Tips for Maximizing Dental Benefits By 2020

Artistic rendering of clocks superimposed with Happy New Year 2020 to remind you to use your dental benefits this year

The end of the year is almost here. That means it’s time to make sure that you’ve taken full advantage of your dental benefits for 2019! You’ve earned your benefit, so here are some quick tips to make sure that you take full advantage of what you have left.

Get Your Cleaning and Exam Now

Most dental benefits cover preventive treatments, so if you haven’t had a cleaning or exam lately, now’s the time to put an appointment on the books. It’s also good to get in the habit of biannual dental cleanings and exams. Staying on top of your oral health means that you won’t have to worry about getting costly restorative procedures done in the future.

Split More Expensive Treatments Between Calendar Years

If your dental benefits restart on January 1st, you can split up restorative treatments that will involve multiple dental visits between calendar years. This will take advantage of more dental benefits at your disposal. At Rigby Advanced Dental, our staff will work closely with you to strategize spreading out your dental appointments.

Know Your Plan

The best way to get the most out of your dental benefits is to fully understand what your specific benefits include. Be sure to get in touch with your provider to understand what is covered under your plan, and also be sure to stay on top of how much of your benefit you’ve spent this year. If you ever need any help navigating your benefits coverage, remember that our staff is also here to help you! At Rigby Advanced Dental, we will file all claim forms for you, provide postage for special claims, and track claims for you so you have one less thing to worry about!

Happy Holidays From Rigby Advanced Dental

As we enter the holiday season, remember to give yourself the gift of oral health with any unused dental benefits that you may have! While we accept insurance here at Rigby Advanced Dental, we also offer flexible financing through CareCredit® so that all of our patients can enjoy quality service at an affordable price.

Contact Us

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Alzheimer’s Connection to Poor Oral Health

illustration of two profile silhouettes, colorful question marks floating around them

You’re probably at least a little familiar with both gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but did you know there’s a link between these two seemingly unrelated health problems? Yes, that’s right: doctors have recently determined that there is a connection between Alzheimer’s and poor oral health.

The Link

In a recent study, British scientists found bacteria usually associated with gum disease in the brains of patients affected with Alzheimer’s, meaning the presence of gum disease is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. These harmful bacteria usually live in the mouth, and they can enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain through daily activities like eating and brushing your teeth. Additionally, invasive dental surgery increases the risk that the bacteria will enter the brain. A previous study from New York University in 2010 also connected gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s.

How Does It Work?

When plaque builds up in our gums from lack of flossing, our bodies’ immune system is activated, and when this happens, your body’s standard level of health can start to deteriorate. In fact, bad dental health increases the chance that you will have cognitive issues by 30% to 40% over a three-decade period, according to the International Society of Vascular Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders.

What You Can Do

While gum disease is partly genetic, you can lower your risk of the plaque buildup that causes gum disease by flossing regularly (at least once a day!). The more you floss, the less plaque builds up in and around your teeth and gums. The less plaque you have in your mouth, the fewer harmful bacteria will reside there with the potential to travel to your brain and affect your cognitive functions. By taking care of your teeth every day you can make a difference!

If you are concerned about your dental health, or think you might be at risk for gum disease, contact our office today to speak with one of our friendly professionals.

What Makes Teeth Turn Yellow?

woman with long ponytail wearing blue button up, shrugging and looking confused

We can all agree: no one wants yellow teeth. In addition to showing bad dental health, they can hurt your self-confidence and make you less likely to smile. While it is possible to whiten teeth artificially, the best way to avoid stains or discoloration is prevention so it’s important to know what turns teeth yellow in the first place.

Smoking


If you smoke, stop! Smoking is one of many things that stain teeth yellow. Lay off the stuff not just for your health, but for your teeth too!

Sugary Drinks


Acidic drinks can wear away your teeth’s natural enamel, turning your teeth yellow. Cut out soda, juice, and sweetened iced teas to decrease the chance of this happening to you.

Coffee & Tea


Unfortunately, two of the most popular drinks in the world can turn your teeth yellow with prolonged use. Always brush your teeth after consuming coffee or tea.

Certain Foods


Specific foods can end up discoloring your teeth. These include tomatoes, curries, and berries. If you eat any of these foods, make sure to rinse your mouth out after, and brush your teeth as soon as you can to avoid staining.

