By: Dr. Ali Jones
Hi friends. I am going to go on a little professional rant here, so bear with me. In order to tell this story, I have to admit something to you all. I watch reality TV. I love The Real Housewives series on Bravo. I have been committed to the Bachelor and Bachelorette series since I was in dental school. I also follow plenty of reality TV personalities on my social media. It's just entertaining and mindless and sometimes after a full day of dentistry and thinking and deciding things and organizing and business-ladying and momming, I need mindless. Try not to judge. I call it my "laundry TV." With 4 little kids, I have ENDLESS laundry. So, at night after the little ones are tucked in to bed, I settle in with piles of clean clothes and the Housewives or the Bachelor or whatever reality crap du jour is on.
Here is how this slightly embarrassing admission relates to my little dental blog and my rant....
Because these reality stars have millions of followers on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) they get asked to endorse lots of products and services. I recently noticed that some of my reality TV faves have endorsed a newish service called "Smile Direct Club." I have seen it come up several times with different reality stars taking selfies and proclaiming they are getting straight teeth with this "convenient, affordable, invisible option that you can do from home." So, of course, I checked it out.
In the simplest terms, it is DIY, mail order orthodontic treatment. People who want their teeth to be straighter and prettier and never pursued traditional orthodontic treatment or need a "refresh" after their teeth have shifted again, can fill out a 30 second smile assessment to see if you're a good candidate for their service. Wait, what?? Stop right there. THIRTY SECONDS? Ummm, no. If you came here to my office and I asked you some very basic questions that took thirty seconds and I never even looked in your mouth or took an xray and did not take a thorough medical or dental history, and from that I determined if you should have orthodontic (or any dental) treatment, I hope you would walk right out my door and not look back. The first thing you need before you decide to do any medical or dental procedure is for a professional to evaluate the many aspects of your case using all of the training and experience they have to offer. So already, big fail...a 30 second online questionaire is not enough to tell you if you are a candidate for moving teeth.
As if that isn't enough to stop you from pursuing mail order dentistry, let me tell you what you do next. You know those impressions of your mouth we take at our office to make models of your teeth? They mail you the stuff to do it by yourself at home. You guys, I know we make it look easy (wink, wink), but there is an art to a good dental impression. It's actually kind of a tricky process. And, even as dental professionals, we often do retakes on impressions because the first or second was not absolutely perfect. And if you don't take good impressions, you get inaccurate models. And if you have inaccurate models, you have inaccurate treatment. How can you possibly have a good outcome when you start with something totally inaccurate in the first place? You can't. And when was the last time you mastered something on the first or even the second try? I mean, maybe you're that good, but I'm not. It takes me a lot of tries to get really good at something and it takes even more to get it "perfect." So, guess what y'all? You're not going to take a perfectly accurate impression of your own mouth at home. You're just not. I wouldn't take an impression of my own mouth and I'm a dentist. The only way to do it right is for someone who knows what they are doing to take impressions for you and evaluate their accuracy.
And then you mail the impressions to the Smile Direct Club. Even if you got the perfect impression at home, it probably won't be by the time it gets to them. Impression materials are highly susceptible to expansion or shrinkage with time and environment. ONLY the very, very expensive, technique sensitive materials that we use at the office can retain their accuracy long enough to be sent to a second location. Oh, and the mail always takes very good care of packages with no concern of damage or exposure to extreme heat, cold, humidity, dryness or other climate factors. I am just sure that the impressions will be sent in a temperature and humity controlled environment with kid gloves. (Insert eye roll.)
If you're lucky to live in a city near an actual Smile Direct Club store, you can go in and have a technician do a 3D image/scan of your teeth. While the technology is pretty awesome, remember that humans are operating them. And if humans running the 3D scan don't know what they are doing and haven't been doing it long enough to have a lot of experience, they may not get the optimal scan. Again, education, training and experience is necessary for a good outcome on this procedure. This could lead to the same model you get from your at home impression - inaccuracy leading to a potentially questionable result. I'm not sure about this, but I'm going to guess that the technicians are not from a dental background with education and training on head and neck anatomy and dental morphology, etc. Plus, who knows how your actual experience will be. I read reviews of people feeling like the tech was rough and hurt their mouths while doing the scan. And, oh yeah, I am sure there is no turnover for a job like this. I am sure these are seasoned professionals who are highly trained with good compensation and wonderful benefits and really take pride in their job. (note: heavy sarcasm) Finally, there is NOT a DENTIST in the store to monitor the evaluations and scans they do. As far as I can tell, a dentist is not involved in the process at all. Hmmmm....
