Dental Savings Plans

Going to the dentist can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have dental insurance or your insurance isn’t in network for a certain clinic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get regular dental care. Many dental offices offer dental savings plans, sometimes referred to as membership plans, for those that don’t have insurance.

Signing up for a membership plan with your dental care provider can help make sure you get the dental care you need- even without insurance!

What Are Dental Savings Plans?

Dental Savings Plans are membership based discount plans for dental health care. These plans are a great alternative to dental insurance, and plan members typically save between 10-60% on the regular price of dental care and treatments. By joining, you gain access to member only discounts that participating dental care providers have agreed upon. You pay the discounted rate directly to the dentist- no insurance needed!

What Do These Plans Cover?

This all depends on the practice, but typically they cover the following:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Restorative Dental Care
  • Specialist Dental Care
  • Preventative Dental Care

Talk with your dental office to see what they provide with their own membership plan.

Choosing a Plan That’s Right For You

One big plus of having a dental savings plan is that you have options. Simply by searching for the following, you can choose a plan that’s right for you:

  • By savings: Choose the plan that has the best overall savings
  • By dentist: Choose the plan that your dentist accepts
  • By procedure: Choose the plan you want based on your dental care needs.

Here at River Valley Dentistry, we want to make sure everyone has the option to get dental care. That’s why our dental savings plan can help you have peace of mind when you come to the dentist. To find out more about our membership plan, click here or call (423) 875-0600 for our Chattanooga office or (423) 803-4500 for our Ooltewah office. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the dental care you deserve.

Introduction to Different Types of Dentures

Dentures are a normal, everyday part of life for many people all over the world. In fact, we know they’ve been in use for thousands of years! The oldest record of denture use dates back to 700 BC in Northern Italy, and they were used throughout the years of the roman empire. So, if we’ve talked with you about dentures or you suspect you will need them, know that you’re not alone! Men and women have been wearing dentures through some of the most momentous events in history.

The cosmetic benefits of dentures are obvious, but they also can help people eat and speak, which is why they’ve been so popular for so much of the world’s history.

Did you know there are many different types of dentures? No matter how you lost your teeth, there’s a set of dentures that can help you look and feel normal again.

Here are some examples of the different types of dentures you and your dentist might decide to use, depending on your individual situation:

Full Dentures
When you hear the word “dentures”, you probably think of these. Full dentures are used to help a patient who’s lost most or all of their teeth. This type of denture needs to be custom-molded to your gums, so we may need to remove existing teeth if some are still left in place in your mouth. After your dentures are properly fitted, an adhesive is used to hold them in place over the course of each day. You’ll take them out and clean them every night.

Partial Dentures
Not every case of missing teeth is extreme enough to require a whole new set of dentures. When only certain portions of your teeth are missing, we may evaluate it together and consider a set of partial dentures. These not only help your teeth look natural, but also keep your remaining teeth from slowly drifting out of place and becoming crooked. Partial dentures are made of (1) a pink artificial root that matches the color of your gums, (2) false teeth to replace the missing ones, and (3) sometimes a clip or wire to hold everything in place.

Implant Supported Dentures
If you want your new smile to have a more solid foundation, you might consider implant-supported dentures. This style of denture includes four implants — titanium posts that fuse to your jawbone — which allow you to snap the dentures in and easily take them out for cleaning. The process of fitting and preparing implant supported dentures is more involved than fitting a set of traditional dentures, but the result is very convenient. This type of denture does not require the use of adhesive.

Our Goal is Your Beautiful Smile

We can help you find the right type of dentures for you, no matter what your situation. Modern dentures are more comfortable, convenient and realistic than ever before — the result of more than two thousand years of innovation! If you believe dentures might be a right fit for you, give us a call at (423) 875-0600 for our Chattanooga office or (423) 803-4500 for our Ooltewah office. We’ll be happy to talk with you about the different types of dentures and what the fitting will entail, so we can get your smile to look the way you want it to.

What Should You Know Before Getting Veneers?

What to Know Before Getting Dental Veneers

When it comes to improving your smile, veneers are one of the most effective solutions. They give you a fresh, new look without having to undergo something invasive like cosmetic surgery. These thin shell-like shells are made of porcelain and are attached to the front of teeth. There are many reasons why you might want to get a denture — from needing replacement teeth because of injury or an extracted tooth, to making your existing teeth look better and more uniform.

Like any type of procedure, there are some things you should know before getting dental veneers.

What You Can Expect When Getting Veneers

Getting dental veneers is a multi- step process that can take several weeks and a couple visits to your dentist.

Your dentist will evaluate your smile, then determine whether you’re a good candidate for veneers and discuss the plan for moving ahead. If you need any fillings or dental implants, these will have to be taken care of first.

Then, your dentist will prep your teeth by shaving a very thin layer of enamel off the front of your teeth. They will then take an impression of your teeth and create temporary veneers that will stay on your teeth until the permanent veneers are finished.

