than you would think, dishonest practices have impacted patients in their long-term trust in dentistry and their own oral health. The wrong dentist is more concerned with his pocketbook rather than the overall health of your mouth, meaning he may recommend and perform unnecessary treatments. Procedures that aren’t necessary can wreak havoc on your mouth and lead to further problems down the road.

 

Signs of Fraudulent Practice

  1. Urgency without explanation:

If your dentist identifies an issue that is not a dental emergency and tells you a procedure needs to be done immediately, you should start by asking why and for full disclosure on the procedure itself. If you are in a new dentist’s chair for a regular cleaning and suddenly you’re bombarded with procedures of a type you’ve never needed before, or that you did not enter the practice asking for help with, then it may be a red flag. When the dentist is vague on the reasoning for procedures, he may be pressuring you into going forward without understanding all of your options.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is:

Some dentists offer very discounted, or even free cleanings as a way to get patients in the door. Once in the chair, they may either hit you with fees that were never mentioned as part of the deal or as mentioned before, pressure you into procedures with intensity.

  1. Lack of Patient Education:

As we mentioned before, the sign of a great dentist is one who educates patients and ensures that decisions are made collectively between the patient and dentist. It is not good practice when dentists and hygienists are not willing to take time and explain the dental issues and recommended procedures to the patient. Even the act of not showing patients their x-rays can be a red flag. Your dentist should take the time to discuss what is shown in your x-rays, point out any lesions or unhealthy teeth, and talk through the treatment plan with the findings.

 

Question 3: How does dentistry become susceptible to fraud, and how can I determine if I am part of fraudulent dentistry?

We know that for the majority of dentists out there, it took years of hard work and building trust among their patients to make a successful dental practice. But, as in any profession, there are a small number of professionals out there who turn to taking shortcuts for financial gain. For the medical profession in general, medical diagnoses can be subjective. Because of this, we have a number of suggestions to improve patient advocacy.

 

Understand how your insurance works with the dental practice.

Beyond having a sense of your general dental coverage, you may not know how the dental practices interact before and after your dental visit. After scheduling your appointment, the staff at the dental practice will reach out to your dental insurance company to find out everything that is covered under your provider. So before you even enter the office, the experienced dentist will know everything that can be billed to you during your dental visit. Unfortunately, this can leave the patient vulnerable to receiving treatments that are more likely to be reimbursed by the insurance company, rather than what’s truly right for the teeth.

 

For example, a dentist may be choosing between a filling and a root canal for a patient. Taking the path with the root canal and crown is more lucrative for the dental practice. This is because it is common knowledge that root canals are easier to pass through an insurance company than a filling, and by receiving a root canal, you’re automatically approved for a crown. Root canals are easier to pass simply because the dentist can justify the root canal by claiming that the patient was in pain. The problem here is that the dentist may have just been able to perform a filling, which is a cheaper procedure and less invasive for the patient.

 

Now that there are some ways of identifying fraud, let’s talk about active ways to prevent getting in those situations in the first place.

 

  1. Choose your dentist based on referrals

Your insurance company may be telling you which dentists to see, but take time to do your own research. Seek out others with the same insurance and ask for a recommendation. Or, if you have a current dentist in the same area but you have switched insurance policies, ask your dentist for a recommendation, or ask for a recommendation from a local dentist society or health professional. Just because the insurance company covers a dentist does not make it a suitable referral. Plus, seeking out opinions from family, friends, and co-workers can give recommendations backed by real experiences.

  1. Consider going family-owned rather than corporate

Chain-dentistry practices drive patients through the door with heavy advertising and discounts, quick cleanings, free exams, and of course, hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work. Corporate dental chains can run on a quota-based model that can sometimes lead to practices working on the side of pushing unnecessary treatments.

  1. Ask for the appointment time

Generally, a new patient appointment should take around an hour and a half. If the office tells you that appointment should only last about a half hour, they may be trying to rush you through what should be a thorough cleaning and appointment, rather than give you the time you deserve as a patient. If you’re an established patient, appointment time can vary, but a cleaning should take at least 45 minutes. If it lasts only 15 minutes, it’s time to start asking questions.

