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3 Ways to Make Dental Care For Kids Fun

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Do you have a little one that will visit the dentist soon? Dental care for kids can be a daunting task for parents. Even the most agreeable child may buck when you try to brush their teeth. Flossing is a whole different story completely. There is no need to fear because dental care for kids can be fun! Check out some creative ways to get your little one to show some love to their teeny tiny smiles.

Dental Care For Kids

It is no secret that brushing at least twice a day every day is a key component of a cavity free mouth.  Children should brush their teeth as soon as the eruption of the first tooth, however many parents were starting much later. Some even as late as ages 2 or 3. According to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of U.S. children start brushing later than they should. This is a problem because plaque and tartar build up on children’s teeth just as they do adults. Early mouth care habits that encourage children to brush their teeth in a fun and exciting way will pay off in the long run.

It is recommended that parents brush and floss children’s teeth until the child has proper coordination to do so themselves. This is around age six but can vary depending on the child. Distraction is a powerful tool when it comes to mouth care. While brushing their teeth, sing songs, talk about their day, and use that moment to teach them things like their ABC’s, days of the week, months of the year, math facts etc. Brushing can serve as a valuable bonding time among parent and child.

3 Ways to Make Dental Care For Kids Fun

Many children understandably experience anxiety about someone poking and prodding in their mouth. There are many ways to make dental care for kids fun such as singing songs, reading books, or even TV shows. Trying a variety of techniques to get your child excited about brushing and the dentist can be fun learning experience.

1. Recommended Reading:

Books allow for an escape to a world that is more palpable. Perhaps it is easier for your child to imagine themselves as an enormous walrus getting her teeth cleaned. Or maybe your child would rather see the world of dentistry lit up through fun characters. Whatever they like, there is sure a book that will make dental care for kids fun. Check out some of these titles below:

dental care for kidsdental care for kidsdental care for kidsBrush Brush Brush

2. Musical Escapes

Music offers another way to escape. Songs can be used to help keep track of how long brushing has taken place or as a distraction. Using songs provides a great way for kids to learn by having fun singing and dancing. Listen to these fun tunes on the way to dentist to get them excited.

1. Brush Your Teeth by Pink Fong

2. Brush Your Teeth by Simple Songs

3. Brush Brush by Sesame Street Featuring Elmo 

3. Visual Learning

Finally, visual interpretations of the dentist can also provide great comfort to a a child.  There are many shows that will educate your child while easing their fears associated with dental care for kids.

1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood- Daniel Gets His Teeth Cleaned

2. Peppa Pig Goes to the Dentist

3. Dudley Visits to the Dentist

In the end it is proper mouth care habits started early that will shape your children’s mouth the most. Visiting a Pediatric Dentist is an important part in mouth maintenance. Commonwealth Dentistry is a safe, comfortable space that creates a connection amongst doctor and patient while participating in the highest standard of pediatric dental care.  We would love to take care of your little one’s smile. 

reception area

Ensuring Dental Safety During Covid-19

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COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in one way or another. School, work, or businesses closing, affects some indirectly, while others feel more direct effects through illness and loss.  In fact, our own dental offices closed for routine procedures for several weeks. Our offices are now open and we are taking every precaution to ensure your dental safety throughout COVID-19. 

Protocols are constantly being evaluated and examined for what procedures should and should not be upheld. While we cannot foresee the end of the pandemic, nor are we experts pertaining to the disease but we can offer insight related to how one should handle their dental obligations. 

For Up to Date Info on our COVID-19 Policies, Read More: COVID-19 Information Page for Commonwealth Dentistry

Dental Health and the COVID-19 Connection

Newest studies suggest a strong link that hospitalized coronavirus patients with prior underlying gum disease can be higher risk for respiratory failure. This has been dubbed the “Mouth Covid Connection,” suggesting a link the bacteria in inflamed gums and bone loss, symptoms associated with periodontitis and COVID-19 complications.  Gum disease can be linked to other respiratory conditions such as COPD and pneumonia, indicating it is likely to have a connection with COVID-19. 

Researchers also suggest that existing dental health conditions may worsen from exposure to COVID-19. 47% of adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Now researchers are linking some startling oral health conditions to the list of prolonged COVID-19 symptoms.  If you are worried you may suffer from gum disease, now is the time to visit the dentist.

It is now more important than ever to take care of your oral health. Gum disease starts when plaque builds up along the gum line. This build can cause infections that to both the gums and the bones. If this condition is left untreated it will advance into periodontitis and destroy the gums, bones, and tissues that surround your teeth.

Another conundrum of the COVID-19 equation is populations that are at highest risk for COVID-19 are also at highest risk for poor dental health. There are strong links between common risk factors like stress, poor diet, and tobacco and alcohol use. During a pandemic, many factors affecting overall oral health are heightened. 

