Category Archives: prevention

A Holistic Approach

Being healthy in today’s society is time consuming and expensive without shortcuts. Diet, exercise, and healthcare all demand attention. One of the fastest and easiest ways to maintain overall health can start with oral health.

To help you with the basic knowledge needed to keep your oral health at its best, we publish a series of helpful tips in short articles. These give you a simple guide to reveal options, save time, money, and effort. They help you easily do your dental diligence and we hope you find them helpful.

Dr. Arnold K. Chernoff DDS
Office: 847-475-4080

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Dental Explanations You Can Understand

Being healthy in today’s society is time consuming and expensive without shortcuts. Diet, exercise, and healthcare all demand attention. One of the fastest and easiest ways to maintain overall health can start with oral health.
To help you with the basic knowledge needed to keep your oral health at its best, we publish a series of helpful tips in short articles. These give you a simple guide to reveal options, save time, money, and effort. They help you easily do your dental diligence and we hope you find them helpful.
Teeth as Best Friends
Until something happens, most of us take our teeth for granted. We may not always remember to brush and floss. We often procrastinate visits to the dentist. Teeth can be easy to ignore because problems don’t develop quickly. Rarely are there true emergencies. Like a best friend, they are always there to help our well being. Like a best friend, we depend on them when we need them. But, also like a best friend, they do need attention. They have needs as well. …
 
Cleaning Towards Total Health
Getting your teeth cleaned affects your health in unexpected ways. Though most people find it a mundane routine, research proves that your dental diligence is a measure of your total health. …
The Boost and Advantage of a Whiter Smile
Nothing impresses more than a dazzling smile. Many choose to whiten teeth for special occasions like weddings or job seeking. Others have jobs dealing with the public where first impressions are critical. White teeth says conscientious, healthy, prosperous—qualities people want around them—qualities we wish not only to project, but to live. …
Gum Health: An Early Warning System
The relationship between your bones, gums, and teeth is collaboration at its best. When all three work in harmony, life is good. But when this harmony is disturbed, the structure of your lifestyle is undermined. Gums are like an early-warning system for problems that only escalate in seriousness, and do not go away. Though the body is an amazing healer, when it comes to gums, help is needed. …
The Hidden Risks of Sleep Apnea 
You might be surprised to learn SA affects more than just your sleep. If you have SA, or believe you might, get informed and get treated. Not just because you’ll experience better insurance rates, but you’ll likely live longer, too. …

The Deception of Dental Insurance

About once a day, a patient declares: “I can’t get my teeth fixed because I don’t have dental insurance.” Many patients do not understand how dental insurance works. It is not fair to blame the patients for being confused about what benefits are offered. The general information that the insurance companies provide is vague and there is much it does not explain. Though it would be impossible to convey every coverage detail here, so-called dental insurance is not what most expect.

In the mid-70’s, when dental insurance was just coming onto the scene, the benefits were about $1000-$1500. Of course, the premiums that were paid to insurance companies have steadily increased over the last 35 years. Additionally, today $1000 does not buy nearly the same amount of dentistry that it bought in 1975. Back then, a crown fee was $222. Now it is about $1200. The coverage has not kept pace.

The purpose of any insurance is to protect you from catastrophic loss. You buy home insurance in case your house burns down. You buy medical insurance in case you have to be hospitalized. Do you need insurance to pay a $1500 dental bill? The insurance generally only covers 50-80%. This so-called insurance is of more benefit to the insurance company than it is to you!

Most seriously, this kind of insurance distorts your perception of dentist’s recommendation. It complicates your treatment plan because there is now a third party advising you on what dental care you can receive. 

Consider a common situation: a patient needs to be re-evaluated for periodontal disease in three months, but the insurance company will only pay if seen in six months. The adjusters have pre-set rules for every condition, regardless of personal situation. But no two patients have the same conditions! Nonetheless, those unfamiliar with patient needs are determining what the patient receives. Sometimes such a patient will forgo the needed appointment because the insurance company refuses to pay for it.

Another example: you need a crown and the insurance determines they will only pay for an amalgam. This confuses you because you may think we are recommending unnecessary work. But the insurance examiner has never seen you, and yet they dictate your treatment. Please remember: the insurance companies are not interested in your dental health. They are only interested in charging you as much as possible, and paying out as little as possible. They profit most when they deny as many procedures as possible.

