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Hello Friends!

It’s that time of year again!  And no, I’m not referring to the upcoming holiday season. I’m referring to the end of the dental benefit year.  Woo Hoo!  Exciting? Hardly.  But it is important.  Why?  For the vast majority of patients with dental insurance, the policies run on a calendar year and it’s “use ’em or lose ’em” time.

There are exceptions, of course (some government or educational agencies come to mind as examples).  But for the most part, if you don’t use your dental benefits, you lose them.  What does that mean exactly?  When you are given a dental insurance policy, either through your employer or one you purchase yourself, the plan typically covers a set dollar amount, a “maximum” amount you are allowed for the year.  Most plans do not roll over into the next year.  So the benefits you pay premiums for are lost.

Calling to schedule your dental appointment sooner rather than later will ensure that you will receive the appointment time that works for you.  It will also allow time for the doctor to create a comprehensive treatment plan should you need one and allow time to schedule before the end of the year.  Holidays become very busy in a dental office.  Many people try to take advantage of having time off work or school, so it may become difficult to schedule.  Also, should you need to schedule an appointment with a specialist, there is still time to do that as well, without the end of year time scramble.

The good news is that it’s still early enough to schedule.  The bad news is that we can’t help you if you don’t call.

Of course if you have any questions regarding insurance or anything else, we are always happy to help.  We look forward to hearning from you soon:)

Your Friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

734.878.3167

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

*This blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.  If you have any questions or concerns, please consult a healthcare professional.

Hello Friends!

Do you struggle getting your kids to brush their teeth?

As a parent, you may have more in common with your dentist than you think. Many moms and dads—even dentists—struggle to keep their children’s mouths and teeth clean. ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo is a father of four – ages 13, 10, 8 and 2. “As you can imagine, there can be a wide range of behavior on who wants to brush and who doesn’t in our house,” he says. “I’m not just a dentist, I’m their dad, so making sure they’re establishing good habits early on is important to me.”

To keep your family’s smiles strong, try some of tricks of the trade from dentist moms and dads:

Establish a Fun Family Routine

In Dr. Romo’s house, there’s one rule everyone follows: “You have to brush before bed, and you can’t leave the house in the morning until you brush,” he says. “The most important thing is to make sure your family is brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.”

Young kids love to imitate their parents, so take the opportunity to lead by example. “One thing I did with all my kids was play a game with them, kind of like monkey-see, monkey-do. We all have our toothbrushes, and they follow what I do,” he says. “When I open my mouth, they open their mouths. When I start brushing my front teeth, they start brushing their front teeth – and so on all the way until it’s time to rinse and spit. It’s just a fun way to teach them how to brush properly, and we get to spend a little time together, too.”

Making brushing a family affair also helps you keep an eye out for healthy habits. “Some kids want to do everything themselves, even toothpaste, so you can watch to make sure they’re not using more than they should – a rice-sized smear for kids 2 and under and a drop the size of a pea for kids 3 and up,” he says. “You can also do a quick final check for any leftover food when brush time is done.”

Try a New Angle

When her daughter was only 6 months old, ADA dentist Dr. Ruchi Sahota asked her husband to hold her while she brushed or brushed when her daughter was laying down. “You can see their teeth from front to back the best at that time,” she says.

If your child is old enough to stand and wants to brush in the bathroom, ADA dentist Dr. Richard Price suggests a different method. “Stand behind your child and have him or her look up at you,” he says. “This causes the mouth to hang open and allows you to help them brush more easily.”

Bigger Kids, Bigger Challenges

Checking up on your child’s daily dental hygiene habits doesn’t end as they get older. It’s more challenging when they get their driver’s license and head off to college, says ADA dentist Dr. Maria Lopez Howell. “The new drivers can drive through any fast food spot for the kinds of food and beverages that they can’t find in a health-minded home,” she says. “The new college student is up late either studying or socializing. They don’t have a nightly routine, so they may be more likely to fall asleep without brushing.”

While your children are still at home, check in on their brushing and talk to them about healthy eating, especially when it comes to sugary drinks or beverages that are acidic. After they leave the nest, encourage good dental habits through care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste or interdental cleaners like floss with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. And when they’re home on break, make sure they get to the dentist for regular checkups! Or if school break is too hectic– you can find a dentist near campus to make sure they are able to keep up with their regular visits.

