April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

OC Awareness

Early detection is key with oral cancer. When found early, oral cancer patients can have an 80 to 90% survival rate. Unfortunately 40% of those diagnosed with oral cancer will die within five years because the majority of these cases will be discovered as a late stage malignancy.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous, because the patient may not notice it in its early stages. It can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms. As a result, Oral Cancer often goes undetected until it has already metastasized to another location.

Who does oral cancer screenings?

Most oral cancer screenings are done by a Dentist or Hygienist. It is very important at all of your dental appointments you have a screening completed.

When should I have my first oral cancer screening?

More people are being diagnosed with oral cancer than ever before. But surprisingly, research shows this increase is not due to the traditional risk factors of drinking, smoking and using chewing tobacco. Rather oral cancer is now being found in a younger population of men and women because due to their exposure to the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). That is why the Center for Disease Control recommends that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually for oral cancer.

What types of screenings are there?

A routine “recall” exam usually includes a visual search for lesions and abnormal structures in the oral cavity with palpitations on neck, throat, tongue and cheeks.

The Identafi system uses the Identafi Multi-Spectral Fluorescence and Reflectance technology to enhance visualization of mucosal abnormalities such as oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Unlike other fluorescence technologies and dye systems, the Identafi is Multi-Spectral with three distinct color wavelengths, making it easier to distinguish lesion morphology and vasculature.

Identafi System

The VELscope® Vx system is an adjunctive device which means it must be used together with and as a supplement to the traditional intra and extra oral head and neck exam. Unlike other adjunctive devices used for oral examinations, the VELscope® Vx does not require any dyes or prolonged testing procedures. In fact, a VELscope® Vx exam can be performed during a routine hygiene exam in about two minutes at your dental office.

Dentists, Hygienists, Periodontists, Oral Surgeons, Primary Care Physicians and Otolaryngologists now have the technology to detect morphological and biochemical changes which may lead to oral cancer and potentially save lives, thanks to the Identafi® and VELscope® Vx systems.

Where do I go if there is any concern with my screening?

You will be referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons where they will check for lesions and abnormal tissue structures and perform a biopsy.

Oral Surgeons are not front-line detectors, because their patients are typically referred by dentist and other medical professionals as a primary source for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

OC Happens

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

http://www.identafi.net/tools

http://www.dentalez.com/products/stardental/identafi/

http://www.velscope.com/velscope-technology/overview/

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What is a Periodontal Maintenance?

AriannaM

Arianna Ritchey RDH

What is a Periodontal Maintenance?

One of the terms that is commonly used by dental professionals, and also commonly misunderstood by patients, is ‘Periodontal Maintenance.’  A periodontal maintenance procedure is similar to a prophy, or general adult cleaning, but is a more involved procedure meant for patients who have periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is characterized by deep periodontal pockets, inflammation, and bone loss.  Periodontal disease is an irreversible condition which, if left untreated, may lead to further bone loss and eventually tooth loss.  In order to treat periodontal disease, a dental hygienist or dentist will likely recommend a procedure called a “deep cleaning,” also known as SRP, or scaling and root planing.  Once a deep cleaning is completed, inflammation will reduce and periodontal pockets may decrease in depth.  When the patient’s periodontal status has stabilized, the next step in the care of the teeth and gums is periodontal maintenance, or more colloquially, “perio maintenance.”

