Throughout the year we regularly have our hardware/software support company come in and verify our back-up systems and the security of patient files. This is extra protection for your personal information. Last month the security and firewall components were double checked and came through with flying colors. Additionally, we added an additional wireless router- completely separate from the practice network-to offer free Wi-Fi at the office for our patients. Your device should be able to detect and connect directly into the World Wide Web! Any questions, just as any member of our team.
The association offers these suggestions for people with dry mouth:
Chew sugar-free gum.
Suck on sugar-free hard candies.
Use an oral rinse.
Use an artificial saliva solution. Speak with your dentist first.
Discuss with your doctor or dentist any medications you are taking that could be causing dry mouth.
The use of digital caries(DECAY)-detection technology in today’s dental practice is important for maintaining patient-centred care. using a caries-detection aid enables clinicians to practice minimally invasive dentistry. Risk assessment-based early diagnosis and treatment of underlying disease can be applied before a decision is made to cut into a tooth.
Oral disease continues to be prevalent and presents a major public health issue. As with any disease, early caries detection is key to reversing this trend. With the SPECTRA™ caries-detection aid, clinicians can offer patients innovative technology and better overall care. Not only does SPECTRA technology clearly visualise patients’ current oral hygiene status, it serves as an additional aid in evaluating the efficacy of treatment over a period of time.
WHAT IS SPECTRA?
SPECTRA is the first ergonomic, noninvasive, handheld digital imaging instrument that aids in the detection of caries. SPECTRA quickly and reliably identifies decay-causing bacteria in fissures and on occlusal surfaces. SPECTRA uses fluorescent technology similar to the fluorescence principle used in the detection of oral cancer. Optical methods, such as SPECTRA, for the detection of carious lesions have the advantage of being noninvasive.
HOW EXACTLY DOES SPECTRA WORK?
Light-emitting diodes (leds) (known in a similar form from intraoral cameras) project high-energy, violet-blue light at a wavelength of 405 nm onto the tooth surface. Light of this particular wavelength stimulates porphyrins (special metabolites of cariogenic bacteria) to fluoresce red while healthy enamel fluoresces green. The captured data is sent to the office computer where imaging software interpolates it, making the cariogenic bacteria clearly visible on the monitor. The computer displays active caries in red and healthy tooth enamel in green.
In contrast to more traditional screening and tactile detection, SPECTRA highlights the potential carious lesions in different color ranges and defines the potential caries’ severity on a scale from 0 to 5.
HOW DOES SPECTRA DIFFER FROM MOST OTHER CARIES DETECTION AIDS?
Using fluorescent technology, the captured data is transmitted to a computer where the image is displayed in vivid color on the monitor via imaging software. unlike most other caries-detection aids, SPECTRA provides an effective visual as well as a numerical reading.
HOW SPECTRA BENEFITS THE PRACTICE AND PATIENTS?
The sharp, easy-to-read color images make SPECTRA an ideal complement to radio-graphs during patient examinations, as well as an effective tool to promote better oral hygiene. SPECTRA enables reliable tooth-by-tooth detection of fissure caries and caries on smooth surfaces directly after a professional cleaning. It can be used about as quickly as an inspection with a mirror. Then, clinicians can store the images in the patient’s records for more thorough case management. spectra also can be used during the restorative phase to confirm that all caries have been removed effectively.
As Woody Allen says, “Everything our parents say is good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat, college…” Now, many dentists are adding toothpaste to the list. Recent articles bashing toothpaste have littered the blogosphere, and now many consumers question the necessity of the stuff. So, what’s the deal? Is toothpaste really necessary, or have we all been duped by a mass conspiracy involving our parents, the Tooth Fairy, and Colgate stockholders?
