7/16/2017 4:11:48 PM
Amanda Orvis, RDH
It’s that time of year again; our children are starting back to school and getting back into sports. Does your child play sports? Does your child wear an athletic mouthguard? Can you picture your child with a missing permanent tooth? It is very possible that if your child is in a contact sport or activity, that one or more of their teeth could become loose, become fractured, or even be knocked out from a direct impact to their mouth. A hit to the jaw can put a tremendous amount of pressure on our teeth which can cause traumatic damage to our smiles. Maybe we can help answer questions you may have about the pros and cons of athletic mouthguards.
A mouthguard is like a shock absorber, it takes away the brunt of the force upon impact. If you can diffuse the blow and evenly distribute the pressure through use of the mouthguard, then you can reduce the chances of injury and/or tooth loss.
Boil-and-Bite mouthguards can be bought through your local pharmacy or sporting goods store. These mouthguards can be formed to your teeth simply by boiling the plastic and biting down into the mouthguard while it is still warm.
Pros: Affordable, easy to use, and easily replaceable if your teeth are changing in position or shape (due to orthodontics or dental work).
Cons: Bulky, can become loose over time and need to be replaced, hard to speak while wearing it, and hard to disinfect as heat can distort the fit of the mouthguard.
Custom fit mouthguards can be made through your dental office. Dental impressions are taken to form models of your teeth, which are then used to fabricate the mouthguard specifically fit to your teeth.
Pros: Slimmer fit, fits very snuggly around your teeth and does not generally loosen with repeated use, easier to speak with, easily disinfected, and lasts significantly longer than other mouthguards.
Cons: More expensive than a boil-and-bite mouthguard, and they can take some time to receive the mouthguard due to the fabrication process.
There are several types, brands, custom and non-custom mouthguards to choose from, but no matter what type you choose always remember to remind your athlete to wear it. It cannot protect them if it is not being worn. Broken teeth or jaw damage can have lasting effects. Please call our office if you have any questions regarding mouthguards.
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6/26/2017 5:18:24 PM
Cortney Davis, RDH
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to the lack of saliva present in your mouth. Individuals that have a dry mouth don’t have enough saliva to keep their mouth moist. Saliva is important because it is a person’s primary defense against tooth decay and helps maintain the health of hard and soft tissue in the mouth. Saliva also is important because it washes away small food particles and debris that would sit on the teeth, has shown to protect against gum disease, helps carry minerals that help rebuild he enamel surfaces of teeth, and can also help neutralize acids in the mouth during and after eating.
What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many non-prescription and prescription drugs including drugs to treat anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, depression, etc.. Another common cause of dry mouth is side effects from certain medical treatments. Many people undergoing radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy have damage to the salivary glands and it reduces the amount of saliva produced. The last common cause of dry mouth is from side effects from infections and diseases including but not limited to Sjorgrens Syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.
Common symptoms of dry mouth include; frequent thirst, a sticky dry feeling in the mouth, problems speaking, chewing and swallowing, bad breath, and a dry red tongue.
If you have dry mouth make sure you drink plenty of water every day to help stimulate saliva flow, talk to your healthcare provider to find the cause of your dry mouth and what your treatment options are, keep up good dental care by brushing and flossing and going to your dentist for routine check-ups, try over-the-counter saliva substitute’s containing xylitol, and try mouth washes and toothpaste designed for dry mouth such as Biotene.
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6/12/2017 6:34:08 PM
Sharma Mulqueen, RDH
How do I know which Toothpaste to pick?
When it comes to choosing toothpaste, sometimes it seems like your options are endless. On the drugstore shelves you’ll see dozens of varieties that claim to whiten your teeth, decrease tooth sensitivity, prevent cavities, heal your gums, protect against tartar—even all of the above! But toothpaste doesn’t just polish teeth; it also removes the bacteria that cause dental plaque and bad breath, so it’s important select a brand that is approved by the American Dental Association. Since everyone has different needs, here are some tips that will help you choose a toothpaste to meet your individual needs.
Types of Toothpaste
- Anti-cavity: This type of toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride not only helps to prevent decay, it also actively strengthens tooth enamel.