Stress and Dental Health

Stress wreaks havoc on our entire body manifesting in different ways depending on the person. No one can argue that COVID-19 has not been stressful in some fashion. You may have felt the effects of stress through shoulder pain, headaches, or insomnia, but did you also know stress can affect your oral health?

Research suggests a strong association between oral health conditions like erosion, caries, and periodontal disease and mood conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

Common  Stress-Related Oral Conditions
        • Pain amongst the jawline
        • Grinding teeth or bruxism
        • Cold Sores 
        • Oral infections or sores, which may show up as ulcers, white lines, or white or red spots. 

These issues heightened by poor oral hygiene and decreased immune response.  Sometimes adding one more item feels daunting when you are already pushed to the max. Therefore, patients may feel too tired, too anxious, or too stressed to add one more thing forgoing basic hygiene practices. Lack of proper oral care compounded with the fact that stress decreases our immune response creates a breeding ground for issues. 

Lack of Routine

Our days lack routines because our kids aren’t in school as normal, our work hours vary, and we don’t leave as often as before. All together this creates opportunities for missed brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses.

Humans feel more comfortable when we follow a routine. These expectations and patterns allow us to keep up consistency within our daily lives. Including times when we take care of oral care. Keeping up with a routine even while at home is important for our overall health.

Dietary Changes

Stress plus a lack of routine contributes to change in our diets during this time as well. There is more snacking- including more sugar. Tobacco and alcohol use are extremely detrimental to oral health. In fact, they are the top two risk factors for oral cancer.

What You Can Do

Prevention is the cornerstone of health, doing your part to prevent issues within your mouth is paramount. Strategies to improve overall oral health include reduction of tobacco and alcohol use, eating a well balanced healthy diet, and maintaining healthy habits such as brushing and flossing. 

Mitigating stress throughout this difficult time is hard for all of us. Feeling that the proper thing is confusing at times. Missing events with family and friends are disheartening.  Try getting creative with ways that encourage stress relief. 

      1. Get Outside– Sunlight is an important ingredient of our emotional and physical health. Exposure to sunlight helps our body create Vitamin D because Vitamin D aids in the absorption of Calcium it is vital in maintaining strong healthy teeth.  Visit one of Richmond’s outdoor trails and parks.
      2. Stay in a Routine– Brushing your teeth can feel invigorating in the morning and also calming at night. Keeping these as part of wake up and wind-down routine. 
      3. Eat at Scheduled Times– Keeping in a routine with balanced and healthy meals will help cut back on the intake of snacks 
      4. Incorporate Ways to De-stress– If you feel yourself clenching your teeth, try taking a few calming breaths, a short walk, or listening to mindful music to help you calm. 
      5. Talk to Someone– If you are experiencing any issues seek a medical professional help
      6. We are Here for You– If you notice any changes in your oral health give any of our locations a call or schedule an appointment online.

What We are Doing to Ensure Your Dental Safety

Dental safety should not be another contributing factor to your stress level. At Commonwealth Dentistry, we want you to feel comfortable and safe. We will be taking additional dental safety precautions for our team and our patients to ensure the safety and health of everyone that walks through our doors. Below are the specific safety measures that our patients should be aware of before arriving for their appointment:

Dental Safety Measures at Commonwealth Dentistry

  • Hand sanitizer and Hand Soap– both are readily available for use throughout the office
  • Car Waiting– If you prefer to wait in your car, please call the office when you arrive. We will bring all the necessary paperwork to you.
  • Screening– All patients and staff will have their temperature taking upon arrival. No admittance into our facilities with a temperature of 100.4 or greater.
  • Decreasing Aerosoles – We will be using a dental technology called the Isolite in some of our dental procedures, this eliminates airborne aerosols by over 90%.
  • PPE– Our team will be using the appropriate PPE including gloves, masks, and face shields.
  • Pre-procedural Mouth Rinse– Everyone will complete this mouth rinse prior to their visit. COVID-19 is vulnerable to oxidation, any mouth rinse containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or .2% povidone is recommended to reduce the salivary load of oral microbes, including potential COVID. 
  • Limiting Numbers– We will be limiting the number of people inside our facilities
  • Professional Cleaning– We are utilizing a professional cleaning company to disinfect all surfaces in our office with an electrostatic fogger. This two-step process, utilized by airlines and hospitals, sterilizes the surfaces and wraps around objects and surfaces providing a protective coating. You will not be able to see, feel, or smell the product. If a person touches an object or surface the disinfectant will kill viruses and bacteria on contact.

Dental Safety is and has always been our office goal. We understanding that navigating through these challenging times is hard. Please know that we will do everything in our power to ensure your dental safety.