  1. Always check your bill

In a true dental scam, a dentist might inflate claims or bill insurers for procedures that the patient didn’t receive. The best way to avoid this from happening is to ensure communication with your dentist, ask for an estimated price upfront (prior to sitting in the dental chair), and always checking your bill at checkout. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, it is estimated that Americans lose about $68 billion dollars each year to healthcare fraud. Don’t be a victim of dental fraud; know the signs and do not be afraid to advocate for yourself as a patient.

  1. Check the market rate for common procedures.

There are common procedures you have had before that you know the price for, but when dental pain strikes, sometimes you are willing to pay anything for it to get fixed. It’s at these times when it is most important to ensure that you are being offered a fair, market-rate price, and not just being offered the most expensive procedure that your insurance may or may not cover.

  1. Seek other opinions.

If you have ever had a major dental procedure, it is likely that you might have sought out another opinion. One dentist may recommend that you need it, while another may not. This is totally normal, and encouraged, especially if you feel that any of the signs above are occurring.

  1. Feel out the culture of the office.

While how you feel as a patient is important, seeing how the experienced dentist treats the staff can also impact the care you receive. The best doctors are attentive to patients and staff. If you have a bad feeling with your interaction from the front desk to the dental chair, how can you trust your oral health to the practice? You should feel safe and welcome at the dentist from the moment you walk in the door. 

 

Find a dental provider who’s right for you and your family

Carolina’s Dental Choice is here to make you feel right at home, whether you’re new to the area or a longtime resident. Give us a call today if you’re in need of a welcoming, friendly face in the dental practice world at 704-289-9519.

 

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Tooth Extraction Explained at Carolina’s Dental Choice

2020-07-16T16:56:44+00:00April 17th, 2019|Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, Oral Health|

Our team at Carolina’s Dental Choice knows that the word “extraction” can cause anxiety and even fear in some people. Many of us have had this procedure done, sometimes multiple times, and the reason a tooth needs to be extracted varies from patient to patient.

What Is Dental Extraction?

A dental extraction (also called exondontia or informally, tooth pulling) is the removal of teeth from the socket (dental alveolus) in the alveolar bone. Extractions are performed for a wide range of reasons, but most commonly because a tooth is unrestorable due to decay, periodontal disease, or dental trauma.

Tooth decay is the softening of your tooth enamel and refers to the damage of the structure of the tooth caused by acids that are created when plaque bacteria break down sugar in your mouth.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone.

Traumatic dental injuries most often occur as a result of an accident or sports injury. The majority of these injuries are minor, such as chipped teeth. Occasionally though, a tooth will dislodge or even get knocked out completely.

Extraction Procedure

Typically, when undergoing a tooth extraction procedure, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic before the procedure.

Common forms of local anesthesia are Novocaine and more popularly, Lidocaine, which is injected after the dentist numbs the area with an external numbing agent. Here are all the common forms of anesthesia:

  • Local Anesthesia—this is when medication is injected into the mouth to numb the area to be treated and block the nerves that transmit pain. This type of anesthesia is commonly used during fillings, treating gum disease, or preparing teeth for crowns.
  • Sedation—this method is usually administered by inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. It can also be administered orally in the form of a pill taken prior to the dental procedure. This form of anesthesia is commonly combined with a local anesthetic to help relieve anxiety and reduce pain.
  • General Anesthesia—this is the strongest form of anesthesia available for dental procedures and involves intravenous medications that produce a temporary loss of consciousness. General anesthesia is usually only used during oral surgery procedures.

You may have also heard of I.V. sedation and wondered if it were for you. Intravenous (I.V.) sedation has become more common and works well for those with fear of the dentist and dental procedures. It is also ideal for patients whose fear of dentistry has led to a large amounts of dental work needing to be completed.  I.V. Sedation is also used for outpatient procedures, like colonoscopies. Referred to as “twilight sleep,” you will wake with little or no memory of the procedure. Anesthesia is given via the I.V. and recovery requires someone take you to/from the procedure.

