May/June 2010
ODS news
Squares accent
Dear  ,

Finding a mental healthcare provider

When your employees need support for depression, anxiety or another mental health issue, finding the right therapist can make a big difference. Many people do not know how to find a therapist to best meet their needs. ODS has experts ready to assist your employees, and they are only a phone call or e-mail away. We offer your employees:

  • More than 2,000 behavioral health providers in the Oregon and southwest Washington network to choose from
    • We make sure your employees find a provider that is an ideal match, based on language, ethnicity and more than 50 behavioral health sub-specialties.
  • ODS health professionals to help screen for depression and substance abuse
  • ODS Depression Care health coaching program
  • Coordination of timely outpatient treatment after a psychiatric hospitalization


ODS cares about your employees' total health and well-being and is committed to supporting your clients with complete confidentiality. Our Depression Care flyer is available for you to share with your employees. For more information, contact ODS behavioral health:





What should you know about getting your teeth bleached?

by:Shen-Li Lee

Tooth discoloration is a natural process of aging. As we grow older, our teeth naturally discolor for various reasons. Children generally appear to have "whiter" teeth because the enamel on baby teeth tends to be less translucent. The enamel in adults is more translucent and, as it wears down over the years, the yellow color of the dentine underneath it begins to show through, giving the teeth a more yellowish appearance.

Aside from the aging process, teeth can also be stained by a variety of factors. Teeth stains are normally categorized as intrinsic (stains that occurs within the tooth) and extrinsic (stains that occurs on the surface of the tooth). Common causes of intrinsic stains include trauma, aging, exposure to certain substances during tooth formation (e.g. Tetracycline staining), and excessive fluoride exposure. Common causes of extrinsic stains are the consumption of colored food and drinks (e.g. coffee, tea, red wine), and smoking or chewing tobacco.

What are the Options for Bleaching Teeth?

There are many methods available ranging from as little as the cost of a tube of toothpaste up to several hundreds of dollars. Teeth bleaching options can be categorized as those that can be done at home and those that must be performed in the dental office.

At-Home Tooth Whitening

Whitening Toothpaste

Probably the simplest and most basic method for whitening teeth is to use whitening toothpastes. These are usually abrasive in nature and designed to remove only extrinsic stains through a physical action. Although all toothpastes contain abrasives, the content of abrasives in whitening toothpastes is usually higher.

Tooth whitening toothpastes may also contain a bleaching agent like peroxide to help whiten the tooth chemically. The chemical action is generally quite limited because the concentration of peroxide in toothpaste is usually fairly low for safety reasons. Additionally, for a chemical reaction to take place there must be sufficient contact time. Since most tooth brushing lasts for two minutes at the most, the peroxide agent has a very limited time to act.

OTC Whiteners

These days there is a large variety of over-the-counter whitening agents available in the market. They vary in concentration, efficacy and method. Strips, paint-on gels, and gels in trays designed to be worn over a few hours are the basic methods through which these whitening systems are applied.

Regardless of the method of application, the basic function of these whitening agents is to chemically whiten the teeth through bleaching. As named, they can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy and do not require a dentist's supervision for use. The efficacy of these methods really depends on the concentration of the active ingredient and how well and how long it can remain on the teeth to produce a whitening effect.

In general, paint-on gels are probably the least effective since saliva can easily wash it away. Whitening strips, though slightly more effective since the agent is better protected against the saliva, are still limited in their use if an individual has crooked teeth. Gels in trays are probably the most effective of the OTC whiteners since they remain in contact with the teeth for the longest period of time. The main disadvantage of using OTC gels in trays is that the trays are not made specifically for the individual and may not fit very well.

Dentist Dispensed Take Home Kits

These are similar to the OTC whitening gels that are applied in trays but are usually more effective for two reasons. Firstly, the trays are made by the dentist to fit the individual's specific dental arch, therefore the whitening agent is held more closely around the teeth. Secondly, the concentration of the active ingredient is usually higher than those sold over-the-counter.

In Office Whitening

The most costly of all the whitening procedures, the in office whitening method is also the most effective. However, because of the high concentration of active agent used and the potential side effect of tooth sensitivity, it is not suitable for everyone.

