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Early Diagnosis Is So Important

The treatment plan is at the heart of every dental evaluation.  The goal is to assess the overall oral health of the patient, pinpoint any issues and design a schedule for tending to each one in order of urgency.  Digital imagery has been a great help in explaining the plan so that the patient can understand the diagnosis clearly and see the need for attention.  A timeframe will be set up to accommodate the patient’s convenience and the office will prepare a cost estimate for his approval.  There is no pressure to adhere to the initial treatment plan.  Once the dentist has shared his findings and recommendations it is totally up to the patient as to when a procedure may be scheduled. Conditions may change of course, as time passes so it’s important to monitor closely in order to spot the difference and confront it asap.  The sooner treatment can be started the better the chances for good results.  Tooth decay that is spotted in the earliest stages, for examp ...

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Home And Professional Care

Prevention takes top billing when making a list of ways to avoid the discomfort and expense of having to deal with major oral health issues.  Home care begins with brushing twice a day and flossing at least once - flossing and rinsing after every meal or snack would be the ideal.  In addition, dental hygienists often recommend switching over from a manual toothbrush to an electric model and adding a water irrigator to your arsenal of home tools.  An antibacterial mouthwash can be beneficial in the fight against plaque buildup.  Talk to your dentist or hygienist about your particular needs and ask for recommendations for any dental products that may help to upgrade your home care regimen. Start your kids out early.  The American Dental Association advises that children begin seeing the family dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts.  These first appointments are mainly to educate the parents about the importance of a healthy diet and to provide them with a list of do&rsqu ...

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Your Dentist Will Follow Up

Have you ever been surprised by a call from your dentist inquiring how you’re doing after having had a procedure done earlier in the day or the previous day?  After care is very important after any dental treatment and your dentist will want to make sure you’re recovering well and following post procedure instructions to avoid the possibility of infection. Implant surgery has become a popular option for tooth replacement.  Since it is a surgical procedure, however, there will be some bleeding afterward.  It can be controlled using gauze pads to apply pressure to the area.  Your dentist will advise that you change the pack every half hour.  Saltwater rinses can begin a day after the surgery. Recovery requires rest.  Your dentist will suggest that you take the rest of the day to relax and recoup, activity can encourage bleeding and swelling.  You may notice increased swelling 2 or 3 days into your recovery.  Apply an ice pack off and on every half hour ...

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Why The Change?

Are you one of those dental patients that always has a good checkup, no cavities and pearly whites that you’ve always been proud to show off?  If that’s been the case up to now but things have begun to change there must be a reason why it isn’t just coincidence.   Tooth decay is caused by certain strains of bacteria that thrive in our mouths.  When a healthy balance of good and bad oral bacteria is disturbed increased tooth decay can be the result.  In order to prevent more incidents you have to find out what is causing the change, what are you doing differently? Any variation in diet can upset the harmony.  An increase in your consumption of sugar, for instance, can also increase your odds of getting a cavity.  If you’ve been nursing a sore throat by sucking on a sugary cough drop all day that could be the source of your problem.  The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar the more likely you are to develop a cavity.   Is something bo ...

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What Can You Do At Home?

A nice healthy smile and that fresh mouth feeling that you have after leaving the dentist’s office can’t help but boost your self-esteem, especially if you’ve come away with a clean bill of health.  But did you take the time to ask your dentist or hygienist what more you could be doing to keep that feeling of confidence that comes with knowing that your oral health is good?   What about the color of your teeth?  It is not uncommon to see some staining over time.  There are dietary changes that you can make and cosmetic dental procedures that are designed to cover up stains that are caused by the foods and drinks that we consume.  Ask your dentist for recommendations.   Prevention is key.  A full examination every six months will increase the chances of finding a cavity or early signs of gum disease while the issue is easier to treat.  Your dentist will order x-rays to be taken when appropriate.   Professional attention is essential to o ...