- Anti-gingivitis: If have tender, swollen gums that bleed when you irritate them, this is probably an early sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps fight oral bacteria and restore gum health, preventing more serious gum disease.
- Desensitizing: If your teeth hurt when you consume things like ice cream or cold drinks, this toothpaste can help you. It will provide relief by blocking the tooth’s pain signal to the nerve so that sharp changes in temperature aren’t so painful.
- Tartar-control: This toothpaste will help control tartar. However, the best way to remove tartar is by scheduling a professional dental cleaning with your Dental Hygienist.
- Whitening: This toothpaste contains chemicals that are able to help whiten and brighten tooth enamel, thus maintaining the natural color of your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive this is a toothpaste you want to avoid.
- Children’s: Fluoride or Fluoride free? When making this decision it is important that you are aware if your child is swallowing the toothpaste. If they have not learned to spit it out, stick with a non Fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a great benefit for children as it helps remineralize teeth and prevent tooth decay.
It is recommended that everyone brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss daily. You only need a pea size amount of toothpaste. Today there is toothpaste to meet the oral needs of everyone. But while all of the products on the shelf might seem the same, with a little help from your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, you can determine which is right for you. It is important to schedule dental checkups and professional cleanings twice a year to prevent tooth sensitivity, gum disease, tartar buildup, and tooth decay. We hope to see you soon in one of your dental offices.
5/28/2017 3:00:18 PM
Ann Clark, RDH
To Floss or Not to Floss?
Since the Feds removed flossing from their dietary guidelines I still get a lot of patients asking if they really need to floss. The answer is simple: only the floss the teeth you wish to keep. How did something so basic and assuredly easy to understand become the subject of debate? Does anyone really believe that after years of hearing your hygienists request you to floss that we had it wrong? No. It is one of the most universal recommendations in all of public health.
So, how has this happened? Why would the Federal Government remove a guideline so firmly endorsed by the American Dental Association? The Associated Press reported that the Federal Government removed the recommendation to floss from its dietary guidelines which was first recommended by them in 1979. Long story short: when asked, they reported that the research supporting its effectiveness didn’t meet their standards. Any recommendations recommended in its guidelines must, by law, be based on scientific evidence. They focused on 25 studies over the past decade. They found the evidence to be “weak/very unreliable”. The studies sadly used outdated methods or tested too few subjects. Some lasted only two weeks, too short for a cavity or dental disease to manifest. One, actually tested people after a single use of floss. The research focused on warnings signs like bleeding and inflammation, not dealing with gum disease or cavities. Unfortunately there just hasn’t been any great research done on flossing and it’s effects. There is not only a lack of research done in this area but also it’s actually a difficult subject to produce clear research on for a number of reasons. So, weak scientific evidence and brief duration of studies has gotten us into this mess. When the Associated Press failed to get the research to back their recommendations and kept pursuing it…the Feds gave in and removed it from their latest guideline postings. It’s respectful that they require evidence-based research, and until someone does the work, it just is what it is.
As a dental hygienist of long-standing who sees the difference of a flossed mouth and a non-flossed mouth on a regular basis, I highly recommend flossing. Regular flossers can attest to changes in their oral health for the better. 24 hours a day we build a fuzzy film of plaque bacteria in the mouth. Above the gumline we can clear them with a toothbrush on 3 of the 5 sides of your tooth. These bacteria also grow below the gumline where the toothbrush can not reach. Then, let’s say you have deeper pocket depths, places for bacteria to hide? And what about the 2 sides of the tooth where teeth touch? How will you get those cleaned? What small, flexible aide would make sense to use under the tissues to remove that thicker, smelly film? Unremoved plaque is known to cause redness and inflammation. Unremoved debris after a period of time lets those conditions fester away eventually eating its way to the bone and subsequently: causing boneloss…the root of periodontal disease.
The American Dental Association still recommends that you floss. Regular flossers can attest to changes in their gum health and tooth health. There are just common sense benefits to flossing.