If the extraction involves an impacted tooth, the tooth may be broken into pieces before it is removed. An impacted tooth is a tooth that, for some reason, has been blocked from breaking through the gum. Sometimes a tooth may be only partially impacted, meaning it has started to break through.

Your dentist will perform x-rays and thorough examinations before this stage and will explain the procedure and any other possible options. Often, with impacted teeth, there are no symptoms and only an x-ray will discover it.

Another reason teeth are extracted, especially in youth and young adults, is to make room in the mouth before planning to straighten remaining teeth. Teeth may also be extracted if they are so poorly positioned that they cannot possibly be straightened. A less common reason to extract a tooth is as a cheaper alternative to filling or placing a crown on a decayed tooth.

If you or your child has a condition where a tooth extraction might be called for, please call Carolina’s Dental Choice at (704) 289-9519 to schedule an appointment.

The number of Americans missing at least one tooth is more than 120 million, so it’s not at all unusual to be missing one or more teeth for a variety of reasons, including those listed above.

What’s the deal with Wisdom Teeth?

One of the most common procedures is the removal of the “wisdom teeth.” What is this procedure and why do these teeth often need to be removed and what are the benefits? According to www.mayoclinic.org:

Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove one or more wisdom teeth — the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth on the top and bottom.

If a wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), resulting in pain, infection, or other dental problems, you’ll likely need to have it pulled. Wisdom tooth extraction may be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.

For many, the first use of dental anesthesia is during extraction of wisdom teeth (the four hindmost molars that come in during young adulthood), which can cause issues including moving other teeth around.

To prevent potential future problems, some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren’t currently causing problems.

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last permanent teeth to appear (erupt) in the mouth. These teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Some people never develop wisdom teeth. For others, wisdom teeth erupt normally — just as their other molars did — and cause no problems.

Many people develop impacted wisdom teeth — teeth that don’t have enough room to erupt into the mouth or develop normally. Impacted wisdom teeth may erupt only partially or not at all.

An impacted wisdom tooth may:

  • Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
  • Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
  • Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone
  • Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone

Problems with impacted wisdom teeth. You’ll likely need your impacted wisdom tooth pulled if it results in problems such as:

  • Pain
  • Trapping food and debris behind the wisdom tooth
  • Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease)
  • Tooth decay in a partially erupted wisdom tooth
  • Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding bone
  • Development of a fluid-filled sac (cyst)

Preventing future dental problems. Dental specialists disagree about the value of extracting impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t causing problems (asymptomatic), because it is difficult to predict future problems with impacted wisdom teeth. However, here’s the rationale for preventive extraction:

  • Symptom-free wisdom teeth could still harbor disease.
  • If there isn’t enough space for the tooth to erupt, it’s often hard to get to it and clean it properly.
  • Serious complications with wisdom teeth happen less often in younger adults.
  • Older adults may experience difficulty with surgery and complications after surgery.

What to expect after a Dental Extraction

Immediately after an extraction, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions. You may receive a prescription for a mild pain killer or antibiotic, but in most cases, over-the-counter medications will manage pain. Do not eat solid foods or smoke for 48 hours. Stick with soft foods like yogurt, soups, mashed potatoes, and smoothies (avoided fruit seeds). The soft tissue takes about 3-4 weeks to heal.

Keep an eye out for any signs of acute bleeding, pain, or swelling. This could indicate an infection.

Beware of Dry Socket

Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a painful dental condition that sometimes happens after you have a permanent adult tooth extracted. Dry socket is when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop, or it dislodges or dissolves before the wound has healed.

Normally, a blood clot forms at the site of a tooth extraction. This blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The clot also provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and for the development of soft tissue over the clot.

