Our doc was recently interviewed by the local HR department to a large company in the area. They too have difficulty extracting any information from dental insurance companies and wanted to get our feedback on the trends and needs we see most so they can better choose a plan for their employees. This company rocks by the way! Not many employers would take this time or demonstrate this much effort!
So, some of the trends we see. We are seeing more and more young males coming to the dentist. It seems Mom always made the appointment prior to now and it is time for you young males to make your own appointments, find your own dentist. We are seeing an increase in the number of patients that are in their middle to late 20's, even early 30's, that have not been to the dentist in years. As a result, some are several cleanings behind and we are finding that we have a lot more work to do. Overall, we are not seeing a ton of cavities. It seems that everyone is taking very good care of their teeth and with the fluoridation of water teeth seem to be less susceptible to decay. Most of our patients eat a well balanced diet and take care of themselves so it is no surprise their teeth are well taken care of, just need a good, deep clean!
We are seeing the need for fillings to be replaced from leaking margins. Fillings are made with a plastic or silver material and this material flexes and shrinks and can allow bacteria to seed on the sides causing the filling to leak. If left unaddressed the filling will develop a huge cavity that approaches the nerve quickly requiring more costly and involved treatment. That is why we like to examine your existing dental work every 6 months and catch replacement just as it is needed.
We see a lot of retained sealants. This is great. It means your parents invested well in your teeth. The patients with sealants still intact have much less decay present on the chewing surfaces of their teeth. At Katy Trail Dental we are commonly reapplying sealants, even in adults, to protect against chewing surface decay. These sealants don't do anything to prevent cavities between the teeth from not flossing though, so that one is on you!
We see a lot of grinding. A LOT. Well, we see the effects of grinding because we won't see you actually grinding your teeth as most of that is done at night while you are sleeping. We are constantly fitting our patients for Night Guards and they report back realizing how much they needed the appliance after becoming accustomed to it.
We also see a huge relapse from braces. A decade and more ago we weren't told to wear our retainers. We were told after a couple months your teeth will be fine in their new position. Dental professionals were wrong. We see a lot of patients in their 20s and beyond looking to realign their teeth after relapse from their braces. We do this with Invisalign and our patients have been thrilled. These clear aligners realign the teeth quickly and without many people even noticing unless you point it out to them.
These are some common trends but not the absolute. Every patient is different. Everyone's dental story is different. At Katy Trail Dental we don't do anything with a cookie cutter. We treat each patient individually and uniquely!