Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Are Expensive Electric Toothbrushes Always The Best Option?

I'm thinking the answer is no.  In this economy, who wants to pay upwards of $80 for a toothbrush that essentially does the brushing for you, not to mention the replacement toothbrush heads, which cost an additional $35 for 3 or 4 of them.  That is not to say that it isn't nice to have a product that helps you do the work; I personally buy the battery powered toothbrushes at a cost of about $6.99.  Each one lasts approximately 3 months, which is the typical length of time the dentists recommend for a toothbrush before you change it out, and that makes the total cost per year about $28 and my teeth feel just as clean as with the more expensive toothbrush (you know, the one you have to charge once a week to keep it going) without the expense.
This is just a personal rant....others may feel differently, but until someone proves to me that an expensive toothbrush is actually better, I'm going with the cheaper option!

Feel free to weigh in on this....doctors and consumers! 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fields Of Dentistry



Dentistry - Profession or science dealing with the prevention and treatment of diseases and malformations of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity, and the removal, correction, and replacement of decayed, damaged, or lost parts, including such operations as the filling and crowning of teeth, the straightening of teeth, and the construction of artificial dentures.

General Dentist: Provides general dental prevention, care and maintenance services such as regular cleanings, fillings, and simple tooth extractions. The general dentist will refer patients to other dental specialists for more specialized treatments when they are needed.

Periodontist: Specialize in the care of the supporting tissues of the teeth and mouth. They specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gum disease and any other condition affecting the gums, jaw bone, and other tissues.

Endodontist: Perform root canal therapy. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the nerve, pulp, arteries, and veins found in the internal cavity that makes the teeth alive.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: Performs procedures on the jaw and mouth including teeth extractions, implants, and reconstruction. Oral surgeons identify and treat conditions, injuries and defects (cleft lip, etc.) affecting the mouth, jaw, and face. They often work together with a cosmetic dentist and orthodontist in reconstructive procedures.

Cosmetic Dentist: Perform cosmetic procedures to improve the appearance of someone's smile. They specialize in appearance-enhancing procedures such as veneers, bonding, and whiting of the teeth.

Prosthodontist: Specialize in replacing missing teeth. These specialists attach structures such as crowns, dentures, and bridges to replace missing teeth.  Some prosthodontist preforms dental implant surgery.

Pedodontists: Specialize in treating conditions affecting children's teeth. They offer dental care from infancy through the teen years.

Orthodontists: Specialize in jaw adjustment and teeth positioning. They can straighten crooked teeth, correct misaligned teeth, fix biting problems. They use braces, retainers and other structures to adjust imporfections.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

When We Disagree With Our Dentist's Diagnosis

Quite often we field phone calls from members who would like to change their dentist because they disagree with a diagnosis. Often times, the perception is that the dentist is "over-diagnosing" on the treatment plan to make more money. Now I can assure you that 98% of the time that is not the case.

 Know that every dentist is different. One dentist may identify something that one did not. Another one may have training or access to new technology that the other one doesn't. Different training, different perspectives...it doesn't mean that one or the other is wrong.  This usually goes way beyond wrong or right. 

How a dentist diagnoses is often dependent on how/where they were trained. Some dental colleges have a more aggressive diagnostic curriculum as others have a more conservative diagnostic curriculum. Depending on which curriculum the school that your dentist went to had, depends on which type of diagnosis you may get.

Although an aggressive diagnostic treatment plan may be overwhelming to patient, it is not always a bad thing. It focuses on the long term solution to your dental problems with more of a restorative style of treatment..
A conservative diagnostic treatment plan is not a bad thing either. It focuses on trying more to save the original teeth that you have, rather than replace it with a crown or something else, until that is really needed. It should be discussed with you and your dentist and it really comes down to what is right for you at the time. 

