WZZM 13 reporter Catherine Behrendt recently spoke with Dr. Darren Riopelle about new safety standards at Smile Dental Partners. Smile Safety Assurance™ is designed to create the safest environment possible for patients and employees alike. Among the new safety initiatives, Smile is the first dentist in the country to introduce UV-C pathogen control technology which removes viruses from the air and surfaces.
At Smile Dental Partners, our Treatment Coordinators specialize in helping you reach your goals by estimating any investment you may have in your treatment. We reduce surprises in your portion of payment by using the most comprehensive dental insurance software available to keep your insurance information up to date and creating financial treatment plans.
Insurance has become more complicated in recent years, and dental insurance is no exception. There are thousands of different dental plans, and each policy has distinct benefits and rules of coverage that are determined by both the insurance company and your employer.
Policies can change your benefits and rules of coverage at any time. Insurance companies do not notify dental offices of your changes. While we attempt to update our information about your policies on an annual basis, we may only become aware of changes upon filing a claim on your behalf or if you tell us of any changes to your coverage.
By understanding your own insurance, we can work as a team with you to provide the most accurate financial estimates. Below is some insurance “lingo” that may help you understand your coverage:
Participating vs. Accepting
This confuses most people. If you call a dental office and ask is they “accept” your insurance, you are actually asking if they will bill your insurance company for you. And the answer is almost always yes. What you probably really want to know is if the dental office “participates” with your insurance? This means that you will receive a discount for services covered by your plan, or the dentist office will “write off” a portion of the fee when applicable. Click here for a list of participating insurance companies at Smile.
At what percentage are your cleanings, exams, fluorides, x-rays covered? How often will the insurance pay for these services? Are there waiting periods before they will pay for your treatment?
This is an annual amount you are responsible for before insurance coverage begins.
The percent split between insurance payment and your responsibility.
Some insurance requires permission for a procedure prior to receiving the service. If these services are provided without pre-determination, the payment for services may be denied. Pre-determination does NOT guarantee payment of your claim.
An annual (or lifetime) limit that an insurance company will pay for your care.
If you have more than one insurance policy covering you, the primary insurance is required to consider the claim for payment first. For children whose parents both have insurance contracts, the primary insurance is determined by the month of each parent’s birthday (typically).
A second insurance contract. The secondary insurance contract may or may not cover costs that the primary insurance contract does not pay.
As Michigan dentists prepare to reopen across the state, News 8 Reporter Justin Kollar recently visited Smile Cascade to speak with Dr. Darren Riopelle and pediatric dentist Dr. Cristian Brutten about exclusive new UV-C pathogen control technology. The new upgrades, which include air filtration and surface technology, have been introduced at all of Smile’s West Michigan locations as part of its new Smile Safety Assurance™.
Non-essential medical, dental and veterinary procedures are allowed to resume starting today.Dentists offices across the state are ready to accept patients, many have implemented a host of new safety procedures to keep patients and staff safe.Check out all that Smile Dental Partners have done to make the "new normal" safe and enjoyable.
Posted by Justin Kollar on Friday, 29 May 2020
As your trusted healthcare provider, we are closely monitoring the public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We want to reassure you that Smile is taking the proper precautions to be sure that our practices are clean and continue to be a safe environment for you and your family.
For the safety of our patients, our employees, and our communities, we are committed to the following practices…
- We follow the guidelines outlined by the CDC.
- Our facilities are cleaned daily. This includes our standard practice of disinfecting all surfaces (including door knobs, light switches, handrails, countertops, computers/tablets, etc.) in accordance to Touch Point Cleaning best practices and Green Seal Certified Cleaning Program GS-42.
- In between patients, treatment rooms and equipment are thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectant and all instruments are sterilized.
- All Smile team members are required to wash their hands upon entering/exiting the office and prior to seeing any of our patients.
- We will be providing hand sanitizer for our patients to use upon entering our office.
- Smile team members will not report to work if they show signs of illness.
We kindly ask our patients who are showing signs of illness to please call and allow us to reschedule your appointment.
Your safety is most important,
The Smile Team
Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth. While brushing and flossing at home is a good way to safeguard oral health, it’s not enough to completely prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues caused by plaque buildup. Hardened plaque (tartar) can only be removed during a teeth cleaning, which is why it’s important to see your dentist every 6 months.
