Avoid the ER for Dental Emergencies

Avoid the ER for Dental Emergencies

Every year, millions of people go to the hospital for dental problems. Whether it’s an abscess, a lost or broken tooth, or swelling, people rush to the ER to get treatment. Decades ago, when dentists were 8-5 Monday through Friday, this could be understood. But, when most dentists offer off-hours treatment this is no longer the best option when you’re in pain. In the North Miami Beach area, you can call Dr. Jean-Jacque Edderai 24 hours a day at 305-947-7999.

According to a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry, in the state of Florida, trips to the ER for dental problems is costing millions in taxpayer money every year. Within the past decade, trips to the ER for dental problems rose by 57 percent. Half of the $193.4 million came from Medicare and Medicaid. This is a pointless expense since modern emergency rooms are not equipped to do anything for you. All they can do is give you a painkiller and/or antibiotic and tell you to go to a dentist.

The question then becomes, if dentists are more available then ever for emergencies, why are people still flocking to hospitals? Part of it may have to do with the Medicare/caid program in itself. In some states, like Florida, Medicaid only has to cover emergencies related to dentures, draining abscesses, and extracting teeth. Adding an option to pay online has helped some people, but it is not the only measure that we should be taking.

Since less than 10% of Florida dentists take Medicaid, many people aren’t getting desperately needed root canals and fillings. So the damage, then the pain, get worse. Until patients are out of options. The flux of people to the ER can’t be placed directly on Medicaid though. Nearly 40% of those who went to the ER for dental problems paid cash.

If there was a greater focus on prevention, then a lot of these visits could be avoided. If the $1500 per ER visit was put towards early treatment and education, we would see fewer problems, period. Another step we should be taking, as a country, is to cover routine visits and fillings. It is a twisted notion that people should have to be in excruciating pain before they can get the help they need. We don’t just see this in dental insurance, health insurance almost never covers preventative measures (one exception being birth control).

As a dentist, it is difficult to see a person with tooth pain, which is arguably the worst type of pain. By the time a person is in pain, a special procedure is a given. You are not going to go in with tooth pain, get a shot in the arm and be on your way. By the time there is pain, drilling, and filling, and applying crowns are all likely outcomes. If we instead took the time and put the money into educating people, we could save time, money, comfort, and even lives.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2016

 

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Are Cavities Contagious?

People go out of their way to protect themselves and loved ones. When one family member is sick it seems extra caution is taken to keep the cold from spreading. Unfortunately, anytime sickness is not visibly present, germs are more likely to spread because these extra precautions are no longer taken.

Though sugar is the usual scapegoat for cavities, they are actually caused by bacteria. Bacteria live everywhere, especially in our mouths where food particles provide a food source. Most bacteria are harmless, some are even beneficial, but the ones that aren’t will wreak havoc in no time at all.

A ten-second kiss between two people exchanges roughly 80 million bacteria. A handshake can transfer from 50 million to 124 million bacteria, depending on the length of the handshake and how hygienic each person is. A certain amount of protection comes from thoroughly washing and disinfecting your hands between meet and greeting and that business luncheon.

Two of the most dangerous of these bacteria, as far as your mouth is concerned, are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. Both of these bacteria thrive in the mouth and contribute significantly to tooth decay. Since both strains are so closely related, they are often grouped together and called mutans streptococci.

If you have children at home, do not have them eat off of a fork after you. Bacteria which do not impact adults can be extremely harmful to kids. Avoid having them take a bite of food after you. If you want to share that breadstick or slice of pizza, cut them off some or let them eat first (for more information visit: https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/pedodontics-child-care/). Having separate utensils for your children keeps germs down and encourages kids to feed themselves.

Bacteria are transferred, but bad dental habits and poor nutrition can be family learned traits as well. Families that snack on junk food can pass these habits on to kids. Sugar does not directly cause cavities, but it does provide one heck of a food source for the bacteria which do. Consider “fruit sweet” instead of “sugar sweet” when it comes to dessert and encourage your kids to learn great oral hygiene habits early on.