Have you had enough? I could go on with the rest of the process and continue to poke holes in it. There are SO many more reasons why NOT to do mail order dentistry. If you are dying to hear me go on....call me, email me...I can tell you the rest. Seriously, please don't do DIY dentistry or orthodontics, or any other medical procedures without professional supervision. I promise this is not making me fired up because it's taking business away from me. Guess what? I don't even do orthodontics in my practice, so I don't lose a dime from patients choosing to use this service. I just simply can't stand the deception of a huge marketing budget telling you that you can have perfect teeth by mail. Moving teeth is far to complex and important to trust to customer service representatives.
I mean, for Pete's sake, we trust our hair, our nails, our skin, our eyebrows only to our favorite professionals. We are willing to pay for highly skilled, trained and experienced people to do these services for us. Dentists and specialists like orthodontists go to school for a long, long time and continue to seek education throughout their career so they can do what's best for you and keep you safe and healthy and comfortable. So, when it comes to moving teeth, please don't mail it in, folks.
One thing you may not know about Dr. Jones is that she is Team Pumpkin Spice! She loves a good PSL (pumpkin spice latte), and a yummy slice of pumpkin bread. Pumpkin pie? You're going to have to fight her for the last piece. But as with everything, moderation is key!
If you do decide to indulge in a sugary snack or drink be sure to either drink water with it, or after to help get rid of the sugar, food debris and acid. If you are drinking coffee (or a soda) do not brush your teeth immediately after! This is because the acid causes your enamel to soften. Allow a good 30 minutes for it to harden, again, and then brush and floss as normal.
We need your vote!
Our office is, once again, participating in a pumpkin decorating contest with other area dental offices! Voting starts October 19th and lasts until October 25th (noon). Please be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ for links and pictures of our entry! We will remind you of the voting in a few weeks.
Delta Dental News
As of September 1st, Dr. Jones is now an in-network provider for Delta Dental Premier AND PPO Plans. Current Delta Dental patients do not need to do anything but keep smiling and visiting! But, how exciting for all our Delta PPO patients...we are now saving you more money for the same great dental experience!
Speaking of insurance...
With only 3 months left in 2017, it is time to think about maximizing your benefits! Do you have dental treatment that you forgot about or are putting off because you are not experiencing pain? Do not wait until your tooth is waking you in the middle of the night! Getting treatment done sooner than later is important. Decay in a tooth does not go away. It grows and weakens the surrounding tooth structure. Be sure to get in before your tooth breaks, before the tooth starts to hurt, and before the deductible you may have already reached goes back to zero!
If you cannot remember if you have treatment, please call us at 913-491-0077, or email Ashleigh at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ashleigh is also happy to help you figure out how much benefits you have left, too.
Thank you for the reviews!
We cannot thank you enough for the kind reviews we've received over the years. Currently, we've received over 450 reviews in Demandforce (our patient communication software). We read and respond to each review and it helps us more than you know. If you would like to let us know how we are doing, we would love to see your review on Google, Yelp, Facebook and Healthgrades.
Recieve a gift when you refer a new patient to us!
New patients are not only welcome, but very much appreciated...especially when they are referred by our existing patients. Every time you refer a new patient to our office that makes an appointment, we will send you a $25 gift card, or a $25 credit to your account to say thank you. Please tell your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and the lady in line behind you at Panera complaining about how she doesn't like going to her dentist to come visit Alison Jones Dentistry! Thank you very much for all your wonderful new patient referrals over the years.
We look forward to seeing you at your next dental visit!
Visit our website for more information or to schedule online:
You brush, you floss and still find that your breath isn't as fresh as you want it to be. You are not alone! The American Dental Association reports that 50% of adults report having (or have had) bad breath. Most of the reasons that lead to bad breath are minor, but there can be some more serious causes.
Culprit #1: BACTERIA
Our mouths are full of bacteria. Mouths are wonderful environments: warm, moist, dark, and bits of food debris to snack on. The bacteria eat those food particles and their waste products are foul smelling. Along with brushing and flossing your teeth, you should also be gently brushing your gums and tongue.
Culprit #2: DRY MOUTH
One of the complaints we hear from our older patients is dry mouth. The cause could be as simple as not staying hydrated enough to medications to problems with your salivary glands.
Culprit #3: GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is also called Periodontal Disease. The reason it occurs if because of build-up of bacteria below the gumline. As we learned above, bacteria in the mouth leads to bad odor.
Culprit #4: FOOD
This is an easy one. Coffee, onions, garlic are all things that should be avoided on dates, interviews, and generally if you plan on talking to anyone. There is a long list of foods that can affect the air that you exhale.
