As we get older, it’s easy to think that parts of our bodies will simply “wear out”. This is especially true when it comes to our teeth. However, nothing can be farther from the truth. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can maintain a healthy mouth well into your senior years. Not only will you be able to eat delicious foods and smile confidently, you’ll set your body up for better overall health. That’s why the Boise dentists at Summit Dental Group would like to provide you with the following dental tips for seniors.
Brush and Floss Often
First and foremost, it’s important to brush and floss at least twice a day. However, as you age, your teeth and gums require a little extra time and attention. After the age of 50, plaque can build up quickly and be more difficult to get rid of. That’s why you may want to start brushing your teeth after every meal. You should also brush your teeth when you wake up and before you go to bed.
Be Gentle on Your Gums
Healthy gums are an important part of a healthy body, regardless of your age. But it’s important to be gentle on your gums when taking care of them. Gum recession can cause the root surfaces of your teeth to become exposed. This can increase sensitivity and make them more susceptible to decay. That’s why you should always use a soft-bristle toothbrush when you brush.
Clean Dentures Daily
Just like your teeth, dentures need to be cleaned daily. Cleaning your dentures will remove food particles and dental plaque while preventing stains. However, they cannot be cleaned with normal toothpaste. Toothpaste is abrasive and can damage dentures. That’s why you should always use a product specifically designed for dentures.
Watch for Side Effects of Medications
Many medications come with side effects that affect the mouth. One of the most common issues is dry mouth. Dry mouth cannot only accelerate tooth decay but cause gum disease as well. Without saliva to wash away plaque and neutralize acids, it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes to your teeth or gums. Always contact your Boise dentist if you notice any changes.
Drink Lots of Water
Drinking lots of water comes with numerous health benefits. Especially for your teeth and gums. Water helps rinse away and dilute acids produced by sugars and bacteria in your mouth. This, in turn, will help prevent cavities and tooth decay while making it easier for you to swallow.
Visit Your Boise Dentist Regularly
As you age, the nerves inside your mouth become less sensitive. That means you may have dental issues without even realizing it. Seeing your Boise dentist for regular cleanings and oral exams is important for maintaining your oral health into your senior years. Make sure to schedule an appointment at Summit Dental every six months or more frequently if you’re experiencing regular dental issues.
Contact us at (208) 345-8962 today!
Between early morning drop-offs & establishing homework schedules with your kids this fall, keeping their teeth healthy while they’re at school may not be your #1 priority. While it may seem like a mundane task, packing an apple instead of a fruit roll-up or cookies in their lunch can help boost your child’s oral and overall health in addition to keeping unwanted cavities and unexpected Boise dental bills at bay.
Boise dentist, Dr. Robert Studebaker warns that too much sugar can cause bacteria in the mouth to generate acid which over time wears away enamel causing tooth decay (cavities). While kids love their sweets, moderation is important. Overconsumption can not only hurt their teeth but provides an addicting, temporary jolt for kids that is typically followed by a sugar “crash” leaving them hungry, and lethargic which isn’t how you want your kids to feel during afternoon classes.
Instead, your Boise dentist at Summit Dental recommends the following Boise dental recommendations to help keep smiles healthy before, during, and after school:
- After breakfast, or before leaving for school, have your child thoroughly brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste to remove the buildup of problem causing bacteria in their mouth accumulated overnight while sleeping. Brushing after breakfast (or any meal) not only removes leftover food particles but helps to eliminate bad breath (halitosis) as well.
- Fill your child’s lunchbox with healthy foods and snacks. Whole grain breads, lean meats, nuts, cheese, apples, or bite-sized carrots are not only healthy but help to clean the teeth and gums naturally. Remember that old saying “an apple a day helps to keep the doctor away”? The same goes with your Boise dentist.
- If their school allows it, send your child to school with a couple sticks of sugar-free gum to chew before and after lunch to help stimulate saliva to buffer acid and dislodge leftover food particles stuck in between teeth.
- Children with extensive Boise dental work such as braces or removable retainers should take care to brush their teeth and rinse any dental appliances after every meal in order to keep their teeth happy, and healthy.
In the end, make sure to schedule a Boise dental visit during the school year for a checkup & regular Boise teeth cleaning. Ask your Boise dentist about protecting your children’s teeth from cavities with options like sealants – a thin coating of translucent material that acts as a barrier to cavity-causing bacteria.
You know you want to get your teeth whitened, and you’ve heard plenty of things that you should and shouldn’t do with the process. Here are four things you should keep in mind:
- Image via Flickr by Kaptain Kobold
1. Do research and ask your dentist in Boise which whitening methods work the best for you.
While you should do your own research, you can also get valuable information by talking with your dentist. Boise dentists at our Summit Dental Office offer three methods of Boise teeth whitening: extra-strength whitening strips, an in-office teeth whitening Boise treatment, and customized whitening trays. The teeth whitening trays offer a great mix of affordability and customized work and is our most popular choice.
2. Don’t wait until the last minute to get teeth whitening in Boise.
Unless you choose an in-office treatment with a Boise dentist, you’ll need at least a few weeks to get to your teeth to the desired whiteness. Give yourself a month with the extra-strength Boise teeth whitening strips or customized trays.
3. Do become extra vigilant with daily dental hygiene.
By brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day, you can keep your teeth the beautiful white you want them to be long after your teeth whitening Boise treatment. You can further keep them white by rinsing your mouth or brushing after eating or drinking anything extra sugary.
4. Don’t drink staining liquids during or right after your Boise teeth whitening treatment.
If you want to see results quickly and want them to last, avoid drinking tea, coffee, soda, and other dark liquids that are more likely to stain teeth. A patient’s teeth are especially vulnerable to staining right after a teeth whitening Boise treatment, so it is especially important to avoid these substances during and soon after the bleaching process, no matter which method you choose. The same goes for smoking or chewing tobacco—it yellows your teeth, so limit use, rinse after using, or (best of all) cut it out completely.
What have you learned from getting your teeth whitened? Let us know!
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!