All posts by Summit Dental

Teeth Whitening: Boise Dentists’ Recommendations for the Holidays

Teeth Whitening: Boise Dentists’ Recommendations for the Holidays
Christmas and New Year’s usually means plenty of family time, parties, and pictures. Want your teeth to be white and sparkly for the holidays? Here are our tips!

Start Teeth Whitening in Boise Today

We’ve mentioned before that there are three types of teeth whitening. Two of those types are home kits—professional-strength Crest Whitening Strips, and customized whitening trays. The customized trays are our most popular method of whitening because they are affordable and offer quick and impressive results. The results are gradual enough to make the process look natural and to let you decide how white you want your teeth to be. They also allow you to touch up your smile every few months so you can always have a bright smile.
For this at-home teeth whitening, Boise dentists recommend allowing three to four weeks to get to your desired level of brightness. That means you need to start the whitening process this week to be finished by Christmas! You can speed up the process by using the trays or strips once or even twice a day.

Be Vigilant with Brushing and Flossing

Keeping teeth clean is the best thing you can do to keep them white—you can help get a whiter smile by simply brushing and flossing three times a day. Remember that doing a great job brushing your teeth doesn’t mean brushing really hard (which can damage gums and tooth enamel) but brushing for a longer period of time (usually about two minutes).
Getting a new toothbrush can help you keep the best dental care and hygiene as well. A sonic toothbrush will clean your teeth extraordinarily well and can be even more valuable if you are brushing around dental work like braces or a permanent retainer. Some electric or sonic toothbrushes will even time themselves so that you know you are brushing for a good two minutes.

Stay Away from Dark Foods

No matter what type of teeth whitening, Boise dentists highly recommend staying away from coffee, tea, soda, and other dark, staining foods that can diminish your teeth whitening results. This is especially true for the day after a one-appointment teeth whitening, but it still holds true for the at-home kits or any time you want your teeth especially white and pretty. If you can’t go without your morning coffee or afternoon Diet Coke, you can lessen its impact by diluting the color with milk in coffee and by rinsing with water immediately after drinking.
Whatever type of teeth whitening you decide on, these tips will help you get your teeth sparkling for pictures by Christmas.
(Image via Flickr by ColorblindRain)
More

Dental Care During Holiday Vacations

Dental Care During Holiday Vacations

With Fall décor officially over and every store moving full-steam ahead with Christmas deals and decorations, our Boise dentists wanted to offer some dental care tips for holiday vacations. After all, staying as a guest in someone else’s home can wreck your regular routine, including your dental care regimen. Here are some things you can do to keep your teeth happy and healthy through the New Year:

Address Dental Issues for Pain before the Holidays

Our Boise dentists know that you don’t want to be spending any time at our dental office during your holiday week. We’d rather be with our families, too! So don’t put off a cavity filling, root canal, or dental crown until after the New Year. If you get the work done before your trip, you can work with the Boise dentists who know you and your specific needs. You can be comfortable in the office, and you know what you expect as far as payment goes. If you wait until the pain is unbearable during your guests’ stay or your vacation away, you have to visit a dentist you don’t know and who may or may not be covered under your insurance, and you have to either pay for a temporary fix or for an expensive procedure with a dentist you aren’t familiar with. Not to mention that you had to take precious time out of your relaxing holiday.

Have an Emergency Dentist Plan

Ask our Boise dentists if and when they are heading out of Boise for Christmas or New Year’s so that you know when you need to get your appointment in. For the days when our office dentists are gone, you should already have the name and number of the emergency dental office you’ll call. You don’t want to waste precious vacation days trying to find a dentist while in terrible amounts of pain!

Keep Up with the Portable Toothbrush

One of our previous articles suggested bringing a portable toothbrush to Thanksgiving dinner so you can brush whenever you remember to. The same idea applies to a vacation, when your routine is all mixed up. By keeping some disposable brushes in your car, purse, pocket, or bag, you can keep up with brushing whenever you remember – whether you are out shopping, on the road, or getting ready for an evening out. The pre-pasted brushes don’t even need water. Simply unwrap, use, and throw away.

Take Some Time to Relax

Family is great, but they can also cause plenty of stress. The amount of Christmas programs, dinners, guests, and food to attend, entertain, or prepare is enough to cause anxiety attacks. They are also why many people end up making last-minute dentist appointments during the holidays due to teeth grinding or clenching. This can cause headaches, jaw pain, or even chipped teeth. They can also irritate existing problems or dental work. So save yourself and your teeth from pain by finding moments to yourself to unwind. It’s good for your teeth!
With these tips, we at Summit Dental hope you have a relaxing vacation that is full of only good surprises and experiences.
More

Boise Dentists: We’re Thankful for Our Roots!

