Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FAQs About Crowns and Bridges

FAQs About Crowns and Bridges

What Is A Crown? 

A crown, also referred to as a cap, is a covering that is placed over a tooth. Crowns are placed to protect a tooth from failure, such as breaking, or to replace parts of a missing tooth. 

What Are Crowns Made Of? 
Crowns can be made of many different materials. The most common crown today is a porcelain fused to metal crown. There is a thin metal casting made to fit over your tooth and then porcelain is baked over the metal to make it look like a tooth in color, shape, and form. Crowns can also be made entirely of porcelain with no metal substructure. These all porcelain crowns are mostly reserved for the front of the mouth where aesthetics are the main concern, not strength. Crowns may also be made from gold. Gold is the best material for the back of the mouth, thus the term “gold standard” in dentistry. Your dentist will discuss with you which type of crown is best for you. 

Is It Permanent Or Temporary? 
Permanent! However, because it is man-made, it does have a lifespan and may need to be replaced several times throughout a lifetime.

How Should I Care For A Crown? 
It is important to remember that the crown is just a covering over your natural tooth and regular care of the underlying tooth is necessary for the longevity of the tooth and crown. Since your crown is cemented on, you should take care to avoid the crowned tooth when eating very sticky foods as they may pull the crown off. If this happens it is very simple to fix, just bring the crown to your dentist and it can be recemented on very quickly and easily. 

What Is A Bridge? 
A bridge is a device that is used to literally bridge the gap between teeth.  A bridge is made up of two crowns to attach to teeth on either side of the gap with a false tooth, or set of teeth, in between. It prevents other teeth from moving due to the missing tooth or teeth and restores your smile. Bridges are ideal to replace one or many missing teeth.

What Is A Bridge Made Of? 
Bridges can be made up of a metal substructure with porcelain fused over it or entirely of porcelain. 

Is It Permanent Or Temporary? 
Just like a crown, a bridge is permanent with an expected lifespan. It should be expected to be replaced over the course of a lifetime. 

How Is A Bridge Attached?
It takes at least 2 visits to fabricate a bridge. During the first visit, your teeth will be prepared for a bridge.  A mild anesthetic is applied to your mouth and the dentist will clear an area surrounding the teeth on each side of the space to accommodate for the bridge.  An impression will then be taken of your mouth and sent to a lab, where the bridge will be made.  Your new, permanent bridge will arrive a few weeks later and will be fitted, checked, and adjusted and, finally, cemented to your teeth.

How Should I Care For A Bridge? 
It’s important that the bridge is brushed and flossed just like natural teeth. Extra care needs to be taken to floss underneath any of the replacement teeth using either a floss threader or superfloss. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St
Norristown, PA 19403

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

$50 Extraction Fundraising Event!

$50 Extractions! Saturday, December 15 Only!

Help support the family of Officer Mike Hougnon, 
a West Norriton Police Officer and patient of our office. 

Officer Mike Hougnon recently suffered a brain aneurysm. Read his story on the Norristown Patch by clicking here. We are doing our part in helping his family pay medical bills for the numerous surgeries and months of rehabilitation that he will require by holding a fundraising event offering:

$50 Extractions 
+ FREE Exam and Digital Xray 
Please join us on 
Saturday, December 15
 *Queue starts outside our office at 8am
We are located at 2030 West Main Street in West Norriton, PA
Absolutely ALL proceeds go directly to 
the family of Officer Mike Hougnon! 

**This is a great opportunity for anyone who seriously needs to get a tooth pulled and would not be able to afford an extraction at the usual price of well over $100. 

Planning on coming? 
Here's what you need to know: 
1. No appointment necessary! Patients will be treated on a first come, first serve basis. 

2. CASH ONLY. We can only accept cash in order to ensure that every penny and every effort goes directly to supporting our cause. 

3. You MUST bring a filled out Health History Form! You can print out this form on our website or by clicking here. You will not be seen without this form! 

4. Due to time constraints we can not extract impacted teeth. 

If you aren't in need of dental services but would still like to contribute we will collect donations at our office as well. Donations can be made to Continental Bank C/O The Hougnon Family.

