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Tom's Blog

How to Handle Your Child's Tooth Trauma

August 16, 2013 5:51 pm

As children head back to school, it is important to remember that dental emergencies can happen any time, any place. According to the 2013 Delta Dental Children's Oral Health Survey, one out of 10 children ages 10 or 11 have had a tooth emergency such as a knocked-out tooth, chipped tooth or a loosened permanent tooth at home or at school.

"A knocked-out permanent tooth is a true dental emergency, and there's a good chance it can be saved if you know what to do and act quickly," says George A. Levicki, DDS, president & CEO, Delta Dental of Virginia.

The primary concern should be getting the child in to see a dentist. Time is critical if you want the dentist to be able to reinsert and salvage the natural tooth. Ideally, a child needs to be seen within 30 minutes of the accident.

Whether a tooth is knocked out at school or home, here are several steps to ensure it is saved -- or at least in optimal condition -- by the time the child can see the dentist.

Keep the child calm.

  • Check to make sure the child doesn't have a serious head, neck or other orofacial injury (i.e., a concussion, broken jaw, etc.).
  • Don't worry about replacing a displaced baby tooth. Trying to reinsert it could damage the permanent tooth coming in behind it.
  • Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Try to encourage the patient/parent to replant the tooth. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
  • If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for the displaced tooth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline). The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If the patient is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth -- therefore it is advisable to get the child to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!
  • Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
  • If you are a school nurse or your child frequently plays contact sports, purchase an emergency bag handy with a save-a-tooth kit in it (available at most drugstores.) These contain a solution that is better at preserving any live cells on the tooth root until the dentist can put the tooth back into the socket.

"If there is a head, jaw or neck injury, take the child to the emergency room immediately," Dr. Levicki says. "In most cases, tooth injuries are not life threatening. But they can have long-lasting effects on the child's appearance and self-confidence, so it is important to act quickly in the event of a dental emergency."

Source: Delta Dental of Virginia


An Easy Way to Save Energy and Money

August 16, 2013 5:51 pm

(Family Features)--As the cost of energy continues to rise, homeowners everywhere are looking for ways to cut back on their usage and exercise energy efficiency in their homes. Lighting your house is no minor expense, with recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy showing that an average household dedicates 10 percent of its energy budget to lighting and spends approximately $1,900 per year in total on utility bills.

Remember you can make a difference and green your lifestyle with a simple step that will also save you money. Changing your traditional incandescent light bulbs or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps often recognized by their spiral design) to LED light bulbs will save not only energy but also dollars off your electricity bill. The bulbs feature longer life spans than traditional light bulbs, while still emitting warm tones to make your home cozy with illuminating, comfortable light. And because LED bulbs consume far fewer watts to deliver the same level of brightness as traditional bulbs, they can save you money daily by reducing that light’s energy use by up to 85 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Making the switch to LED bulbs in your home is easier than you think. Quality LED lighting products such as the new line of bulbs from Samsung now available at retail stores, offer average life spans between 15,000 and 40,000 hours depending on the bulb. This can amount to an approximate average of 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

Five Reasons to Switch to LED Lighting Now:

  1. Energy Savings: Samsung’s LED bulbs use 75 to 85 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, which means savings for your energy bill and extra cash in your pocket. In fact, Samsung’s new A19 lamp – a replacement for a traditional 40-watt screw-in light bulb – only uses about $1.20 in electricity over the course of an entire year.
  2. Convenience: Long-lasting life spans of 22 to 36 years means you will only have to change the bulbs a few times in your lifetime – this means you won’t be bothered to replace a dimming bulb for decades at a time.  
  3. Versatility: LEDs come in all different shapes and sizes to fit any room or fixture in your home. The bulbs create a warm, natural illuminating light that set a comfortable ambience of your choosing inside, and many can be controlled by a dimmer to cascade any amount of light within your rooms.
  4. Save Money: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing just 15 bulbs in your home with more energy efficient versions can save an average of $50 off your energy bill annually – or up to $1,800 on your energy bill over the course of your LED bulb’s lifetime.
  5. Instant Lighting: Instead of waiting seconds or minutes for your lights to reach full brightness, LED lamps light up immediately to full brightness to illuminate your space.




