Is a Dentist really necessary?

Having to visit your dentist once every six months may not be a priority for most, but it is an important appointment you should keep.  A regular dental visit usually includes an examination and oral cleaning. During check-up the dentist will look for any buildup of plaque and tartar and commence on cleaning thereafter. He examines the throat, tongue, gum and face checking for any swelling or redness that may be an indication of a possible problem. Other benefits of a regular visit to the dentist include:

  • Dentists are highly trained to check out for early signs of serious diseases such as oral cancer. 
  • Dentists take care of the plaque and tartar buildup in those hard-to-reach places. 
  • Regular appointments will take care of tooth decay causing cavities or erosion of the mouth’s gum tissue. 

Types of Dental Checkups 

Professional Dental Cleaning and flossing 

Professional cleaning of your teeth by the help of a certified oral hygienist is a critical part your general oral health. Dental professionals advise that having your teeth cleaned every 6-12 months reduces the chances of periodontal disease flair ups and buildup of tartar. 

Routine tooth cleaning is painless. It involves the dislodgment of tartar and the smoothening of the tooth’s surface. Done professionally, the individual scaling of the teeth is painless with no injury to the gum. Patients can be assured that the mild vibrations and the pressure from the hand-held smoother will not cause discomfort. 

Crowns and bridges 

Looking for a secure way to fill gaps and prevent further buildup of bacteria? Well, consider a professional dental crown or bridge. When done right, these are the best restorative prosthetic devices in the market. Bridges are lucrative to patients that have lost a tooth or in the case of jaw bone loss. During your regular checkup, your dentist will check on previously inserted bridges and implants keenly checking for their placement. 

Dentures and Cavities 

Cavities have to be the most prevalent disease of teeth. At the scheduled dentist visit, an X-Ray will be taken to detect any cavities between the different sets. 

Dental Transplants

Missing teeth can greatly affect your self-esteem. Fortunately, dental implants offer reprieve. They offer a strong foundation for both permanent and removable replacement sets. Patients will usually experience improved appearance, easier eating, improved speech and better overall dental health. 

Diseases Indicators 

A regular visit to your dentist will allow your dentist to perform diagnostic tests for diseases and biopsies. This could go a long way into rooting out any disorders that could result in chronic diseases. 

Optional/ Elective Services

Most common cosmetic dentistry procedures include: 


Want to improve your appearance? Want to change the color, shape, size and length of your teeth for that perfect smile? Well, consider visiting your dentist to get porcelain veneers. When done by an experienced cosmetic dentist, the veneers will not damage your teeth. With dental veneers, you no longer have to worry about cracked, chipped teeth with worn-out edges. 

Teeth whitening  

Teeth get discolored for a myriad of reasons. These can range from the intake of stain-causing food and drink to tobacco use and exposure to excessive fluoride in drinking water. Teeth whitening is conducted after the dislodgment of any plaque and tartar found on the tooth. This service is especially attractive to patients undergoing tobacco cessation with the best candidates being those with healthy, unrestored teeth. 

Inlays and On-lays 

Patients needing teeth strengthening after mild to moderate decay are advised to get inlays and on-lays. These will not only prevent further decay and deterioration but will also restore the shape.  

Facts about visiting a dentist 

  • Do not fret over the dental x-ray. These are relatively harmless with the radiation levels being negligible. 
  • Do not be embarrassed. Your dentist has probably seen it all. Do not be afraid of judgment over what your dentist may find. 
  • Pain level is not a guide on when you should visit the dentist. Notably, most oral problems do not result in pain unless they are critical. 

Interesting facts about dental hygiene 

  • There is a right way to use your toothpaste. The more contact the toothpaste has with your teeth, the more effective it will be. Brush for some time, spit out the foam and let the paste sit for half an hour then rinse it out. 
  • Certain medication may be the root of your dental problems. An aspirin a day or regular blood pressure medication may cause a spike in cavities. 
  • Ignoring your dental hygiene may result in even bigger problems. Studies have shown that ignoring tooth decay caused by harmful bacteria can elevate into a heart disease. This is because these bacteria travel to the bloodstream causing inflammation. 
  • Do not brush right after a meal. This is especially true for acidic foods as the acid may result in softening of the enamel. Wait for an hour or so before brushing. 

Invest in professional and regular dental visits and be well on your way to a brighter and healthier smile. 

