What Causes White Spots on Teeth?

Lacee Hogle, RDH

What causes white spots on teeth and how do I get rid of them?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed irregular chalky white patches on your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common concern for many patients. There are several possible causes for white spots on teeth including dental fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia, poor dental hygiene, and eating too many acidic or sugary foods. There are also many ways to treat white spots including enamel microabrasion, teeth whitening, dental veneers, MI paste, and composite resins. In this article, we will elaborate on the possible causes for white spots and the different ways we can treat it.

CAUSES

Dental Fluorosis– Fluorosis is caused by ingesting large amounts of fluoride while the permanent teeth are still forming but have yet to erupt. A major cause of fluorosis is the inappropriate use of fluoride containing products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses. In addition, fluorosis can be caused by a high level of fluoride in the drinking water. A mild form of fluorosis is characterized by small, opaque, white areas scattered irregularly over the tooth.

Enamel Hypoplasia – Hypoplasia can be either a distinct spot on a tooth (sometimes called Turner’s tooth, which might have been caused by trauma or other unknown disturbance to the area during the mineralization of that tooth), or diffuse streaks or cloudy opacities on all the teeth which was some kind of systemic disturbance over a long period of time. Hypoplasia also results from nutritional deficiencies, high fever and medicinal side effects while the tooth is forming.

Poor oral Hygiene– Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause in the formation of white spot lesions. The adherence of plaque to the enamel surface is what initiates the decalcification process. In a matter of four weeks, chalky white spots could develop. Fortunately, this is easily prevented just by brushing and flossing daily.

Eating too many acidic or sugary foods– Another thing that can cause you to get white spots on your teeth is having too many acidic foods such as sour candy and lemons. Acidic drinks, such as lemonade, can also cause white spots. These acidic foods and drinks will work to remove the enamel on your teeth which will result in white spots.

 

TREATMENTS

Dental Veneers– A dental veneer is a thin, protective covering that attaches to the front surface of a person’s tooth. A veneer can conceal white spots and other blemishes very effectively.

Remineralization/MI Paste– MI Paste is a product that restores the minerals that cause the white spots.

Composite restoration– The white spots on your teeth sometimes sink below the surface of the enamel creating a sunken area. If this happens, then a composite restoration is a way to deal with the problem. Composite restoration is dental procedure that uses a special type of resin.  The resin is applied to your teeth over the white spots. The resin can be colored to match the rest of the teeth.

Teeth whitening– Whitening or bleaching teeth can help to reduce the appearance of white spots.

Enamel Microabrasion– This procedure involves gently removing a thin layer of surface enamel. This professional treatment is typically followed by teeth bleaching, which can make the teeth appear more uniform in color.

 

If the white spots have been present since childhood, your white spots are likely due to fluorosis or interruption during the formation of the enamel. If you’re an adult and your just noticing white spots, it’s likely they’re a sign of plaque buildup known and decalcification. Regardless of the cause, treatment options are available. Please discuss this concern with your dentist so that both you and your dentist can determine what treatment is best 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:

https://medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322122.php

http://www.womenshealthymag.com/health/a19971692/white-spots-on-teeth/

http://www.parkavenuedentalfl.com/how-to-get-rid-of-white-spots-on-teeth-after-braces/

https://colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/developmental-disabilities/how-to-get-rid-of-white-spots-on-teeth-1215

What is your Dental Hygienist or Dentist looking for when they do an oral cancer screening?

Maria Iavarone, RDH

What is your Dental Hygienist or Dentist looking for when they do an oral cancer screening?

Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells that invade and cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancers start in the mouth and the throat. Oral cancer comes in many forms and there are several different types of oral cancer. As a dental hygienist, we are not only cleaning teeth, but we are also checking for any abnormalities in the mouth and the surrounding areas. The dentist also screens for oral cancer when they come in to do the examination. A dentist cannot diagnose oral cancer, but screening for oral cancer is a crucial part of their job. The dentist will address any suspicious-looking areas. If a suspicious lesion is found, the dentist may request to reexamine you in about 1-2 weeks if the area looks like it could possibly heal. However, they may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and to have a biopsy done. The biopsy is necessary to confirm that the lesion is actually cancerous. It’s estimated that approximately 51,540 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer and cancers of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue this year (ADA, 2018).

