All posts by Dr. Charles R. Kimes

Dental Insurance Benefits Expire: Use It OR Lose It

As most of us would probably agree, 2020 has been a year rife with unexpected twists and turns and while the year might be winding down, it’s important to remember we still have a couple months left to go! With so many things going on these days, indeed it is easy to forget or simply overlook something as seemingly insignificant as a dental appointment. However, this is an ill-advised misstep as any dental insurance benefits expire that have been left unused will ultimately be lost! As unfair as it may seem, the simple fact is that the vast majority of insurance providers will almost always automatically reset their insurance benefits to their defaults at the beginning of each new year, regardless of whether these benefits have been fully utilized or not. By allowing these unused insurance benefits to expire, you are not only missing out on a great opportunity to save money, but you may be inadvertently putting yourself at risk as well!

Routine Exams: More That They Appear!

As mentioned previously, while it may be easy to dismiss the insurance benefits of such a seeming minor procedure such as a basic dental exam, but the truth is that routine checkups are perhaps one of the most beneficial procedures not only your oral health, but your overall health too.

What many media outlets fail to adequately publicize is that while receiving a standard dental checkup, a patient is also simultaneously undergoing a simple but highly important dental procedure, in which we discussed at length in previous blogs. Check out this article about Oral Cancer Screenings: Oral Cancer Screenings are the Dental Industry’s Best Kept Secret. As you may surmise oral cancer is perhaps one of the most devastating progressive illnesses known to modern medicine, and while much progress has been made in light of the illness becoming a national epidemic, oral cancer is still responsible for approximately 7,500 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Related Articles:

How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Dental Health: Poor Oral Health is Risky Business

Fortunately, in an effort to combat this crisis, dentists everywhere have received specific training to recognize and identify any sighs of early onset oral cancer, in order to address the condition before it is able to progress. To properly assess oral cancer or any of the other oral health associated illnesses, dental practitioners generally recommend minimum of two routine check-ups per year with an approximant six-month gap between each appointment.

As such, the majority of insurance providers have plans to provide coverage for exactly this, (two yearly appointments) and at Overland Park Dentistry we accept the coverage plans of many of the most well-known and commonly used providers. Aetna, Cigna, Delta, Guardian, Humana, MetLife, and United Healthcare are all among our accepted providers, and we can provide all necessary forms and paperwork for you upon your next scheduled visit!

Restorative Treatment

Unlike basic exams and preventative oral cancer screenings, restoration-based treatment are the more advanced procedures that result from sustaining kind of damage or decay to your teeth. Treatments such as crowns, bondings, and implants all fall under the umbrella of restorative dentistry, and while they will typically be covered by insurance providers to a varying degree, keep in mind that the more advanced dental procedures can require an extensive bit of work on the part of your dentist and sometimes require multiple appointments to properly assess.

Learn more about Restorative Dentistry Treatments HERE.

While certainly Dr. Kimes and his staff would be willing to help you come up with an arrangement that best allows you to maximize your insurance benefits while receiving the treatment needed, this window of opportunity will only stay open for a bit longer. Keep in mind, while it might be easy to put dental care on the back burner due to its slow progressing nature, oral health issues can be a slippery slope that CAN become very serious if neglected.

Don’t Delay!

As 2020 finally winds to a close, it’s clear that a new day is on the horizon, and while we may be anxious to ring in the new year, it’s important not to forget about the unused dental insurance benefits expire on December 31st. At Overland Park Dentistry, we want you to get the most bang for your buck! Therefore, if you (like most people) rely on your dental insurance to help cover the cost your dental care, we highly encourage you take this opportunity to maximize your insurance now benefits now before they are gone forever!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Reasons You May Need a Dental Crown

With a multitude of new types of technology coming into the industry at once, dental crowns (or fillings) continue to remain as one of the tried and true procedures that have come to define the dental profession over the years. However, despite this stellar reputation, crowns also remain a somewhat misunderstood commodity amongst the general public, with many patients unsure as to the reason for needing a dental crown.

Indeed, there are a number of situations in which crowns are necessary in restoring a patient’s smile. Therefore, in order to shed some light on the trusty dental crown, we will discuss some of the reasons why crowns are necessary, as well as highlighting some of the exciting new advancements in the modern dental crown.  

Dental Crowns: The Rundown

First, lets refresh your memory on just what exactly a dental crown is. As you probably know, a crown is a composite cap that is fitted over a damaged or decayed tooth after it has been treated and sealed. Designed to resemble the tooth’s previous appearance, a crown is created to restore the tooth cosmetically, and protect it from incurring any future damage. Once fully restored, the newly crowned tooth will become fully functional once again, with the crown ultimately providing a durable solution that will last for many years.

Related Article: How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile??