Culprit #5: SMOKING & TOBACCO
Besides the other negative health affects, tobacco users reduce your ability to taste food and irritate gum tissue. They are more likely to suffer from gum disease, too.
Culprit #5: MEDICAL CONDITIONS
A cavity that has been left untreated can start to cause bad breath. If your dentist has treated all of your decay, you brush and floss, and you don't smoke, your bad breath could be due to a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In those cases, you will want to talk to your primary healthcare doctor.
Now that we know of some of the things we should look out for, let's talk about some of the ways we can take care of a smelly situation:
BRUSH & FLOSS: Brush two times a day for two minutes each time. Floss EVERY DAY! When you do not floss you are missing 30+% of tooth surface. That's a lot of food debris and bacteria.
CLEAN YOUR TONGUE: There are many tongue scraper products on the market, but your toothbrush will do a great job. Your tongue should look pink, so if you have a white-brown coating, you should definitely start to increase tongue brushing.
MOUTHWASH: There are so many types of mouthwashes on the market. Mouthwashes can help kill bacteria and minimize odor. However, we recommend a mouthwash that does not have alcohol. Alcohol can be drying (Culprit #2). Mouthwash is a temporary solution, but in a pinch, it will help.
CLEAN YOUR DENTURES: You should be removing your full and partial dentures every night before bed and soaking them. Then, take a soft-bristled brush and brush your gums and dentures like you would your teeth. Do not use toothpaste on your dentures, though. The time out of you mouth allows for your tissues to breath and get some good blood flow.
INCREASE SALIVA PRODUCTION: Eat healthy foods that require more chewing like carrots, celery and apples. Chew sugar-free gum, or suck on a sugar-free candy. You can also try an over-the-counter product like Biotene or XyiliMelts.
QUIT SMOKING: It is just a good idea for your overall health!
VISIT A DENTIST: Having bad breath is embarrassing, and talking about it can be even more so. However, we are here to help! Please talk to your hygienist, Courtney, and Dr. Jones if you are having a problem with bad breath. They will make sure that there is not a more serious issue. If you are doing all the above and still having a problem, please talk to your primary care provider.
By: Dr. Ali Jones
Most patients know that it is routine for kids to get a fluoride treatment at each routine dental visit. However, did you know that you never "outgrow" the need to keep your teeth strong and healthy and help prevent tooth decay?
Even though insurance companies often don't cover fluoride treatment past the age of 14-16, that does not mean that you no longer need it and you're suddenly immune to getting cavities. In fact, it is quite the opposite! We tend to see lots of new cavities form in teenagers and college students due to diet and busy routines that often mean they may forget to brush and floss. For adults and seniors, we see more gum recession exposing the softer roots of teeth which are also a high risk for decay. Patients get more dry mouth (side effect of medications often the biggest reason) as they get older which also means higher risk for cavities forming because the protective saliva is not there to rinse away bacteria and keep the mouth at a neutral pH.
It is always better to be proactive and protect our teeth, rather than fighting the battle of tooth decay with costly, time consuming restorative procedures. Fluoride is a naturally occuring element that makes our teeth stronger and more resistant to decay, wear, acid erosion and sensitivity. It is easy, safe, effective and also inexpensive! Getting a fluoride treatment at every dental visit is a very affordable way to protect teeth...especially compared to the cost of fillings, crowns, root canals, bridges, implants and dentures.
You may remember having to swish a fluoride rinse for 30 seconds or a minute, or even having big foam trays filled with gel or foamy fluoride in your mouth for 1-4 minutes when you were younger. But, now, we use something called a fluoride "varnish." It is SO much easier than the old way of applying a fluoride application to teeth! It's a highly concentrated form of fluoride that gets "painted" on to the tooth surfaces (takes 30-60 seconds to apply) and sticks on for about 4-6 hours. When you brush your teeth later, it brushes off. You can eat and drink normally while it's on your teeth.
You might wonder if you still need a fluoride treatment if you have crowns, bridges and other dental work. YES! You are also susceptible to tooth decay around and under your dental work. The fluoride will help protect your natural tooth structure that is under and around your fillings and crowns so you can keep your dental work and teeth healthy. It is also helpful if you have sensitive teeth! The fluoride makes the surfaces of your teeth more mineralized, or harder and more resistant to hot, cold, sweets and the elements that cause sensitivity, weaken and break down tooth structure.
So, when Dr. Jones and Courtney offer you a fluoride varnish treatment....say yes, I want to protect my teeth for life!
If you have any more questions or concerns about fluoride, ask us at your next appointment!
By: Ashleigh B.