Once the final porcelain veneers are sculpted, you’ll return to the dentist to have them applied. The temporary veneers are removed and a bonding cement is applied to your teeth. Then, the permanent veneers are carefully installed and you’re ready to dazzle people with your new smile!

Caring for Your Veneers

After your procedure, your mouth and gums will likely be sore for a few days. The discomfort is completely normal and will pass as your mouth heals, but have some Tylenol on hand, just in case.

You should care for your veneers, just like you would your regular teeth- brush them twice a day and floss regularly. You should stay away from foods that might chip or crack your teeth. The better you take care of your teeth, the longer your veneers will last.

Most veneers will last 20 years, which, at that point, you’ll need to look into getting a new set due to regular wear and tear. If your veneers are damaged earlier than that, you will probably need to look into fixing them sooner.

Veneers Aren’t For Everyone

Getting veneers is an investment, so you’ll need to make sure that your finances are in order, or your insurance will help cover the cost.

Some other reasons why someone might not be able to get veneers are because they have a habit of teeth grinding, they have a crossbite or underbite, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, or severe tooth crowding.

If you’re wondering if dental veneers are a good choice for you, talk with your dentist. They’ll walk you through the steps of getting veneers and talk with you about if you’re a good candidate or not.

Give us a call today at (423) 875-0600 for the Chattanooga office or (423) 803-4500 for the Ooltewah office and we’ll get an appointment set up to discuss the possibility of you getting veneers!

What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?

Dental implants are changing the way we think about dental care. More and more people are discovering the great benefits that come with having one. But, what are they exactly? Every dentist has a different approach to the procedure of tooth replacement, but they all work in a similar way: by supporting a new tooth or crown. Here is a brief list explaining the most common types of dental implants.

Types of Implants

Each dental implant is different in terms of coating, connector and size options. However, while there are several methods to placing implants, the different types typically fall into one of two categories.

Endosteal (Endosseous) Implants: This is the most common type of dental implant. They are sometimes used as an alternative to a bridge or removable denture. Endosteal implants include screw types (threaded), cylinder types (smooth) or bladed types. Your dentist can help determine which type of dental implant will work best for you, but endosteal implants are safe, effective and the most popular choice used today.

For this type of implant, the dentist begins by drilling into the jawbone to insert a titanium screw, which acts as an artificial root. Before you can finish the treatment, you have to wait for the soft tissue and bone to heal around the root, which can take a couple of months. Endosteal implants are known for looking and feeling like natural teeth.

Subperiosteal Implants: Subperiosteal are hardly used today. They were once primarily used to hold dentures in place in patients with insufficient bone height. When subperiosteal implants are used, they are placed on the jawbone within the gum tissue, with the metal implant post exposed through the gums to hold the denture.

With subperiosteal implants, the overall treatment process is done in two appointments and is often a far shorter treatment plan than with an endosteal implant. However, subperiosteal implants don’t have the same level of stability since the implant doesn’t go into the jawbone but rather rests on top of the bone and is held in place by only soft tissue. This still gives more support than dentures without implants but is still less stable than a full endosteal implant system.

Dental implants are a great solution for people who suffer from tooth loss. Give us a call today to talk about which type of dental implant is best for you. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have!

Sedation: Making Your Dental Procedure as Comfortable as Possible

As we get older, we figure out that many things we didn’t like as children really were for our own good. Sometimes, we even end up liking some of those things, such as vegetables or early bedtime. But let’s be honest – sometimes when you’re sitting in your dentist’s waiting room listening to a poor eight-year-old boy throw a fit, you’re right there with him. Dental visits rarely end up being anyone’s favorite thing to do!

Even if going to the dentist doesn’t terrify you, the idea of a dentist visit can be nerve-wracking and uncomfortable for some people. About 15% of Americans are so intimidated by going to the dentist, they avoid it altogether – unfortunately for their teeth. Waiting to go to the dentist, or never going, can turn small dental issues into bigger, more complicated problems that are potentially more painful, too.

At River Valley Dentistry, we want you to know we understand coming to see us can seem intimidating, and we are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible. Among other things we do to welcome you to our office, we can make most procedures relatively painless, thanks to the power of modern medicine.

Usually, a local anesthetic is enough to manage your pain. However, for some people pain isn’t the only concern. Patients who suffer from anxiety, for example, may be concerned the discomfort of a procedure will cause elevated anxiety. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry! Sedation can make your visit a breeze!

Controlling Dental Pain: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia vs. Sedation

Dentists use three primary methods to manage patients’ pain and stress during procedures:

  • Local anesthesia: numbs the immediate area being worked on
  • General anesthesia: makes you unconscious for the duration
  • Sedative medication: calms you – dentists can choose different levels of sedative

Local anesthesia is applied with a swab or syringe directly to the skin or muscle in the area the dentist plans to work on. Some sedatives are released into the patient’s bloodstream through a needle or catheter inserted into a vein. Unlike general anesthesia, where the patient is entirely unconscious and may need assistance with their breathing and heartbeat, sedative medication can leave the patient in a semi-conscious state. This means the patient can respond to verbal commands and doesn’t need to be watched as closely.