Reasons for a Dental Crown

As mentioned previously, there are numerous reasons for a dental crown and we’d like to explain why applying a crown to a tooth is required, some of these reasons are listed as follows:

  • Restoring the appearance of a damaged or severely decayed tooth
  • Holding a cracked or broken tooth together
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Concealing a deformed or misshapen tooth
  • Helping keep a dental bridge in place
  • Covering and protecting a tooth that has incurred significant loss

As you can see, one of the main reasons for a dental crown is if you have a tooth that is in need of repair. If that’s the case, you’re probably experiencing dental pain. Here’s an article about Tooth Pain and What May be Causing Your Toothache. If you’re experiencing any tooth pain, please contact us at Overland Park Dentistry to schedule an Emergency Dental Appointment.

CEREC Crown: A Crown for a New Era!

It’s often been said never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks, and when it comes to dental crowns this is certainly the case!  As you may have read in some of our previous blog entries, a new slew of cutting-edge technology has come to revolutionize the dental industry throughout the twenty-first century thus far. All these various types of technology have led to unprecedented growth within the dental industry and have led to a renewed sense of public interest in the profession.

Arguably what’s become one of the most popular new technologies to emerge in dentistry’s recent technology boom is what’s known as the “Chairside Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics” or CEREC crown.

Related Article: Receive a Same Day CEREC Crown

BEFORE CEREC Crown Technology:

Although the standard crown has proved itself as viable solution, the process of receiving a standard crown has always left much to be desired. When receiving a standard dental crown, the process requires at least two separate appointments, in which the patient would likely have to take time off work or adjust their schedules to accommodate.

Additionally, in waiting to receive a conventional crown, the patient would be given a temporary crown to wear between appointments. While certainly necessary in preventing future damage and providing a quick fix, the temporary crown has been unpopular with patients in the past, as they have been known to break easily, or sometimes to even fall out.

NEW CEREC Crown Technology at Overland Park Dentistry

Fortunately, thanks to the arrival of the CEREC crown at Overland Park Dentistry, this process of receiving a crown can now be completed in just ONE simple appointment! This is possible through the use of digital imaging, dentists now have the ability to scan the inside of your mouth to accurately pinpoint the precise dimensions of your new crown, and thereby create a near perfect replica of your natural tooth. With this newfound ability, the cumbersome temporary crown is no longer necessary thus eliminating the need for multiple appointments.

Here’s a guest blog that one of our patients submitted about her experience: My Same Day CEREC Crown Experience at Overland Park Dentistry.

Come See Us!

At Overland Park Dentistry, the CEREC crown has been a big hit, by successfully creating an elegant and convenient solution for our loyal patients. If you have sustained any damage to your teeth or have any questions about the CEREC crown or crowns in general, feel free to contact our offices.

Until next time keep on smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Sugar Affects Teeth: The Magic of Halloween!

In a world where COVID-19 remains a lingering public concern and endless political advertising dominates all media outlets, a little Halloween fun is perhaps just what the doctor ordered! Thankfully, with Halloween right around the corner, kids and parents alike will have a chance to let off a little steam and partake in the timeless fall tradition that we all know and love. However, while trick or treating is sure to put plenty of smiles on young faces, keeping those little smiles healthy can put a bit of a scare into parents this season!

Sure, a little candy is fine every now and then, but as parents; which ones could be harmful for kid’s teeth? As a frequently asked question for us here at Overland Park Dentistry, we believe it is a good idea for all parents to have a firm grasp on which types of candy to be on the lookout for during the Halloween season. Therefore, in this article we will discuss here how sugar affects teeth, as well as highlighting the worst types of candy for teeth and a few types of candy that might provide a healthier alternative instead!

Related Article: Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

Halloween Havoc: How Excess Sugar Can Harm Teeth

While It’s no secret that sugar is bad for teeth, how exactly sugar affects teeth is not something that everyone fully understands. Once sugar enters the mouth, it quickly interacts with the sticky film that surrounds your teeth, commonly known as plaque, thereby creating a chain-reaction. When sugar comes into contact with the plaque, it is absorbed by the bacteria within the plaque, thus releasing acid as a waste product. The acid produced will in turn, begin to dissolve the tooth’s enamel, ultimately causing the tooth to slowly decay.

Obviously, tooth decay is a progressive issue that often affects people more as they get older. However, it’s important to realize that children who develop oral health issues at a young age are likely to carry these issues along with them into adulthood, in which they are likely to worsen. This underscores the significance of instilling proper healthy oral hygiene and lifestyle habits amongst children as preventing any such issues before they occur is always the best route.

Related Article:

How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Tooth Pain: What is Causing My Toothache?

Not all Halloween Candy is the same!

Although no candy is genuinely good for your teeth, its only natural to indulge in a few treats during Halloween! Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that some candy is considerably worse for teeth than others. In the list below we have compiled some types of candy that you should try to avoid and some that are healthier to enjoy based on how sugar affects teeth.

