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Friday, January 12, 2018

Why your routine dental cleaning is not routine

For many patients, the dental cleaning appointment may seem little more than a more complicated version of brushing your teeth.
However, this appoinment plays a crucial role in patient education and prevention of dental disease.
The appointment is called a dental prophylaxis, or prophy and it’s one of the most important steps in your dental care program.
Here are some of the elements that it may include, depending on your needs:
– Oral hygiene evaluation
– Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
– Scaling above the gum to remove plaque and tartar
– Debridement of tartar beneath the gum
– Polishing the teeth
– Periodontal charting
It’s important to remove plaque from the teeth as it ultimately forms a hard, rough sediment known as tartar or calculus, which must be removed by a dental professional to help prevent periodontal disease.
Polishing the teeth removes stains and creates a feeling of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
The hygienist or dentist may recommend a prophylaxis visit every two to six months.
Although insurance may only cover two prophies a year, recall frequency depends on many factors and should be based on individual needs.
These appointments can help you have much better dental health and could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Choosing the right toothbrush for your needs

It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the huge range of dental care products now available.
Even looking just at toothbrushes present a wide range of choices.
There are hundreds of manual and powered toothbrushes to choose from.
Start by looking for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance – this is an important symbol of a the product’s safety and effectiveness.
When you buy a toothbrush, replace it every three to four months. Replace it sooner if the bristles become frayed as a worn toothbrush will not clean your teeth properly.
Make it easy for your children to brush their teeth by choosing a child-sized toothbrush and make it more interesting for them by selecting fun colors and designs.
Often people who have difficulties with hand, arm or shoulder movements find that powered toothbrushes are the best choice. However, it’s also possible to make a few small changes to modify a manual toothbrush and make it easier to use.
For example, you can:
– Enlarge the handle with a sponge, rubber ball, or bicycle handle grip
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic
– Bend the handle slightly while running it under hot water
Your dentist will give you tips on what toothbrushes would be right for your needs.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

How Invisalign can replace metal braces

The Invisalign system is a series of clear, thin, mouthguards that fit over the teeth and can gradually straighten them.
These have been called invisible braces as they can be an effective alternative to metal braces in some circumstances.
The big advantage of Invisalign is much improved appearance and comfort.
Invisalign mouthguards can be removed during eating and when brushing and flossing. As traditional braces may trap food and plaque, this is another major benefit of Invisalign.
While the system has advantages, it also has some drawbacks.
For example, it is more expensive – costing 25-50 percent more than metal braces.
Also the fact that you remove the mouthguards more often means that you may forget to wear them and it could take longer for you to achieve the desired results.
Invisalign is better suited to some people than others – for example, it may be particularly suitable for adults who have slight to moderate spacing or crowding of their teeth.
Your dentist will be able to tell you if you might be a suitable candiate for Invisalign.
You will get more detailed advice from an orthodontist who has been certified in the Invisalign system.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How a bridge can bring back your smile even with missing teeth

If you’re missing one or more teeth, it probably affects your smile and you may also notice a difference in chewing and speaking.
But there are options available to help you restore your smile and limit other problems.
For example, a bridge – sometimes called a fixed partial denture – replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth.
Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as reducing the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.
They literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been previously.
The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and it is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Bridges can be removable so that you can take them out and clean them or fixed and so can only be removed by a dentist.
An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Your dentist will recommend which approach is best for you.
Whatever type of bridge you choose, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Making living with dentures easy and comfortable

Your dentures were made to fit you precisely and, if they are cared for properly, they do not change shape.
But you may sometimes find that they can become loose due to natural changes in the gums and bone supporting them. As the jawbone begins to shrink, so do the gums.
If you find your dentures no longer fit properly, see your dentist as soon as possible so adjustments can be made.
Trying to change the fit of your dentures yourself can damage them and make them unrepairable so this would be a costly experiment!
Ill-fitting dentures repaired at home can also irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks.
In an emergency, you could use denture adhesives to keep the dentures stable until you are able to see the dentist.
Even if you no longer have your natural teeth, its still important to see your dentist regularly for an oral examination.
The dentist will examine your mouth to check for any problem with the gum ridges, the tongue and the joints of the jaw, as well as screen for oral cancer.
For a variety of reasons, many older adults are more susceptible to oral diseases, including oral cancer. About 95 percent of all cancers are found in people over age 40. However, many of these cancers are treatable if detected early.
Oral tissues are also checked for signs of other diseases that can first manifest themselves in the mouth.
Living with dentures can be comfortable if you continue to care for your oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist for a checkup.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and its important to take steps to avoid problems with infants and children.
Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth.
If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. So, when it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.
The name given to decay in infants and children is baby bottle tooth decay.
It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth – though other teeth may also be affected.
Decay can happen when sweetened liquids are given to an infant and are then left clinging to their teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice.
What happens is that bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and then produce acids that attack the teeth.
It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle that causes decay, but how often. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea.
Here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your children:
– After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2.
– Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
– If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give them a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
– Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
– If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.
Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly.
If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Diagnosing jaw problems and pains – TMD and TMJ

More than fifteen percent of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain.
Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow.
These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJ�s.
The TM joint is one of the most complex joints in the body. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together and can make many different movements, including a combination of rotating and gliding action when chewing and speaking.
Several muscles help open and close the mouth. They control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward, and side-to-side.
Both TM joints are involved in these movements. Each TM joint has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and perform rotating and translocational movements.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Often, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease.
But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed.
The pain could be related to the facial muscles, the jaw or temporomandibular joint, located in the front of the ear.
Treatments for this pain may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding.
They’ve been successful for many and your dentist can recommend which is best for you.