Type 2 Diabetes and Your Overall Health

For years my hygienists and I have been stressing the importance of oral health to our patients, especially when we discover inflamed gum tissue, or worse, infection into the bone that supports your teeth. If you don’t keep your oral health in good shape, meaning brushing and flossing at least twice a day, it can affect more areas of your body than just your mouth.

“A recent study suggests “treating chronic gum inflammation” may help people with type 2 diabetes “control their disease.” The study of 264 people with type 2 diabetes and periodontitis found that “over the course of a year, patients who got intensive periodontal treatment from dentists saw improvements not just in their blood glucose levels but in the health of their kidneys and blood vessels, too.” Study leader Dr. Francesco D’Aiuto said, “While more research is needed to explore the exact mechanisms” by which treating periodontitis can help people with diabetes, “a reduction of systemic inflammation…is the most plausible link.” The findings were published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.”

Make sure you see us twice a year for regular cleanings and exams, brush and floss twice daily with no short cuts (I know you know what I mean) and keep those gums and teeth healthy. This is the best way to prevent oral bacteria from circulating in your blood stream causing problems that can have long term consequences.

Dr. Rob Thorup

Why We Battle Dental Insurance For You

Just when I thought I had seen it all, we get another amazing statement of denial for needed dental treatment. As most of my patients know, we document, x-ray, photograph, and write-up all the reasons for needed treatment. We literally prove the need for treatment beyond question. Yet apparently the insurance companies are now using tactics to simply deny covered treatment regardless of the obvious.

So, what do we do in our office on behalf of our patients? We go to battle. We are finding ourselves requesting more and more conversations with the dental insurance advising dentist. This is the person who can overturn the denied claim. This peer-to-peer conversation is usually enough to change the denial as you are looking at x-rays and photographs with a colleague. However, they have internal rules and regulations that bind them from doing the right thing. We see that all too often. But most of the time they are reasonable.

So why are dental insurance companies making us do this? It’s common knowledge that a percentage of offices will not go to battle on behalf of their patients and just collect balances from them. And dental offices have the right to do so as it’s not our responsibility to beg for payment from a third party for dental services rendered.

The problem is simply this, dental insurance companies have to be profitable, just like any other business. This is a common stall tactic to leave money in their companies for quarterly earnings reports. They have money coming in from premiums and can’t pay out more money than they take in.

Bottom line, when dental treatment is denied, we request a direct phone call from their advising doctor on our patient’s behalf. Hopefully they still have all the necessary pictures, probing depths, and notes to prove the need for treatment. Sometimes those are “conveniently” lost. We even go to the extent of having our patients on a three-way call with their insurance company so that they, the insurance company, can explain to our patient why they are denying covered treatment, especially when it’s obviously needed. So, don’t be surprised when we ask you to help us help you.

What can the patient do? File a complaint with their Human Resource department. You are the customer of that insurance company and actually hold more authority than we do. Most important, you deserve the coverage you’ve paid for. Don’t let them get away with not covering your oral health care when it’s needed.

Dr. Rob

Needle-Free Numbing for Dentistry

Most of the time when dental treatment is needed, the dentist will need to numb the part of your mouth where treatment is needed. The medicine that numbs the mouth is called local anesthetic.

There are two types numbing techniques that the dentist can perform. The first type will usually consist of a numbing gel on the injection site, followed by the actual injection. This is the most common type of numbing. The second type of numbing is delivered with a nasal spray, which doesn’t require a needle. But this type has limitations as it only numbs a limited area of the mouth.

There are two types of zones your dentist can numb. The first type numbs an entire area of your mouth, like your front upper ten teeth, or one entire side of your lower jaw. The second type is an infiltration where a much smaller zone is numbed. Either type can last anywhere from thirty minutes to six hours or more. As most know, speech can be challenging after dental work, and eating is not recommended until the numbness is completely gone.

There are many types of local anesthetic that your dentist can use. The type of dental procedure you are in need of will usually determine the kind of local anesthetic your dentist will choose, and the costs involved with each. Most important is making sure you are as comfortable as possible when receiving your needed dental care.

Kovanaze is the first FDA-approved no-needle anesthetic given via nasal spray. It offers patients a safe and effective, needle-free alternative to numb selective teeth for restorative dental procedures. Patients usually do not experience the same sensations of numbness or tingling of the lips and cheeks associated with traditional injections, which is preferable after dental procedures.

-The world’s first intranasal dental anesthetic
-FDA approved

Dr. Rob

Periodontal Disease and You

The best treatment for periodontal disease is to prevent it from even happening. Brushing and flossing twice a day, with regular dental cleanings and exams are very important to the prevention of periodontal disease.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, please understand premature tooth loss may not be your only problem or concern. Periodontal disease may also be linked to other health problems.

Heart Disease
Several studies have shown periodontal disease is associated with heart disease. While the exact cause/effect relationship has not currently been identified, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.

Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke.

Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, and periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Systemic Diseases
Research has shown periodontal disease may be linked to osteoporosis due to loss in bone density.
Research has also shown bacteria that causes periodontal disease can be aspirated into the lungs causing lung diseases such as pneumonia.
And lastly, researchers found that patients with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.

Periodontal Disease Treatment Management

The treatment of periodontal disease is generally a process. After we complete a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, which includes evaluating the bone and soft tissues around your teeth, my hygienists and I will determine whether periodontal disease is present or not.

If periodontal disease is present in your mouth, our dental team will provide you with the necessary treatment which may/will consist of:

-Scaling and Root Planning (extensive cleaning of the teeth)
-Antibiotic therapies directly/indirectly placed between the teeth and gums
-Laser periodontal therapy
-Oral mouth rinse and instructions
-Educational training of periodontal disease processes and their prevention
-Home care tactics and strategies

It is imperative you follow the home care instructions you will be given, as the cessation of periodontal disease is a team approach by both the patient and dental team.

If the periodontal disease process is not completely reversed, other treatment modalities may need to be implemented, such as gum and bone surgery to maintain the bone structure surrounding the tooth root, thus improving your oral health.
However, most patients respond well to periodontal disease treatment management procedures, thus preventing the need for periodontal surgery.

Good Oral Health Begins With You

We want all of our awesome patients to have healthy mouths. We know that great oral health care can also benefit your overall health. Oral health takes a team, and it starts with you. Brushing and flossing morning and night, regular dental cleanings and exams, and healthy eating is critical to good oral health care.

Thank you for allowing us to be part of your oral health team!

Your Team at Thorup Dental
Dr. Rob, Chelsie, Jenna, Kirsten, and Nichelle