Category: Members


Dental Fillings: What’s the difference?

If you’ve had a cavity before, chances are your dentist treated the decayed area of your tooth with a filling. Fillings are a common procedure that helps restore teeth back to normal functionality and shape.

Nowadays, there are many choices when it comes to types of dental fillings. Two very familiar types are amalgam and resin composite. Although dental amalgam has been trusted for more than a century, recent advancements in the industry have made resin composite more appealing. But there can be limitations with both.

So what’s the difference between the two and which one should you get? We’ll cover some basics to help you get familiar with these two popular types of fillings. Before your next appointment, we recommend discussing treatment options with your dentist first.

Also known as silver fillings, dental amalgam is made from mercury, silver, tin and copper. Dentists sometimes prefer this type of filling because it’s considered stronger than other types, more affordable, and easier to manipulate when filling cavities. Amalgam has been around for 150+ years and is still a top choice for hard to reach areas or cavities below the gum-line. Amalgam’s low maintenance and durability are appealing to both dentists and patients. It’s important to note that the American Dental Association (ADA) deems amalgam to be a safe, durable material that has been studied extensively.

Resin composite appears as a more natural, tooth colored material and is made of plastic and ceramic compounds. Even though it’s been around for years, it hasn’t been strong enough to withstand pressure and chewing on back teeth until the last decade. The lifespan of resin is still somewhat unknown, but is expected to last at least 8 to 10 years. Resin can be a bit tricky to place, as it requires a dry environment. Consequently, there are times resin won’t work to fill certain cavities. Resin also costs more, so sometimes it’s helpful to verify your benefit eligibility prior to receiving this service.

In summary, you and your dentist should discuss treatment options available, which may vary based on the size, location and cost. Ask your dentist to cover your choices to help you make the right decision.

Electric toothbrushes

Manual vs Electric Toothbrushes: Pros and Cons

Now that we know the many benefits that brushing can provide, what kind of brush do you choose? Manual or electric? Although a manual toothbrush is sufficient to effectively clean your teeth, you may find the benefits of an electric toothbrush enticing. Let’s cover the pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush to help you decide what’s best to use.

Electric Toothbrush Pros

Powerful Cleaning Movements: Several thousand movements per minute versus a few hundred with manual brushing. This may lead to more plaque removal.

Easy to Use: Almost takes the guesswork out of brushing technique. Can be ideal for children or those who have a hard time using their hands.

Individualized: Choose the brush head and technology that works for you. With many different pulsating or rotating brush-head options, you may provide a more effective cleaning for your situation. For example, those with braces may benefit from an electric toothbrush to clean in and around metal parts of the mouth.

Features: With features like an automatic timer or shut off, you won’t have to keep track of how long to brush.

Electric Toothbrush Cons

Expensive: Instead of paying a couple of dollars for a manual toothbrush, you can find yourself spending $100 or more on an electric. Replacement part costs can also add up quickly.

Too relaxed: Some people tend to get a little too comfortable with their electric toothbrush (not brushing regularly) knowing that their brush is more powerful. It is recommended to still brush at least twice a day.

Bigger, bulkier: Takes up more space to store in bathroom or when traveling.

Teeth whitening

10 Teeth Whitening Tips

 Brush Up Your Confidence

A sparkling, white smile can make a lasting impression and boost your confidence.  Yes, we all long for a whiter, brighter smile. So bid farewell to yellow, stained teeth because here are 10 teeth whitening tip to keep you smiling for days.

Follow These Steps For a Brighter Smile:

1) Schedule a professional in-office treatment.
Laser or light activated bleaching can give some of the best and fastest results. Ask your dentist for options and pricing.

2) Use an at-home treatment.
Over the counter bleaching products, like whitening strips, are an easy and affordable option. Ingredients will be similar to those used in a professional setting, just at lower concentration levels.

3) Use teeth whitening toothpaste.
Unlike bleach products, whitening pastes will use polish ingredients to remove stains that are close to the surface.

