Blood Pressure at the Dental Office

Ruth Jones, RDH

Blood Pressure at the Dental Office

Blood pressure screenings in the dental setting are becoming more common and sometimes patients wonder why it’s being done and if it’s necessary. Blood pressure which “measures the force on the arterial walls as the heart pumps blood throughout the body” is an indication of a person’s health. High blood pressure referred to as hypertension has been called the “Silent Killer” because of its high-risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which can be fatal. People may be walking around with it and be unaware of the risk they’re living with. Taking blood pressure at the dental office only takes about a minute and has great benefits. It can alert the dental professional and subsequently the patient of elevated or high blood pressure.  This provides the dental professional with valuable information of how to treat the patient safely. This information also allows the patient to initiate a conversation with their primary physician about ways to control their hypertension. Often, it’s the patients that are unaware of their hypertension that have the greatest risk. In some cases, taking blood pressure before dental treatment can prevent a medical emergency.

In an effort to encourage people to use diet and exercise to control elevated blood pressure at early stages, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association with other professional organizations lowered the threshold for hypertension and developed new guidelines. The table below is the updated guidelines.

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What Are Dental Sealants?

Morgan J

Morgan Johnson, RDH

What Are Dental Sealants?

If you have children, you may have heard your dentist recommend placing sealants on your child’s back teeth (molars and/or premolars). When these teeth erupt, they tend to have deep pits and fissures on the occlusal (or chewing) surfaces. Because of these deep grooves, these teeth are more vulnerable to decay. Children are often still developing good oral hygiene habits, so food and plaque tend to get left behind in these hard to clean areas. To help prevent cavities from occurring on these teeth, dental professionals like to seal up those deep pits and fissures with a plastic material, called a sealant. Sealants are typically most common for children, but they may be placed on adults as well if necessary!

Sealant Procedure

This procedure is very easy, simple, and doesn’t require any anesthetic (numbing)! First the chewing surface of the tooth is polished to remove any debris, and then it is rinsed clean, and dried. Next an acidic solution is applied to the surface, to “roughen” up the enamel, which makes the sealant material better attach to the tooth. Once the tooth is dried again, the plastic sealant material is applied to the tooth, and dried with a curing light. Your bite is then adjusted if needed, and you have a shiny new protective sealant. Longevity of sealants varies from person to person, but they can last for many years!

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Importance of Baby Teeth


Cortney Davis, RDH

With a new baby in my household, I know how important it is to prepare for her teeth to come in. As soon as a baby’s first tooth comes in, it needs immediate attention and care.  Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development.

Children have 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaw at birth and will typically begin to erupt when a baby is 6 months to a year old. All 20 teeth should be erupted by the age of 3. Every child is different, but usually the first teeth to come in are located in the bottom front following the upper front of the mouth.

When babies teeth first come in, most babies have tender or sore gums. You can gently rub your child’s gums with wet gauze, a washcloth, a clean finger, or a clean teeth ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky or in pain, you can always consult with you physician or dentist on how to comfort your baby.

As stated earlier, baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help your child speak, chew, smile, and also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crowded or crooked making it harder to keep clean and cavity free. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth and prevent tooth decay.

Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars (like milk, formula, and fruit juice) cling to an infant’s teeth for a long time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and make acids that attack the teeth. At risk are children who get a sugary drink to go to bed or sugary drinks frequently. The most common teeth affected by baby bottle caries are the upper front teeth.

How can you properly care for your young child’s teeth? Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. For young children, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to erupt by using fluoride toothpaste in the amount no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice and when they are a little older the size of a pea.  Brush the teeth thoroughly twice per day and supervise older children when they brush to ensure they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste and they are brushing every area. Always remind children not to swallow the toothpaste and to spit it out after they are finished. When your child’s teeth begin to touch, it is important that you and your child start incorporating flossing daily to help remove plaque in between the teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends that you bring your child to the dentist soon after the first tooth comes in and no later than your child’s first birthday.  The first couple visits are considered “happy visits” and will help your child get familiar with the dentist office. It also gives your dentist a chance to check for tooth decay and discuss other conditions or habits such as thumb sucking and your child’s diet that may affect your child teeth. Your dentist also can show you how to properly care for your child teeth and can answer any questions you have about their oral care.

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Are My Kids Doing a Good Job Cleaning Their Teeth?

Sharma RDH

Sharna Mulqueen RDH

Are my kids doing a good job cleaning their teeth?

Tooth brushing is one of those important chores that every parent teaches their child. Not only is tooth brushing a lesson in good dental care, it also an opportunity to teach your child about responsibility. As a parent, you know that good dental care is imperative to your child’s overall health.  Your child could be skipping out on brushing their teeth; you can use this guide for clues to check.

Tips That Your Child isn’t Brushing Their Teeth

  1. The toothbrush is dry. If you notice that your child’s toothbrush is dry, it’s a sure sign he or she hasn’t brushed. Check their toothbrush as soon as they are done to verify.
  2. Your child is finished brushing quickly. Even baby teeth need to be brushed for at least two minutes. If you discover your child is rapidly done brushing, help them understand the importance of proper dental care, including brushing every area of their mouth carefully. You can use music and timers to inspire them to brush for the full two minutes.
  3. Food particles are still in your child’s teeth. If your child emerges from the bathroom raving they had a thorough tooth brushing—ask for a smile. If food particles remain, send your child back to the bathroom for a brushing do-over.
  4. Your child’s tongue is white. Clean tongues are pink. Tongues with bacteria lurking are white. Make sure your child knows to brush their tongue as well as their teeth for complete dental care.
  5. Never-ending dental floss. Flossing daily is as important as twice-daily brushing, so monitor the bathroom garbage can for floss strings. Encouraged your child to use any product that can clean in between the teeth. Hand held flossers are a great tool for children to start using.
  6. Your child has bad breath. Bad breath, especially at a young age, is often the result of bacteria buildup caused by food particles that may still be hanging around. Do a breath check and send your child in for a brushing if it’s anything less than pleasant.
  7. Your child has cavities. If your child develops dental issues, such as cavities or tooth pain, seek the advice of one of our Dentist.  This is an obvious sign that your child is skipping all or part of their dental care routine. We are can offer additional tips to help keep your kids excited about brushing.

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