Frequently Asked Question

Question: What is the Difference Between a DDS and a DMD?
Answer: Dentists in the United States either have the initials DMD or DDS after their name. A lot of people may wonder what the difference is between the two. But the truth is that the only difference is in the name: The dental degree and the education are the same. DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine and DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. Some dental schools award the DMD degree while others award the DDS degree.

Question: What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?
Answer: The pain, discomfort or tenderness in or around the temporomandibular joints are referred to as TMJ disorders.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can include:
Tenderness or pain in the face
Pain in the jaw.

Question: What is TMJ?
Answer: The temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ, is the ball and socket joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone on each side of the head. The temporomandibular joint is stabilized by muscles that make it possible to open and close the mouth. The pain, discomfort or tenderness in or around these joints are referred to as TMJ disorders.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJ disorders are more common in women than men and over 10 million people are affected by TMJ disorders.

Question: Is Nitrous Oxide Safe?
Answer: Nitrous oxide is very safe, because it’s easy to take and mild. Nitrous oxide is not addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide, you remain fully conscience and aware of your surroundings. After coming off of the gas, the effects of it are gone.
If you have respiratory problems or other breathing problems, such as asthma, you should talk with your dentist to see if you are a candidate for nitrous oxide.

Question: What Are Dental Insurance Coverage Types?
Answer: According to most dental insurance companies, dental procedures are broken down into three categories:
Most insurance companies consider routine cleanings and examinations as preventative dental care, however, X-rays, sealants and fluoride can be deemed as preventative or basic, depending upon the specific insurance carrier.

Question: Dental Insurance – What is Usual, Customary and Reasonable?
Answer: Almost all dental insurance companies use what is called a “usual, customary and reasonable” (UCR) fee guide. This means that they set their own price that they will allow for every dental procedure that they cover. This is not based on what a dentist actually charges, but what the dental insurance company wishes to cover. For example, your dentist may charge $78 for a dental cleaning, but your insurance company will only allow $58 because that is the UCR fee that they have set.
If you are on a dental insurance policy that requires you to go to a participating provider, you should not be charged the difference between these two prices. A contracted dentist generally has an agreement with the dental insurance company to write off the difference in charges. If the policy allows you to go to a dentist of your choice, check the insurance company’s UCR fee guide against the fees that dentist charges. You may be required to pay the difference out of your pocket, however, you cannot put a price tag on quality dental care.

Question: What is Direct Reimbursement?
Answer: A direct reimbursement plan is a dental insurance plan that is usually entirely funded by your employer and allows you to choose any dentist without the hassle of networks.
With a direct reimbursement plan, you are reimbursed for money spent on dental work, which is not limited to specific treatments. Some employers may choose to reimburse you after you have paid for your dental work, and some may choose to pay the dentist directly-leaving you with less out-of-pocket expense.

Question: Dental Insurance – What is a Yearly Maximum?
Answer: The yearly maximum is the most money a dental insurance plan will pay out within one full year. A yearly maximum could run on a calendar year (January to December), or on a fiscal year, depending on the dental insurance company.
The yearly maximum will automatically renew every year. If you have unused benefits, these will not roll over. Most dental insurance companies allow an average yearly maximum of $1,000.

Question: What is Tooth Erosion?
Answer: Tooth erosion is the wearing away of tooth enamel by acid. The enamel is the hard calcified tissue that covers and protects the outside of the tooth. It is the hardest substance in our bodies.
The saliva in our mouth contains calcium which helps to strengthen and remineralize the teeth, however, remineralization can not occur when a great deal of acid is present.
The high amount of acids in the food and drink that you consume can cause tooth erosion. Soft drinks and pure fruit juices contain a high amount of acid.
Tooth erosion can also be caused by medical factors such as a decrease in saliva, acid reflux disease, certain gastrointestinal conditions and the eating disorder bulimia.

Question: What is Trench Mouth?
Answer: Trench mouth is a painful and severe gum infection. This infection occurs because of high bacteria levels in the mouth, usually from poor oral hygiene. Trench mouth can also be caused from lack of sleep, stress and / or poor nutrition. Trench mouth occurs more in smokers than non-smokers.
The name “trench mouth” comes from World War I, where soldiers were stuck in trenches without the means to take care of their mouth and teeth. Trench mouth is also known as Vincent’s Stomatitis or Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, hence the acronym ANUG.
While trench mouth is rare and not contagious, it can be extremely painful and will only worsen without treatment. If treatment is not sought, the infection may travel to other parts of the body. Antibiotics, along with a professional dental cleaning, can usually clear the infection from trench mouth.

