Category: Members

vision health

Your Eyes Are What You Eat

Yes, it may be true. Eating a diet rich in certain nutrients may help support vision health and keep major age-related issues at an arm’s length (and no, we’re not just talking about carrots). How you ask? Vitamins and minerals from particular foods can reduce your risk of macular degeneration (impaired vision caused by deterioration of the retina), cataracts (cloudy areas in the eye lens) and other age-related vision issues. Luckily, we already know some of the best food sources –  so you can start loading up your plate right away. It’s one of the easiest ways you can begin protecting your vision now for the years to come.

Here are five surprising foods that may help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp:

  1. Green leafy vegetables
    • Leafy greens, like spinach, kale and collards, contain certain antioxidants that can lower risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  2. Egg yolks
    • Egg yolk contains antioxidants (luetin and zeaxanthin) and as zinc, both of which can reduce cataract and macular degeneration risk.
  3. Fatty fish
    • Fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are all rich in DHA. When DHA is low, it can be linked to dry eye syndrome. DHA may also be important to retinal health.
  4. Vitamin C
    • Which can be found in oranges, berries or other citrus fruits. Vitamin C can reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  5. Almonds
    • Rich in vitamin E, which can slow macular degeneration.

And if you want to find more food sources for healthy vision, check out this list here. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/top-foods-to-help-protect-your-vision

10 Tips for Overcoming Fear at the Dentist

Do you regularly get nervous before your dentist appointment? You are not alone. Visiting the dentist can be stressful for many people and mild fear is common. The good news is, that dental appointments are never as bad as they seem and there are effective ways to manage your anxiety. So as your next appointment approaches, keep these tips in mind to help overcome fear of the dentist: 

  1. Meet your dentist first. Before any treatment takes place, ask to meet your dentist in person. Dental offices are usually more than willing to schedule consultations.

 

  1. Schedule an early appointment. Get your appointment done first thing in the morning to help eliminate the chance of stewing over it all day.

 

  1. Talk to your dentist about it. Be upfront and honest about anxiety at your appointment. Have your dentist explain everything beforehand and ask him to speak out loud as he is performing tasks.

 

  1. Use a signal to stop. Before you begin, agree on a sign that you can use to stop if things get too uncomfortable.

 

  1. Bring a family member. Feel free to bring along a close friend or family member; a good support system can go a long way.

 

  1. Listen to headphones. Most offices supply these, but bring your favorite pair of earbuds just in case. Listen to some relaxing music or a podcast to help time move quickly.

 

  1. Consider meditation. Distract your mind by concentrating on deep breaths or repeat a calming mantra in your head.

 

  1. Picture yourself elsewhere. Drift away to your favorite relaxing place. Think of the sounds of the ocean, the view from a picturesque mountaintop or the cool breeze among of quiet field of flowers.

 

  1. Hold something. Release tension by bringing along stress ball or something soft to squeeze.

 

  1. Close your eyes. Try to relax by closing your eyes. Maybe even bring your own sunglasses if it helps you stay comfortable.
Pregnant

Pregnant? Time to Visit Your Dentist.

Are you pregnant or planning to have children soon? Now, more than ever, would be an ideal time to visit your dentist.

The American Dental Association recommends that all expectant mothers receive dental care and maintain good oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a crucial time to maintain oral health as it is directly related to you and your baby’s overall health. Dental issues have been linked to premature delivery, gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia.

But even with your current, normal dental care routine, some expectant mothers will be more prone to developing oral problems. One of these is called pregnancy gingivitis, which happens to cause inflammation of the gums that can cause excessive bleeding and tenderness. To avoid more serious forms of the disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings during pregnancy.

Also while pregnant, many women can accumulate more tooth decay and cavities. And because morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your teeth are exposed to, your enamel can diminish and cause even further damage.

Lastly, some women experience overgrowths of tissue on their gums. These are called pregnancy tumors and they usually occur during the second trimester. These red, raspberry looking growths are not cancerous and are thought to be related to too much plaque. Usually they will disappear after delivery.

Although things like sensitive gums and a strong gag reflex can discourage women from brushing twice a day, it’s important to stick with a good oral hygiene routine, including regular dental exams. So schedule your next dental visit, and be sure to let your dentist know you are pregnant as treatments may be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Here is to a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Fluoride

True or False? The Truth About Fluoride

There is a lot of contradicting information put out into the world regarding fluoride, especially when it comes to children’s dental health. Fluoride is a mineral, that occurs naturally in water sources; when used correctly, it can improve early stages of tooth decay. Let’s explore some more facts about fluoride to help you and your children establish a well-rounded oral hygiene routine.

