Dental Billing to Go-Kart Chauffeuring Michelle’s Many Roles
or about what coverage you have, never hesitate to ask questions! That’s what I and the others behind the desk at the clinic are here for. One reason insurance can be challenging for people is that each policy is different. That’s why I’ve been telling patients with Delta Dental plans about a great benefit that’s being offered right now via Delta Dental’s Health through Oral Wellness program. Under this program, if you answer a few questions from your dental hygienist, you can unlock benefits like more cleanings and fluoride treatments. If you’re curious if you qualify, just ask! I love my job, and it keeps me busy during the week, but so do my four kids, of course. Though this last year has been hard on us in some ways, I find that we’re all adjusting and learning how to do certain things differently. Three of my kids are school-aged and attending in person. They’re still getting into the swing of things and dealing with changes, but I think it helps that they have activities to keep them busy. My two oldest girls, Madeline and Zoey, are in eighth and seventh grade, respectively. They are both into dirt track go-kart racing, and they’ll actually be competing against each other this year. Since they’re only a year apart in school, they can already be competitive with each other sometimes, and I’m sure that’ll come out on the track too. Madeline has been racing for six years now, and Zoey is in her third year. It’s a lot of fun to watch them race and cheer them on. I’m proud of both of them. Their little brother, Kavin, is in fourth grade this year, and he’s following in his dad’s footsteps as a wrestler. It’s neat to see my husband, James, connect with Kavin over their shared love for the sport, and I know wrestling is a great way for Kavin to get his energy out. Our youngest, Natalie, is 4, and she’s a little fish! Come summertime, we’ll all be spending time together in the backyard pool, but in the
If you’ve been in the clinic any time in the last nine years, you’re sure to have interacted with me, Michelle, at the front desk. It’s my job — along with the other ladies who work with me at the front desk — to answer any billing questions you may have and to make sure our patients understand their dental insurance. A few years ago, I wrote a cover article to tell you more about my role here at Aberdeen Smiles and what life outside of work is like. I’m happy to be back for round two to talk a bit about what my family and I have been up to this last year and to let you know about a few neat insurance benefits you might qualify for. It might seem like an oxymoron to say “neat insurance benefits,” but one of my favorite parts of my job is helping people learn more about how their insurance can work for them. Many people are more familiar with medical insurance, which is quite different from dental coverage. Dental insurance policies often have a lower deductible and lower coinsurance rates. That means you won’t have to spend much money out of pocket before your benefits kick in. If you have questions about what all the insurance terms mean
Zoey in her go kart
meantime, Natalie is enjoying her weekly swimming outings with her day care buddies. Speaking of summer, we’re all looking forward to getting more use out of the camper we bought last year. We’d owned a camper before but once we had Natalie, our family of six was too big to fit us all. The new camper fits everyone, and it’s a great home base on the road when we visit our favorite places like Elm Lake. We love to camp and spend time outdoors, and luckily, that was still easy to do, even as other things were shut down in the last year. The clinic was closed for several weeks at the start of the pandemic, about one year ago in March. It was a little scary in the beginning for me (and everyone!), and though the question of when the pandemic will end still looms, I am grateful to be able to continue to work and help serve our patients in a place that takes everyone’s safety seriously. Wearing protective equipment and keeping things clean and sanitized is just second nature for us. If you haven’t visited us in a while, I hope to see you soon!
Madeline in her go kart
The Seal of Acceptance WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ‘ADA ACCEPTED’?
The American Dental Association (ADA) stamps its seal on all kinds of dental products, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, denture cream, gum, and more. But what does the ADA Seal of Acceptance mean? The ADA Seal of Acceptance was first used in 1931 as an act of regulation. At the time, numerous dental products were flooding the market. Sellers, including those who would fit the description of snake oil salesmen, were peddling all sorts of “miraculous” teeth-cleaning products to “cure cavities” and “regrow lost teeth.” In response, and to help direct the general public to legitimate oral care products, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs put together a series of guidelines that defined what legitimate oral care products were. The organization used the guidelines to determine if a product was safe and worked as intended. Today, over 200 products bear the ADA Seal of Acceptance. To become ADA Accepted, a product must meet certain criteria. First, the product must be put through rigorous clinical or laboratory studies. This is the responsibility of the product maker. The ADA does not conduct these studies itself and relies on outside consultants when evaluating products. These experts are from all areas of the dental industry, including microbiology, toxicology, chemistry, and dental materials. They review the results of those studies to determine whether or not that product meets its standards of “safety and efficacy according to the product category developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.”