Question: What is Dry Mouth?
Answer: Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is the reduced flow of saliva. Sufficient saliva is needed in the mouth to wash away food debris and reduce plaque by neutralizing the acids that plaque produces.
Gingivitis, gum disease and severe tooth decay often occur if dry mouth is left untreated. Other common problems linked to dry mouth are:
Difficulty speaking
Persistent sore throat
Problems with speaking
Problems with swallowing
Burning sensation in the mouth
Dry nasal passages
If you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to discuss treatment methods, such as saliva substitutes, with your dentist. Sugar-free gum and candy also can increase saliva flow.

Question: What Causes Dry Mouth?
Answer: While anyone get dry mouth, also called xerostomia, it is a common problem among older adults. In fact, the Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 20% of elderly people suffer from dry mouth and this condition is also a hidden cause of tooth loss and gum disease in 30 percent of adults.
Dry mouth, which is the reduced flow of saliva, could be a symptom of a particular medical condition or a side effect of certain medications. Sufficient saliva is needed in the mouth to wash away food debris and reduce plaque by neutralizing the acids that plaque produces.
Common medications taken that may cause dry mouth are:
Blood pressure medications
Pain pills
Incontinence medications
Muscle relaxers
Parkinson’s disease medications
If you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to discuss treatment methods, such as saliva substitutes, with your dentist. Sugar-free gum and candy also can increase saliva flow.
Practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular checkups are the best way to prevent trench mouth.

Question: What Causes Dry Mouth?
Answer: While anyone get dry mouth, also called xerostomia, it is a common problem among older adults. In fact, the Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that 20% of elderly people suffer from dry mouth and this condition is also a hidden cause of tooth loss and gum disease in 30 percent of adults.
Dry mouth, which is the reduced flow of saliva, could be a symptom of a particular medical condition or a side effect of certain medications. Sufficient saliva is needed in the mouth to wash away food debris and reduce plaque by neutralizing the acids that plaque produces.
Common medications taken that may cause dry mouth are:
Blood pressure medications
Pain pills
Incontinence medications
Muscle relaxers
Parkinson’s disease medications
If you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to discuss treatment methods, such as saliva substitutes, with your dentist. Sugar-free gum and candy also can increase saliva flow.
Often taken for granted, the monotonous task of brushing and flossing our teeth daily has never been more important in order to avoid gum disease and the risks gum disease place on our overall health. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease, which has been linked to serious health complications and causes various dental problems that are often avoidable.

Question : What is Gum Disease?
Answer : Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:
Tobacco use
Clenching or grinding your teeth
Certain medications
Types of Gum Disease Include:
Gingivitis - The beginning stage of gum disease and is often undetected. This stage of the disease is reversible.
Periodontitis – Untreated gingivitis may lead to this next stage of gum disease. With many levels of periodontitis, the common outcome is chronic inflammatory response, a condition when the body breaks down the bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately resulting in tooth and bone loss.

Question: What is an Abscessed Tooth?
Answer: An abscess of the tooth is an infection. An abscess can include pus and swelling of the soft gum tissues surrounding the tooth. An abscess can develop from tooth decay or tooth trauma, such as a broken tooth. If there is an opening in the enamel of a tooth, such as a cavity, bacteria can get in and infect the pulp (center) of the tooth and cause an abscess.
Once an abscess happens, the infection could spread throughout the mouth and body. A root canal is usually the only option to save a tooth once it has become abscessed. If you suspect that you have an abscessed tooth, you should see your dentist right away.

Question: Do Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?
Answer: Teeth whitening toothpastes seem to be popping up everywhere and you’ve got to wonder if they really work.
Whitening toothpastes, like all other toothpastes, contain mild abrasives to remove surface stains. Teeth whitening toothpastes may have additional polishing agents and special chemicals that are more effective against stains than regular toothpastes. While whitening toothpastes can make your teeth appear a little lighter, by getting rid of stains, they do not actually bleach your teeth.
Teeth whitening toothpastes are ideal for people who smoke, drink coffee and tea and eat certain foods that can stain your teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes are also good to use after you have undergone a teeth whitening procedure to keep surface stains from building up on your teeth.
If you decide to use a teeth whitening toothpaste, be sure that it contains fluoride for extra protection against tooth decay.

Question: What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Answer: Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity means experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.

