Pregnancy is an exciting time for most, but it also comes with added health concerns for both the mother and the child. And while dental health may not be top of mind for a pregnant person, it is still important to pay attention to and practice preventative and proactive care. ... read more
Spirit Dental Blog
There are a number of procedures and treatments for missing, broken, or decaying teeth. Dental implants are a long-term solution for restoring your smile. It’s a procedure involving the replacement of tooth roots with screw-like metal posts that fuse to the jawbone, then replacing the damaged or missing teeth with artificial — yet realistic — teeth. Keep reading to learn more about how dental implants can restore your smile and keep your mouth healthy for years to come. The benefits of dental implants The advantages of dental implants are plentiful. From aesthetic improvements to better dental health, they are the chosen treatment for many with damaged or missing teeth. Dental implants improve your confidence Those with cracked or missing teeth may be self-conscious and shy away from social and professional situations. Dental implants will give you a smile you can’t wait to show off! You won’t look like a different person — you’ll just look like the best version of yourself. Dental implants make eating easier Missing or decaying teeth can lead to discomfort and difficulty eating. Dentures or other appliances used to replace teeth may also slip or shift after a meal. Dental implants feel and act just like natural teeth, allowing you to regain full functionality of your mouth and chew normally. Dental implants prevent bone loss Bone loss can weaken the jaw and even cause changes in your facial structure and overall appearance. Since the implant becomes part of your jawbone, it also helps to preserve the health of the surrounding bone and gums. Dental implants keep adjacent teeth stable When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth may start to shift to fill the gap. In filling the gap with a dental implant, nearby teeth don’t need to be altered to support it like they do with a bridge, so adjacent teeth stay in place and are left intact. This improves long-term oral health. Dental implants can last a lifetime Yes, you read that right. With proper oral care, it’s possible for implants to last decades. And where fillings, crowns and bridges can fall out or wear over time, implants fuse with the jawbone, serving as a far more permanent solution. Dental implants are cost-effective The price tag of a set of implants may leave your jaw on the floor — but remember, these implants are permanent and can last decades. They also don’t require tools, adhesives, special cleaning products, or adjustments to maintain; you treat the implants as natural teeth. Considering the convenience and the fact that you may never have to replace dental implants, they are well worth it. The potential risks of dental implants As with any medical treatment, there are possible risks associated with dental implants, and it’s our responsibility to mention them so you’re as informed as possible. However, keep in mind that most dental implant procedures are done without issue. Sinus damage In extremely rare cases, dental implants placed improperly in the upper jaw can protrude into the sinus cavity. While it may not cause problems, it will likely require a sinus lift procedure, which involves adding some bone into the sinus cavity to keep the implant stable. Infections There is a minute risk of getting an infection at the implant site. Symptoms of infection include bad breath that doesn’t go away, loose teeth or new gaps between teeth, swollen gums or pus. Nerve damage In the process of the implants being placed, there’s a small chance that they can injure nerves that connect to the face and gums. If you notice pain, numbness or tingling, contact your dental professional right away. This can cause issues for your gums, lips, chin or other natural teeth. What happens if you don’t get dental implants? A greater risk for health complications comes from choosing not to get dental implant treatment. By leaving one or more missing or damaged teeth, you’ll potentially experience one or more of the following: Bone loss Bite alignment issues Diminished ability to chew Decay of adjacent teeth Feelings of insecurity and hiding your smile The verdict: yes, dental implants are worth it Life-changing benefits; a small risk for complications; results that last a lifetime. If that’s not enough to convince you dental implants are worth it, we don’t know what is! If you’re still concerned with cost, there are dental plans available that provide some coverage for an implant procedure. Find the right dental plan for your needs with Spirit Dental.