Fluorosis


Fluorosis is when you get too much fluoride in your diet, either from your tap water or from other sources. You only need a little amount of fluoride to protect your teeth, so as long as you’re getting it from one source (tap water, toothpaste, or tablets), you should be all set.

Bruxism


Bruxism, also known as grinding your teeth while sleeping, can be very harmful to your mouth and cause headaches and jaw problems. As your teeth grate against each other and the enamel cracks and wears away, it can make your teeth yellow.

To help prevent yellow teeth, make sure to brush and floss daily, stick to a healthy diet, and visit the dentist regularly. If you are at all worried about the color of your teeth, or you’d just like to talk to someone about your dental health, contact our friendly team today!

10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dentist Was Doing at Your Checkup

brunette woman in dental chair, dentist taking intraoral images, pointing to image on screen

You know it’s important to go for your semi-annual dental checkup. But do you really know why? The truth is that your dentist and dental team do much more than just clean your teeth at a checkup. Here are ten things you might not have known:

1. Scraping Away Plaque and Tartar

Either your dentist or your dental hygienist will use a small tool called a scaler to scrape off any plaque and tartar.

2. Polishing Your Teeth

Besides cleaning and flossing your teeth, they will polish them to make them smooth and help prevent plaque from accumulating.

3. Checking Each Tooth

With a probe and a small mirror, your dentist will go over every area of your teeth. This is so they can see if there are any health concerns, or if anything has changed in your mouth since your last visit.

4. Examining Your Gums

Your dentist will check your gums for any bleeding or swelling, which are both signs of gum disease. They will also measure the pockets between your teeth and gums to make sure they’re not bigger than they should be, as large gum pockets are a sign of unhealthy gums.

5. Looking at Your Bite

By checking out your bite, your dentist can see if your teeth have moved recently. Or, if you have braces, your dentist can make sure your teeth are shifting at an appropriate rate.

6. Performing a Cancer Screening

If you’re getting a complete exam, your dentist will also check your head, neck, lymph nodes, palate, cheeks and tongue for signs of infection or cancer.

7. Inspecting Your Salivary Glands

Your dentist will examine your salivary glands to make sure they are working properly and producing enough saliva.

8. Examining Your Tonsils

Your dentist will check the back of your throat and your tonsils for any signs of infection.

9. Checking Your Temporomandibular Joint

This important joint connects the jawbone to the skull. Your dentist will make sure it is healthy and working normally.

10. Checking Your Tongue

The texture and size of your tongue can reveal important information about your dental and overall health. Your dentist will give it a look to ensure there are no concerns.

See your dentist every six months for a checkup—you’ll be glad you did!

If you have questions about your dental health, contact Rigby Advanced Dental today!

5 Tips to Freshen Your Breath

tin box of breath mints

From eating foods with too much garlic to even taking certain medications, bad breath can put a damper on anyone’s day. Here are five surefire ways to freshen your breath even if you’re pressed for time.

Chew Gum or Mints

Chewing mints and mint-flavored gum is an easy way to freshen your breath when a toothbrush isn’t handy. We recommend mints and gums that contain the sugar replacement xylitol, since sugar can wear down tooth enamel and actually lead to bad breath. Want a more natural breath freshener than mints or gum? Try chewing on fresh mint leaves!

Use Mouthwash

Some people avoid mouthwash because of the strong sting from the alcohol, but there are many alcohol-free options on the market that are just as effective at freshening breath. While mouthwash is a great way to freshen up your breath and kill bad breath germs temporarily, it should not replace traditional brushing and flossing in your everyday routine.

Ditch the Coffee

We all know that coffee causes bad breath because of its high acidity. Instead of your usual morning coffee, opt for a mint tea. Strong mint teas like peppermint and spearmint are known for their breath enhancing qualities. Best of all, you can get it hot or iced depending on the season! If tea doesn’t appeal to you, swapping out coffee for plain water is an excellent choice, since water naturally washes away bad breath germs.

Eat Healthy

Eating crunchy, nutritious foods like apples, celery, and almonds can clear away plaque and bacteria from your mouth while also satisfying your hunger! Avoiding acidic foods like citrus and candy will keep your breath fresher longer.