Sugar Affects Teeth: Candy to Avoid

  • Chewy Sweets: From gummy worms, to caramel chocolate and taffy, unquestionably some of the worst candy for your teeth has to be the chewy or gummy type of candy. As they are chewed, this sticky material covers your teeth, while proceeding to get stuck in any gap or crevice it can find.  This can lead to a (no pun intended) very sticky situation as removing the material can be quite difficult, however if the sugary substance is not removed, the cavity-causing bacteria will most certainly have ample opportunity to flourish.
  • Hard Candy: Certain types of hard candy, such as jawbreakers, jolly ranchers, or even lollipops, can prove to be problematic for a couple of reasons, the first and perhaps most obvious reason is the fact that biting down on hard surface of the candy may break or cause damage to the tooth. However, another less than obvious reason would be the simple fact that one would likely keep this candy in their mouth for a prolonged period of time, thus causing the excess sugar to get into your saliva, and continue to wash over and continuously coat your teeth. 
  • Sour Candy: Although increasingly popular among kids today, the highly acidic sour candy treats can easily weaken and damage the enamel of your teeth, thus making them more vulnerable to cavities

Sugar Affects Teeth: Candy to Enjoy

  • Milk or Dark Chocolate: As easily one of the most popular and beloved candy choices out there, regular chocolate is also a relatively smart choice regarding one’s teeth due to its ability to be easily removed. While particularly hard or frozen chocolate would certainly be an exception, regular milk chocolate treats are a perfectly safe candy choice, so long as your teeth are properly brushed afterwards.
  • Candy with Nuts: Believe it or not, candy bars with nuts can actually help break up the sticky resin that chewy or gummy candies leave behind. However, just remember not to put these bars in the refrigerator!
  • Sugarless Candy: Okay hear us out on this one! While sugar-free treats have gained something of an unpopular reputation among candy lovers as being a bit bland tasting and therefore less than satisfactory. In recent years however, this has changed as sugar-free candy has improved considerably by using sugar substitutes to become much more flavorful, and thereby much more enjoyable.

Overland Park Dentistry Can Help You Stay Cavity-Free This Halloween

There are few events more fun then Halloween, and at Overland Park Dentistry, we hope you and your kiddos get to enjoy yourselves during this season of thrills and chills! While we certainly advise a bit of caution when indulging in some of the treats listed above, perhaps the most important tidbits to remember are keeping up with proper oral hygiene habits and to practice a little good old-fashioned moderation!

From all of us here Overland Park Dentistry we wish you a happy and cavity-free Halloween, until next time keep smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Brighten Your Smile with Professional Teeth Whitening

Keeping Up Appearances

It’s often been said that “appearance isn’t everything” and while that is certainly true let’s face it, appearance IS a big deal! In a time in which the world is seeming broadcast all over various social media outlets (whether it be Facebook, Snapchat, TicTok, Instagram, or any other platform you can think of) people are obviously more aware of their appearance now than ever before. However, if someone were to have certain aspects of their appearance that perhaps causes them shame or embarrassment this constant media presence can result in unwarranted anxiety that individual and may be very harmful to their self-esteem.

Unfortunately, this scenario seems to be a reality for many people today, here are some stats:

  • as over half of Americans in the U.S. today have reported feeling insecure about their smile
  • according to a recent poll conducted by the New York Post, approximately 57 percent of American adults admit to covering their mouths when they laugh due to feeling self-conscious of their teeth
  • nearly 61 percent of interviewees expressed a strong desire to change something about their teeth; and the most desired change was unanimously whiter teeth

In light of this information, we will attempt to set the record straight on professional teeth whitening, by explaining the process and sharing finer points of the procedure. Having a white smile is not something that is out of reach, and certainly isn’t something to lose sleep over!

Related Article: Smile Pretty with Cosmetic Dentistry Choices in Overland Park

Professional Teeth Whitening:  

Being a cosmetic based procedure, the purpose of a professional whitening is to remove any stains or discoloration that your teeth have accumulated over time. As a staple of the dental industry for a number of years, a professional whitening is not exactly unfamiliar to the general public. However, with the recent arrival of various over the counter (OTC) whitening products, there has been a bit of confusion as to what exactly a professional whitening entails, and why it’s the most effective option for whiter teeth.

Brighten Your Smile: The Procedure

Prior to beginning the whitening process, your dentist will first take impressions of your upper and lower rows of teeth in order to provide you with your own custom-fitted whitening trays. Once the impressions have been taken, your dentist will then apply a protective coating to the surrounding gums, then a bleaching agent directly to the surface of your teeth. This process lasts approximately 30 minutes total, and once completed you will receive your own custom trays as well as a take home touch-up kit. This kit will include a set of detailed instructions on how to the trays are to be correctly worn and how to properly load the amount of bleaching gel into each tray in order to prevent any issues or mishaps.

Related Article: Teeth Whitening Options: Over the Counter vs. Professional

Brighten Your Smile: The Results

As mentioned previously, while OTC products have been made available in local pharmacies across the country, these products simply cannot produce the results that a professional whitening can. Once the appointment is over you will see instant results, as your teeth will be nearly 5-7 shades whiter!

