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Today is the Day: Don’t Forget to Select Your Houston Main Dental Home!

Today is the deadline for Medicaid and CHIP patients to select their main dentist and main dental home.  Letters and forms were sent out to Medicaid and CHIP patients and/or their parents several months ago.  Texas is now using managed care for Medicaid and CHIP dental benefits.  So, patients eligible for CHIP and Medicaid must choose one of three dental managed care plans and then select a main dentist from the plan they choose.  If you enjoy having Summit Dental Center as your main dental home and wish to continue to receive quality service and continuity of dental care, then don’t forget to make this important choice.  Summit Dental Center is a provider on all three managed care plans, so pick the plan that best suits your family.  Please let us continue to provide you and your family with quality dental care, or if you’re not a Summit Dental Center patient, give us the chance to care for your family. [Read more…]

HURRY! TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

Attention Houston CHIP and Medicaid dental patients! You’ve probably heard that April 30th is the deadline for selecting your main dental home.  Nobody likes paperwork, but this is important and really painless to take care of.  In order to keep Summit Dental Center as your child’s main dental home and to keep the same great level of care, you need to make an election now – otherwise the Texas Department of Health and Human Services will make that election for you.  Everyone wants to make their own choices, so please take a minute and let Summit Dental Center continue as your family’s dentist.  If you have questions about how to do this, please contact our office. [Read more…]

Topical and Local Anesthetics for Houston Dental Patients

When patients come into one of Summit Dental Center’s seven Houston offices for more invasive dental care, a topical and/or local anesthetic may be used to control discomfort the patient may feel.  Dentists commonly apply topical anesthetics to tissue in the mouth to numb the area before giving a shot, and in some cases to ease the pain of mouth sores.  The most common active ingredient in topicals (also known as “numbing gel”) is benzocaine.  Topical anesthetics are generally applied with a sanitary swab, but some come in a spray form.  For topical anesthetics to be most effective, they should be left on the tissue for about two minutes before a shot is administered.  Novocain® is a local anesthetic that was developed in 1905; while it is still used as a local anesthetic, dentists now also use lidocaine because it is faster acting and longer lasting for some patients.  Local anesthetics such as Novocain and lidocaine are given through an injection directly to the area of the mouth where the dentist will work.  Once the local begins working patients will feel numb.  While locals block the nerve cells that create pain sensations, the patient will still feel some pressure while the dentist is performing his/her work.  When you come in for your appointment, be sure to let your hygienist and dentist know about all medications and supplements you’re taking, as well as any changes in your health history.  That way they can be sure to use anesthetics that are appropriate for you. [Read more…]

Narcotic Analgesics and Houston Dental Treatment

Sometimes non-narcotic analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen are not enough to help the patient with his/her dental pain, and that is why Houston dentists have access to additional forms of pain control such as narcotics.  Because narcotics have a more significant impact on the patient, only a licensed physician, such as your Summit Dental Center dentist, may dispense and prescribe them, and this is done under supervision.  This is because some people abuse narcotics.  The narcotic elements in these pain drugs are designed to act on the patient’s central nervous system to relieve pain.  One example of a narcotic analgesic is codeine.  Following a root canal or other oral surgery, the patient may be given a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, which must be filled at a pharmacy, and the prescribing dentist carefully controls refills.  Tomorrow’s bog post will discuss both topical and local anesthetics that help patients while they are in the midst of treatment. [Read more…]

Houston Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies never happen at a convenient time, but Summit Dental Center has you covered with seven Houston dental office locations – some with expanded hours.  though emergencies occur after hours, but you should make arrangements to see your dentist as soon as possible to avoid associated discomfort, injury to the mouth and/or tooth, and to avoid more costly repairs down the road.  The following are dental problems that require attention immediately or as soon as possible:  knocked out tooth; chipped tooth; partially dislodged tooth; lost filling; lost crown; tooth abscess; and, injuries to the gums, cheeks, or lips that cause bleeding.  Summit Dental Center will work with you to get you in to see your dentist just as soon as possible, but there are some temporary remedies you can perform at home until you can get in to see us.  We will discuss those further this week. [Read more…]

Analgesics and Dental Treatment in Houston

Yesterday’s blog post was dedicated to patients who fear the dentist and how Summit Dental Center can help them feel more comfortable with analgesics, local anesthetics, and even general anesthesia.  Before a procedure, the hygienist and/or dentist will discuss with the patient the procedure itself, any health issues the patient may have, the level of anxiety about the procedure, and history of allergies.  This will help the dentist to select the right medication for the patient.  One of the simplest ways to treat mouth and tooth pain is through the use of non-narcotic analgesics.  Examples are acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory).  These are available for purchase over-the-counter at any drug store, and chances are the patient already has some at his/her home.  Analgesics such as these are a great help for discomfort that a patient may experience after treatment, and your Summit Dental Center dentist may provide you with instructions to take these at home to control minor pain.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s discussion about local anesthetics. [Read more…]

I’m Afraid of the Dentist!

