It’s hard to believe that it is the end of the year already; it has certainly gone by fast! If you still have dental benefits or participate in a Flexible Spending Account it’s not too late to get scheduled for treatment and take advantage of these benefits before the end of the year. In many cases, any benefits left in these accounts at the end of the year are lost and these are benefits that you have already paid for.

Some patients may have treatment that requires completing treatment in phases. Careful planning in 2014 and 2015 can maximize benefits and potentially reduce out-of-pocket cost instead of waiting until 2015 to complete all recommended treatment, depending on individual patients’ needs and insurance benefits.

Other factors like covered cleanings that you have not used, deductibles etc. may result in your benefits being lost. Don’t let your unused benefits expire! Your dental care is important to us and we want to make sure you get the care you need. If you or anyone in your family has been putting off your dental work, please call our office as soon as possible. If you have questions regarding your remaining insurance or would like to get scheduled before the end of the year, please call our office. If you are unsure of your dental needs, call us today, we will be happy to assist you.

The images acquired from receiving dental x-rays, referred to as radiographs, are a critical part of your dental assessment. Your dentist will view your radiographs initially to evaluate your overall dental health and establish a baseline record; and then will view updated radiographs at routine intervals to identify any changes that may occur over time. Although a dentist has invaluable clinical expertise, he or she is limited by their own ability to see and feel with dental instruments around your teeth and gums.  There are many cues a dentist can interpret from radiographs that will ensure an early diagnosis of pathology, which will provide you with timely intervention and treatment options. Specific problems we look for are tooth decay, abscesses or signs of infection in the bone surrounding the teeth, signs of periodontal disease which can include bone loss around the teeth and calculus build up on the root surfaces under the gum line, and in some cases we can see cysts and tumors in the bone adjacent to the teeth. Many of these problems do not cause symptoms until they are well established and in advanced stages.  The earlier your dentist detects a problem, the more treatment options he or she may be able to present to you.

There is a standard guideline issued by the American Dental Association that helps us determine what type of radiographs to evaluate and how often to update them. You may visit their website at http://www.ada.org to read an in-depth version of their guideline, but in general terms, all patients should have a full mouth series of intra-oral x-rays taken upon initial examination, and then again every 3-5 years thereafter.  In between the full mouth series, patients should have some individual intra-oral x-rays taken on an annual basis, referred to as bitewing x-rays and periapicals.  The bitewings and periapicals are a part of your full mouth series, but we take them each year to assess the areas of dentition most likely to change between each check up. In addition to the intra-oral x-rays, we may take a panoramic, or extra-oral x-ray to view larger structures outside the dentition. In some cases the panoramic radiograph can substitute for the full mouth series in cases where intra-oral x-rays are not attainable. The dental team, under instruction from your dentist, and in conjunction with the guidelines set forth by the ADA will take into consideration your unique set of dental needs and concerns when determining what type of radiographs to acquire.

Of special note is the recent popular media attention to possible hazards of receiving dental x-rays. Some studies on the correlation between certain types of cancer and dental x-rays have been talked about on various news programs that you may have heard. These studies were not conducted in a controlled scientific environment and contain many flaws.  Although it is true that dental x-rays are a form of radiation, we cannot make the assumption that they alone are the cause of certain cancers. Radiation is something we are all exposed to from both natural and man-made sources throughout our lifetime. In large doses radiation is known to be harmful; in smaller doses there is little known harm.  For more information on radiation you may visit http://www.radiationanswers.org.  This website provides some very good information on the science of radiation and its effects on your health.  Please remember how important radiographs are in identifying potential problems, and know that we will never frivolously take x-rays that we do not feel will improve the ability of the dentist to evaluate your dental health. We always follow what is known as the ALARA guideline which stands for As Low As Reasonably Allowable when exposing you to radiation for the purposes of acquiring radiographs. The benefit of a thorough examination with the appropriate radiographs shall outweigh any potential risk of receiving dental x-rays.

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It’s been a long road to the new office but there is a light at the end of our tunnel. We are planning to close our current location the last week in March to prepare for the opening of our new location in the Fountain Hills Medical Campus. Please keep posted for updates and additional information.

It’s hard to believe that it is the end of the year already; it has certainly gone by fast! If you still have dental benefits or participate in a Flexible Spending Account it’s not too late to get scheduled for treatment and take advantage of these benefits before the end of the year. In many  cases, any benefits left in these accounts at the end of the year are lost; these are benefits that you have already paid for.

Some patients may have treatment that requires completing treatment in phases. Careful planning in 2011 and 2012 can maximize benefits and potentially reduce out-of-pocket cost instead of waiting until 2012 to complete all recommended treatment, depending on individual patients needs and insurance benefits.

If you have questions regarding your remaining insurance or would like to get scheduled before the end of the year, please call our office or you can also contact us by email.

480.836.7600

lovingfamilydental@hotmail.com