 

Fluoride is one of the best ways to prevent cavities.

A: True. Studies have indicated that fluoride is effective and the most efficient way to prevent tooth decay, one of the most common childhood diseases. Fluoride can be applied directly with toothpaste, mouth rinses or professionally administered with treatments by your dentist.

 

Fluoride protects teeth, makes them stronger from the bacteria that is in the food and beverages we consume.

A: True. As fluoride is absorbed, it provides added protection as it improves and repairs tooth enamel. The minerals that are deposited into your enamel will strengthen teeth, making them to resistant acid and bacteria.

 

Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for babies (with teeth) and toddlers by the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry.

A: True. Stated safe and effective by each of these credible organizations, with the belief that fluoride use will help children have stronger teeth over their lifetime. Unless recommended otherwise by your dentist, the ADA recommends that once the first teeth start coming in, you should start using a fluoride toothpaste.

Guidelines

  • Begin brushing with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (a smear, or the size of a rice grain). If they happen to swallow the fluoride, it will only be a small amount.
  • If your child can spit the toothpaste out, you can then use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Ideally, kids should be assisted with brushing their teeth until the age of five or six.
braces

More Than a Pretty Smile: How Braces Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Just about everyone knows that braces can help accomplish straight, beautiful teeth. But did you know that orthodontic treatment can also improve the health of your teeth and gums? As a matter of fact, they can. So if you’ve been putting off orthodontic treatment, you may want to read on.

Here are three surprising ways that braces will keep you smiling from ear to ear.

1). Straight teeth are in general, healthier.

Think about it, when your teeth are lined up correctly and straight, they are easier to keep clean and maintain. And we all know that good oral hygiene leads to less dental problems.

2). Orthodontic treatment can create a better bite.

Fixing a bad bite (also known as malocclusion) will lead to more effective chewing and even better speech. However, a bad bite can lead to many problems including: tooth decay and gum disease, jaw problems, abnormal wear to enamel, speech problems and tooth loss.

3). Straight teeth are less likely to be injured.

If you have teeth that protrude or stick out, they are more susceptible to trauma. But properly aligned teeth can decrease risk of wear and tear from abrasive grinding.

And if you weren’t convinced just yet, did you know that Dental Select offers individual plans with orthodontic benefits? Check out our individual plan page for more details. Our co-insurance plus plan offers orthodontic coverage at 50% for children 18 and under and a 20% discount for adults. With proper care now, it may actually cost less than more serious dental issues that can develop down the road. And remember, treatment can begin at any age, although it’s ideal to begin orthodontic treatment in younger years.

Cost Estimate

Having a Major Dental Procedure? Request a Cost Estimate Before Your Appointment.

Did you know that you can request a cost estimate for your next dental procedure before you even sit in the chair? We call this a pre-determination of benefits. A pre-determination of benefits is a great way to see what a procedure may cost and how much your dental plan will cover. You can request a pre-determination of benefits through your dentist at any time. Although it is not required, we actually recommend it for major procedures – just to avoid any potential surprises.

Here’s how to request a pre-determination of benefits:

1 – Ask your dentist to submit a pre-determination of benefits for the procedure you are having performed.

2 – They will then submit a request, using an ADA approved claim form. This will be considered a pre-treatment claim that is entered into our system. Our adjudicators will review and process it in the same manner as a claim, less any payment procedures. Dates are not required for a pre-determination, so it’s ok if you don’t have this appointment scheduled yet.

3 – Once the pre-determination has been reviewed (7 – 14 working days), an estimated cost breakdown will be sent to you and your dentist.

Now, you can schedule your next dental procedure with peace of mind, knowing you have a better understanding of what is covered. If you ever have questions about your coverage, feel free to give our customer care department a call at 800-999-9789, and we will happily discuss your plan with you.

Animal dental

True or False? Test Your Knowledge on Animal Dental Facts

Think you know your animals well? Take this fun animal dental quiz and see how much you know. Answer either TRUE or FALSE and see how well you score out of 10.

 

  1. Dogs and cats are born with baby teeth that eventually fall out.

This is TRUE. As dogs grow older, they will have 42 permanent teeth while cats will have 30.

 

  1. Pigs can have 15,000 taste buds.

This is TRUE. And just to give you an idea, humans only have about 9,000. Fun fact: pigs have 44 teeth.

