If your budget gets squeezed, cutting non-essential expenses can be a wise move. But think twice before lumping dental care into that category—postponing dental visits or treatment could put your long-term dental health at risk.
True, dental treatments can get expensive, so it's tempting to let a routine visit slide or put off treatment for an obvious problem. But dental problems usually don't go away on their own—rather, they worsen. When you do get around to treatment, you'll pay and endure more than if you had tackled the issue earlier.
The key isn't cutting out dental care altogether, but to sync your limited financial resources with your dental needs. Here are 4 tips to help you do that.
Focus on the long-term. Twice-a-year cleanings and checkups are the minimum investment you should make toward good dental health. Besides lowering your disease risk, these appointments are key to a long-term care plan. By evaluating your on-going health and assessing your personal risk for dental disease, we can formulate a plan that addresses current problems and prevents future ones.
Take care of your mouth. The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself against destructive dental diseases is to practice daily oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing removes dental plaque, the bacterial film on teeth most responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. You can further boost healthy teeth and gums by eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
Restore teeth temporarily. We may be able to treat or restore affected teeth with temporary materials that give you time to prepare financially for a more permanent solution later. Durable but low-cost materials like resin bonded glass ionomers for repairing decayed teeth, or a partial denture to replace teeth can get you by until you're ready for a crown or dental implants.
Manage your costs. There are different ways to minimize your dental expenses or spread them out over time to make it easier on your budget. You may be able to lower expenses with dental insurance or a dental savings plan. Your provider may also have payment plans that allow you to finance your fees over time.
If you would like more information on affordable 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 “Cost-Saving Treatment Alternatives.”
Dental crowns in Tuscaloosa, AL, are hollow caps that are custom made to fit over a tooth, fully covering it. The natural tooth needs to be shaved down slightly to ensure that the crowns fit perfectly. Afterward, your dentist, Dr. Kimberly Parker of Tuscaloosa Family Dental, will take a mold of your teeth and create a crown. When it's fabricated, your new dental crown is then cemented into place. Dental crowns have many cosmetic and restorative benefits for your smile.
Protect A Damaged Tooth
A tooth that has been damaged by a chip or injury can be very painful and affect the way you chew. A dental crown strengthens a tooth that has been weakened by damage or has a large filling that left the structure compromised. They also protect the tooth from further damage to restore the function of your smile.
Replace A Missing Tooth with Dental Crowns in Tuscaloosa, AL
Crowns can be used with other restorative treatments to completely replace a missing tooth. If you have a gap in your smile, dental implants and bridges both utilize dental crowns. Bridges hold an artificial tooth between two crowns that sit on the healthy teeth on either side of the empty space. Dental implants, on the other hand, are embedded directly in the jaw and covered with a single crown.
Dental crowns blend in perfectly with your smile because they are made of light-reflective materials that mimic your natural tooth enamel. They are commonly made of stain-resistant porcelain. If you need extra support, porcelain fused to metal crowns are extra strong while still being tooth-colored
Improve the Appearance of Your Smile
Crooked, misshapen, or discolored teeth can all be covered with dental crowns to hide cosmetic imperfections. If you are interested in dental crowns in Tuscaloosa, AL, call Dr. Parker at (205) 722-7550 to schedule an appointment at Tuscaloosa Family Dental today.
It's normal to have occasional mouth dryness—that "cotton mouth" feeling when you first wake up or after eating a spicy meal. It soon dissipates, though, leaving you no worse for wear other than the memory of an unpleasant sensation.
For some, though, the unpleasant sensation becomes a chronic condition known as xerostomia, in which their mouth feels dry most of the time. And, it can have far-reaching consequences beyond a mere irritation if not treated.
Among the numerous causes for xerostomia, the most common appears to be over-the-counter and prescription medication. An estimated five hundred medications have dry mouth as a potential side-effect, from antihistamines to antidepressants. And because people over 65 are more likely to take medications, they also have a high occurrence of xerostomia.
A person with certain systemic diseases like Parkinson's Disease or undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancers of the head and neck may also encounter dry mouth. For example, an autoimmune disease called Sjögren's syndrome, primarily affecting postmenopausal women, can dry out the mouth's mucous membranes.
Chronic dry mouth isn't normal, and often a sign of a health problem that should be examined. And it can lead to more problems with your oral health. Because dry mouth is most likely a reduction in saliva, which helps buffer decay-causing acid and provides antibodies to fight bacteria, having less of this vital fluid can increase your risk for both tooth decay and gum disease.
So, what can you do if you're plagued by persistent dry mouth? If you suspect your medications may be a factor, talk with your doctor about whether one of them may be the underlying cause for your symptoms. You may be able to switch to an alternate medication without dry mouth side-effects.