 

Children's dental chair

Why Visiting a Pediatric Dentist is a Must

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Parents are swarmed by information about raising children including those related to oral care and the pediatric dentist. While most parents know they need to teach our children about proper mouth care, they don’t always know the when’s, why’s, or where. Below we will breakdown the most common questions about your child and when they should visit a pediatric dentist.

Fact: According to the CDC, Cavities are the number one chronic infectious disease of childhood.

pediatric dentist

When Should Your Child First Visit a Pediatric Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see the dentist at one year old, or six months after the eruption of their first tooth, whatever comes first. While this may seem young to some, primary teeth begin growing around six months allowing exposure to a variety of elements that may change the course of their overall oral health. Starting your child early at the pediatric dentist creates the added benefit of a dental home where they feel more comfortable for each subsequent visit. 

The Importance of Baby Teeth

The truth is, baby teeth are a key part of the lifelong journey of oral health. The key to a healthy mouth is always prevention.  The first dental appointment serves as a guide for parents to learn proper techniques about brushing and flossing to maintain a healthy smile.  

According to the AAPD, keeping primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally is paramount. Primary teeth are important for many reasons: 

  • Helping children chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
  • Involvement in speech development.
  • Helping save space for permanent teeth.
  • Promoting a healthy smile that helps children feel good about the way they look.

What to Expect at Commonwealth Dentistry

At Commonwealth Dentistry, we are happy to serve every member of your family. We proudly offer preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, sedation dentistry, and more.

Preventative Care

Preventative care is the cornerstone towards long term, healthy oral care. For children, preventive care includes anticipatory guidance, routine cleanings and exams, fluoride treatment, sealants, and orthodontic referrals. You can start bringing your child to our dental office at the age of one year old, or when the first tooth erupts – whichever comes first.

Age What To Expect 
First tooth eruption-1 year First visit. Creation of a dental home and get to know the pediatric dentist.
1-5 years Assess overall dental health, talk healthy habits, and gain familiarity with the pediatric dentist. Schedule regular dental visits.
6-12 Children begin loosing and gaining baby teeth. Assess overall health. Make recommendations for orthodontic care.
Teens Continue ongoing care, visit the dentist every 6 months or more if oral health conditions are diagnosed.

Restorative Care

Another paramount pillar of overall dental health is Restorative Care, because dental issues can arise regardless of age. Restorative dental care includes any service we provide to restore your child’s natural smile and oral health when one or more teeth are damaged or missing. This care can include cavity fillings, tooth extractions, crowns, and more.

Sedation Dentistry

Many children (and adults) have a fear of the dentist. However, there are many ways to help children understand and calm fears of the pediatric dentist. Our specially trained team takes every measure to ensure you and your child feel comfortable and at ease.  We work with each family on an individual basis, based on the child’s needs, and we will discuss all of your concerns with you before your visit.

Sedation Dentistry is one way to calm dental fears associated with the pediatric dentist. We typically recommend sedation for long or multiple procedures, but also for children with fear, special needs, or an inability to sit still.

Before Your Pediatric Dentist Visit:

Sneak Previews: Lead by example and bring your child with you or older siblings to dental appointments. They will feel more comfortable at their appointment by seeing people they trust in the hot seat.

Talk About It: Talk about teeth care, make silly songs, have fun! This will encourage your child to want to brush and floss. There are a variety of fun stories, books, even shows that can help children feel comfortable at the dentist. 

Pretend Play: Kids love interacting with you! Practice being the dentist and the patient. Make the visit fun by bringing a favorite stuffed animal or toy with your little. The toy can partake in the dental visits while also offering comfort. 

Time: Running behind can add undue stress to any situation, plan plenty of time so that the dental visit is not rushed.  

Rest: Make sure your child is well-rested before the visit so that he or she feels relaxed and comfortable. Also, consider nap times when scheduling your appointment. 

Be Prepared: Think ahead about any questions you have regarding dental care for your child. 

Jennifer DixonMeet Dr. Jennifer Dixon

Our board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Jennifer Dixon, is here to take care of your children’s dental needs. She attended the College of William and Mary, where she graduated with a degree in biology and minor in chemistry, and later she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from VCU School of Dentistry. Jennifer and her husband Mark live in Richmond with their two children, Kate and Emma, their goldendoodle Max, and their Dutch Warmblood horse Touchdown. As recent as 2020, Dr. Jennifer Dixon was selected by her peers as a Top General Dentist according to Richmond Magazine. To learn more about Dr. Dixon check out her full bio here.

dental consultation

Tips for Healthy Teeth at Home

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Often one of the first things you notice about a person is their smile. A welcoming show of pearly whites makes a great first impression. Healthy teeth and gums are important factors in your overall health, thus staying on top of mouthcare at home is vital. Simply put, if you take care of your teeth, they will take care of you.


