Water Piks – What You Need to Know

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Wendy Parker, RDH

Water Piks – What You Need to Know

Ever walk down the dental isle and feel overwhelmed by all the available products there are to take care of your teeth?  You’re not alone!  They range from toothbrushes, to toothpastes, floss, water picks, tongue scrapers, etc.  It’s difficult to know exactly what is right for your mouth with so many choices!

One of the most frequent questions I get as a hygienist is “So do I have to floss?  Can’t I just use a water pik?’’ Each mouth is evaluated by the hygienist and given suggestions.  Here is some great information for you regarding water piks if water picks are right for you!

There are 3 main types of water piks:  a counter top water pik with a reservoir, a hand held, cordless pik with a reservoir, or a Shower Flosser.  Both the counter top and hand-held water piks use water (or antiseptic rinse of your choice) from the reservoir to irrigate tissues the tissues and flush out food trapped in between the teeth. There are different pressure settings so if it seems like there is too much pressure, turn it down till your mouth adjusts to using it and then increase incrementally.  The 3rd main type of water pik is a shower flosser.  This one you can use in the shower.  It attaches to your shower head and uses that water to irrigate the tissues and clean your mouth. A lot of people like this option since the mess is contained in the shower and not on your countertop of mirror!  When using the water pik be sure to aim the pressurized water right at the gumline and in-between the teeth to ensure that you are removing as much plaque as possible.

Water piks are a great option for adding into your daily hygiene routine and can benefit mouths that require additional attention like periodontal disease, food traps between teeth, bridges, implants, and braces.  These units can range in cost anywhere from $30-$90 depending on how many settings you need and can be found in several local stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens or ordered online too!

Here are some simple steps to using your water pik:  

  1. Fill the reservoir with warm water and place firmly on the base.
  2. Select a tip and click into the handle.
    Note: If this is the first use, set the pressure control dial to high. Point the tip into the sink and turn on until water flows. Turn unit off.

Start with the lowest pressure setting, lean over the sink, place tip in your mouth.

  1. Turn unit on. Close lips enough to prevent splashing, let water flow from your mouth into sink.
  2. Aim the tip at the gumline.
  3. When finished, turn unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.

Happy Water piking!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Why Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?

Andra M

Andra Mahoney, RDH BSDH

Why Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?

Teeth are generally predictable.  We know the first permanent teeth we will get are our first molars, also known as six year molars because we get them between six and seven years old.  We know they will be bigger than all our other teeth.  We know our maxillary central incisors, our two top front teeth, will come in about seven to eight years old and  be a particular shape and size.  Wisdom teeth; however, have a mind of their own!  They come any anywhere from 16-25 years old, and sometimes don’t even stick to that time frame.  They can be big as your other molars or small as your front teeth.  They can come in properly and vertically or angled and horizontally.  I have even seen X-rays of wisdom teeth going the wrong direction!  They were headed back towards the jaw bone!  Wisdom teeth do whatever they want.

Common recommendations for getting wisdom teeth removed:

Not enough room in your mouth.

Impaction.

Partially Erupted.

Why above reasons are problems:

Many of us do not have the space in our mouths to accommodate wisdom teeth.  Not enough room in our mouths can lead to the wisdom teeth causing pain.  It can also cause problems in keeping those teeth clean.  They are often hard to reach which means plaque is allowed to grow and cause cavities, tartar, and/or gum infections.

When teeth are impacted they are not coming in the proper direction.  This could be anywhere from tilted to all the way horizontal. This can present a variety of issues.  The major problem can be damage to other teeth.  If the wisdom tooth is tilted and now running into the back of your second molars, this can cause damage, decay, and potential loss of that second molar.  Impaction can also lead to cysts or infections around those teeth.  This can lead to long term damage of your jaw bone.

When teeth are partially erupted, only part of the tooth has grown into the mouth, the other is still covered with gum tissue.  This can be very hard to keep clean.  It is a great spot for food impaction and plaque bacteria to collect.  As mentioned before, this can lead to cavities, tartar, and/or gum disease.

Why get them out if they don’t hurt:

Size of wisdom teeth can play a big factor is health and recovery.  Most dentists like to get them out after the crown is fully formed, but before the roots are complete.   This helps extraction process to go easier and quicker, as well as reduces nerve damage.  Wisdom teeth, particularly those on your bottom jaw, can grow around or next to the nerve that runs through your jaw.  When the roots of wisdom teeth are allowed to grow close to that area, that increase risk for nerve damage upon extraction.  This damage can be temporary or permanent.