Visual Oral Cancer Screening

With our visual oral cancer screening we typically have you stick out your tongue as far as you can so we can inspect the back of the throat and the back of the tongue. We will check the lateral borders of the tongue, as well as, underneath the tongue and the floor of the mouth. We will also look at and palpate the inner lining of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the gums and around the lips, feeling for any irregularities. We will then feel around the neck and under the jaw for any lumps or enlarged lymph nodes.

Advanced Oral Cancer Screening

We can also do a more advanced oral cancer screening in the dental office using fluorescence technology. Fluorescence technology can detect cancerous or precancerous lesions that may not be noticeable to the naked eye. Your dentist may have the VELscope or Identafi 3000 in their office. These tools allow for distinction between normal and abnormal tissue. Under these lights abnormal tissue will appear dark brown or black and normal tissue will appear green or blue dependent upon which fluorescence-based technique your dentist is using. Having an exam done with fluorescence-based technology can help with early detection, which in turn can increase your survival rate.

What we are looking for when we do a visual oral cancer screening?

-Any red or white patches

-A sore that does not heal or bleeds easily

-A lump or a thick or hard spot

-A roughened or crusted area

Some other symptoms of oral cancer that should be shared with your dental professional:

-Pain while swallowing or chewing

-Difficulty swallowing or chewing

-Jaw pain or stiffness

-Loose teeth for no apparent reason

-Changes in the way your teeth fit together

-A sore throat that won’t go away

-A feeling like there is something stuck in your throat

-Hoarseness

You may be at increased risk of developing oral cancer if you:

-Use or have used tobacco products

-Consume alcohol heavily

-Have HPV

-Are exposed to sunlight on a regular basis for a prolonged amount of time

-Have poor nutrition, having a diet low in fruits and vegetables

Prevention:

-Stop using tobacco products

-Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

-Wear UV protection

-Eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables

-Inspect your own mouth for sores on a regular basis

-See your dentist regularly for check ups

-Do an advanced oral cancer screening with your dentist

Inspecting your own mouth for lumps or sores is a great way to be proactive. Schedule an exam with your dental office as soon as possible if you are concerned. Even with inspecting your own mouth, some cancers can be difficult to see on your own. Most cancers are found at a late stage which lowers the survival rate. It is important to see your dental hygienist and dentist for regular continuing care every 3-6 months, not only for good oral health, but to be monitored for oral cancer as well. Early detection is key. Ask your dental professional to perform an oral cancer exam and about using fluorescence technology to detect early signs of cancer.

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.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/Dental_Patient_0510.pdf?la=en

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mouth-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20350997

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/oral-cancer-slideshow

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322215446_An_update_on_light-based_technologies_and_fluorescent_imaging_in_oral_cancer_detection/fulltext/5a4c2e81a6fdcc3e99cf6da1/322215446_An_update_on_light-based_technologies_and_fluorescent_imaging_in_oral_cancer_detection.pdf?origin=publication_detail

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-cancer#1

Teeth Whitening

Ruth Jones, RDH

Teeth Whitening

When asked what could improve their smile, most adults say “whiter teeth”. It’s no wonder there are so many whitening options on the market today! The most basic and important way to have white teeth is using proper oral hygiene including brushing two times a day for two minutes and cleaning between the teeth (like flossing) at least once a day. But because we are constantly eating and drinking foods that leave strain on our teeth, we may want to add an extra step for whiter teeth. From something as simple as a specific toothpaste to something that will give great results like professional whitening in the dental office, there’s a wide range of approaches. To understand the best option for you, we’ll look at how whitening products work starting with the simplest method and move towards methods with the most noticeable results.

Whitening Toothpastes

Over-the-counter toothpastes work using a mechanical action rather than chemical. They remove surface stain with safe but abrasive ingredients such as silica and Calcium Pyrophosphate. There is no “bleaching” agent or active ingredients for whitening the teeth. These are great to use on a regular basis for people who build up stain due to coffee and tea.

Charcoal toothpastes have been trending in recent years. These should be used with caution as there is very little research on their efficacy and safety.

The other methods for whitening work by chemical action to whiten deeper into the teeth rather than just the surface. These methods will use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the whitening agent. Carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, meaning it’s a slower release and usually left on the teeth longer and will be in higher concentrations.

White Strips

White strips are disposable plastic coated with whitening gel. They contain hydrogen peroxide. Each product will have specific instructions but usually are recommended to be worn 30-60 minutes a day for 2-4 weeks.

