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14 San Diego Uptown News | September 2–15, 2011 ADVERTORIAL

Stretching Your Dental Dollars Taking a bite out of the cost of dental work DR. EVELYN ASCOUGH

3333 5th Avenue #100, San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 298-0821

Given the uncertainty in the economy, many Americans have been forced to change their dental care habits. Factors such as reduced insurance benefits or the loss of a job have caused a delay or sometimes elimination of routine visits to the dentist. Dental care is generally

considered a good bargain by experts, since good oral health fosters overall health and wellness. No matter how unwanted the bite out of your wallet, make the appointment — by the time something hurts, it’s usually more severe and more expensive than if it had been addressed earlier. Stretch your dental dollars with these strategies: Choose an in-network

dentist. Avoid paying more than necessary by choosing from your insurance company’s network of providers. Insurers contract with certain dental offices on your behalf to provide negotiated or discounted rates and these are called ‘in- network’ providers. Generally, with an in-network dentist, your insurance picks up a

larger portion of the bill than if you chose to go to an out- of-network provider which means you pay less out of pocket. Take advantage of a

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) if possible. Employees may be able to save money by paying for their portion of dental services on a pre-tax basis by using an FSA. Just make sure to use the benefits in the allotted time frame since they will not carry over into the following year. Visit the dentist regularly. Do your health a favor and keep up with regular preventative care visits. It will save costs and pain in the long run by preventing more serious dental problems from occurring. Long term poor oral health can lead to serious ailments like heart attack and stroke.

Routine dental cleaning is a must. Cleaning is one of the most effective preventative measures for good oral health. It also allows for fixing tiny problems before they become larger and more costly. Regular cleanings assist in

preventing gum disease, bad breath and oral cancer. Some patients require cleanings more often than twice a year, so stay current with your recommended cleaning schedule.

Dental sealants are highly

recommended. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings placed over the pits and grooves of the molar and pre- molar teeth. They are a low- cost method to help fight tooth decay by sealing out food and plaque. Once applied, they can last for a number of years. Brush and floss after every

meal. Preventative measures can decrease dental costs. Make it a habit to clean your teeth after each meal by brushing and flossing. Food that becomes stuck in the teeth and gums can cause tooth decay.

Rinse with mouthwash. The daily dental care routine is best completed by rinsing with a mouthwash to kill the bacteria that can thrive on the surfaces of the teeth and gums. After rinsing, do not eat or drink for at least half an hour to maximize the mouthwashes

effectiveness. Have a personal dental

‘plan’. Visit a qualified dentist regularly and take advantage of any dental insurance benefits. When looking for a dental practice, ask friends and family for a referral. Special offers are often available for new patients. Look for quality of service in the dental practice you choose. Building a relationship with a local dental office will be beneficial should you require emergency treatment. Patient procrastination can be a challenge to receiving good dental care and there is no reason to feel embarrassed about your current state as most dentists have seen it all. Being proactive about your own dental health and taking preventive measures is the best way to maintain a healthy mouth and your total well being. Think of a visit to the dentist as a way to take care of yourself, after all you’re worth it. Our motto is, “healthy teeth and gums for life” and this is what we live by and try to instill in all of our patients. Dr. Ybee


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