Word of the Day

August 16, 2013 5:51 pm

Yield. What an investment or property will return; the profit or income.



Q: How much home can I afford?

August 16, 2013 5:51 pm

A: The general rule of thumb is that you can buy a home that costs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary.  A good real estate agent or lender can determine how much you can afford and estimate the maximum monthly payment based on the loan amount, taxes, insurance and other expenses.


Tips for Success in an Online Learning Environment

August 15, 2013 3:45 pm

Online higher education is surging in popularity. According to the 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, the number of students taking at least one online course has surpassed 6.7 million, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year. Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.

Succeeding in an online course requires many of the same healthy habits as a traditional course. However, there are some differences in an online environment that can surprise many students. Dr. Mindy Sloan, vice provost of Research & Innovation at Ashford University, offers the following tips to achieve online academic success:

  • Reliable Technology: Have technology tools that you can trust. A reliable Internet connection and computer is a must.
  • Software: Have the software tools needed to complete your assignments. Microsoft Office, for example, allows you to write papers and create presentations in widely used formats. Select tools that will allow your instructor to easily access your work.
  • Netiquette: Just as in an on-campus classroom, there is appropriate conduct for an online classroom. For example, using all capital letters in an email is like shouting.
  • Professional Writing: Save the abbreviations for texting. Expressing yourself effectively in an online course requires formal communication.
  • Plan: It is easier to keep up than it is to catch up. Make a realistic appraisal of how much time you will need throughout the week to achieve your academic goals.
  • Login Throughout The Week: Online courses generally require ongoing contributions throughout the week. Make sure you login to your course and complete meaningful work.
  • Review All Course Materials: A common mistake is for students to jump quickly to assignments and overlook critical guidance posted by an instructor. Review the scoring rubrics and other information that will be used to evaluate your work before you complete any assignments.
  • Use the Plagiarism Tool: Too often, students fail a program, course or assignment because they have failed to appropriately cite materials. Use tools such as TurnItIn to identify work that would be defined as plagiarism.
  • Utilize Resources: Many universities have a resource center, writing centers, libraries and other outside classroom supports to help you earn the grades you seek on assignments.
  • Push Notifications: Many online courses allow you to "push notifications" to your cell phone or other mobile device. Use them to keep up even if you're not at your computer.
  • Scholarly Resources: Oftentimes, students don't take full advantage of materials available through the university's online library. Soon after you are admitted, and even before taking your first course, access the online library resources and familiarize yourself.
  • Provide Feedback: Students are typically invited to complete an end of course survey. A quality university or college takes your feedback seriously and will use it to improve teaching and curriculum.
  • Build Relationships: You can develop meaningful relationships with peers and instructors. Always be professional, but share your experiences. Demonstrate that you understand the materials and that you can apply them.
  • Elevate Discussions: Elevate your discussion with peers by providing a personal example; asking an intriguing question; providing an outside resource; linking the ideas of two or more peers; noting patterns among responses between peers; or offering a contrasting view.
  • Proof: So much of your knowledge will be demonstrated through your writing skills. Carefully review and proof your work before hitting submit.
  • Create Work In Another Document: To save yourself potential frustration, create your work in a separate document. Cut-and-paste it into the course shell when you are ready. This also provides a back-up copy.
  • Work Space: Identify and claim a specific location where you can do your online work. A reliable Internet connection, electrical outlet and perhaps a printer will be critical to your success. Help others understand that this is your "school space" and should be used only by you as you complete your courses.
  • Train Your Friends and Family: Create a culture that reinforces your academic success. This often means making friends and family understand that you are not available, even though you may be in close proximity.
  • Block Out Time: Build your own start and stop times throughout the week. Create a time specifically dedicated to your online course.

"Online courses offer greater flexibility, an appealing characteristic to today's learners, but they also require the student to dedicate the same time and energy as a traditional classroom," Dr. Sloan concludes. "The right tools, resources and discipline are essential to success."



