Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Should I Use a Custom Fitting Sports Mouth Guard?

            With football, soccer, and other sports starting back up this month, it is a good time to review the importance of your children (or you) wearing mouth guards. Football is a high contact sport and it is logical that participants protect their teeth, gums, and jaw bone from injury. However, sports like soccer, basketball and volleyball can involve high impact collisions, but mouth guards are not yet required. Protecting your children with sports mouth guards lowers the threat of injury to their teeth, and new evidence is suggesting that it may even reduce the risk of concussions.
            A broken or chipped tooth that results from facial trauma can lead to much larger and more expensive issues. If the damage is small enough, a filling can be placed on the tooth to regain its original shape and color. More traumatic injuries may require root canals, crowns or even loss of the tooth. This can cost thousands of dollars and take months to properly fix. And no matter how big or how small, the repaired tooth will never be as strong as the original tooth. Having your dentist custom fit a mouth guard can greatly lower the chances of injuring your teeth without inhibiting your ability to compete. And compared to the over the counter guards, breathing can be markedly easier because you don’t have to worry about holding the guard against your teeth.
            While there is no definitive way to completely eliminate the risk of concussions in contact sports, there is some evidence that suggests a properly fitting mouth guard can help reduce the probability. The logic suggests that the mouth guard limits some of the forces applied to the head and neck during upward contact with the chin. There are no current studies that establish a direct correlation with complete certainty, but the absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence. And anything we can do to reduce the risk of head injuries is always a good thing.
            Parents will do so many things to protect their kids, and we believe wearing a custom fitted sports mouth guard is an easy step in reinforcing their safety in nearly all sports. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding mouth guards or the differences between custom fitted guards and over the counter mouth guards.

For more information of dental health and ways to help protect your children’s teeth, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why College Students are at Risk of Cavities?

            Too often we see students return home after year or two away at college with a number of cavities in between their teeth. Many of them don’t have a history of getting tooth decay, so it can definitely be disconcerting. So what happened while they were away that created all of these cavities? Below we will discuss different things to avoid and what your child can do to remain cavity free.
            The most common cause of the increased decay rate is from an increase in sodas and sugary drinks. This includes regular and diet soda, energy drinks, and even sports drinks. It doesn’t typically cause any problems if we occasional enjoy any of these drinks, but instead it is the constant exposure to the sugar or acid on the teeth. Even diligent brushing twice per day can’t eliminate their harmful affect. It is important that students know when they are up later cramming for a test that these beverages can have long term affects. Like anything else, moderation is the key.
            Another common culprit for an increase in cavities are candies, mints, and fruit snacks. Many students will snack on these while studying and the constant exposure of sugar will lead to tooth decay. Once again, brushing cannot reach in between the teeth to completely eliminate the harmful affects of the snacks. I am not suggesting that all of these things need to be completely eliminated, but once again, used in moderation. After a snack or some candy, brushing would be ideal. However, I understand that not everyone is going to bring a toothbrush with them to the library. In those cases, I would recommend at least drinking water to help cleanse the teeth and brush when you return home.
            Hopefully a few minor changes can help limit the risk of cavities that college students face when heading off to school. It is important that they learn these lessons early, otherwise they may have to learn the hard way on summer or holiday breaks.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about you or your child, or visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Does the Term ‘UCR’ Really Mean?

             For anyone that has dental insurance, chances are you have seen or are familiar with the phrase Usual and Customary Rate (UCR). Dental insurance companies like to use this term, but what does it mean for the average person and how was this number determined? Our goal is to help you better understand where these numbers come from and how it is applicable to you.
            The reality is there is no such thing as a ‘usual, customary, or reasonable fee.’ This is a hoax that has been created by the insurance companies to impose on dentistry. There is no single number that insurance has arrived upon, rather a range of fees based upon percentiles. Even if an insurance carrier found a way to track every single dentist’s fees in every single zip code, there is no way to place a value of the types of materials or the amount of time given to each procedure. Trying to assign a UCR to a dental procedure would be like assigning a UCR for a cheeseburger whether it is from a fast food restaurant or a high end restaurant. It doesn’t take into account the ingredients, the service, or the quality of preparation and execution.
            The other issue frequently encountered involves the percentage level of coverage your insurance allows. Again, the insurance companies determine their own definition of which fee percentile a procedure may fall into through their own independent research. After the percentages are determined, your employer is offered different options of which fee percentile to purchase. They may choose to only buy up to the 50th percentile, and thus your out of pocket costs at each visit may go up. Even though some fees may increase over time due to inflation, it is possible additional expense may be incurred if your dental insurance has been adjusted to cover a lower percentile.
            Dental insurance can be very confusing and there are always a lot of differing individual circumstances. We encourage you to call us with any questions you have regarding your current insurance or if you’re ever in the process of picking a new policy through your employer. Hopefully we can help you sort through some of the lingo.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teeth Bleaching: Take Home vs. In Office

            More than ever before, people want to know if they can whiten their teeth and what is the best way to go about doing so. Should you try over the counter or professional whitening? Should you bleach at home over a longer period of time or try to do it in one appointment at the dentist? We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

            A few years ago, Zoom! whitening came into the market and everyone was excited about same day bleaching. While there are definitely some success stories, I believe Zoom! and other in office bleaching techniques are less predictable and are more likely to lead to sensitivity. The concentration of bleach is much higher in these procedures, thus a higher chance of sensitivity. Also, the in office procedure provides us with little to no opportunity to customize the bleaching process to each person and forces you to remain seated with you mouth open for a long period of time. Bottom line, it can be effective but there are a lot more challenges and limiting factors.

            The professionally made ‘take-home’ bleaching trays are my personal favorite. This allows us to customize a specific plan to your daily schedule and comfort level. We can use different concentrations and different intervals to provide optimal results with limited sensitivity. If you don’t get sensitive teeth and have the time to wear the trays, you can bleach as often as 4 or 5 times each day. This can help you achieve the results you are looking for in a shorter period of time. However, if your teeth are more sensitive, we can help by scaling back how often, how long, and how strong how strong the bleach is that you use.

            Finally, you may run into bleaching kiosks at the mall or some other areas that are not run by certified dental professionals. I would be very wary of using these stations to bleach your teeth. While you may be able to achieve some results, there are still risks to bleaching your teeth that they may not be capable of diagnosing or treating. Just to be safe, definitely consult with your dentist or dental hygienist before any type of bleaching, including over the counter.

            Even though there are times where in office bleaching can be done for certain patients, usually our first recommendation is the take home bleaching. Talk with us about your goals and concerns with bleaching, and we can help create a plan to give you the best results for your situation.

For more information, please visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS