Lori Engelmann DDS Leawood Kansas 66209 Dentist Blog

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 9:35:54 PM

Everyone has an opinion. Today it is easier than ever to share when you’ve had a great or not so great experience whether that is at a restaurant, a store or even the dentist. We’d love to hear from our patients who’ve been in the office recently for a visit what you thought of your experience. Your feedback is very important to us as we work to best serve you.

We are proud of our office and the dental services we offer here at dental133 and we’re hoping you’ll help us spread the word. It only takes a few moments to leave a Google Review.

To leave a Google review simply CLICK HERE and then click on the ‘pencil’ icon just to the left of our team picture. If you aren’t a Google user you will have to create an account but that’s super easy.

Some people ask what they should say. Just say what you honestly think. You can talk about ease of scheduling, our listening skills, accuracy of diagnosis, friendliness of our team, understanding of your oral condition. Really, anything you want to say is good with us.


Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email. Dr. Engelmann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages including Invisalign Clear Brace. Check out our website for more information.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 12:51:42 AM


A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trust found that emergency room visits for dental related issues had increased dramatically in the last year.

In Florida alone it is estimated that more than $88 million dollars were spent on 115,000 ER visits. In New York the figure was $31 million.

Preventive dental care could have reduced those numbers greatly. Numerous factors that keep people from accessing preventive care come into play: a shortage of dentists in many areas makes it difficult for some to get in for a visit; Medicare and Medicaid is not accepted by many dentists due to low reimbursements and bureaucratic issues thus causing patients to have to pay for treatment out-of-pocket; and, finally, lack of concern on the part of parents who neglect their children’s oral heath is a great concern.

Children should be seen by a dentist around the age of two. Generally this first visit is as much about the child seeing that a visit to the dentist isn’t scary as it they may think as it is for actually cleaning their teeth. Then, in most cases, children should be seen every six months for a professional cleaning. Children tend not to have very good home care due to their age, lack of motor-skills to properly brush and a lack of understanding of the importance of getting all of the food and bacteria off of their teeth. Parents play a very important part of this daily routine for kids-even teenagers!

If your kids haven’t been to a dentist in awhile (or ever) make an appointment right away. You just might save yourself a trip to the Emergency Room.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email. Dr. Engelmann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages including Invisalign Clear Brace. Check out our website for more information.


Friday, August 22, 2014 12:03:38 AM

If you don’t understand your dental benefits, you should know that you aren’t alone-after twenty-five years in practice we have realized that most patients are in the dark about how their benefits work. Understanding your dental benefits isn’t easy. Hopefully this post will give you a bit of information so that you can make the best dental decision possible.

If your plan is through your employer, they have selected a level of benefits based on their budget and coverage available from the insurance company. There are as many different plans as there are employers. Your employer has selected your plan and is responsible for what benefits you have and what your carrier will pay for and what they won’t. Even if a procedure is considered medically and dentally necessary by the doctor, it may be excluded from your contract. This doesn’t mean that you do not need the procedure, it simply means that your plan won’t consider the procedure for payment.

You should not let your dental benefits be your sole consideration when you determine what treatment you receive for your dental care.

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had over the last twenty-five years:

Why doesn’t my insurance cover all the costs of my dental treatment?

Dental insurance isn’t really insurance (a payment to cover the cost of a loss) at all. You should think of your insurance as a ‘coupon’ or ‘gift-card’ that will help you pay for some of your dental care but not all. Most benefit plans are only designed to cover a portion of the total cost. Notice we call it dental benefits and not dental insurance.

But my plan says that my exams and certain other procedures are covered 100%.

That 100% is usually what the insurance carrier allows as their payment toward the procedure, not what your dentist may actually charge. For example, say your dentist charges $200 for filling. Your carrier may allow $150 as the 100% payment (usual, customary and reasonable, UCR) for that filling, leaving $50 as your responsibility.

How does my insurance carrier come up with its allowed payments?

Many carriers refer to their allowed fees as UCR, which stands for usual, customary and reasonable. You would think that UCR means what the fees are that dentists are actually charging but it isn’t. UCR is actually an insurance calculated amount of what they will pay for a procedure. This listing is related to the cost of the premiums, the amount they expect to pay out and their desired profit level. Geographic location also is a factor-insurance companies pay more for a filling in New York than they do in Leawood. Your employer has likely selected an allowed payment or UCR payment that corresponds to the premium cost they desire. UCR payments should be more accurately called negotiated payments.

If I always have a balance to pay, what good is my insurance?

Even a benefit plan that does not cover a large portion of the cost of needed dentistry pays something. Any amount covered reduces what you have to pay out of pocket. It helps!

