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Investing in your Oral Health

As we get older, a lot of time and energy is spent thinking about investing. Whether it is in the stock market, in a home or in a business, people want to put their money to work for them and get a return.

In some situations, investing refers to the practice of regular maintenance to prevent larger problems in the long run. For example, it is important to make sure your car gets regular oil changes and tire rotations to help keep it running smoothly. Your mechanic may also run some diagnostic reports to let you know if something is starting to fail or not working properly. It’s often annoying to spend the time and money on these maintenance appointments however if you don’t do it, you know there will be more costly problems that could happen down the road.

Healthcare, including dentistry, is similar to taking care of your car. Regular, preventative appointments are encouraged to keep your body healthy and identify anything that is not working as it should. For example, a Dermatologist will tell you it is important to have your skin checked regularly to make sure it is healthy and to also identify any areas that could be cancerous. If something does appear cancerous, then you are hopefully catching it early and taking care of it before it spreads.

In dentistry, this means having cleanings and exams twice a year, in addition to periodic x-rays to help identify any concerns that aren’t visible to the naked eye. This way if a tooth has a cavity and needs a filling, the goal is to identify it early and take care of it before it becomes so large that it needs a crown, root canal, or worse—needs to be extracted.

So the next time you put off your regular dental appointment, we urge you to reconsider. You need to think of it as making an investment in your oral health. And if the dentist recommends treatment, before you reject it because of the cost, take the time to ask questions about what could happen if you do nothing. Often when you realize the dental work that may be needed down the road (and the expense), you may be more willing to make that investment now.


Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants

If you are missing a tooth and considering getting a dental implant, you may have a lot of questions. Below are some answers to the questions we get asked the most.


How does a dental implant work?

A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is inserted into your jaw bone. The implant will fully fuse with your jaw bone after a few months of healing and function like a tooth root. An abutment and implant crown (false tooth) will then be attached to the dental implant. It will look and function just like a real tooth, allowing you to eat regular foods. Additionally, because it functions like a tooth root, the dental implant will continue to stimulate your bone and prevent future bone loss. Other tooth replacement options, including bridges and dentures, do not offer this option.


What are other tooth replacement options?

If you are missing a tooth, you do have a few options and it is important to weigh the pros and cons before you determine the best way to move forward.

  1. You can choose to do nothing. This is obviously the least expensive option however it will have the biggest cost on your oral health. If you do not replace a missing tooth, eventually the teeth adjacent to it will start to move to the open space. This shifting can change how your other teeth come together when you bite down. Additionally, the bone where the tooth is missing is no longer stimulated and eventually starts to deteriorate.
  2. You can get a dental bridge. A bridge is when crowns are placed on the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth and a false tooth is attached in the middle. Aesthetically, a fixed bridge can give the appearance of a normal tooth however it can have limitations on the types of foods that can be eaten. While the initial investment may be cheaper than a dental implant, a bridge typically last about 5-10 years before it will need to be replaced.
  3. If you are missing all of your teeth, you can get dentures. Dentures are removable arches of false teeth that fit over your gums and need to be adhered daily. They need to be relined at the dentist’s office regularly to make sure they are fitting properly as your bone level continues to diminish. Dentures can impact the way you speak and severely restrict the types of foods you eat. Similar to bridges, dentures have a life span of 5 – 10 years before needing to be replaced.


How much do dental implants cost?

This is the question we receive most often and the answer is “it depends”. There are many factors that go into the total cost of a dental implant, including dental insurance contracted fees and how many additional services are needed.

While some offices may offer a “sale” discount price on dental implants, they may not be including the additional services that are also needed. Before moving forward, make sure to ask about what is all included in that price so you can fully understand what your total cost will be.

Below are potential services that may be needed when considering the cost of a dental implant.