However, improvement doesn’t end there as by continuing to utilize your whitening trays at home, you will achieve a seemingly flawless smile that can last up to 5 or sometimes even 10 years.

Related Article: Teeth Whitening FAQ: Is it the Fountain of Youth?

Face The World With A Smile!

While the glare of constant social media can be overwhelming, there’s certainly no reason to let that keep you from smiling. If your teeth are causing you embarrassment or forcing you to shy away from the cameras, then perhaps a professional whitening to brighten your smile is exactly what you need! Because we believe that people deserve to feel good about themselves, cosmetic dentistry is one of the primary services that we provide at Overland Park Dentistry. If you have any questions about a professional whitening, or any of our other services, please feel free to contact our offices.

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Fan Favorite: Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants

Teeth are Indispensable

Obviously, your teeth are one of the most vital aspects of everyday life, whether it’s munching on your favorite snack or grinning ear to ear for a photo op, if you have one or several missing teeth, such a simple task becomes THAT much harder.

Fortunately, within the ever-expanding realm of dental technology, there are a variety of different ways to replace teeth that have been lost or significantly damaged. Many dentists will agree that tooth replacement with Dental implants are unquestionably the most effective method to replace a tooth, and if you meet the candidacy requirements, dental implants are generally your most viable option.

Dental Implants: The Best Option

The modern dental implant has become something of a fan favorite among the dental community for its ability to provide a cosmetically pleasing and durable solution for those in need of a permanent replacement. Hiding under your gumline, are what is known as your teeth’s roots. The roots keep your tooth anchored within its socket, while simultaneously connecting it to the nerves and blood vessels within the jaw, therefore essentially serving as your tooth’s life source. If a tooth is significantly (or entirely) destroyed however, then it is necessary to not only replace the tooth itself, but also its means of keeping itself in place. To achieve this, an implant platform is to be inserted within the jawbone, in order to create a base for the artificial tooth (or crown) to be held in place. Once in place, the platform and crown are connected via a small screw which can be designed to support one or several crowns, ultimately resulting in a sturdy replacement that looks and functions like natural teeth.

What Are the Candidacy Requirements?

As mentioned earlier, to receive a dental implant you do need to meet the candidacy requirements. While implants are typically the best solution for the majority of patients, it’s important realize that implants might not always be the right solution depending on a patient’s medical history. In the section below are several issues that could POSSIBLY disqualify a patient from receiving a tooth replacement with dental implants.

  1. Periodontitis: Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is an infection within the gumline which causes the gum tissue, teeth, and (in severe cases) jawbone to slowly deteriorate. Any patients suffering from periodontitis much have the condition treated prior to receiving implant surgery.
  2. Diabetes: While diabetes doesn’t automatically disqualify a patient from receiving a dental implant, the patient must have the condition under control, and are required to consult with a primary care physician before receiving the treatment.
  3. Smoking: Although smoking is personal choice, it’s important to realize that smoking does exponentially increase the risk of implant failure. Therefore, any patients receiving dental implants are strongly encouraged to quit.
  4. Youth/Pregnancy: Younger patients whose jaws might still be growing should wait until their jaw has fully developed before seeking implants. Likewise, women who are pregnant are also required to wait until after childbirth to receive treatment.
  5. Osteopenia: Patients with osteopenia suffer from low bone density and are generally not encouraged to receive dental implants. However, it should be mentioned that implants are sometimes possible in this scenario by way of bone grafting.
  6. Poor Overall Health: Although relatively minor, its important to understand that the dental implant process is a form of surgery and therefore a patent must be healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Therefore, if a patient has any additional underlying health issues or concerns that they are aware of, a proper assessment of such issues should be taken before any treatment can proceed.

Going Above and Beyond

While not all dental providers offer tooth replacements with dental implants, at Overland Park Dentistry we believe in going above and beyond for our patients. Therefore, as part of our restorative-based treatments, we have dental implants available to those in need of tooth replacements and are certainly willing to help you! If you are in need of a tooth replacement or would like to find out if you’re a candidate for dental implants please feel free to contact our offices and remember to always keep smiling! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Oral Health and Hygiene: Keep Your Immune System Strong

Oral Health and Hygiene is More Important Than Ever!

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, personal health has been brought to the forefront of nearly everybody’s minds, and while this might not be a new concern among some of the more health conscious folks out there, for some people this may be the first time that their health and personal well-being has been a source of distress.

Therefore, If you have read any of our previous entries, you will have certainly gained an understanding as to the significant impact oral health and hygiene can have on the body’s ability to ward off the amount of hazardous bacteria that surrounds us on a daily basis. Whether the pathogens are airborne or blood borne if our immune system is compromised, the body might not have the strength to fight off the virus, thus putting yourself at risk of experiencing serious or even fatal repercussions. In the sections below we will shed some light on some of these issues, to provide a more comprehensive understanding as to the prominent role that oral hygiene plays in your overall health. 

Oral Health and Hygiene: Why It Matters?

