2/11/2018 7:53:40 PM
Ruth Jones, RDH
Experiencing Teeth Sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity also known as dentin hypersensitivity is not uncommon in the American Adult population. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat tooth sensitivity to relieve the discomfort. There are also ways to help prevent sensitivity occurring.
Causes and Prevention of Sensitivity
The outside layer of teeth, called enamel is the protection layer. When this layer becomes thin or experiences wear, sensitivity can occur. Enamel can become thin due to acidic foods or drinks. Avoiding these types of foods and drinks is an option but can sometimes feel limiting. If you plan to keep eating and drinking these foods, rinsing with water or a mouth wash directly after will help and be sure to brush your teeth twice a day.
Clenching and grinding can cause enamel loss. This often occurs at night and you may be unaware you are doing it. If this is the cause of sensitivity, a night guard (sometimes called an occlusal guard) can be worn to prevent further wear and damage of the teeth.
Gum recession exposes the root of the teeth because enamel only covers the “crown” of the tooth or the top portion of the tooth. Without the protective layer of enamel, the root is a common area of sensitivity. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with “medium” or “hard” bristles can cause recession; always use a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles. Receding gums can also be caused by clenching and grinding which was mentioned above. Gum recession can be caused by periodontal disease in which case, speaking with a dental profession will be best to discuss treatment options.
Whitening or bleaching is a cosmetic dental procedure that can cause sensitivity due to dehydration of the teeth. By being proactive, you can prevent sensitivity after whitening by using a sensitive tooth paste or other options discussed below.
Over the counter toothpastes such as Sensodyne, or Colgate Sensitive can be used on a daily basis in place of other toothpastes to relieve discomfort from sensitivity. Look for the active ingredient potassium nitrate.
Fluoride is well known for it’s anti-cavity benefits, but it also has a desensitizing component as well. A fluoride varnish can be applied at dental visits to help relieve sensitivity. There are also prescription strength toothpastes that contain fluoride that can be used on a daily basis that will continue to provide protection and desensitizing for teeth.
MI Paste is a relatively new product that has several beneficial effects. One of them being a sensitivity relief. MI Paste is meant to be applied after brushing and left on for at least 30 minutes. It can be used in dental trays and left in over night as well.
It should be noted that if tooth sensitivity is localized to one area or tooth this may be an indication of tooth decay, a cavity, or infection. By talking with a dentist, the best treatment option can be discussed.
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2/4/2018 10:52:58 PM
Morgan Johnson, RDH
How Do I Care For My Dental Implant?
Caring for implants is similar to the way natural teeth are cared for, but they do require a little more attention. Further down we will discuss a few things to keep in mind when choosing home care products, and review certain techniques to include in your everyday home care routine. Following these guidelines can help to ensure the success and longevity of your implant!
There are many tools that can be used to help with removing plaque from an implant. As for toothbrushes, a soft bristled electric or manual brush is okay to use, as long as it is used properly. The toothbrush should be angled at a 45 degree angle toward the gumline, in order to reach the plaque under the gums. Brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day, and reaching all surfaces of the tooth is vital. As for toothpaste, it is important to choose one that is non-abrasive, so it does not scratch the surface of the implant. Stay away from toothpastes that contain the following products: stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride (APF >3.0), baking soda, stain removers, and smoker’s toothpaste.
When it comes to flossing an implant, choose one that is unwaxed, or implant specific. ‘X-floss’ is a fluffy implant specific floss that works great because it is able to clean more surface area, compared to the typical thinner floss. When flossing, insert the floss in contacts on both sides of the implant. Wrap in a circle and crisscross in front, switch hands, and move in a shoe-shine motion. The implant has horizontal threads underneath the gums, so it is important to floss horizontally to remove plaque and biofilm, at least once a day!
The Waterpik Water Flosser is another great tool to help keep an implant clean. After flossing with traditional string floss, the waterpik can and should be used to flush the debris out from under the pockets of the implant. Antimicrobial rinses can also be added to the water reservoir of the Waterpik to prevent inflammation and help remove biofilm.