  1. Extraction (removal) of the tooth
  2. Cone beam x-ray
  3. Placement of the actual dental implant
  4. Sinus lift and/or bone grafting (adding bone or bonelike material to your jaw if needed)
  5. Anesthesia
  6. Flipper (a retainer with a tooth attached to fill in the missing gap while the implant is healing)
  7. Implant crown and abutment (the false tooth that is attached to your implant once it is healed)

Dental implants alone are often in the $1,500 – $2,500 range, however when you add in the additional services (including the final implant crown) the cost will typically be in the $3,500 – $6,000 range. The good news is that many dental insurance policies offer some type of coverage for dental implants. Additionally, the costs can often be spread out over a few appointments. For example, the final implant crown and abutment won’t be needed until the implant is fully healed (approximately 3-6 months after placement). Various financing options are also available to those who qualify.

While the initial cost of a dental implant may be higher than the cost of a bridge, dentures or doing nothing at all, when you look at it over time dental implants can actually save you money in the long run. When taken care of properly, dental implants can last a lifetime. Bridges or dentures, on the other hand, only have a life expectancy up to about 5 – 10 years before they need to be replaced. Additionally, dental implants act like real teeth so they help stimulate your bone to help prevent future bone loss and the loss of other teeth.


Refer a Friend and Enter to Win $250 to The Streets at SouthGlenn!

Continuing with our “Living Local” campaign, we want to highlight a cool neighborhood to our west. The Southglenn neighborhood has long been a staple in South Metro Denver. From the early days of Southglenn Mall to now The Streets at SouthGlenn, the area has a vibrant retail, entertainment and restaurant mix while still keeping its neighborhood appeal.

Streets at Southglenn

We want you to love it as much as we do so we are giving away a $250 gift card to The Streets at SouthGlenn on July 1st! Simply refer a friend or family member to our office in June and you will be automatically entered to win. Click here for the official rules.

Good luck and keep supporting local business!



Family Dentistry services for a lifelong healthy smile for you and your family. Serving families in Lone Tree, Denver, and Highlands Ranch.

How well do you know your teeth?

How well do you know your teeth?

  1. How many primary (baby) teeth are there?
    1. There are 20 primary teeth. Children tend to get them starting at age 6 months and they may continue erupting until about 6 years old. Primary teeth help children learn to speak, chew and also act as placeholders for the permanent teeth.
  2. How many permanent teeth are there?
    1. There are 32 permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth. They are numbered 1 – 16 on the top (starting on your upper right) and 17 – 32 on the bottom (starting on your lower left). Your wisdom teeth are numbered 1, 16, 17, and 32.
  3. Do we lose all 20 primary (baby) teeth?
    1. Yes, we lose all 20 of our primary teeth by about the age of 12 or 13. By this age, most people will have all of their permanent teeth (with the exception of wisdom teeth).
  4. Do we lose our “baby” molars?
    1. Yes. We get our first primary molars around 12 – 19 months and then our second primary molars around 23 – 33 months (upper and lower teeth vary). Most people lose the first primary molars around age 9 – 11 and then the second primary molars around age 10 – 12.
  5. What about permanent molars?
    1. Molars are the first permanent teeth that don’t replace a primary tooth. There are 3 sets of permanent molars—the first are 6-year molars, the second are 12-year molars and the third are the wisdom teeth (often referred to as 3rds). Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the age of 15 – 25 (or may not erupt at all) and actually got their name because a person is generally “wiser” and more mature at that age.
  6. Why are wisdom teeth removed?
    1. Wisdom teeth are often removed because there may not be enough space in the mouth. In addition to making the mouth crowded, they can make it difficult to maintain good oral hygiene due to the difficulty of properly brushing and flossing so far back.
  7. What are premolars?
    1. Premolars, also known as bicuspids, are adjacent to your molars. They are not as large and have only 2 cusps (points) instead of 4. There are 2 sets of premolars—the first and second—and they replace the baby molars when they fall out.
  8. Why are the canine teeth called that?
    1. Just as you would imagine, our canine teeth are called that because they are similar to those of a dog’s and have the same purpose for biting and tearing food. They also look similar with their long, pointed shape.
CPAP Cropped