If the ADA is satisfied that the product meets its safety and efficacy requirements, it will award the seal for a five-year period. In that time, the manufacturer of the product can use that seal on the product they submitted for acceptance, such as toothpaste. However, if the manufacturer decides to change the product — for example, they change the ingredients — the seal is no longer valid and the company must send in new research on the safety and effectiveness of the updated product. If you see the ADA Accepted logo on a product, it means that item has gone through a lot of research to determine that it does exactly what the packaging says it does. It’s just another way consumers can protect themselves from misleading claims and false advertising. That said, just because a toothpaste or mouthwash doesn’t have an ADA Accepted designation doesn’t mean it’s bad. There are some products the ADA will not accept under any circumstance. This includes any toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. The most important thing you can do as a consumer is read the label of any oral care product you buy to understand what it is you are purchasing and if it meets your own standards.
AND AVOID DEHYDRATION Dehydration is a big problem. Many people don’t drink enough water each day — some reports show that 75% of adults in the United States don’t drink enough water, and over a quarter are dehydrated. Though those statistics aren’t widely agreed upon, it’s obvious that most people need more fluids. Even if it feels like you’re drinking a lot of water, remember that water leaves your body every time you sweat, go to the bathroom, and even breathe. Not keeping up with proper water intake can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration can cause health problems and impact your brain, heart, skin, and other organs, which can lead to headaches, confusion, fatigue, and gastrointestinal distress. We all know the solution to dehydration is to drink more water, but exactly how much water do we need each day? The amount will differ depending on the person, but one simple way to approximate your necessary daily intake is by dividing your body weight in half and drinking that much water (in fluid ounces) each day. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you’d need to drink 87.5 fluid ounces — over half a gallon — of water per day. That might seem like a lot of liquid, but you can easily drink it without trying too hard. All you have to do is be proactive: Start keeping water any place you frequent during the day. Keep a bottle in your car, at your desk, by your favorite chair, near your workout equipment, etc. Having water easily available in the places you spend the most time each day helps increase your chances of actually drinking it. An alternative approach is to purchase a giant jug that can hold all the water you need to drink in a day. Seeing it all in one place might be intimidating at first, but this method makes things very simple. Keep the jug close, and your water intake will likely increase without too much additional effort. And if you’re just not motivated to drink plain water, you can always add sugar-free flavoring or lemon to make it more enticing. An Easy Way to Drink More Water
Green Goddess Smoothie
Inspired by AmbitiousKitchen.com
If you’re looking to get your green on, why not try this light smoothie?
• 1 1/2 cups fresh organic spinach • 1 tbsp chia seeds • 1/2 medium avocado
• 1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk • 1 organic apple, peeled and chopped • 1 medium frozen banana
1. In a large, high-powered blender, add in all ingredients. 2. Blend on high for 1–2 minutes, or until all ingredients are well combined. 3. If necessary, add in more almond milk to thin the smoothie. 4. Serve immediately and enjoy! Take a Break
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Catch Up With Michelle
What Does It Mean to Be ‘ADA Accepted’?
How to Easily Increase Your Water Intake Green Goddess Smoothie
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Get You!
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Get You!
When outside, avoid walking through areas with weeds, shrubbery, or lots of trees as much as possible. Grass and weeds are notably problematic. The slightest breeze can send particles flying through the air in the blink of an eye. When you walk through grassy areas, pollen will get on you, your clothes, and your hair. It’s best to stick to trails, sidewalks, and other paved areas. If you do find yourself inundated with pollen or other allergens, your next best bet is to establish an at-home decontamination protocol. Take your shoes off at the door and make sure your clothes don’t come in contact with soft surfaces such as carpet, upholstery, or bedding. Take care to wash your “pollinated” clothes as soon as possible and wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Next, head for the shower. The sooner you can wash away the allergens, the better. Finally, don’t forget to replace the air filter in your home’s air system in the spring. Consider using an air filter designed to capture allergens. If your allergies are particularly troublesome, invest in a dedicated air filtration system or unit. While you can opt for portable, stand-alone air purifiers, there are larger systems that can be incorporated into your heating and air system that keep your entire home’s air free from most, if not all, common allergens.
Spring brings with it many wonderful things, like longer days, picturesque scenery, and spring break, but right alongside those good things is something most people suffer from: allergies. While beautiful, the blooming trees and flowers make you want to stay away from the great outdoors for fear of nonstop sneezing or puffy, watery eyes. If you suffer from allergies caused by pollen, grass, or other spring plants, take these steps to breathe a little easier.
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