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Question: I not completely sure but I think I may have an abscessed tooth.  I Medicare Card Replacement do not current have dental insurance and with the cost of dental care I been putting off going to the dentist because I do not have the money for treatment.  Not sure what I can do but I am having some pain issues now.

Answer: Sadly deferring dental care is never a good idea since as you can see it generally only leads to larger and yes more costly dental care treatment.  Yet you still have some options left too you.

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Abscessed Tooth:  An abscessed tooth is normally a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It is most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. However, some other causes includes: trauma to the tooth, such as when it is broken or chipped, and gingivitis or gum disease.  These problems can cause openings in the tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to infect the tooth pulp (the center of the tooth). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth.  If you think you may have a abscessed tooth is is imperative that you see a dentist right away.  Untreated dental abscessed are not only very painful but can lead to much larger health issues.

According to the American Dental Association, over half of Americans go to the dentist once every six months. Many view the “go to the dentist twice a year” mantra as written in stone.  Yet is that really the case?   The truth is how many times you need to see a dentist in a year depends on your own oral health care.

There are some people that have very good oral health care habits along with good genes that they may only have to only see a dentist once a year. Where as other people may not be so lucky.  With gum disease being the number one dental care issue in American, people with gum disease may have to see a dentist three to four time a year.

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The cost of dental care (like many other things) is only getting higher. What is worse is many employers do not offer dental insurance benefits. Sadly many people answer to dental care cost is by putting off going to the dentist until something is really wrong.   However that is the worst thing you can do. Problems with your teeth and gums are not only expensive, they can cause other more serious health problems, as well. that because, bacteria in the mouth can travel and cause inflammation in other parts of the body, resulting in other illnesses.   In addition, the longer you leave dental problems alone, the costlier they can become to fix. What begins as a tiny cavity ends in an expensive root canal or the total loss of the tooth.

Yet it does not have to be that way, by seeing your dentist at least twice a year for your twice a year check ups and cleaning’s you help to avoid ever having larger dental care needs, since your dentist will be able to spot and fix small dental issues before they become larger ones.   You can also save money on your dental care needs by being proactive with your at home oral health care habits.  Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily as needed. Use a mouthwash that help to kill the bacteria that causes tartar build up and gum disease.  The better you take care of your teeth and gums the less likely you will need to have larger and more costly dental care services in the future.

If you have dental insurance make sure your dental insurance plan provides coverages for second opinions. Not all dental insurance plans provide benefits for a second opinion, where as some dental insurance plan may require a second opinion from a specialist before providing benefits for the dental service needed.  Call your insurance provider so you know ahead of time the steps required for receiving a second dental opinion.

We been talking about the benefits of getting a second opinion on your dental care. In many cases, a person wants a second opinion when he or she lacks confidence in the dentist and has doubts about how best to treat their dental condition.    However in some situations, it is the dentist who suggest getting a second opinion from a dental specialist in order to obtain additional information about a dental problem.

Yet there are times when second opinions are not helpful, such as when they become a fourth, fifth, sixth opinion, or more. If you find yourself doing this then stop and think.  Are you getting so many different opinion because you hope to hear a different answer then what the last five dentist have told you? If you keep hearing the same thing from each dentist, but hope to hear something different, when you finally hear what you want to hear from the six or seventh dentist, it may not be in your best interest.

After receiving a second dental opinion it is important to keep in mind the different perspectives of your dental care providers as you weigh your options. Some things you may want to think about:

* Your current dentist is familiar with your dental health history and has hopefully establish a good relationship with you.
* Where as a new dentist may have the advantage of a fresh outlook.
* If the second opinion is vastly different than the first opinion, you may even want to get a third opinion.
* Avoid making any major decisions about your dental health until you are comfortable with the care and information you have received.

Once you decided to see a another dentist for a second opinion it is a good idea to be prepared by having thought out some questions to ask that will hep you make a more informed choice on your dental treatment options.  You may consider asking some of these questions to get you started.

* Do you agree with the diagnosis and treatment plan my dentist has made?

* What treatment options do you suggest for my dental problem?

