Category: Members

EyeMed Offering Support to California Fire Victims

Our partner, EyeMed, is stepping in to help those affected by the recent California wildfires. They want to do everything they can to provide support in this critical time of need. If any members lost, broke or damaged their glasses (or contacts), EyeMed is prepared to help.

Members can simply follow these steps to talk to a representative who understands the support available:

1. Call 866.652.0018 to talk to an EyeMed representative.

2. Agents will have policy-specific support, plus the ability to send (at no-cost) an emergency pair of replacement Adlens Adjustable Glasses, which allow you to adjust for different distances and switch focus for reading, computer and distance. Or, if you prefer to order permanent replacement glasses or contacts, your EyeMed representative can provide free, expedited shipping from Glasses.com and ContactsDirect.com

3. For emergency, replacement Adlens Adjustables, be prepared to provide the address of your choice where they can be shipped – or whether you will instead pick them up from a designated local store.

4. That’s it. A pair of Adlens Adjustable Glasses will be sent to you with free overnight shipping (must call by 2:30 pm EST for same-day processing).

We understand the need for immediate assistance may extend beyond our vision benefit members. If you know of residents in areas affected by the California wildfires who don’t have EyeMed Vision Care or other vision insurance benefits, and need financial assistance to obtain eyewear, they can reach out to OneSight for local support at 1.888.935.4589.

OneSight is a non-profit organization we partner with that provides eye care and eyewear solutions for those in need around the globe. OneSight assistance program information can also be found at OneSight.

Top 5 Best Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

Halloween: the exciting night where costumed children knock door to door and collect more candy than Willy Wonka himself. Now, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but trick-or-treating can be a frightening time for your child’s teeth. The good news is – it doesn’t have to be.

 

We already know that consuming too many sugary snacks can increase your risk of plaque build-up and that sticky, hard and sour candy can be some of the worst offenders for tooth decay. But did you know that some sweets are actually worse than others? With a little help, you and your family can make smarter candy selections and reduce risk of cavities and keep your teeth healthy.

 

So when it comes to selecting a better alternative, here are some tips:

 

  1. Choose hollow chocolate. Lower your exposure to sugar, by eating a smaller serving.
  2. Opt for sugar free candy. Less sugar, means less chance of decay.
  3. Stick to dark chocolate. Some may say that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that may help with the effects of tooth decay.
  4. Pick any chocolate. If you can’t eat dark chocolate, any chocolate may also be a better choice as it is one of the easier candies to wash off your teeth.
  5. Select candy that contains nuts. Nuts can break up sugary consistency.

 

As always, we recommending brushing your teeth immediately after consuming sugary snacks, keeping floss handy (especially if you indulge on a caramel popcorn ball or two) and eating all candy in moderation.

 

Happy Halloween everyone!

Think E-Cigarettes Are Safe For Your Teeth? Think Again.

Many smokers are under the impression that battery-operated devices (vaping, electronic cigarettes) are a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes; however, recent studies now show that E-cigarettes could be just as harmful as regular cigarettes.

 

Recently published in the journal Oncotarget, the study explained how researchers at the University of Rochester in New York exposed nonsmokers’ gum tissue to e-cigarette vapors. Results showed that the vapors present in e-cigarettes cause inflammation, negatively affect cell regeneration and could potentially damage the cells located in gums and the oral cavity. In fact, E-cigarette vapor killed 53 percent of mouth cells in three days. Short-term data also shows that vaping can impact lung health, damage blood cells and increase risk of heart disease.

 

Be aware that because there isn’t tobacco, it does not mean there isn’t nicotine. So any problems that come with nicotine are still present when vaping.

 

As a reminder, nicotine reduces blood flow to your gums, making it difficult to keep your gums healthy. Gums will eventually start receding and eventually die off. Nicotine also hampers saliva production which will only means more bacteria and more chance of tooth decay.

 

And while more data is needed to show all the side effects from E-cigarettes, it’s important to also note that studies have shown that smokers were three to six times more likely to suffer from advanced gum disease than nonsmokers. So the best way to keep your gums healthy, is not to smoke at all.