The Importance of Dental Health

Dental health is an important factor in our everyday health. Oral health offers clues about your overall health. Your mouth teems with “good” bacteria that help aid in digestion and fight diseases. However, because your mouth serves as an entry point for both digestive and respiratory tracts it also can harbor harmful bacteria. 

Healthy habits such as daily brushing, flossing, and mouth rinses can help keep harmful bacteria at bay. By not devoting time to properly care for one’s mouth a build-up of harmful bacteria results leading to oral infections. 

What Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health?

Condition Explanation
Endocarditis Infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) occurs when bacteria or germs from another part of your body (such as your mouth) spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular Disease Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and Birth Complications Periodontitis (gum disease) has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Pneumonia Bacteria in your mouth can travel to your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

It is easy to conclude that staying on top of oral health care is of utmost importance, what can you do at home to make sure your smile stays healthy and bright? Keep reading. 


Why Staying on Top of Oral Health is Important 

    1. The Surgeon General’s Report clearly indicates that oral health is vital for overall health. Skipping appointments can lead to missed issues that progress into larger more aggressive problems. 
    2. The most prevalent oral conditions are dental caries (cavities) and periodontal diseases, and they are largely preventable
    3. Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease and continues into adulthood. 
    4. Among US adults, 2011–2014 national data indicate that 32.7% had untreated dental caries 
    5. 42.7% of adults aged 30 or older had periodontitis and 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.

The Basics of Healthy Teeth:

Your Job: You are a key player for bright and healthy teeth. Your main job is to remove plaque the plaque that clings to your teeth.

Plaque accumulates when food and bacteria settle on the teeth, a build-up of this material calcifies or hardens to form tartar. Tartar irritates your gums and can lead to gum disease as well as cause bad breath.

Brush, Floss, Mouthwash

If you have ever been to the dentist you have heard the three keys to successful mouthcare are: Brushing, Flossing, and Mouthwash. Be consistent and create a routine helping to stay on top of these healthy habits. Below you will find some key ingredients when formulating the best possible care for your teeth.

Brushing
  1. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day. We recommend using a soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste angled at 45 degrees for optimal brushing.
  2. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months because worn-out, frayed bristles are not as effective at cleaning your teeth.
  3. It is your preference when it comes to manual vs. electric toothbrushes. Whatever you prefer just make sure it has the ADA seal of approval.
  4. Brushing with too much intensity can damage the soft tissues around your teeth leading to receding gums, open sores that can lead to infection, and tooth sensitivity.
Flossing
  1. Floss each time you brush.
  2. Flossing gets into the spaces that brushing cannot, thus making them an essential player towards healthy teeth and gums.
  3. As the floss gets close to your gums, curve the floss to form a C shape. This helps the floss enter the space between your gums and your tooth.
Mouthwash
  1. Every time you rinse with mouthwash you can kill the bacteria that lead to plaque and tartar build-up.
  2. There are a wide variety of mouthwashes available and can be tailored to your needs. For example, if you experience frequent cavities using a mouthwash with fluoride can help a great deal.
  3. Mouthwash not only strengthens your enamel but remineralizes your teeth effectively halting tooth decay.
Dietary Considerations

Diet also plays an important part in procuring healthy teeth. Sugary foods and drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay. Tobacco and alcohol use are extremely detrimental to oral health. In fact, they are the top two risk factors for oral cancer. Healthy teeth and healthy diets go hand in hand. 

Exercise

A study published in the Journal of Dentistry linked healthy habits such as exercise to stronger and healthier teeth. The Journal found that those who worked out regularly had a lower incidence of severe periodontal disease than those who forgo physical fitness.

Why You Should Still Visit the Dentist

Being proactive in dental care is more than just creating and maintaining healthy habits. Creating a strong relationship with your dentist and asking questions is also important.  Routine appointments are paramount in making sure everything is on track and diagnosing issues when things go awry.

Don’t wait it out

Dental care can be costly, the longer you wait the more issues that arise. That is why routine maintenance at home and in the office is paramount to keeping costs at bay. Start by creating a routine centered around mouth care, next make an appointment with a dental professional to evaluate if any more in-depth treatment is needed to get your mouth in tip-top shape.  If you’d like to learn more about dental costs check out our article: Understanding Dental Costs

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for a Payment Plan

It can be overwhelming to feel as though you need to pay a bill all at once. Perhaps you want to pay monthly as you pay into an HSA monthly, thus allowing for more flexibility with this money. We get it, that is why we offer a variety of payment plans along with Care Credit. You are encouraged to talk to us about any issues you may have, together we will work to formulate a plan that works for you. 