Play Detective…

As your children get older, they’re probably taking care of their teeth away from your watchful eye. Dr. Romo asks his older children if they’ve brushed, but if he thinks he needs to check up on them, he will check to see if their toothbrushes are wet. “There have been times that toothbrush was bone dry,” he says. “Then I’ll go back to them and say, ‘OK, it’s time to do it together.’”

If you think your child has caught on and is just running their toothbrush under water, go one step further. “I’ll say, ‘Let me smell your breath so I can smell the toothpaste,’” he says. “It all goes back to establishing that routine and holding your child accountable.”

…And Save the Evidence

It could be as simple as a piece of used floss. It sounds gross, but this tactic has actually helped Dr. Lopez Howell encourage teens to maintain good dental habits throughout high school and college.

To remind them about the importance of flossing, Dr. Lopez Howell will ask her teenage patients to floss their teeth and then have them smell the actual floss. If the floss smells bad, she reminds them that their mouth must smell the same way. “It’s an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Dr. Lopez Howell explains. “They do not want to have bad breath, especially once they see how removing the smelly plaque might improve their social life!”

Above All, Don’t Give Up

If getting your child to just stand at the sink for two minutes feels like its own accomplishment (much less brush), you’re not alone. “It was so difficult to help my daughter to brush her teeth because she resisted big time,” says ADA dentist Dr. Alice Boghosian. Just remember to keep your cool and remain persistent.

“Eventually, brushing became a pleasure,” Dr. Boghosian says. She advises parents to set a good example by brushing with their children. “Once your child is brushing on their own, they will feel a sense of accomplishment – and you will too!”

The above information was taken from the ADA website Mouthhealthy.org.

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we would be happy to help!  Visit our website at www.brunnerprastdental.com.

Yours in good dental health:)

Brunner Prast Family Dental

brunner-prast-family-dental-smiling-family

Hello Friends!

It’s that time of year again.  Time to reflect, make resolutions and to renew promises you may have made to yourself.  Did you resolve to quit smoking? Exercise or eat healthier? Spend more time with family?  Become more organized? While these are all pretty common and worthwhile goals, I would encourage you to also add “Take care of your dental health” to that list.

Why?  It’s certainly easier to put your dental health and keeping dental checkups at the bottom of a long to-do list.  Unless you have a raging tooth ache, it can be a low priority. But like most things, if you keep putting off preventive care, eventually things will begin to deteriorate.  And your oral health is not an exception.  Of course your dentist checks for things like cavities, but also things a misaligned bite, worn down or cracking teeth which could indicate tooth grinding, or early warning signs of oral cancer.  Detected early, most problems can be easily treated.

If there are specific concerns that cause you to postpone treatment and or preventive care, your dental office should be able to work with you to find a solution.  Cost a concern?  Ask about patient financing and how to maximize your insurance benefits.  Time constraints an issue?  Ask about early or late appointments.  Most offices will be happy to find a time that works with your schedule.  Are you fearful?  Ask for a complimentary consultation to discuss specifics to your treatment.  Many offices will offer items to help you relax or help you become comfortable.  Whatever your concern, a good office will help you to overcome it.

Should you ever have questions of concerns, please visit our website at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com or feel free to give us a call.

Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2017:)

Your friends at Brunner Prast Family Dental

Hello Friends!

Today’s topic isn’t a glamorous one, but important nonetheless.  Your gums are the foundation and cornerstone to your overall oral health and it’s imperative that you care for them.  Gums protect and support your teeth and the tissue that holds them to the bone. When they aren’t healthy, you risk tooth loss and damage to your overall health.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “gum disease”, but what is it?  What does it mean if you’ve been diagnosed with it?  Is it really that big of a deal?  WebMD featured an informative article on the topic and we’ve included some of that information below.gingivitis-symptoms

How Gum Disease Happens

It “usually starts in areas that you’re not brushing or keeping clean,” says Mark Ryder, DMD, chair of periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. “Bacteria build up in a film on your teeth and you get a reaction to that bacteria — inflammation.”

Swelling of the gums (also known as gingivitis), can be one of the first signs of gum disease. Other symptoms include:

  • Gum redness
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gum line
  • Loose teeth
  • Constant bad breath
  • Mouth sores

Pain isn’t one of the first symptoms of gingivitis.