Exposure of the underlying bone and nerves results in intense pain, not only in the socket but also along the nerves radiating to the side of your face. The socket becomes inflamed and may fill with food debris, adding to the pain. If you develop dry socket, the pain usually begins one to three days after your tooth is removed.

Dry socket is the most common complication following tooth extractions, such as the removal of third molars (wisdom teeth). Over-the-counter medications alone won’t be enough to treat dry socket pain. Your dentist or oral surgeon can offer treatments to relieve your pain.

Signs and symptoms of dry socket may include:

  • Severe pain within a few days after a tooth extraction
  • Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site, which you may notice as an empty-looking (dry) socket
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple, or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth

When to see a doctor. A certain degree of pain and discomfort is normal after a tooth extraction. However, you should be able to manage normal pain with the pain reliever prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon, and the pain should lessen with time.

If you develop new or worsening pain in the days after your tooth extraction, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.

Expected Costs

The cost of a dental extraction can vary depending on your dentist’s fees and the scope of work. In some instances, extractions (such as wisdom teeth that are impacted) may need to be handled by a dental surgeon under anesthesia.

According to Member Benefits, who tracks the cost of dental work throughout the country, the cost of dental extraction (per tooth) can range from $75-$300 for a non-surgical extraction, and upwards of $650 for a single surgical extraction.  Additional costs could include x-rays and exam fees.

If you have dental insurance, it will take a bite (no pun intended) out of your bill. Depending on your policy, it may cover up to 50% of the cost. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we work with a variety of Dental Insurers, as well as, Medicaid. Our staff will help you understand the costs involved and file the insurance paperwork for you. If you don’t have insurance, we offer an In-House Dental Savings Plan that allows patients to receive treatment at a discounted price.

Carolina’s Dental Choice also welcomes new patients. Whether you have just moved to the Monroe/Charlotte area, are transferring your care from another practice, need to establish care with a dentist, or find yourself suddenly in need of dental service, we look forward to partnering with you for the benefit of your oral health.

As we’ve explored, the reasons for a dental extraction are varied. There is no need to be in pain or discomfort, or even embarrassment, if you feel you need help with dental issues. Our staff is ready to help you find solutions for your dental needs.

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Our Commitment to Ethics at Carolina’s Dental Choice

2020-07-16T16:57:05+00:00March 25th, 2019|Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, Dentist Office Monroe NC, testimonial|

At Carolina’s Dental Choice we are strongly committed to the ethical treatment of both our staff and patients. These ethics we work and live by are the cornerstone of our business—and they are much more than a mantra to us. Our commitment to ethics can be seen each day you are in our office, and it is our hope that you are encouraged and comforted by our desire to maintain an honest and professional experience.

The American Dental Association outlines a few desired tenets to ethics for all dental offices in the U.S., and we here at Carolina’s Dental Choice follow five important principles when it comes to caring for our employees and patients:

  1. Patient Autonomy (self-governance)
  2. Nonmaleficence (do no harm)
  3. Beneficence (do good)
  4. Justice (fairness)
  5. Veracity (truthfulness)

Of course these sound wonderful, but exactly how we use them to interact with you on a daily basis is a little more detailed. Let’s take a closer look at each principle to see just how we use it.

 

Patient Autonomy

According to the ADA’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct document, every dentist has a duty to be truthful with patients. The document states,

“This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include respecting the position of trust inherent in the dentist-patient relationship, communicating truthfully and without deception, and maintaining intellectual integrity.”

To us, this doesn’t just mean we are to keep your dental records private. This also means we will keep you in the know when it comes to what is happening with your oral health. It also means you can trust us not to try and manipulate you into having procedures done that are not actually needed. Patient autonomy is the first step in building a trusting relationship.

Nonmaleficence

The ADA’s code of ethics also discusses the importance of nonmaleficence:

 “This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to protect the patient from harm. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one’s own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional, and knowing when and under what circumstances delegation of patient care to auxiliaries is appropriate.”

