Get Your Dental Treatment Before the Prices Go Up

Dental Costs Under Obamacare will increase.It is a surprise a minute as Obama-care becomes implemented. Nancy Pelosi said we wouldn’t find out what was in the bill until it was passed, and she was right.

Obamacare’s medical device’s tax will cover dentistry. Many Physicians are considering retiring early due the intrusive hand of the government. The Senate passed Budget allows for treatment of illegal aliens under Obamacare, so take charge of your health now. Proper treatment will be hard to get.

I just had to get that off my chest. Now back to being a wise prepper. The only good advice that I can give to you is about my specialty, Periodontics (gum disease). You need to have no disease in your mouth to avoid untreatable toothaches after the lights go out. The only person who can help you before that happens is a Dentist..save your money by going ASAP!!! The prices are going up for many reasons.

After you get your mouth healthy, keep it healthy as mentioned in previous articles. If you can afford the very expensive implants, my opinion is that the Periodontist does the best job. Not only has he or she been trained to be a General Dentist first, he or she has been trained for three extra years to be a Periodontist to place implants and save teeth that have periodontal disease. Other specialties have extra training, too. The Oral Surgeon and the Prosthodontist have extra years of training in implants. However, only a Periodontist will do the best job of evaluating your remaining teeth and help you keep them through proper treatment. My many years as a Periodontist have taught me that many dentists misdiagnose or mistreat periodontal disease. Later they send patients with hopeless teeth to the Periodontist. Sometimes miracles occur, but usually many teeth have to be extracted. Implants or dentures are needed then.

Dental Implants Covered by Obamacare

Implants can fail, just like teeth, from the same inflammatory reaction to plaque that causes periodontitis. Only the implant does not have a periodontal membrane between the tooth and the jaw bone. Thus, we call the disease perioimplantitis. The result is the same, loss of bone and loss of the implant and the expensive attached crown. A periodontist can help you keep your implants and teeth healthy. See www.perio.org for locating a Periodontist near you. (I’m retired!)

Start stockpiling now. Iran and North Korea say they are aiming at destroying us with nuclear weapons. One overhead explosion could wipe out all electric power for months!! One of my friends says he will take poison if that happens. I’ll be prepared to support my family to survive. Do the same for yours.

The Dental Dilemma: Braces for Johnny or Generator for the House?

Priorities, priorities, that is what we have to decide. Unlike the leaders in Washington, we have to balance our checkbook! The past dental articles I wrote concerned getting and keeping your mouth healthy so if a disaster occurs, we shouldn’t have to worry about intolerable throbbing pain in the mouth. But, some dental treatment is optional, and expensive.

Preppers choose dental work based on budget.Dentists are constantly frustrated by the fact that half of the dental population in the USA only comes in for treatment when something is bothering them. The reason for delay is fear of the dentist and lack of money to pay for the treatment. Most dental insurance provided by the employer has a maximum coverage per year. Reach that limit, and the rest comes out of your pocket. With the federal government printing paper money to ‘increase jobs’, the result is the dollar that is worth less and everything costs more, including dental treatment. So don’t spend your money on treatment that can be avoided.

Avoid root canals, the tooth may last only eight years, and then need extraction! When decay invades the tooth and reaches the nerve, the pain is usually prolonged sensitivity to cold or hot. A dental x-ray will help determine if you need a root canal treatment. Dental specialists, Endodontists, do this treatment better and faster than a General Dentist, but charge more. Since the life of a tooth is limited once a root canal is done (the root becomes brittle and can fail), a cheaper solution is extraction and replacement. Replacement can be an expensive implant or less costly partial denture. Or going without..you see many people like that.

Avoid braces for Johnny. The parents want a beautiful smile, but is it necessary? One dental argument is that the teeth need to be straight for cleaning..but as a Periodontist I can say that usually that isn’t needed. When the child grows up he or she can send themselves to college and get a pretty smile. If a disaster happens, being a Prepper may be a way of helping your family survive.

Avoid having wisdom teeth extracted. Getting them extracted can prevent future periodontal disease in that area, but it takes a long time for that to occur. Also, having them extracted early can help bone regeneration. The oral surgeon likes to take all four out under sedation. That is nice for his pocket book. Delay this procedure in most cases and buy prepper supplies. Studies have shown that the wisdom teeth do NOT make your teeth crooked!! Myself, I can afford the treatment for my grandchildren, but will be using an experienced military trained general dentist who will use local anesthesia (shots only) and do two teeth at a time, leaving one side to eat. I feel that this decision is cheaper and safer than IV sedation.

My suggestion is delay the braces and buy a generator, food for an extended period of time, or whatever you think will help your family survive if the lights go off for a long, long time.

