More than 250,000 Americans turn 65 each month. By 2030, 67 million Americans or close to 20% of the population will be 65 or older. Thanks to decades of better preventive care, these people are keeping more of their teeth than their predecessors, even into their eighties and nineties.
Yet the need to understand the geriatric patient has never been greater than it is today. And treating an older patient is much more complex because they will have a combination possibly of decay, periodontal disease and other global health issues to take into consideration.
A large number of older patients have chronic medical conditions that impact oral health, particularly if they are on medication that causes dry mouth. Or, these patients may have difficulties with brushing and flossing because of declining vision, coordination, and cognition, further negatively impacting their oral health. Some are just fatigued and thus unmotivated to maintain their oral health.
With these issues in mind, you’ve got a patient that has complex clinical needs and complex medical needs, and you’ve got to balance the two. As a consequence, you are inhibited by circumstances to do everything you want for this patient because of their medical history. Maybe you have to come up with a more creative treatment plan. Our experience has found that there needs to be more time and attention paid to the over 65 population.
Senior citizens also have limited access to dental insurance, preventing many of them from getting the care they need. Often retired, seniors aren’t covered by any employer and for some unknown reason Medicare does not cover routine dental care in its basic benefits. Only 12% of Medicare beneficiaries have some kind of dental insurance coverage.
So one of our issues is education about the importance of oral healthcare. We see this as particularly a challenge with somebody who’s on a fixed income—how and when they’re going to spend their money. I think that once you get patients into the office, you can talk to them about home care. So much of dentistry, or oral disease, is preventable. If we can be of assistance, please contact us.
If you are trying to figure out the ins and outs of implants verses the older more conventional methods of tooth replacement, cost of dental implants at first blush may appear unaffordable to most people. But appearances can be deceiving if you examine the beneficial differences and the time involved by our specialist. While I have written on those issues before, let’s explore other aspects of price and how different dental implants may differ very significantly depending on different factors.
The real concern for the patient is ‘where and how’ to find a low cost quality dental implant, and is most likely the driven adjective ‘low cost’ a result of the perception by the patient that teeth are utilitarian to their daily life. That’s really not the case, but to put the cost into perspective, all the while considering that your teeth aren’t really as appreciated as much as they should be, let’s examine what goes into the cost of a dental implant.
4 Factors that Drive the Cost of Dental Implants:
The traditional materials – prices of cobalt-chromium alloy and titanium are not the same. Implants from cobalt-chromium (CC) alloy rods are cheaper than comparable titanium implants, but when it comes to zirconium dioxide, then cost of a dental implant may appear to be cost prohibitive to the patient. But, depending on where the implant is being placed, you may end up with a less than satisfactory result with the less expensive CC implant.
This aspect is a significant factor. The bigger the implant, the more material, the more it costs, but also the more it may do. Also, special coatings applied to the surface of the implant, contribute to better osseo-integration with the bone, will affect the cost of the dental implant.
Different manufacturers put different prices on similar rods made from the same material. Some manufacturers include some kind of an extra charge in the dental implant’s price for their brand name. This is a lot more esoteric and therefore harder to explain. It’s like trying to explain the difference between Polo and Hanes T-shirts.
Finally, it may depend on where your dentist gets his implants from. And this factor may be a function of how motivated your provider is in providing you with the best implant material for the least amount of cost to you. Some of that may just end up being economies of scale by your provider. Does our provider have contacts directly with manufactures in China or Israel, where the dental implant cost can be significantly reduced, while the indirect purchase of dental implants from U.S dental suppliers may ratchet up the price?
If the price is too good to be true? Then it probably is.
The cost of a dental implant starts from around $1,500 up to $3,500.00 . Anything less may be an indicator that you’re getting an inferior product or one not designed for a particular location in your mouth. Short term the implant device may appear to be fully functional. But if we look at the cost and the cost of other materials for dental implants compared to their operational life, the difference may be likened to the difference between Toyo’s and Michelin tires. Here again you may get what you pay for and the initial cost may appear affordable, but in the long term you are going to get a better result with respect to how it functions and how long it lasts if your provider installs Michelins.
A lot of your choice and cost may depend on the choice of your provider. It’s not to say the more you spend the better you will be. Rather, a reputable practitioner, who is truly trained in the placement and restoration, may be a significant factor in what you end up with and what it costs. Our team has decades of experience. Trust and reputation are the more difficult factors to define for the patient. If we can be of help please contact us for your complimentary consult.
Two important oral health care concerns emerging in the United States are disparities in the oral disease burden and the inability of certain segments of the population to access oral healthcare. Older Americans are becoming a larger segment of our population and suffer disproportionately from oral diseases, with the problem being particularly acute for individuals in long term care facilities. Population projections for the United States indicate that the elderly will constitute an increasing percentage of the population as we proceed into the 21st century.