You never have to worry about receiving anything but top-of-the-line, professional care at Carolina’s Dental Choice. We continually work according to the notion that if we are not completely sold on an idea, we will discuss with a fellow professional to gain clarity. This means that if we are not 100% confident of a particular procedure with a particular patient, we will not proceed. We want to best for you, and sometimes that means taking the extra time to have a conversation.

Beneficence

The American Dental Association sees benefice as

 “…the concept that professionals have a duty to act for the benefit of others. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligation is service to the patient and the public-at-large. The most important aspect of this obligation is the competent and timely delivery of dental care within the bounds of clinical circumstances presented by the patient, with due consideration being given to the needs, desires and values of the patient. The same ethical considerations apply whether the dentist engages in fee-for-service, managed care or some other practice arrangement…”

Just ask any of our current patients and they will tell you Carolina’s Dental Choice is always working on behalf of the customer. Since our very first day in office, one of our primary goals has been to always operate for the benefit of others. This is continually our commitment you.

Justice

Though life may not be fair, Carolina’s Dental Choice is determined to treat everyone equally, as stated by the ADA’s fourth principle:

“This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be fair in their dealings with patients, colleagues and society. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include dealing with people justly and delivering dental care without prejudice. In its broadest sense, this principle expresses the concept that the dental profession should actively seek allies throughout society on specific activities that will help improve access to care for all.”

We do not discriminate or judge at CDC. We see each patient as unique and deserving of the same professional treatment we give everyone.

Veracity

Lastly, the ADA sees veracity as this:

“This principle expresses the concept that professionals have a duty to be honest and trustworthy in their dealings with people. Under this principle, the dentist’s primary obligations include respecting the position of trust inherent in the dentist-patient relationship, communicating truthfully and without deception, and maintaining intellectual integrity.”

We will never share your information with others or every give you reason not to trust us. We aim to create relationships with our customers, and a relationship built on honesty is always the best policy.

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Gifts to Make Them Smile | Holiday Gift Guide

2020-07-16T16:58:42+00:00December 15th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

stocking stuffer santa dentistPerhaps when you were younger, Santa stuffed your Christmas stocking full of chocolate coins and peppermint twists — and a new toothbrush to remind you not to let all that candy rot your teeth. Santa’s always been a smart guy.

Whether Dasher, and Dancer, and Donner and friends will deliver dental care to your door this holiday season, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you give the gift of dental health this year. We’ve put together a list that includes something for everyone.

PRESENTS WITH A PURPOSE

Do you have a co-worker that likes to travel or travels a lot for work? Consider travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and other small packables (like shampoos) and put them together in an attractive travel bag. Tuck in a small first-aid kit, sewing kit, shower cap, earplugs and other travel must-haves or comfort items. Travel items are also great for anyone planning a get-away. Combine the above items with a travel journal, pen, or guide book.

Got a college kid? Put together a semester’s worth of dental supplies including a toothbrush in their favorite or school colors, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, breath mints, single use travel brushes for those late nights in the library in a reusable tote.

And if you’ve got a sports fan, use the same idea but customize it for the team. You can find a Carolina Panthers toothbrush and partner it with a black, blue and silver toothbrush holder or rinse cup. Or consider a Charlotte Hornets toothbrush with a purple or teal hand towel.

Kids can benefit from the same kind of package featuring their favorite characters like Spider-ManHello KittyStar Wars, and The Secret Life of Pets.

Dental insurance for a year would make a wonderful gift for someone who might need an extra hand with expenses in the short-term, a student, or someone waiting for benefits with a new employer. Many options can be found online with different levels of coverage, so check carefully before signing up. In North Carolina, options include: Blue Cross Blue Shield NCAflacHumana, and United Health Care. Low-income children in North Carolina who do not qualify for Medicaid may be able to obtain health and dental insurance through the North Carolina Health Choice Health Insurance Program for Children.

