Posts for: December, 2020
Protect your smile from dental issues as you age. Our senior care dental team can help.
It’s important that you are practicing good oral hygiene regardless of age; however, our San Jose, CA, dentist Dr. Nidhi Sikka understands the unique needs that seniors require when it comes to their oral health. Age puts us at risk for a variety of dental problems, and it’s important to protect your dental health in order to protect your general health. Here’s why you should make your dental health a top priority,
Protect Against Tooth Loss
Tooth loss becomes incredibly common as we age. In fact, by age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth! Periodontal disease and cavities are often to blame for tooth loss in seniors; however, these are problems that can be prevented with proper oral care and nutrition. Our San Jose, CA, dentist specializes in senior dental care, which involves providing recommendations and advice on special products, important habits and healthy lifestyle changes that can help support healthy teeth and gums in seniors.
Prevent Decay and Gum Disease
As you get older you are also more at risk for cavities and gum disease. If you deal with dry mouth, as many older adults do, this puts you at risk for decay. This is why it’s important to talk with our senior care dentist, Dr. Sikka, about ways to combat dry mouth to protect against cavities. With 2 out of 3 adults over age 65 dealing with gum disease (according to the CDC), it’s also crucial that you are not only flossing daily and brushing twice a day but that you are visiting the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. It’s the best way to prevent and even catch gum disease early when it’s easy to treat.
Detect Oral Cancer
Older adults, especially those who smoke or used to smoke (or used tobacco products, in general) are also at an increased risk for oral cancer. Fortunately, by coming into our office every six months for checkups we can perform a quick oral exam to look for sores, patches and other signs of oral cancer that you might overlook.
We understand just how important it is for our patients to get dental care, even during COVID-19. Of course, our San Jose, CA, senior care dentist Dr. Sikka and her team here at Sikka Dental also understand how important it is to protect our seniors who come into our office. Learn more about the extra safety precautions we are taking to keep all of our patients, including our high-risk seniors, healthy and safe. To schedule an appointment call us at (408) 259-1280.
If you're among the estimated 14 million families with a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA), New Year's Eve has an added meaning—that's typically the deadline for using any current year funds. Since any remaining money in your FSA could go poof at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, you might be looking for a way to spend it. If so, consider a dental health boost for you and your family.
FSAs were created in the 1970s by the U.S. Government as a salary benefit that employers could offer employees. Instead of receiving all of their pay as taxable income, employees could designate a portion of it (currently up to $2,650) in a non-taxable account to use for certain medical and dental expenses. An FSA thus provides families a way to pay for uncovered healthcare costs while saving on their taxes.
But because most FSAs expire by the end of the year and then restart with a fresh balance in the new year, there's a natural concern that you will “use or lose” remaining money. People thus begin looking for eligible expenses like treatments, prescribed medications or eyeglasses. They can't, however, use them for items like over-the-counter medical products (though some pain relievers get a pass this year because of COVID-19), as well as most things cosmetic.
The same generally holds true for dental expenses—you won't be able to use FSA funds for procedures like teeth whitening or veneers. Toothbrushes and other routine oral care products are also ineligible, although you may be able to buy items like a water flosser if your dentist issues you a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN).
Still, there's a wide range of eligible dental items you could pay for with remaining FSA funds.
Prevention measures. Any procedures or treatments intended to prevent disease are typically FSA-eligible. These can include measures like regular dental cleanings, sealants or fluoride applications.
Disease treatment. FSAs cover procedures like fillings, extractions, gum surgery or root canals. This could include repairing damage from disease through dental bonding or crowns, which might also improve your smile.
Dental restorations. Missing teeth restorations like bridgework, dentures or dental implants are also covered. These may improve your appearance, but they primarily restore disrupted dental function.
Out-of-pocket expenses. Although you can't pay for dental insurance premiums, an FSA may be able to help in other ways. You can use FSA funds for co-pays or any remaining out-of-pocket expenses.