Boise Dentists: We’re Thankful for Our Roots!
With so many good things happening around Summit Dental this year, we wanted to take a step back and look at where we’ve come from. We have a solid history of excellent Boise dentists, staff, and care, so let’s go back and remember where it all began:

Then: Summit Dental Office Opens in 1975

Summit Dental opened for the first time in 1975 with Dr. Terry Gustavel and Dr. Skip Pierce. Located on Overland Road in the Boise Bench, the office was converted from an old house. The practice remained here for three years, already growing from a beginning patient base of 10 patients a day, or around 500 patients total.
While in the house, the practice had two doctors, two assistants, one hygienist, and a front desk assistant (who was the wife of one of the doctors). Dr. Pierce is still an associate of the practice, and several of the assistants and hygienists from those beginning years are still here working with us today!

The First Move: North Latah Road in 1978

In 1978, the Summit Dental Office moved from Overland Road to North Latah Road near Ann Morrison Park. This dental office is where Summit Dental truly began to grow and expand, taking on Dr. Carson Mooney, then Dr. Robert Studebaker, and finally Dr. Lance Ritchie.
This office is also where our beloved fish tank came to be! Coming around sometime during the 1980s, the Summit Dental fish tank has been a proud element of our waiting room for over 20 years. The tank experienced an upgrade during our recent move, including a switch to all live coral and the addition of several new types of fish.

Now: Office Moves to Americana Boulevard in 2012:

With 23 staff members and close to 6,000 current patients, Summit Dental moved to a custom-built facility in August of 2012. Coming a long way from a converted house, this office boasts 16 patient rooms, a beautiful waiting area, and a separate kids’ waiting room, not to mention a prime location. We easily see 100 patients in a day, coming a long way from our beginning of 10 patient appointments per day in 1975.
We’re so thankful for great Boise dentists, staff and of course great dental patients! We know that many families that began with us in 1975 are still with us today. So thank you so much for growing with us! We can’t wait to see what good things will happen in the coming years!
More

Advice from Boise Dentists: Dental Care During Holiday Meals

Advice from Boise Dentists: Dental Care During Holiday Meals
As a day that centers around an hours-long meal of iconic and sugary foods (marshmallow sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, and cranberries, for example), Thanksgiving offers plenty of opportunity for tooth decay. If you want to make sure you teeth stay healthy for Christmas, take a look at our tips for Thanksgiving Day:

Rinse with Water.

Sugary treats like candy and desserts (and even sweet fruit) provide plenty of nutrients for the bacteria in your mouth, building up plaque. The acids in these foods can stay in your mouth for 20 minutes or more, so rinse with water as soon as you are done eating, or even in between dishes.

Take a Portable Toothbrush.

Many portable toothbrushes are no longer than the palm of your hand, making them incredible easy to place in a pocket or purse. Colgate Wisps don’t even need water to use. Coming pre-pasted, these brushes also have a pick on the end of the handle so you can floss. By brushing as soon as you are done eating and before a food coma sets in, you can protect your teeth from bacteria and plaque.

Brush When You Remember.

A portable brush means you can brush whenever, not just when you get home, tired and ready to fall asleep. Even if you know you will have a few drinks or snacks later, brush when you think about it so that you can’t forget. You can always brush again later!

Eat Dessert Close to the Main Course.

Try to eat your desserts close to your meal, as your mouth produces more saliva then and can better clean and protect your teeth from sugary foods. If that is not an option, try chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol afterwards. The gum will help your mouth produce more saliva while the xylitol sweetener may even encourage enamel growth.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family while also protecting your teeth with these great dental care tips for a holiday meal. Happy Thanksgiving from our Boise dentists and the rest of the Summit Dental office staff and team!
More

How to Understand and Decide on a Dental Insurance Plan

How to Understand and Decide on a Dental Insurance Plan
Finding good dental insurance plans—or any good insurance—is stressful. How do you know if you have found a good plan? Remember that we would love to help you, so call us and talk about what plans you are looking at. We’ll do our best to help you understand your options. When you go over your options alone, however, keep in mind this list of things to look for:

