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The health and looks of your teeth and the perceived social status

Besides your regular cleaning, what is the most common reason you go to the dentist? Tooth hurting? Well, it's a good time to make an ap...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cryptocurrency payments and Bitcoin

It's all the talk about cryptocurrency now, everybody heard something or wants to find out more about it! Bitcoin is the word of the day and a lot of people want to find out more info and want to find how to buy it 3 years ago! (just kidding!)
It all seems like a bubble that we want to stay away from but we feel bad for missing this train too. We also understand that in a form or another, cryptocurrency will eventually settle down and it will be part of our everyday life. We just don't know in which form or when yet.
Those are all legitimate questions and they bug us more and more lately.
But it all got real and close to home when we had 2 Patients last month who wanted to pay for their dental services with Bitcoin! And the frustration was awkward when we didn't know anything about cryptocurrency payments or how they work. Well, since then we got on it and researched this issue, I mean sooner or later we'll have to anyway! There are numerous cryptocurrency forms of payment, and there is one designed specifically for dental payments, called Dentacoin.
Our Bank Of America merchant account doesn't accept bitcoin and understandably so, this market is too volatile and unreliable for payments for now. But there are other platforms like Shopify and Bitpay and others that will eventually become mainstream. And there are a lot of retailers who accept cryptocurrency already, like Microsoft, Overstock.com or Expedia, so this is coming to a store near you soon!
And when it does we'll be ready, until then we accept cash, checks, debit/credit cards, also ApplePay or AndroidPay, and we'll submit your claim to insurance too!
More info on our website at AlisoViejoDental.com

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let's talk about what everyone is talking about: marijuana will be legal in 2018

It's that time of the year again, when we celebrate a new beginning, a new year and a new start! We all have our resolutions and we promise we'll keep them, and some of will do. Others will just cruise along and enjoy the best time of their life!
But the beginning of 2018 brings something new and special in California, among other things: many people might not think about it or be prepared but recreational marijuana will be legal. It was already legal for medicinal purposes and let's be honest anyone who wanted a prescription got one.
But now it becomes mainstream and we'll see more and more Patients who will use frequently, mostly for recreational purposes, but some for medical reasons too,
What does change from a dental care point of view? Not much and also a lot when it comes to treating every Patient's specific needs. First, some changes might be required in the anesthesia protocol, so Patients should inform the Doctor prior to their appointment if they used marijuana in any form recently and how often.
We already have this implemented in our digital forms, there are questions about alcohol, marijuana and also prescription medications and drugs that your dentist should know about, so we are already prepared for this.
But I guess what is most important here is understanding that there is in Patient's best interest to inform their dentist or any medical provider about any factors that might affect their procedures, and this includes marijuana and it's confidential, talking about this can only help.
For more info please visit our website at AlisoViejoDental.com or call us at 949-425-1447

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dental care benefits use stays flat


Here is some interesting data: More adults have dental benefit coverage, and fewer adults report cost as a barrier to dental care, yet the number of dental visits tends to stay flat. Percentagewise, the number of adults who said they visited a dentist in the past 12 months stayed flat for several years, which could be "a new normal" for dentistry and apparently no one knows why. We seem to be in this very sluggish, flat dental care use trend despite good insurance coverage and even lower costs, something's not adding up.

Over the past couple of years, the percentage of  adults with dental benefits has actually increased slightly. About 2 out of 3 adults has dental benefit coverage now, new research shows, and the vast majority of those with dental benefits, have private dental insurance. Similarly, fewer adults are reporting cost as a barrier to dental care. Only about a tenth of adults name cost as the reason for not getting the dental care they needed.

So the question is why don't adults benefit of dental care or cosmetic dentistry more?
Well, the conclusions are fairly predictable, and we agree that the industry is changing, people's expectations are changing and we have to be ahead of the curve to meet these demands.

I think most dentist are in a routine to keep their Patients happy enough so they come back for regular cleanings every 4-6 months or so. And they don't tackle issues like teeth whitening, veneers or even implants so they don't scare Patients away. That's why when we get New Patients who tell us that they had regular cleanings for years we can't help but ask: And no one told you that you could get a teeth whitening that would improve your smile dramatically in like half an hour for relatively little cost to you? Well, no wonder this Patient didn't want to go back to their old dentist any more!