MAKE IT HOMEMADE

Do you have a small child on your list who has not yet lost their first tooth? Sew up a customized Tooth Fairy Pillow with a little pocket in it for the tooth (and later the money)!

teeth cookie cutters dentistNot crafty? No worries! The artists of Etsy have you covered. There is a wide selection of dental-themed gifts available, sure to initiate grins from lots on your list like personalized tooth ornaments, tooth-shaped earrings and charms, tooth-shaped soap, wall art, and even a Tooth Fairy wand (should she need a hand during busy season). Meanwhile, Shutterfly can help you put together a customized mug or calendar or mousepad featuring photos of all your family members’ smiles.

If you’re a baker, there are tooth-shaped cookie cutters perfect for whipping up a batch of cookies for your dental office or dental student.

BE PRESENT

So many times we focus on giving things, but things may not be what a person actually needs. Instead hands-on help would be most appreciated! Whether that person is elderly, has mobility issues, or is a new parent, consider being present as a present.

Make a “gift card” for a homemade dinner once a month throughout the year. Whether you invite the recipient over — which also provides social support — or take a casserole over to their house, you’re giving more than just food.

Offer to drive. Making it to appointments can be a hassle without transportation. Talk about coordinating so that you can give your lunch hour to help someone get to the doctor, dentist, or even just run errands.

Lend a hand. Little things like taking out the trash each week, raking leaves, mopping the floor, or walking the dog are great ways to help someone mark a chore off the list. Maybe you have a skill that could be useful like repairing a porch railing, painting the bathroom, or organizing, but always make the effort to learn what kind of help a person needs.

EXPLORE DENTAL HISTORY

Books are a great gift and there are many available with a take on teeth. For the beginning reader, “I Lost My Tooth” by Mo Willems features an ensemble cast of squirrels and “The Tooth Fairy” with Peppa Pig both help explain the process of losing and regrowing teeth. Adult readers with an interest in non-fiction will find the “The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine” by Thomas Morris a fascinating jaunt through the things we’ve done to the human body in what’s described as a “wryly humorous collection of stories about bizarre medical treatments and cases offers a unique portrait of a bygone era in all its jaw-dropping weirdness.” And keeping with the science theme, “Evolution’s Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins” by paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar studies human evolution and climate change through the records stored in fossilized teeth.

Surprise your family with a vacation to Baltimore, Maryland! The world’s first dental school was founded there in 1840 by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris. The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (which later merged with the University of Maryland) taught generations of dentists. You can visit the National Museum of Dentistry located on the campus and explore dozens of exhibits featuring some of the objects from their 40,000-piece collection.

Vintage dental tools can make for a wonderful (if not quite unusual) conversation starter. Forceps, pelicans and toothkeys were commonplace in by-gone dental offices and some were made by blacksmiths. Many pelicans, aptly named for their shape, are made of silver and have hallmarks from a variety of countries, including England and France. Old dental chairs and equipment can be found at local antique shops and online as well as old dental advertising for products or services. In the early days, the local barber doubled as the neighborhood dentist!

DESIGNER GIFTS FOR DESIGNER SMILES

Rhythm is Love (Ylang Ylang + Mint) Organic Toothpaste, made in France, is a collaboration between dental and artistic professionals. Uniquely flavored with ylang ylang, yuzu, and mint, the toothpaaste is sure to add a flavor and flair to anyone’s brushing routine.lebon mint toothpaste designer

Twice Early Bird and Twilight Toothpaste is a morning and night duo lights. The Early Bird formula is wintergreen and peppermint, and the Twilight blend combines lavender and mint for a relaxing finish to a long day.

The Burst Sonic Toothbrush is a powerful electric toothbrush with charcoal bristles that sonically vibrate 66,000 times in two minutes to get teeth super clean. It also features a quadpacer that will gently buzz every 30 seconds to ensure that every area of the mouth gets equal attention.

Minimalist, metallic and cool, the electric toothbrushes from Quip were one of the first approved by the American Dental Association. Compact and lightweight, the design looks and works great. Quip brushes suction cup to surfaces like mirrors or counter tops and are shower safe! 