The in office whitening procedure generally involves the cleaning of the teeth, followed by isolation, application of the gel, possible light activation (if the whitening agent requires it), and removal of the gel. The process may be repeated to further whiten the teeth. The exact procedure may differ slightly depending on the type of whitening system the dentist uses.

Regardless of the type of whitening system used to whiten the teeth, it is important to be aware that unless you maintain your teeth, the discoloration may return. For instance, if you resume your daily habit of drinking coffee after whitening your teeth then it will only be a matter of time before the stains return and your teeth become discolored again.

The ability to whiten the teeth depends on the individual and the type of staining involved.  Stains, such as those caused by Tetracyline or trauma, are the hardest to remove. There is a specific procedure for whitening a dead tooth which involves inserting a bleaching agent into the root canal of the tooth. This procedure can be pretty effective but for obvious reasons, it cannot be used on healthy teeth.

The choice of whitening method also depends on the individual's susceptibility to tooth sensitivity as tooth whitening of any sort can worsen a pre-existing condition. Additionally, the presence of other dental work in the mouth can also result in a mismatch of tooth color since existing fillings and crowns in the mouth will not whiten through the bleaching process.

It should also be noted that some stains are due to the build up of tartar and plaque deposits on the teeth. Having a dentist clean your teeth professionally may be all that is required to remove such stains.

These days, there are many options available to an individual desiring to whiten his or her teeth. The method of choice depends largely on the type of staining involved and the extent that the individual would like his or her teeth whitened. For instance, an individual with Tetracycline staining is obviously not going to observe any whitening effect if he or she relies solely on whitening toothpastes to do the job.

It should also be noted that a certain amount of discoloration is a normal part of the aging process and does not necessarily require correcting. Whatever the choice of the individual, it is important to remain realistic about the color of one's teeth. For some individuals, it may not be possible to have stark white teeth, though some lightening can be expected.

Tobacco cessation programs
The Free & Clear® Quit For Life™ Program is available to many of our members ages 15 and over. The enrollment fee for this program is $225, which is deducted from the $500 lifetime benefit. Cost of nicotine replacement therapy and medication in not included in the enrollment fee.  Quit For Life is an evidence-based tobacco cessation program that offers the following:

  • One-on-one phone-based sessions scheduled at your employee's convenience
  • Toll-free telephone access to our Quit For Life™ coaches for the duration of the program
  • Recommendations for medications like the nicotine patch, gum, bupropion or Chantix. The normal copay applies for prescription medication.
  • Delivery of recommended nicotine replacement products (such as the patch, gum, or lozenge)  
  • A Quit Guide designed to help employees stay on track between calls
  • Interactive web tools to keep employees engaged with other participants and coaches

1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (1-866-784-8454) or
*Not all ODS members are eligible for Free & Clear benefits.

The Oregon Quit Line is available free of charge to residents of Oregon. Your employees can call an expert Quit Coach to get:

  • Tips on what to do with urges to smoke or chew.
  • Identify times and situations when they usually smoke or chew, and ways to change these routines when they quit
  • If they've tried to quit, Quit Coaches will talk about what hasn't worked and new things they could try
  • Information about medications like the nicotine patch, gum, bupropion or Chantix. The normal copay applies for prescription medication
  • A Quit Guide  designed to help employees stay on track between calls


English: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)  

Español: 1-877-2NO-FUME (1-877-266-3863)

TTY: 1-877-777-6534

Or register online at:

Not all plans have access to all resources or tools referenced in this newsletter. Please refer to your member handbook, or call your ODS Marketing Representative for plan-specific information.
Issue: 4
In This Issue
Finding a mental healthcare provider
Teeth whitening
Tobacco cessation
New forms
New enrollment forms

In an effort to better serve our members, we are continually reviewing and updating our forms and processes. Recently, we have made changes to our enrollment forms.  In addition to other, minor changes, the most notable changes to these forms includes:
  • The request for e-mail addresses
  • The ability to identify the applicant's primary language
Updated forms are available on our website.  To ensure timely processing of enrollment applications please verify that all required fields are completed prior to submitting to ODS.
Please contact your Marketing Representative or Billing & Eligibility Specialist with any questions. 
Join Our Mailing List