Posts for: December, 2017
Today’s dentist can not only treat most dental diseases and conditions, but can almost prevent disease completely. Our true needs as a society, however, go beyond the dentist’s chair — to the lack of availability and affordability of care for every American.
That’s of grave concern to dentists — so much so that dentistry itself is already changing to meet these challenges.
In one of the most visible changes, we’re seeing accelerated technological advancement that could lower costs and extend our range of care. Advances in 3-D digital imaging are giving dentists amazingly detailed views of patients’ mouths that surpass the accuracy of traditional imaging. Telecommunications and the internet are enabling dentists in distant locations to examine patients and even review dental x-rays to guide treatment, providing a new level of care access for patients.
The means for delivering that care are also changing as the traditional paradigm of the solo practice becomes more difficult for new dentists to achieve. With educational debt and practice setup costs reaching as high as $1 million — before earning their first dollar — many dentists are joining larger groups or dental corporations. In these arrangements, practitioners don’t have the burden of overhead expenses and can concentrate mainly on their clinical work. On the downside, patients seeing multiple providers may not easily build that all important dentist-patient relationship that’s the hallmark of a solo practice. This alternative model could, however, increase the number of practicing dentists over time, making dental care more widely available.
Finally, we’re beginning to see greater collaboration between physicians and dentists. There’s an emerging understanding of the true interconnection of the body’s various systems: diseases of the mouth can affect other diseases of the body, and vice-versa. We’re also experiencing a growing development in salivary diagnosis, using this vital oral fluid to detect conditions and disease in other parts of the body. Dentists and physicians will be working more closely than ever to treat the whole person, not just individual systems — a collaboration that will improve patient care all around.
As these changes continue to emerge in dentistry, you may soon see their effects during your visits. One thing, however, won’t change — the commitment of dentists to provide the highest level of care, for both your oral and general health.
Mouth injuries in children and teens are more common than you might think: about one out of three boys and one out of four girls will have experienced an injury before they graduate from high school. Besides contact sports, other types of accidents like car crashes or falls are high on the cause list.
Although most dental injuries aren’t considered true emergencies, there are a few where prompt action may mean the difference between ultimately saving or losing a tooth. One such situation is a knocked out tooth.
In the event of a knocked out (or avulsed) tooth, your primary goal is to place the tooth back into the empty socket as quickly as possible. Teeth that have been out of the mouth for less than five minutes have the best chance of reattachment and survival. The first step is to quickly locate the missing tooth.
Once you’ve found it, use only cold, clean water run or poured over the tooth to carefully clean off dirt or debris (no soaps or cleansers). You should also avoid touching the tooth root or scrubbing any part of it. After cleaning it of debris, gently place the tooth back in its socket, then immediately contact us or visit an emergency room. While you’re en route to our office the patient should carefully hold the tooth in place. If the tooth can’t be immediately placed into the socket (the patient is unconscious, for example), then you should place the tooth in a clean container and keep it moist with cold milk, a sterile saline solution or even the patient’s saliva.
Taking these steps increases the chances of a successful re-implantation, although the injury may ultimately affect the tooth’s lifespan. Replanted teeth can suffer from root resorption (where the root tissue dissolves) or a process known as ankylosis in which the tooth fuses directly to the jawbone with no healthy periodontal ligament in between. Either of these conditions can lead to tooth loss.
Still, it’s worthwhile to try to save the tooth, even if for a few more years. Those extra years can help you prepare for a future restoration.
If you would like more information on responding to dental injuries, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Accidental Tooth Loss.”
If you want healthy teeth and gums you have to put in the right effort.
Are you wondering what you can do to prevent cavities and gum disease from happening to you? These common problems can be completely prevented with the optimal dental care. If you aren’t sure if your habits are helping or hurting your smile, our Clifton, NJ, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Toan Bui, will provide you with the answers you’re looking for.
Brushing is Critical
Do you brush at least twice day? Are you brushing for at least two to three minutes each time? If you said yes then you are certainly doing your part to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Of course, how you brush is as important (if not more important) than how often you brush. Here are some tips to follow to make sure you are giving your teeth a thorough at-home clean:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride, which will strengthen teeth enamel and prevent decay.
- When you brush remember to brush all surfaces of your teeth. This includes the front, back and chewing surfaces.
- Turn your toothbrush vertically in order to properly brush the back surface of your teeth.
- Don’t forget that bacteria can also linger on the tongue and cause bad breath. This is why it’s also a good idea to brush your tongue if you want fresher breath.
- Replace your toothbrush once the bristles begin to fray and look worn, as old bristles can actually scratch and wear away enamel.
Flossing Should be a Consistent Habit
While most people know the importance of brushing many people ignore the power of flossing. Sure, our Clifton dentist understands that flossing isn’t the most fun habit to perform every day but it’s the only way to remove plaque and food from between teeth and prevent decay in these areas. Your toothbrush won’t be able to get into these areas and clean as thoroughly as floss can. Here are some rules when it comes to flossing:
- Make sure to floss once a day. While you can floss anytime you want, it’s ideal to floss before brushing your teeth prior to bedtime. This ensures that food and plaque are removed from between teeth so toothpaste can also get into these areas more easily and provide a more thorough clean after flossing.
- Be generous when it comes to how much floss you use. Use at least 18 inches and wind it around your fingers to get a firm grasp of it.
- Be gentle when guiding the floss between teeth and the gums and when removing the floss.
- Use a new, clean section of floss for each tooth.
Do you have questions about the dental services we offer? Is it time for your six-month dental cleaning? If so, turn to Transcendental in Clifton, NJ, today for all of your smile needs.