11/7/2017 4:53:25 AM
Lora Cook, RDH
Six Sign You Need to See a Dentist
Life is so busy, between work, family, and social functions it is hard to fit everything in. Especially that annoying sixth month check up and cleaning. For some people who have had problems with their bone and gum tissue around the teeth more frequent cleanings are needed. However with all that we have to juggle these days regular check ups are sometimes put off too long. When nothing hurts it is all too easy to put a dental check up on the back burner for ‘when we have time’. Lets all face it, we will never feel like we have more time and delaying dental care and especially routine cleanings and check ups will only make the problem worse. Sometimes a problem that we never knew we had silently brewing. Here are five signs that indicate you need to see your dentist.
Inflamed Gums: If you notice that your gum tissue bleeds easily, is red, tender and sore. Make an appointment! These may be signs of gingivitis or possibly gum disease. Brushing harder or more frequently will not take care of this problem. You may have build up that cannot be removed by your toothbrush or floss at home. Left untreated this may lead to tooth loss.
White Spots on Teeth: The white spots on the enamel are the first signs of tooth decay. Decay or a cavity is the break down of the enamel caused by bacteria that weakens the enamel then erodes it away.
Temperature Sensitivity: This can be caused by different possibilities. A cavity can cause sensitivity to hot or cold. Also root sensitivity; this is when the gum tissue recedes down the root of the tooth exposing the root surface that should normally be covered by your gum tissue. Delaying an exam and treatment will only lead to more extensive problems if you are experiencing temperature sensitivity.
Color Changes in Your Mouth: If you have noticed any color changes to the tissue in your mouth see your dentist right away. Always do a little visual inspection after you brush your teeth. Look at your palate. Inside your cheeks, on top and underneath your tongue. Also the back of your throat. Any color changes, lumps or bumps in the tissue should be looked at by your dentist right away.
Headaches: If you are experiencing frequent headaches especially when you first wake up this may be a sign that you are clenching or grinding your teeth. This will cause irreversible damage to your teeth. Your dentist might recommend a custom night guard, this can alleviate your headaches and take that stress off of your jaw joint at night while your sleep.
Chronic Bad Breath: May be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis. The sooner either of these can be diagnosed and treated the healthier your mouth will be and the less likely that this will lead to tooth loss.
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10/29/2017 7:50:56 PM
Amanda Orvis, RDH
FREQUENTLY ASKED FLOSSING QUESTIONS
WHY SHOULD WE FLOSS?
It takes around 24 hours for plaque to form in our mouths, brushing twice daily and flossing once daily disrupts this plaque buildup. Floss goes between our teeth to reach those areas that are not effectively cleaned with our toothbrushes. Floss also goes below the gumline to break up those pesky bacteria that cause gum disease. Without flossing we are only cleaning about 60% of our tooth structure, the other 40% is between our teeth where our toothbrush bristles cannot get to.
HOW TO FLOSS
• Pull about 18 to 24 inches of floss from your floss dispenser, or as I always say, “pull an arm’s length of floss out.”
• Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, and use your thumb and/or index fingers to guide your floss.
• Hold about an inch of floss at a time. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap the floss in a C-shape around one tooth at a time. Floss up and down against the side of each tooth. Hold the floss tautly to maintain the proper form. As you move to another tooth rotate the floss on your fingers so that you are using a new fresh inch of floss between each tooth.
• Don’t skip the back side of the last tooth in your mouth. Even though there is not another tooth touching the back side of that last tooth, there is still a pocket of tissue that can hide bacteria.
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO FLOSS?
The average adult has 28 teeth in their mouth and each tooth takes about 4 seconds to floss. So keeping that in mind it should take at least 2 minutes to floss the entire mouth.
CAN FLOSS BE HARMFUL?
Flossing incorrectly can be harmful to your oral health. If you floss too vigorously or too quickly you can actually slice into your gum tissue. Try to make the C-shape as mentioned above and hug the side of each individual tooth when flossing.
CAN I FLOSS A FILLING OR CROWN?
Yes, you can floss around fillings and crowns. Both of these restorations are considered permanent in your mouth. They require flossing just like our natural teeth, to disrupt the plaque that can accumulate around them.
WHY AM I BLEEDING WHEN I FLOSS?
If you are flossing too aggressively or incorrectly you can cause bleeding. Most often bleeding is a sign of gum tissue inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Flossing correctly and flossing more often can help to decrease the amount of bleeding. In some occasions bleeding can be a sign of periodontitis, which is a form of gum disease that cannot be resolved without treatment from your dentist or dental hygienist.
DOES A WATERPIK TAKE THE PLACE OF FLOSS?
No, flossing gets below the gumline where a Waterpik cannot. Waterpiks are great adjunctive instruments in addition to flossing, to remove large pieces of debris as well as irrigate above the gumline.