In contrast, our goal is to protect your teeth, and keep you out of dental trouble. 

Dental coverage may be a benefit provided by your employer and you do not have to pay the premiums yourself. Whatever your employer pays does help with the treatment fee. If you pay individually, evaluate how much it will cost you versus what they are willing to pay. Quite often the “benefit” is not worth the cost.

If you are an employer, proceed with caution. Providing dental insurance as a “benefit” may not be as valuable as other ways to aid employees. More dangerously, buying into this system does help to perpetuate it. There could be other benefits that are more helpful.

It is the responsibility of the insurance company to make coverage policies clear to patients. But it is in their economic interest misrepresent and keep vague. So to understand the benefits of your policy falls into your hands. And, unfortunately, we have only limited ability to help you understand policy. Rather, we can help you make the best choices for your health and circumstances.

Dental insurance should not determine getting the care you need. Such a decision belongs with you, supported by our care, skill, and judgment. —Arnold K. Chernoff, DDS, http://www.chernoffdds.com/

Dr. Arnold K. Chernoff DDS
Office: 847-475-4080

 

Teeth as Best Friends

Until something happens, most of us take our teeth for granted. We may not always remember to brush and floss. We often procrastinate visits to the dentist. Teeth can be easy to ignore because problems don’t develop quickly. Rarely are there true emergencies. Like a best friend, they are always there to help our well being. Like a best friend, we depend on them when we need them. But, also like a best friend, they do need attention. They have needs as well.
The most common reasons a patient visits my dental office include concerns for:
 
1. Appearance/cosmetic
2. Function
3. Health & well-being
4. Quality of life and pain management

People can be judged by their friends. And we can be judged by our teeth. A glamorously dressed woman, immaculate and fashionable, can ruin the whole effect if her smile displays bad teeth! More importantly, we only feel as good overall as the condition of our teeth. When we smile, we immediately think of how our teeth look. When we bite into an apple, we know instantly the condition of our abilities. More lasting than hairstyles, our teeth may be the single biggest indication of self-concept. 
It is human nature to race forward based on the reliability of friends and tools. Teeth truly are both. Whatever investment of time and attention we give to them pays us back every moment of our days. These trusted friends deserve our care through extending this trust into our healthcare. By maintaining our teeth in a preventative manner, we ensure they are always there when we need them.
By working collaboratively with my team, we foster an atmosphere of educational and perceptive dentistry. Each patient has a story to tell through teeth. With focused and individualized care, patients can make the best decisions for their overall health. Regular visits allow us to check teeth for decay, support gum health, and catch any abnormalities that may arise. With plaque and tartar removed, when teeth are polished, this is one of the best feelings to have.
Because our teeth are such a major aspect to our quality of life, my team gets to know each patient. I consider family backgrounds, medical/dental histories, and can advise on any decisions that need to be made. There are always choices in how to be proactive or cautious and the treatment solutions. Plans are tailored preferences.
The open communication that we develop during your appointment will enable the best decisions for whether to be aggressive or moderate. Once values are identified, these choices become much easier.

 

Trust, communication, and honesty between patient and dentist creates the most nurturing and efficient treatment progress. Thoughtfulness, awareness, comfort, and dependability are important values that we, as patients, must embody to best help ourselves. We are vastly rewarded for our diligence. To smile confidently and proudly is one of life’s delights.
Arnold K. Chernoff, DDS, http://www.chernoffdds.com/

The Past, Present, and Future of Dental Technology

Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
Dental Technologies have come a long way, resulting in better, more efficient oral healthcare for patients. Here is a brief history of dental technology, followed by the newest advancements in dentistry today.
While early populations used small sticks or twigs to clean teeth, the Europeans adapted the bristle brush by the 17th century. The electric toothbrush was introduced to the USA in 1960.
Early recipes of toothpaste included powdered fruit, talc, and dried flowers. Many concoctions, unfortunately, dissolved tooth enamel. The toothpaste that we are familiar with today made it’s first appearance in the 1800s and was made with soap and chalk. By 1956, Crest toothpaste with fluoride was first introduced. Today, toothpaste is composed of water, abrasives, fluoride, and detergents.

Fluoridated Drinking Water
Introducing fluoride into the water supply can help fight tooth decay. Testing has shown that fluoride reduces the incidence of cavities by approximately two-thirds. In 1951, the United States Public Health Service urged the country to fluoridate public drinking water. The ideal ratio for reducing decay without damaging teeth is one part fluoride per one million parts water. Today, more than 60% of Americans have access to fluoridated drinking water.