Question: What is a Periodontist?
Answer: A periodontist is a dental specialist that has not only completed 4 years of dental school, but has also completed an additional 3 years of specialty training in diagnosing, preventing and treating gum disease. Periodontists can also place dental implants as well as perform cosmetic periodontal treatments.
A periodontal evaluation is sometimes the only way to detect gum disease. Your dentist can refer you to a periodontist, or you can make your own appointment for an evaluation.

Question: What is an Oral Surgeon?
Answer: Oral surgeons, also known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, are dental specialists who have not only completed 4 years of dental school, but have also completed at least four years of a surgical hospital residency. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to treat and diagnose defects, injuries and diseases of the mouth, jaw, teeth, neck, gums and other soft tissues of the head.
Wisdom teeth removals, facial pain, TMJ, dental implants and removal of tumors and cysts are problems commonly treated by oral surgeons. Oral surgeons are also able to offer reconstructive surgery where facial trauma has been involved or for other esthetic reasons.
Oral Surgeons provide a very high quality of care and their advanced training in anesthesia allows them to provide an extreme level of patient comfort in the safety of their office.

Question: What is an Endodontist?
Answer: An endodontist is dental specialist that has completed 4 years of dental school along with an additional 2 or more years of specialty training in endodontics (root canals). In other words, an endodontist is a root canal specialist.
With the lengthy education that an endodontist receives, they are able to perform all aspects of root canal therapy including routine as well as complex root canals, retreatments and endodontic surgery.

Question: What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Answer: A pediatric dentist is a dental specialist that has not only completed 4 years of dental school, but has also completed an additional 2 to 3 years of specialty training to treat children only.
Many general dentists treat children as well as adults, but a pediatric dentist only treats children.The goal of a pediatric dentist is to teach children the importance of oral hygiene, how to take care of their teeth and to help children feel comfortable about visiting the dentist.
Many pediatric dentists do not allow parents to go back in the treatment rooms with the children. If this is a big issue for you, be sure to ask this question if you are looking for a pediatric dentist.

Question: Which Toothbrush is Really Better – Manual or Electric?
Answer: With all the bells and whistles and hundreds of toothbrushes on the market, you’ve got to wonder, which is really the best toothbrush to buy — manual or electric?
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the best toothbrush that you can buy is the one that you will actually use. That’s it. Yes, it’s really that simple. While both electric and manual toothbrushes have some pros and cons, the bottom line is which one you will use. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes.
If you’re not sure which type of toothbrush you would use the most, I have provided some pros and cons of both:
Manual Toothbrush:
Most have an easy grip handle
Some come with a tongue scraper
Easy to travel with
No built in timer to tell you when two minutes are up
Can be difficult for some people to hold onto firmly
Electric Toothbrushes
Most have larger ergonomic handles
Some have built in timers that let you know when you have brushed for a full two minutes
The feel and buzzing of an electric toothbrush feels good to a lot of people
Some electric toothbrushes dispense toothpaste
Some electric toothbrushes can be quite expensive
Most electric toothbrushes require charging or battery replacement
Since everyone is different, I think it’s really good to have a variety of dental products to choose from.
My mom suffers from severe arthritis, so she really likes the Sonicare toothbrush because she can grip it easy.
I like the convenience of the Sonicare Intelliclean toothbrush because it dispenses toothpaste while brushing and my husband likes the Oral B Braun (Compare Prices) electric toothbrush.
My kids didn’t really like electric toothbrushes, but they like the Tooth Tunes (Buy Direct) manual toothbrush that plays music while they brush. As long as they are using it, it’s fine with me.
Deciding whether to buy an electric or manual toothbrush basically comes down to what the user desires as far as comfort and convenience go. Whatever toothbrush that you decide to buy, remember that using it is what’s really important.