Perio_Health

Periodontal maintenance is a teeth cleaning procedure which is done at either 3, 4, or 6 month intervals, depending on the patient’s needs.  The purpose of the periodontal maintenance procedure is to maintain the level of the periodontal disease present, and to prevent it from getting any worse.  Unfortunately, bone that has been lost as a result of periodontal disease does not grow back, and as such, periodontal pockets may remain at a deeper-than-optimal level despite the initial deep cleaning therapy.  These deep periodontal pockets collect plaque and tartar, and are impossible to clean properly with a toothbrush, floss, and other dental hygiene aids.  In order to keep these periodontal pockets clean and prevent further bone loss, it is necessary to have a dental hygienist regularly perform professional cleanings.

perio probe

Periodontal maintenance involves a dental hygienist scaling and root planing some areas in order to remove irritating tartar buildup.  When a dental hygienist performs root planing, instrumentation is completed below the gumline all the way to the bottom of the periodontal pocket.  This cleaning of the root surface below the gumline is what makes a periodontal maintenance different, more involved, and potentially more costly  than a prophy, or regular cleaning.

scaling-root-planing

In patients who have deep periodontal pockets, a prophy, or general cleaning, is not beneficial, because the irritating plaque and tartar below the gumline that is causing the most irritation and loss of bone is not removed during a prophy or general cleaning.  Performing a general cleaning on a patient with periodontal disease would be similar to sweeping dirt under the rug instead of properly cleaning a floor.  The offending dirt in the case of the floor,  or the bacteria-infused-tartar in the case of the mouth, is still present and causing harm.


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As dental hygienists, our primary goal and concern is to assist patients in maintaining the healthiest oral cavity possible.  Providing periodontal maintenance treatments for our patients who have periodontal disease at 3, 4, or 6 month intervals, along with the patient’s good oral hygiene care at home, is the best way to work towards a stable periodontal health status and to help our patients from experiencing bone and tooth loss.

perfect-smile

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources

http://jdh.adha.org/content/82/suppl_2/16.refs

http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-0/issue-9/columns/staff-rx/prophy-vs-perio-maintenance.html

https://www.deltadental.com/Public/Study/StudyPerio.jsp

Whitening Options

PeggyS

Peggy Storr RDH

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When considering whitening your teeth, the options may seem confusing. There are many products that you can buy over the counter, online, or in your dental office; should you whiten at home, should you go in and have it done professionally, or just cross your fingers and hope that your toothpaste will do what it says it will do?

For starters, many whitening toothpastes can often have positive whitening and brightening effect because they have abrasive agents that remove surface staining. However, these toothpastes don’t lighten the tooth from the inside. The jury is out on too much use of abrasive products. I think occasional use of these kinds of toothpastes is not harmful.

Another inexpensive option is of course the whitening strips, which some patients of mine have had good results with. They are peroxide based and seem to work best in young adults. The disadvantage to these is they can sometimes be tedious, as you need to use them twice daily and they slip and slide.  Whitening rinses are also peroxide based like the strips, but they definitely are less effective than the strips and take up to 12 weeks to see results.

The fastest and most effective way if you’re willing to make the investment is in-office whitening. In our office, for example, a dental assistant will apply the whitening product directly to your teeth and you will have results in about 60 minutes. My daughter had this done after she got her braces off and the results were dramatic! You can also have trays made custom to your teeth and then take the product home and do it yourself. These trays will fit your teeth perfectly, and thus, work better than the over-the-counter trays. In addition, they won’t irritate your gum tissue.  Now is a great time to whiten your teeth professionally.  The Smiles for Life program is open from now until the end of June.  100% goes to children’s charities and it’s tax deductible for you.  Contact us for more details!

Overall, there really is no wrong way to go. It’s all in your preference, your budget, and your time frame. For example, if you want to get your teeth whitened for your wedding, the in-office treatment is the way to go for sure. ☺ But remember, your oral health is most important before you consider any bleaching option. Always check with your dental professional first!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sourcehttp://www.webmd.com/oral-health/teeth-whitening

Toothbrush Care: Replacing, Cleaning, Storing

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Amanda Orvis RDH

Toothbrush Care: Replacing, Cleaning, Storing

In order to maintain a healthy mouth, one must use a clean toothbrush.  Toothbrushing plays a major role in your personal oral hygiene care. When brushing, it is important that you use a clean and functional toothbrush.  Toothbrush bristles can harbor harmful bacteria that can be damaging to our oral health.