Whitening Trays with Gel

Whitening gels come in either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide and in all different concentrations. The benefit of using gel is that you will have custom trays made that will fit more comfortably than a plastic strip and you can use them for several years! You can get gel refills as needed. Like the strips, depending on which gel you use, it will have specific instructions on how long to wear and use the gel.  Because of the large variety of concentration and ingredients, they may be recommended 30 minutes – 8 hours. It’s important to know the specific instructions for what you’re using. Full results usually take about 2 – 3 weeks.

Professional Whitening in a Dental Office

Having your teeth professionally whitened in a dental office will give the quickest results. The appointment will be 1-2 hours. Usually using a carbamide peroxide in a high concentration, the gel is essentially painted on the teeth and left for 2-3 sessions of 20 minutes. Because the concentration is so much higher is works faster but can also be harmful to your gum tissue which is why it’s only used in a dental office.

The results of each option will vary based on each individual’s oral hygiene habits, foods that they eat, dark drinks such as coffee, tea and soda, and use of tobacco products. With great oral hygiene and minimal dark drinks, results can last up to a year.

Chemical whitening products can cause sensitivity of the teeth which is why it’s important to use as instructed for each product. You can talk with a dental professional about ways to minimize the sensitivity with products such as an anti-sensitivity toothpaste, fluoride or MI paste.

It’s also important to remember that no whitening products will change the color of dental restorations.

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://crest.com/en-us/products/toothpaste/crest-3d-white-radiant-mint-whitening-toothpaste

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/products/toothpaste/ow-high-impact

https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(17)30412-9/fulltext

https://www.opalescence.com/en-us/pages/press-room.aspx?article-name=Hydrogen+Peroxide+vs.+Carbamide+Peroxide:+What%27s+the+Difference%3F

Does my child really need a sports mouthguard?

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

Does my child really need a sports mouthguard?

School is back in session and sporting events.  I get asked by parents, “Should my child wear a sports mouthguard?” We recommend all children wear a mouthguard if they are involved in any sport or activity where they can come in contact with other players or hard surfaces.

A custom fitted mouthguard not only protects the teeth from a sporting accident but also helps to absorb & spread the impact from a blow to the face or mouth.

Several types of injuries can happen when mouthguards are not being worn. Some of these injuries include teeth which have been cleanly knocked out, chipped & broken teeth, fractures or breaks to the jaw & lacerations to the lip, gum or soft tissue. These however only name a few.

In today’s market there are two types of mouthguards available however only one our practice recommends being a custom made & fitted mouthguard. This type of mouthguard will require an appointment with a dentist as plaster dental impressions are required. A custom made mouthguard is far superior than an over the counter mouthguard as it offers a higher level of protection and a far superior fit due to the mouthguard being fabricated from an exact model of your teeth. A custom fitted mouthguard takes 3-7 days to be made.  You can pick your color of mouthguard to match your school colors.

The second type of mouthguard available is an over the counter mouthguard also known as a boil & bite mouthguard. These are stock mouthguards that do not require fitting by a dentist. This type of mouthguard is placed in hot water and is then self-fitted by biting into it. While a boil and bite mouthguard may be less expensive it is less expensive for a reason. Do not be fooled into thinking it offers you the same level of protection as a custom fitted mouthguard as it does not. A boil and bite mouthguard has a habit of dislodging and not fitting properly which is something I would think most of you would want to avoid during a sporting match.

In conclusion, it definitely pays to invest in a custom fitted mouthguard as the cost of an injury to the teeth or jaw far exceeds the cost of the mouthguard.  Please call our office and we can get you scheduled.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Source:

www.ada.org

www.rdhmag.com

www.rdxsports.com

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

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/

TOOTHBRUSH CARE AND MAINTENANCE

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

TOOTHBRUSH CARE AND MAINTENANCE

In order to maintain a healthy mouth, one must use a clean toothbrush.  Toothbrushing plays a major role in your personal oral hygiene care. When brushing, it is important that you use a clean and functional toothbrush.  Toothbrush bristles can harbor harmful bacteria that can be damaging to our oral health.

REPLACING

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The same rules apply to both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads. Many types of bacteria can be found on toothbrush bristles, these bacteria can continue to multiply over time potentially causing harm to our mouths. Toothbrush bristles also break down over time causing the bristles to fan out, fray, or simply fall out.  When your toothbrush bristles break down the toothbrush becomes less effective, making it harder to clean your mouth properly. If you or any member of the family become sick or gets an infection in the mouth, it is important to replace yours or their toothbrush immediately to be prevent that harmful bacteria from spreading or re-infecting you or that person. In order to prevent cross contamination make sure you do not share toothbrushes for any reason.