I received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from my insurance carrier that says my dental bill exceeded the usual and customary. Does this mean that my dentist is charging more than she should?

Remember that what insurance carriers call usually and customary is really just what your employer and the insurance company have negotiated as the amount that will be paid toward your treatment. It is usually less and frequently much less than what any dentist in your area might actually charge for a dental procedure. It does not mean that your dentist is charging too much-we set our fees based on our cost to provide our patients with outstanding service.

Why does my benefit plan only pay toward the least expensive alternative treatment?

To save money, many dental plans allow a benefit only for the least expensive method of treatment. For example, your dentist may recommend a crown, with your insurance only offering a benefit towards a filling. This does not mean that your have to accept the filling. The good news is that some benefit will be paid; the bad news is that more of the fee will be your responsibility. Remember that your dentist’s responsibility is to prescribe what is best for you. The insurance carrier’s responsibility is to control payments.

What should I do if my insurance doesn’t pay for treatment I think should be covered?

Because your insurance coverage is between you, your employer, and the insurance carrier, your dentist does not have the power to make your plan pay. If your insurance doesn’t pay, you are responsible for the total cost of treatment. Consumers (patients) may lodge complaints with the State Insurance Commission.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email. Dr. Engelmann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages including Invisalign Clear Brace. Check out our website for more information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:43:45 AM

Today, athletes of all stripes from four year-olds on the soccer pitch to hulking linebackers are downing more and more energy and sports drinks than ever before. They’re all hoping for an extra burst of energy to propel their performance and quench their thirst. While there may be some performance benefits to these drinks they don’t come without a cost to your teeth. 

A recent study in the peer reviewed journal General Dentistry indicates that the consumption of many of these drinks can cause serious, irreversible damage to the enamel of your teeth. The researchers tested the acidity level of 22 sports and energy drinks. It is the acid that is responsible for the erosion of the enamel. The drinks with the highest level of acid were:

  • Red Bull Sugarfree
  • Monster Assault
  • 5-Hour Energy
  • Von Dutch
  • Rockstar

The researcher in the study, Poonam Jain of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, tested enamel samples in three energy drinks and three sports drinks. What she found was that after four immersions each day for five days with saliva baths in between, the enamel in sports drink had lost 1.5% on average and in the energy drinks the loss was twice as high at 3%. 

Why does this matter to you and your children?
Children’s teeth continue to form even after they have erupted. During this critical stage any interruption in the process can have life-long effects on their teeth. Thinner enamel allows bacteria an easier route to the inner parts of the teeth and can easily lead to cavities. It isn’t just kids who are impacted by sports and energy drinks. Adults too can have their enamel compromised by the acid in the drinks. 

What is the Solution?
The best solution is to avoid these drinks all the time. We realize that this isn’t always possible however. If you have to drink a sport or energy drink the best way to reduce the negative effects is to immediately rinse with water or brush your teeth (always a good idea!). 

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com. Dr. Engelmann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages. Check out our website at http://www.dental133.com for more information.

Thursday, August 22, 2013 4:15:46 AM

We’re often asked by new parents when they should bring their child in for their first visit. While there isn’t a hard and fast rule about this there are a few guidelines we recommend.

Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agree that children should have their first dental visit at their first birthday. Why so young  you ask? 

Infants generally have a few teeth by their first birthday. This is a great time for Dr. Engelmann to take a look and evaluate the formation of these teeth and to detect if there are any problems with their formation or the home-care by the parents and caregivers. Just as important as the examination and gentle dental cleaning is the opportunity for the infant to learn about visiting the dentist. Even at this young age children are soaking up the environment around them and internalizing those observations. We like to make their initial impressions of a visit to the dentist as nice as possible. If they see that the visit entails just a quick look around their mouth and a bit of cleaning they are much more likely to have reduced anxiety in the future. 

Often times we recommend that a parent or caregiver bring the infant in when the adult is in for their visit. This gives the infant a chance to see what a visit to the dentist is like. 

It is also important for parents and caregivers to make sure that their oral health is good as well. We are concerned about bacteria being passed from the adult to the infant through kissing, tasting food before giving it to the baby and sharing utensils. A healthy adult mouth is much less likely to infect an infant. 

So, give us a call at 913-451-0006 when your new baby is nearing a year old and we’ll get them in. If you’re child or children hasn’t seen a dentist yet and they’re two or three years old then it is definitely time to get them in. 

