Urgent Care: What to Know, When to Go »
We needed an ear, nose and throat specialist, but the wait at our HMO was two weeks. What now? An emergency room seemed like overk…
We needed an ear, nose and throat specialist, but the wait at our HMO was two weeks. What now? An emergency room seemed like overk…
There's still one month of summer left. Before those lazy, hazy days come to an end, use our get-things-done list to make the most of this fleeting season in the sun.
Get ready for back to school while you have the time to do it. From shopping and haircuts to dentists and auto repairs.
My experience is a little old--it occurred July 4, 2001. Turth in advertising requires me to say I was born in St. Joseph's over 70 years ago, but have not lived in Atlanta since 1970. I was visiting to attend a wedding and staying with friends. I was supposed to go to the Rehearsal Dinner, but was feeling ill, so I declined hoping to attend the wedding on Saturday. The friends with whom I was staying had dinner plans. BTW, I should be considered a knowledgeable layman, having worked in healthcare administration for decades. Four years prior to this, I had had an angioplasty so I was conscious of potential heart problems. When my friends arrived I told my host that it would probably be wise to go to an Emergency Room for a blood test to see if I was having heart problems. I was vaguely surprised when he suggested St. Josephs. Predictably, the ER was a zoo on a holiday weekend. Eventually blood was drawn and my host proved to be the really good friend and stayed with me. The staff put me into one of the ER cubicles while we waited. Eventually the ER physician came in about 3 a.m. and told me that the blood tests had proven negative for the enzymes indicative of a heart attack. However, he encouraged me to stay in the hospital for an angiogram the next morning. I decided that I must be having some type of flu, and declined. But my friend supported the idea--I must have looked really bad. Reluctantly, I agreed. Angiogram results: The good news: No heart attack. The bad news: Blood vessels in the heart, 85% occluded. Consulting with the cardiologist who recommended a CAB (a bypass). Having observed a number of those operations, I was less than enthused at the prospect plus I did not have medical insurance. I asked about another angioplasty. They advised against it saying in a relatively short period of time, the problem would recur. When I mentioned the lack of insurance, they said something "Let St. Josephs take care of you. Also, they said the CAB would be performed first thing Monday, which meant I would miss the wedding. I was also bummed because I had been exercising in an effort to not have heart problems. I decended into a combination "blue funk" and pity party--still resisting the idea of a CAB. As a result, things were kind of up in the air. One of the nurses, who deserves my everlasting thanks, came in and counselled me. By the time she left, I was more amenable. They sent in the heavy gun--the anesthesiologist. By the time he arrived, I had come to grips with it. Before he could open his mouth I said "Let's do this." I've gone into this detail so that readers will know that St. Josephs really does care and, take this from someone in a position to know, does a great job. I was pretty much of a deadbeat, and I received care worthy of a Chief of State. I would like to think that I was a knowledgeable patient--let the wounds drain and exercise as much as you can. In fact, I made them sit me up in the chair rather than the bed when they brought me to my room from Intensive Care. I felt compelled to write this when I read a couple of the reviews. There are two low ratings. One is the result of the doctor's orders, not the hospital. In fairness, staph can be very very difficult. The other low rating was because of a mixup about telephone numbers. I can see why that might be inconvenient for the person, but it hardly deserves a low rating. As far myself, I am seen by a Harvard-educated cardiologist at a tertiary medical center. However, he wants to see me only annually, and this is 11 years after my surgery, which also prevented a heart attack. The sites where the veins were removed from my legs were more problematic that the operation. Thank you, St. Joesphs. Thank you, ER. Thank you, cardiologist. Thank you, wonderful Nursing Staff. Thank you, Dr. Snyder and the surgical staff. I think Someon was really looking out for me when they caused be to be where I began life.