In 2001, the population of the United States was almost 278 million, and 12.6% of the population was 65 years of age or older. By 2015, the population increased to 312 million (3.08 million in 2010) and 14.7% of the population will be aged 65 years or older. In 2030, which is within the practice lives of students currently enrolled in dental schools, the population will have increased to more than 350 million, and 20% of the population—1 of every 5 members of the US society—will be 65 years of age or older. This large segment of our population is further compounded by the elderly population continuing to become increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity,financial resources, and living conditions.
The challenges faced by both the dental profession and the nation as a whole regarding provision of oral health care services to older adults are the subject of a recent report prepared by Oral Health America. All 50 states were surveyed to determine the level of Medicaid coverage for dental services, and the report concludes that financing oral health care services for the elderly will be a major challenge to our future. Medicare does not provide any coverage for dental services, and only 1 of 5 Americans aged 75 years or older has any type of private dental insurance. Given our current economic circumstances and resulting problems with Obamacare, it will be highly unlikely that our government resources will be adequate to gear up for the impending problem of oral health in the elderly.
They suffer from chronic disorders that either directly or indirectly affect oral health, including autoimmune disorders such as pemphigus and pemphigoid. They generally require multiple medications, and common side effects of the more than 500 medications used to treat their overall health issues usually reduce salivary flow. The reduction in saliva adversely affects their quality of life, the ability to chew, and leads to significant problems of the teeth and their supporting structures.
The elderly consistently have difficulty performing routine oral hygiene procedures because of physical limitations, such as Parkinson’s or rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, oral infection is now recognized as a risk factor for a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases,diabetes, mellitus, and respiratory disorders.
Also,it is important to note that once people have lost their teeth and are using complete dentures, their oral health needs do not decrease. Our jaws are not static and may continue to resorb over time. In addditon to continued resorbtion of bone, improperly fitted dentures adversely affect chewing, leading to poor nutrition resulting in a shorter life expectancy. Furthermore, those without teeth remain susceptible to oral cancer, mucosal diseases, and alterations in salivary gland function.
So for the vast majority of seniors residing in a long term care facility, financing of and access to oral health care services will be a formidable challenge. Given that medicare does not provide coverage for routine dental services including exams,and in the absence of private insurance or personal resources, a large portion of this group will not be able to afford any dental services whatsoever, let alone the most appropriate treatments.Clearly, there must be a response to the increasing oral health concerns of the elderly who present with special needs, especially those who are home bound or living in long term facilities burdened with other chronic disorders.
While effective preventive measures exist for younger populations (water fluoridation, dental sealants and parents), no preventive measures have been devised to address the expected increase in oral health needs of our aging population. And the need for a coordinated effort to address their oral healthcare needs suggested by demographic trends and epidemiological data necessitates our planning for what might be considered a crisis or at least a paradigm shift in oral health care delivery for the elderly.
Seniors who have contributed so vitally to our society’s well-being, deserve to be treated with the best oral health care we have to offer.
Grey is definitely out. So is yellow. But, how much white is enough? Well, no one really knows given the rush in recent years to have a whiter smile. And as it stands right now, teeth whitening is the number one cosmetic procedure performed in a dental office today. But what about the oral health benefits?
What we know is there are additional benefits beyond bleaching your teeth. So while attempting to achieve the right smile with a bright smile, whitening your teeth with 10% carbamide peroxide may actually help prevent cavities. The bacteria that causes cavities flourish when the pH of your mouth is slightly acidic, which happens to be a bi-product of eating or drinking.
However, according to Dr. Van Hayword of DCG Augusta a 10% carbamide peroxide bleaching gel in a custom tray can help elevate the pH, which helps fight decay. There is also some evidence that the same regimen can help keep plaque from forming on the teeth, which may help prevent gum disease.
So while deciding how white is enough is a personal decision, weighing the costs and benefits of any cosmetic transformation probably should involve the input of your dental provider. I encourage you to contact your dentist. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.
 Carbamide peroxide (10% and 15%) has been classified by the United States Food and Drug Association as Category 1, which means there is sufficient data to demonstrate that these agents are safe and effective for use in the oral cavity as oral antiseptic agents (Haywood, 1993; Dental Product Spotlight, 2001).
 Van B. Haywood, DMD, Department of Oral Rehabilitation, School of Dentistry, Dental College of Georgia
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than any of their restorative counterparts such as bridges, partials and dentures. And from an aesthetic standpoint, they look and feel more natural when you chew or talk, due to the progress made in their biocompatible development.