Email us at drsethrosen@aol.com
or visit our website at 

Friday, November 30, 2012

FAQs About Dentures

Everything You'd Ever Need to Know About Dentures! 

What are dentures?
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. There are two main types of dentures: full dentures and partial dentures. Full dentures are used when all the teeth are missing while partial dentures are used when some natural, healthy teeth remain. 

Does insurance cover the cost? 
Many dental insurance companies pay for a portion of the cost of dentures. Since all insurances are different it’s important to check with your carrier to find out what they will cover.  We also offer financing for patients without dental insurance. 

Will my dentures need to be replaced?
Dentures will need to be relined, rebased or remade over time due to normal wear and tear. It’s important to replace severely worn or ill-fitting dentures before they cause problems such as sores and infections. 

What do dentures feel like?
At first, a new denture will probably feel slightly awkward and loose while your cheek and tongue muscles learn to keep the dentures in place. It only takes a few weeks before you become fully accustomed to your new dentures. It is also very common to feel irritation or soreness at first, if these problems persist you should revisit your dentist.  An overdenture will never feel loose or move around your mouth and may be the best option to solve discomfort.

Can I eat while wearing dentures?
Yes! Learning to eat with your dentures will take some practice- you should start with soft foods cut into small pieces and chew slowly. You will always have to be careful of very hard foods and hot food and beverages. Many people who have trouble eating with full dentures find that an overdenture is the better option for them. 

How often should I visit my dentist? 
It is recommended that denture wearers visit the dentist once a year. 

Will they change how I look and speak? 
Like eating, speaking with dentures will need some practice. Properly fitting dentures will not alter your speech after you get used to wearing them. Your dentures will be made to very closely resemble your natural teeth and will not hinder your appearance or look fake or noticeable- they may even improve the look of your smile and profile! See the below pictures showing how dentures improve the look of your face and profile. People who do not replace their missing teeth tend to have a “sunken in” look and can greatly improve the look of their face by using dentures.  

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, November 15, 2012

FAQs About Partial Dentures

All You'd Ever Need or Want to Know About Partial Dentures! 

What Is A Partial Denture? 
A partial denture is a removable device used to replace one or more missing teeth. Most partial dentures use clips or clasps to hold onto remaining teeth. Many times the teeth the partial denture is to be clipped to must be changed in minor ways to best allow this to happen. Most simply, a partial denture is a retainer with teeth added. 

What Is A Partial Denture Made Of? 
The retainer portion may be made out of metal, nylon, or acrylic. The teeth are plastic, which is much softer than your natural teeth, so care must be given to eating hard or crunchy foods. In fact, your diet may need to change based upon what foods you can chew well with your partial denture. 

Is It Permanent Or Temporary? 
In our office, a partial removable denture is seen as a temporary fix.  All partial dentures can cause future problems such as loosening of the teeth they are clipped to, wear on the teeth they are clipped to, gum soreness, and continued loss of jawbone. With this in mind we always recommend that a long term plan should be in place for the replacement of your missing teeth so that these problems can be avoided. 

How Long Can I Wear It? 
All partial dentures need to be removed after every meal, cleansed well, and should be left out at night to give your gums a rest. Failure to leave the partial out at night can cause infections and/or increase the rate at which the remaining teeth fail.

There are four main types of partial dentures in use today. We will make a recommendation as to which type we feel is a best fit for your particular situation.

Healing Partial 
A “healing partial” is constructed out of acrylic with acrylic teeth. The clips are thick wire that is bent around a few of the remaining teeth. We call this a “healing partial” because it is the best partial for us to use if we are going to remove teeth and need something to replace them immediately. This allows us to make sure that our patients never go without teeth. This is the least expensive option for a partial denture, but also the shortest expected usable lifespan. The acrylic base and teeth can stain and show wear within a few months and the clips tend to lose shape and hold.