Although it might not seem like that big of a deal, make no mistake; oral hygiene is extremely important and while you might be able to get away with a couple slipups here and there, unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope as it can be extremely easy to get into the bad habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care.   If you allow yourself to fall into such habits, (improper brushing techniques, lack of flossing, failing to receive routine checkups) you are perhaps unknowingly setting yourself up for inevitable health issues, both orally and otherwise. Unfortunately, this has been a costly lesson for many people over the years, as progressive oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease typically manifest slowly over an extended period, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until they reach their advanced stages. If these illnesses have progressed to a later stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, trigger additional health problems or interact with pre-existing ones.

Related Article: How Can Oral Bacteria Impact Your Pretty Smile?

Oral Health Complications: Much Worse Than You Think

Although major oral health issues such as tooth decay and gum disease are obviously a serious problem, many are quick to write these issues off as strictly oral problems, without fully understanding the health ramifications behind them. However, as mentioned previously these issues go deeper than that, as they not only wreak havoc on your oral health but cause an excess of oral bacteria to build up as well. If the excess bacteria is able to reach the sufferer’s bloodstream, it will be allowed to travel throughout the body, thus significantly worsening issue. If the hazardous bacteria can reach the sufferer’s heart, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, ultimately strangling the heart and forcing it to pump faster while becoming increasingly less productive. As a result of this, individuals suffering from oral health issues have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, or other cardiovascular-based complications, as well as becoming increasingly susceptible to harmful pathogens or the progression of chronic illnesses.

Related Article: Dental Health: Poor Oral Health is Risky Business

Don’t Let It Happen To You!

At Overland Park Dentistry, we passionately believe that prevention is the key to keeping your beautiful smile strong and healthy. Therefore, we employ what we like to call “The Six-Month Rule” which as its name implies, recommends six months between each routine checkup, thus rounding out to two checkups per year. Yes this may seem a bit excessive to some; however, with COVID-19 still posing a threat to the general public, maintaining your oral and overall health is NOW more important than ever.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can it Kill You?

You owe it to yourself, schedule an appointment to see us at Overland Park Dentistry, so you can stay healthy and smiling for years to come!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Dental Safety: Is it SAFE to Visit the Dentist?

In The Shadow of COVID-19

Although it’s been a couple months since the quarantine over both Kansas and Missouri has been lifted, there are many people who remain in self-isolation, as the threat posed by COVID-19 remains a major public health concern. Indeed, by following the standard protocol in public places (wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance from others, making frequent use of hand sanitizer, ect) you ARE taking a crucial step in protecting yourself and others. However, despite these precautions there are many people who still feel at risk when in public, thus begging the question;

“Is it safe to visit my dentist?”

While some skeptics may scoff at such a question, if you have underlying health issues or have elderly/potentially compromised individuals in your family, this is likely a source of concern for you. Therefore, in the sections below, we would like to address the concern of dental safety by highlighting all the precautions that the dental profession has taken, both in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the years prior to ensure the safety of both patients and practitioners alike.

Related Article: Dr. Kimes Welcomes Back Patients for Routine Dental Appointments

Dental Safety: HIV/AIDS

While the COVID-19 pandemic might be the first disease outbreak to significantly impact our society in quite a while, it is certainly not the first disease outbreak to affect the modern era. In 1981, the first cases of HIV/AIDs were reported within the United States. Throughout the remainder of the 1980’s the number of cases would increase rapidly, thus resulting in many changes in protocol within all major fields of the medical industry including professional dentistry.

Due to HIV/AIDS being a bloodborne pathogen, (meaning it’s primarily transmitted through blood) therefore the standard personal protection equipment (PPE) used by dentists everywhere was vastly improved upon. Such improvements included the utilization of medical masks, surgical gloves, and protective eye wear, which became requirements to wear at all times to increase dental safety for the dental team and the patient.

Additionally, sterilization became a central focus to prevent any dental safety risk of cross-contamination. This required each chair/operational space to thoroughly cleaned between patients, and any instruments used to be sanitized or disposed of properly. These new protective measures were extraordinarily successful, and quickly became required practice among dentists across the globe, thus setting a new standard.

However, in 2020 the world would again be taken by surprise, as the arrival of COVID-19 would once again require further changes to be made.

Dental Safety: COVID-19

Although not nearly as fatal as the before mentioned HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 is much more contagious. As you probably already know, COVID-19 is an airborne pathogenic disease, that can be transmitted from one infected person to another by simply sneezing, coughing, and or close personal contact. Therefore, we at Overland Park Dentistry, as well as other dental practices around the country have implemented new preventive measures to increase dental safety, to protect our patients and staff from contacting the virus.

One of our most noticeable changes is the fact that we now require patients to call our front desk prior to entering the waiting room, to limit our waiting room to one patient at a time. Once you have entered the waiting room, a member of our staff will administer a brief questionnaire to assess any recent travels or changes in medical history, as well as giving you a temperature screening to ensure that you are within normal range. Additionally, we require that you wear a cloth mask at all times during your visit, until a staff member informs you to remove it. While this may seem a bit excessive to some, please remember that these preventative measures are mandated by State Law in both Kansas and Missouri and would be required at any dental practice during this time.