Other devices that help clean in between the teeth include proxabrushes, soft piks, end tuft brushes, or any other interdental brush. Just be sure they are nylon coated so as to not scratch the implant.
We hope this was helpful for all of you that have an implant of your own! As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about the above information.
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1/29/2018 5:00:27 AM
Cortney Davis, RDH
Are Dental X-rays Really Necessary?
A lot of patients are concerned about taking dental x-rays. Many patients are worried about incurring any unnecessary radiation, having addition costs, or they don’t have any teeth that hurt so they don’t think they are necessary. As an office that offers full-service dentistry, we want to make sure we take every measure to make sure our patients are getting the proper care they need and deserve. Without x-rays we can’t provide a proper and accurate diagnoses for our patients. There could also be underlying problems going on that we could be missing without x-rays.
Dental x-rays show many beneficial things that help the dentist and hygienist give a patient the proper care they need. They can be used to show areas of decay that may not be visible with just an oral exam, reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease, determine if primary teeth are being lost quickly enough for permanent teeth to come in properly, check the development of wisdom teeth and how they are growing in, identify recurring decay around existing work, reveal an abscessed tooth, and assist in tooth preparations for dental procedures.
Many dental problems don’t often have symptoms until the disease has progressed to a point where a tooth may need major work or worse, to a point where it is non-restorable. As a hygienist, I have seen many cavities and abscesses that didn’t hurt (yet) and would have been unnoticed if dental x-rays weren’t done.
So how often should you get x-rays? The frequency of getting x-rays of your teeth often depends on your dental and medical history. Some patients with a history of dental decay or gum disease may need x-rays as often as every 6 months, others who visit the dentist regularly and don’t have history of gum disease or any teeth problems may only need x-rays annually. If you are a new patient, our office takes a full mouth series of x-rays as part of the initial exam. Full mouth series of x-rays helps us do a comprehensive exam on a patient and helps establish a base record from which to compare changes that may occur over time.
Are dental x-rays safe? Radiation exposure is very important and something we take seriously. Advances in dentistry over the years have led to a number of measures that will minimize the risks associated with x- ray exposures. In terms of radiation from dental x-rays, they are actually lower than the background dose of radiation received by an average person on an average day or even riding on a plane.
If you have any questions or concerns about x-rays be sure to talk to your dentist about how often x-rays are needed for you and why they are being taken.
1/21/2018 3:00:58 PM
Sharma Mulqueen, RDH
Do you have Gluten Free Products?
Do you or a family member have a gluten intolerance? This is a questions that has become more frequently asked in the dental office. The good news is that nearly every toothpaste manufacturer gives gluten information on their website. Most manufacturers will say that they don’t officially test for gluten, but that their products do not have any gluten added. Best advice? Check the website of your favorite toothpaste brand to verify that their product is indeed free of gluten ingredients.
You might also worry about gluten in the products your dentist uses on you. The great news is that we offer gluten free prophy paste and Fluoride. Kolorz Prophy Paste by DMG America is a fluoride, xylitol, splatter-free disposable prophy paste. Containing no gluten, aspartame or saccharin. The Kolorz Prophy Paste comes in Fine, Medium, Coarse and X-Coarse. Available in several flavors such as Triple Mint, Cherry Burst , Cotton Candy and Blue Raspberry. Please note that we do not carry all the same flavors at the same time but we will have some yummy flavors for you.
We recommend checking with your dentist at least a week before your scheduled cleaning to ask if they have verified that the products they will use are free of gluten and are in stock. When coming into the Dental office you can sit back and relax! Looking forward to seeing you in one of our offices.
1/14/2018 5:54:12 PM
Arianna Marsden, RDH
New Year’s Resolutions and Goals
It’s a shiny new year, and during this time people are making resolutions and setting goals for the year, so what better time to review proper techniques for dental hygiene! Most people are familiar with brushing and flossing, and make efforts to do at least one or the other regularly. Let’s talk about some of the “life hack” techniques that make your efforts more effective.