Consult Your Insurance

Dental insurance can be confusing, the best way to understand your benefits is through those providing them.  Utilize their knowledge of the service they provide you for a clear understanding of what is included and to what extent, as well as, what treatments may not be covered.

Commonwealth Care

We want you to know that we are here for you and your family’s needs. That’s why we are offering a discounted annual dental membership plan to those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care.

With our membership plan, you and your family have access to easy and affordable dental services. Ask any of our team members about Commonwealth Care, a discounted annual dental membership plan for those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care.

 

While it may seem simple, taking precautionary measures to protect your teeth is the best at home defense for your teeth. There is no time like the present to brush, floss, and mouthwash. Next, make an appointment to be seen in one of our offices. We look forward to taking your smile to the next level this year.

Midlothian exam room

Understanding Dental Costs

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Ouch! What is worse, the pain from the tooth itself or the cost of the dental procedure? Dental costs sometimes catch patients off guard. While these costs may seem overwhelming, our hope is by breaking down the variables within costs our patients will gain a better understanding of the factors that impact cost and why they exist. 

General Dental Costs:

Perhaps you are experiencing dental pain or you’ve had non-symptomatic issues identified at a routine cleaning:  The next step is to create a treatment plan and estimate the cost to rectify the issue.  There are several factors that affect almost any dental procedure.

1. Your Location: 

Costs are often higher in cities vs. rural areas. This chart illustrates fluctuations based on zip codes.  The geographic fluctuations in cost follow a similar trend to the cost of living differences we are accustomed to seeing. 

2. The Necessities:

 Examinations and X-rays are almost always a must to diagnose any dental issue. Any time you haven’t seen your dentist in 10 months or longer or you have an emergency issue, X-rays and a thorough exam are necessary to properly diagnose a problem or provide ongoing preventative care.

3. Lab Fees:

Items like crowns, implants, dentures, night guards are sent to a dental lab that custom makes each item thus a fee is associated.

4. The Extent of Work:

Sometimes estimates fluctuate based on a variety of factors due to the condition of the teeth, bone structure, gums, etc.  

5. Delaying Dental Procedures:

Here’s the thing, tooth decay never gets less expensive or more simple to address with time. If you wait on addressing issues, you may require more extensive treatment when you’re ready to fix the problem. The more serious the issue, the higher the price tag for the dental repair due to the complexity of the work. In short, the sooner you address the issue the better.

6. In and Out of Network:

If you have dental insurance, going to an in-network provider will result in lower costs.  Out of Network providers may still be able to file claims with your dental insurance company, although some policies will only cover care with their ‘network providers’.

7. Cosmetic Procedures:

 Cosmetic procedures,  defined as services that solely improve the appearance of the teeth and mouth, are not generally covered by insurance and will incur higher costs. This includes teeth whitening, tooth shaping, veneers, and gum contouring.

8. Preventative, Basic & Major Procedures:

These are the three classifications insurance companies define procedures by resulting in different coverage for each.

Type  What it Includes Insurance Coverage*
Preventive Care Semi-annual cleanings, x-rays, and sealants Insurance covers around 90-100%
Basic Care Fillings and extractions Insurance covers around 80%
Major Care Dentures, bridges, inlays, and crowns Insurance covers around 50%

*these are generalizations, your  insurance may vary, always check your plan for exact details

Quality of Care

One key component of dental care is the quality of care received.  Sure there are providers that offer a quick turn around with lower-cost options on some dental procedures, but cheap price tags are almost always at the expense of something else.

For example, have you ever seen advertisements for low-cost, same-day dentures?  The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ can apply to these scenarios as these cheaper alternatives often lack personalized care, quality, and long-term viability. The customer is almost always getting the short end of the stick to save a few dollars. If you want quality, long-lasting dental care, the work must be completed by a highly trained and experienced dentist that oversees the process from start to finish.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may also see increases in the cost of care for ‘extras’ that don’t necessarily correlate to the quality of your dental care i.e. ‘spa dentistry‘ with equipment like massage chairs.

Average Baseline for Care

Your teeth-just like you- are unique. Therefore, every estimate provided is unique to you and your individual needs. Depending on the complexity of the issue,  your price may fluctuate; however, consulting the table below can help you formulate a baseline. Oftentimes the estimate is given based on visible clues the dentist identifies during their exam and what the x-rays show. However, the estimates can vary based on underlying conditions and numerous other factors which we detail below. 