As you get older, your teeth and gums change. This means you might need to see the dentist more often to treat problems like tooth decay and gum disease. It’s just part of the aging process. Unfortunately, dental care can be expensive, especially when you need to pay for it all out of pocket. And, as a senior, that can be really hard to do. Thankfully, dental insurance can help you save! When it comes to dental insurance for senior citizens, you have many options, and you don’t need to break the bank to get the right level of coverage. To show you what we mean, here’s a brief guide to dental insurance for seniors. Should seniors buy dental insurance? Absolutely! Having the right insurance can help you rest assured you’ll be able to see the dentist for preventive care and emergency treatments. As mentioned above, your teeth and gums change with age. Problems like cavities, root decay, and gingivitis or gum disease might arise. Some seniors end up losing their teeth, which might affect the jawbone or bite, while others develop uncomfortable dry mouth. And if you wear dentures, you might experience issues like inflammation. Plus, you might be at a higher risk of fungal infections or oral cancer. Wow, that’s a lot! Also worth noting: other health concerns (e.g. diabetes) might impact your mouth. And oral health problems might lead to issues in other areas of the body (e.g. cardiovascular disease). The point is you never know what will happen to your oral health, even if you always had strong teeth when you were younger. That’s why it’s wise to shop for affordable dental insurance for seniors. A plan that suits your fixed budget can help ensure you won’t ever have to skip a trip to the dentist. Does Medicare provide dental coverage? Many people are under the impression that Medicare will be there to help cover the cost of dental care, but the harsh truth is this isn’t the case. So, if you don’t plan accordingly, you might find yourself lacking the coverage you need to afford treatments. In fact, experts have found that roughly 65% of seniors on Medicare don’t have any dental coverage at all. Medicare Part A and Park B won’t cover routine dental care, such as exams, cleanings, and various restorative treatments. You might, however, receive some support if you need oral care that’s related to a medical condition. One way to get dental insurance for seniors on Medicare is by signing up for a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Options vary, so it’s best to thoroughly check a plan’s details to be sure you’ll receive routine dental care benefits at a price you can afford. What about Medicaid? If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you might be able to get some dental benefits. However, this may depend on where you live, as some states don’t provide any dental coverage while others might have limitations on what’s covered. Be sure to read the fine print so you’ll know exactly what you can get and what you’ll need to pay for out of pocket. Consider stand-alone dental insurance plans for seniors If you’re planning on buying dental insurance on your own, there are a couple of ways you can go about doing so. One option is to head to Healthcare.gov or your state-run Marketplace. Some companies that provide health insurance also offer dental plans, or you might be able to get dental coverage as part of a health plan. However, there might be limitations on when you can sign up, or you might be required to buy a medical plan if you’re purchasing a dental plan. Alternatively, you can purchase plans directly from insurance providers, and you can do so at any time of the year. This gives you a lot of freedom, and you can look at all of the details to compare plans carefully. Then, just select the one that will give you exactly what you want. Spirit offers high-quality dental plans for seniors At Spirit, you can find affordable yet comprehensive options designed for seniors. Perks include three cleanings per year, no waiting periods, high annual maximums up to $5,000, coverage for implants, and the option of seeing any dentist you choose. All of this means you can get valuable support when paying for everything from preventive care to major services, so you won’t need to go over your budget or sacrifice getting the high-quality care you deserve. Keeping your smile bright and healthy in your golden years has never been easier! Sources: https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/guides/insurance/dental-insurance-for-seniors-are-these-plans-worth-it/ https://www.healthmarkets.com/resources/medicare/dental-coverage-for-seniors-over-65/ https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/hidden-tooth-infections-increase-heart-disease-risk-by-almost-three-times https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/gum-disease-and-the-connection-to-heart-disease https://www.axios.com/seniors-medicare-dental-insurance-f6a86baf-5cb1-4c9b-8667-7da310697aaf.html https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/dental-coverage/