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Chemicals and Drugs used to treat Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Dental health is important for the prepared. Gum disease can be avoided.Considering the way we have grown up, we always think a pill or an ointment will help our medical problems.  I was born way back when penicillin was discovered.  Back then, a small amount of that antibiotic would do wonders for an infection.  As time went on, it took more and more penicillin to kill the same type of bacteria.  The bugs had developed a resistance to that specific type of penicillin.  Now we have super bugs, untreatable with any medicine.  So, it follows that treatment of periodontal disease, caused by your body’s inflammatory response to bacteria, has become more difficult to treat with antibiotics.   Of course, there are many types of bacteria and many types of response that your specific body will have.  Nevertheless, there are some things that you can do to have a healthier mouth without relying on drugs or medicine.

In previous articles I mentioned that the main two problems human beings have with their teeth is decay and periodontal disease, both caused by bacterial plaque.  Decay comes sooner, as soon as a mother leaves a bottle in a baby’s mouth overnight.   A Pedodontist can instruct young families how to prevent and treat early decay.  Later in life periodontal disease rears its ugly head.  There are some early types of periodontal disease, so timely visits to the dentist are important.  But in most cases, bone loss is not noted until some bone loss is seen between the teeth on x-rays.  Most dental insurance companies will not pay for treatment until bone loss is seen, and I think that is terrible.  That bone will seldom regenerate, and with a little more bone loss, the tooth is well on its way to the wastebasket.  When the crevice around the tooth becomes deeper than three millimeters it becomes difficult to clean all of the damaging plaque away, no matter how hard you try.  And try you may.  People use hard toothbrushes, overly forceful efforts, and all kinds of chemicals and drugs to get to the plaque way down below the three millimeter space.  If those efforts and drugs were effective, we dentists wouldn’t be making dentures and implants!!

If you have been missing the bacterial plaque, your gums respond with a kind of allergic reaction, each person has his own response.  Some have none, others lose their teeth in their twenties.  You can’t change your genetic response, but there are some things you can do before you have some disaster that limits your seeing a dentist for a week or much longer.  Get a dental exam by a dentist or a periodontist, and get treatment as needed.  Get a second opinion if you wish.  It is your mouth, and unlike medical insurance, you must always pay  part or all of the bill.  You don’t always need to get the most expensive treatment, which I will mention next time.  But get your disease treated.  Antibiotics won’t fix decay or gum disease, but may give some temporary relief.   Good reason for preppers to stockpile antibiotics that do not give you an allergic reaction.  If you have pain or swelling in the mouth, take the antibiotic as the bottle directs for at least a week, even if the problem gets better in a few days.  Get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Using the cleaning methods as described in a previous article will clean to about three millimeters into the crevice between the tooth and the gum and should result in no pain or bleeding when done properly after a week or two.  It is important to have professional cleanings every six or three months, as your dentist suggests.  But if the spaces are deeper, they are harboring bacteria which may very well cause a periodontal abscess in the future and loss of a tooth.  Your general dentist or hygienist may not be concerned with a five millimeter pocket, but as a periodontist, I am concerned.  Long term use of antibiotics can help the gum disease a little, but will cause loss of the bacteria in the gut system and causes super bugs.  Mouthwash doesn’t get  into a pocket, the  space deeper than three millimeter and the alcohol and other strong products may cause other problems with long term use.  Hydrogen peroxide is useless, too.    If you insist on a mouthwash, buy one that has no alcohol and has fluoride.  Mouthwash and periodic cleanings alone won’t stop gum disease.   As a prepper, I  stockpile food instead of mouthwash.

Invest in dental health for your family.  Prevention is much cheaper than treatment.  A periodic dental exam is much nicer than a dental emergency!  And clean every day like I mentioned, with brush, floss, rubber tip and proxybrush.  Next time I will discuss some of the dental treatment options that you may consider for yourself and your family to save money.  Prepping is expensive, but well worth it when the lights go out.

Everybody thinks he or she is an expert on politics, Same with opinions on Fluoride

If you have spent your hard earned money on treatment for decay and gum disease, it only follows that you don’t want to have these problems recur.  When I started dental school I started the long process of finding out what research was all about.  You can’t believe just one or two studies.  There needs to be multiple studies in professional journals that say approximately the same thing.   There can be only one variable.  There is a tremendous amount of dental research backing the use of fluoride to prevent decay.   The dental profession is pro fluoride, the health professionals who are not dentists say fluoride is bad.