Toothpaste goes way back. In fact, Egyptians used toothpaste in 5000 BC, before the toothbrush was even invented! Even in ancient times, people were concerned with fresh breath, white teeth, and healthy gums. Ingredients like crushed bones and oyster shells, salt and herbal mints helped remove debris and leave a fresh-smelling aroma. Modern toothpastes have continued the trend, adding ingredients to help curb decay and whiten teeth to the max. Common ingredients in modern toothpastes include:
- Humectants: Moisturizing agents such as glycerine, sorbitol, and water prevent your toothpaste from turning to dust after you buy it.
- Abrasives: To remove stains and plaque, toothpastes contain gritty substances such as calcium phosphates, alumina, calcium carbonate, and silica.
- Fluoride: Proven to remineralize tooth surfaces, fluoride provides decay-fighting power that most dentists agree is essential.
- Detergents: Many toothpastes contain detergents to create that refreshing foaming action.
- Flavoring Agents: Peppermint, cinnamon, citrus, even chocolate… toothpaste without it would feel more like a punishment.
- Preservatives, Dyes, and Sweeteners: Trace amounts of each give modern toothpastes lasting appeal.
So, where’s the conflict? If toothpaste has been used since ancient times, and all the ingredients are legitimate, then why should I worry? A few causes for controversy have cropped up.
First under the microscope: fluoride. While proven essential to preventing cavities in small doses, when ingested, fluoride can have harmful effects. Children are especially prone to swallowing toothpaste, which can cause permanent staining (fluorosis). Most dentists agree that fluoridated toothpaste provides essential protection for both children and adults; however, many Americans tend to go overboard—loading their toothbrush with inch-long worms of toothpaste. Using only a PEA-sized drop of toothpaste will prevent over-exposure.
Next on the agenda: abrasives. In today’s culture, the whiter the teeth the better! Well, toothpaste companies have delivered the goods—often chalking their products with harsh abrasives that can actually damage tooth enamel. Combined with consumers who brush harder and more frequent than ever, the result can cause increased tooth sensitivity and small scratches that actually attract more stains. The lesson here? Brush with a soft toothbrush, brush gently, and be wary of toothpastes that advertise extreme whitening. The ADA seal of approval tells you whether the paste has been tested for safety and effectiveness.
In addition to their cavity-fighting powers, delicious toothpastes give children and adults an incentive to brush. Just be careful that that incentive doesn’t spur any toothpaste-eating addictions, and when in doubt, consult your dentist about the right toothpaste for your lifestyle. Everyone has different oral health needs, and your dentist or hygienist will steer you in the right direction for a bright, healthy, and conscientious smile.
If you’re over 50, you probably have new aches and pains every day. That’s just life. Sure, Madonna has graced the cover of AARP, but honestly, she probably has the same issues. Quality of life is the key to staying on top of your game once you’re over the hill… and a few miles down the path.
Oral health plays a big role in overall health, and overall health contributes to good quality of life. So, taking care of your mouth is important. The dentist can help keep your smile pearly white, super clean, and functioning comfortably, so you can retain your natural teeth long into your golden years, if not forever. (A dentist can even help with sleep disorders, chronic headaches, and TMJ pain!)
People over 50 should watch out for these common oral health hiccups:
Bruxism – Teeth Grinding
- One study shows that 8% of adults suffer from bruxism
- Estimates show that 3.6 million oral splints are produced annually
People who are stressed are more likely to grind their teeth. Improperly aligned jaw joints (TMJ disorder) can also contribute to this destructive habit. In many situations, “bruxers” don’t know they grind their teeth. A husband or wife usually notices the problem while the bruxer is sleeping. The dentist can look at your teeth and determine if they’re worn and damaged from bruxing. Wear a custom-made nightguard, you’ll grind no more.
Tooth Decay – Cavities – Dental Caries
- Between 29% and 59% of adults over the age of 50 experience caries
- 90% of adults have experienced dental caries
While a cavity can develop on any tooth, any time, for grownups, cavities tend to show up near former cavities, where dental work begins to deteriorate. Without treatment, tooth decay can lead to internal infection or tooth loss. You’ve heard it your entire life, but maybe your memory ain’t quite what she used to be: Brush twice a day, floss once a day, visit your dentist and hygienist twice a year, and promptly follow through with restorative treatment.