Implants offer the patient a permanent solution to tooth and continued bone loss. Additionally, implants may be used in conjunction with other restorative procedures for maximum effectiveness in that a single implant may serve to support a dental crown replacing a single missing tooth. Implants can also be used to support a dental bridge for the replacement of multiple missing teeth, and can be used with complete dentures, both standard and mini implants to increase stability and preserve bone structure.
Procedural advancements, including the development of the above mentioned “mini” implants, mean that a larger population than ever before are finding themselves candidates for dental implants. While application and candidacy for implantation varies on a case by case basis, meaning that your dentist needs to determine the viability of implants as it applies to your actual bone structure.
Keep in mind, a general dentist may perform the crown and bridge placement that is associated with implant restorations, while prosthodontists are the ADA sanctioned specialists who have received post-doctorate training are most often your best bet for the successful completion of this type of technique sensitive procedure. We perform both the placement and the restoration in our Sandy Springs office. If we can ever be of help please don’t hesitate to call or comment so we can answer your questions.
So how much do veneers really cost? The cost for porcelain veneers varies widely. They can run anywhere from $825 to $2,500 per tooth. There are several reasons for the difference in cost and it also varies widely across the United States. And yes, veneers can be quite expensive but they do offer several benefits. One of the benefits is a distinctly improved smile.
First, lets discuss what porcelain veneers are. Porcelain veneers are extremely thin custom made covers for the front surface of the teeth. They can be made from porcelain or direct composite resin. Although porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite, they last much longer and are more stain resistant. Traditional composite veneers last on average between five and seven years while porcelain veneers last between 10 and 18 years.
Veneers are used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to fix chipped or broken teeth or teeth that have become discolored by root canal work, excessive fluoride, or drugs such as tetracycline. Porcelain veneers can also be used to correct misaligned teeth or teeth with gaps between them. But the most common reason for veneers is cosmetic. They can be used to change the length, shape, size and color of teeth. In effect, they can be used to create a designer smile.
There is also a difference in cost between having the procedure done in a metropolitan area versus a small town. Another cost variation is the difference in cost from one ceramics lab to the next. The number of veneers done also affects cost. A single veneer usually is more expensive per tooth than a set of veneers.
Because veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure, they generally are not covered by insurance. In some cases, depending on the insurance company and the policy coverage they may be eligible for a dental discount. Again, the amount and availability of this discount varies widely. In special circumstances some insurance may pay up to 50% depending on the type of policy. To offset the high cost of veneers, most dentists offer special payment plans.
Getting dental veneers is a multi-step process. The initial visit usually consists of a consultation and depending on the dentist and the amount of work to be done, x-rays and/or impressions of the teeth may be done at this time. On the first working visit the dentist will remove approximately 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth or teeth to be veneered and make a model to send to the lab that will make the veneer. This is most often done with a local anesthetic. Normally it takes one to two weeks to construct the veneers. During the next visit, the veneer is temporarily placed to check for proper color and fit.
The tooth that is to receive the veneer is then cleaned, polished, and etched. The etching roughens the surface of the tooth for better adhesion of the veneer. The veneer is cemented into place and a follow up visit to check placement and adhesion may be required.
How long do porcelain veneers last? They can last between five and ten years or more, depending on how you take care of them. But at some point they probably will need to be replaced. Just like real teeth, porcelain veneers need to be thoroughly brushed and flossed daily.
Your smile is the first things that people notice about you which is the primary reason people want porcelain veneers. If we can be of service or you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
More and more it’s the esthetics of teeth that count in making your first impression for a job interview or for that first date. This of course includes your tooth coloring. Where oral health care used to be the primary role of a dentist, the importance of teeth whitening has seen a huge increase in the number of tooth whitening products and procedures in the marketplace. Not only has the relationship of the dentist and patient changed, but the demand by the consumer from cookie cutter results to esthetic dentistry is replacing the traditional approach to oral health care.
The key factors that affect teeth whitening by peroxide containing products are a function of peroxide concentration, light exposure and the allocation of application time. In general, higher concentrations of peroxide provide results faster than lower concentrations. And what appears to be a demand for immediate results by the consumer drives the need to develop systems that deliver higher concentrations of peroxide in shorter time periods.
Your smile is the first thing people notice. And our goal is to help you smile, but we want to make sure it’s the right smile, one that’s natural and comfortable for you. If stained teeth are “hiding” the real you, it’s time for what is commonly referred to as a smile make over. It is understood that a beautiful smile can brighten your lifestyle every day, both professionally and socially.
You can be assured that as a prosthodontist, I understand the functional mechanics as well as the cosmetic artistry needed to create the right smile. Your goals for achieving the smile you want and the dental health you need are my first priority in our Sandy Springs office.