The Dental Elements Freedom Plan, What’s in it for us?

We have had a lot of questions about the Dental Elements Freedom Plan, why it was developed, and what’s in it for us? 

Basically, Dr. Meggison developed the plan because he was tired of treating patients based on their insurance coverage or lack of coverage.  Patients weren’t able to get the treatment that they needed to make them healthy because of the high costs involved.  Patients needed treatment, but their insurance was maxed or their budget was blown, the co-pays were too high, there was a high deductible that they couldn’t afford, or the insurance didn’t cover a very needed procedure. So, patients just weren’t getting the treatment that they needed, when they needed it.  

So what’s in it for us?  We get to spend more quality time with you, our patients, to help you reach your dental health goals.  Instead of just treating problems, we have the freedom to do the procedures necessary to help you prevent new problems from occurring.  And if you do have problems, we phase your treatment so that you get the best outcomes.  We get to practice dentistry just like we were taught in school, which is best for you.  We get to focus on the ideal treatment, prevention of disease, and maintenance of health.  

What’s in it for you?  This translates to better dental health for you as you work directly with your hygienist and dentist, and not your insurance company to reach your goals. And this means a better treatment outcome, since we get to do exactly what is necessary to have success when we do treat you.  You are a priority to us and you will feel like one! 

Check out this video to learn more about the Freedom Plan:  DentalElementsKC.com

And if you haven’t joined our Freedom Plan yet, contact us here:  DentalElementsKC.com.  

You’ll be glad you did!

Direct Primary Care Medicine

Do you long for the good old days when you actually had a relationship with your medical doctor?  

 

Are you tired of waiting for over an hour to eventually be seen for 10 minutes? When you talk to your physician, does he/she ever look up from the computer screen?  Unfortunately, because of the high cost of medical insurance and the inefficient systems that come with it, this seems to be the new normal.

Some physicians refuse to accept that this is the only way to practice, so they invented Direct Primary Care.

It is good old fashioned medicine with all the modern bells and whistles.  It is the medical equivalent of our Dental Elements Freedom Plan.

 

Direct Primary Care is becoming more common as consumers have gotten more and more frustrated by traditional medical care and the costs associated with it.  It has significant benefits over traditional medical practice. There’s unlimited access to your doctor whether it is after hours, weekends, or holidays. There is full access to the medical team via technology.  You can literally email your doctor, text, or use a webcam to communicate with them. Your visits won’t feel rushed, they can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and there’s plenty of time for questions. You are a priority and you will feel like one.  This translates to better health as you work directly with your medical doctor, not your insurance company to reach your health goals.

 

There are a handful of direct primary care practices in the Kansas City area.  Dental Elements had the opportunity to meet with the doctors from Health Suite 110.  They are a group of independent primary care physicians who have joined the insurance-free DPC movement.  Check them out at http://www.healthsuite110.com, and see what direct primary care has to offer.

 

And if you like the idea of health care without the insurance hassle, check out our equivalent of direct primary care, the Dental Elements Freedom Plan.  

IF YOU BREAK A TOOTH AT THE POOL

Ahhhh Summer!  We all look forward to it every year.  Vacations, kids home from school, barbecues, and trips to the pool.  

But summer means more activity, and sometimes that means “Oh no, I just broke my tooth!”

One of the most common summer dental emergencies happens at the pool.  Little Suzy wants to show you the triple flip she’s been working on all summer long, and she jumps in and smacks her face on the side or the bottom of the pool.  

Now her front tooth is fractured, her face and lip are cut and she is howling like a banshee.  So much for your relaxing day at the pool!

The first thing of course is to make sure that she is OK.  Check for a concussion. If you suspect a concussion or if the lip or face is deeply cut, apply pressure and ice and get to the emergency room ASAP.  Of course, if the emergency looks life threatening call 911.

If the tooth is slightly chipped, address the more pressing issues first, like the bleeding face.  A slightly chipped tooth can be repaired in our office on the next business day.

When a tooth is fractured and not bleeding, but sharp, go to the drugstore and get some dental wax to cover it until you can get to our office for repair.  If it is painful, give Ibuprofen or Tylenol, whatever your pediatrician recommends.

Broken and bleeding teeth need more urgent care.  Apply pressure with wet cotton or gauze, a wet tea bag, or a wet paper towel if that is all that is available. Go to the emergency room if needed, then call our Emergency Line.

If the tooth has been completely knocked out, try to find the lost tooth.  Pick it up by the crown, not the root, and gently rinse the tooth with warm water.  Call our Emergency Line as soon as possible. If you can, place the tooth in a glass and cover it with milk, salt water (1 cup water to ¼ tsp salt) or plain water if that is all you have available.  Our goal is to get the tooth back in the socket as soon as possible, as this gives us the best chance to save the tooth.