4) Eat saliva triggering foods.
Think of crunchy produce like celery, carrots and apples as they will help with saliva production. More saliva means less debris on your teeth.

5) Quit smoking.
You already know the dangers of smoking, and it’s one of the worst ways to stain your teeth. Tobacco penetrates tooth enamel and is nearly impossible to remove by only brushing.

6) Minimize foods and drinks that stain your teeth.
Coffee, red juices and red wine are just some of the foods and drinks that can discolor teeth.

7) Rinse after every meal.
After every meal, especially after the foods and drinks listed above, rinse out your mouth with a glass of water or mouth wash. This is the easiest way to give your teeth a quick cleaning.

8) Floss every day.
Once a day is all it takes to get rid of bacteria between your teeth and help keep them white. It’s just another reason why flossing is important.

9) Brush twice a day.
Brushing properly helps prevent stains by removing plaque, especially on the surface of the teeth.

10) Visit your dentist.
Schedule your next dental exam and cleaning. The tools your dentist uses can effectively remove many teeth stains.

Easter Candy

The Worst Easter Candy for Your Teeth

By now, you’ve probably seen your local grocery store stocking up the holiday aisle with Easter goods. And everyone knows that Easter is one of the best holidays for the most horrible substance for your teeth. Yes, you guessed it – candy. Easter candy is loaded with sugar, which is obviously not ideal for keeping your mouth healthy. But have you ever wondered which types of candy is actually the most damaging to your teeth? For fun, we thought we’d share the worst candy types for your teeth. So as you dive into your Easter treat stash this year, choose wisely and keep your toothbrush close by. Here they are:

1). Sticky Candy:

Sticky or gooey candy sticks to your teeth (no surprise there) and creeps into tiny crevices near your gums. Because it’s hard to remove, the sugar is harder to wash off and in turn, stays on your teeth longer. So take caution with things like taffy, tootsie rolls and caramels as these are some of the worst offenders for growing bacteria.

2). Hard Candy:

Hard candy, like lollipops, stay in your mouth for a longer period of time. And the longer it’s in your mouth, the more you are exposed to harm. When choosing to snack on candy like this, it’s best to actually brush or floss right after to minimize potential damage. But beware, hard candy can also break your teeth (ouch).

3). Sour Candy:

All sour candy is acidic. The acid can damage your teeth, cause enamel to erode and make them more prone to chipped teeth, broken teeth and cavities. Again, it’s best to rinse, floss or brush right after eating sour candy to avoid dental problems down the road.

Looking for some alternatives? We actually recommend sticking to chocolate (in moderation of course), sugar free candy and candy with nuts. Some say that dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can help with the effects of tooth decay, while nuts can break up the sugary consistency. But whatever you choose, be sure to brush and floss after.

Enjoy your holiday and have a Happy Easter.

Lasik PRK

The Difference Between LASIK and PRK

Thinking about getting corrective laser eye surgery? Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Laser-assisted-in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) are two types of laser eye surgery that may be able to sharpen your vision. If you are nearsighted, farsighted or have an astigmatism, laser eye surgery can help change the shape of your cornea, resulting in better focus and stronger eye sight.

Which one is the right choice?

Let’s start with some similarities between the two. According to the FDA, both PRK and LASIK are considered safe with high success rates. Laser eye surgery is an outpatient procedure, and only takes 15 minutes per eye (don’t worry, the laser portion only takes about 60 seconds). Costs associated with each surgery are comparable, and with a Dental Select vision plan, you can be eligible for a 15% discount or 5% off promotional price when visiting a contracted provider. Of course as you are choosing between LASIK and PRK, it’s best to consult your eye care provider as they will help you make the best decision.

So what is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

Essentially, the variances occur within the procedure itself and the recovery time. With LASIK, an incision is made in the cornea to create a flap of tissue. The flap is lifted and the laser then reshapes the inner layers of the cornea. After repairing imperfections, the flap is put back into place and heals over the cornea. This can take a few days; however, LASIK recovery is much faster than PRK. Patients can expect mild discomfort following surgery. Some patients are able to start seeing within hours after surgery, and vision will continually improve for the next 6 months.