Another reason is communication, especially for younger adults: they are simply not used to answer the phone, or listen to messages. If the phone rings and they don't recognize the number - they won't answer and your message will probably go unnoticed. Even if they listen to the message - they are not used to or comfortable enough to call back. They prefer texts, or messages and social media, or requesting an appointment online. If you don't have those in place you probably won't hear back from them again. And even if everything goes great and you are able to get them in for a cleaning - the whole paragraph above applies too, you need to present a plan to actually improve their #smile, that will make a difference in their lives and self confidence. Just a regular cleaning won't cut it!

That's why on our website you had a button to request an appointment for a while now, we use emails and texts a lot and we see a good response from our Patients. Also, we take the time at every visit to explain the benefits of recommended treatments or cosmetic improvements. We have suggestions on our website AlisoViejoDental.com too on how these could improve your life, your confidence, your relations, they way you feel and act, and how you become a better version of yourself eventually!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Halloween is always scary for Dentists!

Sugar-free chewing gum
instead of candy for Halloween
Halloween means candy, all kinds of sweets and more sugar loaded treats (besides the fun stuff and the dressing up in sometimes funny costumes and parties!)
Everyone gives out candy, businesses and offices have trays and bowls full of attractive sweets, for kids and adults alike.
Dental offices have struggled with this since forever, because it's at least odd if not unethical to offer candy and sweets since they are perceived as the main cause of why you are in a dental office in the first place!
We've seen and done all kinds of programs - from candy buy-back and donating to troops - all laudable but they still won't fix the problem of not offering candy while everyone else does!
Well, until now! This year the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Wrigley teamed up in a campaign to educate everyone about a proper oral hygiene routine during October, which is #NationalDentalHygieneMonth,. Their guidelines recommend 4 steps: “Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew.” – with chew meaning a piece of sugar-free gum after eating, which can help clean your teeth and improve your oral health.
Chewing gum containing xylitol instead of sugar provide similar sweetness but doesn’t have the same tooth-decaying properties, so sugar-free gum is a healthier choice. But the main benefit of sugar-free gum comes simply from the act of chewing.
Chewing gum for as little as 20 minutes after eating increases the production of saliva. This helps neutralize plaque acid, wash away food debris and remineralize tooth enamel. It also helps removing food particles and bacteria associated with bad breath.
Chewing gum is only part of the routine for a good oral health, we also need to brush for at least two minutes twice a day, floss daily, and rinse using Dr Brite mouthwash (our Patients get free samples after their appointments).
So when you come in our office in October you can indulge in free chewing gum instead of candy! We encourage you to form a habit of keeping some sugar-free gum with you, floss sticks and mouth rinse and use them after meals.
And keep your routine cleaning appointments too, call us at 949-425-1447 to schedule an appointment or request one online anytime!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Your healthcare and FSA benefits might expire at the end of the year! Again!

Yes, it's that time of the year again! When every dental office reminds everyone that their healthcare and their Flexible Spending Account FSA benefits might expire at the end of the year! It's a cliché and it could become annoying as it pops up on -insert your favorite social media account here - when you scroll up on your new iPhone X! Yet it's amazing how many people leave money on the table, even after all the emails, calls and texts that pretty much every medical or dental office sends out! And probably that's why they try everything else out there to get the message out! It's a lose-lose situation, when it could actually be a win-win!

Most of the excuses we hear involve the lack of time to take care of this, which is completely understandable in today's fast pace life. Most people don't have time to check their dental or medical insurance for remaining funds. We can't argue with that but we have a solution for it: email or call us and we'll check it for you! Chances are that we can do it while we have you on the phone, there is software today that can retrieve your benefits in real time, and we have it! Worst case scenario - and that's not that bad really - we'll have to call you back with an answer or email you the details.

The other excuse we hear a lot is - I can't take time off from work. Well, you most likely have sick days available, that's what they are for! For when you are sick and when you have a doctor appointment. You can plan the dentist appointment in advance and request a  few sick hours to take care of it. Your employer should understand that you want to take care of your health or improve your smile and that makes you a happier, more productive, less grumpy employee in return! Can they say no to all that? If you work in Aliso Viejo we are conveniently located in the Town Center, most likely a 5 minutes drive from anywhere.