Cast Metal Partial  
A custom cast frame is made from a mold of your remaining teeth. Many times the remaining teeth must be slightly modified to allow the casting to seat and hold properly.  After the cast frame has been made and we make sure that it fits well, we will re-send the partial to the lab to have the teeth added. The teeth are still acrylic, but the underlying metal makes everything much stronger and longer lived. This type of partial is a fantastic choice for many of our patients, but the trade off is aesthetics. In some instances the shiny metal of the framework may be seen. This design also tends to put a lot of force on the clasping teeth, so attention and care must be given to the remaining teeth.

Flexible Partial 
This type goes by many names, most commonly heard are Valplast, Flexite, or simply a flexible partial. It is constructed from nylon which is incredibly strong, yet flexible. Even the clips and clasps are made from nylon, which can be tooth colored or gum colored, so these tend to be very aesthetic because there is no metal. The teeth are also very hard which makes them last longer with less chance of breaking. The trade off is that these partials tend to be so flexible that they move around a little while chewing and can make the gums sore. Many of our patients find that a little bit of denture adhesive can help hold this type of partial well and alleviate gum soreness. This partial has one other huge drawback, it is not easily repaired. If anything changes in the mouth, for example if another tooth is lost, the partial will need to go to a special lab for repair which can take up to a week.

A “hybrid” partial is a traditional cast metal partial with nylon clips, clasps, and teeth added. In most cases this gives exceptional fit without any aesthetic issues since the metal is hidden. The only drawback to this type of partial is that it is also difficult to repair. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Friday, November 9, 2012

Have Anxiety Over Visiting the Dentist?

Here's What You Need To Know About Dental Sedation

Have anxiety over visiting the dentist? You're not alone, and if you're struggling to make yourself visit the dentist for even simple routine cleanings then maybe you should consider sedation. Here's what you need to know: 

There are Different Levels of Sedation.
You don't have to be totally unconscious to reap the benefits of dental sedation. Many patients who fear the dentist also fear being completely out of control while sedated. Our office offers many options for sedation besides being completely knocked out. Oral sedation relaxes you while still giving you the ability to hear, understand, and respond. Our office provides Valium to patients who are nervous and wish to partake in oral sedation before a procedure. Nitrous oxide is also available as a form of dental sedation known "inhalation sedation". Just like oral sedation, you are relaxed while completely in control. Some patients liken the feeling of nitrous oxide to a glass of red wine. 

Your Insurance May Cover It.
Some dental insurances cover sedation during dental procedures, check with yours to see if they do! Even if not covered by your insurance, nitrous oxide and oral sedation are very affordable.

Sedation Can Be Used During Literally Any Dental Procedure.
If even the thought of going to the dentist makes you nervous then you still have the option of sedation during a routine cleaning or simple filling. Since dental sedation is completely safe it is beneficial for nervous patients to opt for nitrous oxide during any procedure, even routine cleanings, instead of avoiding the dentist completely. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen, DMD
2030 West Main Street, 
Norristown PA 19403

Friday, October 12, 2012

Use it or Lose it!

Take Advantage of Your Benefits Before They Reset in January! 
What You Might Not Know About Your Dental Insurance Plan.

If you have dental insurance then your benefits will expire on the last day of 2012. The money you have put all year toward your dental insurance deductible will disappear and you will have to restart on January 1, 2013. To some, this may be infuriating. Maybe you put all this money toward dental insurance and all you've gotten out of it was one cleaning, or maybe you started a treatment plan earlier in the year and the time has really gotten away from you. Either way, the good news is there's still time to take advantage of your dental benefits before they run out.

If you have unfinished treatment, or you've been putting off that root canal, you will save money in the long run if you have it completed before the end of the year. This is because the money you've invested toward your deductible will have reduced your out-of-pocket expense, but only until the end of the year. Don't let the money you've already put toward your insurance deductible for treatment go to waste!

When was the last time you had a cleaning? If it's been more than six months make an appointment before the end of the year! Many insurance companies pay 100% of your dental cleanings and checkups twice a year.

Many dental insurances pay between $1000-$1500 a year for treatment. Check with your dental insurance company to see how much you have left. If you have money left in your insurance account for 2012 then you should use it before you lose it! Get that cavity filled that you've been putting off or finally make an appointment to take off your temporary crown and have the permanent one placed. Some insurance companies even provide benefits for cosmetic dentistry! If you're part of the small percentage of people with adult orthodontic coverage then ask your dentist about Invisalign.