With PRK, no flap of tissue is created. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea is actually removed. When the area is exposed enough, the computerized laser can start reshaping. If you have thin corneas, you may be a better candidate for PRK. Also, because no flap is created, there is less risk of flap complications or removing too much of the cornea. PRK takes longer to heal than LASIK as the outer layer of the cornea needs time to regenerate cells. It may be a couple days or even weeks before eyesight improves. Most PRK patients start driving and stabilizing their vision within 1-3 weeks, but it can take up to 6 months until vision is closer to perfectly clear.

If you have more questions, make an appointment with a contracted vision provider. Click here to locate one near you.

Teeth Cleaning

Quit Skipping Your Teeth Cleaning Appointments

If your teeth aren’t bothering you, do you really need regular teeth cleaning appointments? The short answer is, yes. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist at least once a year to get a professional teeth cleaning. If you have periodontal issues, your dentist may recommend teeth cleanings more often. So even if you have healthy teeth, cleanings should be an essential part of your oral care routine.

At your appointment, professional tools are used to thoroughly cleanse beneath, above and within pockets of the gums to get rid of plaque. But what if you brush and floss every day? Although brushing and flossing is important, there are areas in your mouth that are difficult to clean yourself. Cleanings effectively remove plaque, which can become serious, and expensive, if left untreated.

But the benefits of regular teeth cleanings don’t stop there. A dental cleaning often helps spot certain health issues. When teeth and gums are thoroughly examined, the dentist is able to screen for cancer and can often spot other medical problems. This is important, as early detection is best for successful treatment.

As with any preventive care, teeth cleanings will actually save money on future dental costs. Taking care of your teeth now, can help avoid costly procedures down the road. For example, professional teeth cleanings can help prevent cavities and stop tooth loss.

Also, removing plaque and bacteria, your breath can instantly improve, especially if the cause is due to periodontal problems. Dental cleanings can also whiten your teeth by effectively removing stains.

Best of all, your Dental Select insured dental plan will cover your cleanings twice a year, meaning you won’t have to pay out of pocket. So what are you waiting for? Schedule a cleaning with your dentist, start protecting your oral health and put a halt to gum disease today.

Woman Flossing Teeth

Five Reasons to Keep On Flossing

As of late, flossing has been a hot topic. You may have heard recent studies claiming that flossing is ineffective, possibly even useless. But what really is the truth? And should you continue to floss?

`According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing is still an essential part of caring for your teeth and should be incorporated into your dental routine. Even with this controversial news, health experts are urging patients to maintain flossing once a day.

Yes, this past year, flossing was removed from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines because the benefits haven’t necessarily been proven. But according to the ADA website, there hasn’t been a need to test or prove the effects of flossing. Regardless, dentists (who specialize in oral care and work with teeth daily) are spreading the word that flossing can make a big difference in your mouth. How you ask? Here are five favorable reasons why you shouldn’t give up on flossing just yet.

1. Flossing can protect you from cavities.

There are tight, hard to reach areas in the mouth that a toothbrush simply cannot access. By using floss where your brush can’t reach, you are removing plaque buildup and protecting your teeth from potential cavities.

2. Flossing effectively removes food between teeth.

Flossing is proven to be effective when removing debris from between teeth. Ever get a piece of food stuck in your teeth? There’s a reason that you flossed right away – because it works.

3. Flossing helps keep your breath fresh.

By loosening bits of food and removing bacteria, you are eliminating the odor that lives between your teeth. Flossing can remove the plaque around your teeth that a toothbrush generally cannot.

4. Flossing reduces inflammation.

Puffy red gums can be the first sign of gingivitis, and it’s well-known that inflammation is not good for your well-being. Gum inflammation has actually been linked to cardiovascular disease, so by reducing inflammation, you are also helping protect your overall health.

5. Flossing is easy.

Flossing is simple and inexpensive. You don’t have to purchase high-end, pricey tools and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Think about it, you could have flossed your teeth just while reading this article. So what are you waiting for? Get flossing!

