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Dental Insurance: Use it or Lose it!

September 12th, 2018

Don’t toss away good money by neglecting to use services you’ve already paid for. Your dental insurance plan works best for you when you put it to work on a regular basis. Your Dentist in Tukwila, Dr. Baruffi will explain how.

Smart Questions to Ask

You literally could save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year! This is because most dental insurance plans run on a calendar year that resets January 1st.

Step 1: Contact your insurer to ask what benefits you’ve already used, and what you still have available for the year. Also ask, “Are any benefits being cut or reduced in next year’s policy?” Typically, preventative procedures like dental cleanings, x-rays, exams are covered. But, will they cover veneers, teeth whitening, or braces?

Step 2: Call our dental office and schedule an appointment right away for any eligible family member to ensure you beat the December 31st coverage deadline.

4 Reasons to Act Now

1) Yearly Limit: Most insurance companies will pay out around $1,000 (double-check your policy) per person, per year, for dental treatments. If you haven’t used it by year-end, there is no rollover. It is gone-gone. Note: Some restorative treatments are more costly and require several phases, ask us to help you schedule this so some portions will fit in this year’s insurance budget while the rest falls in next year’s.

2) Deductibles/Premiums: Your dental insurance company likely sets a dollar amount that you must spend before their coverage “kicks in.” Once you’ve paid that deductible, it’s good for the year—but only that calendar year. You’re paying premiums to save you money, so take advantage of it and actually save yourself that money by using the benefits. Even if you don’t need extensive treatment, always have regular cleanings and check-ups.

3) Rate Increases: As the cost of living, materials, and equipment constantly inflate, dental practices sometimes must increase the price of treatments. If this were to happen, most likely it’s implemented at the beginning of a new year. Coverage of certain treatments are sometimes cut from insurance policies too, so grab it while it lasts!

4) Prevent Paying for Procrastination: Delays in putting your dental insurance to work can turn what may be a simple cavity now, into a root canal later. Avoid these more extensive and expensive treatments by utilizing your dental insurance for cleanings and check-ups.

The moral of the story: Benefit from your benefits! Dr. Baruffi, your Dentist in Tukwila will help you take advantage of those lingering benefits. The clock on this year is ticking, so make your appointment with us now!

Pros & Cons of 8 Types of Dental Floss

September 6th, 2018

The first question a dental hygienist asks a patient at a dental visit is, “Do you floss everyday?” The second is, “What kind of floss do you use?”

Actually, no dental hygienist asks that question. But it does raise a third question: “Are you using the right floss?” In case you’re not satisfied with the performance of your current floss or just want to better understand your options, let’s take a step back and evaluate what the pros and cons are of each type of floss.

Dental Floss Types
There’s a whole section of the dental aisle dedicated to a wide variety of flosses. You can find most, if not all of these 8 options in that section:

Unwaxed Floss: It’s made of thin nylon strands. Typically, it has no flavor.

  • Pro: It fits into tight spaces. Its non-slip grip property makes it easier to hold, and results in you using less actual floss. This might be a good option for you if your teeth are close together.
  • Con: It’s not very sturdy. The strands could fray, and there could be breakage or snapping during use.

Waxed Floss: It’s made of standard nylon with a light wax coating. It may have a mint or cinnamon flavor.

  • Pro: The wax coating makes it easier for the floss to slide between teeth. It’s sturdier than unwaxed floss, so no fraying or breakage during use.
  • Con: It’s thicker than unwaxed floss, making it more difficult to get into smaller gaps. The slickness of the wax also makes it harder to grip and the texture of the wax may be unpleasant to some.

PTFE Floss: It’s made of polytetrafluorethylene, the same material that’s used in high-tech Gore-Tex fabric.

  • Pro: It slides between your teeth with ease for those with crowded teeth and challenging dental work.
  • Con: Due to the use of Perfluorooctanoic acid, a possible carcinogen, in the making of Teflon (PTFE), many oral health professionals often recommend the use of a non-PTFE product. These perfluorinated compounds are not only suspected as carcinogenic, but can potentially compromise your immune system and affect hormone levels because they are endocrine disruptors. We recommend consulting your dentist if you have any concerns.