Unfortunately, I was injured in an auto accident. I found myself in constant pain and confused as to what I should do. I finally decided to seek legal representation. I knew I didnt want to work with a huge firm that treats clients like a number. I was referred by friends to a wonderful attorney. He worked on my case but was unable to complete it due to severe health complications of his own. He spoke with Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Sammons on my behalf and they inherited a complicated mess of a case. I could tell right away that they were DIFFERENT! They treated me like a human being and were sympathetic to my specific issues. They will treat you the same way. Turns out the defendant's insurance were accommadating and amiable while MY OWN insurance company were the exact opposite. After an annoying battle, my case is finally over! I dont know what I wouldve done without S&C on my side! I highly recommend Sammons and Carpenter. They will work diligently to get your case settled...And If they cant reach a generous agreement with the defendant(or your own insurance company) They are fully prepared to represent you in front of a jury! A lot of attorneys dont concern themselves with actually going to court with you if it becomes necessary. The bottom line is this: If you want to be treated with respect and compassion by attorneys that actually care, Sammons and Carpenter areq perfect for you. On top of all that, they are also very reasonably priced-Most cases are on contigency basis, meaning you dont have to pay unless there is a favorable resolution to your case. Sadly, accidents happen everyday so if you are injured and you are not sure what to do, please give them a call right away.They have free consultations so they can help you decide whats right for your individual case:)
It's been almost a year since we have worked with Mrs. Jean for my wife's green card. It was a great experience and it was worth it. Even everything was well and we had all the proofs in the world that we are really together and everybody was saying that we don't need a lawyer, we decided to take one, just because it's more secure with filing the papers and they KNOW what they are doing. Mrs Jean was extremely nice and answered to all our questions. The process itself started in April, and by mid of April the files were already send and on July the interview was scheduled. By August 3rd my wife got her green card in the mail and unfortunately her name was misspelled, there was an extra "C" on her green card. We talked immediately with Mrs. Jean, who was very responsive and even though she assured us that it wouldn't be a problem when we would get back in the country, we decided to immediately apply for another green card, to make sure everything is well, and there's no extra C on the document. Mrs. Jean has been with us through all the process, she handled the situation very well and went with my with to the immigration to get her stamp on the passport because we have already bought our plane tickets to Romania. Mrs Jean answered to our emails in weekend as well and all our phone calls. All I can say that I totally recommend her and all her staff from Pag Associates because all of them are extremely nice. The fact that I am writing this review after so much time means that we were really happy with her services and her amiability. Again, thank you Mrs Jean for all your help!! Kind Regards, Cristina&Andrei B
The human mouth is a complex biological system, and no two individuals have the same oral care needs. Here are some of the more common dentists people seek out to improve their oral health:
These dentists generally serve as the primary provider of dental care. If you need your teeth cleaned, crowns and bridges placed or any number of cosmetic procedures, book an appointment with a general dentist. Though not as common, these dentists will also provide more specialized services, including some forms of oral surgery - chief among them root canals and restorative care - fitting patients with a mouthguard and counseling people on how to stop smoking and what constitutes proper nutrition.
To become an endodontist means undergoing an additional two years of training beyond dental school. As a result, these specialized dentists perform more specific procedures beyond general teeth cleaning and repair work. While a dentist may perform a handful of root canal treatments in a week, an endodontist may end up working on 20 or more in the same timespan. Your average endodontist also repairs teeth damaged by trauma and performs endodontic retreatments, which is repeat root canal procedure. Their added training also means that the endodontist is much more adept at utilizing complex dental equipment - especially ultrasonic instruments or microscopes. Most of that equipment is used to improve the health of teeth that are affected by disease and even congenital deformities.
Proper oral care starts when you're young, and that's why pediatric dentists are so important. These dentists treat people under the age of 13, though there are exceptions based on a child's unique dental background. Pediatric dentists face unique challenges, because they must treat newly teething babies and children losing their primary teeth.
Though cleanings are an integral part of their job, pediatric dentists are mostly concerned with planning ahead. That means working to ensure the child has straight teeth and correcting an improper bite. However, they also help address more child-specific conditions of thumb sucking and an over-reliance on pacifiers. As a result, pediatric dentists usually require an additional two-year residency working with infants and children.
Pathology refers to the study of disease, specifically as it presents in tissue. Oral pathologists, then, are responsible for studying the diseases that affect the tissue of the mouth and other surrounding muscle groups. These experts are considered to be true specialists, having focused their work on very niche areas of both dentistry and pathology. Though oral pathology is rather specialized, it's a vital component of the oral health industry. By analyzing tissue taken from biopsies, oral pathologists can help diagnose and eventually treat a number of oral diseases, including leukoplakia, cementoma and squamous cell carcinoma, among others.
Similar to the endodontist, periodontists receive several additional years of training beyond dental school. However, whereas endodontists study advanced treatments, periodontists generally have a very specific field of interest. Your average periodontist focuses less on cleanings and more on diagnosing and treating gingivitis, periodontitis, which is an untreated form of the aforementioned ailment, and other periodontal diseases. Periodontists treat patients with more complicated oral care backgrounds, those people who require root planing - where dentists clean any infected surfaces - and root debridement, or the removal of dead tissue. Periodontists are especially concerned with proper gum health, including painful recession and teeth alignment.
Most of the aforementioned dentists are concerned with the health and well-being of a patient's teeth. While that is important to cosmetic dentists, they specialize in a number of different treatments meant to enhance the look or aesthetic of your teeth. To begin the average appointment, cosmetic dentists will examine your teeth for any imperfections or irregularities, and then suggest ways to make your teeth more white or properly aligned. The most popular such treatments are bleaching - where special chemicals are used to whiten your teeth - placing veneers or caps to alter the appearance of teeth, and bonding, where dentists fill unappealing gaps with structural replacement material.
