Are Dental X-rays Really Necessary?

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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.

Sources:

Webmd.com

Colgate.com

Willowcreek.com

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Do you have Gluten Free Products?

Sharma RDH

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.

Sources:

www.kolorz.com

www.dentaldentalaz.com

New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

AriannaM

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!

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/choosing-a-toothbrush-the-pros-and-cons-of-electric-and-disposable#1

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/08/electric-toothbrush-vs-manual/index.htm

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/how-to-floss

https://www.plackers.com/

https://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/picks.html

https://www.waterpik.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA4bzSBRDOARIsAHJ1UO4DNFS5_so6ofGGLsSADEe0onj5jiOGLlAf9BcJs4K-mT_bPCRPR8gaAnEQEALw_wcB

https://oralb.com/en-us?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=oral%20b%20braun&utm_campaign=T_SERP_Non_Text_NOFRQNOVIEW_OPT_Oral-B+Power%7CBrand%7CAwareness%7CNA%7CEXT_C|&utm_content=s9kAIy3Ng|dc_229883002215_e_oral%20b%20braun&gclid=Cj0KCQiA4bzSBRDOARIsAHJ1UO5-JnlDWNi6D11mUo1zI_8V8nD0ev44qNx_0V9q7GyoQkX9GeloKecaAhusEALw_wcB&dclid=CNLK6a6qwdgCFYivZAodvR8IVA

https://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-pe/electric-toothbrushes?origin=7_700000001603708_71700000024556921_58700002664261464_43700022951657269

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/02/how-long-it-takes-to-form-a-new-habit/

Dentist Definitions

AnnC

Ann Clark, RDH

Dentist Definitions

There are a lot of dental options out there from General to specialists.  The following is a break down of all your caped crusaders.
GENERAL DENTIST-
     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.
ENDODONTIST-
     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.
ORAL PATHOLOGIST-
     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.
ORTHODONTIST-
     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).
PEDODONTIST-
     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.
PERIODONTIST-
     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.
PROSTHODONTIST-
     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?”