- 70% of tooth loss is attributed to gum disease
- 75% of all Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease
- People with gum disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- 30% of people over 50 have an advanced stage of gum disease
Want some good news? You obviously have enough tech savvy to use the computer, so feel good about yourself. Now for more bad news. The older you get, the more likely you’ll experience gingivitis or a more severe form of gum disease. Of course, heredity, stress, some medications, bruxism, hormone changes, tobacco use, diabetes, (deep breath), other systemic diseases, poor diet, obesity, and dry mouth can contribute to developing gum disease. While early-stage gum disease may require only a change in routine, most moderate cases should be treated with deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing. Antibiotic therapy with products such as Arestin can also help. More severe periodontal disease, called periodontitis, may require surgical treatment.
- Approx. 30,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with oral cancer
- Approx. 8000 Americans die each year from oral cancer
- Oral cancer rates increase after 50 years of age and peaking between 60 and 70
Risk factors for oral cancer include using tobacco and drinking alcohol, but anyone can develop the condition. As with many health concerns, older patients are more prone to the disease – particularly current or former smokers. Fortunately, early detection at dental checkups can allow for early intervention, which could literally save your life. Modern dental technology has given us ViziLite, VELscope, and Identafi, systems that allow us to see potentially cancerous cells before they reach the surface of the mouth and cause visible lesions. Visit the Oral Cancer
Dry Mouth – Xerostemia
- Normal saliva production is 4-6 cups a day for an adult
- Dry mouth can contribute to oral pain, bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay
Truth is, with every birthday, you produce less saliva. Maybe it’s the increasing number of candles you have to extinguish each year. Just kidding. Declining saliva flow is a normal part of aging. Some medications also reduce saliva production, as do radiation treatment and diabetes. While spit may seem gross, it’s nature’s industrial oral cleanser. Without sufficient saliva, your mouth will feel like a desert. You’ll also be more prone to gum disease and cavities because bacteria aren’t washed out of your mouth with your spit. If you have “cottonmouth,” stop sucking on mints and talk with the dentist or your physician.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it – bad breath is embarrassing. Fortunately, with proper dental care and some helpful home remedies, bad breath can be conquered. Most often, the offender can be traced to a buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth, so good oral hygiene is essential. Other causes include foods, smoking, dry mouth, medications, gum disease, and sinus conditions.
Chronic bad breath, called halitosis, is often a sign of early-stage gum disease. If you brush and floss regularly and still can’t defeat bad breath, consult your dentist. After an examination, he or she can diagnose the root cause of bad breath and recommend the proper method of treatment. The following fresh-breath secrets may also improve your oral aroma:
Floss! – Food particles stuck between teeth emit a foul odor as they decay – need we say more?
Scrape – A tongue scraper will remove bacteria trapped beneath taste buds.
Rinse – Many commercial mouthrinses temporarily freshen breath, but rinsing with a baking soda or peroxide solution can help fight odor-causing bacteria.
Change Your Toothbrush – Avoid spreading bad bacteria by replacing your toothbrush every three months.
Wet Your Whistle – Sipping water throughout the day prevents dehydration and washes away vagrant food particles.
Beware of Beverages – Coffee, beer, wine, and whiskey top the list of liquid offenders.
Spice Things Up – Keep some fresh sprigs of parsley or mint leaves at your disposal as quick, natural breath fresheners. Cloves, cardamom, and fennel also have odor-fighting powers.
Tooth sensitivity is one of the chief complaints dental offices receive. It results when gums recede and expose the tooth roots. Tubules in the tooth roots lead directly to the tooth’s nerve, allowing stimuli such as hot or cold to reach the nerve and cause the associated pain. Several factors contribute to gum recession, including:
Brushing Technique – Brushing aggressively or with a hard-bristled brush can wear down the tooth enamel and expose the sensitive layers of dentin. Improper brushing can also damage the gum tissue and expose tooth roots.
