Does My Dental Insurance Pay?

If you have dental insurance coverage, like most people, you want to know how much of the treatment will be covered and how Tucson dentistmuch out-of-pocket expense will I have?

Most dental benefit plans arise from an agreement between an insurance company and a plan sponsor [employer or union]. There are literally hundreds of plans with endless variables concerning limitations, exclusions, deductibles, annual of lifetime maximum benefits, co-payments and fee schedules. If you have changed jobs, your new plan may not have any resemblance to your old one.

If you are being offered a plan, ask if there are several plans from which to choose. Beside yourself, who in the family will be covered? See if the plan you choose covers pre-existing conditions. If the plan is provided by your union or employer, is there any direct cost to you? If so, how much? Compare this with what you understand the benefits of the program to be.

If you already have dental insurance, we need you to bring in specific information for us to give you the best advice as to your coverage. We must have your insurance policy and ID number. Most important, bring your benefits booklet. If you don’t have one, call your employer or insurance company and request it.

Once we read the benefits book, we can project a general idea for what services and treatment are covered and the percentage of reimbursement. Many third party payers request a “predetermination of benefits” on treatment plans. We can submit the proper form and appropriate records to the insurance company. They will return it with the accepted, allowable treatment and the exact amount of coverage.

Once we have reviewed your plan, we should be able to answer most of your questions. Some plans will only allow the least expensive way to treat a problem, regardless of your choice or our recommendation. We would hope that you don’t base your dental needs and oral health solely on what benefits your plan allows. Our office will be happy to discuss a variety of financial arrangements that will make it possible to receive the treatment you need, while maximizing your insurance benefits.

Dangers Of Not Flossing Your Teeth

Tucson dentalFlossing is extremely important to your oral hygiene routine. Flossing is a way to remove plaque and food particles in places where a normal toothbrush cannot reach.  Normally this is under the gum line and between your teeth. For your dental health, it comes second only to brushing your teeth. Daily flossing complements tooth brushing.

While talking about oral health, one often comes across terms like plaque, tartar or calculus. Plaque is a thin removable layer of bacteria and sugars formed on teeth and gums. Plaque formation is a natural process as these bacteria are always present in our mouth.  Plaque formation automatically re-starts every 4-12 hours after brushing the teeth. Therefore brushing your teeth twice each day is very important for dental health.

As tooth brushing removes the plaque from the exposed easily approachable areas in mouth, flossing removes plaque layer from the hidden parts of the mouth like the gum line between the teeth. The acids from plaque can harm the enamel of the teeth and constant exposure can form cavities in teeth. If  plaque is not removed it starts to become hard transforming into tartar or calculus layer  after 48 hours This can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis.

One can floss teeth by taking a piece of floss about 18 inches long into your hand. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger of both hands and leave an inch or two of floss to work with. Now hold this floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers and slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth. When you reach the base of the tooth with the floss make a C curve with the floss passing through your teeth in order to get rid of the entrapped food on your gum. You have to be very gentle when you touch the gums as this soft tissue is very soft and delicate and can easily bruise the gum tissue.

Your overall health depends on good oral hygiene.  Don’t get scolded by your dentist during your next dental check-up.  Brush and floss your teeth twice each day.

Has it been longer than 6 months since your last check-up?  Then isn’t it time to set an appointment with Dr. Riley… today 520-297-9069.

Bullet-proof Your Smile With Zirconium Crowns

In the past, dentists have relied on full-cast gold and porcelain metal crowns and bridges.  Using such materials guaranteed durability and strength.  One of the downsides to such crowns is the look and taste of metal that is then ever present in your mouth.Tucson Dentist

Today there is a solution provided by BruxZir.  BruxZir makes a product that is made from virtually unbreakable, biocompatible medical-grade zirconium.  This is the exact element that is used to make bulletproof military armor.  There is no porcelain overlay so it is more resistant to chipping, cracking or breaking in the mouth.  This makes BruxZir  dental crowns and bridges ideal for people who grind their teeth, or those who have broken their natural teeth or porcelain restorations in the past.

