All posts by AllSmiles

3 Ways to Make Dental Care More Affordable

I’m trying to find ways to make my dental visits more affordable. I have a new dentist whose recommendations are so different from my previous dentist. She asked me to schedule an appointment for a fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. My check-up appointments now have out-of-pocket expenses that are over $150.

Can I refuse the services my dentist is recommending, or should I search for a dentist whose fees are lower? Thanks. Daphne

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your dentist about affordable alternatives for care

Daphne – Your patient rights allow you to refuse any dental service, but before you do, there are several factors to consider.

  • Speak to your dentist. Ask her why it’s important for you to have fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. Adults who are at risk for decay or who have sensitive teeth still benefit from fluoride. Most dentists will do a full face x-ray (panoramic x-ray) every three to five years. But if you’re in a high-risk category, have bone loss, or have been considering orthodontics or dental implants, your dentist will request new x-rays before recommending treatment.
  • Avoid referring to the additional services as unnecessary. Listen carefully to your dentist’s explanation about why you need each treatment that she recommends. It could be that her philosophy on preventive care, although different from your previous dentist, is better for your oral health. Although the cost of care might be more expensive at her practice, you might have better long-term results.
  • Get a second opinion. You may have to switch to a dentist who thoroughly explains your treatment options and what you can expect from them. But don’t base your decisions about dental care on cost alone.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano affordable dentist.

5 Facts about Stubborn Canker Sores If You Can’t Afford a Dentist

Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) are small painful sores inside your mouth that occur frequently. They are not contagious. Although a sore will usually go away on its own, what if it doesn’t? And what can you do to treat it at home if you can’t afford a dentist?

What Causes a Canker Sore?

Although the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, a variety of factors can trigger it, including:

  • Irritation in the mouth by things such as aggressive brushing or dental work
  • Oral injury
  • Sensitivities to food or sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Stress and hormonal changes
  • Certain diseases, including celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome

What Are the Symptoms and Signs?

If a canker sore is developing, you will feel oral pain or burning. In a day or two, the sore will appear. The sore is a slight bump that is round or oval. The center is usually yellowish gray, and the border is red.

How Long Will It Last?

A sore usually lasts four to seven days. If your sore lingers, or if it gets worse, you might need to see a dentist.

What Can You Do About It?

What if you can’t afford a dentist? You can try over-the-counter pastes such as Anbesol that contain benzocaine, which will help speed the healing process and make the sore less painful.

What If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work?

If your efforts to treat the sore don’t help—or if it’s getting worse—schedule an appointment with a dentist for an examination. You may need a prescription for oral or topical medication or mouth rinse. It is possible that the sore is not a canker sore, but your dentist can make that determination. If your budget is limited and you don’t have dental insurance, ask the office representative what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS

Will Sedation Dentistry Make you Nauseous?

I’ve heard that dental sedation can make you sick. I’ve never had a reaction to any kind of medication, but I’m worried. Obviously, I don’t want to throw up at the dental office, but what I’m really concerned about is what happens when I go home. Is there a real risk of vomiting and choking while I’m still drowsy at home, or am I just overly anxious?

Thanks, Jordan

Jordan,

It might help you to have a better understanding of how sedation dentistry works.

Varying Levels of Dental Sedation

Head-to-waist photo of a brunette woman outdoors and stretching backward with her eyes closed; for information on relaxing with sedation dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Nitrous oxide. You’ve probably heard it referred to as laughing gas. Nitrous oxide is the lowest level of sedation. It is fast-acting, administered in the office, and wears off quickly. It works well for anxious patients and gives you a sense of well-being. Research shows that after receiving nitrous oxide for a medical procedure, nausea is not a concern for most patients. The risk of nausea increases with longer procedures. But dental-office procedures are usually short, so you will be less likely to have an issue.

The good news is that nitrous oxide wears off before you leave the office, so you won’t be drowsy when you leave the dental office. To minimize the chances of feeling nauseous, avoid eating a large meal before your appointment.