Your Safety Is Our Priority!

At Overland Park Dentistry, the care and dental safety of our patients has always been our number one priority, and although these past several months have been difficult for everyone, your friends at Overland Park Dentistry will always be here when you need us. So, if you’re due for a checkup, but are worried about coming in, remember at Overland Park Dentistry you WILL be in safe hands!

Until next time stay safe and keep smiling!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Vaping Causes Gum Disease and Damages Your Oral Health

A Cause for Concern

As businesses began to reopen and people everywhere began to regain a sense of normality, continued concerns surrounding Covid-19 have forced our Nation to reassess our stance on our health and the various health concerns that we as a society face.

For decades, one of the biggest health issues amongst people in both the U.S. and abroad has been smoking. Over the years, the dangers of tobacco smoking have been widely publicized and scrutinized amongst various media outlets, and although tobacco smoking (particularly cigarette smoking) has declined in recent years, it still remains a persistent issue. However, coinciding with the decline of tobacco users in the world today, a new trend as emerged under the guise as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking.

While this new trend known as vaping may in fact be a healthier alternative to smoking, that certainly does not mean there is not a plethora of negative health consequences that vaping itself can cause. At Overland Park Dentistry, we have unfortunately seen firsthand how vaping can affect a smile and trust us, it isn’t pretty! Therefore, in addition to giving you the scoop on some of the effects vaping has on oral health, we will also provide some helpful tips and insight into how you may possibly go about quitting this habit, in order to keep yourself healthy and smiling!

Related Article: A New Trend: The Dangers of Vaping

Vaping: The Ugly Truth!

Whether it be a quick search via Google or a simple chit-chat with Dr. Kimes or any of his staff at Overland Park Dentistry, the unfortunate truth is that vaping can cause a great deal of harm to one’s oral health over time.

Much like smoking, vaping allows its user to receive a nicotine kick by ingesting smokeless vapor, using a vapor-generating electronic cigarette (typically known as e-cigs or vape pens). While the significant amount of nicotine present in vapor products allow them to act as a substitute for cigarette smoke, the excess nicotine also exponentially increases the risk of developing gum disease. So, we truly believe that vaping causes gum disease among other dental and oral concerns.

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, are an infection of the gum tissue which if left untreated, can spread rapidly throughout the mouth causing irreversible damage to the teeth, gums, and jawbone. Additionally, periodontitis (which is the more severe type of gum disease) also has an alarming tendency to interact with other preexisting health issues or even spread to other regions of the body, thus becoming a potentially fatal issue!

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While some advocates for vaping are quick to point out that periodontitis AKA severe gum disease is a progressive illness in which time is required for the disease to spread. It is important to realize that the nicotine from vaping also causes portions of the gums to slowly die off, making it increasingly difficult for your dentist to detect the infection, thereby allowing the infection continued time to progress and worsen. Once again, this gives us cause to believe that vaping causes gum disease — sooner or later, it’s going to be a dangerous problem.

How Can I Quit Vaping?

If you have ever been (or previously been) a smoker, you will certainly understand how tough it can be to quit. Much like smoking, vaping can be a tough habit to break and may require a certain degree of soul searching and support. Although quitting isn’t an exact science, there are a number of methods and strategies that you may employ to aid you in this endeavor!

The information below includes some are some useful tips and things to consider when undertaking the quitting process.

  • Find your motivation: First thing first, it’s important to ask yourself: Why do you genuinely want to quit? Sure, this may seem silly or unnecessary at first, but by finding and firmly establishing a concise motive for quitting, you will be able to take a more structured and direct approach to accomplishing this, with a clear goal in mind.
  • Consider the timing: As with anything, another key factor to consider is timing. Whether you are attempting to quit cold turkey (often the most effective way) or gradually reduce the habit until it is no more, eliminating vaping from your daily routine is likely to cause a certain degree of stress. However, if this were to coincide with another potentially stressful life event, (changing careers, buying a new house, family/marital issues, etc) the excess stress may hinder your success or cause you to fall back into your vaping habit. While certainly life can be unpredictable at times, try to shoot for a time in which outside stress and interference will be relatively minimal, thus allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
  • Have a positive support group:  We all need help sometimes and having other people to both encourage and hold you accountable can have a huge impact on your ability to give up vaping once and for all. By surrounding yourself with group of friends or loved ones who will support your decision to quit and provide you with a safe and positive environment, you will have taken a crucial step in the right direction.
  • Identify triggers: What sort of things make you want to vape? Could it be stress or boredom? Or perhaps it’s simply the crowd you hang out with? Whether they be physical, social, or emotional, learning to recognize what triggers the urge to vape is essential in providing you with the necessary means to alter this behavior.
  • Make a game plan: In going along with the previous step, once you have identified what triggers you to vape, you can then begin to develop a strategy to manage or avoid these triggers. One of the most effective strategies that has helped many people in the past is to find a replacement activity for vaping. Do you have a particular hobby that you rarely find time to do? Perhaps this could be the opportune time to rekindle your interest in said hobby or to even pursue a new one.
  • Use resources: In a time where there are a number of tools available to you, it would be wise to take advantage of them. Known as nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, gums, and other nicotine substitutes can play a major part in slowly diminishing the powerful dependence on nicotine caused by vaping.