Question: What Causes Canker Sores?
Answer: Canker sores are very painful sores found inside the mouth that often appear out of nowhere, leaving suffers asking: What causes canker sores?
We know what canker sores are, but the exact cause is still unknown. Women statistically suffer from canker sores more often than men. Canker sores are typically seen in people between the ages of 10 and 40, although they have been known to show up at any age.
There is reason to believe that certain types of bacteria and/or viruses are responsible for the painful mouth sores. Canker sores are not contagious and are not related to the herpes simplex virus, also known as cold sores.
Canker sores are caused by:
Injuries to the mouth, as seen frequently by contact sports players. Accidentally biting the inside of the cheek or lip may also result in a canker sore
Temperature hot food or drink may cause a canker sore in the area of the mouth that was essentially burnt by the offending substance
Spicy and/or acidic foods often produce a canker sore as a response to the irritation these spices and acids create in the mouth
The use of chewing (smokeless) tobacco will often cause a canker sore to develop in the area of the mouth where the tobacco is held, due to the irritating chemicals found in the addictive product
Poor-fitting, complete or partial dentures may cause canker sores in the area of the mouth where the denture may rubbing on the tissue. The development of a canker sore is often one of the first signs that indicate the need for a denture reline or adjustment by your dentist or denturist
Orthodontic brackets, bands, and various other orthodontic attachments will often cause canker sores to develop in area of the mouth where there is constant friction on the oral tissues. This is common when orthodontic treatment first begins and may occur after each subsequent adjustments, throughout each stage of treatment
Allergies to metals such as nickel may become evident in the mouth of a person wearing orthodontic devices necessary to move the teeth. Canker sores may begin to appear adjacent to the metal attachments. This is often referred to as contact dermatitis.
Broken teeth are often sharp and may rub on the oral tissues to produce painful canker sores. Broken restorations may also cause a similar effect on the oral tissues
Emotional stress has been identified as a possible trigger that may cause the development of canker sores
Bacteria responsible for peptic ulcers known as Helicobacter pylori, has been linked to canker sore occurrence
Vitamin deficiencies, specifically vitamin B12, foliate (folic acid), and iron, may trigger canker sore development
Hormonal changes, notably during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, have been linked to canker sores
Canker sores often run in families. Genetics my be a factor for many canker sore sufferers
Allergic reactions and sensitivities to certain foods may cause a canker sore to develop. Allergic reaction to certain types of bacteria found in the mouth may also result in this type of mouth ulcer
Celiac disease sufferers may experience canker sores. Gluten may be associated with the development of canker sores in those with celiac disease
Information associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often will list canker sores as a complication associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Mouth sores are a common occurrence observed in immuno-suppressed patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS
Behcet’s Disease, a rare autoimmune disease that damages the body’s blood vessels notes mouth sores, more specifically canker sores, as a one of the four most common symptoms of the disease
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in toothpaste and had been associated with the development of canker sores
Treatment is generally not necessary for most canker sores as they tend to heal quickly on their own. If canker sores persist for longer than 2 weeks, see the dentist.
See your dentist immediately if canker sores:
Become unusually larger than normal
Are extremely painful, interfering with eating, drinking, and talking
Begin to appear more frequently than normal
Do not heal after 14 days
Are accompanied by a high fever
Appear to become infected.

Question: Canker Sores – When Should You See a Dentist?
Answer: Canker sores are very common and they are not contagious. These irritating little sores will normally go away on their own in about one to two weeks.
Even though treatment is usually not necessary for a canker sore, you should see a dentist if one or more of the following occur:
The canker sores persist more than two weeks
The canker sore is unusually large (more than one centimeter in diameter)
A persistent high fever accompanies the sores.
The pain from the canker sore is unbearable
You experience difficulty drinking with the sores
A dentist can easily diagnose and recognize the type of sore in your mouth based on where its located and how it looks.

Question: Retainers – What is a Retainer?
Answer: A retainer is an orthodontic appliance (usually removable) that is supposed to be worn after your orthodontist removes your braces. When braces are removed, the teeth have a tendency to want to return back to their original positions. Retainers prevent this from happening.
Most upper retainers are made of wire and hard plastic and fit in the roof of your mouth. A lower retainer can be removable or permanently cemented to the lower teeth so that it doesn’t come out.
During the first several months, retainers are usually worn full time. After that, your orthodontist will decide how often they should be worn.
When your braces come off, it is very tempting not to wear your retainers. To keep your teeth from shifting and avoiding having to wear braces again, it is crucial to wear your retainers as often as your orthodontist tells you.

Question: What is Nitrous Oxide?
Answer: Nitrous Oxide is a gas that’s combined with Oxygen to produce a a calming effect and a sense of well being when inhaled. Many dentists use Nitrous Oxide to help a patient relax during dental treatments.
When the dental procedure is over, the dentist will have the patient breathe only Oxygen for a few minutes to eliminate the effects of the Nitrous Oxide.
Unlike other sedations, the patient should have a clear head within minutes of coming off of the Nitrous Oxide allowing them to function normally with no lingering effects. Nitrous Oxide is also known as laughing gas.