If you are in need of a crown or bridge why not consider Bruxir…not only is it virtually unbreakable, it is visually pleasing as your dental professional can make your BruxZir crown look like your natural teeth.

Call Arizona Dental Medicine today to see if BruxZir zirconia crowns and bridges are your ideal solution for your dental needs.

Health Conditions Your Dentist May Be The First To Detect

You may never have thought of this but often times your dentist is the cornerstone of your overall health and well-being.tucson dentist

It is common for many of us to think that our oral health is not related to our overall health.  But upon closer examination, your comprehensive health is directly related to the health of your teeth and gums.

Your mouth is a direct entrance to the rest of your body.  Teeth and gums are directly linked to your digestion and bloodstream as well as your nervous, endocrine, lymphatic and skeletal systems.

The harmful organisms, bacteria, that breed in your mouth are easily shared with your entire body.  It is estimated that about 90% of systemic diseases in your body are directly related to conditions in your mouth.  This is why your dentist can often times be your first line of defense in detecting and preventing diseases.

At Arizona Dental Medicine we are trained at diagnosing and treating conditions of your teeth, gums and upper jaw and face.  These are conditions that can impact your overall health.

There are several diseases that your dentist may be the first to detect and diagnose.  Here are 7 of them.

1. Red, sore, swollen and bleeding gums are signs of periodontitis or gum disease.  Periodontitis is proven to be associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. Sore, pale gums are an indicator that you have anemia.  Anemia affects about 3.5 million people in the united states.  Left untreated anemia can lead to severe fatigue, heart problems, nerve damage, impaired mental function and even death.

3. Bright red, spongy, inflamed gums that bleed easily is often times a signal of leukemia.

4. Tooth erosion and a breakdown of enamel is an indicator that you may be suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.

5. Air blowing on your gums and making them bleed can be an indication of pregnancy.

6. Bad breath, chronic dry mouth, receding gums and gums that bleed easily are often associated with diabetes.

7. White spots and sores that are slow to heal on your gums and other oral tissues in the mouth can be early signs of oral cancer.

Don’t take chances with your health.  If it’s been longer than 6 months, call us today to schedule an appointment.  Early detection of health issues goes a long ways towards reversing them completely. 520-297-9069

Dr. Rochelle Riley’s

Choosing The Right Dental Partial or Bridge

A dental partial, otherwise knows as a dental bridge, is a prosthetic that goes in the mouth to replace missing teeth.

If you have a few teeth that are missing there are many benefits to having a dental partial (besides appearance).tucson dentist

1.  It will be easier to speak and chew your food.

2.  It will help maintain the shape of your face.

3.  It will prevent your remaining teeth from shifting.

4.  It will help to prevent problems that are caused by changes in teeth spacing, such as TMJ, headaches and earaches.

There are many choices of materials available to use in creating a custom designed partial.  At Arizona Dental Medicine we work closely with our patients to make sure that together we choose the partial that is best suited for you both mechanically and cosmetically.

Because we are concerned with your overall health we work closely with you to help you choose the right and perfect product for your particular situation.  In many cases we recommend metal-free products as they are more aesthetically appealing and often times feel better in your mouth.

One choice that we regularly work with  is Valplast.  Valplast is a durable tissue colored thermoplastic that can be used in the mouth without metal.

Getting a new partial can be simple and painless.  Call Dr. Riley today at 520-297-9069 to schedule your consultation for dental partials.

Are Your Fillings Hurting Your Teeth?

posted in: Tooth Decay 0

Do you ever get tired of looking at those unsightly silver fillings in your teeth? Besides looking terrible, has anyone ever told you what they do to your remaining tooth structure?

Silver (Amalgam) fillings are composed of a mixture of metals, the most controversial and toxic being Mercury. When this type tucson dentalof restorative material is placed in the mouth, it is not bonded to the tooth, but rather packed into the tooth like a putty. Because there is no chemical bond to provide retention, often times, unnecessary tooth structure must be removed in order to provide for mechanical retention. In other words, more tooth structure may have to be removed in the form of grooves and undercuts to hold in the restorative material.