There is one more way in which cavities can be passed down through the family… genetics. There are some genetic predispositions which often skip generations and some which do not. Some genetic predispositions may even hide for generations. Periodontal Disease is one condition that may be genetically influenced (https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/dental-services/periodontics-gum-disease/).

Though it is a lot less common than Periodontal Disease, Amelogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic condition which affects your enamel, either causing problems with hardening or less initial enamel production. In the U.S., roughly 1 out of every 700 people have this condition which can make your teeth sensitive and prone to wear. There are many other genetic conditions which make people more likely to develop cavities. When you know your family dental history, steps can be taken to prevent cavities from occurring.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai (a well-respected Miami dentist who has earned the trust of his patients for their dental care needs). A dental check-up every six months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015

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How to Choose a Dentist

Unless you use the same dentist you used as a child, there will be a point in your life when you will need to pick a new dentist. It may be because of a move or one of 1000 other reasons, but when you change dentists you want to make sure you are getting one that is qualified and professional. Luckily, there are 5 things to look for that will help you narrow down the list, making the process much less complicated.

5. Volunteer work and hobbies: It can be hard to pinpoint this while first looking at a site. Usually an “About page,” like the one at https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/about-dr-edderai/, will list some information about the dentists and what they like to do. A complete profile that lets you get to know the dentists outside the dental chair. Activities that include volunteer work show that the dentist cares about the community and the world. Which is a way better place to give your business to.

4. They have complete and maintained Website: A website that really answers all of your questions is invaluable (https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/). It is important to know what you are getting into with a dentist. They should have definitions and discuss some of the most common ailments and diseases which may impact the mouth. The website should be maintained, new information at least every 30 days. This lets you know that they put effort behind their reputation.

3. Pictures and videos: The more pictures, videos, and tutorials a dentist has on their website, the more confident they are in their work. A dentist who has nothing to hide will not be intimidated when it comes to showing off their work. This is also how you know the legitimacy of their work. Face it, anyone can put anything they want online, a quality and professional dentist will show their work.

2. They offer warranties: It is almost common sense that a dentist who believes in their work and stands behind it will offer a warranty on dental work. Some dentists offer lifetime warranties (obviously these are the best) while other offer less lengthy warranties. If the dentists doesn’t offer a warranty or it is less than five years, just click away.

1. Education: It is true that a dentist needs training. After the DDS, what has come next? A dentist who has gone on to get a specialized degree or has continued training speaks volumes about their goals and why they became a dentist (https://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/about-dr-edderai/). A dentist who goes the extra mile to learn more must be passionate about the health of mouths, including yours. When some of this study takes place in other countries, you can be sure that they have the best range of techniques and methods in their repertoire.

When it comes down to the final choice, always use your better judgment. Look for a clean office and a happy staff. All the little things that show that a dentist cares about what they do will set them apart. Then you can feel confident that your visits will go smooth.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai – 2015

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Ways to Keep Kids Brushing

Kids want to have fun. From the time they wake up until nap time, they are playing, learning, and growing. Scientists say that the vast majority of learning which will take place in our lifetime happens before puberty. This makes it a perfect time in the life of your child to institute great oral hygiene habits.

Using a kids imagination can help make brushing teeth into an exciting adventure. Having your kids open their mouth like a hippopotamus or a roaring lion encourages them to brush those back teeth. Kids tend to focus on their front teeth, the teeth that they can see. This means improper bushing of the molars. Tell them to get all of their “lion teeth” when they brush.

Picking a fun toothbrush makes kids more excited to brush their teeth. Whether it is Nemo, Elsa, dinosaurs, or My Little Ponies, picking a toothbrush your kids will enjoy makes the brushing process more like a game. More fun = more likely to do. Kids toothbrushes need to have a smaller head for their little mouths and will have soft bristles.

