Guidelines for Antibiotic Pre-medication

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Wendy Parker RDH

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What type of Floss is right for you?

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Andra Mahoney BS RDH 

What type of floss is right for you?

Several months ago, Wendy wrote a great article on the necessity of flossing ( https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2014/05/19/flossing-do-i-have-to/).  Now that you have accepted that flossing is an integral part of your oral health, let’s pick out the right floss for you! There are a plethora of different types of floss, so you are bound to find the one that fits your wants and needs.

Let’s first examine your basic floss: 

There are two main types of floss: String and Tape.

String is the most common type of floss, and what everyone thinks of when they think floss.

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String floss comes in nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).  Nylon floss is the most common string floss.  It comes in all different types of flavors and thicknesses.  It even comes waxed and un-waxed. The wax is added to the floss to help fit through teeth with tight contacts.

PTFE floss is a lot like a plastic string. It is a monofilament, which means it’s not made from multiple fibers so it will not rip, shread, or tear.  PTFE floss is newer and people seem to like it because it is strong!  It also comes in many thicknesses and flavors, though it is not waxed because it is made to glide between teeth.  Because of its strength, I recommend not snapping the floss between your teeth.  It can very easily hurt the gum tissue if it is pulled too hard.

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Dental Tape is becoming more and more common nowadays. It is very similar to, but wider than, string floss.  Many people with sensitive gums like tape floss because they find it more comfortable when flossing below the gum line.  It is also a great “starter” floss because it is thinner than regular nylon floss.

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Advanced Types of Floss:

Spongy or Super Floss is ideal for cleaning braces, bridges, and wide gaps between teeth. Super Floss has three unique components—a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss, and regular floss—all work together for maximum benefits. It allows you to floss under appliances, cleans around appliances, between wide spaces, and removes plaque under the gumline.

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Floss Threaders come in two different types.  One looks like a large, thin, sewing needle. The plus side of this type of threader is that you can thread any type of floss and pull it through. It makes it easy to use whatever floss you have lying around the house. The down side is you have to thread the floss each time you use it.

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CAN Eez Thru Floss Threaders Demo

A little bit easier is the floss threader that is kind of like a shoe string. It has a built in threader tip attached to the floss, so there is one less step than the other floss threader. Both threaders are great for any appliance: bridges, braces, lingual bars, etc.

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Other Options:

Floss Picks are great for flossing hard to reach spaces or when you’re on the go. You don’t have to be in a bathroom to floss! A few tips to remember, never reuse a floss pick. The plaque bacteria that is removed by the flosser isn’t always seen. You do not want that bacteria to be reintroduced into your mouth. Which brings us to tip two, use four flossers in one flossing session. One for the upper right, upper left, lower left, and lower right (each side is measured from the last molar to the midline between your front teeth). When using standard floss, you use about 18 inches. A flosser has about one inch of floss. You do not want to transfer the bacteria from one side of the mouth to the other. So after you have used one, toss it, and grab another. Flossers are very inexpensive and come in multipacks.

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Powered Flossers are very useful for older people who find it hard to manipulate string floss into their mouth. A disposable tip is placed on the end of the powered flosser and when the button is depressed, the floss gently vibrates back and forth. Just place it between your teeth and floss away! As with the floss picks, please do not reuse the disposable ends of the flosser.

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Interproximal brushes are helpful to those who have wider spaces between their teeth. Two options are soft picks, which are like rubber toothpicks.

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And the other interdental brushes are like small pipe cleaners.

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 The difference between the two comes down to preference and how wide the space is between your teeth. Both options come in various sizes. These are also one time use items that come in a pack.

Extra Helpers:

Rubber Tip Simulators are not a type of floss, but they are handy in plaque removal. They are mainly used for cleaning under operculums. An operculum is a small flap of gum tissue. It is usually found in the back of the mouth by the last tooth. It can occur naturally or come about from a tooth that has not fully erupted into the mouth.

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 As seen in the picture, the right side is a normal tooth, and the left has an operculum. Plaque can get under this flap of tissue so it will need to be cleaned. Just take the rubber tip stimulated and swipe gently under the tissue.

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WaterPiks work wonderfully in addition to your floss!  Please remember, do not substitute waterpicks for brushing and flossing. Unlike flossing, waterpicks do not remove plaque. They are effective for people who have orthodontic braces, which may retain food in areas a toothbrush cannot reach, people who catch food between their teeth, or people who are looking for extra help with their gums.

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Brief Overview:

Large gaps between your teeth? Try dental tape or Super Floss.

Not much space between your teeth? You may find that a waxed floss is easier to slide into those tight spaces.

Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers or floss in pre-measured strands.

Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option, but any floss can be used if you have a floss threader.

As you can see there are a lot of options out there! But do not fear! A study from the University of Buffalo stated, “Believe it or not, researchers have compared different types of dental floss to determine whether some are more effective than others to clean teeth. The bottom line is that they are not. Any type of floss will help promote clean teeth by removing food particles and bacteria.”

Just remember that when it comes to dental floss, flossing every day is the most important choice you and your family can make.

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(microscopic image of used dental floss)

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.oralb.com/topics/all-floss-types-work-well-when-used-daily.aspx

http://www.oralb.com/topics/choosing-the-best-dental-floss-for-you.aspx

http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/flossing3.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/dental-floss_b_1643933.html

Which Occlusal Guard is Right for You?

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Katie Moynihan BS RDH

Which Occlusal Guard is Right for You ?

Do you grind your teeth when you sleep? Ever noticed pain in your jaw? Bruxism is the term used when a person is grinding or clenching their teeth. Often times, bruxism occurs unconsciously during the day or most often at night. Whether you know you do it or not, there are certain dental signs we look for as oral health professionals in order to properly diagnose the right mouthguard for you.

Occlusal wear on the teeth can lead to gum recession, fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. An occlusal guard is custom made to be worn over the biting surfaces of either the upper or lower arch of teeth, and is easily inserted and removed by the patient. It is made out of an acrylic strong enough to minimize the abrasive action of excessive tooth forces. They should be worn on a long-term basis to help to stabilize the occlusion as well as prevent damage to teeth and to the temporomandibular joint.

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Another bruxism appliance is called an NTI-tts device. Unlike the occlusal guard, the NTI device only covers part of your mouth, clipping over either the top or bottom front teeth. This small, custom fitted plastic device forms a barrier between your top and bottom teeth, preventing you from biting down completely. You might consider an NTI device if a conventional occlusal guard has not worked for you, you suffer from migraines and headaches, or experience pain associated with your TMJ. The goal of the NTI is to prevent the grinding and touching of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.

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Although there is no single cure for bruxism, these devices are available to help reduce symptoms associated with teeth grinding and clenching. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we would be happy to talk to you about it and help you determine which bruxism device is right for you.

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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bruxism/basics/causes/con-20029395

http://www.medicinenet.com/teeth_grinding_bruxism/article.htm

http://www.o-guard.com/nti-night-guard/

Dental “Myth Busters”

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.ada.org/en/public-programs/advocating-for-the-public/fluoride-and-fluoridation

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment

http://www.livescience.com/22463-gain-a-child-lose-a-tooth-myth-or-reality.html

http://tips4dentalcare.com/2008/06/21/popular-myths-about-dentistry/