As I said, it is not that either one of the dentists is wrong or right, or that one is a better dentist than the other. It simply comes down to how they were taught to diagnose your treatment. It does not mean that aggressive diagnostic dentist is trying to rip you off by over diagnosing (which is the common misconception by patients). It does not mean that the conservative dentist is under diagnosing and missing things that need to be done (which is another common misconception by patients)
In fact, an aggressive treatment may cost you more money now, but can save you a lot of money in the future. However, on the flip side of things, the conservative diagnosis treatment will save you money now, but could cost you more in the future.

We commonly recommend and encourage patients to obtain a 2nd opinion when concerned about the particular diagnosis that they are given, prior to just changing to another dentist based solely on a diagnostic result.

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bad Breath Could Mean Bad Health!



Yuck, what is that smell? Could it be your breath? Checking your breath may not just save you from embarrassing social moments, but it may save your life. Recurring bad breath could be a sign of underlying medical conditions.
  • Electric Nose Technology: Detects lung cancer from bad breath- This is a cheaper alternative than doing a biopsy to detect lung cancer. The "electronic nose detects different profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breaths." All you would need is a simple breath test.
  • Breath tests can detect heart failure- By taking a breath test, Researchers can use "mass spectrometry technology to analyze the sample for molecular and chemical compound signs of heart failure."
  • Fish Breath: Kidney Failure: "The fishy breath occurs when kidney failure affects the respiratory system" and makes it hard to breathe. This is because the damaged kidneys can no longer filter waste products from the blood and turn it into urine.
  • Sleep Conditions may cause dry mouth- Saliva decreases during sleep, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Excess Weight- A poor diet and lack of water can play a significant role in bad breath. Try drinking large amounts of water and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, this will help keep breath fresh.
If you notice recurring bad breath, please seek medical help!
Information was found here!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Traditional Dental Floss or Floss Sticks, Your Decision!

Floss sticks are quickly becoming the way of the world. They are easy to use, make flossing quicker and saves you from getting the string imprints in your fingers, but it is really the best option?

Traditional dental floss has been used for years. It is tested, approved, recommended and used by most dental centers. It is great at removing the excess food particles, plaque and bacteria between your teeth. However it is really difficult to control. It takes some work and technique to make sure that you do it right, especially if you are trying to get in between the back molars. It also requires that you stick your fingers inside your mouth, which is a problem for some people. However it is really effective at cleaning your teeth properly.

Floss Swords are less intrusive in your mouth. They are simple and easy to use and allow you to reach the back molars without much trouble. However, their effectiveness is in question. Ideally, when you floss with traditional floss, between each tooth you pull a fresh piece of floss. With a floss sword, you use the same piece until you are done. This can transfer bacteria from one to tooth to another. One could argue that if the sword is rinsed before each tooth that it wouldn't do that, but does anyone actually do that? 

Personally, I use both. In some areas of my mouth, my teeth are tight to each other and it is hard to get the thick piece of floss or sword between them, so I use traditional floss on those. I use traditional floss on all of my front teeth and I use a floss sword on my molars. I do rinse the floss sword after each tooth, but that's just me. 

It basically comes down to your preference and the recommendation of your dentist and hygienist so make sure you check with them. Whatever one you choose you will definitely get kudos for flossing. That's the part of dental care that is skipped the most!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Treat Your Sensitive Teeth At Home!

Do you suffer from sensitive teeth?

It has been found that one in eight people experience sensitive teeth. I guess I'm one of the eight that suffer (although my sensitivity is mild).

Below are just a few home remedies you can try to help prevent sensitivity:
  • Oil Pulling - Oil pulling with sesame oil (may reduce gum disease) or coconut oil  (may reduce plaque formation) has the potential benefits of lowering tooth sensitivity.
    • Swish a tablespoon of either oil in the mouth for twenty minutes before spitting out.
    • You can use extracts to add some flavor (i.e., Peperment extract) 
  • Guava leaves - Chew on guava leaves. The extracts of the guava flavonoids have the potential to soothe toothaches and tooth sensitivity.
  •  Clove gel - This has been a remedy for toothaches for a very long time. Applying clove gel to the gums may help reduce tooth sensitivity and pain. 
  •  Garlic - Chewing on a piece of garlic briefly produces a compound called allicin. Plaque that builds up around the tooth can worsen tooth sensitivity and fighting it with garlic can slow down the process and lessen the pain.
For a complete list click here!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Never Be Afraid To Ask Your Dentist Questions!