Many sedatives leave the patient with no memory of the procedure, so they don’t have to worry they will have traumatic memories of the procedure. A combination of local anesthesia and sedative medication makes a patient’s experience both painless and more emotionally comfortable.

Oral sedatives (by mouth) often simply calm a person’s nerves a bit. These sedatives leave the patient fully conscious but help them relax during the dental procedure.

The type of sedation a dentist uses depends on individual needs of each patient.

Going to the dentist may not ever be one of your favorite things, but at River Valley Dentistry we have ways (including sedation) to ensure your dental visit is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about how we can accommodate you during your visit, or if you have specific questions about any procedure, give us a call at (423) 875-0600 for our Chattanooga location or (423) 803-4500 for our Ooltewah location, and we’ll be happy to ease your anxiety!

Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give River Valley Dentistry a call at (423) 875-0600 for our Chattanooga office or (423) 803-4500 for our Ooltewah office. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

The Pros and Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Many of us are obsessed with the way our teeth look. Think about it. What’s the first thing you notice about a person? For most of us, it’s the person’s teeth. Nevertheless, even though a lot of us are obsessed with teeth, ⅓ of Americans are dissatisfied with the way their teeth look.

That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in. Cosmetic dentistry can help improve your smile and overall dental health. However, there are pros and cons to cosmetic dentistry so we’ve compiled a list to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Cons of Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Sensitivity
While there are many good effects that come with cosmetic dentistry, there are also some that aren’t so great. Whitening your teeth can make your teeth sensitive to temperature, and you’re also encouraged to stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or berries.

When getting a crown, a dentist has to drill into your tooth, which can lead to gum recession and sensitivity. Implants have also been known to cause infections and post- surgery bleeding.

Permanence
Many of these procedures are permanent. You have to be completely certain that this procedure is right for you and it’s something you absolutely want because there’s no turning back once it is done.

Price
Many people don’t just have a disposable income available for cosmetic dentistry procedures, so price can be a major con for some. For instance, veneers can cost anywhere between $925 and $2,500 per tooth. Braces can cost up to $5,000 or more. Financing and insurance can help cover these costs, but not everyone has these options.

Pros of Cosmetic Dentistry

Health Boost
Kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, and even oral cancer are some serious consequences of bad oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are also issues to worry about with poor oral care. After receiving cosmetic dentistry, there is more motivation for the individual to take good care of their teeth, leading to a happier and healthier person.

Confidence Boost
The most obvious benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the confidence boost one gets from having a brighter, straighter smile. After any cosmetic dentistry procedure, you are guaranteed to feel better about your teeth. No more uncomfortable social situations trying to hide your smile.

Looking Younger
Having healthy teeth can help make you look younger. A youthful smile lights up your entire face and can completely change your outlook on life. Not only will you look younger, you’ll also feel younger, which is just as important.

Set up an appointment by calling our Chattanooga office at (423) 875-0600 or our Ooltewah office at (423) 803-4500 to talk with one of our dentists about if cosmetic dentistry is right for you. We’re here to answer any and all of your questions to help you make the step for better oral health and a more confident smile.

A Good-Looking Path to Better-Looking Teeth: Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

 

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (423) 875-0600 for our Chattanooga office or (423) 803-4500 for our Ooltewah office. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

What is the Process of Smile Design?

Smile design is a dental procedure that creates straighter, whiter, and a more naturally beautiful looking smile. Smile design can do wonders to a person’s confidence by helping them love their smile again, but it can also help restore full dental health to a person.

So how does it work?

First, you’ll talk with your cosmetic dentist to customize and plan for your own personal smile design. We’ll work with you to discuss any underlying dental issues and help you achieve your dental goals, whether that be a better smile or all around better dental health.

Then, we’ll help you create a timeline to help plan for any event or social function you want your smile design done by. From there, any dental diseases are taken care of and a dental hygiene visit is completed. Patients are encouraged to bring photos of how they want their teeth to look, either from celebrities or photos from their younger selves.

The patient and cosmetic dentist then sit down to discuss issues like arrangement of teeth, teeth position, and the overall effect this procedure will have on their appearance. They then make an individualized plan before the teeth are prepared.

Treatments

Each patient is different and the plan of action is made specifically for that individual. Common treatments include veneers, crowns and veneers, bridges, dentures, or implants. With these treatments, you’ll have your dream smile in no time!

Who can get a smile design?

Any person who wants to look younger is a great candidate for a smile design. This process can help take years off your appearance. Anyone who wants to have more confidence in their smile is also a good candidate.

 

Talk with your cosmetic dentist today to see if a smile design is right for you. Everyone deserves to have healthy looking teeth and have confidence in their smile. Here at River Valley Dentistry, we’re here to help give you that. Call our Chattanooga location at (423) 875-0600 or our Ooltewah location at (423) 803-4500 today to set up an appointment to start getting your smile design plan made.

Reasons to Visit a Cosmetic Dentist

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call our Chattanooga location at (423) 875-0600 or our Ooltewah location at (423) 803-4500 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.