Get the most out of your dental insurance and save yourself money in 2012 by completing unfinished treatment plans by December 31st! Make sure to take advantage of your dental insurance benefits before the end of the year and make an appointment today. Call your dentist well ahead of time to ensure that you will get an appointment before January!

Call us at 610-631-3400 or visit us online to make an appointment using our online scheduler!

Family Dental Care Center
2030 West Main St., Norristown, PA 19403

Friday, October 5, 2012

Periodontal Disease FAQs

FAQs and Treatment of Gum Disease!

What is Gum Disease? 
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a chronic infection of the gums, ligaments and bone that support the teeth and anchor them in the jaw. 

What Causes Gum Disease? 
Bacteria are normal inhabitants of the mouth living in a thin film called plaque. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar”, a hard mineral shell, that brushing can’t remove. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist can remove tartar. When plaque builds on the tartar surface, it irritates and erodes healthy gum tissue. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If left untreated, pockets begin to form between the teeth and gum tissues. When the supporting bone becomes badly eroded, tooth loss can result. This stage is called periodontitis.

What are the Symptoms?
Red, swollen, or tender gums
Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating
Gums shrinking or pulling away from teeth
Persistent bad breath

How Is Gum Disease Treated?
The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. In the early stages of gum disease, treatment usually involves removing the plaque and calculus in the pockets around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. This is called scaling and root planing. In combination with proper daily home care, this is all that is usually required to stop the development of the disease. If you wait until the symptoms are more advanced, a referral to a periodontist may be necessary, and in some cases, surgical treatment.

Deep Cleaning: Scaling and Root Planing
Plaque is removed through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. 
Scaling cleans off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. Medications, such as antibiotic gels, may be used with treatment. 

What Can I Expect After Treatment? 
You may experience some sensitivity to the teeth and gums immediately following your treatment. Any discomfort can be controlled with OTC pain relievers such as ibuprophen. 

Will My Insurance Cover Treatment?
Most dental insurance programs cover most or all of the cost of gum disease treatments. It is important that you check with your insurance carrier to find out what they provide. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen, DMD
2030 West Main St., Norristown, PA 19403

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ways to Replace Missing Teeth

Why It's Important to Replace A Missing Tooth and What Your Options Are

If you lose a front tooth, aesthetic reasons may dominate your decision to replace it. However, It is important to replace missing teeth in any area of your mouth, visible or not, to prevent many problems from occurring down the road. If not replaced, the missing tooth area will begin to experience bone loss, the surrounding teeth will begin to shift, and you put yourself at a greater risk for gum disease. If you wait too long to replace a missing tooth bone loss in the area could make it impossible to ever successfully fix the gap. For patients who require an extraction bone grafting is often recommended directly following the procedure to preserve the area for future restorations. 
You have many options for replacing missing teeth:

Dental Implants
Dental implants are natural-looking replacements for missing teeth that provide the same function as your natural tooth root. The implant is a small, sturdy, titanium post that is placed into the missing tooth area. Implants are ideal for replacing one or many teeth. This is the most technologically advanced and permanent way to replace missing teeth. 

A bridge can be permanent or removable. It is used to literally bridge the gap between teeth. A bridge is made up of two crowns to attach to teeth on either side of the gap with a false tooth, or set of teeth, in between. It prevents other teeth from moving  due to the missing tooth and restores your smile. Bridges are ideal to replace one or many missing teeth.

Partial Denture
A full denture is a full set of false teeth that are removable and are made to replace an entire arch of teeth. A partial denture is a removable set of teeth that can be used to replace many teeth on the same arch. It is recommended for patients who do not meet the qualifications for a bridge due to the location of missing teeth or can not afford a bridge. 