Dental Tape: It’s thicker and flatter than regular floss. It comes in both waxed and unwaxed.

  • Pro: Because the floss is thick, it’s a good option if you someone that has bigger gaps between your teeth. It’s also a lot less likely to break.
  • Con: It your teeth are crowded together, it might be difficult to floss it between your teeth.

Super Floss: It’s a pre-threaded flosser that comes in pre-cut segments. It has a stiff end that helps thread it through tight areas.

  • Pro: It’s great for removing plaque around bridges, braces, and implants.
  • Con: This floss isn’t the most ideal for individuals with narrow gaps between their teeth.

Electric Flosser: It has a sturdy fishing line-like nylon that vibrates between the teeth in an oscillating motion.

  • Pro: It’s a great alternative for those who have difficulty maneuvering floss.
  • Con: It can be hard on the gum line. Overzealous flossing can actually change the shape of your gum tissue, especially in the part of your smile that can be seen.

Natural & Biodegradable Floss: The environmentally friendly option.

  • Pro: Some brands make floss out of silk which will biodegrade in a landfill, and may even compost in your yard.
  • Con: Although biodegradable, some environmentalists and animal rights activists are concerned with the impact silk dental floss production has on the insects that make the silk.

Water Flosser: It’s a cleaning device that shoots a thin stream of water between your teeth or at the gum line. This product can remove food particles and plaque with ease.

  • Pro: It is easy to use and doesn’t produce waste. This is a good option for those with braces, or other types of dental work where using regular floss can be difficult.
  • Con: On top of the higher price range, water flosses may be harder to use outside the home due to the product’s use of electricity and water.

Article by Andrea Sanjines, Delta Dental of Washington

August 28th, 2018

Brace face club!! Michelle and Ashley rocking their ortho smiles. Thank you @soundorthodontics for Ashley’s Traditional braces and Dr. Austin for Michelle’s Invisalign braces. #snapchatfun

How Laughing Gas Works

August 23rd, 2018


In the movies and the TV shows, whenever a patient gets a dose of laughing gas, they get a massive case of the giggles. It looks like they’re having the best time anybody has ever had, especially in a dentist’s chair. But, is that how it really works?

Let’s find out.

What is Laughing Gas?

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose. It’s used to help you relax. Your dentist may offer to use laughing gas to make you more comfortable during certain procedures. It doesn’t put you to sleep, so you can hear and respond to any requests or directions the dentist may have for you. If you have an excessive fear or anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist, laughing gas may be a great way to help you relax.

There are three effects in the working mechanism of laughing gas.

  1. It reduces anxiety, taking away your fear.
  2. It kills pain, so the procedure won’t hurt.
  3. It creates euphoria, so you feel all kinds of good.

When your dentist administers laughing gas, they’ll ask you to breathe normally through your nose. In a few minutes, you’ll start to feel the effects. You may feel light-headed, or you may feel a tingling sensation in your arms and legs. Some people go the opposite route, with their arms and legs feeling heavy. A steady stream is necessary to maintain the effects as they wear off soon after the mask is removed.

What Happens to Your Brain on Nitrous Oxide?

Laughing gas isn’t all fun and games. When you inhale the gas, it displaces the air in your lungs and prevents oxygen from getting to your brain and blood. This deprivation is what causes all the giggles. Some people even experience mild hallucinations.

It takes about two minutes for the effects to wear off once you stop breathing in the nitrous oxide.

Common Side Effects of Laughing Gas

Here’s a rundown of side affects you might experience even when it’s being administered properly:

  • Mental confusion
  • Leg pains and/or numbness

Other side effects include nausea, headache, increased sleepiness, and excessive sweating or shivering. If this information has put you off of laughing gas, ask your dentist to recommend any alternatives.


Article by Bryana Allen, Delta Dental of Washington

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