For more information on flossing, please visit the ADA website for current recommendations or speak with your dentist at your next appointment.

Retire from Your Job, Not Your Benefits

Planning on retiring soon? Now may be the time to start thinking about how to handle your health benefits. Many seniors consider dropping their dental insurance due to financial reasons. But research shows that without these benefits, proper visits and preventive care tend to be ignored. Unfortunately this may end up costing you more with expensive procedures down the road. With quality benefits and dental care, your teeth can stay healthy and last you a lifetime.

Did you know that poor dental health can also affect your overall health? It’s true. Research has shown a strong association between poor dental health and other serious conditions, including: heart disease, diabetes, mouth cancer, pneumonia and stroke. Understanding the connection between your health and your oral health is the first step to protecting yourself (and your retirement savings) from these issues. Take the worrying out of how you will continue to receive dental care by enrolling in a good dental plan.

Check out our senior plans designed for adults aged 55 and older. Preventive care is covered at 100%, which means cleanings and exams are covered twice a year. With features like discounts on vision and hearing, you’ll feel confident switching from your employers benefits while keeping your teeth young and healthy.

Other features include:
• 100% preventive care coverage
• Dentures & periodontics covered at 80%
• Enroll children up to age 26
• Discount Vision Plan included
• Connection Hearing discount included

Dentist Out of Network? Here’s How to Refer Them

Choosing a dentist can be as difficult as choosing a life-long companion. We know it’s an important decision and a pretty big commitment. That’s why we keep things simple by letting you select or change your dentist – anytime you’d like. And, in the event that your first-choice of dentists hasn’t signed up with us yet, you can nominate them to join.

Our already strong network of more than 200,000 dentist locations experiences growth yearly.  And because we strive to have top-ranked dental providers in every area, we welcome any suggestions for new dentists. Contracting with Dental Select is an easy process that can take as little as two weeks. So do you know of a great dentist that is missing from our network? We encourage you to refer them. Here’s how to get started.


1. Visit our member page

2. Click on the refer a provider form

3. Enter your name and phone number

4. Enter the dentist’s name that you’d like us to contact, plus their address and phone number

5. Hit submit


All referrals are handled immediately, and the more information that is included on the referral form, the faster processing will be. Next, a Dental Select representative will personally contact their office for more information. After we collect the information we need, including their contract with us, we can enter them into our system. Please be aware that there are instances where a dentist chooses to not join a network.

For status updates, please feel free to check with your dentist or by calling a Dental Select representative at 800-999-9789.

8 Eye-Strain Tips for Computer Workers

Do you stare at a computer screen for a good portion of your day? As many Americans work in an office-related setting, vision problems related to eye-strain are becoming more and more common.

Computer workers can have fatigue, headaches, eye twitches, eye redness and can lead to decreased productivity. Before these symptoms start negatively impacting you and your work, here is what you can do to help:


1. Minimize the glare – consider getting an anti-reflective screen and check for any reflections that show up on your screen.

2. Adjust the text size – enhancing the text size is one of the easiest ways you can give your eyes a break.

3. Check your monitor – older computer screens can be harder on the eyes. Consider using a flat LED screen if possible. Otherwise, try to choose one with a higher resolution.

4. Stop and blink – it sounds silly, but take breaks to stop and blink your eyes frequently. Also, it may be handy to keep eye drops (artificial tears) on hand. Especially if you suffer from dry eyes.

5. Look away – another simple one, but take several rests from looking at your screen. Staring at something up close can be fatiguing, try focusing on something far away in the distance for 20 seconds at a time.

6. Check your lighting – having lights that are too bright around your computer only contributes to the problem. Aim for ambient light that is far from harsh, and try to minimize fluorescent lighting around you.

7. Invest in protective eyewear – computer glasses are designed for workers who are in front of screens for long periods of time. Consider buying a pair for the greatest comfort at your computer.

8. Get an eye exam – be sure to have an annual eye exam and express any vision concerns to your eye care provider.