 

Read more about the dangers of smoking here.

 

Sources:

Whiteman, Honor. “E-Cigarettes ‘Just as Harmful as Tobacco’ for Oral Health.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 17 Nov. 2016, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314190.php.

Tips for Treating Sensitive Teeth

Tender Teeth? 10 Ways to Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

 

Do you wince when you drink hot or cold beverages? Do you find yourself being cautious when you brush or floss because it’s painful? Well, you may have sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity is common, and can happen when a tooth’s dentin is exposed to acidity or cold and hot temperatures. Lucky for you, tooth sensitivity is preventable and treatable. Although sensitivity can have a number of causes, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), good oral hygiene is always your best defense. And with a few small adjustments to your oral care routine, you could be well on your way to pain-free teeth.

 

Here are 10 tips to help beat tooth sensitivity:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day.
  2. Use a soft bristled brush.
  3. Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  5. Brush gently with appropriate technique.
  6. Floss once a day.
  7. Visit your dentist regularly.
  8. Try an at home fluoride gel treatment (these can help strengthen tooth enamel).
  9. In the meantime, avoid irritating foods and beverages until you find relief.
  10. Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth.

 

However, if you try these and still do not find relief, a visit to your dentist is recommended. At your appointment, your dentist can determine the cause of your sensitivity and provide treatment options. Problems can range from mild tooth decay to gums that have pulled away from the teeth from gum disease.

 

Your dentist may recommend trying a desensitizing toothpaste that can help prevent nerve irritation. And depending on the severity, there are also in-office treatments that can repair damaged areas of the tooth (fillings, crowns, inlays, bonding, surgical gum grafts or root canals). Again, it’s always best to speak with your dentist about treatment options available to you.

 

Need to schedule an appointment? Find a dentist near you.

Dental X-Rays: Your Questions, Our Answers

Let’s talk about x-rays. Sure you’ve had them at your dental visits, but have you ever asked your dentist why? X-rays are a useful tool with many benefits. Read on as we shed some light on commonly asked dental x-ray questions.

Why do dentists need x-rays?

Dentists perform x-rays to check for issues with the teeth, mouth and jaw. Problems can include tooth decay, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, bone damage within the jaw and injuries like broken roots. X-rays can find these problems early, possibly before symptoms are even present. Without x-rays, dentists can easily miss early stages of oral problems, including decay between the teeth.

What types of X-rays are there?

  • Bitewing x-rays: These x-rays are used during check-ups to look for tooth decay, bone loss and severe gum disease as they show the upper and lower teeth in one view.
  • Panoramic x-rays: Given occasionally, this type of x-ray gives a complete, broad view of the upper and lower jaw. Used to identify issues like bone abnormalities, cysts, infections, fractures and tumors, panoramic x-rays will include the jaw, teeth and sinuses.
  • Periapical x-rays: Checking for problems below the gum line, these x-rays uncover problems like impacted teeth, cysts, tumors and abscesses. A periapical x-ray will capture the entire tooth from the surface to below the root. These x-rays are usually performed during a patient’s first visit.
  • Occlusal x-rays: Larger than most x-rays, these images allow a clear view of the roof and floor of the mouth. They will help pin-point foreign objects, extra teeth, jaw fractures, cleft palate or growths.

Are dental x-rays safe?

Dental x-rays use minimal amounts of radiation; your Dental Select dentist will use an up-to-date, modern machine. As a precautionary measure, you will wear a lead apron when this is performed. If you are pregnant, inform your dentist prior to receiving any x-rays. You may choose to wait having x-rays until after birth.

How often do you need dental x-rays?

The need for x-rays is based on age, risk, and signs of disease or oral issues. Healthy patients with little cavity risk may have x-rays performed every year or two, while high risk patients may receive them more often (possibly every 6 months). The ADA recommends that dentists and patients discuss the need for x-rays together.