Although dental problems might become more of an issue when you’re older, it’s important to know that children can also be impacted by oral health ailments. By being aware of the risks, you can take steps to help your kids maintain strong teeth and gums. What are some of the common dental problems that kids might develop? Below is a short list of a few things to watch out for as your little one grows. Cavities are common in kids The CDC has stated that around 20% of kids between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one tooth with decay that hasn’t been treated. And if the decay is left to progress, a child might end up with an infection, in addition to tooth pain and trouble chewing. Just like you can work toward preventing cavities in your own teeth, you can help your child keep their teeth healthy and strong by instilling good habits like daily brushing and flossing. In the event that a cavity does develop, your child’s dentist might recommend a filling to restore the strength of the tooth. Or, the dentist might recommend treatments like sealants to help prevent decay before it forms. Note: Even baby teeth can develop cavities. And if a baby tooth has extensive decay, to the point that the tooth falls out or needs to be extracted long before it would’ve naturally fallen out, nearby teeth might shift, potentially making it harder for the permanent tooth to come in straight. Just another reason to work on preventing cavities! Gum disease can affect kids, too If your child has bad breath that won’t go away or if their gums bleed, they might have gum disease. While it might be hard to believe that someone so young could end up with this problem, if your little one doesn’t maintain a good oral hygiene routine, plaque can turn into tartar, and the gums can be affected. Also, some kids are more susceptible to gum disease because of various factors, such as their diet, other health problems, or bruxism. The scary thing about gum disease is that it doesn’t just affect the gums and cause them to become inflamed and sore; it can also damage the structures that support teeth and keep them in place. In other words, your child’s teeth might end up falling out if the gum disease isn’t treated with the help of a dentist. Certain habits might lead to misaligned teeth Sometimes, a child’s teeth don’t grow in straight, or there might not be enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth to be aligned properly. But misaligned teeth might also occur if poor habits develop. For example, if a child continues sucking their thumb once their permanent teeth have started to erupt, it might cause changes to the alignment of the teeth or bite. Other habits that might also result in changes to the bite or teeth alignment are lip sucking and tongue thrusting. So, if your child is exhibiting those habits, talk to your dentist for advice on how to get them to stop before any damage is done. Get your child used to going to the dentist on a regular basis The sooner you can get your child used to going to the dentist, the better. That way, they can be comfortable with the idea of having their mouth examined, and you’ll be able to catch problems in their earliest stages. Although there are some dental issues that are quite common, rest assured that treatment options are available, and your dentist can steer you in the right direction. Want to be sure you’ll be able to afford your child’s trips to the dentist and any treatments that might be necessary to ensure their smile will be bright? Check out the family dental plans offered by Spirit, including those that provide coverage for orthodontics, to see how much you could potentially save. Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/oral-health-problems-children https://www.perio.org/for-patients/gum-disease-information/ https://www.mykoolsmiles.com/content/kids-dental-problems/ https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=p01865
The lens of your eye, which is located behind the iris, is normally clear, allowing for light to pass through so you can see well. But when a cataract forms on the lens, it causes it to become cloudy or foggy, inhibiting the amount of light that can get through. And that results in changes in your vision because your eye isn’t able to focus like it should. Cataracts are a common problem, and many seniors end up needing surgery to replace the lens and restore vision in one or both eyes. Being aware of the causes may help you take steps to reduce the risk of cataracts, while being familiar with the symptoms can help you recognize the problem if it develops, so we cover both the causes and symptoms of cataracts below. What can cause cataracts? You might develop a cataract simply as a result of the aging process. Basically, as you get older, the lens changes and the proteins in it break down. As they clump together, those proteins can cause clouding. These changes to the lens might start when you’re around 40 years old, but you might not notice a problem until years later. That’s right: a cataract can progress over time, making the cloudiness—and your vision—worse. In addition to being a part of the aging process, there are certain conditions, medications, injuries, and habits that might lead to cataracts or speed up their development. Here are some examples: Diabetes Certain genetic disorders Other eye problems Eye injury (the cataract might even form years after an injury!) Certain medications, such as steroids Radiation treatment, particularly to the upper part of the body Exposing the eyes to too much sunlight by not wearing sunglasses or hats Drinking a lot of alocohol Smoking What are the symptoms of cataracts? When a cataract is first forming, you might not realize that there’s a problem. Over time, though, as the cataract expands and covers more of the lens, you may start to notice changes in your vision. Here are some of the ways in which your vision might change because of cataracts: Blurriness Vision that’s described as foggy, hazy, or cloudy Faced colors Difficulty seeing at night Needing more light for doing things like reading Double vision Halos or glare surrounding lights Sensitivity to lights (such as from lamps or sunlight), which might appear brighter than they should The need to change your prescription more often than usual Your eye doctor can be there to help you see clearly again Keep in mind that cataracts symptoms may come on slowly