Good Oral Hygiene Keeps Dental Costs Down
Even with the rising cost of dental care, it is very easy today to maintain an excellent oral hygiene prevention system at home – at a fraction of the cost of rehabilitating a diseased mouth. To paraphrase the old adage, a dollar at the drug store is worth a thousand at the dentist.
Here are some tips from top oral health experts on how to maintain great oral health without breaking the bank:
Dr. Sanda Moldovan www.beverlyhillsdentalhealth.com), a certified nutritionist and periodontist, is the author of the soon-to-be-released book Heal Up! Moldovan works in private practice in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and New York City. She also teaches part-time at the UCLA School of Dentistry. She is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine, American College of Nutrition, Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and National Speakers Association, and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Periodontology.
- Practice good oral hygiene, brush, floss or oral irrigator and pop and chewable probiotic for good breath and to decrease inflammation.
- For those bruxers out there – wear your nightguard – BPA free. It’s a good insurance policy agains broken teeth. Remember to clean it properly using an ultrasonic cleaner with a cleaning tablet. I do not recommend brushing any oral appliances, as this can leave scratches which can harbor bad fungus and bacteria.
- Prevention – do a self oral exam and check your tongue, cheeks, gums and teeth. Watch out for red/white spots or black stains on teeth. If you notice something, go in to your dentist right away. The smaller the problem, the easier it is to fix.
Dr. Scott Shamblott is a general dentist and the founder of Shamblott Family Dentistry (www.shamblottfamilydentistry.com) in Hopkins, Minn. He is the author of two books, Help! My Tooth Hurts: Your Guide to Feeling Better Fast, and Fear-Free Dental Care: Finding a Dentist You Can Love. Dr. Shamblott earned a B.S. in Finance at the University of Arizona Cum Laude and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree with High Distinction at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He completed a general practice residency at the University of Tennessee Hospital. Dr. Shamblott earned a fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry and from the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. Also a new product evaluator, he is one of 450 dentists worldwide selected to test dental products and techniques for Clinicians Report.
- Fear of financial cost. Dental care can be expensive. “People have different priorities for spending money. No one wants to choose dental care over a family vacation. But sometimes you need to. Ask about payment plans, discount programs, and credit options. And you’re going to be better off financially if you pay for your regular cleanings and check-ups, and take care of problems when they’re small, versus waiting until your little problem becomes a big one and then you have a full-blown dental emergency.”
Dr. Jamie Reynolds (www.AskDrReynolds.com) is recognized on an annual basis as one of the top orthodontists in metro Detroit. His book, World Class Smiles Made in Detroit, puts an emphasis on the many benefits of having a great smile. Reynolds – who is a national and international lecturer on high-tech digital orthodontics and practice management – attended the University of Michigan for both his undergrad education and dental studies, and did his orthodontic residency at the University of Detroit-Mercy.
- Avoid Cutting Corners
Not all providers and treatment plans are created equal. Consider quality while shopping because the cheapest orthodontic treatment in town may come with a significant hidden cost in dollars, time, comfort and your end-results. One example of a treatment plan that may cost you more in the long run is the removal of permanent teeth. Unless this is a “last resort” case, a doctor may be recommending extractions when modern orthodontic techniques could treat equally or better, without removing teeth. Pulling permanent teeth can compromise the health of gum and bones, and result in long-term negative effects on facial structures and costly corrections.
- Flexible Financing
Most offices will offer several options to pay for treatment, which may include: paying in full to receive a certain percentage off, making a down payment followed by affordable monthly payments or opting for an extended financing plan for the lowest monthly payment options.
- Avoid Hidden Fees
If you opt for an extended financing plan, watch out for missed payment fees or surprise charges. You also shouldn’t need to pay higher than a 7 or 8 percent APR for an extended payment plan. Shorter payment plans are available with a 0 percent APR.
- Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts
FSAs and HSAs allow the use of pretax dollars for qualified health-care expenses, which include orthodontics. Both types of accounts are a significant tax advantage and can be the most powerful way to save money on orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Harold Katz (www.therabreath.com), developer of TheraBreath Dry Mouth Oral Rinse and Lozenges, received his degree in bacteriology from UCLA and is the founder of The California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible. He has been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “Early Show” and “The View” with Barbara Walters and countless other TV shows. Dr. Katz has developed oxygenating compounds that have been used by millions around the world to eliminate bad breath. He is also the bearer of the now famous “Halimeter,” which tests the sulfur compounds in the mouth that cause bad breath. Dr. Katz’ website offers a free online bad breath test – as well as a sneaky way to tell someone they have halitosis.
- Floss at least once a day. Yes, it’s a hassle if you haven’t done it in years, but studies show that flossing at least once a day can add years to your life. That’s because bleeding gums are linked to a higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes. And also those cavities you get between your teeth – that brushing can’t reach. Cost $2.99
- Soft Nylon Toothbrush: Brush for 2 minutes twice daily. Toss the brush after 3 months. That’s 4 brushes per year at $3.50 per brush = $14.00. Cost of a crown on a molar? Upwards of $750-$1000.
- Mouthwash: Newer non-alcohol mouthwashes are now available that are even accepted by the American Dental Association to freshen breath. Try TheraBreath Fresh Breath Oral Rinse, available at www.amazon.com (it’s their #1 best seller and it’s only $14.76 for a TWO bottle pack). The cost of bad breath? Loss of your job, spouse, grandchildren, self-esteem…..Need I say more.
- Mouthwash 2: If you suffer with gum disease and want to avoid deep scalings or periodontal surgery, look for a mouthwash with CPC, approved by the FDA to prevent bleeding gums and plaque buildup. A new mouthwash called TheraBreath Healthy Gums is now at Walmart. Only $8.67 per bottle. Cost of Dentures? $1,200. Cost of full mouth implants? $10-$20k. You decide.
- Toothpaste: Fluoride has been recognized for over 60 years as a decay preventive. There are many fluoride toothpastes on the market. But, many of them contain a harsh detergent known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a fancy term for soap). If you want to prevent tooth decay and still have a moist, kissable mouth, try TheraBreath anti-decay toothpaste (detergent free) at Walgreens or CVS. Only $10 per tube. Cost of a root canal on a molar? $1200 – $1500 (and some sleepless nights)