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. There are 3 types of sleep apnea—Obstructive, Central and Complex. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common and results from the airway collapsing or becoming blocked during sleep. Central Sleep Apnea is less common and refers to when your brain stops sending signals to your breathing muscles. Complex Sleep Apnea is when someone has both Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, it is estimated that over 18 million American adults have sleep apnea. Often it is the person’s partner who first notices symptoms of sleep apnea—snoring, stoppages in breathing and/or gasping for air. Frequent awakenings from sleep apnea often result in a poor night’s sleep and feeling excessively tired throughout the day. Other symptoms include snoring, high blood pressure and in many cases an exhausted partner who also doesn’t sleep well. Untreated sleep apnea can be very dangerous or deadly, most notably increasing the patient’s risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

If you think you have sleep apnea, the first step is to contact your Primary Care Physician. After discussing your symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a sleep medicine physician to have a sleep test. During the sleep test, the sleep lab will measure the number of apneas (pauses in breathing) and hypopneas (overly shallow periods of breathing) in an hour and how long the pauses last (generally 10 seconds or longer). You will receive your Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) score which determines the severity of sleep apnea. A score of 5 to 15 indicates mild sleep apnea, a score of 16 to 30 indicates moderate sleep apnea and a score of 30 or more indicates severe sleep apnea. A score less than 5 indicates you do not have sleep apnea. The sleep test will also help the sleep medicine physician determine the type of sleep apnea you have.

Based on your diagnosis, your doctor may first recommend some lifestyle changes including losing weight, sleeping on your side, stopping smoking and avoiding alcohol or drugs. They also may prescribe Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP is worn while you sleep and provides a constant flow of pressurized air to keep the airway open during sleep. Given the success of CPAP therapy, it is often the first treatment recommended to patients suffering from sleep apnea. Unfortunately, however, some people are unable to sleep with the CPAP due to feeling claustrophobic or never getting comfortable enough to sleep well. Those patients often look for an alternative treatment option.

For patients with mild or moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the use of a mandibular advancement device can be effective. It works by holding the jaw in a more forward position to prevent the airway from being obstructed. Other forms of treatment may also include surgery to remove excess tissue in the airway, surgery to remove tonsils and/or adenoids or use of a nasal pressurized airway device.

Sleep apnea can be a dangerous and potentially deadly medical condition and symptoms should not be dismissed. If you are concerned that you or your partner may have sleep apnea, contact your Primary Care Physician to have it checked out.


Downtown Littleton

Refer a Friend and Enter to Win $250 to Downtown Littleton!

We love local. Local shops, local restaurants and local dentists. So for the month of May, we want you to enjoy one of our favorite local spots–Downtown Littleton. For every friend or family remember you refer this month, you will be automatically entered to win $250 in gift cards to The Melting Pot, The Tavern Littleton, Savory Spice Shop and EVOO Marketplace. So stay local and refer your friends to a local dentist!

Downtown Littleton

For the official rules of the program, click here. Good luck and thank you for your referrals!

Home Depot

Refer a Friend and Enter to Win a Home Depot Gift Card!

Spring is almost here and if you are like most of us, you may already be planning your next big house project. Whether it is a new coat of paint, new landscaping or even a new appliance, we will be making many trips to home improvement stores in the next few months.

Home improvement projects get expensive so we are here to help you save a little money! Simply refer a friend or family member to our office in March or April and you will be automatically entered to win a $500 Home Depot gift card! Click here for the official rules of the program.

Thank you for your referrals and good luck!

Home Depot

Dr. Amanda Campbell

We were all sad to say goodbye to Dr. Amanda Campbell this week. She and her husband are moving out of state and we will miss having her as part of the Willow Creek Dental team. Best of luck to you, Dr. Campbell!

Dr. Mary Blakeley and Dr. Kylee Brightside will be taking wonderful care of Dr. Campbell’s patients. Please call us  at 303-779-2797 if you have any questions.