We hope that your summer is accident free, and that little Suzy perfects that triple flip, but just in case it is an epic fail, we’re here to help!

 

Contact us today, we’re here if you need us!

Charcoal Whitening, Is It A Good Idea?

We have received a lot of questions from our patients about Activated Charcoal Whitening.  Does it work? Is it safe? How do you do it?  We can help you decide if it is a good idea or not.  

 

There are two ways that patients can achieve whiter teeth:

 

The first way uses a bleaching agent such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in concentrations of 10-35%.  The material breaks down certain stains inside the tooth to reduce their color. Dental office whitening trays and strips purchased at the drug store use this method. Studies have shown that this method works well without any damage to the tooth.

 

The second way uses an abrasive, chemical, or polishing agent that removes surface stains.  Whitening toothpastes, baking soda and activated charcoal are examples. At this time, the American Dental Association has not recognized any formal evidence that activated charcoal actually whitens teeth.  

 

Activated charcoal is a finely milled black powder made from charred plant shells, bones, fruit pits, and an assortment of other organic materials.  The theory is that since it is used to absorb toxins from the body when someone ingests something harmful, then it may have the ability to bind to and absorb plaque and other surface compounds that stain teeth.  Activated charcoal does not change the color of teeth that are deeply stained or naturally yellowing.  The activated charcoal is also abrasive and the hope is that it may scrub off the surface stains.

Therein lies the problem with activated charcoal whitening.  It can be abrasive to the tooth enamel. Excess abrasion can cause gum recession, enamel loss, and sensitivity of the tooth.  

 

If you want to try charcoal whitening, activated charcoal can be purchased from health food stores and pharmacies in the form of capsules. Mix one capsule with 1 mL of water and make a paste.  We suggest that you consider smearing the product on your teeth instead of brushing it on. This allows the product to work without harming your enamel.  After about 4 minutes rinse your mouth. You may need to rinse several times. You can try this for several days. If you don’t see a difference in the color of the tooth after 5 attempts, then it probably won’t work for you.  

 

Although anyone can purchase activated charcoal powder, you should consult a dental professional before using it. The best way to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth white is to continue regular dental appointments.  At Dental Elements our hygienists will thoroughly clean your teeth, remove any surface stains, and discuss whether our professional whitening process, or an over the counter product would be best to whiten your teeth. He or she can also help you get to the bottom of why your teeth are staining.  

 

Contact us today, we’re here to help you have whiter teeth!  

 

Let Us Help You Straighten Your Teeth

Our teeth serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.  They help us to bite and chew our food, to speak, and to smile.  

A poor bite can affect our clarity of speech, chewing ability, facial symmetry, digestive difficulties, TMJ problems, periodontal disease and tooth decay.  

 

 Invisalign aligners (which are almost invisible to the naked eye) can help:

  • correct misalignments that cause your teeth to wear unevenly or break easily.

  • make your teeth easier to clean, preventing decay and periodontal disease.

  • create a comfortable bite with reduced wear and tear on your jaw joint.

  • prevent neck aches or headaches that originate from your jaw.

  • give you the confidence to smile that you have always dreamed about

  • give natural, lasting improvements in the look of your teeth without the challenging upkeep of options such as veneers.

Whether you’re searching for the perfect smile, or tackling an alignment issue, Dental Elements is here to help.  Both our Shawnee and Leawood locations offer Invisalign Clear Braces.  Take a look at this short video that explains how clear braces can help you:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMiatQjjoH4

 

 

Contact us about our Invisalign Day, April 19 and April 20 where you can get a 30% discount if you commit to starting treatment on that day.

 

Having straight teeth is as much about personal confidence as it is about dental health and oral comfort. We hope to see you in April!

Obesity and Dental Health

Did you know that obesity contributes to poor dental health?  Studies show that obese individuals make poor diet choices, snack more frequently and have irregular home care.  They have more gum disease and tooth decay, and more missing teeth overall.   Because they tend to have fewer dental visits, they have more dental emergencies.  Obesity contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, respiratory problems, acid re flux and cancers.  Therefore, obese individuals need to take more prescription medications which can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth contributes to dental decay.   Poor diet choices and belly fat can contribute to acid re flux which makes the mouth more acidic.  These mouth acids can melt away tooth enamel.  Individuals with a higher body mass have more insulin resistance and produce more inflammatory proteins, which contributes to gum disease.  