“What’s unique about early gum disease is that it doesn’t cause much discomfort at all,” Ryder says. “So you really have to pay attention to these other symptoms.”

Gum problems can get worse if you don’t get gingivitis treated.

“Infection and inflammation will spread deeper into the tissues that support the tooth,” Ryder says. “When that happens, the inflammation becomes destructive.”

The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, which lets in more bacteria. At this stage, gum disease is called periodontitis.

That condition “causes the tissues and bone that support the teeth to break down,” Ryder says.

This creates pockets where bacteria can grow.

“As you lose bone, your teeth get looser and looser, and eventually, they fall out,” he says.

What’s more, oral health affects your whole body. People with gum disease are more likely to get heart disease and are less able to control their blood sugar, studies show.

The CDC found that 47% of adults older than 30 have periodontitis. After age 65, that number goes up to 70%.

Your odds of getting gum disease are higher if you:

  • Use tobacco products
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a family history of gum disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high stress
  • Grind or clench your teeth

Some birth control, antidepressants, and heart medicines may also raise your risk. Tell your dentist about any medications you take regularly.

“Stop smoking, manage diabetes correctly, and if you’re pregnant, think about visiting the dentist more often during your pregnancy,” Ryder says.

How to Treat Gum Disease

Your dentist will remove the root cause: plaque on your teeth.

“The dentist would clean around all the affected areas, and really go down to the bottom of the pocket of the tooth, because that’s where the most harmful bacteria is,” Ryder says. This deep-cleaning process is called scaling.

Other causes will also be explored, like loose fillings or crowns. Your dentist may take X-rays to check for bone loss. You might need surgery if the disease is severe or doesn’t get better with time. You might visit a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in gum disease.

Tips to Manage Gum Disease

To keep it at bay, you should:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Clean between the teeth, with floss or another cleaning tool.
  • Swish twice daily with antiseptic mouth rinse.
  • See your dentist regularly.

 

It seems like common sense, but so often people underestimate the importance of maintaining their teeth and gums.  Oral health is often overlooked, especially if there is no pain involved.  But as is so often the case a little prevention can prevent a lot of trouble later.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have any concerns about your oral health, contact your dental professional.

 

As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we would be happy to help.  Contact our office at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.

 

Yours in Good Dental Health:)

Brunner Prast Family Dental

 

***The above information is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or disease.  If you have any concerns please contact a dental professional.

 

Hello Friends!

You’ve probably heard that it’s not normal for your gums to bleed.  Or that you should brush and floss at least twice a day.  And rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.  And see your dentist for a professional cleaning and exam every six months.  And stay away from sugary foods and beverages.  And avoid highly acidic foods.  The list goes on and on!  But life is busy!  You’re rushing out the door in the morning and often fall into bed exhausted at night.  Like so many other things that are good for our health, it can become easy to fall into the “I’ll do it tomorrow” trap.  But, much like other aspects of our health, dental neglect will begin to show warning signs.  Often one of the first is bleeding gums.  If your toothbrush bristles are always pink when you brush or the water you spit into the sink afterwards is tinged with blood, that’s probably an indicator of mild gum disease or gingivitis.  Your gums bleed because they are swollen, inflamed and irritated by the bacteria that has hardened into plaque. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease.

Aside from the obvious negative oral side effects (bad breath, cavities, tooth and bone loss) of periodontal disease, there have been numerous studies linking periodontal disease to overall health problems.  According to the ADA, the harmful bacteria that is in your mouth can travel to other parts of your body and has been linked to the increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The only way to truly maintain good oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly and see your dental professional every six – twelve months.  Like most things, catching problems early is the best way to avoid more serious problems and potentially  more expensive treatment later.

So as hard as it may be to add more things to your ever-growing “to-do” list, it is so important to take care of yourself and make time to brush and floss!

Yours in good dental health

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

Hello Friends!

I came across this post and wanted to share.

CHOOSE DENTAL HEALTH. IT’S MUCH CHEAPER.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

I recently had a patient cancel her appointment at the last minute. This happens sometimes. It’s frustrating for a dentist or hygienist when we’ve set time aside for a patient and they don’t come. Usually there’s a good reason. In this case, no reason was given.