Before and After Snap-on-Smile case completed in my office. 
The Snap-on-Smile is a fairly new product. It is a removable arch of teeth that fit comfortably onto your actual teeth. It's totally non-invasive, non-painful, and completely reversible since you just snap the Snap-on-Smile in every day and take it out at night. This isn't a permanent option to fixing missing teeth, but it can hide your teeth under a perfect set. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tooth Extraction FAQs

Need a Tooth Removed? Here's What You Need to Know

Why Do I Need an Extraction? 
A tooth may need to be removed due to severe decay, infection, an abscess, or severe damage. Removing a tooth is necessary when damage to a tooth is so severe that no other treatment will cure the problem. 

Will I Feel Any Pain? 
Before the extraction the dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed so you do not feel any pain at all. Any mild discomfort that you may feel after the tooth is removed can be easily controlled with pain medication. 

Will I Be Prescribed Antibiotics?
Yes, prescribing antibiotics is fairly routine to prevent any infection from the surgery.

Will I Need Stitches?
Usually no. However, some cases may require stitches. If so, your dentist will tell you if/when you need to have the stitches removed. 

Healing After the Extraction:
The healing process should only last a few days. To ensure a quick and easy recovery be sure to take any medications as prescribed and follow the directions on the post-surgical sheet provided.

Can I Replace the Tooth?
Yes. You have a few options if you would like to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants are permanant replacements for one or many teeth. A bridge can be used to replace one or many teeth and is permanant or removable. If you are missing several or all teeth in the same area then a partial or full denture may be used. It is important to replace missing teeth to prevent any kind of bone loss in the area. Bone grafting can also prevent deterioration of the jaw bone. 

Bone Grafting
Bone grafting is necessary in areas where there is a deficiency of bone. This is often recommended if you are having a dental implant placed in the site of the extraction. It is wise to graft the bone in every extraction site because it preserves the area for future restorations.  

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen DMD
2030 West Main St., Norristown, PA 19403

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dental Implant FAQs

Why You Shouldn't Fear Dental Implants

What are dental implants? Dental implants are natural-looking replacements for missing teeth that provide the same function as your natural tooth root. The implant is a small, sturdy, titanium post that is placed into your upper or lower jaw bone. The jaw bone is then allowed to grow around the implant. Once the jaw bone has grown the implant holds a crown, bridge, or denture, imitating how a root holds a natural tooth in place. 

Does it hurt? Nope! Dental implants require no cutting or stitching and have little to no post-operative discomfort. You are numbed up during the procedure and feel no pain at all. Afterward most patients do not experience any swelling and do not require any pain medication besides OTC ibuprofen. 

Why bother replacing missing teeth? A tooth should be replaced as soon as it is lost. This prevents bone loss, reduces movement of surrounding teeth and avoids excess decay. Teeth are necessary for the health of the gum and jaw tissues and a prolonged absence of a tooth will severely limit the possibilities for restorations and cause various health problems including jawbone deterioration. 

Can dental implants be used to replace mulitple teeth? Dental implants may be used to replace individual teeth, multiple teeth, or all your teeth in one or both arches.

Will my insurance cover the cost of an implant? Dental implant treatment may qualify for some insurance coverage, but is generally limited to the coverage provided for a bridge or partial denture. It is important that you check with your insurance carrier to find out what they provide.

Do dental implants require extra care? Implanted teeth need to be brushed and cared for just like your natural teeth, including periodic cleanings with your dentist.

Are there age limitations on dental implants? No, age is not a factor for dental implant success. Patients of all ages are welcome to come in for a consultation. 

What are the benefits of dental implants? Since implants are fixed in place, they look and feel like natural teeth. Implants prevent bone-loss in the area of the missing teeth, preventing that sunken-in look of old age. Unlike bridges, implants avoid damage to surrounding healthy teeth. 

How long do dental implants last? A lifetime! As long as you care for your teeth your implant will never need to be replaced! 

Are implants right for me? Almost everyone who has lost one tooth, many teeth, or even their entire set of teeth is a canidate for dental implants. Dental implants are the most advanced way to replace missing teeth and surpass the technologies of dental crowns, bridges, and partial and full dentures. Dental implants are very natural in appearance and are the best alternative to your original teeth!