Cocofloss bills itself as freshening, whitening, and soothing this colorful alternative to traditional floss adds a colorful and fun twist to the flossing routine. The 9-piece Floss Fanatic Set is available in a variety of flavors including coco, vanilla, mint, strawberry, and orange.

An electronic UV toothbrush sanitizer from Pursonic protects your toothbrush from germs and bacteria floating around and uses ozone and photo catalyst technology to kill germs and bacteria left behind.

Steripod makes an easy to use toothbrush protector great for home or travel as well as a razor protector and tongue scraper. The protective pods are designed to prevent cross-contamination like beard whiskers in toothbrush bristles.

Dental care can be part of a luxurious self care routine with a whitening treatment followed by a massage, manicure, and facial. Carolinas Dental Choice offers Opalescence whitening products to brighten your smile!

SOMETHING SWEET

Giving something sweet to eat seems like a holiday tradition. If you’re shopping for someone with braces or orthodontic work, avoid these foods in order to protect their teeth: popcorn, nuts, hard candy, caramel, pretzels, and peanut brittle. Foods that are good for teeth are whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and vegetables. Sugar-free gum and candies are great options. And get creative when putting together a basket of goodies. Don’t forget treats for all family members! Pick up some dental chews for Fido or tartar cleaning snacks for Fluffy too.

If you’re looking for another way to recognize a caregiver such as a dental professional or nurse, think about things that will help them care for themselves. Massages, pedicures, manicures, a trip to the salt cave, compression socks, aromatherapy treatments, and meal delivery kits are great ways to support those whose job is to focus on others.

GIFT BY GIVING

For the person who has everything, consider making a donation to a dental organization such as Operation SmileDental Lifeline, the American Dental Association initiative Give Kids a Smile, or America’s Dentists Care Foundation’s Missions of Mercy. Helping others guarantees a smile. You can also ask your dental practice how they are involved with the community and support their individual efforts.

Everyone at Carolinas Dental Choice wishes you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Are your regular cleanings scheduled for 2019?

 

reindeer teeth gift guide

 

Did you know?

Reindeer only have front teeth on their bottom jaws! Reindeer have what’s called a dental plate or pad, which is a somewhat like an extra strong gum. Their premolar and molar teeth are made for grinding grass, hay, moss and lichen, and are very similar to those of other grass-eating animals such as cows and horses. Reindeer have 34 teeth total, compared to 32 teeth in people.

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Opioids in Dentistry: What You Should Know

2020-07-16T16:59:31+00:00August 28th, 2018|Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General|

Have you ever been afraid of going to the dentist? Whether your fear is based on prior bad experiences or the potential for pain, you’re not alone.

However, many dental patients express a different fear regarding dental pain: potential addiction to prescribed pain treatments. Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication often prescribed after major dental procedures. Opioids work by reducing pain signals to the brain. They are very effective in treating pain; however, they also carry a risk of addiction.

Opioid abuse and overdose has been an increasing epidemic across all ages, genders, and classes in the United States. A stunning national statistic reveals that although the U.S. represents 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes 80 percent of the global opioid supply. According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), from 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdose.

Fear of opioids or opioid addiction creates a tricky situation for patients who might be wondering, “How is my dentist going to make sure I am not experiencing pain or suffering, while also avoiding addiction to the pain medications prescribed after dental procedures?’ At Carolinas Dental Choice we make sure to work with you to safely manage your pain.

What are opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At first, opioids produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. After repeated and prolonged use, the brain develops a tolerance towards its effects and begins to crave the pleasure-inducing effects, despite becoming less susceptible to the actual pain relief of the drugs. 

How addiction to opioids starts

Opioids are very effective in treating pain, especially when someone is in high pain and needs immediate relief. Often, and unfortunately, addiction may be an unforeseen result of a legitimate need for pain treatment. Opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are highly addictive and lead to physical dependencies.