As I sometimes do…I took it personally. Why did this person choose not to have the treatment done that we discussed? What could I have done better?

This particular patient has been coming to our office for years. She is someone you might describe as “skeptical” of dental treatment. I suspect she had some bad dental experiences before I even came into the picture. She’s at least mildly phobic of dental treatment, too. However, I think she’s probably one of those people that believe that when I come in the room that I’m simply looking for work to do, probably to line my pockets.

-Do I really need this crown--It’s a difficult spot for a dentist. Often times we’re both the internist that diagnoses the problem and the surgeon that fixes it. Patient see this as a conflict of interest. The guy who is telling me that I have cavities is also the guy who benefits from them being fixed. I completely understand this. I take my role as a doctor very seriously and I put my patient’s needs first. But can you blame a patient for being skeptical of a doctor’s motivations?

When I examine a patient I’m looking to see what level of dental health the patient has. And when I see a problem, I’m obliged to tell them about it. I have found what I believe is the most effective way to do this. I do all of my recall exams with a dental operating microscope. This microscope magnifies what I can see and has a very bright light that allows me to see parts of the mouth that don’t get lit up very often. I’ve attached an HD camera to the microscope with a monitor mounted over the patient to allow them to see exactly what I’m seeing…as I see it. I feel like this is a great solution to the problem of showing the patient what I see instead of me just describing it. I like it more than still photos because I can show it to them “live” as I’m describing it.

blog post scopeBack to my patient that chose not to come in today. I definitely examined her with the microscope and I definitely showed her what I was seeing. I recommended to some treatment because I saw some problems. I try and do this dispassionately. I try not to “sell” a patient on treatment by showing them what I’m seeing. I try to help the patient choose dental health by showing them what I’m seeing and describing what we can do to correct dental problems.

I have a suspicion that this patient still thinks what I’m describing isn’t a real problem. Like many dental problems, what I’m describing probably doesn’t hurt. Most cavities don’t hurt. Gum disease almost never hurts. Even broken teeth often aren’t painful. If you use pain as the threshold for dental treatment, you’re probably going to end up choosing the most expensive way to fix the problem or worse, sometimes the problem can’t be fixed leading to the loss of a tooth. A small cavity left untreated almost always becomes a bigger cavity, so what may have been easy to fix with a filling could end up needing a crown or even a root canal. This sounds like a scare tactic used by a dentist. Ask any dentist and they’ll explain that they see it. All. The. Time.

So I’m going to suggest that you listen to your dentist’s recommendation. The choice to treat is always yours. But almost always, the sooner you treat a problem, the less expensive and potentially painful the fix is.

The above post was from Dr. Alan Mead at Mead Family Dental and can be found at the following link:

http://meadfamilydental.com/2016/01/choose-dental-health-its-much-cheaper/?utm_content=buffer76438&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

Have you ever had difficulty deciding to complete your dental treatment?  Do you have confidence in your dental practice?  What are your biggest concerns making the decision? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours in good dental health,

Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

Hello Friends!

Are you a “sipper”?  Do you have that delicious icy cold lemonade or sweet iced tea by your side all day long?  Maybe it’s that refreshing Coke or Pepsi by your side to quench that thirst.  Or maybe it’s that energy or sports drink you’re sipping.  Whatever you choose, unless it is plain water, it is important to remember not to sip continuously throughout the day.  The continuous exposure to the sugar and acids in these drinks makes a perfect environment for decay.

If you choose to drink these beverages, finish them in a short amount of time and rinse with water to minimize the risk for decay.

Sports Drinks info graphic

Have a great summer!!

Your friends at Brunner Prast Family Dental

http://www.brunnerprastdental.com

 

 

 

spring cleaning tooth

Hello Friends!

Happy Spring!  Though it’s technically been spring for a month now, it’s really starting to feel like it here in Michigan.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the temperature’s finally warming up.  That’s a pretty big deal for Michiganders.  The weather can be pretty fickle around these parts.  I think that’s why we get so excited once the calendar flips over to April and May.  We can finally throw the windows open, get outside and enjoy nature.

