Your Gag Reflex

Wendy Parker, RDH

Your Gag Reflex

Gag reflexes are just not fun.  There is no other way to put it.  We all know they are designed to protect our airway from foreign objects, but why do they have to be so pronounced, especially at the dentist office!  Well, here’s a little more about gag reflexes and maybe a few suggestions that will help next time you feel it starting to act up!

The gag reflex is a pharyngeal reflex by the back of your throat which is triggered any time an object touches the roof of your mouth, back of your tongue, tonsils, or back of your throat.  It helps us prevent choking and is especially important in infant as they are transitioning from liquid foods to solids, until they’re about 6-7 months old.   Some people have have a hypersensitive gag reflex that is triggered quickly anytime something touches the back of the throat or mouth.  No one totally understands why some gag reflexes are more than others, but it is believed that people who did not have solid foods introduced to them until after 7 months of age tend to have a more sensitive gag reflex.

If you are one of the lucky few that have a hypersensitive gag reflex try these few tactics next time at the dentist:

  • Numbing sprays or gels
  • Squeeze your thumb during the procedure. This applies pressure to your palm of your hand that controls the gag reflex.
  • Desensitize your tongue by brusing it every day
  • Apply salt to the center of your tongue
  • Meditation or hum
  • Raise one leg slightly – this keeps your mind off what is happening to trigger your reflex
  • Listen to music
Sources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Suppress-the-Gag-Reflex

http://www.livescience.com/34110-gag-reflex.html

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Why Do I Need to go to the Dentist?

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Why Do I Need to go to the Dentist?

How often should I get a dental checkup?

Dental health varies from person to person, but if you have a healthy mouth, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a visit to a Dentist one to two times a year. This enables you to get your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis and ensure that any potential problems are identified early.

If you have a history of periodontal disease, then your Hygienist and Dentist will determine the right recall schedule for you.  Based on the measurements of your gums, the Hygienist and Dentist will decide if your mouth’s health best fits a 3 month, 4 month, or 6 month visit.

There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.

Why are regular visits important?

Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.

I’m not in any pain, do I still have to see a Dentist?

Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a Dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan, and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your Dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.

What do I do if something feels different?

In addition to your regular visit(s) throughout the year, you should schedule an appointment when you notice changes to your dental health, particularly when it involves pain. Chipped teeth, sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen or bleeding gums and persistent tooth pain are all issues to discuss with your Dentist as soon as you notice them. After all, when it comes to dental pain, letting the issue fester often makes the problem worse.

Remember, by seeing your Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis and following daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist?_ga=2.236638209.1473254089.1503223579-330855655.1503223579

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/top-10-dental-questions-you-should-ask-1015

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/how-often-should-you-go-to-the-dentist-as-an-adult-0414

https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adults/the-importance-of-regular-dental-visits

What is Laughing Gas?

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Lindsay Olsen, RDH

WHAT IS LAUGHING GAS?

Nitrous oxide (N2O), commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Nitrous oxide is effective as a sedative because it relaxes patients with the pleasurable feelings it emits. Nitrous oxide’s common use in dentistry is due to how quickly it works and that its effects are reversible. For those and other reasons, nitrous oxide is widely considered to be a safe sedation method, even for children!

NITROUS OXIDE FOR CHILDREN

Not only is it safe for children, but laughing gas is a preferred sedation method for children who are nervous or anxious about a pending procedure. Discuss with your child’s dentist ahead of time to determine the appropriate sedation method. Some children may suffer from nausea or have difficulty wearing the mask needed to breathe it in.

Side Effects

The CDA reports that only a minority of patients experience any negative side effects. They can occur if the nitrous level is too high or if the amount being inhaled quickly changes. Potential side effects are as follows:

  • Headaches
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fatigue

Once the nitrous oxide has been turned off, a patient needs to receive oxygen for at least five minutes to avoid a headache. The oxygen removes any remaining gas from the lungs while aiding the patient in becoming alert and awake. As soon and the patient is feeling alert, the dental professional can release the patient to drive oneself home.

Meals are another focus point when receiving nitrous oxide. It’s a good idea to eat lightly prior to your procedure and avoid a big meal for three hours afterward.

Contraindications for Nitrous Oxide

While it’s an effective sedative to ease your dental anxiety, nitrous oxide might not be the right choice for you. Tell your dentist or dental hygienist if you have any of the following conditions: first trimester of pregnancy, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, or a cobalamin deficiency. Additionally, if you are receiving treatment using bleomycin sulfate or have a history of emotional issues or drug addiction, laughing gas may not be recommended.

Talk to your dentist about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option 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.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/n/nitrous-oxide

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/procedures/anesthesia/article/what-does-laughing-gas-do-0117

What is a crown?

Becky Larson, RDH

What is a crown?

 

Sitting in the dental chair can lead to confusion sometimes.  After all, dental professionals speak in an entirely different language!  Most patients have had a least a few fillings in their life and know what to expect.  However, not everyone has experienced the placement of a dental crown.  So what is a crown?

It’s exactly as it sounds.  A dental crown in similar to a king’s crown that has a rim the whole way around.  Crowns are often referred to as “caps” and are made in the exact shape of the tooth they are covering.  Crowns are restorations used to help improve a tooth’s size, shape, strength, and/or appearance.  When permanently cemented, they cover the entire tooth to the gumline.  

Crowns are indicated for many reasons including:

  • To restore a decayed or broken tooth with less than 50% of tooth structure remaining
  • To replace large fillings
  • To stabilize a tooth that is beginning to fracture
  • To hold a dental bridge
  • Cosmetic reasons including tooth shape and color
  • To cover a dental implant

Crowns are usually placed in two visits.  The first visit consists of preparing the tooth (removing decay and building up the tooth if necessary) and placing a temporary crown.  Permanent crowns are fabricated in a lab and usually take a few weeks for completion.  The second visit consists of placing the permanent crown and taking an xray to ensure proper placement.  

There are several different materials that can be used to make a dental crown including porcelain fused to metal, stainless steel or base metals, ceramic or porcelain, and gold.  Please talk to your dentist to see which material he/she would recommend 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.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-crowns#2

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/bridges-and-crowns/article/different-types-of-dental-crowns-0215