Posts for category: Dental Procedures
With the major changes in healthcare over the last few years, much of what we understand about insurance has been turned on its head. The term “Insurance” now often means something much different than how it’s traditionally understood.
Dental insurance is a prime example. Rather than a means to protect the insured from unforeseen costs, most dental policies work more like discount coupons. The vast majority are paid by employers as a salary benefit to reduce but rarely eliminate an employee’s treatment costs.
In fact, paying dental insurance premiums yourself may not be cost-effective. The average person spends $200 a year on basic care, while a typical policy costs $500 or more annually. Even if the plan fully paid for basic items like cleanings and checkups, the total cost with insurance can still be greater than paying out of pocket. Most plans also have deductibles — the fee portion the patient is responsible to pay — and annual maximum benefit limits of typically $1,200 or $1,500. With rising dental costs, these deductibles and limits may not be adequate.
There are also different types of plans, such as direct reimbursement or managed care. Under the former your employer is actually paying the claims from company funds — the insurance company acts as an administrator. The latter type packages services with select providers: the out-of-pocket costs are lower but your choices of provider are usually limited to those in their network — which on a new plan may not be the family dentist you’ve seen for years.
If you have a private plan, you should look carefully at your total costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, and compare those with projected costs without it. If you’re on an employer-paid plan, then be sure you understand it fully, especially any limits or restrictions. Also, speak with your dentist’s business staff to see how you can get the most out of the plan — dental offices work every day with insurance companies and know how to maximize your benefits.
Remember too that regular office visits for cleanings and checkups — as well as your own daily hygiene practices — are the best way to reduce long-term dental costs. Taking care of your teeth with preventive care will help ensure you’re not dipping into your own wallet — with or without insurance — more than you should.
If you would like more information on managing dental costs, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Insurance 101.”
If a tooth is heavily damaged by decay or trauma, is the only solution extraction? At Apple Valley Dental in Helendale, CA, your dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, offers a tried and true alternative to losing a tooth. It's called the dental crown. Made of lifelike and durable porcelain, a crown can remake your tooth's appearance, protect it and add years to its life. Learn more here.
What is a dental crown?
Dear Doctor compares a dental crown to the crown a king wears. It caps off his head--hence the crown is nicknamed, "cap"--and it protects and beautifies it.
Today's realistic dental crowns are custom-fashioned from long-lasting porcelain. A crown covers a damaged tooth from the gum line on up, normalizes its appearance and allows the wearer to bite, chew and smile with confidence.
With normal wear, crowns last about ten years. They require simple brushing and flossing to keep them plaque-free, along with six-month cleanings and check-ups with your dentist in Helendale, CA.
Placing a crown
This comfortable restorative treatment requires two visits to Apple Valley Dental:
- Examination and X-rays to determine if a crown is the proper treatment. If it is, Dr. Kim will numb the tooth, remove the cracked or decayed portions, shape it and cover it with a temporary crown. He also takes oral impressions to send to the dental lab where a skilled technician makes the restoration.
- Placement of the new crown. Dr. Kim will remove the temporary cap and cement the new one over the tooth. Any adjustments for bite and fit will be made at this time.
More uses for dental crowns
Besides rebuilding decayed, cracked or heavily restored teeth, crowns also restore dental implants, secure multi-tooth bridges and cover teeth spared from extraction by root canal treatments. Sometimes, your dentist employs crowns to rehape teeth which are oddly shaped. Examples are peg-shaped lateral incisors. Because these teeth are located right in the smile zone at the front of the mouth, porcelain crowns can boost smile aesthetics and strengthen the teeth as well.
Is a crown right for you?
You'll find out at a consultation with Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental. Call today for your appointment in Helendale, CA, at (760) 247-6007.
Long ago dental work could be painful and stressful—often for both patient and practitioner. Thankfully, that time is long past: today, most procedures are painless in large part due to local anesthesia.
Local anesthetics are numbing substances applied to specific areas of the body like the teeth and gums to temporarily block pain during a procedure. And because they only affect a localized area of the body, you remain conscious and alert throughout the procedure.
To achieve the level of numbing necessary for dental work, we often need to deaden the gums using a needle to deliver the anesthetic. But then this poses a secondary pain concern—the needle stick itself.
Again, topical anesthesia comes to the rescue in the form of a swab, patch or spray applying an anesthetic directly to the top layer of the gums at the injection site. This numbs the area and prevents you from feeling the needle stick. It's highly probable, therefore, that from start to finish you won't feel any discomfort during your dental work except perhaps for a little pressure.
Local anesthesia truly is a game changer for dental care—and not just for the patient. A dentist who's concerned about their patient's comfort level may work hurriedly to complete a procedure. But if their patient is relaxed, the dentist can work calmly and methodically. The result is better, more focused care.
For all its improvements in the patient experience, though, there has been one consistent complaint—the numbness that often lingers for a while after the procedure is over. But there have been advances in recent years that have helped reduce this irritation: new anesthetic agents (even some that can reverse the anesthetic effect) and fine-tuned dosages can help keep residual numbing to a minimum.
Not all procedures like routine teeth cleanings or enamel shaping require anesthesia. But when it's appropriate, local anesthesia can make your next dental visit much more pleasant.
If you would like more information on how anesthesia benefits your dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Local Anesthesia for Pain-Free Dentistry.”
Are your teeth discolored? Misshapen? Crooked? Maybe you're dealing with all of these cosmetic dental issues and aren't sure where to start fixing them. If so, it's time to contact Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, to discuss our cosmetic procedures with Dr. Samuel Kim! Read below for an overview of just three of the many cosmetic procedures we offer, and contact our office if you are at all interested in improving your smile!
Teeth whitening is a great way to improve the way your smile looks within a budget and without having to commit to a permanent procedure. While you can purchase whitening products at any grocery store or pharmacy, the products that your Apple Valley dentist use will always be professional grade, ensuring that you get the highest strength and greatest quality treatment available. Furthermore, unlike with over-the-counter kits, the results from an in-office whitening procedure at Apple Valley Dental are immediate and long-lasting, and with the expertise of our dentists, you can rest assured that your safety and comfort are always prioritized.
As with teeth whitening, bonding is a painless and low-cost way to boost the appearance of your smile. This treatment involves your Apple Valley dentist filling in gaps or chipped areas with a tooth-colored putty that will harden to look and feel just like a natural tooth. It seamlessly fills in these unwanted, distracting spaces to give you a flawless smile!
If you have multiple cosmetic issues with your teeth, including whitening-resistant stains, physical damage, rotations and gaps, or naturally misshapen teeth, veneers solve all of these problems and more! These narrow sections of porcelain will be carefully crafted to fit on the front of the teeth that show when you smile, masking any and all cosmetic issues. You'll be amazed at just how dramatically veneers change your entire appearance for the better!
Interested? Give Us a Call!
Whether it's teeth whitening, bonding, or veneers, Dr. Samuel Kim is ready to help you look and feel your best with a cosmetic dentistry treatment! Contact Apple Valley Dental at (760) 247-6007 today to schedule a consultation.
While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.
“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.
Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.
Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).
For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.
Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.
If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”