March 2017 – Healthy pH

Balancing the pH of the mouth may be one efficient way to reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay. There are several ways to balance pH including consumption of alkalosis foods, reducing consumption of foods that lower the pH of the mouth, and of course regular dental care.

A healthy pH in saliva is between a 5.6 -7.9. A pH level of less than 5.5 can put a person at risk of tooth enamel erosion that can cause cavities. A higher pH can reduce the risk. A standard neutral pH is 7, the balanced pH level found in water.

Bacteria feed off of sugars commonly found in foods including sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose, lactose and cooked starches. Foods such as candies, sodas, pastas, animal proteins and breads, as well as many natural fruits, provide oral bacteria with fuel to produce the lactic acid that causes tooth decay. Reducing consumption of these sugary foods is one method of controlling the growth of bad bacteria and production of acid.

Consuming foods that balance the alkalinity of saliva may be a method for creating an unfavorable environment for bacteria to thrive. When pH drops, bacteria that produce lactic acid thrive. Try consuming foods that have a higher pH value, and are higher on the alkaline spectrum. At the high end of the spectrum are spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, onion, sweet potatoes, green beans, blueberries, mangos, avocados and peas. Some surprisingly alkaline fruits also include lemons and limes, which despite their acidic taste are alkaline for the body. On the highly acidic, low pH end of the spectrum lie sodas and energy drinks, beef, bread, nuts, artificial sweeteners, pasta, pork and coffee.

Balance is important when deciding on foods for regulating the pH of the mouth. While having a mouth that is too low on the pH scale can put one at a higher risk for cavities, consuming only foods with only high pH can be too much of a good thing. Consumption of the proper vitamins and nutrients required for good health, and good oral health, is most important.

It is important to brush, floss and rinse twice daily, as well as visit the dentist every six months for exams and cleanings. Talk to your dentist about your oral health and any concerns you may have. Paired with a good dental health routine, balancing the pH of the mouth can be one method to keep the mouth healthy and reduce cavities.


February 2017 – New Year

2017- Wow! The New Year is here and a month gone!

Many New Years resolutions that we make concern improving our health, and trying to stick to it. Think about making part of your New Years Resolution to improve or maintain your oral health—it’s never too late to start this. In doing so, you may very well be improving you total overall health.

Bacterial infections in the mouth can be related to other health issues such as:

  • Heart Disease, Diabetes, Premature/low birth weight babies.
  • Or mouths are connected to the rest of our bodies after all!

So, come in to Grand Avenue Dental Care on a regular basis for your routine cleaning/perio evaluation, exam/cancer screening and x- rays- as needed.
Let us help you to achieve Oral health and overall body health.

Keep going in 2017!


January 2017 – Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene begins with parents at an early age. For instance, teething usually begins around six months and it is not uncommon for teething to begin as early as three months. It is important for parents to clean their infant’s teeth after every nursing or bottle feeding. Parents should not put milk or sugary drinks in their infants bottle at night time.

Parents can use a soft bristle toothbrush or a warm wash clothe to gently wipe the teeth clean. When infants become toddlers and then school age, parents will need to teach them to floss and brush correctly. Younger children do not have the manual dexterity; therefore, they need more assistance. In addition, parents can promote good oral hygiene by monitoring how much their children consume sugar. Children who consume lots of processed, sugary foods rather than healthy fruits and vegetables in their diets are more prone to tooth decay. Overall, children who learn from their moms and dads with assistance will develop healthy oral hygiene habits as well as healthy teeth and gums.

Hygiene Coordinator

December 2016 – Dental Plans

It seems that understanding changes are not always easy but I hope by sharing this information will help you understand and clarify unanswered questions regarding insurance benefits. This information is from the ADA (American Dental Association) 2014 Brochure;

Having dental insurance or a dental benefit plan can make it easier to get the dental care you need. But most dental benefits plans do not cover all dental procedures. Your dental coverage is not based on what you need or what your Dr. Tanner recommends. It is based on how much your employer pays into the plan.

When deciding on treatment, dental benefits should not be the only thing you consider. Your treatment should be determined by you and Dr. Tanner.