Dr. Campbell Goodbye Cake

Source: Blog

Deducting Medical and Dental Benefits on your taxes—5 things you should  know

If you incurred large out-of-pocket medical or dental expenses in 2015, you may be able to deduct them on your taxes. Here are 5 things you should know:

1. What expenses are eligible?

Eligible medical and dental expenses include but are not limited to out-of-pocket costs incurred for preventative care, treatment, surgeries, dental care, vision care, prescription medications and appliances such as glasses, false teeth and hearing aids. These expenses can be for yourself, your spouse or your dependents.

2. What expenses are not eligible?

In-eligible expenses include but are not limited to any medical or dental expenses for which you were reimbursed by your insurance, employer, health savings or flex spending accounts. Additionally, cosmetic procedures are generally not allowed. You also cannot deduct non-prescription drugs or general health expenses such as toothpaste or health club dues.

3. Why can’t I deduct expenses where I used my Health Savings or Flex Spending Accounts?

Health savings or flex spending accounts that are used to pay for medical or dental expenses are usually tax-free. Therefore you can’t deduct these expenses and receive a double tax benefit.

4. How much can I deduct?

According to the IRS website, you can deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses paid during the tax year that exceed 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Your AGI is your taxable income minus any adjustments to your income such as deductions, contributions to an IRA and student loan interest. An example would be if your AGI was $50,000 and you had out-of-pocket medical/dental expenses of $6,250. The amount you would be able to deduct would be $1,250 ($6,250 minus $5,000). If you or your spouse are 65 and older, there is a temporary exemption that allows you to deduct expenses exceeding 7.5% of AGI.

5. What is the next step?

If you determine that your deductions are greater than the standard deductions allowed for tax payers, then you will need to itemize those expenses on a Schedule A form (IRS Form 1040).

While the above information is intended to be a helpful guideline it should not be considered official tax advice.  Please contact your tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service directly to ensure you are complying with all of the tax rules in regard to deducting your medical and dental expenses.

Source: Blog

Straighter, healthier teeth and confident smile with Invisalign® treatment options

Don’t let Dental Insurance dictate your Oral Health

“I only want to do what my dental insurance covers”. That is a phrase we hear often from patients who don’t want to have any out-of-pocket cost at their dental visit. Unfortunately, many don’t understand that this may prevent them from taking the best care of their teeth.

In reality, most dental insurance companies have not increased their benefits to their patients since the 1970’s. So the $1,000 annual maximum that they may pay for you today is the same as it was back in the 1970’s. The cost for dental services have increased, however, so you are getting less dental care paid for by your insurance today than you did 40+ years ago.

Similarly, their willingness to accept and pay for new technology also lags severely behind. For example, technological advances in laser treatment can make a substantial difference in improving your periodontal (gum) health and reducing bacteria in your mouth. Unfortunately, the insurance companies don’t yet recognize these benefits and refuse to pay for them. Even fluoride, which most insurance companies will allow for children, most likely won’t be covered as an adult. They know it can help improve your oral health so why decide you no longer need it after age 14? As a result, the patient that doesn’t want to pay any extra out-of-pocket cost at their visit is allowing their insurance company to dictate their oral health. Again, this is the same company that refuses to acknowledge that dental costs have increased and technologies have improved over the past 40+ years.

We do our best to help educate our patients about how dental insurance works. Our office prides itself on offering comprehensive dental care for all of our patients and this includes informing you of all treatment that needs to be done. Just as you would expect your primary care doctor to tell you everything that may be going on with your body, it is our responsibility to tell you everything that is going on with your oral health.  This also includes everything you can do to help prevent further issues from occurring, such as laser assisted perio therapy, regular fluoride treatments or laser bacterial reduction which most likely are not covered by your insurance.

We believe strongly in our technology and will always recommend treatment that can help improve your oral health. We encourage you to ask us questions about how it works, why it is important, and how it can make an impact on your life.