CLEANING

After brushing your teeth it is important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove any additional toothpaste, bacteria, and saliva. Germs can hide in your toothbrush bristles and lead to oral infections of not properly cleaned.

STORING

After cleaning your toothbrush, it is very important to allow your toothbrush time to thoroughly dry between usages. Designate an area for your toothbrush to dry. Many toothbrush storage containers are available that prop your toothbrush upright and allow the toothbrush to not touch anything else while drying. When traveling, it is just as important to allow your toothbrush to dry between usages. Keeping the toothbrush bristles covered while storing it within your other items during travel is important as well. Small toothbrush storage cases are available at almost all pharmacies and grocery stores. Just make sure the toothbrush is fully dry before storing it in its case.

QUICK REVIEW:

  • Do not share toothbrushes
  • Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use
  • Leave your toothbrush in an open area to dry after each use
  • Discard your toothbrush if you become sick or get any dental infections
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months

 

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.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/statement-on-toothbrush-care-cleaning-storage-and-

 

Sensitive Teeth

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Lacee Hogle, RDH

Sensitive Teeth

Do you avoid drinking hot and cold liquids or avoid eating sweet and sour foods because you know it will cause discomfort? If so, it may be time to discuss this concern with your dentist. In order for your dentist to treat the sensitivity, your dentist must determine the cause.

Possible causes include:
Recession
Gum disease
Tooth Decay (cavities)
Fractured teeth
Worn fillings

To help you better understand why your teeth may be sensitive, first you must understand the anatomy of a tooth. In a healthy tooth, a layer of enamel protects the crown of your tooth- the part above your gumline. That protective layer is not supplied by nerves; therefore, you will not feel discomfort when your enamel is exposed to anything that is hot or cold. Under the gumline there is a layer called cementum that protects the root of the tooth. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is
dentin. Dentin is supplied by nerves and therefore will cause discomfort if exposed to anything hot or cold. Now that you understand the anatomy of a tooth, lets discuss ways we can help relieve or prevent tooth sensitivity.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to recession, your dentist may recommend sensitive toothpaste. Also, your dentist may recommend a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse. In addition, the doctor may ask you to avoid drinking acidic liquids. As mentioned before, when you have recession, dentin is exposed. Dentin has holes called dentinal tubules. If we are able to occlude the holes with a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse, your sensitivity will subside. Both of these approaches are conservative therefore you won’t receive immediate relief. It may take a few weeks before you start to
feel a difference.

Another option to help with discomfort is to have a gum graft performed. Gum grafts include removing tissue from the roof of your mouth and placing the tissue over the dentin. This is somewhat of an aggressive approach to relieving tooth sensitivity but if a conservative approach is not sufficient, a gum graft is a great option. Also, in some cases, placing a composite filling over the dentin is an option.

Now let’s discuss ways to prevent recession. Studies show that you use a lot more pressure with a manual toothbrush than you do with an electric toothbrush. So yes, if you are heavy handed and you tend to use a lot of pressure while brushing, an electric toothbrush would be a good investment. If you’re opposed to purchasing an electric toothbrush, try holding your manual toothbrush with just a few fingers instead of your whole fist. It’s almost impossible to apply a lot of pressure when you’re using a
few fingers to hold the toothbrush handle. Also, please be aware that most people tend to have recession on the teeth that they brush first. Everyone tends to use a lot of pressure when they first start to brush their teeth. So switch it up, start off by brushing the teeth that you typically brush last.

If your doctor believes that your discomfort is due to gum disease, the approach is the same as mentioned above. You’re still dealing with recession, it’s just the recession was not due to brushing too aggressively, it was due to gum disease. Make sure the gum disease is addressed by having a “deep cleaning” performed. A deep cleaning will create a healthy oral environment which will then help prevent further recession. Once the gum disease has been addressed, follow the simple steps that we discussed previously.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to decay, a filling, inlay or crown can help relieve the sensitivity. If you have a large cavity, a root canal treatment may need to be performed.

If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to a cracked tooth, a crown typically will relieve the discomfort. In some rare cases, the crack will be below the gumline and unfortunately the only option at that point is to pull the tooth.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. It is important to brush and floss your teeth daily. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

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.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-sensitvity
hhtp://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sensitive-teeth

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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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.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/2018/05_May/Features/Understanding_the_New_Blood_Pressure_Guidelines.aspx

https://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-37/issue-1/contents/10-reasons-why-we-must-take-patients-blood-pressure.html