Price Range for Top 7 Dental Procedures

Procedure Average National Cost Before Insurance*
Cleanings $70- $200
Periodontal Maintenance  $140-$300
Crowns $500 – $3,000
Root Canal Therapy $300 – $2,000
Extractions  $75-$650
Dentures $300- $8,000
Dental Implants $3,000- $4,500 per tooth

*price ranges reflect National Averages and are not indicative of Commonwealth Dentistry prices

Xray of teethFirst things First- Initial Exams:


If you are a new patient or it has been longer than 10 months since you’ve had a cleaning, a comprehensive exam is the first step in allowing your provider to gather baseline information about your dental health.  This exam will include x-rays, a periodontal (gum and bone) evaluation, an oral exam, and should include an oral cancer screening. 

After your comprehensive exam, you may receive a treatment plan with the recommended work.  An ideal treatment plan should prioritize necessary work based on a joint understanding of the most pressing issues noted by your dentist and hygienist.

Factors that Cause Fluctuations in Pricing:

Whether it’s a routine cleaning or a root canal, each specific procedure performed during your visit has an associated fee that varies based on several factors such as the supplies and equipment utilized and the complexity of the work performed.

X-Ray Recommendations Frequency Details
Full Mouth 3-5 years Includes every tooth that is present, shows the root of the tooth to make sure there is no infection, shows bone health/levels 
Bite Wings 1-2 years Help diagnose gum disease and cavities between teeth
Panorex 3-5 years Shows a global view of the teeth, jaws, sinus spaces, Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Cleanings

Regular mouth maintenance is a must, price fluctuations largely occur because of improper maintenance. If you are not getting regular cleanings (every 3-6 months depending on the presence or absence of gum disease) or maintaining ideal oral hygiene at home to prevent plaque build-up, a more in-depth cleaning may be necessary. 

Mouth care musts

Think about cleaning your baseboards at home.  If you only cleaned them once a year, it would take much longer to get all the dust and dirt off.  If you wiped them down more frequently – it’s a quicker process.  The same principles apply – if you’re past due on your cleaning, your hygienist may need to take more time and care to get your gum and bone health on track. 

The more time and attention your cleaning requires, the higher your cost on the range quoted above.  This is an incredibly important step in the process of safeguarding your dental and overall health. Good oral hygiene on your behalf is always the foundation of good dental care. Skipping recommended cleanings can lead to much more invasive and more expensive procedures down the road (i.e. extractions, implants, etc.)

Basic vs. Deep Cleanings

Would you buy or build a home on a foundation that wasn’t solid? Beautiful teeth in unhealthy bone have a foundation problem. The way your hygienist diagnoses the need for a basic vs. deep cleaning will be through measuring the gum pocket around each tooth and looking at the height of your bone around your teeth on your x-rays. 

dental examIf you have not received regular cleanings, have inadequate home care, or have genetic predispositions to gum and bone disease, your gum tissue may become inflamed as the bacteria nestles underneath your gum line. These issues will require deep cleaning rather than just basic care.

From here it’s a self-propelling process.  Your gum is inflamed, bacteria is trapped under the irritated gum line, and your toothbrush can’t get to it so it calcifies (hardens) and irritates your gum more. This process can result in damage to the bone around your tooth.

As this happens your gum pockets become deeper because the bottom of the pocket gets deeper as the bone is lost.  In conjunction, the ‘top’ of the pocket rises up more because your gums become more swollen and inflamed.  This phenomenon is a chronic infection that puts you at risk for things like heart issues, lung problems (like pneumonia), diabetic complications, etc. 

Periodontal Maintenance

If periodontal disease is diagnosed, your dentist may recommend deeper cleanings as an initial step in getting your gum and bone health back on track.  After the deep cleanings, think about the baseboards analogy – you’ll likely need more frequent cleanings called ‘periodontal maintenance’ (every 3-4 months) to maintain that health.

woman with jaw painPeriodontal maintenance is more expensive than a standard prophylaxis cleaning because it goes a little deeper below the gum line because people with periodontal disease are more susceptible to plaque and tartar buildup. If you carry dental insurance, most basic cleaning and exam fees are generally covered, but the cost of periodontal maintenance can be an out of pocket cost.

Crowns

Dental crowns are used to restore the look and functionality of a damaged tooth. The type of material used is based on the strength of the patient’s bite, aesthetic demands, and placement of the tooth; however, there is less price variation among the materials used compared with the underlying reason the tooth needs a crown.  The main fluctuation in price for crowns is due to the reason behind needing the crown. 

Three Reasons You Need Crowns:
  1. Fracture- The tooth has become cracked or broken. The tooth still has a good foundation but is in need of something to protect it.  Teeth often need diligent monitoring after a crack or break as these situations can cause nerve or bone issues long term.  The sooner you crown a tooth after a fracture or break is diagnosed, the more predictable the outcome.
  2. Extensive Decay or filling material – 50% or more of the tooth’s structure is filling material or decayed.  If decayed, a ‘core build-up‘ may also be necessary to make the tooth an appropriate shape and size to place the crown on top of.  The need for a core build-up is an additional fee that often goes hand and hand with crowns.
  3. A root canal has been performed- A tooth had a cavity that reached the tooth’s nerve space or an abscess or injury occurred requiring root canal therapy (a nerve ablation of your tooth).  To do a root canal a significant amount of tooth structure has to be removed which leaves the tooth vulnerable to breaking.  A crown helps protect the tooth from breaking.