Have you ever thought of what happens when you go from eating something hot to drinking something cold? These type of fillings have been known to expand and contract causing micro or macro fractures in the teeth. This means that one may suffer from a fractured tooth due to the stresses that these types of fillings may cause. Furthermore, the expansion and contraction of these fillings can lead to separation from the surrounding tooth structure. Leaving microscopic gaps between the filling and the tooth can lead to infiltration of bacteria. Ninety-five percent of the time these type of restorations are removed, decay is found lurking beneath. Why can’t we catch this decay sooner? Because of the metal, x-rays are unable to penetrate through, therefore, decay will not be seen radiographically until it has destroyed enough surrounding tooth structure to be visualized.

Why is the tooth blackish/gray? Have you noticed that silver fillings turn your tooth dark in comparison to teeth without these amalgam fillings? This is a direct result of the metals leaching from the restoration and staining the tooth and sometimes even the surrounding gum tissue. In the case of the latter, this is known as an amalgam tattoo. Unfortunately, once the gum tissue is stained, there is no removing the discoloration. In the case of a stained tooth due to an amalgam restoration, some of that discolored tooth structure will be removed upon removal of the silver filling. Many times it is difficult to remove all of the discolored tooth structure, in which case, there are alternative cosmetic procedures available to address these concerns.

So why are these restorations still used? Well they are becoming less and less popular as the public becomes more knowledgeable about ingredients and types of dental materials available. Amalgam fillings are quick and easy restorations to place. They are not as technique sensitivity as bonded restorations. The American Dental Association deems them to be a safe dental material leading to minimal mercury release. We’ve covered the amount of tooth structure lost when placing an amalgam filling, micro and macro fractures, mercury release and metal staining of surrounding hard and soft tissue. With dental technology so advanced and offering so many better choices in restorative materials, you be the judge of what you want in your mouth. After all, you have to live with it!

Ready to get rid of your silver fillings?  Then call Dr. Riley today.  Your Tucson general dentist with a cosmetic flair.  520-297-9069

Causes Of TMJ Disorder

posted in: TMJ 0

Tucson Dental

A TMJ disorder may develop for any number of reasons:Tucson dental
• lost or crooked teeth
• overbite
• teeth that fit together poorly (malocclusion = bad bite)
• degenerative arthritis
• various head or neck injuries including whiplash
• stress causing clenched teeth (bruxism) and muscle spasms

Because other types of pain have been shown to mimic a TMJ disorder, a careful and thorough dental and medical evaluation is essential to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.  If your condition indicates causes other than dentition, you may be referred to another member of the health care team or a specialist for further diagnosis and treatment (a physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.).

If a malocclusion is detected, and the vast majority of TMJ disorders are the result of malocclusion, your teeth may require some restoration to improve the alignment of your “bite” and TM joints.  This would be preceded by provisionally aligning your head/jaw in the correct posture by means of an orthopedic appliance.

If an orthotic is prescribed, you may be instructed to wear it during the course of your day (24/7).  Additionally, treatment for immediate relief of pain and muscle spasm may be prescribed along with muscle relaxers, pain killers, heat compresses or ice packs, or micro-current electrical stimulation.  Posture correction, specialized exercises to improve jaw muscle flexibility and strength and soft diet may also be prescribed.

To relieve stress and anxiety, biofeedback, relaxation techniques or psychological counseling may be employed.  Only in “rare” cases is surgery required to correct a TMJ Disorder.

If you suffer pain or discomfort you believe may be related to you TM joints, please ask Tucson dentist Dr. Light  for help. The successful treatment of many TMJ Disorder sufferers begins with gentle, experienced care.  Dr. Light is credentialed by the American Academy of Pain Management, and is board certified by the American Board of Craniofacial Pain. He is a Fellow of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics, an academy of the study of the biophysics of head, neck and facial pain.

Call us today…520-297-9069 and begin alleviating the pain from your TM disorder.