Stage of jaw bone growth plays a factor.  Dentist usually recommend wisdom teeth to come out in the teen years or early twenties.  This is because your jaw bone is still growing.  Once you hit your thirties, your bone is much more solid and recovery time after extractions can be longer and more difficult.

Why wait till it hurts?  Get them out on your schedule.  Spring break, summer vacation, fall break, long weekend, these are the best times for recovery. Don’t put yourself through tooth pain, its an awful experience, and one that is avoidable!

You’ve decided to get them out! Now what?

This is a great time for a chat with your dentist.  They can help you determine the appropriate avenue for you.

Different ways to get them out can include:

Just getting numb – Your appointment will be pretty straight forward.  The wisdom teeth may already be erupted and properly aligned.  You are not very nervous about the appointment.

Nitrous and getting numb – Nitrous, or laughing gas, can be administered before the local anesthesia.  This can help some people with anxiety.  It is also good to help people relax if there is a little more work involved in getting out the wisdom teeth – they are partially erupted or completely unerupted.

IV Conscious Sedation – This is a great option for a more involved procedure or those that have very high anxiety.  A dentist trained in this method, will administer medication through an IV that allows you to relax.  You are able to respond to questions (Can you open wider? Are you doing ok? Can you turn to the left?), but you will not remember the procedure.

Oral Surgeon Specialists – In some cases the removal of the wisdom teeth may be very complicated.  This can be due to position, age, nerve involvement, etc.  You may then be referred to a specialist to handle this situation.

Whatever way and method can be tailored to your specific needs through exam, xrays, and a visit with your dentist.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/wisdom-teeth

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/wisdom-teeth/should-you-have-your-wisdom-teeth-removed

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wisdom-teeth/expert-answers/wisdom-teeth-removal/faq-20058558

Sleep Apnea

Maria A

Maria Ambra, RDH

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more occurs during sleep.

There are 3 types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: It is the most common form and occurs when the throat muscle relax.
  • Central sleep apnea: It occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome: It occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airway narrows and closes as you breathe in. This may lower the level of oxygen in the blood. The brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly interrupts the sleep so that the airway can reopen, snorting, choking or gasping sounds can be experienced and this pattern can repeat itself 5 to 30 times or more each hour, all night long. These disruptions impair the ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep.

Causes of central sleep apnea:

Central sleep apnea is a less common form of sleep apnea that occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles.

Risk factors:

Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

  • Excess weight: Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing.
  • A narrowed airway.  Tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged and block the airway, particularly in children with sleep apnea
  • Family history. If any family member suffers with sleep apnea, it may increase the risk to have it.
  • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
  • Smoking.  Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.

Central sleep apnea

  • Being older. Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
  • Heart disorders. People with congestive heart failure are more at risk of central sleep apnea.
  • Using narcotic pain medications. Opioid medications can increase the risk of central sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition that can cause:

  • Daytime fatigue: It is  impossible to have normal and restful sleep when repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea occur
  • High blood pressure or heart problems. Increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system can be cause by sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea
  • Type 2 diabetes. People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can interrupt partners’ sleep and eventually compromise relationships.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can also have adverse effects on a person’s oral and dental health.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is the mouth washes away food debris, neutralizes acids caused by bacteria. Sleep Apnea can dry out the mouth that can lead to oral bacterial infection, bad breath and other dental problems.

Teeth Grinding

People who suffer from sleep apnea also have a tendency to grind their teeth while they sleep. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can damage the enamel, weakens them and cause tooth decay.

Tooth Loss

When left untreated for an extended period, sleep apnea can dry out the sockets of your teeth. This, when coupled with teeth grinding, can loosen and cause tooth loss over time.

Therapies

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It is a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask placed over the nose that will keep open the airway.
  • Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). They are small, single-use devices that placed over each nostril that allow air to move freely in and out.
  • Oral appliances. They are designed to keep the throat open by bringing the jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.

Several devices are available from treatments. It’s always recommended to talk with the physician to properly diagnosed and treat any sleep related disorder.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://medlineplus.org

https://sleepfoundation.org

https://www.sleepapnea.org

Dental “Myth Busters”

Becky RDH

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.  

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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/