Questions that I have heard:
-Can I just use my water pick? ( Or water flosser?) This is another great aide but does not replace floss. Plain and simple the bacteria on your tooth above the gumline are mechanically disrupted by the motion of the toothbrush. You need the same between the teeth and below the gumline. Floss is small enough to go under the gum and extend down the side of the tooth, bend into a “C” shape, stay tight against the tooth structure and physically disrupt the plaque in it’s formation. Also the very small spot where the 2 sides of your tooth touch together is usually the exact spot where cavities form. The only way to clean it?? Yes! With floss. Always floss in conjunction with this great aide.
-Do I still have to floss? Lack of strong evidence does not equal lack of effectiveness.
The dept. of Health and Human Services reaffirms the importance of floss in an August 4th statement to the ADA. “Flossing is an important oral hygiene procedure. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build-up on the tooth and along the gumline. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing and cleaning between the teeth (with aides) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.”
5/14/2017 3:00:43 PM
Andra Mahoney BS RDH
Fluoride: It’s Not Just for Kids
When someone says fluoride, most of us automatically think children. While it is true that fluoride is an important part of our children’s oral health, it is also a necessity for adults as well. Adults, just like children, get cavities. So adults, just like children, should receive fluoride. In fact, there are many age related problems that increase our need for fluoride. Some examples include:
- Eating disorders
- Drug or Alcohol abuse
- Lack of regular professional dental care
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Exposed root surfaces of teeth, recession
- Decreased salivary flow, resulting in dry mouth
- Poor diet
- Existing fillings
- Tooth enamel defects
- Undergoing head and neck radiation therapy
I’d like to address recession and dry mouth specifically, since those are very common problems.
Recession is when the gums have receded below the crown of the tooth, exposing the root to the tooth.
This creates two main problems. First, the roots of the teeth do not have enamel, they are covered by cementum.
As we all know, enamel is the hard material that protects the surface of the tooth. Enamel is 70 times stronger than cementum. This, unfortunately, means that the roots of the teeth are more prone to decay than the crowns of the teeth. The best recommendation for recession and the prevention of decay is fluoride. Make sure you are using a soft bristled brush with soft brushing (to prevent further recession) in combination with fluoride toothpaste. Also, you may received fluoride treatments at your dental appointments. The most beneficial would be fluoride varnish. Your hygienist is able to apply this for you at each appointment. The varnish coats the tooth in a protective layer of fluoride to aid in the prevention of decay.
The second problem that recession creates is sensitivity. When the root is exposed tiny little tubules open up on the tooth and the chances for sensitivity increase. This makes eating or drinking cold or sweet things painful. You will often notice a sharp zing when the area of recession comes in contact with cold or sweet items. The best recommendation for sensitivity due to recession is fluoride. Sensitivity toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, contain an increased amount of fluoride (as opposed to regular toothpaste) to assist in the prevention of sensitivity (and decay).
Fluoride varnish is also helpful as it coats the tooth and temporarily closes the tubules decreasing the sensitivity.
The last topic that I wanted to address is dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Many adults take medicine and the most common side effect of many medications is dry mouth. A decrease in saliva increases your risk for decay. Saliva is important in washing away bits of food, neutralizing acids created by bacteria, as well as containing minerals that help prevent tooth decay. If you are having problems with dry mouth, try rinsing with a fluoride mouth was or a saliva substitute.
All these reasons and many more show the importance of fluoride use for adults. If you have any other questions about the other problems that fluoride can help with, feel free to make an appointment with us and we’ll answer all your questions!
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Fluoride Treatments in the Dental Office ADA: http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_72.pdf
Can Fluoride Help Adults? Colgate: http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-at-Any-Age/Adults/Adult-Maintenance-and-Care/article/Can-Fluoride-Help-Adults.cvsp
Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm
5/7/2017 7:18:23 PM
Katie Sias, BS RDH
Adverse Effects of Not Replacing Missing Teeth
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, more than 35 million Americans do not have any teeth, and 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth. Tooth loss occurs due to a number of issues such as decay, gum disease, injury, cancer, or wear. Your teeth are designed to work together to help you chew, speak, and smile. There are several tooth replacement options your Dentist may suggest depending on your needs such as implants, bridges, or dentures. However, do you know the risks of not replacing those missing teeth?