Oral conscious sedation. Your dentist will give you oral medication to take in advance of your dental appointment. Oral conscious sedation is often used along with nitrous oxide. The types of medication that dentists prescribe vary, from sedatives to anti-anxiety medication and even antihistamines. Your dentist will likely have a list of preferred medications to help patients relax. Nausea is a potential side-effect with many medications. You will likely be advised not to eat after midnight before your appointment. Your dentist will also recommend that you have an adult with you for the rest of the day as the medication wears off.

IV sedation. This highest level of sedation has similar side-effects as oral conscious sedation. It provides a deeper state of relaxation, but unlike general anesthesia, you will still be conscious. You will need to arrange for transportation to and from your dental appointment.

Minimizing the Risk of Nausea

If you don’t have a history of nausea with medications, you probably won’t have any issues with dental sedation. It is also worth noting that most cases of nausea don’t result in vomiting. You can minimize the risk by following instructions on whether or not you can eat before. You can speak with your dentist about your concerns, and he or she will explain what you can expect before, during, and after your dental procedure.

This blog is sponsored by Plano sedation dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Teeth whitening isn’t helping the white spots left after braces

I got my braces off in late February. I’ve been waiting to see how the color of my teeth would turn out. They are a mix of beige and white. There are white spots in most of the places where the brackets were on my teeth. This is really embarrassing. I kept telling people that my braces would be off soon. So everyone is looking at my teeth and they are spotted! I am using free whitening strips that my sister got from her dentist but they are not helping. What should I do now? – Charleigh

Charleigh,

The issue you’re having with white spots on your teeth after braces is common, but should you try to treat the stains yourself? Consider a few facts.

What Causes Stains on Teeth after Braces?

Stains on teeth after braces are often a result of a process called decalcification.

  • Decalcification starts with dental plaque. If you don’t maintain diligent oral hygiene each day, bacteria will cling to your teeth and result in a buildup of sticky dental plaque.
  • As you eat food, the bacteria will feed off of the sugar in food and produce more bacteria.
  • An acidic reaction from the bacteria gradually dissolves your tooth enamel.
  • The decalcification of your tooth enamel leaves a white spot that, if left untreated, will weaken the enamel and create a cavity. The cavity will continue to spread until it is treated.

Reasons the Free Teeth Whitening Gel Isn’t Working

Decalcification is a result of bacteria and decay. It’s not a stain that teeth whitening can remove.

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth whitening might not the be answer for white spots on teeth
  • If there is sufficient carbamide peroxide (bleaching agent) in whitening gel, your natural teeth will be whitened, but the spots from decalcification will remain.
  • Remember that the white spots on your teeth are the beginning stages of a cavity. Teeth whitening gel can penetrate the area and create sensitivity.
  • Bleaching your teeth might make the stains even more noticeable.

What’s the Solution?

  • An examination is needed – It’s best to have your teeth examined by a dentist. He or she will examine them, determine the cause of the stains, and recommend treatment.
  • Cavities should be treated – The decalcification and any cavities in your teeth will need to be treated before you receive treatment to brighten your teeth.
  • Dental bonding can help – Although bleaching your teeth might be not the solution for the white spots, dental bonding can help. A cosmetic dentist can blend shades of dental composite to match the shade of your natural teeth.
  • Stop trying to correct it yourself – We recommend that you stop trying to whiten your own teeth. The results you can expect are unpredictable, particularly because of the decalcification.

It’s best to get professional help in treating the stains.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.

3 Things to Remember When Choosing a Sedation Dentist

You can schedule the appointment, but you also keep rescheduling it. You drive to the dentist’s office, but you can’t get out of the car. If anyone in the dental office comes near your mouth, you grab their hand. All of these factors likely indicate that you have dental anxiety or dental phobia. A sedation dentist can help.

If you really want to take care of your oral health, but dental appointments make you nervous, a sedation dentist can help. Don’t have one? Before you select a sedation dentist based on an online search or how close the dental office is to your home or office, there are three things to remember.

1. You need to like and trust the dentist

If you don’t like or trust a dentist in general, you probably won’t trust him or her to provide you with sedation before a dental appointment. Choose two or three experienced sedation dentists, schedule time to check out the office and meet the dentist and staff members. Pay attention to how they treat you and treat each other. If you’re comfortable, schedule an appointment for an exam.