It is important to note, the root canal, core build-up, and crown are three different procedures and incur three different prices. 

Root Canals vs Extractions

Root Canal Therapy is needed when the inside of the tooth (the pulp chamber) becomes infected, inflamed, or dies. Common conditions leading up to this procedure include deep decay, a crack in a tooth, an existing deep filling, or injury. 

Extraction

If decay is significant enough to involve the nerve of your tooth, the tooth will require root canal therapy or you will need to extract the tooth.  While an extraction is sometimes viewed by patients as a simple, more affordable option, this is not necessarily the case.

The upfront costs of root canal therapy are higher but the additional procedural costs associated with extraction can accumulate quickly. This is because an extraction ideally requires a replacement tooth to maintain your mouth’s long-term functionality (i.e. bridges, implants, dentures).  These subsequent procedures to replace a tooth can easily exceed the investment of saving your tooth with a root canal.  Extractions are more invasive procedures and surgical in nature. 

Root Canals

If a tooth can be saved, a root canal is a predictable, less invasive option. During a root canal, the dentist cleans and shapes the infected area before finally filling and sealing the root. After the procedure, the tooth may be capped with a crown. 

The biggest fluctuation in price for a root canal depends on where in the mouth the tooth needing the root canal is located.  The variation occurs because of the amounts of roots and procedural difficulty associated with each tooth.  Dental coding puts root canal therapy in three buckets:

Teeth Location Avg. National Costs*
Anterior Teeth Front Teeth $300 – $1,500
Premolars Middle Teeth $400 – $1,800
Molars Back teeth $500 – $2,000

*price ranges reflect National Averages and are not indicative of Commonwealth Dentistry prices

Dentures

dental moldPricing for dentures varies greatly because dentures are a personal decision that needs to be discussed in detail with your doctor.  Many see dentures as a relatively quick or easy process, but the truth is, there are multiple steps to get the appropriate fit. 

Factors that Affect Dentures

There are a variety of factors that affect dentures. If a patient has no existing teeth and a good bone structure – making dentures can be a straightforward process.  Some offices offer dentures that can be ready in one visit, however, depending on the methodology of the doctor, sometimes multiple fitting appointments are needed.  If the patient has poor bone structure implants may need to be placed in order to support the dentures.

Another scenario would be that a patient has existing teeth that need to be removed. This situation is more complicated and has additional costs. First, the patient would incur fees for extracting the teeth. Next, the patient must make a decision about what to do in order for the mouth to heal. 

An immediate denture is made so that the patient does not have to go without teeth.  As your gum and bone heal, the shape of your bone will change and your denture will need to be adjusted and refitted several times.  After healing (6-12 months), the denture will need a permanent refit done by a dental lab or a new denture may be necessary if the healing was dramatic.

Cost of Dentures

The entire denture process is an investment in time and money. Personalized dentures that fit properly make a world of difference in the long run.  Dentures are not a place you want to take shortcuts because it will result in more problems down the road.  Poorly fitting dentures will be an aggravation and may be difficult to wear.

Dental Implants

Dental Implants can be straightforward as long as you follow the advice from your doctor.  A dental implant is a great option for patients missing teeth because it replaces both the tooth and the root. Dental implants are built to last (failure rate of less than 5%), so while the process of getting an implant exactly right is lengthy, the implant itself is a permanent fixture and with proper care will last for decades to come. 

What is included in a typical Dental Implant?

Part Description Fee
Dental Implant Titanium post that replaces a tooth root $1,000-$3,000
Implant Abutment Connection between the Dental Implant and Crown $500-$3,000
Crown Replacement ‘Tooth’ that is connected to the Implant Abutment $1,500-$13,000+

The average cost estimated for implant, abutment, and crowns is around $4,263.

Consultation

dental moldThe first step in receiving an implant is a consultation with your doctor.  Here the doctor will determine if you are a candidate for an implant.  You will receive X-rays and map out a personalized plan. 

If a tooth needs to be removed, a bone graft and protective covering (a membrane) may be recommended to prepare the bone for a future implant. A 3-4 month healing process is generally necessary for this process. The cost of the grafting is not included in the implant price range quoted above.

Dental Implant

Next, the dental implant can be placed.  This is a precise process that replaces the root of the tooth. Depending on how dense the bone around the implant is on the day of placement, a 3-6 month healing period is given for the implant to integrate and attach to your bone.  During this time, the tooth will still visually be missing and the implant will be healing below the gum-line. 