How Dental Plans Work:

Almost all dental plans are a contract between your employer and an insurance company. Your employer and the insurer agree on the amount your plan pays and what procedures are covered.

Often, you may have a dental care need that is not covered by your plan. Employers generally choose to cover some, but not all, of employees’ dental costs. If you are not satisfied with the coverage provided by your insurance, let your employer know.

The Role of your Dental Office:

Dr. Tanner’s main goal is to help you take good care of your teeth. This office will file claims with your dental plan as a service to you. The part of the bill not covered by insurance is your responsibility.

Cost-Control Measures Used by Dental Benefit Plans:

Key terms used to describe the features of a dental plan may include the following:

UCR (Usual, Customary, and Reasonable) Charges

UCR Charges are the maximum allowable amounts that will be covered by the plan. Although these terms make it sound like a UCR charge is the standard rate for dental care, it is not. The terms “usual,” “customary.” And “reasonable” are misleading for several reasons:

  • Insurance companies can set whatever amount they want for UCR charges. They may not match current actual fees charged by dentists in a given area.
  • A company’s UCR amounts may stay the same for any years. They do not have to keep up with inflation or the costs of dental care.
  • Insurance companies are not required to say how they set their UCR rates. Each company has its own formula.

If your dental bill is higher than the UCR, it does not mean Dr. Tanner has charged too much. It could mean your insurance company has not updated its UCR charges. It could also mean that the data used to set the UCR is taken from areas of the state that are different from Billings.

Annual Maximums

This is the largest dollar amount a dental plan will pay during the year. Your employer decides the maximum levels of payment in its contract with the insurance company. You are expected to pay copayments and any costs above the annual maximum. Annual maximums are not always updated to keep up with the costs of dental care. If the annual maximum of your plan is too low to meet your needs, ask your employer to look into plans with higher annual maximums.

Preferred Providers

The plan may want you to choose dental care from its network of preferred providers. The term “preferred” means these dentists have a contract with the dental benefit plan; it does not mean these are dentists the patient prefers. If you get dental care from a dentist who is not in the network, you may have higher out-of-pocket costs. Learn about your plan’s costs when using both in – and out- of- network dentists.

Pre-Existing Conditions

A dental plan may not cover conditions that existed before you enrolled in the plan. For example, benefits will not be paid for replacing a tooth that was missing before the effective date of coverage. Even though your plan may not cover certain conditions, you may still need treatment to keep your mouth healthy.

Coordination of Benefits (COB) or Non-duplication of Benefits

These terms apply to patients covered by more than one dental plan. The benefits payments from all insurers should not add up to more than the total charges. Even though you may have two or more dental benefit plans, there is no guarantee that all of the plan will pay for your services. Sometimes, none of the plans will pay for the services you need. Each insurance company handles COB in its own way. Please check your plans for details.

Plan Frequency Limitations

A dental plan may limit the number of times it will pay for certain treatment. But some patients may need a treatment more often to maintain good oral health. For example, a plan might pay for teeth cleaning only twice a year even though the patient needs a cleaning four times a year. Make treatment decisions based on what’s best for your health, not just what is covered by your plan.

Not Dentally Necessary

Many dental plans state that only procedures that are medically or dentally necessary will be covered. If the claim is denied, it does not mean that the services were not necessary. Treatment decisions should be made by you and Dr. Tanner. If your plan rejects a claim because a service was “not dentally necessary,” you can appeal. Work with your benefits manager and the plan’s customer service department to appeal the decision in writing.

Other Cost-Control Measures

  • Bundling – Claims bundling is when two different dental procedures are combined by the insurance company into one procedure. This may reduce your benefit.
  • Downcoding – is when a dental plan changes the procedure code to a less complex or lower cost procedure than was reported by Dr. Tanner’s office.
  • Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT) – Your plan may have a LEAT clause. That means that if there is more than one way to treat a condition, the plan will pay for only the least expensive treatment. However, the least expensive option is not always the best. For example, Dr. Tanner may recommend an implant for you, but the plan may only cover less costly dentures. You should talk with Dr. Tanner about the best treatment option for you.