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10/23/2017 3:13:09 AM
Lacee Hogle RDH
How can medications effect my mouth in a negative way? Medications are a necessity in many people’s lives. Unfortunately almost all medications have side effects and one of the most common side effects is dry mouth. Even though dry mouth, or xerostomia (zeer-o-stoe-me-uh), makes it uncomfortable to talk and eat, more importantly it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva is the number one protector in the mouth. Not only does it coat and lubricate the tissue in the mouth, it also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and washes away food debris and plaque. It’s obvious that you can’t discontinue taking medications because it causes dry mouth, but you can start making a few changes in your life that will not only help you cope with dry mouth but will also help you create a healthier environment in your mouth.
Here are some things you can do to help relieve dryness and to keep your mouth healthy:
• Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. Look for products that contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that can help prevent cavities.
• Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.
• Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.
• Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.
• Sip water throughout the day.
• Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes
• Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Mouthwash, which also offer protection against tooth decay.
• Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.
• Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
• Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.
• Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks because they increase your risk of tooth decay.
• Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice a day— ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.
• Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime. Occasionally a custom-fit fluoride applicator (made by your dentist) can make this more effective.
• Visit your dentist at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.
So don’t get discouraged if you have dry mouth. As you can see, there are many things that will help you cope with dry mouth. But remember, the key to preventing decay, especially with dry mouth, is to brush and floss daily and to expose your teeth to fluoride at least twice a day. Using a Fluoride rinse in addition to fluoridated toothpaste is ideal. If you have any concerns or questions regarding dry mouth, make sure to discuss these concerns with your dentist or hygienist.
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10/9/2017 5:27:06 PM
Morgan Johnson, RDH
What is Gum Disease?
You may have heard your Dental Hygienist talk about gum disease at one of your appointments, and been left feeling a bit confused! Hopefully we will answer any questions you may have about it. The first thing to understand is that there are two different kinds of gum disease, also called periodontal disease; one is called “gingivitis” and the other “periodontitis.” We will discuss what causes gum disease, the difference between the two types, and how to treat it!
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The gums can appear red and swollen, and will most likely bleed when brushed or flossed. This is most likely caused by poor oral hygiene habits (not brushing and flossing regularly). But, it could also be caused by other factors such as smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Luckily, this stage is reversible. By brushing for two minutes morning and night, flossing at least once a day, and making sure you are visiting your dental hygienist regularly, this disease can be reversed!
Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease, and occurs when gingivitis has gone untreated. The plaque eventually spreads below the gum line and irritates the gum tissues. When the bacteria eat away at our gums, deep pockets are formed. The body’s inflammatory response becomes stimulated, which in turn destroys the supporting bone and tissues, which hold our teeth. Without that underlying support system, our teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.
How is gum disease treated?
There are many different treatment options, depending on what stage of gum disease is present. A preventive cleaning, or Prophylaxis, is performed to remove the plaque and tartar build up on a healthy mouth, in order to prevent gum disease. A deep cleaning, or Scaling and Root Planing, is performed on a mouth that has active gum disease. This includes removing plaque and tartar buildup above and deep below the gum line. In addition, we will irrigate the pockets (the space in between your teeth and your gums) with a prescription strength mouth rinse that will help kill bacteria deep in those pockets. If a more extensive treatment is needed, we will often refer you to a Periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.
Hopefully this has been helpful in answering any questions you had about gum disease, and as always, ask us if you have any further questions! We would love to answer them.
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9/25/2017 2:44:46 PM
Patti Peters-Sittner, RDH
“Turn your head right a little.” “Now turn a little to the left.” “Can you bring your chin down some?” “Now I need you to bring your chin up.”
Have you ever wondered why during a dental visit you find yourself maneuvering your head and neck around so much? It’s all because of ergonomics.
What is ergonomics?
According to Merriam-Webster, “ergonomics is an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely”.
You are probably wondering, why do I need to know this when I go to the dentist? Poor ergonomics can lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
What is a musculoskeletal disorder (MSDs)?
Contemporary Clinical Dentistry states musculoskeletal disorders are disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, or spinal discs which can also be work-related. Examples of MSDs from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are: carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries (affects the shoulder), epicondylitis (affects the elbow), trigger finger; and muscle strains and low back injuries which are very common in the dental profession.
How do work-related musculoskeletal disorders occur?
The International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry states work-related musculoskeletal disorders occur in jobs that “require repetitive, forceful or prolonged exertions of the hands; frequent or heavy lifting, pushing or pulling, or carrying of heavy objects and prolonged awkward postures”. Now you might putting two and two together on how this relates to your favorite dentist, hygienist, dental assistant or front office staff at Alameda Dental Care. When your clinician is asking you to turn your head in a different direction, it helps us with proper ergonomics in order to avoid awkward positions and potential work-related MSDs. Musculoskeletal disorders don’t just affect dental professionals, OSHA lists professions in industries such as construction, food processing, firefighting, office jobs, healthcare, transportation, and warehousing all as professions with higher-risk for MSDs. Did you know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says work-related MSDS are the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time?
