I don’t have dental insurance. Can I still get affordable care?

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, approximately 71.6 million Americans did not have dental insurance benefits at the end of 2017. Given that cost is often found to be a driving factor for patients when it comes to dental care, it’s no wonder that those with insurance are more likely to maintain regular oral health visits. Considering the importance of your oral health on overall well-being, it’s also not surprising that those without dental insurance report higher incidences of other health problems, such as heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Thankfully, there is a way for those without dental insurance to access quality dental care that is both affordable and hassle free.

The Smiles360 Dental Savings Club

We’re pleased to introduce the Smiles360 Dental Savings Club, our new discount plan that serves as a great alternative to dental insurance. A membership includes routine services at no additional cost. This includes cleanings, exams and fluoride treatments, as well as any necessary x-rays and one emergency visit each year. In addition, generous discounts are available for a variety of treatments, with 50% off periodontal services and 25% off all other treatments, such as fillings, crowns and extractions. Members even get 10% off comprehensive orthodontic treatment. Benefits are available as soon as you sign up, with no hidden fees or complicated paperwork.

Plan Types and Fees

Smiles360 memberships are available as single, dual and family plans. Annual membership fees start at $269 for individuals, $479 for a dual, and $825 for a family of four. Additional members can be added to it for an additional $125.

How to Join

Learn more about the Smiles360 Dental Savings Plan, and sign up for a membership, by visiting www.smiles360dental.com. You can also join in person by dropping by one of our offices — we’d love to see you! If you have questions, email us at Smiles360@mdpweb.net or call 888-380-0399.

Safety. Convenience. Payment options. The things that matter most when choosing a dentist.

With coronavirus cases surging past 4 million in the United States, safety has taken on a new precedence within different aspects of our lives, including visiting healthcare providers. Additionally, when it comes to choosing a dentist, convenience and affordability have always been high on patients’ priority lists. That’s why it has become more important than ever for us to say “yes” to our patients in all three of these areas. 

Safety

In our June blog post, we highlighted some of the extra precautions we’re taking to ensure you and your family are safe when you visit the dentist. These include applying new screening measures, following social distancing guidelines, increasing the level of personal protective equipment, and implementing more frequent sterilization and disinfection practices. You can be assured that keeping our patients and team members safe is our top priority.

Convenience

We know you have a lot going on. That’s why we want to make things as easy on you as possible. We’ll work with you to find an appointment time that suits your family’s busy schedule, and can often fit in same-day appointments or same-day treatment. Once you’re here, we’ll do our best to complete your care as efficiently as possible so you can get back to the things you love. 

Payment options

We know everyone’s situation is different, and having flexible payment options that fit your needs is important. While many patients will be happy to know we accept most major dental insurances, we also have options for patients without insurance. These include offering payment plans for those who qualify and accepting CareCredit. We even have a discount dental plan! For a low annual fee, discount plan members receive routine services at no additional cost and generous discounts on a variety of treatments. 

We say “Yes” so you can, too! 

We say “yes” to safety, convenience and payment options, so you can feel comfortable saying “yes” to making us your partner in dental care. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

How does oral health affect the immune system?

With the COVID-19 pandemic still disrupting many routine activities, you may be wondering whether it makes sense to delay your dental visit. It’s becoming widely understood that oral health plays an important role in your overall health, including your immune system. In this post, we’ll explore how oral health problems like gum disease can impact your immune system, and why it’s crucial to maintain regular appointments with your hygienist.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease occurs when enough bacteria builds in the mouth to cause your gums to become inflamed. Gum disease can vary in severity, from gingivitis to more severe forms of periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis can cause gum recession and even tooth loss. To diagnose gum disease, your dentist and hygienist perform a thorough assessment to classify the severity and extent of bone loss. Bleeding, overall health status and risk factors are also considered.

How does gum disease impact the immune system?

As this article from Guardian insurance explains, when you have gum disease, your immune system must work to fight off the infection. This can make it less available to fight off other problems in your body. In fact, Bicuspid.com writer Dr. Alvin Danenberg recently explored the question of whether poor oral health, combined with an unhealthy diet and a weakened immune system, could worsen the impact of COVID-19 on your body. The good news is, twice-daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist, can help keep your mouth healthy and support a strong immune system. 

Missed your appointment? Give us a call!

Keeping your regular hygiene appointments can go a long way toward a healthy smile. If you missed an appointment due to COVID-19 restrictions, please contact us to schedule. While we’ve always followed standard safety protocols, we’ve implemented several extra precautions in response to the pandemic to keep our patients and team members safe.