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When It’s An Emergency

A dental emergency can be anything from a toothache to having a permanent tooth knocked out.  The pain from a toothache can stop you in your tracks, it’s hard to carry on with a daily routine when you’re so distracted.  If the pain becomes more intense or if it lasts for more than a couple of days and is accompanied by an earache or fever it’s time to call the dentist, you may have an infection. A chipped tooth is one thing but a fracture is something more serious.  A minor chip that isn’t causing pain doesn’t require emergency care, just be careful not to cause any further damage.  Be especially mindful of what you bite down on until your dentist can take a look.  A fractured tooth should be dealt with asap but until you can get to your dentist’s office it will help to rinse with warm water and take an aspirin-free over the counter pain reliever. If your dental crown comes off, don’t panic.  Fit it back into place with a denture ...

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What’s The Damage?

If you’re suddenly experiencing pain when you chew or you notice that your teeth are more sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks you may have cracked a rear molar.  The molars are most susceptible since, after all, they do most of the chewing.  If this happens to you don’t risk further damage, see your dentist for an evaluation asap. It could be that the damage has only affected the tooth enamel in which case treatment won’t be necessary.  These common cracks in the enamel are known as “craze lines” and are not serious.  A little polishing will repair any unsightliness. If the crack is more invasive and has penetrated the enamel there are several procedures that your dentist may recommend, depending on how deep the crack is.  It may be that a filling and then a crown will repair any harm that has been done but if the softer tissue has been affected it will need to be removed via root canal therapy in order to save the tooth.  Worst case sce ...

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All About Bruxism

Bruxism, the act of clenching and grinding one’s teeth together, is commonly thought of as a childhood concern, something that kids do in their sleep and a habit that they usually just grow out of.  While this is the most commonly recognized scenario, bruxism can also affect adults. Dental professionals describe bruxism in two forms.  The first, sleep bruxism, is the most recognizable form and is an involuntary action.  it can be brought on by a misaligned bite, a reaction to pain or it could be a result of stress or anger, even in children.   Because all the action goes on while the person is asleep, the results may be the key to the diagnosis of sleep bruxism.  After some time all that clenching and grinding will wear down the tooth enamel, sometimes so much so that it will become noticeable to your dentist during a routine exam. Daytime bruxing is most commonly a technique for dealing with stress and affects adults more often than children.  It can be brough ...

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It Is Good To Ask Questions

Try not to think of your next dental appointment as just something you have to get through.  Instead, it is the perfect opportunity to ask questions about the state of your oral health and what you can do to improve it.  Poor oral health has been linked significantly to medical conditions such as diabetes or chronic digestive disorders.  You may be surprised to know, for instance, that the foods and drinks that you consume can have a direct effect on your dental as well as your overall health. What about your home care regimen, are you using the right implements, is your toothpaste and mouthwash appropriate to your needs?  If you have trouble flossing your dentist or hygienist can give you tips on how to make it easier. Early signs of oral cancer are often detected in the dental chair.  Your hygienist will do a screening at regular intervals.  If you notice a change in the pattern of your mouth mention it to your hygienist asap. If something shows up in the exam or if ...

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Could You Be Guilty Of Brushing Too Hard Or Too Often?

Is it possible that you may be brushing your teeth too often?  Dentists and hygienists have stressed the importance of daily brushing for years, the ADA has advised that we all brush twice a day and that we devote a full two minutes to it each time.  So with this in mind, how could brushing ever be a bad thing? “Toothbrush abrasion” is the term that dental professionals use to describe to patients what could happen when they overbrush.  The tooth enamel is what protects the more vulnerable inner layer of dentin and the nerve center, or pulp, of the tooth.  Brushing too hard or with the wrong kind of toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and let cavity-causing bacteria in.  Overbrushing can also cause the gum tissue to recede from the tooth leaving a space, “pocket,” where food debris could gather and infection could begin.  Receding gums can be a matter of genetics but more often is a result of using a hard bristle toothbrush and brushing too often while ...

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