“The greatest smile in the world comes from a child.” True enough. Nothing can compare to the innocent smile of a child. It reflects purity, happiness, and calmness… something important in the frantic world we live today. Coming home to a sweet smile can erase all anxiety, stress, and pressure of a hard day’s work. But of course, good care is needed to retain those charming smiles. After all, how can a charming smile be charming if the teeth and mouth are not properly cared for? The teeth are the reason why these smiles are created, so a good dentist such as a dentist is important to preserve and prevent them from decay.

It’s no secret that children are fond of eating sweet candies and chocolate, but most of the time they forget to brush their teeth. Teaching a kid to brush is a task dreaded by many parents. It’s not always easy asking a child to brush. Their teeth are their least of worries compared to toys, games, and television. One thing parents should know is that teeth care is important. And finding a good dentist can help a lot in keeping that healthy, bright smile. Here are simple steps for you to follow in finding the dentist right for your child’s need:

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Step 1: Recommendation:

It is best if you can ask your relatives or friends to recommend a dentist. It’s likely that they have established a rapport with a dentist they trust. If you are moving, and your family dentist would be far from your new home, ask if he/she can recommend another dentist to you. That way, it would not be difficult for you to go back and forth to your previous dentist.

Step 2: Research:

Do your own research when considering a new dentist. Know his dental history, his education, and experience. For instance, when visiting a prospective dentist see the seminars he has attended, his postgraduate education, and better yet interview his current patients. Take note: be wary of those dentists that do not have license because you will regret it at the end if something happens to your child’s teeth.

Step 3: Schedule an appointment:

After all the research you’ve made, try to have an appointment with the dentist. You must talk about taking care of your child’s dental health. Find out if he/she has rules and regulations to follow and what are the assurance that your child’s teeth will be taken good care. Sometimes a child has dental phobias because of what they have previously experienced with a dentist. Find out what kind of relaxation techniques he offers; for example, nitrous oxide or dental sedation to help calm a child.

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Step 5: The Appointment:

When you come to the office, be observant at all times. Check if the procedures are comfortable for your child. If you are already talking to a dentist, show some respect and build connection with him. Don’t be boastful to the dentist; always remember that he/she will be handling your child’s oral health. Tell the dentist what you expect from him. Try saying “I trust my child’s dental health to you.” This will let him know how much you expect from him to keep your child’s teeth healthy.” Also, don’t forget to say thank you to all his help.

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Are you faced with a difficult task of paying your dentist a visit? Your case is not isolated.  Over 35 million Americans have some level of anxiety about this. Anxiety is physical and mental tension similar to a state of fear but it is based upon anticipation of danger and a concern about a disastrous future event.  Approximately at least 10% to 15% of US adults  undergo a more severe form of fear known as dental phobia, an irrational, intense, and persistent fear of dental treatment. Those afflicted with this phobia firmly disregard dental care and many only change their mind in case of acute pain like dental abscess which entails invasive treatment. This aggravates their ill feelings towards dentistry and they become part of a cycle of avoidance.

Most people raise valid reasons for their fear. Some can picture unforgettable past dental encounters characterized by pain during the treatment process. They were humiliated by comments like "This isn't hurting you!" or "Stop being such a baby!". Such remarks are manifestation of insensitiveness especially if the person concerned had painful experiences in the past. If there were more distressful visits over the years, the fear was simply reinforced. Many patients in their 70s and 80s still dread seeing a dentist.

For some people who were restrained in the dental chair as a child or ignored when they had pain, visiting the dentist creates a high degree of anxiety. Some patients are so fearful that they are even unable to enter the dental office building. 

Effetiveness of local anesthetic varies from one person to another since some require more than what others do . Many vividly recall pain while being treated only to be told "You've had plenty of Novocaine!  It's your imagination!" Years later, this patient is bound to be skeptical when assured that a procedure will be 'painless'.

