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Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Expire!

Can you believe 2016 is almost over? This year has flown by, and if you’re like many people, remaining dental insurance benefits are the last things on your mind. If your dental insurance “resets” on January 1, 2017, you may lose the benefits you earned this year by faithfully paying your monthly premiums. The good news is that you still have time to schedule a dental appointment and take advantage of the care to which you are entitled.

Whether you have a flexible spending account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or have a plan with a deductible, it’s important for you to know whether the money/benefits roll over into the new year. If you’re not sure, we recommend you go ahead and use the funds for dental work or routine care that you may have put off in 2016.

Vacendak Dentistry works with a number of dental insurance companies and our office works to make sure patients receive care that is as affordable as possible. Call us today at 757-609-3510 to schedule an appointment or talk to someone about your dental insurance. You still have time before December 31. Happy Holidays!

 

 

All About Root Canals

Have you ever heard the expression, “I’d rather have a root canal than…(insert undesirable thing here)?” Because of the commonly accepted idea that root canal treatment is one of the most painful dental procedures, many people are apprehensive when their dentist or endodontist recommends one. Know that the purpose of a root canal treatment is to save a tooth and relieve pain, not cause it!

Though the procedure is commonly called “a root canal,” you may be surprised to learn that this name actually refers to the part of the tooth the procedure focuses on, rather than the procedure itself. As you can see in the diagram below, the root refers to the area within the dental cavity that surrounds the nerves and blood vessels and holds the tooth’s pulp.

Labelled diagram of the structure of tooth.

Labelled diagram of the structure of tooth.

Modern dental technology has made the actual root canal procedure fairly painless. So if your dentist recommends a root canal to relieve an infection or abscess, don’t worry. Read on for a better understanding of what you need to expect.

 

Why Might I Need a Root Canal?

Since root canal treatment clears out infected or inflamed pulp in the tooth, the reason for needing the procedure comes down to the reason for infection or root damage. Gum disease, a chipped or cracked tooth, repeated dental procedures and advanced tooth decay can all contribute to the need for root canal treatment. If the root of the tooth is infected, the entire tooth is at risk.

What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?

In order to save an infected tooth, the dentist numbs the gums and mouth with a local anesthetic. If the patient is particularly anxious or sensitive to pain, the doctor may also use nitrous oxide. Once the mouth is numb, the dentist will begin the procedure.

  • The dentist enters the tooth through the crown with the dental handpiece.
  • Once access to the root canal space is established, the doctor cleans the infection out of the tooth, irrigates the canal, and reshapes the space to prepare for the permanent filling.
  • Using a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, the dentist fills the root canal in order to replace the diseased pulp.
  • A temporary filling is placed in the access space.
  • In most cases, the crown (or cap) is placed at a separate visit so that the tooth has time to heal. The crown looks much like a natural tooth and protects the newly restored tooth.

Take a look at this illustration to get a better idea of the process.

root-canal-treatment 

  What Should I Expect During the Healing Process?

Since most teeth that require a root canal were already causing pain, many people find that temporary discomfort during root canal recovery is very manageable. Basic over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are usually sufficient for easing pain. Some people also experience “ghost pain” after a root canal, despite the nerves being removed during the treatment, but this typically goes away within a week or two. Important: Avoid hard, sticky or crunchy foods until the final crown is placed. This will help you avoid feeling excess discomfort and damaging the temporary filling.

Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

If you are experiencing tooth pain or have recently experienced some kind of tooth trauma, schedule an appointment with a dentist. It’s possible that root canal treatment may be the answer to heal your pain. If you are in the Hampton Roads area, call Vacendak Dentistry at 757-609-3510. We are conveniently located near both Chesapeake and Virginia Beach in the Greenbrier/Kempsville corridor. You can also request an appointment online.

Dental Care Tips for Caregivers of the Disabled or Elderly

hand-588982_1280Caregiving for a Disabled or Elderly Loved One

You may have an elderly parent, spouse or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:

  • Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
  • Make sure they get to a dentist regularly.

These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different approach. There are dentists who specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled. You can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

When you’re caring for someone who is confined to bed, they may have so many health problems that it’s easy to forget about oral health. However, it’s still very important because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause pneumonia.

If you are a representative for a nursing home resident who needs dental care and is enrolled in Medicaid, there is a regulation, called an Incurred Medical Expense, that may help pay for medically necessary care as determined by a dentist. The Medicaid caseworker at the nursing facility and the dentist providing care can work together to apply the Incurred Medical Expense to pay for needed dental benefits.

Dr. Sheila Vacendak to Attend Staffileno Head and Neck Cancer Symposium in Chicago, IL

Next Friday, January 17, 2014, Dr. Sheila Vacendak is attending the Staffileno Head and Neck Cancer Symposium: The Essential Role of the Dental Professional in Chicago, IL.

This symposium will feature educational sessions on all aspects of head and neck cancer relevant to dental specialists and the general dental community.

Objectives include discussion of:
• Technologies for the screening of premalignant lesions
• Surgical principles of oral reconstruction and advances in laser surgery
• Aggressive pre-radiation dental care in head and neck cancer patients
• Advances in radiation oncology that help decrease salivary gland toxicity
• Multidisciplinary strategies to improve survivorship
• Prosthesis fabrication and subsequent oral health maintenance.

Source: Cancer.Northwestern.edu

The Vacendak Difference
Dental health is a key to whole-body health, and the dentist is an integral member of the head and neck cancer team, participating in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. At Vacendak Dentistry, we look at more than just your teeth and gums; we look at your overall health.

Vacendak Dentistry offers cutting edge dental technology like the Panorex digital X-Ray machine that provides X-rays with five times less radiation and comprehensive oral cancer screenings with the revolutionary VELscope.

We specialize in preventative dentistry and believe bi-annual examinations are the best defense against periodontal disease and other oral health problems.

Experience the Vacendak Difference today. Contact us online or call the office at 757-609-3510 to set up an initial dental consultation.