Just about everyday I get a call from one of our members that has questions about the work that dentist recommended. It is not that they are necessarily questioning the work that has been advised, more times than not it is a case where the patient is confused as to what the dentist wants to do. More times that not my response is "Have you asked your dentist about this?". Surprisingly, the majority of the time the answer is "no". After a while, it started to make me wonder what the apprehension was to ask to the dentist, so I started to ask about it. 

Here are some of the reasons that I have been given:

1. I don't want to offend the dentist.
2. I don't want to make him/her think I am questioning their ability.
3. I don't want to waste the dentist's time.
4. I was too embarrassed

These are just a few of the reasons that I have heard. Whatever your reason is for not asking questions, it is something that I would strongly advise that you try to overcome. It is no different than when you are talking to your general doctor. When you are discussing whatever treatment that they want to do, I am willing to bet that the majority of you ask questions and explore options. It's no different with dental work. The work that is being done to your mouth is important to your health and at times can be a rather large investment. Ultimately the decision of what treatment is performed is up to you and there is no better decision than and informed decision.

I am confident that I can speak for the dentist when I say that they prefer that you ask the questions. I have never heard of a dentist getting offended by it, nor have I heard of a dentist complaining that it is a waste of their time. Dentists do not expect you to know every term and everything thing involved in your treatment plan. Also, I have learned over the years that dentists themselves are more comfortable working on a patient that has a clear understanding of what is being done.

So again, don't be afraid to ask your dentist questions. More often than not they are happy to answer.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Are You Risking Your Health By Kissing?

"Is kissing harmful to your health? With just one kiss, couples can share more than 500 different types of disease-causing germs and viruses, warns the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists."

Some different types of diseases and viruses that you can catch are:
  1. Cold Sores-Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. They appear as tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters that form around the mouth and lips.

  2. Colds-Common cold and flu viruses can be transmitted very easily through contact with the saliva.

  3. Mononucleosis-Mononucleosis, also known as the "kissing disease."
Remember people can look healthy and you may never know if they have any diseases.

To read more click here!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Could Coffee Reduce Your Risk Of Oral Cancer?

It's quite possible! Although this idea is still being researched and is yet to be confirmed, the study appears to be promising. 

A brief on oral cancer:

People who use tobacco or alcohol are naturally at a higher risk of developing oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer. People who have HPV (human papillomavirus) are also at a high risk as recent studies have shown. Oral cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages due to the fact that the symptoms can easily be mistaken as something else.  Common symptoms include mouth sores that don't seem to heal, or pain that will not go away.

Where coffee comes in:

There have been many studies over the years linking coffee to a reduced risk of mouth cancer.  The study which brings us here today actually began in 1982.  Nearly 1 million people took part, submitting their health and lifestyle information, including their tea and coffee intake.  When the study began, all participants were cancer free.  After nearly 30 years of monitoring and follow up, the results of the study were astonishing.  Out of the near million people who participated, 868 people died from oral/pharyngeal or mouth cancer.  When the relation to these deaths with coffee and tea consumption was analyzed, it was found that participants who reported drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% reduced risk of death from oral cancer than those who reported drinking less or only having an occasional cup.  Gender, alcohol and tobacco were not a factor.  The link to decaffeinated coffee was insignificant and the link to tea drinkers was non-existent.

What that means now:

While we would all love to believe that coffee is the cure for oral cancer, unfortunately, more research needs to be done.  There are many factors that would need to be considered before they can determine coffee as a guaranteed treatment.  There are also many other types of cancers, this study only focused on one.  So, for now, myself and my fellow coffee drinkers can simply feel a little bit better about our consumption.  As more research and studies unfold, however, I imagine we can expect to see a breakthrough on this idea soon.

Until then, Cheers to coffee!