What to Look Out For

A Waiting Period. Many insurance companies have a one-year waiting period where you are paying for insurance but cannot use it. If this is the case, you might be better off looking for a different plan or just paying out of pocket.
Limits. Dental insurance plans usually have a ceiling on what they will pay per year. This amount may be measured per family or per person. Consider the dental expenses you think your family will need to see if this plan’s limit will suit you.
Coverage. Some insurance companies will only cover silver fillings (the ones that contain mercury) and will not cover composite fillings for cavities. This is another red flag that may mean this insurance plan is not a good fit for you.
Stipulations. Every plan will have some stipulations about copays, pre-existing conditions, limits, and other things already mentioned. Be sure you look over what these stipulations are to see if they are compatible with your family’s needs.
Coverage Percentage. Every dental plan should state rather clearly what percentage of your dental fees they will cover (usually around 60 percent or 80 percent). But you need to ask if this is 60-80 percent of the doctor’s fees, or 60-80 percent of the insurance company’s set fees. Here’s the difference: insurance companies create set fees for what theythink a cavity or cleaning should cost, regardless of whether your Boise dentist’s fees are different. You can see how this could cost you, so make sure you clarify this with your insurance company.

Do Dental Patients Really Need Insurance?

The short answer is that it depends. Dental patients should look at what they need and what insurance would cover, but the decision is mostly personal preference. Here are some examples of what you could consider:
Mostly Preventative. Most older people probably just need preventative care, so simple dental insurance like a $700 limit to use on whatever the dental patient wants or needs is probably enough to cover biannual cleanings, check-ups, and the like. For those looking for another simple dental insurance option, flex spending accounts are generally a good idea as well.
A Waiting Period. If there is a waiting period, however, you may be better off without insurance and instead pay out of pocket.
For Lots of Dental Work. If you need a lot of work done on your teeth, really good dental insurance could be a huge help. But know that for something like dental implants, most insurance companies won’t cover much. Coverage for these procedures has improved over the years, however, so you may get coverage up to 40 percent.

The Bottom Line

In order to discover if you have a good dental plan and if it’s worth the investment, ask lots and lots of questions. And call us to go over your options! We’d love to help you find the best plan and can help you pick up on the red flags of a bad plan.
Any other questions about finding a good dental plan? Give us a call or stop by our office!
More

Jack Tobin Is Our September Cavity Free Super Star Winner!

Jack Tobin Is Our September Cavity Free Super Star Winner!
Congratulations to Jack Tobin for being September’s Cavity Free Super Star Winner! By regular brushing and flossing, Jack kept his teeth healthy and cavity free for his appointment. Thanks for coming in, and for taking such good care of your teeth and gums, Jack!

All children ages 3-14 who have no cavities get to join the Boise Summit Dental Cavity Free Super Star Program! Each child will be entered in a monthly drawing for 2 Free Movie Passes! We will also place their names on our website as we want everyone to know that we are proud of these children who have been doing a great job taking care of their teeth and gums at home!
More

Advice from Boise Dentists: Budgeting Tips for Dental Care

Advice from Boise Dentists: Budgeting Tips for Dental Care
We know that times are hard and patients can use all the help they can get in affording the good care they need for their teeth. While we’ll spend later posts talking about how to understand insurance and health care laws, this week we are offering tips and tricks to affording everyday dental expenses.

Take Care of your Teeth

The biggest way you can save money on dental costs is by keeping up with daily dental hygiene. If you take good care of your teeth, there will be fewer cavities, whitening treatments, and other dental expenses to pay for.
Annual dental office appointments are equally important as they clean up your teeth and check for problems that could become serious if left alone. If you have dental insurance, check to see if it covers an annual cleaning. Most insurance plans do. While it may hurt to go to the dentist once a year, it can catch dental problems early so they do not become large expenses later.
If you need more motivation, Michelle at betterbudgeting.com calculates that her family would have saved $8,000 by getting dental insurance and taking better care of their teeth!

Address Problems and Pain Early

If you haven’t been keeping up with yearly or semi-annual dental office appointments, make sure you at least schedule a dentist appointment early on when experiencing discomfort. Waiting too long can turn a simple cavity into a very expensive and painful root canal. Of course, if you brush and floss every day, your chances of needing a cavity filled will significantly decrease anyway.