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In a prior post we talked about how if you feel like you should get a second dental opinion on dental treatment then you probably should. After all getting a second opinion may also provide peace of mind about the dental services needed. However, it may not make best sense to get a second option for every little cavity or other minor dental health care issues.  Here are a few reasons why you may want to seek out a second opinion.

* Your dentist has diagnosed a major health care problem, such as oral cancer.
* Your dentist has provided dental work, but it is not fixing your problem.
* You are unsure if the recommended treatment is necessary, or you are concerned about costs.
* You feel that your dentist is not qualified to treat your major dental health problems.
* You do not have good rapport with your current dentist.

You may benefit from getting a second opinion on major dental work.  If your dentist is advising major dental work and you feel like you want to have a second opinion about your dental health, it probably means you should. You really can not go wrong with seeking out a second opinion. You may want to keep in mind that not all dentist address dental issues in the same way. Therefore getting a second opinion does not mean one dentist is right and one is wrong but it dose affords you with more options on how you may want to have your dental care addressed.

If it is your child’s first visit to the dentist or a visit to a new dental office, you will want your child to feel comfortable and have a great experience.  In order to do that it is helpful for you to inform your child where they are going and make sure to always be positive.

Stay away from using any negative words,(such as hurt, needle, shots or anything unpleasant.) which may plant fear into his or her mind that would not have been there otherwise.  Let your child dentist go over what he or she is going to do. Dentist are  trained to tell your child what is going to happen in a very non-threatening way.  For children under the age of six, it is often recommend scheduling their appointment as early as you can when he or she is fresh and alert.

Infants have a natural reflex to suck on their thumb and fingers. Babies use fingers or pacifiers to help them feel secure and or content. Thumb and fingers sucking is also relaxing habit for babies and toddlers that can help induce sleep.

Thumb and fingers sucking start to becomes a problem when it continues after the eruption of the permanent teeth. That’s because it can affect the growth of the mouth and the proper placement of the new teeth coming in. Pacifiers are no different, they affect the mouth in the same way however they can be easier to control than finger habits.   It is advise that a child should stop sucking their thumb between the ages of 2-4.

Parents frequently have concerns of the noise they hear their kids teeth are making at night.  There are several theories surrounding why kids often grind their teeth at night.  The two most common are; stress due to changes in environment (home, school etc.) and pressure in the inner ears at night.   Either way, the majority of kids with teeth grinding issue do not need dental treatment.  If there is evidence of excessive wear on your child’s teeth, your dentist may recommend a night guard.  Most children will outgrow this condition between the ages of 9-12, and it will decrease over time as they reach the 6-9 age range.

At oral health start at home and brushing your child’s teeth is one of the most important things you can do at home for your child’s teeth.  It is suggest that you use a toothpaste that is recommended by the American Dental Association. Some pastes can contain things that are too tough for your child’s young tooth enamel. You may want to talk to your child dentist to see what he or she would recommend.

In a prior post we talked about dental x-rays and just how low they are in radiation. Knowing the low dose may help put into perspective as the importance of having dental x-rays and how they help the dentist provide you with the best dental health care.   With X-rays the dentist is about to detect hidden tooth decay, the presence of a cyst or tumor, determining the presence of permanent teeth, detect oral cancer problems, root involvement with the sinuses and to help determine whether or not to remove primary teeth

An annual maximum occupational exposure for radiation workers in the United States is 5,000 millirems (measure for radiation). When you spread low doses out over a period of time, it is not as destructive to the body because it has time to recover.  To help put this in perspective to dental x-rays, you would need to have 2,000 dental x-rays to equal the radiation in 1 mammogram. To reach that maximum safety dose, you  would need to have to take approximately 10,000 dental x-rays.  On average people receive 3 dental bite-wings worth of radiation a day just from being outside in the sun or around concrete buildings and roads.

It is important to understand that a baby’s dental care really starts with his or her mother’s healthy pregnancy, because baby teeth begin to form before birth. If you are pregnant, make sure to eat a balanced, nutritious diet and get an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals as advise by your doctor.  Do not avoid your dentist, sadly too many pregnant women do not go to the dentist and seeing a dentist while pregnant is important.  Pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease and therefore should see their dentist to maintain their oral health while pregnant

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