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com. Dr. Englemann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages. Check out our website at http://www.dental133.com for more information.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 2:20:51 AM

At our office we routinely recommend that most of our patients, children and adults, receive an in-office fluoride treatment or possibly a take-home fluoride rinse. Why do we recommend this? Read on for our thoughts on this valuable treatment.


Smile-Fluoride will help your oral health!

What is Fluoride?
Fluoride ion is a naturally occurring mineral found in several sources including trace amounts in water. Taken in small amounts, fluoride provides outstanding preventive benefits without any risk to your health.

Why do I Need Fluoride?
Your teeth are made up of several layers. The nerve is at the very core of your tooth and is surrounded by the pulp. Next is a layer called the dentin. Finally, there is the layer you can see called enamel. The enamel acts as a barrier to keep bacteria from eating away at the inner layers of your tooth and causing a cavity.

When you eat and drink acids are formed by the sugars and bacteria. These acids attack and demineralize the enamel on your tooth. This demineralization weakens the enamel and allows the bacteria into your tooth. Fluoride (and calcium and phosphate) act to remineralize the enamel and help to protect if from the effects of the acids and bacteria.

I Thought Fluoride Was Only for Children
The benefits of fluoride is well established for both children and adults. In children their teeth are developing and fluoride helps this process along. In adults it has been shown through studies that fluoride is an effective cavity fighter. As we age our teeth tend to dry out and become more susceptible to cavities. Fluoride will help prevent these from forming. It is also common in adults to see some recession of their gums away from their teeth. This recession exposes parts of the tooth that were previously covered. The enamel layer is thinner in these areas and can more easily be attacked by the bacteria. We have found that patients who have recession tend to have greater sensitivity in those areas-fluoride will most likely help reduce that sensitivity.

In What Situations is Fluoride Most Beneficial?
As mentioned above, recession is an important consideration. We also strongly recommend it to patients who have numerous fillings or crowns. Patients with gum disease (gingivitis) are excellent candidates for fluoride. And anyone wearing braces will greatly benefit from fluoride treatment. This includes traditional banded orthodontics and newer clear orthodontics like Invisalign.

How is Flouride Delivered in the Dental Office?
We use two different delivery methods in the office and also have a take-home option for certain conditions.

In the office we use both a ‘swish’ fluoride and a ‘varnish’ type fluoride. With the swish you rinse for about a minute with a prescription strength fluoride that coats your teeth. The varnish fluoride is painted on by the hygienist and flows to all parts of your teeth. Which is better? Both have great results and really is more of a personal preference choice.

For some patients that have numerous dental restorations such as fillings, crowns and bridges, we might recommend a take home fluoride rinse in addition to, or in place of the in-office treatment.

What About Bottled Water or Home Filters?
Some bottled water has fluoride remaining after the processing and some do not. Most studies have shown that those that do have less than the suggest 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million that is recommended.

If you filter your water at home you should know that steam type distillers remove 100% of the fluoride and reverse osmosis remove up to 95%. Water softeners and charcoal/carbon filters do not remove any fluoride. Check with your system manufacturer to see their specifications.

What are the Risks Associated with Fluoride?
Proper use of fluoride poses almost no risk. Overuse can be toxic. If you have small children and take-home fluoride be sure and keep it away from children. The risk is very slight however of too much fluoride from home products.

Other side-effects of too much fluoride include white streaks and brown discoloration on developing teeth in children.

Why Doesn’t my Dental Insurance Cover Adult Fluoride?
We have found that about 25% of the insurance plans cover adult fluoride while the rest don’t. There really isn’t any clear reason for them not to cover it. The benefits in reduced frequency of cavities would more than cover the added costs. For some reason this argument is lost on most insurance plans. The best suggestion is to talk to your Human Resources department and ask them to add it to your plan.

Hopefully this post will give you a bit more information about why we recommend fluoride for your oral health.

Happy Brushing!

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com. Dr. Englemann is a general dentist is Leawood, Kansas offering a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages. Check out our website at http://www.dental133.com for more information.

The Benefits of Dental Fluoride

Friday, March 29, 2013 12:45:28 AM

Studies have shown that the thing people first notice about someone they meet is their smile. A beautiful smile is like a window into the soul of another person. How well they take care of their smile says a lot about them.

One of the ways to achieve a more beautiful smile is through straight teeth. Orthodontics has long been used to align crooked teeth in children. Today more and more adults are discovering the benefits of straight teeth. With the introduction of Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners a few years ago patients are no longer forced to endure a mouth full of metal while they straighten their teeth.