2. What levels of sedation are offered?

There are three levels of sedation—nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral
conscious sedation, and IV sedation. An option is chosen based on your anxiety level, the length or complexity of the dental procedure, and what levels of sedation the dentist offers. Find out which levels a dentist offers. Ask for details about how the dentist administers sedation and what you can expect. Also, ask about his or her training in sedation dentistry.

3. It gets better

Head-towaist photo of a brunette woman outdoors and stretching backward with her eyes closed; for information on relaxing with sedation dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Many patients who receive sedation dentistry find that over time, they are less nervous for future appointments. Some patients require sedation less frequently or are able to switch to a lower level of sedation.

Cooperate with your sedation dentist by sharing the history of your dental anxiety. Ask questions to learn about your options. Remember that it is possible to relax, keep your dental appointments, and maintain good oral health.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS.

How Can You Get Affordable Dentistry Without Dental Insurance?

I’m wondering what my options are for finding cheap dental care without insurance. In June 2018, I was laid off from my job. In March of this year, I was hired by as a contractor, so I don’t qualify for benefits. I admit that I haven’t taken the best care of my teeth. My stressful employment situation has increased my teeth grinding habit, and last week I felt a tooth crack while I was asleep. I realize that something needs to be done before the crack spreads. Is it possible to get cheap dental care even though I don’t have insurance, or is the issue too serious for treatment to be affordable?

Thanks, Kleo

Dear Kleo,

We understand how your economic difficulties can cause stress and contribute to increased bruxism (teeth grinding) and additional issues with your teeth. We have a few suggestions you can consider to receive the dental care you need even though you don’t have insurance.

Avoid Cheap Dental Care

It’s probably best to avoid seeking cheap dental care. If a dentist is able to significantly cut costs, you should consider if it will include shortcuts and compromising the quality of dental care you receive.

Find Quality Care You Can Afford

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your dentist’s office how care can be made affordable
  • You can get dental insurance on your own. Major insurers have policies similar to what is offered through an employer, including the level of coverage. Your premiums will cost more than they would if the insurance was provided through an employer who subsidized the premium costs.
  • Find a dental practice that offers special financial arrangements. Call a few dental offices and ask if they offer a cash discount or if the practice partners with a financing company like CareCredit®. CareCredit offers interest-free payment plans if you pay off the balance within a specified time period, otherwise, you might owe retroactive interest.
  • Receive treatment in phases. If you need multiple procedures, your dental office can provide a treatment plan and let you know the order in which you should receive each procedure. Often treatment can be provided in phases if it doesn’t compromise your oral health.
  • Tell your new dentist about your teeth grinding habit. You can cause further damage to your teeth if they aren’t protected from teeth grinding. They can break, loosen, and create issues with your jaw muscles. Your dentist will provide you with a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. You can also learn techniques to keep your tongue, lips, and jaw in the optimal position to prevent teeth grinding throughout the day.

 In summary:

  • Search for high-quality dental care.
  • View each dentist’s website or call the office for information on payment options if you don’t have dental insurance.
  • Schedule a consultation with at least two dentists to discuss your oral health, treatment options, and if the treatment can be completed in phases.

 This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy, an affordable female dentist in Plano, TX.

How Long Do Teeth Whitening Gel and Trays Last?

Almost 2 years ago, I took advantage of a free teeth whitening promo offered by a new dentist. I had new patient cleaning and exam. They took impressions of my teeth, made custom trays for me, and gave me whitening gel. I haven’t returned to that dentist because the office environment was unprofessional. It’s a family dentist but I don’t feel comfortable taking my daughter there. Are the trays and gel good for life? I didn’t use it right away. I actually put the supplies in the cabinet below my bathroom sick and forgot about it. Is it still safe to use? And will it work? D.L.

D.L.,

The trays you received with your free teeth whitening kit should be good for life if you have kept them in their protective case and have not experienced any of the following issues:

  • The alignment of your teeth has changed
  • You’ve recently received a considerable amount of dental work
  • The bleaching trays are damaged

You can rinse the bleaching trays, place them on your teeth, and check them for fit.