Brush and Floss

Brushing and flossing are the most effective way of getting rid of plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath. Don’t forget to clean your tongue, too, since most bad breath germs live there. If you have the time and access to sink, it’s always worth a quick brush to freshen up your breath.

If you are still having difficulty managing bad breath, our team at Rigby Advanced Dental can help you find a solution. Contact us to book an appointment today.

Foods That Are Good for Your Teeth

apples in a wooden crate

As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” While brushing and flossing are great ways to maintain a beautiful smile, they are not the only things you must do for your oral health! Try eating more of these smile-saving foods and keep the cavities at bay.

Apples

A crisp, fresh apple is full of fiber and water, cleaning your teeth with every bite. Try to avoid dried apples and other dried fruits, though, since they’re full of sugar that can actually wear down tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.

Nuts

Certain nuts, like Brazil nuts and cashews, are packed with phosphorous, a mineral that delays tooth decay.

Celery

Those stringy fibers that get stuck in your teeth actually helps clean them! Celery is also full of vitamins A and C.

Dairy

Milk, cheese, and yogurt all contain calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. They also lower the acidity in your mouth, slowing down the decaying process.

Leafy Greens

Spinach and kale are excellent for teeth since they are rich in calcium and folic acid, which support strong and healthy teeth and gums.

Tea

Tea contains polyphenols, which can actually kill bacteria in your mouth. It’s important to drink tea in moderation, however, since it also contains tannins that can stain your teeth.

Garlic

One of garlic’s many health benefits is that it can prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Ginger

Ginger not only prevents bacteria growth in your mouth, it also freshens your breath!

Strawberries

Did you know that strawberries can whiten teeth? They are a great source of malic acid, which can actually brighten tooth enamel.

Water

A glass of water acts the same way that saliva does, washing away bacteria from the surface of your teeth. If your water is fortified with fluoride, even better!

Foods to Avoid

Try to stay away from sugary, acidic foods that can wear away your tooth enamel and cause cavities. Citrus fruits, sugary candies like lollipops and gummy bears, and soda are all known for wearing down enamel.

Your diet can have a major impact on your oral health, but it’s also important to schedule a routine cleaning every six months for your cleanest, brightest smile. Our staff is happy to assist you with all of your dental care needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

What Procedures Does a Prosthodontist Do?

guy looking at book in library

What is a prosthodontist?

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in tooth replacement and restoration. In addition to regular dental school, prosthodontists must attend three extra years of training, in which they learn how to best restore your smile. Here are Rigby Advanced Dental, Dr. Rigby, DDS, MS, helps people every day with his training as a prosthodontist. Prosthodontists like Dr. Rigby must keep up with the latest research and literature about advanced methods for restoring your smile.

Who needs a prosthodontist?

You might need a prosthodontist if you have missing teeth that you’d like to replace, already have dentures, are interested in getting dentures, or just want a nicer smile in general. As we age our smile tends to degrade, so it is very common for people over sixty to see a prosthodontist.

What procedures can a prosthodontist provide me?

Dr. Rigby is experienced in dental rehabilitation, and he performs these procedures regularly:

  • Dentures & Partial Dentures: Dentures are a natural-looking, removable way to improve your smile and bite. Dentures fill in the space created by missing teeth, giving you back your smile.
  • Dental Implants: Implants are a permanent, durable, and preferred method for replacing a missing tooth, in which a metal post is inserted into to the jawbone and supports a crown which is cemented on to create a natural-looking tooth.
  • Bridges: Dental bridges help “bridge” the gap from a missing tooth with support from natural teeth on either side of the gap.
  • Crowns & Veneers: Crowns and veneers serve as coverings for damaged teeth. Crowns cover the whole tooth, while veneers cover only a tooth’s front surface, visible to others.

If you think you might need to see a prosthodontist, give our friendly office staff a call today at (512) 992-2822 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Rigby.

How Do You Fix a Cracked Tooth?

small figure chipping at tooth with tools

Tooth enamel may be strong, but there are still plenty of ways you could crack your tooth, including chewing down on something hard like a pencil or suffering some sort of dental injury while playing sports. Cracking a tooth doesn’t mean you’ve ruined your smile forever. At Rigby Advanced Dental, we offer a few solutions to help make your smile good as new. Nobody will even notice that anything happened to your smile!