When brushing, make sure you’re using a toothbrush that has bristles which are soft or extra-soft. Using a toothbrush with medium, or hard bristles can cause unintended damage to the gums and teeth, specifically trauma-induced recession, and abrasion of the root surface. Some people find that when they switch to a softer toothbrush, their teeth don’t feel as clean. In these scenarios, using a powered toothbrush, such as an OralB Braun, or Philips Sonicare may be a good solution.
Powered toothbrushes with a rechargeable base have been shown to be more effective in reducing inflammation in the gums than a manual toothbrush, which can leave the teeth feeling more clean after brushing, but be careful not to use too much pressure, or you could damage the teeth and gums similarly to using a medium or hard bristle brush. Part of the reason powered toothbrushes may be more efficient, is that they often come with a timer built in! This makes it easier to remember to brush for the full two minutes twice daily. If you prefer to use a manual toothbrush, you can try setting a timer on your phone, or listening to a song that is two minutes long while you brush.
The other half of oral hygiene has to do with cleaning in between your teeth. The most common way to accomplish this, is by using string floss, and “flossing” once daily. To use string floss effectively, its important to wrap the floss around the tooth in the shape of the letter ‘C’. This allows you to clean underneath the gums, and not just in between the teeth. Most people find this traditional method of flossing challenging, or ineffective for a variety of reasons. If this applies to you, there are lots of other alternatives for cleaning between your teeth. You can try using “floss on a stick,” like the Plackers brand, for easier manipulation of the floss. You could also try Softpicks, which are like a toothpick with a soft rubber end. The Softpicks are used by squeezing them between the teeth to remove plaque. Water flossers, like the Waterpik, are another great alternative for cleaning between your teeth by using a controlled stream of water to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth.
No matter which method you’re using for cleaning between your teeth, its ideal to do so at least once per day. If that is not an attainable or reasonable goal for you, cleaning between the teeth even a couple times a week is a great start!
A good tip for keeping yourself motivated towards your New Year’s resolutions and goals, is keeping track of your progress and rewarding yourself! You could try keeping a checklist on your calendar, or in your phone for the days you remember to do your brushing and interdental cleaning. Research has shown that if you can do a new practice for about two months, it becomes a habit, and something you won’t have to concentrate so hard on accomplishing. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you meet your goals for oral health! Happy 2018!
1/14/2018 5:41:36 PM
Ann Clark, RDH
There are a lot of dental options out there from General to specialists. The following is a break down of all your caped crusaders.
This is your primary care provider. They provide regular cleanings and check ups. This dentist can diagnose, treat and manage your overall dental needs, including gum care, fillings, root canals, implants, extractions, crowns, veneers, bridges and preventative education. These dentists have either a DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, or DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine. There is no difference between the two degrees or the ciriculum requirements. It’s strictly how the schools award the degree. Dentists study 3 years or more of undergraduate school plus 4 additional years of dental school. Additional post-graduate training is needed to specialize.
This dentist is a specialist concerned with causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and injury of the dental pulp (the nerve of the tooth). This specialist can perform all types of root canal treatments and other surgical root procedures.
ORAL and MAXILLOFACIAL RADIOLOGIST-
This specialist focuses on taking and interpreting all X-ray images and data used to diagnose and manage disease, disorder and conditions to the oral and maxillofacial area. These dentist are usually associated with the schools.
This specialist studies the cause of diseases that alter or affect the oral structures ( jaw, teeth, tissues) and the face and neck. They examine and diagnose biopsy, tissue or lesions referred to them from other providers.
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON-
The doctors perform many types of surgical procedures on and in the entire face, including the jaw. They treat accident victims who suffer from injury and reconstruct and offer implant surgery. They also treat tumors and cysts in the jaw. They preform simple tooth extractions, complex extractions, impacted teeth (wisdom teeth), soft tissue biopsies, removal of tumors in the mouth, implant positioning, jaw realignment surgeries, involving facial or bite discrepancies, fractured cheek or jaw bone repair and soft tissue (cleft lip/palate- bone repair) surgeries. These specialists receive anywhere from 4-8 years of additional training after dental school.