A Family Dental Care Center
Dr. Seth Rosen DMD
2030 W Main St, Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Root Canals FAQs

Why You Shouldn't Fear Root Canals

What is a root canal? Root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy, is the treatment of the pulp of your tooth to eliminate any infection and protect the rest of your tooth from any future infections. The pulp of your tooth contains tiny canals that are inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. A root canal is when these entities that are inhabiting the canals are removed and the canals are filled with cement. After root canal therapy your tooth is technically dead and won't be able to feel anymore. 
Root Canal Procedure. From right to left, pictures show:
unhealthy or injured tooth, drilling and cleaning, filing, and the filling with cement. 

Why do I need one? A root canal is done in order to save a tooth that would otherwise be lost due to an injury or an infection. An infection in the nerve of your tooth could be caused by an untreated cavity that has continued to decay through to the nerve. Fractured or cracked teeth will sometimes require a root canal if there has been damage done to the nerve. Even after many years, a tooth that was previously broken or had some type of trauma done to it may be unforgiving and eventually require a root canal.  

Does it hurt? Nope! With today's technology and knowledge the procedure should not hurt at all. Your doctor will be sure to sufficiently numb the area, and if you feel anything at all during the procedure, if anything you would only feel a tiny little pinch, your doctor can put more novocaine in the area and relieve any discomfort. If you were having pain in the tooth prior to the root canal then the pain will be gone when it is finished! After the procedure your gums may feel a little sore, but you will be totally fine to go back to work that same day and the day after. Your dentist won't even need to prescribe pain medication since a higher dose of ibuprofen is all that is necessary to eliminate any discomfort after the procedure. 

Do I really need a crown put on the root canalled tooth? Yes!!! I know that crowns can be expensive, but if you neglect to do this final step 2-4 weeks after your root canal then you are risking major damage to the remainder of your tooth and possibly losing it altogether. A tooth that has had a root canal will break or chip extremely easily without the protection of a crown. If the tooth is fractured beyond repair then it would be necessary to extract it, totally wasting the whole root canal. 

Do I absolutely have to have one if my dentist recommends it? Most likely you do, if you have doubts about your specific dentist's recommendation then you should always seek a second opinion. You can also schedule a consultation with an endodontist, a root canal specialist, to make absolutely certain that you require one. If they say yes then you definitely need to go forward with that root canal!  

What if I just don't get one...? Keep in mind that a root canal is a last ditch effort to save a tooth that is dead or dying before it falls out. Ignoring your dentist's recommendation to get a root canal is a very bad idea. The tooth will eventually die, become thin and crack or break, and/or fall out. Once a tooth is gone and it isn't replaced your other teeth will shift and your jaw will experience bone loss. A root canal will stop any associated pain in your tooth. If you have left a tooth that was in pain alone and the pain magically disappeared then there's a good chance that your tooth has already died. 

What are the alternatives to root canal therapy? If you just can't afford a root canal and crown then you can always have the tooth extracted. If you just hate the idea of it and want to try other options then some dentists will perform a procedure known as direct pulp capping. Know that most alternatives to root canals don't usually have a very high success rate, so talk to your dentist.  

I'm terrified by the very thought of a root canal and I never want one! If the idea of having a root canal is so horrifying to you that you just can't stomach it and you absolutely need a root canal to save a tooth, and extracting the tooth isn't an option, then consider sedation dentistry. There are many ways that you can receive the root canal with absolutely no anxiety during the procedure. A sedation dentist will put you under anesthesia during the procedure and by the time you wake up the whole thing will be over. My office provides nitrous oxide and valium for patients with anxiety. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St.
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Dental Insurance and an Aching Tooth?

How to Get Around Not Having Dental Insurance Without Going Broke

If you have dental insurance through your employer then you are part of the lucky few. Private dental insurance is expensive and probably not worth the monthly fee just for routine cleanings. Millions of Americans don't have dental insurance and many find themselves in a situation where they wish they did. While routine cleanings and even getting the occasional cavity filled are relatively affordable, many procedures are not. Emergencies wait for no one and toothaches don't care whether you have the money to fix them or not. Leaving an aching tooth to fend for itself in hopes that it will heal on it's own is a terrible idea. This can cause the problem to continue getting worse, causing more and more problems until you lose the tooth or are forced to spend an exorbitant amount of money fixing the problem in an effort to save your smile. 