Create an Emergency Fund

This idea does not strictly apply to dental patients but is instead a theory of being prepared for all sorts of financial emergencies. The idea is to keep money saved but easily accessible for surprise expenses like dental work, car repairs, and other emergencies. Dave Ramsey recommends starting with $500, and moving towards a goal of $1,000. This way when you need to fill a cavity or undergo a dental procedure, you don’t have to stress about coming up with the money—it’s already there. After the expense you can once again work up to the full amount of $1,000. While this doesn’t save you money on the actual expenses, it can really cut back on the stress these emergencies cause.
By taking the time to keep up on dental hygiene, you can stave off the costly expenses of cavities, teeth whitening, and other dental procedures. Do you have any other tips for saving on everyday dental expenses? We’d love to hear them!
More

Can Boise Dentists Tell if You Have a Hypoactive Thyroid?

Can Boise Dentists Tell if You Have a Hypoactive Thyroid?

Ever wondered why dental records are used to identify a person? Or if teeth are as strong as diamonds? We’ve collected a list of dental myths to set the record straight.

1. Ninety percent of systemic diseases have oral manifestations.

True. This includes diabetes and thyroid problems. So yes, a dentist may be able to tell if you have an underlying health problem just by looking in your mouth.

2. If you’ve lost a permanent tooth, put it in milk.

True. A permanent tooth can only live so long before being returned to your mouth, but putting it in milk can make it live longer. As mentioned in another dental article, be sure not to touch the tooth’s root! And call us right away to schedule an emergency appointment.

3. If you lost or broken a crown, you can fix it with superglue.

False. This is a terrible idea for several reasons: mainly, the crown may have fallen out for a reason (like underlying tooth decay) and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. Besides that, superglue isn’t made for your mouth. For a temporary fix before you reach the dentist, try dentist cement from the pharmacy.

4. Teeth are the hardest substance in the human body.

TrueAn article by a Waco dentist explains why: the unique protein found in teeth affects the mineral crystal formation of your teeth, making them much stronger than bone.

5. Teeth are harder than diamonds.

False. While researchers had discovered that tooth enamel is at least as strong as mild steel by the 1960’s, it is clear that a diamond is still stronger.

6. Every person has a unique tongue and tooth print.

True. That is why officials can rely on dental records to prove the identity of a person.
Do you know any more dental trivia? We’d love to hear it!
More

Boise Dentists: Our Dentists’ Favorite Things about the New Office

Boise Dentists: Our Dentists’ Favorite Things about the New Office
A spacious office with new equipment and a better layout gives us a better environment to do our best work, but it also allows us to work together with our patients to provide the best care and give the best answers. Here are our favorite things about the new office, and how it helps us work better together with our patients:
Spacious rooms:  The new office patients’ rooms are large, comfortable, and quiet. Hardwood floors, natural light, and plenty of extra floor space and seating help patients to sit comfortably during appointments. This allows for more relaxed dentist and patient interaction, which is greatly appreciated on both sides.
Top-of-the-line technology. In addition to spacious rooms, we are very excited to work with the latest dental technology in each patient room. One of the features that is most convenient are the  large format computer displays; these are used to show patients intra-oral camera pictures of what we are seeing, and it really helps us communicate problems we are seeing in the mouth.
Many diseases cannot be seen when we examine the mouth, so these pictures and x-rays help us see small areas of decay between teeth, bone loss caused by infection or gum disease, and many other things, including the position of unerupted teeth. The large format screens allow us to then demonstrate the problems we see in the mouth so that our patients can clearly see the problem, and then we can work together to resolve it.
The Summit team. Finally, by working with such experienced clinicians, we can share ideas on treatment decisions with each other and learn from each other’s experiences. This helps us find the best possible treatment for every patient. Also, working with such a friendly and outgoing staff really helps create an enjoyable environment to work in on a daily basis.
Last but not least, we love being a part of a dental practice with such a long standing of 35 years, and which has an established reputation of being a high-quality and friendly office, with truly great patients. We are excited to carry on the Summit reputation in a new location with the same great service, staff, and patients!
More

Landon Schweiger is July’s Cavity Free Super Star Winner!

Landon Schweiger is July’s Cavity Free Super Star Winner!
Congratulations to Landon Schweiger for being July’s Cavity Free Super Star Winner! At six years old, Landon kept his teeth healthy and cavity free for his appointment by regular brushing and flossing. Thanks for taking such good care of your teeth and gums, and enjoy your two movie passes, Landon!
The Summit Dental Super Star Cavity Free Program was created to show recognition to those special patients who demonstrate excellent home care in between dental visits and therefore have no cavities when they come in for their dental check-up.
All children ages 3-14 who have no cavities get to join Summit Dental Super Star Program! Each child will be entered in a monthly drawing for 2 Free Movie Passes! We will also place their names on our website as we want everyone to know that we are proud of these children who have been doing a great job taking care of their teeth and gums at home!
More