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Thursday, April 27, 2017

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, its important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.

Friday, April 21, 2017

How cancer treatment affects oral health

When someone is undergoing cancer treatment, its important that they involve their dentist in their program of care.
They should schedule a dental exam and cleaning before the treatment actually begins and then repeat it periodically during the course of treatment.
Its important that they tell the dentist that they are being treated for cancer and that they also discuss any dental procedures, such as extractions or insertion of dental implants, with the oncologist before starting the cancer treatment.
Its therefore a good idea to ensure that the dentist and oncologist have each others details to enable them to discuss any issues to help the patient.
And the dentist and physician should be informed about any issues such as bleeding of the gums, pain, or unusual feeling in the teeth or gums, or any dental infections.
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during cancer treatment is vital to reduce the risk of infection and to help aid the treatment process.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How dental implants can give you a better smile

If you have missing teeth, you dont just have to rely on crowns, conventional bridges and dentures.
Many people are now choosing dental implants as the best way to restore their smile and solve dental problems.
Implants are placed below the gums during a series of appointments. They fuse to the jawbone and provide a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.
As they are fused to the bone, they offer greater stability. And, because they are integrated into your jaw, your replacement teeth will feel more natural.
This secure fit often also makes them more comfortable than other solutions.
In order to have implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
To find out whether you could be a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist about what they could do for you.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Common questions about dental insurance

Understanding what’s covered by your dental insurance is an important part of making sure you get the best oral care possible.
Here are some common questions that arise when people want to understand their cover better.
– If treatment my dentist recommends is not covered by my insurance, does that mean it’s not necessary?
Some plans make exclusions such as sealants, pre-existing conditions, adult orthodontics, and specialist referrals. This depends on your dental plan and you should not let the level of cover determine whether you need treatment.
– My dental benefit will only pay for a large filling but my dentist recommends I get a crown. Which should I choose?
Some plans will only cover the least expensive solution but it may not be the best option for your needs. You should decide based on your health needs and not on your insurance cover.
– My dental plan says it will pay 100 percent for checkups and cleanings but the insurance company says I owe for part of the dentist’s charge. How can this be?
Some plans provide cover based on a “customary fee” for each procedure. So, if your dentist’s fee is higher, your benefit will be based on a percentage of the customary fee instead of your dentist’s fee. Although these limits are called “customary,” they may not accurately reflect the fees that dentists charge in your area.
– Will my plan cover the care my family will need?
If your employer offers more than one plan, check the exclusions and limitations of the coverage as well as looking at the general benefits. It’s a good idea to discuss your family’s likely needs with your dentist before choosing a plan.
The plan document should specify who is eligible for coverage under the plan.
Plans offered by the same provider or employer can vary according to the contracts involved so your dentist will not be able to answer specific questions about your benefit or predict what the coverage for a particular procedure will be.
If you have specific questions about coverage, talk to your plan provider.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth is a common problem that causes many people to feel discomfort with hot or cold foods and drinks.
It can also make it uncomfortable to brush or floss the teeth and therefore can lead to further oral problems.
However, sensitive teeth can be treated.
If you suffer from this, your dentist may suggest that you try a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
For desensitizing toothpaste to work, you normally have to make several applications.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not help, your dentist may suggest further solutions.
For example, fluoride gel – which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations – may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth.
If the sensitivity is caused by receding gums, your dentist may use bonding agents that “seal” the sensitive teeth.
The sealer is usually made of a plastic material.
If there is severe hypersensitivity which cannot be treated by other means, there is the option of endodontic (root canal) treatment.
Sensitive teeth is a problem that can stop you enjoying your food but is one that can often be solved.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How to make your smile brighter

Your smile makes a huge difference to what people think about you and how you feel about yourself.
And there are many options available to help you improve the look and brightness of your smile, including:
In-office bleaching: During chair-side bleaching, the dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent.
At-home bleaching: There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter. These include peroxide bleaching solutions, which actually bleach the tooth enamel. Peroxide-containing whiteners typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouth guard.
Whitening toothpastes: All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes include special chemical or polishing agents that are more effective at removing stains. However, unlike bleaches, they don’t alter the intrinsic color of teeth.
Start by speaking to your dentist. He or she will tell you if whitening procedures would be effective for you as whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.
So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.
But what does it have to do with your dental care?
Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates. Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.
The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.
The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.
Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.
If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.
In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.