The Roaring 19th Century
In 1840, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris invented modern dentistry by founding the first dental school: the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. They awarded the DDS degree and created the first professional dental society.

Current Issues in Dentistry
As we look to improve the status of oral health care in the US, it is important to continuously integrate dentistry into the concept of comprehensive, total-body health care. Researchers are investigating the notion of growing new teeth and used computer-assisted technology for diagnosis and treatments. We must promote health on a community level!

Advancements in Dental Technology
CAD/CAM: Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Manufacture: This technology allows for the design of dental restorations that resemble natural teeth. It is commonly used for bridges, inlays/onlays, veneers, and crowns. First, an image called a dental impression, is taken and an image is projected with a computer. Software is able to create a virtual restoration that will ultimately be used to improve your smile.

Air-AbrasionAir-abrasion is a great dental advancement over the dental drill as it allows precise removal of decayed teeth without the use of a local anesthetic. The air-abrasion system uses blasts of pellets of air and aluminum oxide to treat tooth problems such as cavities.


Digital X-Rays: these types of x-rays are faster, easy to store, and safer than radiographs. They use 75% less radiation, and can easily be emailed to other specialists for collaboration. They are better for the environment and are a major improvement in the field of dental imaging. Today, we even have the technology for digital dentures. 

Curing lights are also used quite extensively in modern dental practices to cure composites. Resin-based composites are able to harden with exposure to a high-intensity light source. In addition, the rise of electronic dental records have made record-keeping very easy and organized, and allows the transmission of information between doctors. 

Overall, the field of dentistry continues to expand and advance in outstanding ways. The future of oral healthcare appears bright, just like our patients’ smiles!  

The Importance of Relationship Dentistry

Medicine and Dentistry are currently going through significant changes – and I am concerned with the resulting quality of patient care.

The trend now is for dentists to join a PPO insurance network. The insurance company is then responsible for determining what dental procedures the patient is eligible for. This should be the responsibility of the dentist not an insurance administrator.  I believe this leads to inadequate dental care for the patient and interferes with the doctor patient relationship.. For example, many insurance companies restrict patients to two cleanings per year when the patient would benefit from more frequent care due having periodontal issues.

I am committed to serving my patients and providing the highest standard of care, while continuing to advance the doctor-patient relationship.We believe in relationship dentistry. What does this mean exactly?

— Our office is dedicated to learning as much about each and every one of our patient as we can. We want to know your dental goals, circumstances, and concerns.

— Trust is extremely important in this relationship. We will take the time to establish repertoire and listen to you.– Together, we will develop a treatment plan which is appropriate for each individual patient. Usually we can develop a plan which is completed in phases so you are not overwhelmed – emotionally or financially. If you prefer to accomplish your treatment as fast as possible, we can be very accommodating.

Ultimately, relationship dentistry takes time and commitment from both patient and doctor..

The insurance companies tend to  interfere with and complicate this form of practice. In summary, if you want your dentistry completed with as little out-of-pocket expense as possible and the insurance company controlling what your dental care will be and how much it should cost, then you may want to consider a dental office that is part of an insurance network.

If you are concerned with establishing a relationship with your dentist more than what procedures will be covered by your insurance than we just might be the office for you.

Please also see our article “Our Office”

What is entropy and how does it relate to my teeth?


 The idea of entropy is well known to any theoretical physicist. It is thought of as the phenomenon whereby, “All things in the universe will naturally proceed from a more ordered state to a less ordered state unless an outside force or energy acts upon them.”  Ice melts, old cars break down, our aging bodies deteriorate; the evidence of entropy is all around us. It can be frustrating that so much effort is required just to keep from sliding backwards into disorder, but this is just the way that our universe works.

 If we can accept that nothing can be truly permanent, then what is the best way to make the things of our physical world as long-lasting as possible? Constant and vigilant maintenance is the best answer. It is always more simple and less painful to fix small entropic challenges as they arise. Entropy acts continuously and cumulatively. It is guaranteed to be destructive if left to run its course. If you have ever wondered how a car collector can keep his century-old Model T looking as if it has just rolled off the assembly line, the answer is knowledge of, and respect for the powerful force of entropy.
Entropy is at work on our teeth every day of our lives. Only those who actively work against it will be rewarded with a healthy smile. It does not seem fair, but it is built into the mechanics of our universe. When someone neglects entropy by assuming that his or her teeth will be just fine if he or she does not do anything to hurt them, they are sure to regret it later on. In dentistry it is always better to stay in front of entropy than to catch up with it. Prophylaxis (preventative teeth cleaning) is always less difficult, less painful, and less costly than restoration. In the end, no one can beat the natural force of entropy, but luckily there are easy ways of adapting to it, and preserving the things that we care about.