 

At Dental Elements we believe in total body health, and we know that good nutrition helps people lose weight, making it less likely that you will have dental problems. So we want to help you understand by offering nutrition education.  Dental Elements is partnering with Giordono Family Health and Fitness to provide wellness classes that assist families with adding better nutrition and basic fitness to their lifestyle.  Anthony Giordono, Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Food Guru, has teamed up with us and will be facilitating these classes. 

Meet Coach Anthony in this short video:

Meet Coach Anthony

 

The first class is “Nutrition and Fitness for the Busy Family ~ 10 Weeks to Re-shaping the way you Eat, Move, and Live.”  This course is going to change the way you perceive food and diet. You will learn the fundamental skills to eating healthy, come to know what foods work for you, and discover skills you never knew you had. During this course you will be provided lessons, asked to do real life application, and through it grow to love food for all the good it brings you and your family! This course is not a meal plan, or a specific diet. It is a road to defining your own “EATING STYLE” so you never have to diet again!

 

We invite you to join us starting in February, 2018.  Discounts on class fees will be given to new patients, patients who join our VIP program, and patients who refer friends and family to Dental Elements.  Contact any of our scheduling coordinators for details. 

Class size is limited, so sign up today!

 

           

Dental Elements VIP Plan

You Don’t Need Dental Insurance To Have a Beautiful Smile!

Have you ever noticed that dental problems come at the worst possible time?  

The weekend, the holidays, after you just put new tires on your car, is there ever a good time?

Have you ever put off dental care because you just couldn’t afford it?  

Even if you do have dental insurance, there are deductibles, co-pays, maxed out benefits, plan limits, and denied claims which often limit your treatment options. So why does dentistry continue to make it almost impossible for patients to get the dental care that they deserve?

At Dental Elements we’ve decided to put our patients needs first.  So we’ve come up with a better option!

 

Introducing the Dental Elements VIP Plan!

Starting January 1, 2018, we’ve decided “Out With The Old, and In With The New!”  Dental care membership clubs are the future of dentistry, and Dental Elements has put together a state of the art plan with you in mind. It’s similar to a gym membership, pet wellness plan or car wash club, only BETTER!

Dental Elements V.I.P. Plan Details:

Essential $100 Initiation Fee and $30/month includes dental exams, x-rays, dental cleanings and fluoride treatments, twice yearly.  Members also have access to special pricing on services not included in the Essential Plan.  This plan is best for the patient who needs twice yearly cleanings, but hasn’t ever had a cavity that needed treatment.

Complete $500 Initiation Fee and $65/month includes Essential Plan services, plus any additional cleanings, periodontal procedures, crowns, bridges, and root canals needed. This is for the patient who seems to always have a cavity or a restoration that needs to be replaced when they come in for their “check up.”  It is also great for the patient who has gum problems and needs more frequent dental cleanings.  

Early Bird Registration has started.  Sign up before 12/31/17 and receive a discount on your registration fee!

 

Contact Us

Our Teams Thanksgiving Traditions

THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS COME in all shapes and sizes. From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to breaking the wishbone to getting together with those wacky yet lovable relatives, traditions vary from family to family, and that includes the families of our practice’s team members! 

Unusual Thanksgiving Traditions

Pam:  My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is getting up before everyone else, starting the preparations for the meal, and then running out to get the newspaper with all the Black Friday ads.  I make a big pot of flavored coffee, put on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and sift through the ads to make my Black Friday shopping plan. My plan is usually pretty complex, so it takes some planning.  I think I like black Friday shopping as much as I love Thanksgiving. (maybe more)

Favorite Thanksgiving Memories

Dana C:  We deep fry a turkey and my boys always get to split the wishbone.  Then we give thanks, pray and eat dinner.

 Watch this video to find out where some of the most iconic Thanksgiving traditions come from:

Staying Mouth-Healthy During Thanksgiving

Enjoying traditions is one part of what makes Thanksgiving wonderful, but staying on top of our oral health is another! If you’re looking for ways to make your Thanksgiving dinner more mouth-healthy, you can find a few here.  And if you have that dreaded emergency, you know, break a tooth on a pecan from the pie, feel free to call us.  And of course, don’t forget to keep brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing daily, and if it’s been a while since your last dental exam, we’d love to see you!

Tell Us About Your Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions!

Now that we’ve shared some of our favorite traditions and memories, we want to hear how your family celebrates Thanksgiving! Share a comment below or on Facebook to let us know about your unique traditions, or else tell us about them when you come in for your next appointment!