Orthodontists are responsible for treating most dental irregularities, which includes everything from misaligned jaws - like an under or overbite - to overcrowding teeth and even certain cosmetic issues. Following dental school, the would-be orthodontist then has another three years of schooling, most of which is clinical experience in an orthodontic residency program. To properly diagnose and treat most dentofacial issues, the orthodontist relies on a collection of corrective gear. That includes braces, retainers and various facemask configurations. Though orthodontists work with people of all ages, the bulk of patients are young children and teens.
Similar to the field of orthodontics, the average prosthodontist receives an additional three years of training following dental school. And though prosthodontics is something of a cosmetic field like orthodontics, it's primarily concerned with replacing missing teeth. Prosthodontists have a number of teeth-replacing procedures to implement, including filling veneers, onlays and inlays, bridges, crowns and complete or partial dentures. Beyond their work in implant dentistry, these experts treat a number of other mouth-related ailments, namely snoring, post-cancer jaw reconstruction, traumatic injuries and pain related to lock jaw and other temporomandibular joint disorders.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist
Similar to endodontists, these specialists - one of nine such unique fields recognized by the American Dental Association - utilize machinery to treat and diagnose patients. Specifically, these dentists make use of radiographic imaging to treat those diseases and ailments that impact the teeth, mouth and the maxillofacial region, which consists of the face and jaw. While X-rays are a popular option, OMRs also rely on plain and computed tomography, MRIs, ultrasounds and other forms of digital imaging. OMRs are among the first adaptors of new technology, using innovations in the field of imaging to find increasingly effective ways at understanding the impact of oral disease and what that means to patients.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Your primary dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you experience facial pain, or if he or she suspects you have some variety of oral cancer. OMSs are also your primary source when planning most oral surgeries, like tooth extractions, cyst repairs and removals, and dental implants. However, an OMS can also treat a number of other ailments and diseases related to the maxillofacial region. For instance, malformations in your facial bones can cause sleep apnea, and an OMS can perform corrective surgery that removes or shapes bone. Many of these experts are also involved with more cosmetic procedures, performing or assisting with facial implants and rhinoplasty, in which the nose bone is modified.
Dental Public Health Clinics
These clinics are available in most cities across the U.S., and they're meant to offer affordable health care to many low-income families and individuals. Though it differs depending on the specific clinic, the average clinic offers only the most essential oral care services, including X-rays, teeth cleaning, basic root canals and repairs, and tooth extractions. The fees an individual pays depend on a number of different factors, and most clinics have a sliding-fee that is determined equally by income and family size.
There are several different kinds of dentists, each one with his or her own specialty. However, there are a core group of ailments all dentists treat. Conditions include:
Tooth Decay: When your teeth fall out or begin to disintegrate in your mouth, improper brushing is often to blame. Certain infections also cause tooth loss or decay. One of the most affective ways to prevent tooth decay is with regular brushing and flossing right at home.
Bad Breath: As your teeth fall out or you don't brush properly, your gums and teeth begin to break down and cause foul odors. Other causes of bad breath include gum disease and oral infections. As with tooth decay, brushing and flossing are vital, as is regular tongue scraping and the use of mouthwash.
Teeth Sensitivity: Some people are born with teeth that are naturally sensitive to cold. A lack of brushing can also comprise your teeth's natural protection. The best method to help protect otherwise sensitive teeth is to use specialized toothpaste geared toward people with worn or damaged teeth.
Dry Mouth: Certain medications will cause your salivary glands to stop producing spit. This in turn can harm the structure of your teeth and gums. There are several at-home measures you can take to combat dry mouth. These include regular hydration, chewing sugar-free gum, which also hydrates your mouth, and avoiding mouthwash with alcohol in it, which dries out your entire mouth.
Teeth Grinding: For many people, grinding their teeth - also known as bruxism - is a subconscious behavior, usually the result of stress. It can eventually damage your teeth. The only way to treat your grinding habit is to meet with an endodontist, who will fit you with with a bite plate to mitigate the damage to your teeth.
Mouth Sores: Also called canker sores, these painful bumps are the result of irritation to the soft tissue of your mouth. These sores can make brushing almost impossible. There are a number of different causes for sores, including anemia or a vitamin B-12 deficiency. As a result, your primary physician will have to examine the bump, find its root cause and then help develop a specific treatment plan, including the use of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or antimicrobial mouthwash.
Discoloration: Yellow teeth are the result of a number of bad habits, mainly smoking, drinking too much coffee and improper nutrition. Proper brushing can usually prevent discolored teeth before they happen. However, if your teeth become worse, many dentists will treat with a whitening procedure.