What can I do to improve my ergonomics and prevent potential musculoskeletal disorders?
The answer is simple: clean between your teeth daily with floss and brush at least twice a day for two minutes with an electric toothbrush! Okay, so that’s not the real answer but it would be great if you started or continued those healthy habits to maintain a healthier mouth which leads to a heathier you. Here are a few tips from Safety & Health magazine to help avoid ergonomic issues and keep your body working smoothly:
1) Ensure your chair is adjusted properly (whether it is work or home), feet should be touching the ground and make sure there is lower back support as well as arm support
2) Keep items you use regularly close by to avoid stretching unnecessarily
3) Position your wrist so that it is straight when typing on a computer
4) Avoid cradling your phone between your neck and shoulder, use a headset or speaker-phone instead
5) Pay attention to posture and like your momma said “don’t slouch and stand up straight”
9/17/2017 3:00:25 PM
Sharma Mulqueen RDH
Oh goodness, what do I do with my knocked-out tooth?
A knocked-out tooth can be a surprise, but it can be more than that if you don’t take action quickly. A broken or chipped tooth can also constitute a dental emergency, but a knocked-out tooth demands an immediate appointment. The importance of caring for your tooth, handling your tooth after it’s been knocked out and cleaning it is very important to return it to its original position.
Handling the Tooth with Care
After you have noticed that one of your teeth has been knocked out of your mouth, the first step is to handle it with care. If you want your dentist to be able to salvage your natural tooth and quickly repair your oral health, you’ll need to handle the knocked-out tooth correctly. Make sure you don’t touch its root and instead handle it by its crown. If you touch the root, you might damage the tooth and minimize your chances of having it placed back in its socket.
Cleaning and Repositioning
If your tooth has been knocked into dirt, mud, covered in blood or the ground in general, it’s a good idea to clean it while you wait to see your emergency dentist. Start by rinsing your dislodged tooth with water. Remember hold it by the crown and avoid using soap to clean your tooth, and don’t dry it off when you’re done cleaning it either. If you replace your tooth quickly, you might be able to salvage it by inserting it into its original socket. Although, inserting it is not always successful, it is recommended to try and place it. If this is not possible, you’ll have to store it safely.
Storing and Visiting the Dentist
When you find yourself in need of emergency dental care but you cannot immediately see your dentist, you should store your tooth in milk or inside your mouth. Call one of our Signature Dental offices to get scheduled with the Dentist as soon as you can to maintain your oral health.
9/10/2017 3:00:44 PM
Arianna Marsden, RDH
Has your hygienist ever recommended that you brush twice daily? I made this recommendation to a patient recently, and he informed me that because he brushed his teeth at night, he did not need to brush his teeth in the morning. This patient asked me, “why would I need to brush my teeth in the morning? I didn’t eat anything while I was sleeping, so my teeth are still clean.”
It became apparent to me that this patient had a misunderstanding of how plaque develops on his teeth, and I think that other people may have the same misconception about how plaque forms. This patient and I were able to have an educational conversation about how plaque develops, and my patient was surprised to learn something new at the dentist.
So, first of all, what is plaque? Plaque is the white, fuzzy stuff you feel on your teeth after not cleaning your teeth for a while. This plaque is filled with bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. Seconds after a cleaning, whether from your hygienist or from brushing your own teeth, the plaque starts to come back. It begins as a protein layer of slime that our mouths produce naturally, called the acquired pellicle. Bacteria that are always present in our mouths bind to this pellicle and begin to colonize. When bacteria colonize, they bind together into a film that you can see and feel on our teeth; the white fuzzy stuff we call plaque. This plaque will form whether or not food is eaten. It’s important to remove plaque about once every 12 hours, or twice per day, to help reduce the amount of bacteria present in our mouths, and to prevent cavities and gum disease.
During my conversation with my patient about how plaque is formed, we speculated about why he might have had a misunderstanding about plaque. He asked me, “I thought you were supposed to brush after eating, because the food makes the plaque and the plaque gives you cavities.” Part of this is true; brushing after meals does help to prevent cavities, but not for the reasons he initially thought. The plaque that is already present uses the sugars in the foods we eat, and produces an acid, which is what causes the cavities. By brushing after we eat, we remove the plaque so it doesn’t have the opportunity to produce acid; we also neutralize any acid that may have already been produced, thus preventing cavities. We also discussed that removing, or disrupting plaque about once every twelve hours prevents the colonized plaque from mineralizing into calculus. Calculus is the hard stuff that gets stuck on your teeth that you can’t brush off; it most commonly develops on the tongue side of lower front teeth. This calculus, and the embedded bacteria, are one of the main causes of gum disease. Calculus can’t be removed with a toothbrush, so it’s important to see your hygienist regularly for professional cleanings to remove the calculus deposits which have formed.