There are many apps and websites which are specially geared to help kids want to brush their teeth. Two of the largest toothpaste companies have “sing-a-long” videos which play for two minutes. When the song is over the child is done brushing. The videos have animated characters making them fun for kids of many ages. Similar apps are available through app stores. They will play a song or keep a musical timer to keep your kid on track.
Adults and kids have different taste buds. Your toothpaste may taste refreshing to you, but to a seven year old it is “icky.” Kids toothpaste comes in many different flavors, often with beloved characters on the tube. By letting your kids pick their own toothpaste, they get to be grown up and make a decision. They relive the excitement when they use the toothpaste they picked out by themselves. Keep in mind, the toothpaste they pick should still be approved by the American Dental Association.

Having oral hygiene occur at the same time everyday creates consistency. Set it at a time that will be convenient throughout the week. If bedtime is 8pm, teeth brushing could be at 7:30. Or, it could be right before story time and it could be right after potty time in the morning.

Kids love to imitate their parents. Whatever mommy and daddy do, kids will want to do too. If you take good care of your teeth, they are more likely to take care of their own. Teach your kids how to make sure they got all of their teeth and help them out until they are able to brush on their own.
Just like potty training, oral hygiene skills need to be taught. It takes patience, but is infinitely valuable in life. Remember that kids teeth, especially baby teeth, do not need to be brushed hard, just thoroughly. Do not skip days, bad patterns are more easily picked up than positive ones.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015

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All about toothpaste: Which one is best for you?

Everyday people are bombarded with decisions: Where to eat? What to wear? What to order at the coffee place? The sad part is that one of the most important choices gets less that a fraction of a second’s thought… what toothpaste to get.

Many people buy the brand their mom used or whatever is on sale. With all of the toothpaste out there, making a choice may seem like a moot point but when it comes to toothpaste they are all designed for specific needs and have different purposes. All toothpaste are not created equal.

All the terms floating around like “whitening,” “For sensitive teeth,” “cavity fighting” makes a person feel like they have to choose just one of these for their smile. The main ingredient in toothpaste is some type of fluoride. With children’s toothpaste, the concentration of fluoride is usually lower than in paste designed for adults.

Any adult toothpaste with a level of 1,000 ppm or higher of fluoride is effective in cavity protection. A whitening toothpaste contains a mild abrasive which scrubs the discoloration from teeth. This is not the best choice for those who already have cavities as the abrasives can ultimately expand the area of the cavity. There is still some controversy about the long term effects of whitening toothpaste.

Those who smoke will often find their dentition taking on a darker hue than normal. The stains on a smokers teeth require a stronger abrasive for removal. The tar which deposits is thicker than coffee stains. Smoker’s toothpaste should be used with a cavity-fighting toothpaste.

While anti-plaque toothpaste removes plaque, it also reduces the damage done by existing plaque. There are several ingredients which are active in plaque reducing pastes. Most will use Zinc Citrate or Triclosan. Since plaque is responsible for forming cavities and is one of the reasons that teeth fade, it is a good general choice if you don’t have a purpose beyond a healthy mouth.

Weak enamel and the forming of cavities can both lead to teeth sensitivity. Teeth may be sensitive to heat, cold, and/or pressure. Since these issues have a root cause (pun intended) it is important to consult a dentist to determine or more work is needed.

Elderly people should consider a toothpaste designed to fight receding gums. If gums recede the patient can experience sensitivity and risk exposing the roots of their teeth to food and bacteria. There are toothpaste which are specially designed for almost any dental condition.
Triple action toothpaste is the trifecta, they whiten, fight cavities, and will aid in the freshening of breath. Still, when the focus of the patient is on just one of these, it is beneficial to use a specific toothpaste-type between regular brushings.

Always remember that once teeth are gone, they are gone forever. Proper care in every stage of life is the best way to ensure that teeth remain intact for a lifetime. It is much easier to prevent it than to try to fix the damage later. Before changing an existing dental care regimen be sure to consult with a dentist.

Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015 ©

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