Impression

Once the implant has adequate healing time, an impression of the implant is taken.  This allows the lab to make an abutment (connection from implant to crown) and a crown to place on top of the implant. There will be several appointments to make sure that everything fits exactly as it should. This is necessary to ensure the optimal fit and comfort of the tooth. 

When it comes to pricing, it is important to remember that the abutment (connector) and crown are a separate fee from the implant.  To summarize the fees that may be incurred during implant therapy: The extraction of a tooth, the grafting of the extraction socket, the dental implant, the implant abutment, and the implant crown. 

Other procedures sometimes needed as part of Dental Implant Therapy

Part Description Fee
Tooth Extraction Removal of a tooth  $75-$650
Bone graft Cadaver, animal or synthetic bone that is used to add bone where a tooth has been removed $300-$800
Sinus Lift or ‘Bump’ Placing or moving bone to the floor of the sinus to help hold an implant for someone’s upper back teeth/tooth. $3000-$6000

What We Promise:

 

A Pre-procedure Quote:

Our patients are provided with a thoughtful treatment plan.  We discuss the “worst-case scenario” cost-wise to avoid any surprises. We do our best to explain all the ins and outs of a procedure. If at any point you have questions about recommended treatment, please reach out to our team.

Try Our In-House Dental Plan- The Commonwealth Care Membership:

commonwealth care membership

We know that dental costs can be overwhelming especially for those without insurance. Did you know we offer our own Dental Membership Plan? Commonwealth Care Membership is a discounted annual dental membership plan for those who are uninsured and in need of quality dental care. With our membership plan, you and your family have access to easy and affordable dental services. 

A Variety of Payment Options:

We offer a variety of payment options including payment plans and Care Credit. We will always listen to any concerns you have regarding payment and do our best to formulate a plan that works for you.

Various Sedation Methods:

Please know that if you feel overwhelmed or nervous about any procedure, we offer a variety of sedation techniques to put patients at ease.

dentist and patient

Open and Honest Conversations:

At Commonwealth Dentistry we consider everyone an extension of our family and deliver an experience that exceeds expectations. If you have any concerns, we encourage open dialogue to address any issues. If you are interested in learning more reach out to one of our offices that best serves you.

Midlothian office

COVID-19 Information

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Commonwealth Dentistry has reopened our dental offices for all routine, non-emergent appointments. Each of our locations has assumed normal business hours. See below for details:

  • Colonial Heights: Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Forest Hill: Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm, Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Midlothian: Monday-Wednesday, 8:00am – 5:00pm and Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm
  • Prince George: Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm and Friday, 8:00am – 2:30pm
  • Kenbridge: Monday and Tuesday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Crewe: Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Palmyra: Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 5:00pm

We will be taking additional precautions for our team and our patients to ensure the safety and health of everyone that walks through our doors. Below are the specific safety measures that our patients should be aware of before arriving for their appointment:

  • There will be hand sanitizer and hand soap readily available for our patients and our team throughout the office.
  • If you prefer to wait in your car, please give the office a call when you arrive and we will come to your car to deliver paperwork and provide health screening. If not, please head to our reception area upon arrival.
  • All patients and staff will be screened and have their temperature taken upon entering our office. No one will be admitted into our facilities with a temperature of 100.4 or greater.
  • We will be using a dental technology called the Isolite in some of our dental procedures. This device eliminates airborne aerosols by over 90%, creating a much safer environment for both our staff and patients.
  • Our team will be using the appropriate PPE including gloves, masks, and face shields that create a safe barrier between you and our staff.
  • Everyone will be asked to rinse with a pre-procedural mouth rinse prior to their visit. Since COVID-19 is vulnerable to oxidation, any mouth rinse containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or .2% povidone is recommended to reduce the salivary load of oral microbes, including potential COVID.
  • We will be limiting the number of people allowed in our facilities at any given time.
  • We are utilizing a professional cleaning company to disinfect all surfaces in our office with an electrostatic fogger. This two-step process, which is being utilized by airlines and hospitals, sterilizes the surfaces and wraps around objects and surfaces to provide a protective coating. You will not be able to see, feel, or smell the product. If a person touches an object or surface the disinfectant will kill viruses and bacteria on contact.

We thank you and appreciate your patience as we reopen our doors with a new process in place. Your health and wellbeing are very important to us and we are excited to see new faces and welcome back our current patients! If you have any questions about the additional safety measures we are implementing, please contact us at any of our locations and we would be happy to discuss them with you. We look forward to serving our patients again, and we hope to see you soon!

-Dr. Beltrami, Dr. Dixon, Dr. Woodard & the entire Commonwealth Dentistry Team