Make Your Dental Health the Top Priority

Although you may be tempted to make decisions about your dental care based on what insurance will pay, remember that your health is the most important thing. Dental insurance is one part of your healthy mouth plan. If you find out what your dental policy covers and plan accordingly, it will help maintain your oral health. Our office staff and Dr. Tanner will work hard to take the best possible care of your teeth so they last a lifetime!

Debbie, Insurance Coordination

November 2016

The importance of Flossing

Flossing is one of, if not, the most important at home routine maintenance care you can do. Recently there was an article in the New York Times released showing a study done in which flossing is not necessary. The study was very short term, done on healthy adults and not in a controlled environment—which in turn is leaving out realistic facts as to why flossing is very beneficial to overall health. Any dentist can tell you the benefits of flossing that were not directed in this study. I have listed 5 basic facts as to why you should be flossing daily;

  1. The human mouth has 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected. Flossing removes bacteria/plaque buildup between the teeth, in the soft tissue, that brushing alone cannot reach.
  2. Halitosis (bad breath) is directly related to not flossing. If bacteria is left to fester between the teeth crevasses it will over time turn into tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing. This also breaks down the tooth’s enamel and heightens the risk of tooth decay.
  3. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums. Flossing lessens the likelihood of this happening and promotes healthy gum tissue around the tooth enamel. Flossing also minimizes the bleeding of gum tissue.
  4. If bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it can cause the liver to release C-reactive proteins. These proteins have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system, therefore affecting your entire body.
  5. There is a higher percentage of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, due to the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth. Flossing helps balance detrimental bacteria’s in your mouth that affect overall health.

These listed effects are just a few items that are directly related to oral hygiene. We strongly suggest flossing and maintaining good home care and using quality oral techniques. Contact our office if you have questions about technique, effects and longer term health. Your mouth is the window to your body—treat it well!

October 2016


​Toothbrushes are dangerous! I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s very true. It is crucially important to always use a soft bristled toothbrush. What most people don’t realize is as soon as a toothbrush starts to fray it is no longer a soft bristled brush, but gets more and more abrasive the more frayed it is.

Also as long as a toothbrush is moist it is teaming with bacteria; there is bacteria present within a 6 foot radius of a toilet, and the best way to kill toothbrush bacteria is with UV light. So what is one to do??


In an ideal world you should brush your teeth at a sink that is in a different room than a toilet. When you are done brushing your teeth you should place your toothbrush in a window sill where it can get exposed to sunlight and dry out. If it dries during the day you can use it again at night. If it’s not dry you should use a different toothbrush.

So I actually recommend one toothbrush for use in the morning and another at night. In an ideal world you should also have a third toothbrush to use after lunch while at work. As soon as a toothbrush starts fraying, replace it.

And last try to brush at least 2 minutes!!! Shockingly the U.S. average time for brushing teeth is 17 seconds. Just a couple tips to help you all have healthy happy teeth!
Dr. Nathan Tanner, D.M.D.

September 2016

Welcome to a day in the life of Grand Avenue Dental Care. This is what you can expect when you walk into our dental practice; first you will be greeted with a welcoming smile by Jandi.
We guarantee friendly customer service.

In the background you may hear the sound of phones ringing, printers printing, laughter and conversations. Amongst the back ground chatter you will see Janine, our hygiene coordinator making courtesy calls for upcoming appointments or Debbie getting insurance information to help each patient maximize their dental benefits.


As a new patient, Jandi or Lisa will give you a brief tour of the front office, sit down in a private room to review your personal information and ask you what we can do as a team to exceed and/or meet your personal dental goals / expectations for your oral health! Following your goals, we will then introduce you to your hygienist Lynn, Christina or Robbin. Dr. Tanner will also be introduced and if you have dental needs Laura, Tina and Patty are at Dr. Tanner’s right side to assist and take care of all your dental goals.


Our whole team is active with continuing education so you can be confident in the fact that we will deliver the highest quality care with cutting edge technology using the best dental materials, at the greatest value to serve all your dental needs.

It is always a pleasure to see our regular dental family members. However, if this is your first time to our office, we welcome you and are happy you have chosen GADC as your dental home!
Lisa Lovering, Office Manager​