REPLACING

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The same rules apply to both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads. Many types of bacteria can be found on toothbrush bristles, these bacteria can continue to multiply over time potentially causing harm to our mouths. Toothbrush bristles also break down over time causing the bristles to fan out, fray or simply fall out.  When your toothbrush bristles break down the toothbrush becomes less effective, making it harder to clean your mouth properly. If you or any member of the family become sick or gets an infection in the mouth, it is important to replace yours or their toothbrush immediately to be prevent that harmful bacteria from spreading or re-infecting you or that person. In order to prevent cross contamination make sure you do not share toothbrushes for any reason.

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CLEANING

After brushing your teeth it is important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove any additional toothpaste, bacteria and saliva. Germs can hide in your toothbrush bristles and lead to oral infections of not properly cleaned.

STORING

After cleaning your toothbrush, it is very important to allow your toothbrush time to thoroughly dry between usages. Designate an area for your toothbrush to dry. Many toothbrush storage containers are available that prop your toothbrush upright and allow the toothbrush to not touch anything else while drying. When traveling, it is just as important to allow your toothbrush to dry between usages. Keeping the toothbrush bristles covered while storing it within your other items during travel is important as well. Small toothbrush storage cases are available at almost all pharmacies and grocery stores. Just make sure the toothbrush is fully dry before storing it in its case.

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5 Quick Rules: 

Do not share toothbrushes

Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use

Leave your toothbrush in an open area to dry after each use

Discard your toothbrush if you become sick or get any dental infections

Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-

What Is Calculus Exactly?

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Wendy Parker RDH

 

Ever heard your hygienist use the words, “build up” or “calculus” while they were cleaning your teeth? Ever wondered what that was, exactly, or what they were talking about?

Growing up, most of us heard about plaque and the importance of removing it daily, but nowadays we hear about bioflim and calculus.  What is this all about? Well, my friends, read on and you’ll find out.

In the dental world, dental plaque has been changed to the term “Biofilm.”It is a more accurate term than plaque. It is more than just the soft fuzzy stuff on your teeth.  Biofilm is everywhere in our surroundings and can form on just about anything. Ranging from clogged drains, to slippery coated rocks, and in your mouth. Biofilm is bacteria’s home. Millions of bacteria stick together in biofilm which adheres to surfaces in moist environments. Biofilms excrete a slimy glue-like substance that sticks to all kinds of materials, including your teeth! Dental plaque IS the yellowish biofilm that builds up on teeth and is composed of a complex baterial community that causes gingivitis, in the mild form, cavities, and periodontal disease, in the more advanced cases.

 staphylococcus_aureus_biofilm_01_cmyk

Typically, you can remove this biofilm, a.k.a. plaque, with your fingernail in the early stages where it still feels like the soft fuzz-like feeling on your teeth.

However, within 48 hours, if undisturbed, it begins to harden and causes gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues).

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     If still undisturbed, about 10 days later, it becomes calculus (a.k.a. tartar), which is difficult to remove.  But don’t worry, we know a few good hygienists that can take care of that for you!

If, by some chance, the calculus stays there for a long period of time, the bacteria that is making it’s home in your mouth, then begins to affect the surrounding tissues, causing periodontal disease (bone and gum disease).

images

     So now that we KNOW what and how we get biofilm and calculus, how do we get rid of it?  The solution is something that we already know and that we have been hearing from the beginning of time.  There is no new shocking treatment, but it’s simple…you have to disrupt the bacteria from forming in your mouth and the best way to do this is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist/hygienist regularly.  If you wear some kind of appliance at night, like a nightguard or retainer, be sure you are brushing it and soaking it regularly.  Be sure to let us help you with any issues or needs you have to keep your smile working for you!

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/what-is-biofilm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_plaque

http://www.dujs.dartmouth.edu

http://www.meadfamilydental.com

www.johngoodmandds.net

www.clipartbest.com