 

  1. The armadillo has 104 teeth.

This is TRUE. Even though their diet consists of small insects and grubs, they do have many teeth. But their peg-like teeth have no enamel, so they aren’t very useful.

 

  1. Snails have more teeth than any animal.

This is TRUE. A snail’s mouth is no larger than the head of a pin, but can have over 25,000 teeth (but these aren’t like regular teeth, they are on its tongue).

 

  1. Dolphins chew food with their teeth.

This is FALSE. Dolphins don’t chew because they don’t have jaw muscles and swallow food whole. And another fun fact: if we aren’t counting snails, dolphins have more teeth than any other animal, some with over 200 teeth.

 

  1. Giraffes have the same number as teeth as humans.

This is TRUE. Giraffes have 32 teeth, like you and I, even though they are found mostly in the back of the mouth. They don’t have upper front teeth. So next time you are at the zoo, notice the way they use their lips to grab food and move it to the back of their mouth.

 

  1. A crocodile replaces its teeth over 40 times in a lifetime.

This is true, their teeth are continuously replaced throughout their lifetime. This can happen more than 40 times depending on their lifespan.

 

  1. An elephant’s tooth can weigh over 15 pounds.

This is FALSE. But, an elephant’s tooth can weigh over a whopping 6 pounds so that’s still pretty impressive.

 

  1. Horses, cows, sheep, camels and goats are all herbivores.

This is TRUE. As plant eaters, they all have wide, flat teeth as opposed to the defined canine teeth that carnivores possess.

 

  1. A mosquito has teeth.

This is kind of TRUE, kind of FALSE. They actually have 47 sharp edges on its tip to help cut through skin. Although they aren’t really teeth, they can easily cut through skin and clothing.

 

Discount Dental

Is a Discount Dental Plan Right For You?

Discount dental plans are tailored to individuals and families who do not currently have dental insurance and are looking to save money on their dental care needs. A discount dental plan is not an insured plan. Instead, it’s more like a membership where you get instant access to savings on services like exams, cleanings, x-rays and crowns. After signing up, you’ll pay discounted amounts at each dental visit. Simply give your dentist’s office your personal information and they will call us to verify enrollment on your behalf.

So is a Discount Plan right for you?

Here are 8 reasons why our customers favor Dental Select’s Discount Plan:

  1. You’ll get instant access to benefits the day you sign up.
  2. It’s affordable. See our prices here.
  3. With no claims to file, discount plans are easy to use and hassle free.
  4. There are no waiting periods and no age restrictions, meaning everyone is accepted on the discount dental plan right away.
  5. Ability to add dependents, like children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents to the plan.
  6. You’ll have unlimited plan usage (no annual maximum) so get as much as you need out of your plan.
  7. You’ll receive discounts on orthodontics (for adults and children), discounts from contracted specialists, and discounts on teeth bleaching and cosmetics.
  8. Lastly, you’ll automatically be enrolled in our discount vision program through EyeMed at no additional cost.

 

Ready to sign up? Get started here.

 

Dental Plan

5 Reasons to Keep Your Stand-Alone Dental Plan

Thinking of embedding your dental plan with your medical plan? Sure it sounds easier –  maybe even more convenient, but sometimes the easy choice isn’t always the best choice. There is a lot of value in having a stand-alone dental plan. Here are our top five reasons you should keep your traditional dental plan:

1. Know Exactly What You’re Paying For

With a traditional dental plan, you see the true costs and services of your dental plan. There are no hidden costs, and it’s clear to see what benefits you are paying for and what you will receive. But when combining with medical, dental costs often become unclear. You don’t always know what you are paying for or if the price is fair.

2. Less Out of Pocket Costs

When including dental on your medical plan, you can expect to have a significantly higher deductible that will include dental. Sometimes this can be anywhere from $4,500 to $6,500.

3. Experience Fewer Network and Dentist Changes

Dental Select has one of the largest nationewide provider networks. Not only is switching carriers a hassle, but when switching to a medical plus a dental plan, there is a chance of losing current providers. Also, medical plans are more likely to change each year, which again may cause provider disruption.

4. Enjoy Richer Benefits

Stand-alone dental plans offer a greater range of benefits and services versus a medical plan that embeds dental. More benefits means much more value for you and your employees.

5. First-Rate Customer Experience

Dental Select has over 25 years as a sole dental administrator. When changing to a medical carrier, you sacrifice the knowledge, abilities and service of a true stand-alone dental administrator – something that we pride ourselves on offering.

Fillings

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.

Amalgam
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
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.