4 Ways We’re Keeping You Safe

Although you might be aware of how important regular dental check-ups are, you may be wondering whether it’s even safe to visit the dentist in the midst of a pandemic. It’s understandable to be cautious these days, and we want to assure you that the dentist’s office is actually a pretty safe place to be. While we’ve always followed standard safety protocols recommended by the state dental board and American Dental Association, we’ve implemented several extra precautions to ensure the safety of our patients and team. Here are four important ways we’re keeping you safe.

1. New Screening Measures

Prior to your appointment, you can expect to be asked the following screening questions:

  1. Have you been sick in the past 3 weeks?
  2. Have you had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms?

If you answer “yes” to either of these questions, we will ask you to reschedule your appointment. 

In addition to these pre-screening questions, we will also take your temperature when you arrive for your appointment. If it is above 100.4 F, you will be asked to reschedule. Temperature screenings are not limited to patients; we also check the temperature of each of our team members daily. Anyone who is sick is required to stay home.

2. Social Distancing

We’ve also implemented a few measures to help us adhere to social distancing guidelines as much as possible. Wherever feasible, patients are asked to wait in their car as opposed to the welcome area. We’ve also decreased the number of chairs in our welcome area to ensure there is adequate space between patients. To minimize the number of individuals in the practice at one time, visitors are limited to patients and, if necessary, one parent, guardian or translator. We are also asking our team members to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other.

3. Personal Protective Equipment

You can rest assured that our entire clinical and non-clinical team will be wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment during your visit. All clinical team members, such as doctors and hygienists, wear:

  • N95 or KN95 mask, or a Level 3 surgical mask with a face shield
  • Eyewear with side shields
  • Gown or lab jacket 

All non-clinical team members, such as front desk staff, also wear reusable or surgical masks. For additional safety, we encourage you to wear a mask to your appointment. You will also be given protective eyewear during your treatment.

4. Sterilization and Disinfection

While our standard protocols have always helped to protect our patients and team members from communicable diseases like the coronavirus, we have increased the frequency of our sterilization and disinfection practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition:

  • All team members wash hands more frequently. 
  • Food items, magazines, books, toys and other clutter have been removed from common and clinical areas.
  • Countertops, door knobs, tables, chairs and other common surfaces are wiped down often.

We’ve Missed You and Your Smile!

We hope this helps assure you that you’ll be safe during your dental visit. If you need to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As always, your health is our number one priority. We can’t wait to see you again!

How does stress impact your oral health?

There’s no doubt that the coronavirus crisis has caused stress and anxiety for many of us. In fact, early research tells us that the psychological impact for most individuals has been moderate to severe. So how does our mental health affect our oral health? We’ll look at some ways stress can impact a healthy smile and offer suggestions for coping.

Snacking

It is understandable that many of us turn to comfort foods during stressful times. Often this means eating foods that are harmful to teeth, such as hard or chewy candies, sodas, sport drinks, sticky foods, alcohol, coffee, and starchy snacks. When stress gives you the urge to snack, try turning to healthier foods instead, such as raw or crunchy fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, and seeds. These foods are better for your teeth and overall health.

Clenching and Grinding

Bruxism, or clenching and grinding teeth, is a common reaction to stress, tension, and anxiety.  The Bruxism Association reports that up to 70% of teeth grinding is caused by stress. It can happen during the day or while sleeping, and most of the time we are not aware we are doing it. The most common symptoms are headaches upon waking, earaches, jaw or facial pain, generalized tooth sensitivity, limited ability to open your jaw, and damaged or worn teeth. 

Canker Sores

Research has also shown a link between psychological stress and canker sores. The Mayo Clinic describes canker sores as “shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums” that can range in size and severity. They can sometimes be very painful.

Home Care Tips 

Coping with Clenching and Grinding

If you’re experiencing symptoms related to clenching or grinding your teeth, try these home care tips suggested by our hygienists:

  • Gently massage the outer part of the jaw joints to relax tense muscles.
  • Place a warm, moist cloth on the outside of the cheeks.
  • Change your sleeping position.
  • Try over-the-counter pain medicines to reduce inflammation if you have pain or discomfort.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart

During highly stressful situations, our hygienists tell us that the optimal rest position of the jaw is lips together, teeth slightly apart, with the tip of the tongue resting just behind your upper front teeth, and breathing through your nose.

Mindful Meditation

According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” The site offers some tips for practicing mindful meditation, which has been shown to help ease stress. 

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for more resources on managing anxiety or stress during the coronavirus crisis, check out these additional tips from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or the American Psychological Association

We Are Open

We are now open for all dental services. If you missed an appointment because of COVID-19 restrictions, please contact us to reschedule to help prevent cavities, infections, or other potential complications. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can go a long way in supporting your overall health.

Oral Health for Older Adults

Keeping good oral hygiene habits is important at any age. As we get older, regular visits to the dentist remain necessary, particularly since changes to our health status can often affect our oral health. One study found that older adults with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are more at risk for […]

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