In the last 6 months, I've heard more and more patients voice their frustrations with dental benefits (insurance.) They are frustrated that the policy doesn't cover as much as they thought, and that their Annual Maximum hardly covers two cleanings and a couple fillings.
When is the last time your Annual Maximum was increased? The annual $1000 maximum offered when you signed up in 2006 is the same $1000 you are getting in 2017. As the years go by, you are probably paying more for your dental benefits and getting the same or even less in return!
We are not saying to run to your HR Department and cancel your dental benefits plan. But we do want to let you know of another option that our office is offering. It is important to know your options so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Smile Advantage is a membership-based dental savings plan. You get the same quality care that you expect at our office, but for a more affordable price. Unlike some dental benefits plans, there are no annual maximums, no waiting periods, and no limits on certain treatment! It is a simple, smart alternative to traditional dental insurance.
Members will pay an annual fee ($349 per adult per year; $299 per child per year). Memberships include:
For patients that are Periodontal Patients, there is also a plan for you! Please visit our SmileAdvantage page and click on Perio Plan for details.
How much are you really saving? Adults who usually only come in twice a year save $26 right off bat. This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you include all that is covered in the plan, the savings only go up! Adding fluoride applications increases savings to over $50. Have a tooth ache between appointments and need an emergency visit? Savings increase to over $150.
Signing up for a Smile Advantage membership is fast, easy, and you work directly with our office. You can pay the membership fee in full, or spread it over 12 months (overall fee increases by 20%). The membership is good for one year from the time you sign up.
If something happens and you need to see a specialist like an endodontist for a root canal, or an oral surgeon for an extraction, we have a list of providers that offer Smile Advantage members up to 10% off treatment.
If you are tired of dental benefits not providing you with adequate coverage, consider Smile Advantage. This is a simple, smart plan for small business owners, retired people and many others that dental insurance may not be the most affordable way to help pay for dentistry. Please call or email us with questions.
By: Ashleigh & Dr. Jones
Thanksgiving is about two turkey gobbles away. We would like to take a few moments to give thanks to the people that make it possible for us to do what we love to do.
Our Dental Labs
There are many dental labs from which to choose, but we feel that we have some of the best in the area. We are very supportive of small, local businesses, like our own business. We do not send cases out to large, high volume, national or international dental labs. Our dental lab technicians have known us for over 10 years and work with Dr. Jones to make beautiful and functional crowns and bridges, implant crowns, well-made occlusal (night) guards, partial and complete dentures and other dental restorative prostheses. They also have many years of experience to help us with the more challenging cases and work with Dr. Jones on individual cases that need a little more time and attention for the perfect custom result.
Thank you for your beautiful work and help. Thank you for the rush cases. Thank you for phone consultations. We appreciate your craftsmanship and value the relationships we've developed over the last 10 years.
It goes without saying that team is extremely important! We have a fantastic, strong and fun group of women who work together at this office and support our patients and each other. We enjoy spending time together not only during office hours, but for the occasional happy hour! We laugh that even though someone leaves the practice, they really don't leave. We have long lasting relationships with team members that have moved or changed careers and we are grateful for that!
Courtney is truly an expert Registered Dental Hygienist. She is thorough, but gentle. She gives us tough love when it comes to periodontal issues. She offers customized recommendations for your home care routine and honest feedback that can help you improve and have your most beautiful, healthy smile! We really lucked out when we found her nearly five years ago!
Jamie has been Dr. Jones right-hand woman for the last year. As a chairside assistant, there are many things that go on "behind the scenes" to keep Dr. Jones running efficiently all day. Jamie is also great with patients that need a little more encouragement and TLC when in Dr. Jones' chair, and she can talk you through an impression and be a hand holder if you need one.
Linda is a face that you don't see very often. However, when you do see it, please know that we are very thankful! It means that she is filling in for Jamie, or me (Ashleigh). It is so incredibly helpful to have someone that can fill in as a chair-side assistant or front-office. These two jobs are very different, and very demanding in different ways. Linda also brings us a great sense of humor and makes us laugh...which is what we need once in a while!
We are very fortunate to have outstanding specialists to whom we can refer our patients for treatment such as root canal therapy, oral surgery, orthodontics, specialized periodontal care, etc. Our office happens to be in a building that has some of those great dental specialty offices just a hallway or elevator-ride away! It is important to us that you see a specialist that not only is a clinical expert in what they do, but who treat our patients very well, and have a great support staff. We also have great specialists around the Overland Park, Leawood, Prairie Village area, because we know that sometimes location is a factor in a patient's decision.