This specialist focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusions or “bad bites” of the teeth and surrounding structures. Poor bites can result from crowding, missing or extra teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. They can straighten teeth by moving them through bone by use of braces, band, wires and other fixed or removable corrective appliances or retainer (invisalign).
This dentist specializes in the care of children from the age of 1 to early adulthood. They detect, treat, and diagnose problems with decay, missing or extra, and crowding. This dentist has at least 2 additional years of training after dental school. This training focuses on the management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry.
a Periodontist is the oral health care specialist who diagnoses, treats, and prevents disease of the soft tissues of the mouth and supporting structures (bone) of the teeth,including implants (gum doctor). They treat gingivitis (inflammation) and periodontal disease ( gum and bone). These doctors perform simple and deep pocket cleanings, crown lengthening, soft tissue and or bone grafting, gingival or flap surgeries, soft tissue recontouring or removal, hard tissue recontouring (osteoplasty), and implant placements.
These specialist provide services for the repair of natural teeth and/or replacement of missing teeth on a grander scale then a general dentist. They deal with artificial teeth (dentures), crowns to replace missing or extracted teeth. They are also involved in the replacement of teeth using implants. Specially trained prosthodontists work with patients with head and neck deformities, replacing missing areas of the facee and jaw with artificial substitutes.
American Dental Association: “Dental Specialties”
Michigan Dental Association: What Are the Dental Specialties?”
12/10/2017 3:00:20 PM
Wendy Parker, RDH
Many people believe that mouth breathing isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just the way they have learned to breathe. But after years of study and research, mouth breathing have been linked to several other conditions as well.
Mouth breathing usually occurs due to 5 factors:
- Thumb or finger sucking habit
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Respiratory infection
These factors make it physically challenging for someone to breath through their nose, so the natural reaction is to start breathing through their mouth. Mouth breathing can cause a few things to happen in the mouth: it can change the way your shape of your face, you can develop a tongue thrust affecting your speech, swallowing and breathing, you can develop gingivitis or gum disease and gums will bleed easily, sore throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor sleep or sleep apnea, and digestive disturbances (upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.) Mouth breathing stops our bodies from getting good oxygenated blood to the circulation system and can affect the whole body.
It’s not easy to just change the way you breathe. You have to retrain your brain and muscles to breathe normally again. A myofunctional therapist can be valuable by giving you tactics to retrain your muscles associated with mouth breathing. You can also have your tonsils evaluated to see if they need to be removed or see an orthodontist to evaluated your bite and if the teeth are obstructing you from closing properly. Or you may try a humidifier at night or rub vitamin E oil or vasoline over the gums before bedtime to help them from drying out.
Hopefully you can find some relief from this condition! If you need more tips or tricks, don’t be afraid to ask your lovely hygienist or dentist at your next appointment!
12/3/2017 3:00:51 PM
Andra Mahoney, BS RDH
Are you a grinder? You may be, and not even know it!
Do you ever wake up in the morning with sore teeth and jaws? You could be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake. It is common to find people that clench or grind their teeth occasionally throughout their lives. However, chronic clenching and grinding can cause long term damage and problems with your teeth and mouth in general.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth (malocclusion/malalignment). It can also be caused by a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea.
How can you tell if you grind?
Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. Here are some common signs that you may be a grinder:
- Wake up with Headache/Sore Jaw or teeth
- Significant Other hears you grind in your sleep
- You notice flattening of your teeth
- Broken teeth/fillings
- Increase in teeth sensitiviy
A dental professional, like your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, will be able to tell the last three, as well. If they haven’t mentioned it to you already, feel free to ask if this is something that may effect you.
Why is it harmful to grind?