Opioids are prescribed for short-term pain management and aid in treating severe pain. Opioids used over a longer period become less effective, which may drive the urge to take higher doses in order to achieve the same effect as when the medication was first started.

What does addiction to opiates look like?

• Using drugs past the prescription or initial pain treatment
• Becoming tolerant and needing the drug more often
• Having withdrawals from the drug
• Strong desire or urge to use the drug
• Continuing use despite financial, legal, or social problems

Once the opioid is stopped, withdrawal symptoms can include muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold-flashes, and more. To lessen the chances of withdrawal take any prescription as directed and plan to taper down doses. Your doctor can help you create a plan to safely reduce your medication use while managing your pain.

Opiates at the Dentist: What’s the problem?

Dentists are the second highest prescribers of opioids in the U.S. Over the past few years however, opioid prescriptions from dentists have been in decline. On average, dentists prescribe three days worth of opioids to their patients, aiming to only administer the lowest-potency opioids for short periods of time for conditions associated with severe pain.

Procedures and conditions that call for opioid prescriptions can range depending on the patient’s pain tolerance and preference, but most commonly include:

• Wisdom teeth surgery
• Tooth/Molar extraction
• Dental infections
• Surgical trauma

The American Dental Association announced new policies to combat the opioid epidemic in March 2018, which include continued education in prescribing opioids and other controlled substances, and statutory limitations on opioid dosage and duration of no more than 7 days for acute pain.

Manage pain responsibly

There is a no one-size-fits-all for treatment, so talking to your dentist to determine what course of action is best for you is a great place to start. At Carolinas Dental Choice we encourage you to update your dentist on your health history, share what medications you might be taking, and disclose if you or someone in your close family are in recovery or have struggled with addiction in the past.

We want to have a conversation with you to answer these questions:

• What is the goal of this prescription?
• At what time and when should I take these?
• How long should I take these drugs?
• Are there risks from this medication?
• What do I do with any extra medication?

Dentists and patients alike need to be on the same page about the perception of pain for these dental procedures, as well as what realistic expectations are for their pain treatment. The goal of pain management is exactly that — management not magic. Often patients may expect to feel absolutely no pain after procedure and anxiety about pain can actually contribute to feeling it. Experiencing a little bit of pain is okay. It will help you keep track of whether something actually hurts and needs treatment or you are continuing to take a medication out of habit. Only treat your pain to the point that it is manageable and does not interfere with your quality of life.

How to treat dental pain without opioids

Opioids are not usually dentists’ first choice to send home with patients. The alternatives to opiates include familiar medications. Over-the-counter pills can be just as effective for controlling pain, and safer, as they are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

In a recent study by The Journal of the American Dental Association, the most effective pain relief with the fewest side effects is 400 milligrams of ibuprofen with 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen. They also found that this combination is more effective than any other opioid or opioid-containing drugs. Most patients can find pain relief with a combination of Tylenol and ibuprofen, or even aspirin, which are easily accessible and inexpensive.

Patients should keep in mind that unlike opiates, the over-the-counter drug combinations may not work as instantly to relieve pain—but, when used correctly and consistently, these NSAIDs will relieve pain as effectively. At Carolina’s Dental Choice we recommend other pain relief measures such as hot or cold compresses, topical numbing gel, and comforting things such as taking a shower or bath, meditating, or distracting oneself with a favorite activity.

Most people associate major dental procedures with some lingering pain, sensitivity, and discomfort. But if you’re experiencing excessive pain post-dental procedure, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your dentist may recommend an additional evaluation, or develop an alternative pain management plan suited for you.

Struggling with an addiction? Get help. 

Various treatment options and resources are available to help people with addiction. Your primary care doctor, dentist, or any other health professional can help assess the situation and recommend treatment options.

Other useful resources centralized in NC include:

The Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina

Carolina Healthcare System #ThisisSober Campaign

North Carolina Council of Community Programs – Treatment Services Guide

Recovery Communities of North Carolina

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