Fluoride was discovered naturally occurring in some areas in Texas and Colorado.  It was noted that the over supply of fluoride in the drinking water Most brands of toothpaste contains fluoride.caused ugly yellow and white spotted teeth..but it stopped the decay process.  Further studies found that by adding a very small amount of fluoride in the water would help form decay resistant teeth if the water is used from birth (when the permanent teeth start forming) until all the teeth have formed and erupted in the mouth.  Using fluoride  toothpaste and mouthwash helps slightly after the teeth have errupted if early decay develops.  The fluoride replaces the demineralized enamel and makes the tooth as good a new, but you need to clean daily as I mentioned previously.  If you neglect cleaning  the dental disease recurs and your prepper supply money is spent at the dental office for root canal treatment and eventual extractions.  The dental community feels that fluoride is a essential nutritional element needed for dental health.  There is no proof that is is harmful, except for newborns.  The recommendations have changed because too much can cause damage, like any medicine.  You shouldn’t swallow toothpaste, spit it out.  Little kids will swallow, so limit the amount to the size of a pea.   Ask a Pedodontist (children’s dentist) for the current recommendations.

I participated in dentat research concerning decay in floridated and non-floridated communities while in dental school.  The difference was appalling !  Statistics are one thing, but looking into the mouths of children who did not have fluoride was shocking.  I later published research results on a type of stannous fluoride in mouthwash concerning early gum disease in adults.   It reduced the bleeding tendency, but didn’t improve the gingivitis scores.  (I didn’t become world famous with negative results.)

The non-dental side says fluoride is a medicine and they chose not to take this medicine.    Claims that it causes problems are anecdotal claims, but not proven.  If you don’t want to use fluoride, use baking soda, I don’t care, I don’t have stock in the companies.  I’m retired, and the other dentists can use the extra business.  I tell my grandchildren to use fluoride toothpaste and Act fluoride mouthwash.  They still eat candy and don’t brush or clean like I want.  I just paid $1000 for fillings on a grandson.  Life isn’t fair!

Stockpile baking soda as a prepper, it has many uses in addition to being an abrasive tooth cleaner.  You can buy several pounds of baking soda at pool supply stores.  Very cheap, store in empty coffee cans.  Don’t brush too hard with it or you can wear sensitive grooves at the intersection of your teeth and the gums.  Then you need sensitivity tooth paste to treat the sensitive grooves.  Sensitivity toothpaste with potassium nitrate as the active ingredient is the best for that.  That toothpaste is not for bleeding gums, but for sensitivity to hot or cold from exposed or grooved roots.

Next time the topic will be the chemicals and drugs used to treat periodontal disease.  Do they help you and bleeding gums or the corporations?

 

Should I Refinance the House for Dental Implants?

Dental hygiene is important. Some people finally realize that they are mortal and that they need to start taking care of their bodies before it is too late.  Some never do.  During my tour in Viet Nam this reality check came in my early twenties.   Later, I went back to school and became a General Dentist.  Every time I review the medical history of a new patient I am shocked at how complacent most people are about their health and their oral health.  “Yes, DrGrumpyMarine, I am healthy.”  (They are taking five or more medications, they have diabetes and high blood pressure, etc.)  They have lost several teeth and have no clue why.

Usually the main reason an adult will lose teeth is because of periodontal (gum) disease.  Once symptoms occur, it often is too late, and an extraction is needed.  Get this done before the lights go out.

In the military, we can’t afford to give everyone implants.  Military General Dentists replace the hopeless teeth with dentures (all the teeth are extracted) or with partial dentures (some teeth are retained for stability).  But in civilian life, the dentists want to place implants.  Implants are great, and have a great fee.  Implants can fail, however.  So if you are living paycheck to paycheck, perhaps you should consider other very satisfactory, less expensive options.

Fixed bridges are just about as expensive as implants.  If you lost some teeth already, just putting a bridge on the remaining teeth may be a bad investment.  Partial dentures are fine, and are much less expensive, but again, unless you have proper periodontal treatment on the remaining teeth, the partial will fail with time.  So what else to do??  Take all the teeth out and have an end to dental problems?  That question is asked of dentists daily.  The answer is that you are trading one problem for another.  Upper dentures work pretty well, but the lower (mandibular) ones usually are a nightmare.  Most people usually throw them in the lake and go without a lower denture!!

After 36 years of being a General Dentist and finally a Periodontist, I suggest what I mentioned in the previous articles.  Go to a Dentist or Periodontist and save what you can.  If  you are a Prepper, save as much money for other things, get the healthiest mouth that you can afford.  Don’t refinance the house for Implants if you can find a Dentist who will make partials or dentures instead.

Next time I will discuss keeping what teeth you have, and the controversy of Fluoride.

 

 

 

 

 

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Most People Deny any Possibility of Gum Disease

Gum disease is best dealt with by a periodontist.When I see a patient for the first time they try to talk me out of finding gum disease in their mouth.  “But Dr, I brush my teeth every day!”  Or, “I have been going to my dentist for years and he never mentioned gum disease.”