Is It Save to Use the Free Teeth Whitening Gel?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Custom teeth whitening trays can last for many years

Most whitening gel lasts about a year after it is made. If it is kept in the refrigerator, the gel can still be good for use a little longer than a year. Over time the gel oxidizes and loses its potency. The gel will begin to look white or foggy if it is old. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is dangerous to use, but it probably won’t whiten your teeth.

Dentists offer quality teeth whitening, so the tubes you received probably have the manufacturer’s name on them as well as the gel type. You can search online for the guidelines for using the gel. If you can’t find any information, it’s probably best to throw away the gel.

Custom bleaching trays cost more than gel. If you are keeping up with your dental appointments for cleanings and exams, tell your current dentist that you already have custom trays. He or she might be willing to offer you the gel at no cost or for a reasonable fee.

 This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy of Plano, TX offers free teeth whitening to patients who maintain regular dental exams and cleanings.

3 Things to Consider When Getting an Affordable Dental Crown

A dental crown protects a badly damaged tooth. Left untreated, the tooth can become infected and eventually need to be extracted. But is it possible to find an affordable crown that will last?

Depending on your dentist and where you live in the U.S., the cost of a dental crown can vary. But the average cost is $800-$1800. If you have dental insurance, your insurance company can provide you with the average cost of a crown in your area.

What about an Affordable Dental Crown?

The purpose of a dental crown is to protect a tooth. Several steps are involved:

  • Your natural tooth must be precisely shaved to ensure the crown covers it.
  • Accurate impressions of your natural tooth need to be taken to ensure the crown fits and doesn’t disturb adjacent teeth.
  • The crown must be correctly bonded to your natural tooth to ensure it is stable and doesn’t hurt when you bite down.
  • The way your teeth fit together—your bite—must be properly measured.

If your goal is to find an affordable dentist, your choice should not be based solely on cost. If a dentist takes shortcuts or gives you a cheap crown, the results can be costly in time, your oral health, and money.

Before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns, which are available from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
An affordable crown should still look natural

What Are the Risks?

A cheap dental crown can result in several problems, including:

  1. Your bite – If your bite is off, it can put too much pressure on the crown and cause it to crack. You’ll have to spend time and money getting another crown.
  2. Complications – TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues can result from can bite can cause jaw, head, ear, and neck pain. TMJ treatment can include therapy and a nighttime mouthguard, both of which will cause additional expense.
  3. Improper bonding –  If proper bonding techniques are not used, the crown can come off. The crown can be lost, or you’ll need an additional appointment for re-bonding. You could need a new crown.

What’s Next?

Don’t act hastily. Ask friends and family members for a recommendation of a dentist. Many people have dental crowns, and someone you know might have received a quality crown from a skilled dentst. An affordable dentist will work with your budget through payment plans or financing to ensure you can pay for treatment. But avoid cheap dentistry. It puts your oral health at risk.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Thinking about Whitening Your Own Teeth for Free?

Are you thinking about whitening your teeth without having to pay a dentist? Some people think that as long as they get a good product, completing their own treatment is the next best thing to free teeth whitening. But how do you know which bleaching gel to use? And what results can you expect?

It Starts with the Trays

Before you consider which brand of bleaching gel to use, keep in mind that custom whitening trays will give you the best results. Why use custom trays?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
You’ll get better result with custom teeth whitening trays
  • Precise fit – Custom whitening trays are made from impressions of your teeth. They will fit precisely to maximize the whitening treatment.
  • Results – The trays will keep bleaching gel in contact with your teeth and away from your gums. You won’t have to worry about wasting gel.
  • Comfort – Since the trays are the exact shape of your teeth, the bleaching process will be comfortable. The bleaching gel won’t burn your lips or gums. You can read, relax, or watch a movie without trying to keep a one-size-fits-all tray on your teeth and away from your lips and gums. There is no mess to clean up with custom trays.

And Now the Teeth Whitening Products

So which product will you use? There are so many whitening products available. If you search online, you can even find free teeth whitening kits. But what results can you expect?