If you're not sure what dental expenses might be eligible for FSA funds, give our office a call and we can provide you guidance. If FSA funds can help, you'll be able to improve your dental health—and possibly your appearance—before you ring in 2021.
If you would like more information about managing your dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation.
Do you need dental work done, but are worried about how much it may hurt? Sedation dentistry may be for you. Sleep dentistry offers all the benefits of the dental care that you need, without the excessive pain that may come with it. Dr. Nidhi Sikka offers sedation dentistry at her practice, Sikka Dental in San Jose, CA, to provide you with a relaxed, calm experience.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is a procedure that allows the dentist to work on the patient while the patient is under anesthesia. This method is suitable for those who have high anxiety concerning dental procedures, have very sensitive tissues, and move around in the chair.
Am I going to be overmedicated?
Your dentist will be able to discuss with you what your concerns are and adjust the pain management plan according to them. Some patients require only laughing gas which wears off and there are no major side effects after the procedure. Other individuals may require general anesthesia and need assistance getting home. Your dentist is your ally in figuring out what works for you.
I don’t like needles. Can I still be placed under sedation?
Yes, you can still receive sedation. The dentist will decide on some other form of administration to help you remain at ease during the procedure. Taking a few breaths before getting your work done also helps foster relaxation.
What are the benefits of sedation dentistry?
Because you are calm, a procedure that might have taken a while to complete will have felt like it only took minutes to perform. While you are sedated, there is a lack of tension that may prevent the dentist from reaching into areas that may be hard to clean or otherwise work on.
If sleep dentistry sounds right for you, contact Dr. Sikka at Sikka Dental in San Jose, CA. Reach out to us at (408) 259-1280 to set up an appointment. See you soon!
The NBA's reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo may seem unstoppable, but he proved no match for a troubled tooth. Antetokounmpo, the self-proclaimed “Greek Freak,” missed one of the final three 2020 regular season games for a dental issue that resulted in last-minute oral surgery. According to a Milwaukee Bucks spokesperson, the star underwent “a root-canal like procedure.”
Root canal therapy, often simply called “a root canal,” may be needed when there is an infection inside the tooth. When dental pulp becomes inflamed or infected, excruciating pain can result. Pulp is the soft tissue that fills the inside of the tooth. It is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. During root canal treatment, the pulp is removed, the space inside the tooth is disinfected, it is filled with a special material, and then the hole is sealed up.
A root canal is nothing to fear. It relieves pain by getting rid of infection and is so effective that over 15 million of them are performed in the U.S. each year. This routine procedure generally requires only local anesthetic, and your mouth should be back to normal within a day or two after treatment. Antetokounmpo can attest to that, as he returned to play the next day.
However, delaying root canal treatment when you need it can have serious consequences. If left untreated, an infection inside the tooth continues to spread, and it may move into the gums and jaw and cause other problems in the body. So, how do you know if you may need a root canal? Here are some signs:
Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. One sign of nerve damage inside your tooth is pain that is still there 30 seconds after eating or drinking something hot or cold.
Intense pain when biting down. You may feel pain deep within your tooth, or in your jaw, face or other teeth. The pain may be hard to pinpoint—and even if it improves at times, it usually comes back.
A chipped, cracked or discolored tooth. A chip or crack can allow bacteria to enter the tooth, and the tooth may darken if the tissue inside is damaged.
A pimple on the gum. A bump or pimple on the gum that doesn't go away or keeps coming back may signify that a nearby tooth is infected.
Tender, swollen gums. Swollen gums may indicate an infection inside the tooth or the need for periodontal treatment.
And sometimes there is no pain, but an infection may be discovered during a dental exam.
Tooth pain should never be ignored, so don't put off a dental visit when you have a toothache. In fact, if a bad toothache goes away, it could mean that the nerves inside the tooth have died, but the infection may still be raging. Also, be sure to keep up with your regular dental checkups. We may spot a small problem that can be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem that would require more extensive treatment.
Remember, for dental issues both large and small, we're on your team! If you would like more information about tooth pain, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”