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Monday, May 21, 2018

Common mouth sores: causes and cures

Mouth sores can be very annoying and painful and can have many causes.
The causes can range from infections – bacterial, viral or fungal – to a loose orthodontic wire or a denture that doesn’t fit or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.
But mouth sores may be symptoms of an underlying disease or problem.
So, if you’ve had any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, its a good idea to get your dentist to check it out.
Here are some of the most common mouth sores:
Canker sores: These are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. They appear inside the mouth and are not contagious though they often return. Problems such as poor immune systems, viruses or fatigue and stress may be involved. They usually heal on their own after a week or two.
Cold sores: Cold sores are annoying and painful. They are also known as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are groups of fluid-filled blisters. They often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores caused by herpes virus type 1 are very contagious and the virus stays in the body. Cold sore blisters usually heal in a week by themselves.
Candidiasis: This fungal infection (also called moniliasis or oral thrush) occurs when the yeast Candida albicans reproduce in large numbers. It is common among denture wearers and people who have dry mouth syndrome are very susceptible to it. The focus is on preventing it or controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak.
Any mouth sores that last more than a few days should be checked with your dentist.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Why your routine dental cleaning is not routine

For many patients, the dental cleaning appointment may seem little more than a more complicated version of brushing your teeth.
However, this appoinment plays a crucial role in patient education and prevention of dental disease.
The appointment is called a dental prophylaxis, or prophy and it’s one of the most important steps in your dental care program.
Here are some of the elements that it may include, depending on your needs:
– Oral hygiene evaluation
– Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
– Scaling above the gum to remove plaque and tartar
– Debridement of tartar beneath the gum
– Polishing the teeth
– Periodontal charting
It’s important to remove plaque from the teeth as it ultimately forms a hard, rough sediment known as tartar or calculus, which must be removed by a dental professional to help prevent periodontal disease.
Polishing the teeth removes stains and creates a feeling of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
The hygienist or dentist may recommend a prophylaxis visit every two to six months.
Although insurance may only cover two prophies a year, recall frequency depends on many factors and should be based on individual needs.
These appointments can help you have much better dental health and could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Root canal treatment

Root canal therapy is an important treatment that can save a tooth with a diseased nerve and which in the past would probably have needed to be removed.
Inside each tooth is the ‘pulp’ which runs like a thread down through the root and provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth. It is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
If the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies.
The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let bacteria enter the pulp.
So, if you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it.
After the dentist – or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) – removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure involving one to three visits with little or no discomfort.
Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums and enjoy regular checkups.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How dentistry has developed over the last 300 years

When you visit a modern dental surgery, it’s hard to imagine the challenges of dental treatment without all the latest technology.
Yet specialists have been taking care of people’s teeth for thousands of years.
Here are some of the key developments over the last 300 years.
1723: French surgeon Pierre Fauchard – credited as being the father of modern dentistry – publishes the first book to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry.
1760: John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up practice.
1790: John Greenwood adapts his mother’s foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.
1790: Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructs the first chair made specifically for dental patients.
1832: James Snell invents the first reclining dental chair.
1841: Alabama enacts the first dental practice act, regulating dentistry in the United States.
1844: Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, discovers that nitrous oxide can be used as an anesthesia and successfully uses it to conduct several extractions in his private practice.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes toothpaste manufacturing and marketing.
1890: Willoughby Miller notes the microbial basis of dental decay in a book which started a world-wide movement to promote regular toothbrushing and flossing.
1896: New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.
1938: The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market.
1945: The water fluoridation era begins when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.
1950s: The first fluoride toothpastes are marketed.
1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States. A cordless, rechargeable model follows in 1961.

Monday, April 23, 2018

How scaling and planing can help clean your teeth properly

Dental plaque is a film that builds up on your teeth and, if it is not removed through good oral hygiene, it can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
Over time it can ultimately form a hard, rough sediment known as dental tartar or calculus, which attracts further plaque buildup.
Calculus has to be removed by a trained professional such as a hygienist or dentist.
They may do this by manual tooth scaling or using an ultrasonic device.
If the buildup is light or moderate, the dentist or hygienist may use manual scaling instruments of various shapes and sizes.
If the buildup of tartar and stains is heavy, an ultrasonic cleaner may be used. This may be followed by hand scaling.
Build up of plaque can cause inflammation of the gums leading to breakdown of the connection between the teeth and the supporting structures.
Root planing is a procedure to treat gum disease by thoroughly scaling the roots of teeth to establish a smooth, calculus-free surface.
This treatment may require local anesthesia to prevent pain. Thorough periodontal scaling customarily involves several dental visits
If conditions are more advanced, surgery may be needed for complete debridement of the roots to arrest the disease process.
Some people tend to have more buildup of calculus than others and some may be more prone to periodontal inflammation or the development of tooth decay.
It’s therefore important to follow your hygienist’s advivce on how often to return for regular cleanings – even if your insurance only covers two a year.

Monday, April 16, 2018

How Invisalign can replace metal braces

The Invisalign system is a series of clear, thin, mouthguards that fit over the teeth and can gradually straighten them.
These have been called invisible braces as they can be an effective alternative to metal braces in some circumstances.
The big advantage of Invisalign is much improved appearance and comfort.
Invisalign mouthguards can be removed during eating and when brushing and flossing. As traditional braces may trap food and plaque, this is another major benefit of Invisalign.
While the system has advantages, it also has some drawbacks.
For example, it is more expensive – costing 25-50 percent more than metal braces.
Also the fact that you remove the mouthguards more often means that you may forget to wear them and it could take longer for you to achieve the desired results.
Invisalign is better suited to some people than others – for example, it may be particularly suitable for adults who have slight to moderate spacing or crowding of their teeth.
Your dentist will be able to tell you if you might be a suitable candiate for Invisalign.
You will get more detailed advice from an orthodontist who has been certified in the Invisalign system.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Different types of fillings and restorations

Nowadays, thanks to advances in dental techniques and materials, patients have a much wider range of choices when they have to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
For example, materials such as ceramics and polymer compounds that look more like natural teeth help dentists create pleasing, natural-looking smiles.
The traditional materials such as gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam are still widely used as they have many advantages.
The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continues to make them useful in many situations. For example, they are good when fillings are required in the back teeth because the pressure of chewing is high in that area.
The choice of the best option will depend on several factors such as the patient’s oral and general health, where and how the filling is placed and the number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth.
The choice about which option is best depends on each individuals needs so you should discuss the options with your dentist.