Straight teeth aren’t just good for cosmetic reasons however. There are many oral health reasons why straight teeth are better than crooked ones. These include:

  • Healthier Teeth and Gums-crowded or crooked teeth prevent thorough brushing and flossing, especially in between the teeth. This can help prevent periodontal disease from occurring or worsening.
  • Easier Cleanings-with properly spaced teeth your dental hygienist will be able to more thorough dental cleaning. Plaque and calculus that has built up between teeth can be more easily removed.
  • Reduced chance of oral infections-these are often caused by the inability to clean properly between the teeth. Oral infections not only impact your mouth-studies have shown that they can lead to more serious systemic health problems like strokes, heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes.
  • Correctly aligned teeth reduce problems such as jaw pain, improper bite, chewing problems and increased wear on the tooth enamel.

We often recommend to our patients with oral health issues and mis-aligned teeth to seriously consider the advantages of straightening their teeth using Invisalign orthodontics. Take a look at our website for more information about Invisalign and how we can help improve your smile without traditional braces.

Give us a call 913-451-0006 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to see if Invisalign orthodontics is right for you.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at
913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com

Thursday, November 01, 2012 1:41:53 AM

We often have patients come in who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth. It might be the shape, the color, size or length that bothers them. These are otherwise healthy, vital teeth that are aesthetically unpleasing.

If it is a matter of color or shade, bleaching can often correct the problem. Occasionally simple bleaching isn’t enough to overcome teeth that are discolored due to tetracycline, root canals, or older large fillings. There isn’t an easy way to correct for teeth whose shape or size is unappealing.

This is where dental veneers might just be the solution.

Dental Veneers Before and After

Dental Veneers can dramatically change the appearance of your smile.

A veneer is a very thin, custom-made ‘shell’ that fits over the front surface of the teeth in order to improve your appearance. Veneers are made from porcelain or composite materials and are able to resist staining. With modern technology the new veneers can be custom-made to give a patient about any smile they want-bright and dazzling or very natural. What ever your needs are it is possible a veneer can help.

Some of the reasons that veneers are an ideal solution are:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Teeth that are mis-aligned, uneven or irregularly shaped
  • Gaps between two or more teeth

Depending on your smile and goals we will generally place veneers on the upper two or four front teeth. If you have a very large smile with a lot of your teeth showing then it might be necessary to do the front six teeth. We offer a no-cost consultation where we’ll learn about what your goals are and how we can help you achieve them.

Getting veneers is typically a three-step process. A consultation visit where we discuss your goals and determine what is possible is the first step. After that a ‘preparation’ appointment is in order. At this appointment we’ll remove a very thin layer of the front of your tooth. A mold of your teeth is made and the desired shade is selected. Temporary veneers are placed that you’ll wear while the lab is custom making your veneers. At the third appointment the veneers are placed, the shade, shape, size and fit is checked. Once all of that is confirmed we permanently bond the veneers to your teeth with special bonding agents.

If you’d like to see if you are a candidate for veneers give us a call at 913-451-0006 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at 913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2:35:27 AM

Rarely a day goes by where a patient asks about the safety of the x-rays we take in our dental office. In recent years the number of times this question is asked has increased as patients have greater access to information in magazines, on television and in cyber space. I’m always happy to address a patients concerns when asked as I feel everyone has a right to know what and why we’re doing something and how it will effect their oral and overall health.

When a patient comes into our office for the semi-annual check-up there are two components to the visit: the cleaning (in dental talk a ‘prophylaxis’) and the doctors examination. When the dental hygienist is cleaning your teeth he or she is doing a visual inspection of each of your teeth and gums to attempt to detect any problems. When the cleaning is done and the doctor comes in they will do a much more thorough examination and use the hygienists information and their own personal knowledge, skills and experience to evaluate your oral health.

This exam is of somewhat limited efficacy though. Because the hygienist and dentist can only see the exterior of your teeth they don’t have any idea what is going on under the surface or with the bones that support your teeth. This is why we take x-rays of your teeth once a year. These radiographs allow us a peek into what is going on where the naked eye can’t see. Often cavities and abscesses form under the surface. If left unchecked they can cause real problems. But, if caught early enough the problems can be treated much more effectively.

We occasionally have a patient who refuses x-rays at their visit. The primary reason given is that they don’t want to be exposed to radiation. Secondarily they are concerned about cost. Generally we feel that the first concern isn’t merited in most cases and that the second one is probably worth the expense if it helps with a more thorough examination and diagnosis.

A concern about radiation is one that we need to address, however. What we find is that most people have a fear of x-rays out of mis-information and lack of knowledge about the exposure levels of a typical dental x-ray. With the progress in x-ray technology in the past several years we are now able to capture a set of four bite-wing  images that result in half as much exposure to radiation as a flight from New York to Los Angeles. Or sixty percent of what you’d receive living in a stone, brick or concrete building for an entire year. Just sleeping next to another person for a year yields the same amount of radiation as the four bite-wing x-rays.