When a tooth is extracted or missing, bone loss can occur. The jawbone is preserved through the pressure and stimulation of chewing. When a tooth is missing, the bone resorbs and results in less density and width/height of the bone. Unfortunately, if left untreated for a long amount of time, the bone can start deteriorating around the adjacent teeth as well.
When a tooth is missing, the opposing tooth that is still there can often shift and super-erupt because it does not have a tooth to occlude with. Adjacent teeth can start drifting forward in the place of the missing teeth. These can cause a change in bite that will eventually affect your chewing and lead to more serious side effects.
When your teeth shift out of alignment and your upper and lower jaws do not meet properly, it strains and damages the jaw joint. Muscle soreness may occur as you will tend to favor the other side of your mouth for chewing.
Missing teeth increase the risk of periodontal disease. When teeth shift out of alignment, it makes it harder to properly brush and floss those teeth.
Missing teeth can affect the esthetics of your face. Many people feel less confident about their smile when they have gaps from missing teeth. If you are missing many teeth, the skin around your mouth loses support and will start to droop, which can make you appear older than you are.
Speak and Eat:
Missing teeth can alter the way you speak and eat. Depending on which teeth are missing, it may become difficult to bite and chew certain foods. Often times, you will most likely being overusing the other teeth to compensate for the missing tooth or teeth. You may develop a lisp or change in your ability to clearly pronounce certain works.
Most patients are unaware of the adverse effects of not replacing their missing teeth. Now that you know some of these risks, please consult your Dentist for the best replacement option for you!
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5/1/2017 2:06:23 AM
Lora Cook, RDH
A closer look at tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel is one of the toughest structures of the human body, however it still needs protecting. What exacting is tooth enamel? It is the outer layer of your tooth and the hardest substance in your body. Enamel is translucent and can stain from the food, drinks, smoking and chewing tobacco. Enamel cannot be regrown by our bodies. Once it is chipped cracked or eroded or worn away it cannot be replaced naturally.
Signs of enamel problems.
Darkening: As enamel wears away this can cause the tooth to become darker.
Sensitivity: Your teeth may become hypersensitive to hot, cold, sweets or sour foods.
Notching: There may be notching at the gum line
Cracks and chips: Irregular or jagged tooth surfaces, also fracture lines can appear.
Protecting your enamel.
Custom night guard:
The power of our bite is incredible. Out incisor can have 55 pounds of pressure or biting force, while our molars have 200 pounds of pressure. Clenching and grinding your teeth during times of stress or at night while sleeping experts excess force and wear on your teeth. Over time you can literally grind away your enamel layer. Ask your dentist about a custom night guard to protect your enamel for a lifetime.
MI Paste Plus:
This is not a tooth paste to brush your teeth with. This is a paste to coat your teeth with in order to put minerals back into your enamel to help remineralize the enamel. MI Paste plus contains calcium, phosphate and 900ppm of fluoride.
“MI Paste and MI Paste Plus contain RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP); Casein Phosphopeptide (CPP) are natural occurring molecules which are able to release calcium and phosphate ions and stabilize Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP)”
These minerals helps to strengthen and remineralize the enamel.
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4/24/2017 3:04:03 PM
Lindsay Olsen, RDH
The Truth About Hookah
Myth: Hookah smoke is better for you than cigarette smoke and not addictive.
Reality: Hookah smoke of various fruity flavors, tastes and aromas can be even more harmful than cigarette tobacco smoke. Also, hookah smoke contains four times more nicotine (an addictive drug) than cigarette smoke. Some people can become addicted to nicotine after using any form of tobacco just a few times, this includes hookah.
Myth: Smoking hookah is less harmful than cigarettes because the smoke passes through water, which filters out the chemicals and other carcinogens.
Reality: When hookah passes through water at the base of a hookah pipe it cools the smoke, but does not filter any chemicals out of the smoke. This “cooling” process forces a hookah smoker to inhale twice as deeply as a cigarette smoker, which causes chemicals, cancer causing agents, and other harmful elements to penetrate deeper into the lungs. The charcoal that is uses in hookah pipes adds even more carbon monoxide to the higher levels that already exist in this type of tobacco.
Myth: Smoking hookah is fun, and I only do it socially with friends, its not like I do it every day.
