In April I attended a Continuing Education class at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The topic was utilizing lasers in a dental practice. Lasers have changed the way dentists and now hygienists practice dentistry. A laser is more predictable, gentler, and often does not require local anesthetic for the patient.
General dental offices can use a laser for Troughing the gum tissue to get clear margins during an impression without the bleeding, Gingivectomy, Periodontal Therapy (LAPT) as an adjunct to Scaling and Root Planing, Implant Recovery, Frenectomy, Class V and Operculectomy. A dental laser is also useful during orthodontic treatment (when a patient has braces); a laser can easily remove extra tissue and provide better access for bracket attachment on the teeth. A laser can also be used for the removal of pseudopockets and gingival contouring, which improves aesthetics and oral hygiene, all without the use of local anesthesia, bleeding, or discomfort.
A diode laser is the ideal tool for soft tissue management for many applications in a dental practice.
- from Tricia H. (Dental Hygienist)
Dental radiographs or x-rays always seem to be a hot topic in health discussions. The major questions asked about x-rays include: Are x-rays really necessary? And what are the potential side effects?
Dental x-rays are an extremely important key in diagnosis. They show the dentists everything from build-up below the gum line, to decay in between the teeth that cannot be seen in the mouth, to infection or abscess at the root tip of a tooth. X-rays can also help diagnose cysts and tumors.
The main concern the public has with dental x-rays is the amount of radiation associated with the films. Our office uses digital radiography which significantly reduces the amount of radiation used. Here are some numbers from the American Nuclear Society to put the radiation amount used into perspective:
Exposure to Radiation is measured in Millirems (mrem). 0.1 mrem is what the exposure would be from 1 dental x-ray. You are exposed to 5 mrem just on 1 coast to coast round trip plane ride, 35 mrem during 1 year of regular sunlight and other cosmic radiation, 40 mrem in water and food for 1 year, 228 mrem for 1 year of normal breathing, and 1,000 mrem from a full body CT scan.
As you can conclude, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays are at an absolute minimum level. So you can rest easy the next time we tell you that you are due for your routine dental x-rays.
- from JJ K. (Dental Assistant)
Tooth care starts before your baby has teeth. Tooth decay and cavities are more common in American children than any other chronic infectious disease. However, parents can start protecting their child's dental health almost from birth!
You can begin cleaning your baby’s mouth before his first teeth even erupt. Simply use a damp washcloth or infant toothbrush to wipe your child's gums clean. When teeth erupt, brush twice a day with a non-fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to keep drinks sugar-free, especially at night (fill baby bottles with water). Starting early can help your child establish good oral health!
- from Gloria M. (Dental Assistant)
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. During your visit, your dentist can talk with you about your health history and will check for any signs of mouth and/or throat cancer such as lumps or irregular gum tissue.
Anyone can get oral cancer but factors that can increase your risk include:
- smoking/chewing tobacco
- heavy alcohol use
- excessive sun exposure to your lips
Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes to your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.
- from Prycilla O. (Dental Assistant)
Your child’s babyhood won’t last forever and neither will their baby teeth. Yet those primary teeth will be there for most of childhood and they’ll set the stage for the permanent teeth that follow. That’s why it’s important to care for them just as you care for your grown-up teeth.
Your child will have 20 baby teeth; the first set usually appears at around six to nine months. They may have four or even more by the time their first birthday rolls around. And that’s just when the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends you bring them in for their first dental examination. Your dentist can check for cavities and proper tooth development, teach you how to clean tiny teeth effectively, and help them get started on the lifelong practice of good oral hygiene.
By the age of two, as more teeth are erupting in the mouth, it’s time to establish a regular daily brushing routine. A small, soft-bristled toothbrush with just a tiny dab of toothpaste is best. From that point until age six or so, your child may need help learning to brush properly. This is just the time for you to lay down a foundation of beneficial oral health habits that will carry through their lifetime.
- from Karin S. (Dental Assistant)
If you don't like the color of your teeth, home bleaching is an easy and inexpensive option for patients. However, professional bleaching in our office allows for a higher concentration of carbamide peroxide, which is the most commonly used solution for whitening your teeth. Another benefit of professional whitening is that we are able to make customized bleaching trays specifically for your mouth.
Let us know if professional bleaching is something that interests you. We would be happy to answer your questions about options for whitening your teeth!
- from Pam T. (Dental Assistant)
Do you often wake up with a headache, or jaw or neck pain? You may be unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Teeth grinding (or Bruxism) is a condition that can cause many problems and ruin your teeth. With a dental nightguard, you can protect your teeth. A nightguard is custom-made out of a plastic material and covers your teeth (usually the lower teeth) to protect them from grinding against one another. They are comfortable while sleeping and do not interfere with breathing. Ask about a nightguard at your next appointment!
- from Megan W. (Dental Assistant)