Safer Does NOT Mean Safe

While indeed vaping has helped dissipate the amount of tobacco users across the globe, while providing a safer alternative to smoking, safer still does not mean safe! Remember, how we’ve mentioned that vaping causes gum disease? If you continue to vape, you will run the risk of damaging your smile, as well as developing additional (or even unknown) health complications later on.

If you are a former smoker, it is certainly understandable if you have taken up vaping as a substitute for smoking. Although we highly encourage you to please consider taking the necessary steps to put the habit behind you, as vaping is not the harmless alternative that many believe it to be. However, if you have never been a smoker but are interested in vaping, please do not start! Remember, in addition to harming your oral health, vaping is also very addictive, and once you get hooked it can be extremely hard to quit.

Overland Park Dentistry Can Help

If you have any additional questions about vaping, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry and until next time, Keep on smiling! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Invisible Braces: Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club

Alternative Methods

For many years, traditional braces were the primary means of realigning and straightening one’s teeth.  And while the tried and true metal braces are still frequently utilized, in recent years several alternative methods have emerged and have since changed the way a smile can be realigned, to improve its functionality and appearance.  

As perhaps one of the most renowned names within the realm of cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign has been providing patients from all across the world with beautiful smiles, while simultaneously giving traditional braces a run for their money!

With the soaring success of Invisalign, a number of similarly designed products have appeared in the years that have followed, with Smile Direct Club (SDC) as its primary opposition. However, it is important to realize that Invisalign and SDC are two separate products, that while similar, can produce quite different results! Therefore, in the columns below, we will break down some of the differences between two products and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club: How They Differ?

As similarly designed devices, both Invisalign and Smile Direct are transparent aligners that are designed to be worn daily over your teeth, for the purpose of realigning them. This not only creates a smile that is straighter and more aesthetically pleasing, but one that is healthier and more effective as well!

However, the major difference between Invisalign and SDC is not only in the aligners themselves, but rather how the realignment process is performed.

  • At Overland Park Dentistry, Invisalign is one of the cosmetic treatments we offer, in which digital impressions are made of your teeth, allowing for custom aligners to be fitted to your teeth with pinpoint accuracy. Over the next 6 to 18 months, (depending on each individual case) Dr. Kimes and his team will work closely with you to monitor your progress and ensure that you achieve the desired effect.
  • Juxtaposing this, SDC is a remote process, in which you would apply for the procedure online, then visit your closest SmileShop to have your teeth scanned to determine your candidacy requirements. Unlike Invisalign however, one you have received your mail order aligners, you will not be under the supervision of trained professionals and will be required to manage the process in its entirety on your own, thus creating a much different experience.

Related Article: Confidence is Key: Smile with Invisalign

Smile Direct Club: Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages: Despite a certain amount of negative media coverage generated by the product, SDC has been praised for its economically friendly price values, which has allowed those with a limited budget to afford the product with relative ease. Another positive aspect of Smile Direct is as its name implies, the aligners can be easily purchased online and sent directly to you without requiring you to make a single dental appointment.

At Overland Park Dentistry we certainly love to see our patients’ smiling faces as often as possible; however, in the busy world we live in today, we can certainly understand that taking the time to come in for a dental appointment isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Disadvantages: Make no mistake, realigning your teeth is a tedious procedure and if you choose to tackle this process without professional supervision, there is always the possibility that things might not go as planned. Although successful in many cases, many past users of SDC products have also encountered a multitude of issues such as the aligners compressing their teeth and causing their gums to bleed, or in more extreme cases; forcing the user’s jaw to align improperly, thus impairing their ability to chew or even bite down. With numerous instances of former users claiming that SDC aligners actually harmed their teeth as well as exasperated dentists and orthodontists reporting their attempts to correct the damage that these products have purportedly caused, there’s little wonder as to why SDC aligners remain shrouded in controversy.

Invisalign: Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages: While the arrival of SDC may stolen some of its thunder, Invisalign continues to remain a hot commodity both inside and outside the dental community despite being initially introduced back in 1999. Perhaps the most obvious benefits offered by Invisalign, are the aligners uncanny ability to significantly improve the patient’s smile with while providing the most noninvasive experience possible, and that is exactly what you will get!

Invisalign’s clear and easy-to-remove aligners cause extraordinarily little discomfort, and are essentially invisible, thereby sparing users from any sort of embarrassment while simultaneously correcting their teeth. By opting to receive Invisalign, you will be treated under the guidance of highly trained professionals, who will work to ensure that you receive the treatment and results that you desire.