Fillings

Fillings are not just for cavities. If you have small chips in your teeth, a tooth-colored filling can do just the trick in making your teeth look like new. We only use tooth-colored fillings, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious about having them. On top of that, we use state-of-the-art, pain-free laser technology to ensure that you have effective and well-fitted fillings. No need for multiple visits to address the same problem!

Dental Crown

Dental crowns are a simple and easy way to restore your smile. A crown is essentially a false tooth that can be used by themselves, along with a dental implant, or in bridges. In the case of a cracked tooth, you will likely receive a crown by itself. Our porcelain and high-strength metal crowns are durable and natural-looking so you never have to afraid to smile.

Veneers

Veneers are like thin covers placed over teeth. We may be able to place a veneer over the crack to have your tooth looking good as new again.

Dental Implant

If your cracked tooth is unsalvageable, a dental implant is a great option. It’s a long-lasting, realistic solution that you can brush and floss just like a regular tooth.

You have your options at Rigby Advanced Dental when it comes to fixing cracked and broken teeth. To find out which solution is best for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment!

How Will Dental Care Be in the Future?

what's next written on chalkboard

Dentistry has come a long way in the last few decades. Gone are the days of painful procedures, difficult X-ray processes, and impersonal service. Where, then, can we expect things to go in the future?

Technological Advancements

The future of dentistry lies in technological breakthroughs. Already we have intraoral cameras that give us an up-close look at your teeth so that you can follow along with what we’re doing and so that we can gather more insight on your dental health. We can only imagine that in the future, we’ll have even more high-definition, smaller intraoral cameras to work with and X-ray technology that is radiation-free.

No More Pain

Many patients fear the dentist because they believe that they will experience unbearable pain during their visits. Pain-free dentistry may sound like an oxymoron to some, but it’s actually a reality today. Here at Rigby Advanced Dental, we offer our patients nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation so that you feel comfortable and pain-free during your treatments. While we believe that dental treatments will be pretty much painless in the future, we hope that there will also be a larger variety of sedation options for patients who feel jittery in the dental chair.

Ultimate Comfort

It’s no fun feeling like your mouth is stuffed and stretched with a bunch of tools. Tools like the Isolite® System, which illuminates your mouth to reduce shadows and increase treatment efficiency, are already helping patients feel more comfortable during their visits. We anticipate slimmer, more ergonomically designed tools that ensure optimal efficiency and comfort during your treatments so that you never have to dread your dental treatments again. In the future, visiting the dentist will be more like visiting the spa!

We currently offer all of the latest technologies to help your visits be more accurate and relaxed. Whether you are looking for a general, cosmetic, or more advanced treatment, you will receive the best care possible at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us to see and feel the difference!

Dental Instrument Sterilization Methods

dental treatment room

There are many different types of dental instrument sterilization methods. At Rigby Advanced Dental, we care about patient safety so we make sure to disinfect all of our dental tools and equipment using state-of-the-art dental sterilization technology.

Before sterilization, dental professionals soak instruments in water or a disinfectant to keep anything from drying on them. They also apply a rust inhibitor to prevent rusting of the instruments.

Here the various types of sterilization methods used throughout the years:

Autoclave

In 1879, Charles Chamberland came up with the autoclave, which is one of the most common sterilizers used to this day. It looks like a heavy microwave, and it sterilizes by heating moist air up to temperatures from 250°F to 273°F. The chemicals and heat can slightly wear down the materials, which afterwards have to dry.

Dry Heat

With this method, the air is drier so the process takes hours. The materials are placed in an oven-like object where the temperature rises to 320°F. The materials remain there for one to two hours. Because it isn’t wet, this process doesn’t wear down instruments.

SuperHeated Steam

This method is the same as the dry heat method but there is nearly no humidity and the temperature is 180°F. This process takes 30 minutes to complete.

Rapid Heat Transfer

This method sterilizes at about 375°F for 6 to 20 minutes and circulates heated air throughout the unit. At the end of the cycle, the instruments are dry.

Unsaturated Chemical Vapor Sterilizer

Here the temperature stays at 270°F for 20 minutes, and instruments dry quickly after the cycle.

There are many ways to sterilize instruments. Most differ in time and heat, but the end result is the same, immaculate instruments. Contact us if you have any questions about the sterilization methods we use. We’ll clean your teeth as thoroughly as we do our equipment!