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The DIY Dental Check Up

The DIY dental check up banner
You’re resourceful when it comes to physical distancing, but when it comes to oral health, the up-close care of your dental professional is more important than you think.

Have you ever wondered if there is something more you can do between dental visits to take better care of your oral health, so you can postpone a visit to the dentist? There is, and we’ve got some do-it-yourself dental check-up tips below.

But here’s a more important tip. Your dentist is the best person to develop your oral health treatment plan, including the frequency of visits and recommendations about the type of toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and dental rinse you should use for your particular dental needs.

Without dental insurance, an oral health plan and professional care, you can face some serious unexpected expenses when your DIY efforts result in the pain of extensive dental treatment. And not only that, but poor dental hygiene has been associated with many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and low birth weight in babies born to mothers with periodontal disease.

With your health and dental insurance in place, that treatment plan benefits your dental health — and your budget and overall health, too.

Good oral health starts with a comprehensive dental exam

Dental insurance helps ensure that you have funds for regular dental check-ups to help you manage your oral health for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental decay, periodontal disease and other oral diseases. At your check-up, your dentist not only checks for tooth decay and gum health. They may provide a comprehensive exam that includes

  • looking for head and neck problems by feeling your neck for any swelling or tenderness in your lymph nodes and salivary glands that may indicate infection or disease and examining your temporomandibular joint (where your jaw moves) to make sure it is working properly.
  • inspecting your mouth’s soft tissues including your tongue, inside your lips and cheeks and the floor and roof of your mouth, plus the back of your throat and your tonsil area to make sure there aren’t any cuts, swellings or growths.
  • checking for red or puffy gum tissue or whether you bleed easily when gently probed, which are signs of gum disease.
  • examining your bite (occlusion) to see how well your upper and lower teeth come together.
  • probing your teeth to check for cavities and tooth decay or any problems with your fillings, braces, bridges, dentures or crowns.
  • x-rays to get a close look for signs of tooth decay, as well as for gum disease and other oral health problems.

At a dental check-up your dental insurance can also cover treatments like

  • cleaning with metal hand instruments or ultrasonic scalers to remove hardened plaque (called tartar) that builds up on teeth and below the gum line
  • polishing to remove plaque and stains on the surface of your teeth
  • instructions to follow at home about brushing and flossing (and answering your general oral health care questions)
  • referrals to another oral healthcare specialist, other diagnostic tests, or advice to have restoration work done (for example, fillings and crowns)

Care provided by dentists and dental specialists (e.g., orthodontists, oral surgeons, periodontists, dental hygienists, and denturists) can qualify for reimbursement under many dental insurance plans.

Use these great DIY tips between dental visits

There is no substitute for regular trips to the dentist, but you can do a lot to take care of your teeth between trips.

  • Keep an eye on fillings
    If you have fillings, it’s a good idea to inspect them for any signs of wear during your regular daily cleaning routine. Signs of wear can include looseness or the appearance of “lifting” at the edges. Fillings should seem relatively smooth if you run your tongue over them. If your filling has started to feel rough, it’s time to call your dentist. Fillings or crowns can last a very long time, but if they do begin to wear, they may need to be replaced. Alerting your dentist to these early signs of change may help keep a relatively minor filling replacement or repair from becoming a major one.
  • Say cheese!
    Selfies are regarded by most people of a certain age as silly at best and vain at worst. But what if they are actually self-serving in a good way? Periodic pictures of your teeth in similar light conditions will help alert you to any changes in the colour of your teeth. Tooth discolouration may come from changes in your diet, but it can also be a symptom of something that requires a closer look at your next dental check-up. So the next time someone accuses you of being a Kardashian when you break out the selfie stick, just tell them your dentist recommended it!
  • Good dental habits start young
    If you just had a baby, congratulations! You’ll soon have a whole new set of teeth to help care for, so make sure you make a call to your dental insurance provider to add the baby to your plan. When it comes to kids and dental care, you are the best teacher in the world. Yes, the process starts with modelling good dental care habits, but you’re also the person who sees that adorable smile every day. In fact, if there is a problem with your child’s teeth, there is a good chance you will be the first one to notice. You should be heavily involved in the daily brushing routine with your child until they are at least seven years old. That means you should be on the lookout for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. The first clue that tooth decay might be an issue is a white residue that doesn’t come off easily with brushing. Though gum disease is rare in children, it can happen. Be on the lookout for any signs of bleeding during brushing or flossing. If you see any signs of trouble with your child’s teeth, don’t wait to call the dentist. Early treatment is the key to preventing long-term dental problems.
  • Watch for signs of bleeding
    For some reason, people have come to believe that a little bit of blood when brushing or flossing is no big deal. Let us ask you this: if your leg started spontaneously bleeding during your morning shower, would you shrug it off as no big deal? Probably not!

Here’s a tip: no part of your body should bleed during a regular cleaning routine! Farther back in your mouth, you might not see blood while brushing or flossing, but you may taste something metallic. Bleeding from the gums near the front of your mouth will be visible, and it’s a sign you should never ignore!

Get the best protection with dental insurance

If you don’t have dental insurance, you may find it’s more affordable than you think. Give us a call today for a no-obligation quote for insurance to help keep your whole family smiling brightly.

As a leading agency for individual dental insurance plans, SBIS offers

  • Expertise
    SBIS has a proven track record of providing dental insurance. We have 25 years of experience and industry knowledge to meet the unique needs of our customers.
  • Individual Attention
    SBIS understands that purchasing a dental insurance plan can be intimidating for many people. Our customer service representatives put in the extra time and effort, working closely with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate coverage. There is no frustrating automated system when you call SBIS. A live representative is there to take your call, Monday to Friday, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. eastern time.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions
    We are proud to offer many affordable dental insurance plans from Green Shield Canada, Manulife Financial and GMS, as well as additional options from other providers.
  • Peace of Mind
    With a dental insurance plan from SBIS, you have the comfort of knowing your physical and financial well-being are protected from the high cost of dental care.

Or is do-it-yourself insurance selection your style? Go to SBIS Dental Insurance for a no-obligation quote or to buy online. You’ll find everything you need.

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