Volunteering Builds Communities, Improves Lives

August 15, 2013 3:45 pm

(Family Features)--The opportunities to help your community are endless. It’s as easy as linking your talents with causes you are passionate about or that have affected you personally.

With so many charitable causes and organizations, it’s easy to find a volunteer opportunity that’s perfect for you. According to research conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, reported more self-worth and had fewer cases of depression. And the positive benefits don’t end there. Volunteering also promotes the feelings of accomplishment and personal fulfillment rarely found in other activities.

Though the list of volunteer activities is vast, here are a few causes that can be found in most communities:

Give blood: Due to accidents or illnesses, thousands of people are in need of blood each day. Organize or participate in a blood drive at your church, social group or school. You can also volunteer at the local bank within your community.

Build homes: Do you enjoy using your hands and being outdoors? Organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, utilize volunteer labor, material donations and monetary support to build and rehabilitate houses for families in need of decent shelter. To support this cause, M&M’S Brand has created the M’Prove America movement, and will provide more than $500,000 to help build Habitat homes across the country.  The brand is also rallying Americans to donate their time and talents to help build Habitat homes.

Adopt a family: Natural disasters wreak havoc on communities, destroying homes and lives. Many organizations help families who’ve lost their homes and belongings by providing assistance with clothing, personal hygiene products and other necessities to get them back on their feet. Such organizations also look for assistance during the holidays to ensure children and parents aren’t forgotten during the season of giving. Get a group of friends together and consider adopting a family in need.

Help at food bank: Hunger has become a national epidemic, touching lives in almost every region of America. Many volunteer opportunities are available for this worthy cause. Consider helping at a food kitchen to serve the hungry directly, box up food shipments for other banks or start a food drive competition with co-workers to see who can give the most.




Preventing Pests in Every Season

August 15, 2013 3:45 pm

(Family Features)--Seasons come and go, but pests are active and potentially pose damage to health and property all year long. When making your seasonal housekeeping list, add pest prevention to changing your smoke detector batteries, rotating ceiling fan blades and deep cleaning.

Don’t “Fall” Behind

Fall is the time to inspect your property and protect it from pests looking for a winter home. The following tips will help with cooler weather preparation:

—Rake fallen leaves and clean out gutters as pests can congregate in fallen foliage. As an added benefit, this may help improve your home’s curb appeal.

—Don’t transport firewood more than 10 miles away from your home. Invasive insects, such as the emerald ash borer, can hitch a ride and begin new infestations within their surroundings.

—Enjoy picnics or tailgating events, but keep all open food in sealed containers to prevent attracting ants, mice and other insects and rodents.

Lock It Down in Winter

Just like us, pests are looking for a warm home and good food as they hunker down for the winter months. Perform the following preventive activities around your home to keep your family safe and sound all winter long:

—Use caulk or concrete to repair all cracks, crevices and leaks no matter how small. Mice can fit through cracks as thin as a pencil.

—Check for bed bugs who may be hitchhiking in your suitcase while traveling for the holidays.

—Cover mattresses and pillows with dust-proof, zippered covers tested and rated for dust mites.

Spring Cleaning

Warmer weather awakens weeds, insects and other pests, so incorporate these pest prevention measures as a part of your spring cleaning:

—Trim trees and brush, creating enough room to comfortably walk between your house and your shrubs. Branches can create a bridge into your home for pests and wildlife.

—Clean up yard debris that may have accumulated throughout the winter months, such as dead plants, weeds and fallen branches, as it can provide a place for pests to reside.

—Take a proactive approach to protecting your yard from pests through the strategic use of approved and registered products. Always read and follow label instructions before using products or hire a licensed lawn and landscape professional.

Summer Protection

Pests, such as ticks and mosquitoes, are especially prevalent during the summer months and can cause Lyme disease, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Follow these tips to keep your family and pets safe during the summer:

—Reduce your contact with mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis by covering up with long sleeves and pants, especially during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.

—Apply a repellent to your skin and clothing before you go on any outdoor adventure to deter ticks that can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Inspect and properly remove ticks in hard to see areas that are attractive to them, such as inside the belly button, under arms, around ears, in hair and on the back of knees.