Types of Dentures and Implants

A perfect smile never fails to attract attention. Each time we see a person with a great smile and perfect set of teeth he or she always evokes a good impression.  Having good oral health allows you to enjoy life to the hilt. Unfortunately, decay and cavities that lead to tooth extraction and missing teeth can’t be avoided entirely.  However, there’s no need for you to despair as there are dentures and implants to restore your confidence and perfect smile. 

What are Dentures?

Dentures are removable replacement teeth, also called false teeth. The design is made of either a plastic or metal plate and prosthetic teeth are attached to it. The size, shape, and color of the prosthetic teeth resemble your existing natural teeth. 

Types of Dentures

These are the three types of dentures that help replace missing teeth:

  1. Partial Dentures

These are removable dentures that are used when there are remaining natural teeth in the upper or lower jaw. This type of dentures is attached to a gum-colored plastic base and with a metal framework that holds it in place. Aside from replacing missing teeth, partial dentures also keep other teeth from shifting positions. 

  • Complete Dentures 

This type of dentures consists of a complete set, both on the upper and lower part and it’s best recommended for people who don’t have any natural teeth left. It has two kinds, conventional and immediate. Conventional dentures are made after teeth are removed and when gum tissue is already healed while immediate dentures are positioned as soon as teeth are removed. The immediate kind is usually used only as a temporary solution as it requires many adjustments to fit properly. 

  • Fixed Dentures 

This type of tooth replacement is surgically fixed in your mouth and includes implants and bridges. A fixed bridge is an artificial tooth cemented alongside the remaining natural teeth while an implant functions like an artificial tooth and surgically placed into the jawbone. 

Benefits of Dentures 

Dentures are a popular choice because it offers many advantages. These include:

  • Restores tooth function.

Dentures allow you to chew, bite your food and speak properly again since it functions just like natural teeth. 

  • Improves speech.

One of the struggles, when you have missing teeth, is the difficulty in pronouncing certain words and making the right sounds.  With dentures, you can enunciate words more clearly and your manner of speaking becomes normal again. 

  • Improves facial appearance.

Missing teeth results in a sagging face and make you look older way beyond your years. Dentures significantly uplift your face and you’ll look significantly younger as well. 

  • No dietary restrictions.

With no teeth to bite or chew your food on is definitely depressing and you’re sure to miss out on your favorite recipes.  Dentures solve this problem as it functions just like natural teeth and allows you to eat and enjoy your favorite food without restrictions.

  • It is durable.

Dentures can last from five to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. It’s basically long-lasting and durable. 

  • Restores confidence.

If you have missing teeth it has a great effect on your self-esteem. With dentures, your appearance will improve and it will also boost your confidence. 

What is a tooth implant?

Tooth or dental implants are Titanium metal posts which are positioned in the jawbone and with which replacement teeth can be mounted. The implants fuse with the jawbone and provide strong support for replacement teeth like dentures and bridges. 

Types of Tooth Implants 

These are the types of tooth implants which are recommended safe to use by the American Dental Association:

  • Endosteal implant

This type of implant is implanted directly into your jawbone and the most commonly used type by dentists. It requires a second surgery to connect a post to the original implant once the surrounding tissue has already healed.  On the second surgery, the artificial or replacement tooth is attached to the post. 

  • Subperiosteal implant

This implant is positioned under the gums, on or above your jawbone. This is the type that’s most recommended for patients who doesn’t have enough healthy jawbone and unwilling to undergo a bone augmentation surgery. 

Benefits of Tooth Implants

Just like dentures, there are many advantages with tooth implants. These are just some of them:

  1. It lasts for a lifetime.

Tooth implants are durable and could last for a lifetime with proper care. 

  • You’ll have improved oral health.

It improves your oral health as more of your natural teeth are left intact and not altered to support the implants. 

  • You can enjoy your food more.

Tooth implants function like your own natural teeth and allow you to enjoy your favorite food without restriction. 

  • Provides more comfort.

Since it’s placed permanently you’ll feel comfortable as compared to wearing removable dentures that tend to slip and fall from your mouth. 

  • Improves your appearance and speech. 

A tooth implant allows you to speak normally again and also improves your overall facial appearance.

Medicare and Dental Care

How dental care is covered with Medicare

Even though our dental health is very important, Medicare programs do not cover all the dental care we might need. Keeping your smile healthy is a little tricky. We’ve outlined the options you have and how to best take advantage of what Medicare has to offer.