When my patient understood why brushing more than once per day would benefit his oral health, he expressed that he would consider brushing twice daily, and we would observe the results of his efforts at his next cleaning appointment. Often times understanding why we do something is half the battle.
8/27/2017 3:00:13 PM
Wendy Parker, RDH
Your Gag Reflex
Gag reflexes are just not fun. There is no other way to put it. We all know they are designed to protect our airway from foreign objects, but why do they have to be so pronounced, especially at the dentist office! Well, here’s a little more about gag reflexes and maybe a few suggestions that will help next time you feel it starting to act up!
The gag reflex is a pharyngeal reflex by the back of your throat which is triggered any time an object touches the roof of your mouth, back of your tongue, tonsils, or back of your throat. It helps us prevent choking and is especially important in infant as they are transitioning from liquid foods to solids, until they’re about 6-7 months old. Some people have have a hypersensitive gag reflex that is triggered quickly anytime something touches the back of the throat or mouth. No one totally understands why some gag reflexes are more than others, but it is believed that people who did not have solid foods introduced to them until after 7 months of age tend to have a more sensitive gag reflex.
If you are one of the lucky few that have a hypersensitive gag reflex try these few tactics next time at the dentist:
- Numbing sprays or gels
- Squeeze your thumb during the procedure. This applies pressure to your palm of your hand that controls the gag reflex.
- Desensitize your tongue by brusing it every day
- Apply salt to the center of your tongue
- Meditation or hum
- Raise one leg slightly – this keeps your mind off what is happening to trigger your reflex
- Listen to music
8/20/2017 10:48:04 AM
Andra Mahoney, BS RDH
Why Do I Need to go to the Dentist?
How often should I get a dental checkup?
Dental health varies from person to person, but if you have a healthy mouth, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a visit to a Dentist one to two times a year. This enables you to get your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis and ensure that any potential problems are identified early.
If you have a history of periodontal disease, then your Hygienist and Dentist will determine the right recall schedule for you. Based on the measurements of your gums, the Hygienist and Dentist will decide if your mouth’s health best fits a 3 month, 4 month, or 6 month visit.
There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.
Why are regular visits important?
Regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable. They also help prevent many problems from developing in the first place. Visiting your dentist regularly is also important because some diseases or medical conditions have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.
I’m not in any pain, do I still have to see a Dentist?
Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a Dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan, and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your Dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.
What do I do if something feels different?
In addition to your regular visit(s) throughout the year, you should schedule an appointment when you notice changes to your dental health, particularly when it involves pain. Chipped teeth, sensitivity to hot or cold, swollen or bleeding gums and persistent tooth pain are all issues to discuss with your Dentist as soon as you notice them. After all, when it comes to dental pain, letting the issue fester often makes the problem worse.
Remember, by seeing your Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis and following daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
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8/13/2017 4:35:47 PM
Lindsay Olsen, RDH
WHAT IS LAUGHING GAS?
Nitrous oxide (N2O), commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. Nitrous oxide is effective as a sedative because it relaxes patients with the pleasurable feelings it emits. Nitrous oxide’s common use in dentistry is due to how quickly it works and that its effects are reversible. For those and other reasons, nitrous oxide is widely considered to be a safe sedation method, even for children!
NITROUS OXIDE FOR CHILDREN
Not only is it safe for children, but laughing gas is a preferred sedation method for children who are nervous or anxious about a pending procedure. Discuss with your child’s dentist ahead of time to determine the appropriate sedation method. Some children may suffer from nausea or have difficulty wearing the mask needed to breathe it in.
The CDA reports that only a minority of patients experience any negative side effects. They can occur if the nitrous level is too high or if the amount being inhaled quickly changes. Potential side effects are as follows:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Once the nitrous oxide has been turned off, a patient needs to receive oxygen for at least five minutes to avoid a headache. The oxygen removes any remaining gas from the lungs while aiding the patient in becoming alert and awake. As soon and the patient is feeling alert, the dental professional can release the patient to drive oneself home.
Meals are another focus point when receiving nitrous oxide. It’s a good idea to eat lightly prior to your procedure and avoid a big meal for three hours afterward.
Contraindications for Nitrous Oxide
While it’s an effective sedative to ease your dental anxiety, nitrous oxide might not be the right choice for you. Tell your dentist or dental hygienist if you have any of the following conditions: first trimester of pregnancy, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency, or a cobalamin deficiency. Additionally, if you are receiving treatment using bleomycin sulfate or have a history of emotional issues or drug addiction, laughing gas may not be recommended.
Talk to your dentist about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for you.
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