Our Keurig coffee maker
Without our Keurig, we'd have a very tired Doctor and Office Manager! We've had the same Keurig in our office for 6-7 years. It is confusing and sometimes temperamental, but who isn't some days?! Thanks for the great coffee and the caffeine boost :)
You know I would not end this blog by thanking a coffee machine, right?! We can never say it enough: Thank you for being a part of this dental practice. We truly love doing what we do. The surveys and reviews that we receive make us smile and we are so very grateful for you helping grow our practice by sharing our name with family, friends and co-workers. Thank you for sharing your stories with us when you are in the chair and developing relationships with us that we truly value.
As Dr. Jones and I sit down at our parents' table on Thanksgiving, we will be sharing a special cheers of thanks to all of you. All of you that make this job worth doing!
Have a happy, fun, safe Thanksgiving. For those traveling, we wish you clear roads, short airport lines and LOTS OF PUMPKIN PIE!!!
We are about halfway through the summer and we hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have…despite that heat.
For the first time in the seven-plus years in owning the practice, Dr. Jones decided to close the office the first week of July. During this week, she drove her fabulous-four to Chicago! They visited the Shedd Aquarium, Willis (Sears) Tower, Navy Pier and enjoyed lots of wonderful food.
Trip Tip from Dr. Jones: If you plan on visiting a larger city, purchase you and your family City Passes. This gets you into all the touristy places for a little less money and without having to wait in the long lines!
Dental Travel Trips
It is not uncommon for us to receive a call from a patient letting us know that they are about to leave for vacation, but need to come in because their tooth started acting up. Hopefully, it is something minor and a quick exam with Dr. Jones will determine that it is something that can wait until you come home. Here are some tips from the American Dental Association to help you on your next vacation:
Do you use CareCredit?
For patients that use CareCredit, you have a new option on how you pay! You are now able to pay your balance online though CareCredit.com! Once you receive our Billing Statement, you can go to www.carecredit.com/pay, select your provider, enter statement information, choose a promotional option and verify and submit payment. We ask that all patients using CareCredit to submit payment this way unless you are here in the office paying for treatment at the time of service.
We end this Newsletter with a big THANK YOU! Thank you all for being a part of our practice. Thank you for referring friends, family and co-workers and helping a locally owned small business grow!
After 50 years as a Registered Dental Hygienist and almost 18 years at this dental practice, we are wishing a Happy Retirement to Lynne Jones!
We know that this comes to a great surprise to many of our dedicated patients. Lynne has been a big part of this practice and has been one of Dr. Jones' biggest cheerleaders over the last 10 years. We are so thankful for her many years of service and friendship!
Lynne's last day was April 20th. It was both a sad day, but a good one because Lynne is so happy to have more time to get some things done with family and at home. She and her husband are looking forward to spending more time enjoying their lake-house at Table Rock. And, if you know Lynne, you can be assured that she will really enjoy being able to spend time with her family, including her NINE young grandchildren.
Congratulations, Lynne, on this milestone and we hope that you enjoy your well-earned leisure time! Lynne will keep her license active so that she can fill in as needed. As you know, we never truly say good-bye, just, "See you at Beer Night!"
When it comes to your lips, they are often neglected in our day-to-day skin care routine. And many times, we only think about putting on a lip balm when they become dry, cracked and peeling. Did you know that Dr. Jones even checks your lips and the tissue around your lips during every routine exam?
It is time for you to think about your lips every day! Your skin is exposed to ultra violet (UV) light...even on cloudy days. Be consistent in using a lip balm with SPF in it (the higher the better). Cold, dry air and wind also chaps the delicate skin on lips. Keep lip balm with you and reapply throughout the day. Lip balm wears off frequently because we speak, eat, and drink. It is helpful to have lip balm in multiple places so you aren't constantly searching for it. I keep one within arms' reach at my desk at work. I have one in my bathroom near my toothbrush for easy application after I brush and floss. I also have one in my purse for on-the-go.
Dr. Jones was on a mission in the first few years of owning the practice to find a lip balm to give to patients to use during dental treatments and to keep for regular use. There were certain ingredients that were important to her and she had trouble finding it...until "it" came to us. As you can imagine, businesses often receive samples of products in the mail. We get lots of pens and gloves. One day, we received an envelope with a lip balm sample which turned out to be just what Dr. Jones was looking for! It is beeswax based with aloe, vitamin E and SPF 15 and it has a subtle minty smell and flavor. Our patients love it and we have continued to reorder it for the last 4+ years!
Be kind to your lips and Protect Your Pucker!
Patient's always ask, "How much is the lip balm?" It's complimentary! However, if you would like to "pay" for it, we would love for you to do a Google or Yelp Review! Your reviews help our small business in many ways! Thank you!
Ali Jones, D.D.S. - Dentist