Many people get inspired to “spring clean” when the temperatures start to climb, but I think it’s also a really good time to take care of your health.  Re address your exercise goals.  Make your annual physical and schedule any routine tests.  Of course as a dental professionals we want to emphasize making your dental checkup appointment.  We understand that it’s easy to procrastinate or put it to the bottom of your priority list, but I’d argue that it’s a great time to visit your dentist.  You really want to make sure that your smile is in tip-top shape for the summer.  There are so many things your dentist can help with your oral health.  Are you interested in whitening or cosmetic treatment?  Your dentist will discuss your treatment options for optimizing your smile.  Do you or your children play sports?  A mouth guard is an important way to keep your teeth safe from trauma and a custom can be created in as little as two appointments.  And of course, a cleaning and a thorough oral exam are always a good idea not only to check for cavities but to screen for oral cancers and periodontal disease.

Whether you’re a patient on a regular 6 month  rotation or haven’t been to a dentist in a long time, spring is a great time to visit your dentist to either stay or get back on track.  As always, if you have any questions or need more information, we are happy to help.  Visit us at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.

Sincerely,

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

Hello Friends!

Have you ever wondered where to start when searching for a dentist?  Referrals from friends or co-workers are pretty common, as are insurance lists, but have you considered your local dental association?  The Michigan Dental Association website has a lot of useful information, including some great questions to ask during that initial phone call.

Questions to Ask a Dentist

Now that you’ve used the Find a Dentist search to locate a list of Michigan Dental Association dentists in your area, you need to narrow it down to the one dentist who is your family’s perfect match. Here’s a list of questions to help you make your decision.

  • Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
  • Is the dental office close to your home or office?
  • Does the office appear to be clean, neat and well organized?
  • How are dental emergencies handled?
  • Does the office staff appear to be friendly and helpful?
  • What is the office policy for rescheduling an appointment?
  • What is the policy on fees and payment plans?
  • Does the dental office staff explain ways to help prevent dental problems?
  • Does the office have dental health education materials available?

Since a good relationship with your dentist is essential to good oral health care, take your time and choose one that you and your family feel comfortable with so you can arrive for each visit with a smile.

 

I would add that visiting the office for a tour prior to scheduling or arranging a visit to meet the doctor are great ideas.  A reputable office will usually be happy to schedule a brief, complimentary  consultation with the doctor to make sure you are comfortable with him or her and with the office in general.  You should be made to feel comfortable asking questions or expressing concerns.

Hope the above information helps:)

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Family Dental

 

 

*The above article was referenced from the following:

Hello Friends!

Happy New Year!  Hope 2016 finds you happy, healthy and ready for new adventures.  We decided to start off the new year with some suggestions for making your child’s visit to the dentist easier.  While some children are enthusiastic about visiting the dentist, others are more apprehensive.

  1.  Role Play.

Prior to their dental appointments, practice what will happen.  Explain in very basic terms about the visit.  Use child-friendly terminology; that the hygienist will “count teeth”, and use a “spin toothbrush” and a “Mr. Slurpee”.  Avoid using any reference to shots, fillings, drilling or tooth pulling.

2.   Discuss what to expect in the waiting room.

Discuss what to expect in the patient waiting room.  Especially if visiting a pediatric dentist, most lobbies have a section tailored to young children.  Toys, bright colors and child-friendly furnishings are common.  Prize boxes or “treasure chests” are also fun to look forward to after the appointment.

3.   Be prepared to reschedule

Don’t worry if your child isn’t ready to sit in the chair and complete their cleaning.  It’s OK!  Sometimes it takes a few visits to get comfortable with the surroundings and to build trust with the staff.  Especially with very young children, waiting a few months can make a huge difference in their maturity and the ability to sit still.  Unless there are serious dental concerns or issues, it may be ok to wait.  Don’t shame or threaten a child into staying if they are afraid.  The hygienist and/or doctor will be happy to give suggestions if necessary.

Remember – dental professionals are used to all types of behavior issues and work with patients of all ages.  If you have questions, concerns or feel your child may need special accommodations, please feel free to contact the office ahead of time.  Most offices will try to make the visit as pleasant as possible.

Hope these suggestions help:)  If you’d like more information please visit our website at http://www.brunnerprastdental.com.  We’re always willing to help.

Sincerely,

Your friends at

Brunner Prast Dental