Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Mis-understandings about Dental Curing Lights

The units that cause dental materials, such as composites, sealants, and cements, to set or polymerize in the mouth. These units produce a visible blue light that these materials absorb, causing them to set.

Every dental curing light today is a visible blue light and does not produce ultraviolet light, which would not generally be safe for you, or the patient. So these lights are not UV lights. The confusion arises from the fact that dental curing lights once were UV lights. The inventor of this system was not familiar with visible light curing chemistry at the time, and therefore selected UV chemistry, which was quickly replaced by blue, visible light curing chemistry.

Today we have two different kind of curing lights, those that are halogen (bulb) lights and those that are LED (light emitting diode). The LED lights do not themselves produce heat, unlike the older bulb lights that come with cooling fans. This unit unlike an LED can get really, and I mean really hot.

Some of the current high powered lights are recommended to cure a material within one second. These lights put out a tremendous power (4000 mW/cm2) compared to typical lights that emit either 600 or 1200 mW/cm2 and are recommended to cure a material within 20 seconds. The big difference between these high powered units and the typical units is that the material is forced to set all at once with no heat dissipation during the curing time. This amount of heat build up is sufficient to cause skin burns and tissue damage.

Several clinicians and researchers speak of how the material reacts to this instant cure, whether the material has internal stresses built-up, or not, and whether a ramping up of curing is preferred to reduce these "internal" stresses. There is some disagreement about this. However, I think this misses the point that it should be the heat build-up in the tooth and surrounding tissue that we should be of most concern.

Remember that when we cure dental materials that the patient is often anesthetized and can not feel this heat. My recommendation is to avoid the ultra high powered lights that promise to cure something in 1 to 3 seconds. Take a little more time, or at least move such a high powered light further back off the tooth and then slowly bring the light closer to your normal curing distance. This will avoid another possible source of post operative sensitivity.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tips on Choosing Dental Insurance

Dental insurance will cost you much less in premiums than health insurance, but of course there’s a catch. Most health insurance policies cover a hefty percentage of even towering expenses once you’ve paid your deductible. But dental insurance policies have an annual limit to coverage, from $1000 to $1500 a year, along with a $50 to $100 deductible. While plans may pay 80% to 100% of exams, x-rays and cleanings, when it comes to crowns, root canals and gum-disease treatments by in-network dentists the benefit may be only 50% of the cost. Some procedures, such as orthodontia and cosmetic dentistry, are not covered at all.

Tips on Choosing Dental Insurance

1.Find Out If You Can Get Group Coverage
The great majority of people with dental insurance have benefits through their employer or other group coverage programs such as AARP, Affordable Care Act marketplace health insurance policies or public programs such as Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and TriCare for the military.

2. Check Into Individual Policies
More expensive than group policies – and often with more limited benefits – individual policies (whether you're buying one just for yourself or for your family) often have waiting periods for major procedures. If you’re thinking of signing up for a plan “just in time” because you need implants or a new set of dentures, realize that insurers are well aware of that tactic and institute a waiting period of perhaps a year before you can start using certain benefits.

3. Examine the List of Dentists in the Network 
Indemnity insurance plans allow you to use the dentist of your choice, but the common PPO and HMO plans limit you to dentists in their networks. If you have a dentist you like, ask which insurance and discount plans he or she accepts. If you’re OK with using a new dentist, a PPO or HMO might fit your needs.

4.Know What the Policy Covers
In order to budget for dental expenses, it's important to carefully review the policies you’re considering. For example, from the time your insurance begins, AARP Delta policies cover gum cleanings, denture repairs, restorations, oral surgery and root canals. But you need to wait until your second year of coverage to get benefits for gum-disease treatment, crown and cast restorations, dental implants or dentures. Even then, the benefit is limited to 50% of costs.

The Bottom Line
The bright spot of dental insurance is that coverage is good for preventive care, such as check ups, cleanings and dental x-rays (though x-rays may be covered less frequently than eager dentists want to take them). Adults and children with dental benefits are more likely to go to the dentist, receive restorative care and experience greater overall health, according to a report by the National Association of Dental Plans. Purchasing insurance may well motivate you to get preventive care and avoid more expensive and uncomfortable procedures.

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