Bad Habits Teeth

5 Habits That Are Bad for Your Teeth And Why You Should Break Them

From nail biting to chewing ice, we all have different habits that we do on a daily basis – however, you may not be aware of or the impact they have on your oral health. So, even though you brush and floss regularly, you could still be damaging your teeth without even knowing it. Take a look at these five habits that are bad for your teeth – then start making a plan to kick them to the curb.

1). Chewing Ice

Although it seems like an innocent habit, chewing ice can actually lead to cracked or chipped teeth, problems with existing dental work (like fillings or crowns), gum injuries and tooth enamel damage. You may recall our post on chewing ice before. Need a refresher? Check it out here.

2). Nail Biting

Nail biting may seem harmless, but believe it or not, nail biting can actually impact your jaw because of the extended period of time its placed in a protruding position. It can also wear down the front teeth, leading to cracks or chips.

 3). Using Teeth to Open Things

Teeth aren’t made to be tools. Using your teeth to open things or hold things, can be a destructive habit that can ruin more than your smile. In fact, when putting excessive pressure on your teeth, you will increase your chance of cracking your teeth or even suffering a jaw injury.

4). Teeth Grinding

When you grind your teeth, it can cause significant damage and increase risk of development temporomandibular joint (TMJ). As bruxism weakens your tooth structures it can lead to loose, painful or fractured teeth and also damage fillings and crowns. Check out our full post about teeth grinding here.

5). Eating A Lot of Sugar

Too much snacking, especially foods that are high in sugar will increase your chance of cavities and tooth decay. Excessive sugar increases production of plaque that will break down tooth enamel. So when bacteria come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth. Then, this will eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities. Read more on creating a balanced diet for healthy teeth here.

If you need help with breaking any of these habits, making an appointment with your dentist is a great place to start. They can help establish a healthy oral care plan to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Still need to find a Dental Select dentist near you? Click here.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom Teeth: To Remove or Not to Remove?

Removing your wisdom teeth is an important decision. And whether they are impacted or not, wisdom teeth should always be closely monitored to make sure they won’t cause future problems. We know it can get confusing, so to help understand your options, we’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers. As always, your dentist is the best resource to answer questions about your oral health and we encourage you to schedule an appointment with them for the most detailed information.

 What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third last molars to erupt. Generally, there are one on each side of the upper and lower jaws and are the furthest teeth from the front of the mouth.

What age do wisdom teeth come in?
Usually between the ages of 17-21, but this can vary between patients.

Do wisdom teeth always need to be removed?
Not necessarily, as long as the wisdom teeth erupt fully into the mouth and function correctly. Also, not everyone gets wisdom teeth. While some people have all four wisdom teeth, others may only get one, two or three or none at all. If a wisdom tooth remains fully buried, it can sometimes be left alone if it does not cause problems. Your dentist will continue to monitor these teeth because the potential for developing problems later do still exist.

In what instances would wisdom teeth need to removed?

Wisdom teeth can partially emerge, come in crooked or lead to overcrowding and disease. Consequently, diseased or potentially problematic wisdom teeth should almost always be removed. Your dentist can help examine your wisdom teeth as they erupt and help you make an informed decision; however, instances for removal usually include: 

  • Incorrect position, or not coming in properly
  • Not enough room
  • Infection
  • Tooth decay
  • Cyst or tumor formation
  • Gum disease
  • Pain

 What age should wisdom teeth be removed?

The ADA recommends that people between 16 – 19 should have their wisdom teeth evaluated. Generally, wisdom teeth that are removed before age 20 have less complications.

Need to find a dentist to discuss your wisdom teeth treatment plan? Click here to find one near you.

Fillings

Dental Fillings: What’s the difference?

If you’ve had a cavity before, chances are your dentist treated the decayed area of your tooth with a filling. Fillings are a common procedure that helps restore teeth back to normal functionality and shape.

Nowadays, there are many choices when it comes to types of dental fillings. Two very familiar types are amalgam and resin composite. Although dental amalgam has been trusted for more than a century, recent advancements in the industry have made resin composite more appealing. But there can be limitations with both.