Proper oral care begins at home. The following are a few preventative measures you can take to keep your teeth and gums healthy. They just may reduce your time spent in your dentist's chair.
Remember Your Angles
When brushing your teeth, always place the brush at a 45-degree angle. That way, you're able to hit every surface of each tooth.
Don't Forget the Tongue
Within your mouth, your tongue is the largest source of bacteria. Be sure to brush it front to back and don't forget the sides.
Brushing alone isn't enough to keep your mouth healthy, and that's why flossing is so important. Each time you floss, be sure to have at least 18 inches of floss available, which is what you should go through if you use proper technique. For optimal control, hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers.
Watch What You Eat
Sugar, alcohol and coffee all contain phosphorus. While some can prove beneficial, too much of this chemical can eat away at your teeth and gums.
Keep in Mind the Mouthwash
Though not a requirement, mouthwash can be helpful if used to supplement proper brushing and flossing. Most mouthwash brands contain chlorine dioxide, a chemical that targets the majority of oral bacterial strains. However, don't overuse mouthwash, as it can cause a number of ailments.
Proper oral care is an integral component of your greater well-being, which highlights why having the right dentist is of the utmost importance. Consider the following as you make an effort to find a dentist who will fit your unique medical history:
Find a Recommendation
It's important to use a dentist whom you feel comfortable with. Because that's difficult to achieve by simply choosing names out of a phone book, you should always seek out a recommendation. Whether it's a friend, family member or co-worker, this individual can offer intimate details about a dentist's demeanor, operating style and approach to patient care. Be sure to always ask plenty of questions.
Vet Your Dentist
Once you get a recommendation from a friend, don't simply book your first cleaning right away. Instead, meet with any prospective dentists to conduct a series of pretreatment interview. During this session, you can ask them about what treatments they perform most often, procedures they're not as familiar with, what accreditation they have or any organizations they belong to and how their offices handles insurance and payments. Just be aware that booking this time can be difficult based on a dentist's schedule.
Consider Accessibility and Other Factors
Perhaps you've met a dentist with whom you feel comfortable. Not only that, but this dentist's payment options are suitable for your finances. However, don't be so quick to make a final decision, as other factors may influence your choice. Is the dentist's office nearby, or do you have to drive out of your way? Is the office open at a time that will fit the rest of your schedule? How much flexibility will the dentist's staff offer in booking appointments? Though seemingly trivial, these factors are nonetheless important.
Check With Your State Board
One of the last things you should do before coming to a decision is to check with your state's dental board. Dentists must abide by different rules and regulations depending on where they practice, and the state board can outline what requirements your candidate must meet. These organizations can also offer information about any discrepancies in the dentist's background and if he or she has faced any disciplinary actions.
As with other forms of health care, insurance is a great way to both reduce associated costs and ensure you and your dependents receive the best care possible. However, you don't want to simply buy the first such plan you see. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for dental insurance:
Pick Your Plan
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all dental insurance plan. Instead, most people purchase three main varieties, usually through their employers. An indemnity or fee-for-service plan is just as it sounds and means you'll have to pay for annual deductibles and co-insurance payments out of pocket. A preferred provider organization is less costly, and you choose from a network of dentists. However, PPOs have some limitations and accompanying deductibles. Similarly, a dental health maintenance organization plan limits you to just a few choices of dentists, and one doctor handles all of your oral care needs. However, these HMO are usually much less costly.
Examine the Networks
As noted, PPO plans and dental HMOs work with only a select number of doctors. While that usually means fewer costs compared to other insurance plans or payment options, it also means you don't have quite as much say in the dentist who can treat you. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, especially if you know who is in the network. Before purchasing the plan, you'll receive a list of dentists in each network. Do research on each doctor - just as you would when picking a dentist otherwise. From there, you can then pick a plan with doctors who meet your standards and requirements.
Consider Your Coverage
Sometimes, it's not just the doctor that you want to consider. For many people, even the plans with the best doctors are deemed a bad choice. The reason? The coverage is less-than-stellar. When picking a plan, you need to look at just how much you'll pay for each and every service. For instance, some plans won't cover your fillings or X-rays, while others may charge more or less for a crown or tooth extraction. Knowing just what you'll be responsible for is important, as you don't want to be caught off-guard by unforeseen charges. Depending on your employer, a human resources specialist can walk you through specific coverage options.
Make Your Plan Work for You
It's a sad fact that the dentist you want most might not be covered by the plan you've purchased. However, that doesn't mean that you have to look for dental services elsewhere. If you're truly comfortable with a dentist and you feel he or she can be an ally in your ongoing oral care regimen, then consider signing a plan to just keep that dentist available. That means potentially deal with costs and other insurance-related factors that you might have wanted to. If need be, you might be able to work with the dentist's office to address some of the plan-specific concerns.