We invite you to call us to schedule your dental visit before the rush of parties and family gatherings.  Our patients are what we’re most thankful for this year and every year!

http://dentalelementskc.com/contact/

Just in Time for Halloween: Chocolate And Your Teeth

 

UNDER MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, dentists are not fans of candy. The sugar in candy is the favorite food of bacteria that cause tooth decay. However, when it comes to chocolate, certain types may actually be good for oral health!

To be clear, this is not a blog post in which we give you a free pass to eat all the chocolate you want. Only certain types of chocolate have any health benefits, and too much of even the healthiest kinds probably isn’t a good thing.

All Chocolate Is Not Created Equal

How can you tell where any given chocolate falls on the spectrum from most processed to least? It helps to know a little about how chocolate is made. The most important ingredient is the cocoa bean. After fermenting, the beans can either be roasted and made into cocoa powder, or cold pressed into cacao powder, which retains more of the original nutrients. You’ll get the most nutrients from cacao nibs or powder, but the stuff is pretty bitter and the chocolatey taste isn’t as strong.

If you’d rather stick with the chocolate you’re used to, there are still factors to consider. The main ingredients in a chocolate bar are cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk (if it’s milk chocolate). White chocolate is made with cocoa butter and sugar and contains no cocoa solids, so it has none of the beneficial nutrients. Milk chocolate tends to contain at most 10 percent cocoa solids, so the tiny amount of nutrients from the cocoa beans is offset by a ton of sugar. Not a healthy choice. But let’s talk about dark chocolate.

The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, particularly 70 percent cocoa (or cacao) or higher, is where you’ll start hearing buzzwords like “superfood.” That’s because the cocoa bean is full of healthy antioxidants–specifically, polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins–and dark chocolate has enough cocoa in it to keep most of them. Bonus points: there isn’t much sugar.

Antioxidants have all kinds of benefits for overall health, but let’s focus on oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, and antioxidants play a crucial role in all of those. They help stabilize and strengthen your own oral tissues, protect against cell mutation, and make it harder for harmful bacteria to flourish.

Chocolate Still Isn’t Everything

Like we said before, this blog post isn’t a license for you to eat as much chocolate as you want. No matter how full of antioxidants it is, dark chocolate still doesn’t replace other important oral health habits like brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments. If you love to snack, however, you might consider swapping a few items heavy in processed sugars for dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Your teeth will thank you! 

And if you do think you may have overdone it on the Halloween Candy, we can take a good look at your next dental visit.  Call any of our Dental Elements offices and we can get you scheduled right away.  

Your healthy teeth are our pride and joy!

The Daily Grind of Bruxism

The Daily Grind Of Bruxism

MOST PEOPLE GRIND OR CLENCH their teeth briefly when annoyed or in a tense situation. That level of teeth-grinding isn’t really something to worry about. It’s when you do it far more frequently, often without even realizing it (you might even do it in your sleep!), that it can potentially become a serious problem. The medical term for this kind of teeth-grinding is bruxism.

Bruxism: What and Why

Sleep bruxism (or nocturnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of snoring and sleep apnea, and awake bruxism (or diurnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of stress in your daily life. However, not everyone with a sleep disorder or a stressful life has bruxism, and not everyone with bruxism has a sleep disorder or a ton of stress. Another possible cause is improperly aligned teeth.

Because there isn’t one clear cause, treatment can sometimes be tricky, and the focus is often on the symptoms and minimizing the damage more than curing the underlying condition. Even if you aren’t aware that you’re grinding your teeth, any of the following symptoms could point to bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore when you wake up, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore before you go to bed)
  • Frequent headaches from all the strain
  • Hypertrophy in your jaw muscles (because you’re giving them quite the workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped/cracked/split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Your Next Steps

Depending on which type of bruxism you have, there are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes.

Behavioral Therapy

With behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques, you can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits and consciously work to stop. This one works better when you have awake bruxism than sleep bruxism, because it’s obviously much harder to control your jaw muscles in your sleep.

Relaxation

Particularly for stress-related bruxism, relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding.

Wearing A Mouthguard

A mouthguard or splint serves as a pillow between your upper and lower teeth. It won’t stop the grinding, but it protects your teeth from damage.  During the month of September, Dental Elements is offering discounted fees for mouthguards.  Contact any of our offices right now to get scheduled!

Medication As Prescribed By Your Doctor

Muscle relaxant medication, as prescribed by your general practitioner, might help you unclench while you sleep. However, medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping.

Check out this video for more information and a few other ideas on how to combat bruxism or minimize the damage:

We Can Help!

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be due to bruxism and you should schedule an appointment so we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

Click here to contact us!