Original Medicare plans including Plan A and Plan B don’t offer extra benefits. On the other hand if you opt for a private Advantage plan it will include both of the above mentioned programs and possibly some level of dental care coverage you might need, if you decide to get the additional premium. These Advantage plans might have different specifications depending on the services they cover. Majority of them should cover basic oral exams, fillings, extractions, crowns and dental surgeries, which can be quite costly if they are not covered by any kind of an insurance. If you don’t have any dental coverage insurance all of the costs for your treatment and examinations will have to be paid from your own pocket.

Both Part A and Part B Medicare programs exclude the possibility of routine dental care coverage, and where people mostly get confused is that it might cover some procedures, but only under certain circumstances. In the Part A Medicare program where inpatient hospital coverage is included, a patient is eligible for dental care insurance when those procedures are necessary. For example, if for the sake of a certain medical procedure (both prior to or after the procedure) some dental procedure is required, it will be covered by Medicare.

Procedures such as dental examining, fillings, cleaning, inserting crowns or bridges, and dentures will not be covered by the Original Medicare plan.

Medicare will cover certain dental procedures and even dental hospitalization if it is cause by a major condition which can be health threatening. Although certain services will be covered by Medicare, the rest of the expenses including the dentist or potentially other specialists are fully paid by the patient.

Other than this, dental procedures covered by Medicare might also depend on the following treatments: life threatening transplants, surgeries, services needed for diseases such as oral cavity tumor or facial tumor, surgery or wiring for fractured jaws and fractured facial bones.

One more important thing to add is, that Medicare will not cover any following dental treatments and procedures following after the major surgeries and treatments. These ones will become the burden of your own.

Does Medicare include Dentures?

Unfortunately, Original Medicare program won’t cover for dentures, but there is a possibility that some of the private Advantage plans might help you pay for them. Most of the elderly are not very well informed on the subject of the dentures being or not being covered by Medicare. In fact, the fact that some of the advantage plans can help a patient pay for the dentures, makes the people confused. Medicare Advantage plans that cover Part A and B, although costly, can cover some of the routine dental services. However, the biggest issue is that some areas lack Medicare Advantage insurer to get accustomed with the specifications of the Medicare plans in the first place.

What is covered?

Since we have established that basic Medicare won’t coveryou dental care, we are left with the question what to do? For instance, if you receive any kind of dental service including regular examination,removal of dental plaque from teeth, cavity fillings, implantsoreven tooth pulling you will have to pay the full price of  those services. Although there are Medicare Advantage Plans thatmay cover your dental care, make sure that you are fully accustomed with the specification of your Medicare Parts A and B first so you could avoid paying great amounts of money.

However if your dental care in endangering your health in general or is needed as part of the service for another medical issue covered by Medicare, you will not be covered. One example where Medicare would cover for your dental care is if you require an oral check up if you are preparing for a kidney transplantation in a clinicor prior to aortic valve replacement. Furthermore if you had a jaw surgery and dental splits and wiring are needed, you will be covered by Medicare, as well as in any case of broken jaw operation. Another example where you can be insured by Medicarefor dental services is if you need radiation treatment for diseases such as oral cancer. In addition, costs of your dental care after the removal of a face tumor (when a ridge construction is necessary) will be covered.

It is necessary to point out, that even when the above mentioned medical procedures are considered, Medicare won’t beresponsible for any additional costs of dental servicesafter the initial ones have been performed. Let’s explain that in several examples.A person who has been inan accident and need a dental care due to that accident (jaw surgery), will have the costs covered by Medicare only forthat single procedure, excluding every procedure that might follow. Medicare will also cover any hospitalization fees due to a dental care procedure. For example if you need hospitalization and dental care is necessary due to a life-threatening condition, Medicare may cover your expenses. Even in this case you will be covered only for certain fees such ashospitalization,anesthetizationor scanning, but theadditional dentist expenses won’t be covered. Remember, Medicare will never cover dental costs that were excluded for Original Medicare such as dentures,even in the case where the patient is hospitalized.

If you are looking for an optimal solution for dental care and dental coverage you can turn to the following resources:

  • Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Medicaid
  • Reduced-cost or free dental clinics
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Community Health Centers
  • Donated dental service programs
  • Dental schools

If you are looking for the best solution and want to prepare yourself in advance you can turn to FAIR Health’s consumer cost search tool to better understand how much money you will be charged by professionals for different dental care services in different parts of the country.