Dental Phobia is described as:

o Fear of Dental Practitioner

o Fear of Dental Procedures, especially fear of the drill

o Fear of Ache

o Injection or Needle Scare

o Worries on the negative effects of anesthesia like fat lip, numbness and drooling

o Fear of helplessness and loss of control

o Worry about the humiliation brought about by the teeth condition

Common signs associated with Dental Phobia

o Trouble sleeping the night before the appointment

o Ill feeling physically and crying instances for visiting a dentist

o Aggravating nervousness while in a queue in the dental office

o Trembling, shaking

o Shortness of breath

o Lack of sensation and stinging effects in extremities

o High pulse rate

o Sweating

o Feeling of vomiting and abdominal uneasiness

o Chilling or hot flushing signs

o Uneasy reaction to dental objects placed in the mouth

Avoiding care because of fear has resulted in major dental problems. Cost wise, a cavity treatment is around $300 to $600 but the cost will at least double from $1600 to $2000 if it is not attended to immediately as a result of root canal problem. Dental infections from abscesses bring higher incidences of gum disease, early tooth loss as well as some systemic illnesses.

Right now dental anxiety or dental phobia can be treated in different ways. An appointment should be made just for consultation. The dentist should be told about the patient's fears and past traumatic experiences. Such information should serve as guide by the dentist on how the patient's anxiety and dental phobia can be  properly approached. If the patient's plight is not taken seriously, then it is but proper to look for another dental practitioner. Conquering fear initially requires bringing out your ill feelings and active interaction on the procedure. A well informed patient will feel relaxed paving the way for a smooth dental care procedure.

Dentists & Specialties - Beyond the Teeth Cleaning

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Paying too much for coverage and not having enough coverage may be a familiar scenario for many of the residents in America. Not many health insurance companies offer policies with coverage that will give you dental, eye and alternative care. Americans are spending over $30 billion annually just for dental services and most of it is out of their own pocket. The prices for dental care can be very horrid, ranging between $850 to $1,000 for crowns, $150 for check-ups and cleaning and thousands of dollars for oral surgery.

Most of the dental plans available are expensive - the reason being that the insurance companies know that the individuals who purchase dental coverage already have dental problems and will definitely be using the coverage. This is also known as "adverse selection".

Another option is available today with the HSA, or Health Savings Account. This is an account that you can use to accumulate tax-free dollars for medical bills that aren't covered under your High Deductible Health Plan, or HDHP. It is required that you are enrolled in a HDHP to qualify for an HSA. These plans have high annual deductibles, but you receive low monthly premiums in exchange. Since the money in the HSA is tax-free, the account holder can funnel their dental expenses through the HSA for a tax write-off.

If you decide to get a health plan with dental coverage, the deductible cannot be paid for with the HSA, but the expenses rendered from services can. Since you'll be funding your account with pre-tax dollars, you can easily save $500 or more off the costs of your family's yearly dental expenses by paying for the charges from your Health Savings Account.

There are some other options for dental coverage available. With prepaid dental plans you will be charged low monthly fees, which are usually around $7/month for individuals and $16/month for families. The plans give you significant discounts on check-ups, fillings, extractions and other dental services provided by a network dentist. Some plans help with the expenses for eyeglasses and contact lenses. Since these plans aren't insurance, it can be paid for with the HSA. When calculating what medical expenses will be reimbursed from your HSA, include dental fees and premiums from the prepaid dental plan.

More About Health Savings Accounts

Any health expenses that aren't covered under you HDHP can be paid for with your HSA, such as deductibles, eyewear and dental care. As long as the bill you are trying to cover was needed for a health problem, it can be paid for. So if you decided to get a massage while at the spa - this wouldn't be covered, but if your doctor recommended that you go to a masseuse after a painful accident; this would be covered. Having an HSA is the way health insurance should be - you get to choose what medical help you receive for your health conditions.

This means if you decide to get alternative medicine instead of going to an allopathic physician (conventional doctors that use prescriptions drugs and other treatments for quick-fixes instead of delving to the root of the problem), you can do so and have the expenses paid with the HSA.

What is Considered an "HSA Qualified Expense"?

The definition of qualified medical expenses is only partially given in the IRS Publication 502 and through various federal court rulings. There are few restrictions - as long as the expenses are for medical treatments or prevention for a health problem. For instance, yoga wouldn't be identified as a medical expense unless your doctor recommended it as a treatment for medical reasons, such as for physical therapy after an injury, then it is qualified as a medical expense.

Many may question why the government would give a tax deduction for someone using some crazy vibration machine to cure their cancer. Again, the HSA is how health insurance should be. You should get to choose what treatments would best benefit your health condition. This gives account holders that power to manage their health as they see fit. Health Savings Accounts are encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility of their health care while loosening the monopoly traditional health care has had over the past couple of decades.