  • Whitening strips – The strength of over-the-counter whitening strips is limited because they don’t require the supervision of a dentist. The most potent whitening strips are a fraction of the strength professional bleaching gel.
  • Brush-on gel – This bleaching gel is brushed on your teeth. There are many brands available. Based on the common ingredients, you can expect a mild whitening effect. Like whitening strip, it is not as effective as professional-strength bleaching gel.
  • Opalescence or Zoom Nite White – Some dentists use these brands. They are available in various strengths for comfortable whitening. If you have sensitive teeth, a less potent gel will be used. Within two weeks your teeth will be dramatically whiter. These high-potency gels contain carbamide peroxide, one of the most effective whitening agents, and should be administered by a dentist.
  • Snow® whitening – Snow teeth whitening is a popular brand that is advertised on TV. It also ranks highly on Google search. After painting on bleaching gel, you will place a tray over your teeth that will shine an LED light on them. The idea is that the light will boost the whitening process. But does it work? It’s difficult to find information on the website about the ingredients in the bleaching gel. And no studies are published on the Snow website.

If you want safe, effective whitening, the best way to get it is from your dentist. If you want free teeth whitening treatment, even some dentists provide it if you maintain your cleaning and exam appointments.

But if you’re determined to do your own teeth whitening, ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, and use caution in your product selection

This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy of Plano, TX.

3 Reasons Not to Sedate Yourself before a Dental Appointment

Head and shoulders photo of a man and woman lying in a field of flowers, for information on sedation dentistry from Plano TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Sedation dentistry helps you relax

Some estimates show that 80% of Americans have at least some anxiety about dental appointments. Sedation dentistry can help. In Plano, TX Dr. Miranda Lacy is a female dentist who provides sedation to help you remain calm and have productive dental visits. But should you sedate yourself before your dental appointment? Doing so can be risky. And there are several reasons you should allow your dentist provide medication to help you relax.

1. How Much Sedation Do You Need?

Your dentist can make an accurate determination. There are several factors that affect how much sedation you need.

  • Complexity and length of your dental procedure
  • Your anxiety level
  • Your medical and prescription history

If you decide to self-medicate for sedation before your dental appointment, you can take too much or too little of the medication. Either condition won’t agree with your dental procedure.

  • Too little – You won’t be relaxed enough, and your dentist won’t be able to proceed with treatment.
  • Too much – You won’t be able to respond to your dentist’s questions or instructions.
  • Adequate sedation – It relaxes you enough to relieve anxiety, yet allows you to respond to your dentist during treatment. It also decreases your sensitivity to pain. Your relaxed state will increase the amount of dental work that can be completed in a single visit.

2. Will Your Own Anti-Anxiety Medication Work?

Dr. Lacy provides sedation with either nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation.

  • Nitrous oxide – It is colorless, odorless gas, also known as laughing gas. You breathe it in to achieve a sense of calmness and well-being.
  • Oral conscious sedation – Dr. Lacy will give you an anti-anxiety pill to take in advance of your appointment.

If you already take anti-anxiety medication, let Dr. Lacy know the name of the medication, dosage, and how often you take it.

3. What about DIY Sedation before a Dental Appointment?

There are various ways that people try to sedation themselves before a dental appointment. But you shouldn’t try any of them.

  • Smoking – Smoking of any kind—whether it’s tobacco or marijuana—causes inflammation and slows down the healing process. Depending on the type of dental procedure you receive (e.g., dental implants to replace missing teeth, extractions), your dentist will recommend that you stop smoking at least a few weeks before. Mental impairment from smoking marijuana can affect your judgment if the dentist asks you to make an unexpected decision during a dental procedure.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol can thin blood, inhibit blood clotting, depress the central nervous system, and cause rapid or irregular heartbeat. Those factors can negatively affect any dental procedure. Don’t use alcohol to help you relax before a dental appointment.
  • Prescribed sedatives – You must fully disclose your current prescriptions, prescription history, frequency, and dosage when you complete patient forms for the dentist. Even if you’re an existing patient, keep your dentist informed about any new medications you take. A record of your prescriptions will help Dr. Lacy determine which type of sedation medication to use for your dental appointment. If necessary, she will consult with the prescribing doctor.

Sedation dentists are trained to safely administer medication before your dental appointment. Don’t try to do it yourself. If you’re interested in learning about your options, call us to request an appointment, or complete our Request an Appointment form.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female sedation dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.