Word of the Day

August 15, 2013 3:45 pm

Planned Unit Development (PUD). Individually owned houses with community ownership of common areas, such as swimming pools and tennis courts.



Q: How does an unsecured loan work?

August 15, 2013 3:45 pm

A: The interest rates on these loans are often higher than on secured loans and you generally will not be able to get a tax deduction for the interest paid.  However, the costs to obtain an unsecured loan are usually lower. And the relative ease of getting this type of loan makes it popular for small projects costing $10,000 or less. The lender evaluates applications based on credit history and income.


Make your Offer Stand Out Against the Competition

August 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Finding your dream home is no simple task. You may start by considering a price range or maybe you’re looking for a particular style of home. Often times, homebuyers have to meet certain work or family needs – location, a particular number of rooms, the need for a big backyard or a specific amount of garage space.

There are several factors to consider as you narrow the search down to just a few properties. But what do you do when you find your dream home, only to discover other potential buyers have already made offers? In today’s competitive market, buyers need ways to make their offers stand out against the competition. When faced with a multiple offer situation, consider these tricks of the trade:

Include a Sales Price Escalation Addendum with your offer.

A Sales Price Escalation Addendum is a document attached to your offer that allows it to be increased by a specified amount, which is activated if competing offers meet certain perimeters. The Sales Price Escalation Addendum is triggered if the seller receives one or more legitimate additional offers, which have a higher net value – the final sale price, after closing costs and buyer concessions have been agreed upon – than the offer with the escalation addendum. Specific values will vary from offer to offer, but this Addendum gives your offer room for adjustment.

Don’t ask for Closing Cost Credits and increase your Earnest Money Deposit.

In the real estate business, money talks! Closing costs credits assist the buyer in purchasing the home and reduce the net cash to the seller. Oftentimes with multiple offers in the current sellers’ market, these requests have the offer thrown out immediately. Like a security deposit, earnest money is the initial deposit with the offer as an act of good faith. It shows the seller that you’re serious about your offer and moving towards the purchase. If the offer is accepted, this money goes towards the eventual down payment. When there are multiple offers, increasing the earnest money tells the seller you’re committed to the purchase, and they should give your offer more consideration.

Be prompt with inspection scheduling.

When submitting an offer, every property is subject to inspection. Having a tightly scheduled inspection period not only shows you’re serious about moving forward, but also indicates to the seller that you’re in control of the situation. Industry standard is 17-day inspection period; reducing to 10 or 12 days is much more appealing. Being proactive expedites the sales process to closing, which will make any seller happy. By initiating the inspection process and keeping a tight schedule, you make your offer look more serious and closing attainable, which is the mutual goal.

Make sure your agent reaches out to the listing agent prior to submitting an offer.

This will help expedite the offer process, again setting your offer apart from the competition. Using the selling agents preferred vendors for items such as Termite, Title, and Escrow go a long way to suggesting a smooth transaction. Also, the buyer may need a rent-back period after the sale, and give an idea whether they are willing to give any credits for repairs, etc. This eliminates many of the minor countering items and reduces back and forth negotiating up-front.

Use DocuSign

This cloud-based electronic signature technology facilitates the exchange of contracts, tax documents and other legal materials. DocuSign simplifies the real estate buying process by organizing all of your documents, making them mobile and easily accessible. Also, your electronic signature will be honored and secure. Since all the documents are saved as electronic files, they can be easily emailed to listing agents. Again, this shows that you are a serious buyer, working with you may be easier than others and they should consider your offer with more earnest.

Keep in mind offers CAN be too high

Some homebuyers may think no price is too high to pay for their dream home, but the highest offer is not always the strongest. Mortgage lenders must approve the value. Lenders won’t approve a loan for more than the appraised market value of the property. Even though the seller may love an offer higher than list price, the bank may not approve.

Following these steps through your next real estate purchase will help you compete with multiple, legitimate offers on your dream house, making yours stand out above the rest.

Source: Renovation Realty



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