Here’s a great graphic that shows radiation exposure levels for various daily activities:

Radiation Dose Chart

Radiation Dose Chart

These amazingly low amounts of radiation in dental x-rays can be attributed to two main advances in technology. Until just a few years ago x-rays were taken on traditional film. Today, digital sensors have replaced film in many dental offices. When film is used the amount and duration of the shot had to be much greater and longer than digital x-rays. The second advance has been in newer x-ray generators that produce correspondingly lower levels of x-rays. These two combined have resulted in exposure levels of at least fifty percent of older technologies.

Digital x-rays have another benefit as well. With film you were never sure if the image you took was acceptable until it was developed. This took almost ten minutes. If the film was not right we had to retake the image exposing the patient to radiation again. With digital we can see instantly if the image is correct and retake it immediately with the lower level technology available today. Finally digital x-rays allow the hygienist and dentist to see the images right away and not have to spend time developing the film saving you time and allowing you to spend less time in the dental chair.

Digital x-ray sensor

Digital x-ray sensor

Next time you’re at the dentist and they remind you that it is time to take x-rays you’ll have a better idea of why they want to and the health risks associated with the process. We’re sure that the benefits far out-weigh the minimal exposure.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at
913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com

Friday, October 19, 2012 12:59:51 AM

Are you missing a tooth? Or maybe more than one? There are several options available to you when you are looking to replace a missing tooth or teeth. Each option has advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration when making a choice.

  • Option one is to do nothing. Humans have survived for many millennium with missing teeth so why can’t we today? In truth you can have a missing tooth and still survive. But this choice comes with drawbacks. If the tooth is in the front of your mouth you likely don’t want to walk around looking like a hockey player fresh off a fight on the ice. Missing teeth can cause problems beyond appearance though. Your teeth like company. When one of their neighbors goes missing they seek a new friend and move to fill the gap left by the dearly departed tooth. When teeth move your bite can be thrown off making chewing more difficult and painful in some cases. Many people report having headaches caused by a missing tooth. So leaving a missing tooth is possible but not desirable.
  • A second option is what is called a dental bridge. A bridge is a restoration where a ‘false tooth’ is attached, or ‘bridged’, to two (or more) adjoining teeth. The bridge is attached to the adjoining teeth with dental crowns. Bridges can be made up of one or more ‘false’ teeth between the anchor teeth. This option has many benefits over leaving the space empty as mentioned above-the space is closed and the neighboring teeth stay in place. The primary disadvantage of a bridge is the impact it has on the anchor teeth. To anchor the bridge these anchor teeth have crowns placed on them. To do this the teeth are reduced in size. If the anchor teeth are healthy this reduction has permanently impacted the teeth. We would always prefer to not touch a healthy tooth if at all possible.Image
  • A third option is a dental implant. What’s that you ask? An implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed in your jaw that will then hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Not everyone is a candidate for implants. You must have good oral health including gums free of periodontal disease and your bone level needs to be adequate to support the implant.
    An implant is a multiple step process. I refer my patients to a specialists for the first part of the process where the actual implant is placed. Both periodontists and oral surgeons can place the implants. After the implant is placed there is a waiting period while the bone ‘grafts’ around the implant and locks it in place. This can take three to four months before the final restoration is placed. While healing many patients opt for an artificial temporary tooth to close the gap-especially if the tooth is a one in the front. 
    Once the implant has healed the patient returns to our office for the implant to be finished by adding the custom-made dental crown. This is a two appointment process. At the first appointment measurements are taken and an impression of the area is made so that a custom-made crown can be fabricated by the dental lab. At this step your individual tooth characteristics including shape and shade are studied so that they new tooth will be a perfect match to your existing teeth. After the lab fabricates your tooth we see you again to place the permanent crown. That’s it!
    Implants do have a couple of disadvantages over bridges that you should take into consideration. Firstly they take much longer to complete than a bridge. While a bridge can be completed in about two-weeks an implant can take three to five months. Implants are generally more costly than a bridge and are often not covered by your dental insurance. On the other side they are a great way to replace a tooth without impacting the surrounding teeth. Image


If you’d like to know what your options are please give our office a call and we can schedule a consultation appointment.

Want to learn more about Dental133 and Lori J. Engelmann, DDS give us a call at
913-451-0006 or send an email to info@dental133.com

Dental Implants and Bridges Explained

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