I have been a practicing Periodontist for over 30 years, and my opinion is that most dentists and dental hygienists don’t understand periodontal (gum) disease like a specialist like me.  Around 1983 some dental research came out showing that root planing (deep cleaning with anesthesia) was just as effective as Periodontal Surgery.  The research was flawed as it only concerned the front teeth with single roots, but the damage was done.  Ever since, the general dentists have been avoiding sending their patients to a Periodontist.  Instead, they have kept the money in the office by sending them to their in-office Dental Hygienist.  Since dental disease is often very slow and symptom-less until it is time for an extraction,  everyone is happy.  Then you have pain or swelling,  and your friendly dentist notifies you that you need an expensive implant or two.

What I suggested in my last article was getting an exam and basic treatment to get a level of dental health. That is dental prepping.  What I will tell you is what I teach my patients.  Most dental offices skip past teaching oral health quickly because dental insurance doesn’t pay for it.  But, good oral cleaning at least once a day is the most cost effective thing you can do.  Dental disease is usually decay early, gum disease later in life.  Both are caused by dental plaque.  Treatment only repairs the damage, the disease continues.  If you use a water pick device you will notice food particles coming out.  That is not enough, ten per cent of the invisible plaque remains, and the disease continues.

I teach with the patient holding a mirror and watching how to use the following:  any soft toothbrush, any type of floss, a rubber tip stimulator, and a proxybrush in between the teeth and under bridges if there is room.  Lecturing doesn’t work, and that is all you get at most dental offices.  Many patients brush back and forth, and that misses the target and causes grooves in the teeth with time..result, root sensitivity to hot or cold.  I suggest the modified Bass method, which is holding the toothbrush and rubber tip at a 45 degree angle to the tooth and vibrating into the crevice along the gum line, with any kind of fluoride toothpaste.   If your gums are sick, this will bleed and hurt, but improve after several weeks.  The problem with all of these cleaning efforts is that you can only get about three millimeters below the gums, and if you have deeper measurements you are not able to stop the plaque from causing slow bone loss (periodontal disease).  Mouthwash really doesn’t get down there either, a waste of money.

I have retired, but I suggest that you might consider seeing a Periodontist first.  You will get the best diagnosis of your possible gum disease, and may ask for a referral to a top notch dentist.  Periodontists get referrals from many general dentists and see a wide variety of competence.  It was not unusual for me to have seen a patient who has been seeing a dentist regularly, and then the patient is ready for dentures!!.   How shocked and angry the patient becomes.  They have noticed how their teeth have started to drift and get spaces, but nothing was said..or they were sent to the hygienist for a series of deep cleanings,  over and over.  By the way, those cleanings you get every six months are probably regular cleanings that your insurance pays 100%.  They don’t help much.

The inflammation of gum disease can help cause other health problems.  See www.perio.org , the periodontist’s official web site for the best information.  Next time I will talk about alternatives to implants.  Save your money for prepping supplies.  Dr. GrumpyMarine

How Preppers can Keep Their Dental Health and Save Money

Dental Health**Today’s article about dental health is written by Dr. GrumpyMarine, a U.S. dentist.**

I am Dr. GrumpyMarine.  I spent thirteen months dodging bullets in Viet Nam, that made me a little paranoid.  Becoming a prepper naturally followed. 

I will be giving you some advice about what you can buy at a drug store before the lights go out.  In addition, I will be giving you some practical advice on avoiding oral pain and discomfort.
But you don’t want to be in the aftermath of a hurricane with roads out and no electricity with a severe toothache!  Prevention is the only practical answer.  Most people think that if there is no pain or symptoms . . . everything is OK.  Not so, the main dental emergencies are caused by decay invading into the tooth’s nerve or by periodontal disease, finally causing puss that does not drain.  Even if you have stockpiled antibiotics, these problems will not be cured.  You will need to see a dentist eventually to extract the tooth or do even more expensive procedures.  Suffering is bad enough that some people consider suicide!
So to be a good prepper you need to invest some money at the dental office.  Ask your neighbors for a referral.  After an exam get the basic treatment.  You don’t always need the most expensive crowns, just get rid of infected teeth and gum tissue.   I will go into alternative treatment later.
What can you buy at the drug store to prepare?  Not much.  For sores benzocaine is the active ingredient that temporarily gives you relief.  The other item is temporary cement that will help keep loose fillings and crowns that have may have come loose.  This cement contains ingredients that will sooth the tooth and maybe give you a month of relief.  Don’t chew on the repair, it is weak cement!  Both of these items are found in a drug store’s dental section for less than ten dollars.

Next time I will tell you how to have healthier gums (mouthwash won’t help).