Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They only go when they have a problem. This is known as “crisis treatment”, as opposed to “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. An example is tooth decay. It is typical to hear, “Nothing hurts… I don’t have any problems.”
Tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity who has never felt a thing. The dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help you prevent expensive long treatments.
Flossing reduces the number of bacteria in your mouth. There are millions of these microscopic creatures feeding on food particles left on your teeth. These bacteria live in plaque, which can be removed by flossing. Brushing your teeth gets rid of some of the bacteria in your mouth. Flossing gets rid of the bacteria the toothbrush can’t get to. That’s the bacteria hiding in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you do not floss, you allow plaque to remain between your teeth. Eventually it hardens into tartar. Plaque can be removed by brushing. Only the dentist can remove tartar.
Make it fun! If you are enthusiastic about brushing your teeth, your children will also be enthusiastic. Children want to do the things their parents do. If your children see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow. Ask the dentist for other creative ways to get children to brush their teeth.
Getting your children to brush starts with taking them with your visit to the dentist from an early age.
Always spend two to three minutes brushing your teeth. It takes that long to get rid of the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel. Do not brush too hard. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and plaque. Floss at least once a day. Flossing is the only way to get bacteria from between your teeth.
Watch the sugar you eat. There is sugar in candy, fruits, crackers and chips. These are the foods that the bacteria in your mouth like best. Be mindful of foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to your teeth. They can provide a constant supply for the bacteria eating into your teeth. Try to minimize the times during the day when sweet items are eaten and brush your teeth afterwards.
If you cannot brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water – which can help to remove food from your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum after a meal can also help. And do not forget your regular dental visits. Good dental habits will go a long way toward a no-cavity visit.
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:
We recommend radiographic examinations including bitewing radiographs and/or OPG every 2 years.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and in water. Some natural sources of fluoride are brewed tea, canned fish, cooked kale and spinach, apples, and skim milk. Some city water contains fluoride, so by drinking tap water you will acquire fluoride. If drinking water does not have fluoride, supplements are available. The lack of exposure to fluoride places individuals of any age at risk for dental decay. Fluoride is important to dental health because it helps prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria in your mouth. Studies have shown that children who consumed fluoridated water from birth had less dental decay.
However there are small group of people who are not sure about benefits of Fluoride. You can always refuse any additional fluoride treatment at your appointment.
Sealants are a thin coating painted on chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.
Sealants have proven effective with both adults and children, but are most commonly used with children. Despite the fact that sealants are about half the cost of fillings, only a small percentage of school-aged children have sealants on their permanent teeth.
Oral injuries are often painful, and should be treated by a dentist as soon as possible. If you have knocked out a tooth, these tips may be able to save it:
Sensitivity toothpaste, which contains strontium chloride or potassium nitrate are very effective in treating sensitive teeth. After a few weeks of use, you may notice a decrease in sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons, as well as tea and soda can increase tooth sensitivity, and work against sensitivity toothpaste
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can cause permanent loss of bone support and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, pre-term delivery etc. Other signs of periodontal disease include:
Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages require specialist referral and gum surgery may be required.
Like other investments, if you whiten your teeth, the length of time you can expect it to last will vary. If you smoke, drink red wine or coffee, or consume other acid-containing foods, your bright smile may begin to yellow more quickly than you expect. In general, a teeth-whitening procedure can last up to a few years. And even though the results can fade, often touch-ups can be done to regain shine.
Commercial whitening toothpastes vary greatly in their ability to whiten teeth. They work by removing surface stains from the teeth with the use of mild abrasives. However, unlike professional whitening, some whitening toothpastes do not alter the intrinsic colour of the teeth. Toothpastes that are effective in removing stains can also destroy tooth enamel in the process. These toothpastes use harsh abrasives. With repeated use, harsh abrasives begin to damage tooth enamel and can contribute to increased tooth sensitivity. If you would like to try whitening toothpaste, consult with your dentist first.
People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, when gums are inflamed, brushing could help reduce the inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.
It is also worth noting that long-term dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis..
A mouthguard can prevent injuries to your face and teeth. Most people benefit from wearing a mouthguard when playing any sport. You should wear one whether you are playing professionally or just on weekends. Do what you can to preserve your smile and your health. The best mouthguards are custom-fitted by your dentist. This is especially important if you wear braces or fixed bridgework.
Commercial, ready-made mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are relatively inexpensive but they are also less effective. In either case, rinse your mouthguard with water or mouthwash after each use. With proper care, it should last for several months.
Sports Medicine Australia strongly recommends “no mouthguard no play :”.
About half of women who are pregnant experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. A more advanced oral health condition called periodontal disease (a serious gum infection that destroys attachment fibres and supporting bone that hold teeth in the mouth) may affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low birth-weight babies.
Visits to the dentist include more than just “checking teeth.” While patients who wear dentures no longer have to worry about dental decay, they may have concerns with ill-fitting appliances or mouth sores to name a few. Annual visits to the dentist (or sooner if soreness is present) are recommended. During these visits, an oral cancer screening and head and neck exam will be performed as well as an evaluation of the fit or need for replacement of the existing appliances. Regular visits can help you to avoid more complicated problems down the road.