You can also increase your water intake during the day, including drinking more before and after taking medication. And there are a number of products like the artificial sweetener xylitol found in gums and candies that can boost saliva. Your dentist may also be able to recommend products that increase saliva.
Above all, be sure you keep up daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental cleanings. Taking care of chronic dry mouth could help you avoid dental problems later.
If you would like more information on preventing and treating chronic dry mouth, 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 “Dry Mouth.”
Like most Americans, a busy schedule or dread of the dentist can keep us from much-needed routine visits. If you cannot remember the last time you were at the dentist, or think you may have waited too long for a visit, you are probably overdue for a check-up and proper teeth cleaning. For an experienced and reliable dentist in Tuscaloosa, AL, see Dr. Kimberly Parker of Tuscaloosa Family Dental.
5 Signs It's Time To Visit Your Dentist
If it has been more than a year since you last saw your dentist, it may be time to call for an appointment. Even if you do not have any oral health concerns, preventive dental care is essential, and routine brushing and flossing may not be enough to protect your teeth against unwanted decay and damage from everyday use.
Another sign that may indicate it is time to go to the dentist is tooth pain. Toothaches may indicate decay or worsening cavities that should be treated right away. Even if the pain resides after a few days, there may be an underlying infection at the root of the problem that will continue to progress if left untreated.
Inflammed gums, consisting of swollen, red, or bleeding gums, are another sure sign that you need to visit the dentist, as it is one of the first signs of gum disease. With early treatment, gum disease can be treated and reversed, preventing any further damage to your teeth and gums.
Other signs of tooth decay or cavities are white spots on your teeth and increased temperature sensitivity when eating or drinking. When there is an increase in bacteria in your mouth, white spots on your teeth can indicate that the bacteria has begun to eat away at your enamel, which could lead to infection. Similarly, pain and sensitivity to hot and cold occur can also be affected by increased bacteria in the mouth. As the bacteria progress from the surface of your teeth to the center where nerves are located, pain may occur as a result.
Lastly, if you notice any other changes in your mouth, such as discoloration, sores, bad taste, etc., it is important to let your dentist in Tuscaloosa, AL, know right away. While sometimes there is no cause for concern, other changes may be warning signs of new or progressing disease.
Call Your Dentist Today!
If you have any of the above signs and symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment to see Dr. Kimberly Parker, your dentist in Tuscaloosa, AL, as soon as possible. Call Tuscaloosa Family Dental today at (205) 722-7550.
It's been a rough year for all of us, but especially for Simon Cowell. The famous entrepreneur and brutally honest talent judge on American Idol and America's Got Talent underwent emergency back surgery in August after an accident on a new electric bike. But the good news is he's well on his way to recovery—and well enough in October to undergo another, less-stressful, procedure: a smile makeover with dental veneers.
This latest trip to the dentist wasn't Cowell's first experience with the popular restoration, wanting this time to update his smile to more closely resemble what he had when he was younger. He even brought along some older photos for reference.
Veneers aren't exclusive to celebrities like Simon Cowell, as thousands of people who get them every year can attest. These thin wafers of porcelain bonded to teeth can mask a wide range of defects, from chips, wear or discoloration to slight tooth gaps or misalignments. And every veneer is custom-made to match an individual patient's dental dimensions and coloring.
If you're thinking about a smile upgrade, here are a few reasons to consider dental veneers.
More bang for your buck. Compared to other transformative cosmetic options, veneers are relatively affordable, with the cost dependent largely on the extent of your dental needs. Still, dental veneers are an investment that can give long-lasting yields of a more attractive smile and even a completely new look.
Little to no tooth alteration. In most veneer cases, we need only remove a small amount of enamel so the veneers don't appear bulky (the alteration is permanent, though, so you'll need a veneer on the tooth from then on). It's also possible to get “no-prep” veneers requiring little to no alteration.
Durable and long-lasting. Continuing improvements in porcelain and other dental ceramics have led to stronger forms that can better withstand the biting forces your teeth encounter every day. Although you'll still need to be careful biting into hard items, your veneers can last for several years.
Easy to maintain. Veneer cleaning and maintenance is much the same as with natural teeth—daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Outside of that, you'll need to watch what you chomp down on: Veneers are strong, but not indestructible, and they can break.
As Simon Cowell knows, getting veneers isn't difficult. It starts with an initial visit so we can evaluate your dental health and needs. From there, we can present options on how to update your smile.
If you would like more information about dental veneers, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “No-Prep Porcelain Veneers.”
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