Question: What is Periodontitis?
Answer: Periodontitis is the serious and advanced stage of gum disease which includes bone loss. Periodontitis is irreversible. The gum tissue and bone that surround and support your teeth could become seriously damaged and the teeth affected could become loose and fall out. Periodontitis occurs when the early stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, is left untreated.
Periodontitis has also been linked to serious health problems such as an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks. Periodontitis could also cause higher blood sugar levels.
Some researchers have even suggested that gum disease can cause premature birth and low birth weight.
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of periodontitis. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and regular check ups with your dentist are the best ways to prevent periodontitis.

Question: What Is Gingivitis?
Answer: Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease. Affecting only the attached and free gingival tissue that surrounds your teeth, bacteria that invades the area below your gumline, known as the sulcus or periodontal pocket, causes gingivitis to develop and eventually manifest into periodontitis, if left untreated.
The early warning signs of gingivitis are often mistaken as normal occurrences one should expect when it comes to the mouth.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
Bad breath
Red, puffy, and inflamed gums
Bleeding after brushing and flossing
The causes associate with gingivitis vary, but typically include:
Improper or infrequent brushing and flossing
Trapped plaque in hard to reach places, such as around the wisdom teeth, above and below orthodontic bands and brackets, or fixed appliances
Teeth that are crooked or overlap each other
Certain medications that cause xerostomia or gingival enlargement
Tobacco use
Conditions such as diabetes may cause gingivitis
Pregnancy and oral contraceptives
Even though you may recognize these early warning signs as gingivitis, it is important that you book an appointment with your dentist for a check up. Why? There is a fine line between gingivitis and periodontitis. It is important to note that gingivitis is a reversible condition that is treated with professional cleanings to remove plaque and calculus build up, along with regular home maintenance that may include a prescribed antibacterial mouth rinse known as chlorhexidine gluconate. Your dentist is able to confirm the extent of your gum disease and plan treatment accordingly. If left untreated or improperly treated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis, which is irreversible and often leads to tooth loss.
Obtaining regular dental check ups will help keep gum disease under control or eliminated completely. If you are concerned about gingivitis, speak with your dentist or dental hygienist at your next dental appointment.

Question: What is a Cavity?
Answer: A cavity is a hole in the tooth that is caused by decay. Decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the food we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is brushing twice a day, flossing daily and going to your regular dental check ups. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.

Question: Are Silver Fillings Safe?
Answer: Silver (Amalgam) filling material contains about 50% mercury and 50% of various other metals. While there have been no conclusive studies relating the mercury in amalgam to any dangers, mercury by itself is very toxic.
With the introduction of new filling materials, amalgam is not used as often as it once was. More than 70% of all fillings today are placed in the tooth by the dentist with resin or composite materials. Amalgam has been deemed safe by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the FDA and the US Public Health Service. Important Update – June 2008 The FDA Admits Silver Dental Fillings May Not Be Safe.
In light of this recent information, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) still does not recommend having amalgam fillings removed and The American Dental Association continues to stand their ground that amalgam is a safe and durable filling material.

Question: Fluoride – What is Fluoride?
Answer: Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, is often added to drinking water and is commonly found in toothpaste. Research has shown that the rate of cavities decreases in areas where fluoride is added to the water supply. Health authorities, such as The American Dental Association and The World Health Organization, both advocate the addition of fluoride to drinking water, and recommend you use toothpaste that contains fluoride, if age appropriate.
If you do not have fluoride in your water, fluoride is also available in:
Speak with your dentist if you are concerned whether or not you are receiving enough, or too much fluoride daily. Fluoride treatments are also given at your dental office after a cleaning appointment every six months to one year.

Question: When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist for the First Time?
Answer: According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should visit a pediatric dentist when their first tooth comes in or no later than their first birthday.

Question: What is a Veneer?
Answer: A veneer is a thin shell made out of porcelain or composite material. They are custom made and cemented to the front side of the tooth. A veneer can be used to treat dental conditions such as a slightly crooked tooth, discolored teeth, chipped teeth or they can even be used to cover spaces in between the teeth.
A veneer can be made by the dentist or in a dental laboratory, depending on the materials used and the preference of the dentist.