because this condition typically develops slowly. And it’s important to talk to an eye doctor as soon as you notice changes in your vision so you can figure out if a cataract is to blame. At first, your eye doctor might recommend changing your prescription to cope with the changes caused by a cataract. But if it gets to the point that you’re finding it really hard to see clearly and do things like drive or read, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the cataract and prevent further vision loss. Take great care of your eyes with the help of vision insurance! A last note: the symptoms caused by cataracts might also be associated with other conditions, so it’s critical that you get the right diagnosis and pursue the best treatment to save your vision. Again, don’t hesitate to talk about your symptoms and have your eyes carefully examined by a professional. If you’re concerned about being able to afford trips to the eye doctor, Spirit is here to help. With the right vision insurance, you can worry less about the cost of eye exams and prescription glasses or contacts, so you won’t need to waste any time when you need to address changes in your vision. Sources: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8589-cataracts https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/syc-20353790 https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/cataracts/causes-cataract https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cataracts https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/cataracts.htm
Vitamin C is known for supporting your immune system, but here’s something you might not know about this vital nutrient: it can also support your dental health! That’s right, getting enough vitamin C is a smart move if you want to keep your gums and pearly whites strong. Check out the information below to learn more. Do Your Gums Bleed? You Might Need More Vitamin C Researchers have found that, in addition to brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly, another important step that may help support the health and strength of your gums is getting enough vitamin C. What happens if you don’t have enough vitamin C in your blood? Well, you might end up with gum problems. More specifically, you might be at a greater risk of bleeding gums, which is a symptom of gingivitis. In that case, increasing the level of vitamin C in the body might help resolve these issues. If your gums are bleeding or you are experiencing other gum problems, talk to your dentist, and consider consulting with your physician as well. They can help you determine if you’re deficient in this vitamin, and can also give you advice on how to bring the level up safely, if necessary. Where Can You Get Vitamin C? Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C aren’t stored in your body, so you need to get enough of it daily to maintain the right amount of it in your system. The good news is there are a lot of delicious foods that can provide plenty of vitamin C. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet that consists of various fruits and veggies is a great place to start. Here are some examples of foods that contain vitamin C: Citrus fruits, such as oranges Carrots Cantaloupe Berries Kiwi Sweet potatoes Spinach Kale Red peppers Broccoli Note: Even though you can also get vitamin C from fruit juice like orange juice, it’s a good idea to enjoy it in moderation because it may be acidic and high in sugar—not good for your chompers! You can also take vitamin C supplements In addition to getting this vitamin from your diet, you can take a high-quality vitamin C supplement. Or, you might decide to take a multivitamin that provides enough of this nutrient. This simple step may help ensure that, no matter what you eat, you’re getting enough of this vitamin on a consistent basis. How Much Vitamin C Should You Aim to Get Daily? Experts recommend that adult men get around 90 mg of vitamin C every day. On the other hand, adult women can aim to get around 75 mg each day. If you want to take a vitamin C supplement to help support your gums, you might consider taking one that provides anywhere from 100-200 mg of vitamin C daily. But the amount you need may depend on various factors. For example, you might need more vitamin C if you’re following a low-carb diet. To figure out just how much is right for you, consult with your doctor for personalized guidance. He or she might check your current level to determine how much you need to get from a supplement. Plus, your doctor can also share valuable tips on how you can improve your diet. Talk to Your Dentist About Vitamin C If Your Gums Bleed Easily Bleeding gums is a symptom that should be addressed, so don’t hesitate to discuss this problem with your dentist as soon as possible. By figuring out the cause—whether it’s a low level of vitamin C or not—you can receive the right treatment and prevent further damage. Bottom line: brush, floss, and keep an eye out for gum irritation, inflammation, or bleeding. Also, improving and supplementing your diet so you get adequate amounts of vitamin C every day might make a big difference in the health of your teeth and gums. Sources: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/nutrition-and-oral-health/5-essential-vitamins-for-teeth-and-gum-health https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gums/vitamin-c-calcium-oral-health/ https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/can-increasing-vitamin-c-intake-help-stop-bleeding-gums https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/threats-to-dental-health/how-acidic-drinks-affect-teeth https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/bleeding-gums-you-may-need-more-vitamin-c