The last excuse we'll mention here is - I don't have any problems, no tooth hurting, why would I go to the dentist? Oh boy, how much time do you have to talk about this? We'll make it short, in a nutshell: most Patients have proposed or recommended treatments that are not a priority and end up down the line in the list. But that doesn't mean they are not necessary, they also contribute to a #BrighterSmile, and besides, they might be covered by free money from your insurance! So why not take advantage now before it gets busy towards the end of the year?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Paperless office


Since dental (and medical) office upgraded from paper charts (you might be too young to remember those huge cabinets filled with folders and papers, some offices still use those, believe it or not!) to computer software - everything got easier, searchable, automated, digitally manageable. Well, almost everything, since some forms and papers were hard to almost impossible to replace, the right technology wasn't there yet. Since the tablets became mainstream the developers started incorporating them into the dental software, but it was a slow, hard process. It wasn't until very recently that this process became seamless and actually effective, and even today only a few offer this option for their dental software.

Yes. you know what comes up here, Aliso Viejo Dental is on the edge of technology and we pride ourselves to integrate any improvement in the dental treatments and processes, tools and procedures. And dental software too! That's why our office has all our forms (well, most of them right now and we are working on the rest of them) on a touch screen tablet that automatically populates your profile with all the dental and medical conditions, allergies or previous procedures. So there is no room for mistakes or omissions, everything is in your account and critical conditions pop up on our screen when needed (like your allergy to latex or the fact that you don't like our blueberry flavored gloves!). Everything is HIPAA compliant, and "military grade encryption", they love to throw these terms around!

Well, it works for us! There are no papers to print and scan, time wasted to manually enter the information in the system, then time to shred the papers! Also, we can send you a secure link to fill in the forms from home in advance on your tablet, phone or any computer to save time at your first visit in the office.
Everything is very fast, all the forms are typed in, boxes checked, and electronically signed in a quick move, and you are ready and on your way to improve your #smile!
We also use our tablets for applying for CareCredit, that makes the process fast and easy, you can even do it while seated in the chair!

We still have to print some papers, for internal use and some generated to be signed by the Patients, but we are working on this, in the meantime we are only using recycled paper in our office, so no trees are harmed in this process! So we are truly a "chartless" office and also a "paperless" office too!
When you are ready to start the improvement process to a #BrighterSmile please contact us at http://www.alisoviejodental.com/contact.html anytime or call 949-425-1447.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Questions to ask your dentist about dental amalgam waste

"Dental amalgam waste is a significant contributor of mercury discharges to municipal wastewater treatment facilities," up to 40% according to the multiple sources.
According to a recent EPA ruling, starting on July 14, 2017 new dental offices will be required to install an amalgam separator, while existing dental offices will have until 2020 to comply. Needless to say, Aliso Viejo Dental has one installed for almost 2 years now, effectively stopping toxic waste in amalgam traps that are collected monthly and recycled together with sharps and other biohazard materials, typically disposed by dental offices.
We don't use amalgam/mercury in our office at all, the only waste comes from safely removing old ones, in a process that protects the Patients and the staff from vapors or debris (yes, some other dental offices still offer amalgam/mercury fillings for their Patients!).
When you go to your dentist next time, please ask those questions:
 
1. Do you currently have an amalgam separator and traps installed in your office?
They might still have some 3 years to comply, but that is a long time and a lot of mercury going into your city's sewage system.
 
2. When you remove mercury fillings, what is done to protect me and the staff from mercury vapor? During dental procedures involving placing or removing mercury fillings, the amount of mercury vapor released drastically exceeds OSHA limits.
 
3. Do you still place "silver" mercury fillings? If the reason is price and insurance coverage think about the small extra price you would rather pay for composite, tooth colored fillings instead.
 
If you still have questions or need to safely remove your old amalgam fillings by a S.M.A.R.T certified dentist please contact us at 949-425-1447 or visit our website at AlisoViejoDental.com