When you don't have dental insurance, here are a few ways you can get the care you need without going broke: 

Financing Credit Cards. If you can't afford to pay a large sum all at once to fix your toothache then financing credit cards, like CareCredit, can help you pay it over the course of a few months. If you choose a 6, 12, or 24 month plan you will qualify for interest free financing. These are great because as long as you keep up with payments and pay within a certain time frame you basically borrow the money for free! 

Colleges of Dentistry. Many dental assisting schools and colleges of dentistry offer services that are much cheaper and teacher-supervised. This is very popular among people trying to keep their dental bills down and so there is usually a pretty long waiting list.  

Mission of Mercy. Mission of Mercy is a nonprofit organization that provides free dental care to those without access or financial means. Events are held usually yearly in certain cities where people can sign up or show up to receive free care.

Discount Dental Plans. Many private practices offer sliding scale fees or discount dental plans for patients without dental insurance. For example, my practice offers a plan called the Family Plan. For $99/year patient's receive two free cleanings, X-rays, and exams and a significant discount on most of our other services. A lot of other private practices offer similar plans and often have them showcased on their website. 

Coupons. Not sure what could be wrong with your aching tooth? Or maybe you broke a tooth and just want to know your options? Check the websites of your local dental offices, many have coupons for free or discounted emergency exams and X-rays. This can save you a couple dollars and give you a peace of mind. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen, DMD
2030 West Main Street, Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Will Dental X-rays Give Me Cancer????

Why You Shouldn't Fear Dental X-Rays

In recent years more and more patients have expressed their concern about the safety of dental X-rays. While there has been a lot in the media about them, there is no reason to fear for your lives because of past and future dental X-rays. 

The modern bitewing X-rays that you receive at your dental office give off a very small amount of radiation, about 0.04 mGy (milli-grays). In comparison, a chest X-ray gives off 0.1 mGy and the average American is exposed to 3.1 mGy of radiation every year from background radiation. "Background radiation" is the unavoidable amount of radiation that every person is exposed to simply by living on this world (this radiation comes from various sources such as cosmic rays, rocks, water, and food). 

A chart comparing the radiation exposure of various sources.
Notice that dental X-rays give off the lowest amount of radiation vs. other X-rays. 

So what about all those stories on the news about how dental X-rays were linked to brain tumors? This is certainly a case where the media threw a story completely out of proportion. The coverage on the research that was reported on about the link between brain tumors and dental X-rays was probably meant to scare the general public and create a good story. In reality, the study doesn't really hold up. In a nut shell, researchers interviewed 1,400 people with benign brain tumors and 1,350 without a history of brain tumors about their dental history. More people with brain tumors remembered having more frequent dental X-rays than those without a history of brain tumors. At first glance this seems pretty scary. However, no actual records were pulled and the people were only asked to report what they remembered. This study essentially relied on the memories of certain people to come to a conclusion, something that is very unreliable and would not be taken seriously by the medical community. The findings of the study were probably more coincidental than accurate and proved nothing. To evaluate whether dental X-rays are truly linked to brain tumors, or any cancer, a much more extensive and conclusive study would have to take place. 

It would be unwise to completely deny yourself the technology of dental X-rays. They are fairly safe and often uncover health problems that you would not otherwise be aware of. A small cavity in a tooth that is not causing any pain can be detected through a bitewing X-ray and taken care of quickly. If left untreated, a simple filling that may cost a little over $100 could turn into a very expensive root canal and crown, costing thousands. With that in mind, it's still important to be careful with this technology and limit exposure. Your dentist should always provide a leaded apron for you to wear that minimizes any exposure of radiation to your body. While most dentist's recommend that you receive bitewing's once a year, a person with a consistently healthy mouth may only need to get X-rays every two years. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen, DMD
2030 West Main Street
Norristown, PA 19465