Most people clench or grind at night. When you are asleep, so is the function that regulates the jaw’s power. In the day time, your brain puts limitations on how hard you can bite or clench. When you are asleep, so is this part of your brain. That means you are biting way harder than you are able to while you are awake. Those that clench or grind while they are awake, are usually doing it subconsciously. Usually when they are extremely focused or concentrating on something else.
The biggest concern with clenching or grinding is the wear on your teeth. Once you have worn through the enamel, the hard outer structure of your tooth, the wear will increase! The dentin, the inner structure of your tooth, is not as strong as enamel and will wear a lot faster. This will result in wearing your teeth down to stumps. If the wear gets to this point, and no preventative treatment has happened, it can be a very long and expensive problem to fix. Your Dentist can talk to you about crowns and other treatment to restore the height and function of your teeth.
Another concern would be breaking teeth or fracturing your natural teeth or restorations, such as fillings, and crowns. We want to prevent fracturing so that the tooth does not break in a non-restorable way.
As we get older, we will wear on our jaw joint (temporomandibular joint, TMJ), that is a natural process. However, when we are constantly and continually clenching or grinding, that will accelerate the wear. The faster the wear, the increase of problems that can occur: jaw pain, clicking, popping, jaw deviation, or locking open/closed.
What can you do about it?
If you are having these symptoms and concerns, schedule an appointment to visit your Dentist. They can confirm if this is the case. If so there are options.
If you are clenching or grinding your teeth due to malalignment, the Doctor may recommend Invisalign or traditional orthodontics. Putting the teeth in their proper spot will help the jaw align properly as well. It will also prevent fractures or breaks since the teeth will be biting on even surface instead of placing constant and uneven force on the teeth.
A mouthguard, also know as night guard, is a great help. A nightguard is a thick, hard material that does not allow your jaw to clench all the way together. This will prevent advanced wear of your TMJ. Also, clenching or grinding will occur on the guard, instead of your teeth, thus saving your natural and restored tooth structure.
11/26/2017 3:01:19 PM
Maria Ambra, RDH
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
As health care providers, during a patient’s initial dental visit, we ask if they would like to have an oral cancer screening in addition to their dental evaluation. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the time, the patient’s answer will be “no” or “I don’t have cancer and never have” or “I’m too young and I don’t smoke, therefore, I don’t need one today”. As Registered Dental Hygienists in today’s ever changing health care demands, how can we approach such an important discussion and answer these types of questions?
In the early stages of most forms of oral cancer, the cancer can’t be detected only visually and may not manifest as painful or cause any discomfort. It is possible for perfectly healthy patients of any age to have pre-cancer or oral cancer and be asymptomatic. Oral cancer is considered an epidemic disease in which over the past 6 years, research shows that this epidemic disease is not caused primarily by traditional risk factors any longer such as smoking, drinking or chewing tobacco.
Unfortunately, 40% of our young population (nonsmokers), especially among high school athletes, makes for the majority of new cases of cancer in the oral cavity and pharynx and more that 50% are detected in late age causing death.
In the population of patients over 40, as age increases, the likely hood of disease tends to develop due to the fact that their immune system becomes less efficient and also an excessive amount of unprotected exposure to the sun can increase lip cancer (the most common undetected oral cancer that is often mistaken for chapped lips). People, who live in areas with poor access to health care or don’t visit a dentist or doctor regularly, are considered to be increased risk for malignancies.
In younger adults under 40, a higher risk is contributed by the exposure to the HPV-16 and the HPV 18 viruses known as the human papilloma virus, leading to an increase each year of about 39,000 new cases of cancer which are found in areas of the body where HPV is found. Cervical cancer is the most common HPV associated cancer among women and oropharyngeal cancer which is often located in the back of the throat, on the base of the tongue and tonsils are the most common among men. It can be spread and contract as easy on intimate contact including kissing through saliva or skin-to-skin contact. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends conducting an oral cancer screening at least once a year for all patients age 17 and beyond. Due to the fact that the naked eye may miss even early signs of oral malignancies, we, as dental practitioner’s, must introduce to our patients the state of the art, new technologies such as IDENTAFI, ORAL-ID or VELSCOPE.