Question: What is a Prosthodontist?
Answer: A prosthodontist is a dental specialist who is skilled in the replacement of missing teeth and the restoration of natural teeth. A prosthodontist has graduated from dental school and usually will have three or more years of continuing education after that.
This type of dental specialist is trained to deal with complicated and simple restorations of the whole mouth as well as treating facial deformities. Common procedures treated by a prosthodontist may include dentures, partial dentures, fixed bridges, crowns, implants, veneers and more.

Question: What is Calculus?
Answer: Calculus, also known as tartar, is the hardened residue that forms on your teeth when plaque is not removed. Plaque can be removed by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. If tartar is allowed to remain on the teeth and below the gumline, it can lead to chronic infection and inflammation. The only way to remove tartar is to have your teeth professionally cleaned at your dental office.

Question: What is Tooth Decay?
Answer: Decay is the destruction of tooth structure. Decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
If decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.

Question: What is a Biopsy?
Answer: A biopsy is the process of removing a small piece of tissue for a pathologist to determine, under microscopic examination, if it is cancerous. A soft tissue biopsy is the most common type of biopsy used in detecting oral cancer.

Question: What is a Missing Tooth Clause?
Answer: More than 90 percent of dental insurance policies carry a missing tooth clause. A missing tooth clause protects the insurance company from paying for the replacement of a tooth that was missing before the policy was in effect.
For example, if you lost a tooth before your coverage started and later decided that you would like to have a partial, bridge or dental implant to replace the missing tooth, the insurance company would not have to pay for that service if they have a missing tooth clause in their dental plan.

Question: What Type of Mouthguard Offers the Best Protection?
Answer: When choosing a mouthguard, consider how each of the following mouthguard types would benefit your situation before making your final decision.
The stock mouthguard is typically the most inexpensive mouthguard available in most sporting goods stores, yet it offers the least amount of protection. You are unable to adjust a stock mouthguard to conform to the teeth; therefore they are likely to either slip off the mouth if too big, or pinch the gingiva, causing discomfort. Either situation could be rather distracting for the player and chances are the mouthguard will find its way into the equipment bag on the bench. Dr. Blair says, “A mouthguard that is sitting on the bench or sitting in a hockey bag isn’t going to provide any protection.”
“Boil and Bite” mouthguards are available in sporting goods stores, and are also considered relatively inexpensive. The difference between a stock mouthguard and a boil and bite mouthguard is substantial. Hot water is all you need to adjust the plastic comfortably around the teeth. Keep in mind that forming a mouthguard correctly around the teeth and gums is not always as easy as it may seem. As Dr. Blair points out, “It works much better if you have a dentist help you fit it. I have seen some pretty rotten looking [homemade] mouthguards.”
Custom-fit mouthguards are obtained through your dental office. Available in as little as one week, the first appointment involves taking an impression of the maxillary teeth to be sent to the dental laboratory where the mouthguard will be fabricated. Dr. Blair notes that a triple laminate mouthguard offers the necessary protection, yet is thin enough to allow for optimum air intake, a critical necessity for the players. Custom mouthguards allow for slight adjustments as requested by the players to satisfy their preference. However, Dr. Blair stresses that in order to have optimum protection, the mouthguard should involve all the maxillary teeth extending from molar to molar. Previous guidelines suggested that a mouthguard made to extend from one maxillary cuspid to the other, would provide sufficient coverage. After examination, it was found that this type of mouthguard did not protect the back teeth when the player forcefully clenches during an impact, resulting in the possible fracture of the back teeth. Extending the mouthguard to cover all of the teeth may cause more bulk and may take longer for the player to become used to its wear.
One thing is clear regardless of the type of mouthguard you choose, “The quality of the protection is totally related to the quality of the product you are putting in your mouth,” and perhaps most important is Dr. Blair’s final word on mouthguard wear, “Anybody that participates in sports, especially your contact sports, should be wearing mouthguards at any age level. Even non-contact sports should consider it. What you have to do is instill the idea of wearing a mouthguard down at the “pee wee” or even younger.”
Hockey players, particularly those in the NHL, are role models for thousands of young hockey enthusiasts. Craig Conroy, center for the NHL team the Calgary Flames stresses, “If kids wear [mouthguards] right away and then get used to them all the way through [the ranks], its no big deal. It is just like wearing the face masks and all the other stuff; just wear them when you are little and you will never know the difference.”
Warren Peters, also a center for the Calgary Flames, echoes the same sentiment, “Today they make them so thin and they fit your teeth so good there really isn’t a reason not too, for anyone that is coming up and playing because once you get used to it, it will just be second nature. It will be like putting on another piece of gear.”