Happy National Dental Hygiene Month

What better way to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month than to share a few tips from the women in the dental office trenches, our dental hygienists Jamie and Nancy. They work each and every day to help ensure you’ve got the whitest, cleanest smile that you can flash day in and day out. And while the advice you tend to hear from them is the good old “brush twice a day, floss more often” variety. There are a few interesting bits in this list you may not have heard before, let’s check them out!

  1. Consider a children’s toothbrush. If you have noticed, or the hygienist has told you that you have a small mouth, or you have trouble maneuvering an adult toothbrush around in your mouth, you might want to pick up a children’s toothbrush next time you are in. Using too big a brush can cause you to miss spots when cleaning and can wear down your enamel if you aren’t careful.
  2. Brush first without toothpaste. Brushing without toothpaste first before brushing with toothpaste can help reduce plaque buildup by 63% according to a six-month study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association. This same study saw a 55% drop in bleeding around the gums as well. Now that is something worth considering.
  3. Braces can help keep your gums healthy. When your teeth are crowded it can create areas that are hard to keep clean with brushing and flossing. Plaque can build up in those areas and eventually lead to periodontal disease. Next time you are in for an appointment ask to see what options would be right for you whether it be Invisalign, traditional brackets and wires, or a different option that we might have available here in the office.
  4. Most in-office whitening products don’t work like you think they do. Most, if not all of the in-office whitening products work by dehydrating your teeth. A byproduct of dehydrating teeth is that they whiten in the process…temporarily. Teeth will stay white for a few days after the whitening appointment, but once they rehydrate, they get closer to the shade where they started. This is why we stopped doing in-office whitening here in our office. The best way to whiten your teeth would be with take-home whitening trays, and use them over time. This will ensure that you will have the time it takes for the whitening gel to actually work.
  5. Fluoride isn’t just for kids anymore. We have used fluoride gel for years to help kids protect their teeth against cavities, but studies have shown that the new fluoride varnish that we use can be used on adults as well. Not only does fluoride strengthen enamel, it can be used to help with tooth sensitivity as well. So if you have sensitive teeth and Sensodyne isn’t working for you, ask our hygienists to see if fluoride varnish would be a solution for you.

So there you have it, five simple, easyto-use tips that you should feel free to share with the rest of the world, and from our hygienists, and hygienists everywhere, thanks for taking care of your teeth!

What Is Fluoride and What Can It Do For Patients?

Watch our hygienist Nancy describe what fluoride actually is, and the many different applications it has for you at home, and here in our office.

Transcription of video:

Fluoride is a natural mineral that has two properties that help our teeth. It helps fight cavities, and it also helps with tooth sensitivity.

At home, most toothpastes you buy will have fluoride additives already in them, and some mouthwashes as well.

Here in our office we use a fluoride foam, and also a fluoride varnish. The difference between the fluoride here in our office and the fluoride found in over-the-counter toothpaste is that ours comes in a higher dosage.

Both the foam and the varnish are applied after having your teeth cleaned. The foam, which is primarily used for it’s cavity fighting properties, is painted on the teeth, left there for about a minute, and patients are instructed to not eat or drink 30 minutes after the application to help the fluoride to adhere to the teeth.

The fluoride varnish is primarily used for it’s desensitizing properties. The varnish is painted on the teeth in the areas that are sensitive, and left there until you brush your teeth before you go to bed. We have had great results with fluoride varnish helping patients with sensitivity issues.

And that, my friends, are the ways that fluoride benefits both you and me.

Sensitive Teeth : How We Can Help

We have all been there, you take a sip of hot coffee, or a spoonful of cold ice cream, and feel that immense sensitivity in our teeth.  Sometimes even brushing and flossing can cause it.  Millions of people suffer from sensitive teeth, trust me, you are not alone.

 

Tooth-Sensitivity1

 

Possible causes of sensitive teeth include:

      • Cavities
      • Fractured Teeth
      • Broken Down Fillings
      • Gum Disease
      • Worn Tooth Enamel
      • Recession (Exposed Tooth Root)

 

Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel protecting them.  Underneath that layer of enamel is what is called dentin.  Dentin is less dense than enamel, and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals).  When the dentin loses its protective covering of enamel, these tubules allow heat and cold to reach the nerves of the teeth.  Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede.  The result is hypersensitivity.  I know that is a pretty scary word, but rest assured, it can be treated.  Rather easily in most cases.

tooth-sensitivity2

 

There are many ways that we can treat hypersensitivity.  It all depends on what is causing the sensitivity.  Some treatments that we offer, and recommend are:

Desensitizing Toothpaste – There are many over-the-counter and prescription toothpastes out there that have compounds that block the sensation from that tooth’s surface to the nerve.  This is the easiest way to prevent tooth sensitivity, but unfortunately doesn’t work for everyone.

Fluoride Gel – We provide fluoride treatments here in the office.  Most insurance companies cover fluoride treatments for children, but not for adults.  Even though it is not covered by insurance, it is a very inexpensive procedure, and helps treat hypersensitivity almost immediately.  Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth, and reduces the sensations from reaching the nerves.

Filling or Crown – Sometimes the sensitivity is caused by decay present in a tooth (cavity).  The only way to fix that would be to remove the cavity from the tooth.  Depending on how big the cavity is, either a filling would be placed, or sometimes, a crown, if there is not a lot of tooth structure left.  Once the decay is gone from the tooth, the sensitivity will dissipate as well.

Deep Cleaning – If the sensitivity is coming from below the gum line, a lot of times, the gums have become inflamed, and have let bacteria down between the gum and the tooth.  When this happens, a periodontal scaling (deep cleaning) must be done to remove the bacteria.  Once the bacteria is gone, with proper maintenance visits, the gums will heal tightly back around the teeth, and prevent that bacteria from getting below the gums again.

Root Canal – If the sensitivity is severe and persistent, and cannot be treated by any other means, a root canal is probably needed to treat the problem.  I know that “root canal” may be the two scariest words in the English language, but technology has come a long way to where the process is a lot less involved, and invasive.  Most of the time it feels just like getting a filling done, and takes the same amount of time.

Proper oral hygiene is paramount to preventing sensitive-tooth pain.  We would be happy to discuss these treatments listed above, answer any questions you  may have about tooth sensitivity, and review your daily oral hygiene routine with you.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment so you don’t have to keep dealing with tooth sensitivity.