All three are revolutionary devices that use multi-spectral technology to identify early morphologic and biochemical changes of the cells in the mouth, throat and tonsil. During the examination, the patient is also educated by the providers to self- examine often at their own. Some of the early indicators are red or white discoloration of tissues or any sore that doesn’t heal within 14 days, with that, advanced indicators such as sensation of something being stuck in the throat, any numbness in the oral cavity or ear or jaw pain, a lump or thickening in their neck need to be reported immediately to professionals to be examined and evaluated forward. Early detection means early treatment and cure of 90% of cases. EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES!
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www.oralcancerfoundation.com. Edited on March 2013
Hocking, Stein A,Regan D et.al. Head and neck cancer show increasing incident of potential HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer.2011 MAR 1
http://www.cancer .org. Can oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer be found early?
11/19/2017 9:43:23 PM
Becky Larson, RDH
Dental “Myth Busters”
There are a lot of dental myths out there that are sometimes mistaken for dental truths. Here are a few facts to help clear up some of the confusion.
Myth #1: You don’t need to brush baby teeth because they will fall out eventually anyway.
Absolutely not! Baby teeth can still get cavities, which can spread to other teeth and cause pain. Some baby teeth may even fall out too soon and cause problems with bite or improper development of a child’s permanent teeth. It’s also important to establish good oral hygiene habits early on. Children’s teeth should be brushed twice daily (just like adult teeth).
Myth #2: Fluoride is poisonous and should be avoided.
Wrong! Each day the enamel layers of our teeth lose minerals (demineralization) due to the acidity of plaque and sugars in the mouth. The enamel is remineralized from food and water consumption. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel, thus making it more resistant to acidic demineralization. Fluoride can sometimes reverse early tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, community water fluoridation is the single more effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Many dental offices also offer in office fluoride treatments that can help both children and adults.
Myth #3: You lose one tooth each time you have a child.
Now that’s just silly. Some women think that when they are pregnant the baby leeches a lot of their calcium supply. That may be, but it doesn’t mean she will lose any teeth. However, pregnant women are prone to cavities or having other dental problems. This is due to morning sickness and vomiting, dry mouth, and a desire/craving for more sugary or starchy foods. Pregnant women in these circumstances should be sure to continue their regular dental check-ups and try to maintain pristine oral home care.
Myth #4: If your gums are bleeding you should avoid brushing your teeth and flossing.
I can’t even begin to stress how wrong this one is! If your gums are bleeding it means there is active inflammation and infection present. That means you need to improve on oral hygiene by brushing more frequently or more effectively. Bleeding gums is a sign of periodontal disease. If caught early (in the gingivitis stage) it can be reversed. Brushing should be done twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing should be done at least once daily.
Myth #5: Placing a tablet of aspirin beside an aching tooth can ease the pain.
Wrong again. In order to ease the pain caused by a toothache, aspirin must be fully swallowed. Placing aspirin on gum tissue for long periods of time can actually damage the tissue and possibly cause an abscess.
Myth #6: You don’t need to see the dentist if there is no visible problem with your teeth.
Unfortunately not all dental problems will be visible or obvious. You should continue to visit the dentist for regular check-ups at least twice per year, in conjunction with your cleanings. Dental radiographs or other instruments can detect cavities or other problems that might not be causing any symptoms yet. It’s best to catch things early to minimize the treatment needed.
Myth #7: After a tooth has been treated for decay it will not decay again.
There are no guarantees in dentistry! While the dentist will do their best to restore teeth to last for as long as possible, there is no way of knowing when or if a tooth will get recurrent decay. Proper oral home care can prolong the life of dental restorations.
Don’t always believe what you hear! If you have questions or concerns about your dental health be sure to ask your dentist, hygienist, or other dental professional.
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