Cracked Teeth – Even small cracks in tooth enamel can fill with bacteria, irritate the pulp, and cause tooth sensitivity.
Teeth Grinding – Over time, teeth grinding can lead to enamel erosion and hairline fractures.
Gum Disease – The leading cause of gum recession and tooth loss, gum disease eats away gum tissue and leaves tooth roots vulnerable to outside stimuli.
Age – Tooth sensitivity is typically highest between ages 25 and 30.
Tips for Tougher Teeth
Changing your hygiene products and habits can have an enormous impact. Brush with a desensitizing toothpaste and always use a soft-bristled brush. Fluoride rinses can re-mineralize softened areas of tooth enamel and curb sensitivity. Daily flossing and regular dental cleanings will help prevent gum disease, and your dentist can recommend other measures, such as a nightguard for teeth grinding. You don’t have to suffer tooth sensitivity. See your dentist for a thorough diagnosis and long-term solution.
Thousands of years ago, people still liked fresh breath and a shiny smile. Tribal people used sticks to clean their teeth, and over time, this evolved into a Chinese hog-hair toothbrush. Today, we prefer a cleaner and more effective option .
Choosing Your Tools
• Never buy a toothbrush with hard bristles.
• Make sure your toothbrush’s size suits your mouth.
• Use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.
• Use a tongue scraper or gentle brushing to clean plaque from your tongue.
• Find floss that works for you – there’s flat, round, waxed, non-waxed, minty, and even pre-strung picks.
Tips for Brushing
• Brush morning and night – and after meals, if you like.
• Brush for two minutes at each session.
• If you can’t brush after meals, rinse with water.
• Replace your toothbrush every two to four months and after an illness.
• Microwave your damp toothbrush for one minute every month to kill bacteria.
• Brush up and down in a circular motion, not just side to side.
• Don’t brush too hard – you’ll harm your teeth and gums.
• Gently brush your gums, cheeks, and hard palate.
• Floss once a day! If you have trouble, tie about 18” of floss into a loop, and give that a try.
• Rinse your toothbrush bristles and handle, then dry it after each use.
What you May Not Know
Mouthwashes with alcohol can cause pH problems and dry out your mouth – which may actually worsen your breath!
Many people avoid dental visits because of anxiety, stress, or fear. If you don’t like visiting the dentist, but sedation dentistry would be overkill, consider these tips:
- Tell the dentist and team that you don’t feel comfortable. They can do a few things to help you.
- Avoid caffeine before your visit.
- Bring an iPod to your appointment, and listen to music during your exam or procedure. Listen to soothing music before your visit, as well.
- Don’t fight traffic to get to your dentist’s office. Allow enough time to enjoy your drive, or take the morning off before your appointment.
- Ask for laughing gas (nitrous oxide) if you’re nervous.
- Take deep breaths as often as necessary to calm and relax your muscles.
- Focus on something else – plan your vacation or go through your Christmas list in your mind.
- Take a book, crossword puzzle, or hand-held video game to keep you busy in the waiting room and during downtime.
- Ask questions. The more you understand about what’s going on, the less you have to fear! Modern dentistry is amazingly gentle and minimally invasive. You might be surprised just how smoothly your experience turns out to be!
- Don’t eat a big meal or rich, sugary foods before your visit.
Whether you’re a busy parent, an image-conscious executive, or a senior citizen with special needs, finding a good dentist can be a struggle. Where do you start? You could open the phone book or Google dentists in your city. But then what?
Here are 10 tips to help you make an informed and wise decision. And remember, you’re going to trust your new dentist with your health and your image – and maybe your loved ones. Be smart!
Also, keep in mind that everyone has different needs, priorities, and personalities. For instance, if you want a good family dentist, and you aren’t planning on getting veneers anytime soon, you’ll want to find a general dentist who’s good with kids – not an adult cosmetic dentist.