While SDC can be successful, Invisalign WILL be successful and will not present many of the same problems that have plagued SDC users in the past.

Related Article: Brace Yourself with Invisalign TEEN

Disadvantages: By using professional-grade dental materials in a licensed practitioner’s office, Invisalign is clearly a superior product when compared to SDC aligners. However, one drawback is that Invisalign does require the patient to make regular visits to the dentist’s office. As mentioned previously, a major part of Invisalign’s success, is the fact that it is performed under a professional’s supervision. Therefore, to ensure the success of the treatment, it is necessary that you visit your dentist’s office at least once every six weeks, so that your dentist may record your process and make any adjustments as needed.

Although there are numerous payment plans available depending on one’s insurance provider, it is also important to note that Invisalign will cost more than SDC due to services and quality of materials used. While this has been a deal breaker for some, keep in mind that by selecting the lesser quality SDC treatment, you may actually end up paying more should the treatment go awry and fail to produce the desired results!

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club: The Choice is Yours!

Overland Park Dentistry Offers Invisalign for Adults and Teens

Obviously, the decision is ultimately yours to make, and while we at Overland Park Dentistry do certainly believe that Invisalign is a safer and smarter option when compared to Smile Direct Club, the most important thing to us is that you are able to receive the results that you want!

If you are unhappy with your smile or have any questions about realignment options, feel free to contact our offices and as always, keep on smiling! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

How can Oral Bacteria impact your Pretty Smile?

Healthy teeth are about more than just a pretty smile. Your oral health has a major effect on the overall health of your body, not just in your mouth. By maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you can make your body healthier from head to toe.

Oral Bacteria and Health

Bacteria in the mouth cause tooth decay – by feeding on the sugars in the foods and drinks we consume – they leave behind the waste, in the form of a biofilm known as dental plaque.

Our mouths have lots of bacteria that is usually harmless. (Did you know that the bacteria in our body aids with digestion and other biological tasks?) However, if you do not brush or floss regularly, bacteria can reach dangerously high levels. When this happens, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections can be the nasty result.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can It Kill You?

Health Risks Throughout the Body

There is evidence that the oral bacteria and high level of inflammation associated with the serious gum disease known as periodontitis can play a role in diseases in other parts of the body.

The following health issues and diseases are linked with poor gum health:

  • Infections from Abscesses: In some rare instances, severe tooth decay can lead to an abscess. The infection can travel to the heart, brain, or lungs, causing severe illness or even death.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: There are researchers who suggest that heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries are linked to the inflammation and infections caused by too much oral bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Severe gum infection has been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
  • Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This can occur when bacteria from other parts of your body, such as your mouth, move through your bloodstream and become attached to damaged areas in the heart.

The Impact of Gum Disease

Did you know that 85% of Americans suffer from gum disease, yet only 60% of those infected know they have gum disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support your teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss. However, the impact can extend beyond your mouth.

Also known as periodontitis, gum disease can significantly affect your general health.

Research shows that there is a connection between gum disease and other serious conditions such as:

  • osteoporosis
  • oral and pancreatic cancer
  • brain stroke
  • heart disease
  • gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from oral bacteria that spread through the blood stream
  • gum disease also impacts those with diabetes by making it difficult to regulate blood glucose levels

If you have one of these systemic conditions, it is important to talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease and the best treatment options.

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Gum Disease Causes:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Sugar and acid
  • Tooth abnormalities
  • Poor dental work
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Tooth grinding

Gum Disease Symptoms Can Range from:

  • chronic bad breath
  • red, swollen gums
  • bleeding when you brush
  • painful chewing
  • loose or sensitive teeth
  • sensitive or receding gums

Sometimes there are no signs of gum disease, which is why it’s essential to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup.

Related Article: How to Stop Bad Breath: A Stinky Situation

Gum Disease is Treatable

The three goals of treatment involve:

  1. reducing inflammation
  2. decreasing pocket depth (the space between your tooth and gum)
  3. stopping bone loss

Initial treatment options can include Laser Pocket Disinfection or scaling and root planning (also known as deep cleaning). There are surgery options for advanced gum disease.

Protecting Your Oral Health

By protecting the health of your teeth and gums, you can keep yourself healthier too. Practice good oral hygiene daily to prevent overgrowth of bacteria.

This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice per day
  • Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth
  • Avoid tobacco use, as this can cause irritation in your gums
  • Limit sugary snacks, which can feed bacteria and increase their growth
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months

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You should also have regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you notice a problem with your teeth or gums, call for an appointment right away. The sooner these are handled, the sooner you will be back to full health. Charles R. Kimes, DDS provides general and family dentistry in the Overland Park, Kansas area to keep his patients healthy – including healthy teeth, healthy gums, and a healthy body. Time for your checkup? Call to schedule today.

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.