Lots of people put off going to the dentist for much needed treatment because they fear that it will be a painful experience, but what they may not realize is that dentists have many tools to greatly reduce and eliminate pain that’s associated with procedures like fillings, root canals, tooth extraction, and more involved oral surgery.   For adults who had unpleasant experiences years ago, rest assured that advances in dental science relating to anesthetics and sedation have improved a lot.  Some of the dental anesthetics help the patient to control pain, relax, or even go into a deep sleep while the dentist is working, and they are all designed to make the patient’s experience much more comfortable.  At Summit Dental Center we understand that patients may have a degree of anxiety about coming in to the office, whether it’s for a routine check up or for a procedure such as a root canal.  That is why we encourage our patients to share their fears with us so that we can help to make the experience as pleasant as possible.  Over the next several days, our blog posts will be dedicated to ways to eliminate pain with analgesics, local anesthetics, and general anesthetics.  Stay tuned to learn more, and if you ever have questions, please contact your Summit Dental Center office today. [Read more…]

Osteoporosis and Dental Health

Many senior citizens and their caregivers think that osteoporosis only affects the big bones and joints in the body, but this is not true.  Osteoporosis can also affect the person’s dental health.  This is a very common disease that causes patients to loose bone density resulting in thinned bone tissue over a period of time.  Usually there are no immediate symptoms, but after the person has had the disease for a while, symptoms may include loss of height, pain or tender bones, painful neck or lower back, fractures that occur very easily, and stooped posture.  One in five people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis, and the majority of them are women.  So, what does this mean for dental health?  The jaws are bones that hold one’s teeth.  Though this is only part of the structure supporting the teeth, the jaws are important.  Because jaws are bones, they can be impacted by osteoporosis, and if serious enough, this can lead to tooth loss.  The best medicine for overall health and dental health is prevention!  Therefore, it’s important for all patients to eat a healthy diet that contains minerals and nutrients to support healthy bones, to exercise, and not to smoke.  Summit Dental Center wants to remind the public that dental health is just as important for seniors as for everyone else.  Patients having concerns about osteoporosis, should discuss them with both their dentist and primary care physician. [Read more…]

Medicaid and CHIP Dental Services in Houston

Working families who cannot afford to provide dental insurance and care for their children may apply for Medicaid or CHIP benefits so that their children can get the treatment needed to start them off on a healthy path in life.  If your child receives Medicaid or CHIP dental benefits through federal and state programs, then you might wonder what kind of care is provided.  Generally, this includes routine dental check-up exams that begin as early as six months of age.  In addition to routine check-ups, services such as oral exams, X-rays, and teeth cleanings are performed.  The goal is to keep those teeth healthy so that more invasive, restorative work is not needed.  But, if necessary, Medicaid and CHIP dentists can provide fillings, crowns, root canals as well as dental emergency services.  Not all dentists accept Medicaid or CHIP patients, but Summit Dental Center embraces both Medicaid and CHIP patients at all seven of their convenient Houston locations.  Part of Summit Dental Center’s mission is to provide top quality dental care to all patients, regardless of their insurance status.  We want to be your main dentist and family’s dental home.  Allow us to earn your trust and contact us today.  Don’t forget that the deadline to select a dental plan and main dentist runs out on April 30, 2012.  If you have questions about this process, we can help with that, too. [Read more…]

Hey Houston Moms! Did You Forget Something?

Now that tax day is behind us, it’s time to take a breath and relax.  If you have a nagging feeling that there’s something you forgot to do, review that “To Do” list one more time.  If you forgot to select a dental plan and a main dentist for your kids, don’t panic.  There’s still time to get this done.  By now you should have received a packet from CHIP or Medicaid advising you that dental services are now handled through managed care companies.  The first step is to select your kids’ managed care provider from the three to choose from.  Next, you must select a “main dentist”  — basically the dentist that will be your child’s primary care provider.  So, if you wish to remain a part of the Summit Dental Center family, be sure to designate one of our seven Houston locations so that your child retains the great same great quality care.  The deadline to select your main dentist is April 30, 2012, so don’t put it off too long.  If you do not select a dental plan and main dentist, then one will be selected for you, and that may not be the dental home you want.  Houston’s Summit Dental Center is committed to providing all our patients with quality care so your entire family can show off an incredible smile! [Read more…]

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