So what’s the difference between the two and which one should you get? We’ll cover some basics to help you get familiar with these two popular types of fillings. Before your next appointment, we recommend discussing treatment options with your dentist first.

Amalgam
Also known as silver fillings, dental amalgam is made from mercury, silver, tin and copper. Dentists sometimes prefer this type of filling because it’s considered stronger than other types, more affordable, and easier to manipulate when filling cavities. Amalgam has been around for 150+ years and is still a top choice for hard to reach areas or cavities below the gum-line. Amalgam’s low maintenance and durability are appealing to both dentists and patients. It’s important to note that the American Dental Association (ADA) deems amalgam to be a safe, durable material that has been studied extensively.

Resin
Resin composite appears as a more natural, tooth colored material and is made of plastic and ceramic compounds. Even though it’s been around for years, it hasn’t been strong enough to withstand pressure and chewing on back teeth until the last decade. The lifespan of resin is still somewhat unknown, but is expected to last at least 8 to 10 years. Resin can be a bit tricky to place, as it requires a dry environment. Consequently, there are times resin won’t work to fill certain cavities. Resin also costs more, so sometimes it’s helpful to verify your benefit eligibility prior to receiving this service.

In summary, you and your dentist should discuss treatment options available, which may vary based on the size, location and cost. Ask your dentist to cover your choices to help you make the right decision.

Need Dental Care in Another State? Okay, No Problem.

On vacation with a dental emergency? Or maybe you have an out-of-state child in college who needs to visit the dentist? No need to worry – your Dental Select benefits travel with you. Although we recommend getting all routine procedures taken care prior to leaving town, we understand that emergency situations happen or that family members may live elsewhere.

Since 2014, we’ve offered national coverage to members and covered family members. Our nationwide network includes more than 200,000 access points across the country, including all 50 states. So you can sleep better at night knowing dental care is available anytime, anywhere.

And to make traveling with benefits easier, here are a few tips to remember before you hit the road.

  1. Keep your member ID information on hand. Even better, download our app (iTunes, Google Play). That way you won’t need to carry information around in your wallet (note: dental offices will call and verify benefits on your behalf, but this will make locating your benefits faster and easier).
  2. For emergency care after hours, call the dentist’s office as soon as possible. Typically, dentists will have an emergency line where they can be reached for urgent care.
  3. To locate a dentist near your destination, use our dentist search for the fastest, most current information. Enter your address to see a list of dentists that are close by.
  4. As always, you can visit an out of network dentist if you’d like; however, we recommend staying in network to save the most money on out of pocket costs.

Ready to locate a dentist near your location? Click here.

Chewing Ice

Have a Habit of Chewing Ice? It’s Time to Chill Out

Imagine sitting outside on a hot summer day. Hoping to cool off, you reach for cup full of ice cubes to chew on. Sounds refreshingly innocent, right? Well, not really. It turns out, chewing ice is not so great for your teeth, which is why the ADA recommends avoiding persistent ice chewing; specifically, to avoid tooth injuries and other oral problems.

It’s true, chewing ice comes with risks and often leads to an increase of dental patients during summer months. Some of these dangers include: cracked or chipped teeth, problems with existing dental work (like fillings or crowns), gum injuries and tooth enamel damage. It’s also common to find that your teeth become more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures after chewing ice excessively. If you are experiencing any of these issues, please book an appointment with your dentist immediately.

So what’s an ice chewer to do? Instead, try letting ice dissolve in your mouth rather than chewing. Once and a while, a slushy drink or semi-melted ice slivers (instead of cubes) can also suffice. You could also try eating cold carrots or apples if you are looking for a similar type of crunchy refreshment.

Another noteworthy point is for anyone who thinks they may have an ice chewing habit. If you feel this is something you cannot stop on your own, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Sometimes, this can be associated with iron deficiency anemia.

Want to learn more about ice chewing and other foods that can damage your teeth? Check out this article by the ADA to start protecting your teeth.