1. Testimonials & portfolio
Consider your needs. Then, when you call the office, ask if the doctor has a website with testimonials and before-and-after photos. In some states, Texas for example, testimonials aren’t allowed. However, you can visit www.DrOogle.com or www.Yelp.com and research the doctor’s reviews. In regards to the photos, do you see flaws in the “after” pictures? Are you looking for cosmetic dentistry? Does the doctor’s portfolio show complex restorative patients? Is that what you’re looking for?
2. History & experience
Again, consider your needs. On the dental practice’s website or brochure, you should find a biography about the dentist(s) and history of the practice. Are you comfortable with the dentist’s expertise and training? Is the practice brand new or has it been in your area for a long time? What does this mean to you?
Think about what you want from your dentist. If you need a general dentist for checkups and cleanings, you may want to find a practice that has digital radiography for X-rays with up to 80% less radiation. If you need gum disease therapy, you might look for a dentist who uses a soft tissue laser for debridement. Looking to brighten your smile? Google Zoom! and your city. Want implants? A dentist with an iCAT or iTero for cone beam imaging might be right for you.
Again, what do you and your family need? If you know that you’ll need gum surgery or implants, your kids will need wisdom tooth removal and orthodontics, and your husband wants to improve his image, find a dentist who offers those procedures. Many dentists refer people to specialists for extractions, root canals, implant surgery, gum surgery, orthodontics, and oral surgery. Furthermore, since any general dentist can claim to be a “cosmetic dentist” without certification, it’s important to do your homework before agreeing to major esthetic procedures like porcelain veneers.
Statistics show that 20-50% of Americans avoid the dentist – many because of dental phobia, stress, anxiety, or fear. If you’re afraid; if you don’t respond well to numbing shots; if you need extensive dental work completed, interview your potential dentist about sedation options. Not all dentists offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or anxiolysis (oral sedatives). Even fewer offer nitrous plus oral sedatives – and even fewer than that offer IV sedation. However, sedation isn’t the end all for comfort. With The Wand and STA, local anesthetic can be administered continually throughout a procedure. Furthermore, spa amenities, like video goggles, paraffin hand wax, and massage therapy can make you feel pretty good at the dentist’s office. Some dentists now offer hypnotherapy, as well.
Location, location, location – and hours. Is the dental practice in question conveniently located for you and your family? Are the hours compatible with your schedule? If you need complex dental work, will the doctor schedule your procedure for Saturday?
While insurance is a benefit, dental insurance doesn’t cover much. Don’t be too concerned if your dentist isn’t in network with your provider. Finding a great dentist is much more important than spending an extra $20 bucks for a cleaning. Most dental practices accept personal checks, major credit cards, and cash payments. For complex dental work or cosmetic smile makeovers, you might find out if the dentist works with a third party financing company, like CareCredit or Springstone Financial. These companies offer low- and no-interest payment plans to qualified applicants.
8. Age & compatibility
In many cases, a dentist’s patient base has a median age near the dentist’s age. This means, young dentists tend to cater to young patients and older dentists attract an older clientele. However, the age factor may be coincidence and should not be a major factor in your choice. You do, however, need to be compatible with your dentist. When you make that initial call, ask if you can drop by to meet the dentist and tour the facility. A first impression can say a lot.
On your tour, determine whether you feel like the office and operatories are clean. While dentists must adhere to Center for Disease Control regulations, you need to feel safe and secure in your dentist’s office. Feel free to ask questions about sterilization and disease control procedures.
10. Front office experience
How did the receptionist answer the phone? When you asked about insurance, what was her response? Did she offer to send you a new patient packet or direct you to the dentist’s website? In person, were the front office team members smiling and friendly? Did they communicate well and make you feel welcome? The dentist works on your mouth, but you have to work with his front office team. If you don’t feel respected and appreciated, it may not be the right practice for you.