The Importance of a Complete Dental Examination

 What is a complete or Comprehensive Dental Examination?

When I see a patient for the first time or after a prolonged absence, I am accepting responsibility for his or her entire dental history. It is my job on that first day to detect any number of diseases or disorders of the teeth and gums that may have resulted from a lifetime of use or possibly abuse. Its is crucial for every patient’s long-term treatment and overall health, that a complete dental examination is performed at the beginning of our dental relationship.

I like to schedule about an hour for a complete exam, allowing me to completely evaluate all aspects of a person’s teeth and soft tissues. The goal of this procedure is to uncover any potential trouble spots at an early stage. When we catch problems early on, they are easier to treat, less painful, and less expensive!

Here are some of the things that we are evaluating during a complete exam:

1 We check the muscles of the head and neck… Evidence of soreness or tenderness, usually indicates that a person  is grinding or clenching their teeth.

2  We evaluate the bite and observe how the teeth come together…. Are the biting forces causing destructive pressure on an individual tooth?

3 We look at the soft tissue of the mouth including the tongue and airway….  We are searching for any unusual pathological changes in any of the tissues.  Sometimes we need to perform a biopsy to rule out possible problems. We are also looking for patients who may be at risk for sleep apnea, a very common problem which can cause people to die prematurely.

4 We probe periodontal tissues … one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease.  In its early stages, the disease is usually reversible. During this part of the exam we measure the pocket depth at six locations around each tooth. We also check the gums for evidence of tissue or bone recession.

5 We explore each tooth for cavities and evaluate the strength of any existing fillings.  Over the years, fillings breakdown and may need replacement.

6 We take any x-rays that we deem necessary along with photographs.  The photographs allow me to have a record of what the teeth look like at that particular moment in time.  Later I can refer back to these photos to see if things are improving, deteriorating or stable.

In my practice, our patients are required to have this type of examination so we have a baseline. In addition, the comprehensive exam should be done every 5- 10 yrs depending on the individual situation.  By being thorough in my dental investigation, I give my patients a better chance of staying out of dental trouble and saving money on complicated restorations later in life. —Arnold Chernoff

Dental Care Choices” shows that there are different ways to approach maintaining health.

What supportive strategy do you choose?

The first step to providing the dental care that you want is getting to know you. Not everyone wants the same things when going to the dentist. Your individual situation affects the level of care, kind of treatment, maintenance schedule, preventative methods, and cosmetic considerations your may receive. Thus, learning about your needs helps us to evaluate and plan your treatment. It can increase our ability to best provide the care you desire.

When new patients come to our office, in addition to medical background, we ask them to choose among these categories of care. This is a beginning point, as situations also change. Everyone fits into one of these:

1. Urgent care:

> you need immediate relief from crisis—pain, swelling, or bleeding

> you wish to deal with major problems that develop, versus prevention

> your desire is to control pain and/or save the tooth

2. Remedial care:

> you need correction for obvious problems—cracked teeth, cavities, sensitivity,

discomfort, or present concerns

> you wish to repair the teeth, not to be proactive

> your desire is to maintain a basic level of health

3. Proactive care:

> you need necessary immediate treatments and help for conditions that may create

problems in the near future

> you wish to maintain the health of each tooth and prevent concerns from developing

> your treatment may be prioritized to manage costs, yet it takes care of issues soon

enough to not become bigger problems

4. Complete care:

> your concern is for your current and long term oral conditions

> you choose between all options to remain healthy and minimize costs

> your treatment follows a step-by-step master plan, focused on restoration, prevention, and regular care for health and improved appearance

5. Optimal care:

> you focus on long term dental health care and disease prevention

> your desire is to enhance your appearance with an improved beautiful smile

> you utilize treatment options to correct all dental concerns for lifelong function

Please call our convenient Evanston dental office at 847-475-4080.

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Dr. Arnold K. Chernoff DDS

Office: 847-475-4080

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