Reality: The reality is 45-60 minutes of hookah smoking is the same as chain smoking 15 cigarettes. Even if you are only smoking hookah for an hour, twice a week, it can lead to nicotine addiction. Something also to consider, when you share the mouthpiece with others you are at risk of getting colds, viruses such as herpes simplex one (cold sores), oral bacterial infections and tuberculosis.
Need help quitting? Speak with your dental hygienist, dentist, or call
1-800-55-66-222, or visit http://www.ashline.org
Want to learn more? Visit us at
Asotra, Kamlesh. Hooked on Hookah? What You Don’t Know Can Kill You. Burning Issues: Tobacco’s Hottest Topics. Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Newsletter 7, no 3 (2005) 1-10.
4/16/2017 3:00:42 PM
Why do I need “x-rays” today?
Many patients are concerned about radiograph frequencies, fearing they are receiving too much radiation. While too much radiation is not good, I want to clarify what is too much and share some important facts about the purpose and benefits of radiographs.
Why do we need to take radiographs?
Radiographs can help dental professionals evaluate and diagnose many oral diseases and conditions. Radiographs can be used to evaluate cavities, bone levels, calculus deposits, abscesses, root apices, wisdom teeth, cysts, sinuses, growths, foreign objects, jaw joints, and/or jaw fractures. Much of what goes on in the mouth is not viewable without a radiograph. In most cases, treating patients without radiographs would be performing below the standard of care. Exceptions can be made in certain circumstances regarding pregnancy or patients who have undergone extensive radiation treatment for other reasons.
How often should radiographs be taken?
Radiograph frequencies are recommended by the American Dental Association. A “full set” of radiographs is generally 18-20 images, depending on the office. A full set is usually taken at a patient’s initial visit to the office and then every 3-5 years after. Panoramic radiographs are helpful in assessing when/if wisdom teeth need to be removed and in viewing eruption of permanent teeth in children. In these cases the dentist uses his/her clinical judgment to determine if a panoramic radiograph is necessary. “Check-up” radiographs usually consist of bitewings and anterior peri-apical radiographs. Frequency of these radiographs will vary from patient to patient but can be prescribed anywhere between 6 months and 36 months. Radiograph frequency is prescribed by the dentist based on a patient’s risk of caries or history of caries.
Am I getting too much radiation?
On average, Americans receive a radiation dose of about 0.62 rem (620 millirem) each year. We live in a radioactive world. Radiation is part of the environment and some types can’t be avoided. These include the air around us, cosmic rays, and the Earth itself. About half of our radiation dose comes from these sources. The other half of our yearly dose comes from man-made radiation sources that can include medical, commercial, and industrial sources. Medical radiographic imaging causes more radiation than dental radiographs. One dental intraoral radiograph has a radiation dose of about 0.005 rem. Similarly, a full set of radiographs at a dental office has the same amount of radiation as flying roundtrip from L.A. to New York. In this day and age many dental offices are using digital equipment to process radiographs. Digital imaging emits even less radiation (as much as 80% less) while still producing diagnostic images.
As dental professionals we are aware that patient’s are exposed to radiation. We take proper precautions and cover the neck, thyroid, and chest with a lead apron. We also make sure our radiology equipment has regular checks to ensure it is functioning properly. Radiographs are prescribed with the patient’s best interest at heart.
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4/10/2017 2:23:01 AM
Oral Cancer Awareness
- Oral cancer is on the rise.
- One person an hour dies from oral cancer.
- The most common risk factors for oral cancer are HPV-16 (Human Papilloma Virus- Version 16), Tobacco, and alcohol.
- In its early stages oral cancer can be painless and often go unnoticed to the patient. The good news is that your dentist can often see and feel changes in your tissue, or notice irregular patterns in the early stages of oral cancer.
- If caught in its early stages, oral cancer has a survival rate of 80-90%.
- The most common sites for oral cancer are the sides or base of the tongue, and the floor of the mouth.
- There are several different types of oral cancer. The most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma.
- Common symptoms of oral cancer can include:
- A sore that does not heal
- Pain in the mouth that does not go away
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
- Swelling, lump, or mass in the neck or jaw
If you notice any of these symptoms that do not improve or go away within 10-14 days, please contact our office.
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