BRUSH AND FLOSS TEETH
Plaque loves to feed on the sugar left behind on your teeth after meals. For this reason, it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily. If you don’t floss, you could be leaving behind dental plaque hiding between teeth and along the gum line. The bacteria from plaque produce acids that destroy tooth enamel and gum tissue. In fact, plaque on teeth is one of the leading causes of cavities and gum disease.
SCHEDULE A DENTIST APPOINTMENT
It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months for a dental exam because it significantly reduces your risk of needing emergency dental care. While a small cavity can be treated with a filling, a tooth abscess will need an emergency root canal or even extraction. Only a dental professional can remove tartar from teeth. Tartar buildup increases your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR ORAL HYGIENE ROUTINE
Many patients don’t brush their teeth long enough to remove plaque. Most dentists agree that it should take at least 2 minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Also, make sure that you’re not neglecting back teeth during your oral hygiene routine.
If you have questions or concerns, the Smile team will be more than happy to talk with you about the best way to take care of your smile at home.
“Early diagnosis” and “prevention” have become well-recognized terms in the medical field. No one wants to find out that they’ve been harboring a disease or ailment that will be difficult to treat at an advanced state, or worse, is beyond treatment. Most illnesses become more challenging and expensive to treat the further they progress.
What about your teeth? Doesn’t the same logic apply?
Visiting your dentist every six months not only prevents issues like tooth decay and gum disease, it can help identify and diagnose other health concerns such as oral cancer, diabetes, nutrition deficits and heart disease. Our mouths tell a story about our overall health.
Some patients skip appointments to save money. The flip-side of that decision, however, is that these patients are more likely to develop cavities or other dental issues when they miss appointments, and these dental issues are not only physical painful, they can be painfully expensive as well.
Prevention and regular visits are the best method for keeping dental comfort and cost in line, as well as supporting overall health.
We’ve all heard doctors advise us or those we care about to “keep an eye on it”. This advice usually pertains to early symptoms or unclear diagnosis. When we break a bone or experience an injury to our bodies, however, immediate action is almost always required.
When our teeth have an injury of some type, whether it be a cavity or break, the deterioration process begins. The tooth will not regenerate itself and while decay can be slowed by healthy diet and dental hygiene, the existing damage is done. Over time, this can become painful and lead to your tooth becoming compromised in other ways.
There is no wisdom in “watching it.” What started as a simple filling may escalate to the level of needing a root canal or extraction over time – and both of those options have an increased cost and level of pain.
Your teeth are as important a part of your body as your limbs! You use them daily. Don’t let a minor issue become a much bigger problem. Being proactive in your dental care not only saves discomfort, but time and money.
Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.
Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.
When Should You Wear a Mouthguard?
When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating. The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist.
Protecting Your Braces
A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.
Mouthguard Care and Replacement
Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.
Between games, it’s important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouthguard is always ready to go:
- Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.
- During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouthguard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.
- Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.
- Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.
Think of your tongue as a storm shelter for bacteria. While you’re vigorously brushing away food debris and tarter from your teeth, the bacteria that cause bad breath, gum disease, and cavities are hiding out in the crevices of your tongue. Since bacteria like warm, wet, atmospheres, your mouth is an ideal place for these “sugar bugs” to hang out and easily transfer back to your teeth and under your gums when you’re done brushing.
To get your mouth fully clean, it’s a good idea to brush you tongue every time you brush your teeth.
Other benefits of a clean tongue are improved sense of taste (think of it as cleaning your taste buds!) and improved breath.
It’s human nature to avoid things that cause discomfort, and bleeding gums are pretty uncomfortable! It would seem logical to avoid irritating them further by brushing and flossing, and possibly even to seek medical attention. Bleeding gums are primarily caused by plaque which is irritating the gum line. As the gums become irritated and inflamed, they become more sensitive to brushing and flossing and may bleed. Although it is counterintuitive to continue to brush or floss when your gums are bleeding, it is necessary. Bleeding gums are a sign of Gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. Gingivitis is preventable with good oral hygiene and regular dental care.
Nearly half of all people – and nearly 70% of adults 65 and older – have periodontitis, or the more advanced form of gum disease. Periodontitis means the plaque has spread beneath the gum line. At this point, the plaque is forming a space between the gum and the tooth causing more space for it to grow and more irritation. Periodontitis can lead to deterioration of gum tissue and eventually tooth loss.
If your gums are bleeding, keep brushing! Also check with your dentist to make sure there are no serious health concerns. Even if you brush regularly, there is likely plaque that only a dentist’s instruments can remove.