Thursday, September 29, 2022

How To Pull A Loose Baby Tooth

We all know children are eager to pull out their loose baby teeth because they know the tooth fairy will come and leave money!

Parents and older siblings come up with all sorts of fun ways to pull baby teeth but the best way to pull a child's tooth is the normal old-fashioned way. 

Take some gauze and wiggle the tooth back and forth to determine if it's ready to come out. A tooth that is ready will be able to move freely. If it is resistant, leave it and try again in a few days.

If the tooth is ready, start by rubbing some Orajel on the region surrounding the tooth and give it a few minutes to numb the area. Next, take a new piece of gauze and gently pull the tooth. 

Once the tooth is pulled there may be some blood. Apply pressure with a clean piece of gauze to help stop the bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped check the gums for any tooth fragments. If you notice tooth fragments that are left behind, DO NOT remove those on your own. Make an appointment with the dentist because those fragments could get embedded into the gum which can lead to pain and other dental problems. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dental Outsourcing - Would you Travel to Mexico for Dental Work?

 A recent call from a member of our Dental Plan brought this topic back to my mind and it warrants a re-post, as it is something we encounter frequently in Arizona as a border state.  She said that she traveled to Mexico years ago with her family to have their routine dental work done and now, 20 years later, is wondering if the risks are worth it since the world is not as safe a place anymore. Many people still choose to outsource their dental and medical care.  Many come through our state from other states to cross the border for dental care. There are mixed feelings on the topic.

The following excerpt was taken from a blog I published in February of 2008 in which I posed the question: "Why would anyone want to risk their health and safety by visiting a doctor or dentist in a country where sanitation standards are questionable and there is no way to determine whether a doctor is reputable; or even competent? There would be no legal recourse for a mistake, no refund, no malpractice insurance."

Well, with time, the economy over the last 10 years and many testimonials from people I've talked to while working in this industry, I must say that I have come to an understanding on this subject at least, if only marginally.  I still stand firm on the safety issues of traveling to Mexico for either  medical or dental treatment....sanitation remains a concern except that I now know many of the dental offices there are actually staffed with American Dentists, and in fairness, their American training and work ethics are at or above the standard.  Some of these dentists live there and work, some commute and the overall benefit to the traveling patient is that they can get the treatment they need from a qualified professional at a cost that is way below the standard fees charged in the US. The doctors are not bound to  [admittedly ridiculous] regulations, exorbitant insurance rates and high operating costs that are the norm in the US, thus allowing them to perform dentistry and pass the savings along to the patient. The drawbacks to these seemingly stellar benefits are the risks of complication, and to mention again, safety during travel.  When Mexico is hundreds of miles away and the patient needs further, immediate treatment, where do they go?  To a dentist in America who certainly will not fix the problem for free...and well, there you have it. 
All of that said, there are risks involved, which poses the question,  "does the money saved really outweigh the risk?"  Many think that it does.  I for one, always the skeptic, would need to think VERY hard about it if I were ever faced with that dilemma.
In my humble and educated opinion a good Dental Plan can be far more effective in helping to stabilize the rising costs of dentistry and it's much safer.  It just is.

Keep smiling!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Are Digital X-Rays Safer?

More and more dental centers are moving to the digital x-ray system in their office. In fact, more times than not a dental center that we visit has moved to this technology. There are major advantages to the dental office making the switch, but what about the patient?

Are digital x-rays safer? Is there less exposure to radiation?

The answers to these questions are YES and YES. Unlike older film-based x-rays, digital x-rays have a better range of coverage. This means that it takes fewer x-rays to get what the dental center needs. Also, the x-ray is completed faster. Unlike the film x-rays, the amount of time needed to obtain the picture is reduced.

"Re-shots" can be corrected faster as well. With the film x-ray, if the x-ray tech was a little off or if something with wrong in development, then they had to come back a re-take the x-ray. Knowing that they needed to do that could take 15-20 minutes. With the digital x-rays, the actual x-ray appears instantly and the tech is able to see if everything came out okay and adjust if it didn't.

Lastly, with the advancement in digital x-ray technology, you are exposed to 90% less radiation than with a film x-ray. Which makes them safer for you.

Original post from November 24, 2017

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

MS Patients Should Practice Good Dental Hygiene

  The effects of MS are widespread over the body but one thing many don't consider is how it can affect your oral health, both directly and indirectly.

As the disease progresses, motor function becomes impaired, pain can be intense, the immune system is suppressed.  Brushing and flossing can be difficult for these patients as motor function and dexterity are essential to be able to exercise proper hygiene.

In addition to motor function, medications can cause dry mouth, which creates a perfect place for bacteria to grow and leads to cavities and gum disease.  The use of steroids can weaken the immune system which in turn allows infections to flourish.

Depression is another factor in oral health management.  Depressed individuals may tend to push aside personal hygiene including brushing and flossing, so keeping a watchful eye on your loved one is important as they may need a gentle nudge here and there to get them back on track.

It is so very important that MS patients keep good oral hygiene.  To do that, they may need assistance.  In the event that it isn't possible, here are some suggestions that may help to make brushing a little easier for them.

  • Buy a thick handled toothbrush or wrap some type of gripping material around the handle to make it easier to hold.
  • Invest in an electric toothbrush.  It's easier to hold and doesn't require a lot of movement.  
  • Another good investment might be a Waterpik! Again, it requires less dexterity and movement. 
  • Ask a caregiver or a family member for help.
  • Schedule additional cleanings at the dentist.  Instead of the usual 2 per year, schedule 4 instead.  This helps keep ahead of gum disease.               
Keep Smiling!                                                                                                                                                              

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Tea Tree Oil For Dental Health?

If you follow your dentist's recommendations on cleaning and flossing your teeth then you should have healthy gums and strong teeth.

There are many ways to keep your mouth healthy but one natural remedy is using tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is taken from the leaves of a Melaleuca Alternifolia plant that is native to Australia. This plant is known for its natural disinfectant and has been used for many years in the medical and dental professions as an antiseptic.

Tea tree oil has many benefits for your dental health:
  • Helps prevent plaque - The oil fights off microorganisms that destroy tissues in the mouth which cause plaque, receding gums, and tartar deposits. 
  • Helps eliminate bad breath - Using tea tree oil as a mouthwash has anti-deodorant properties.
  • Helps prevent gum disease - 
    • Rub a small amount of tea tree oil on swollen/sore gums.
    • Add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil to a small glass of water and swish. Do this twice a day
    • Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly onto your toothbrush and brush for at least two minutes. 
  • Helps relieve pain from toothaches - Rinse mouth with a tea tree oil mixture (listed above) and then apply a small amount of Aloe Vera to the infected tooth. 
  • Mouth sores - Rinse mouth with a tea tree oil mixture (listed above).
*Remember this is just a remedy to keep your mouth healthy and should not replace your dentist.

For more information click here!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Never Ignore Dental Pain - Even When it Involves Dentures or Bridgework!

 I recently heard about someone who went to the dentist with severe pain in the area of her bridge. This pain had been present for a couple years but only when she chewed, so she didn't think much of it. Eventually it got worse and worse until the pain was unbearable, she was sick, her face was swollen and she couldn't eat.

As it turned out, for 2 years the bridge was actually broken. There was decay in a tooth underneath it allowing for trapped food to get in, which led to a major infection. This made her really sick.
After almost 3 hours in the dentist chair and some oral surgery, they finally got her taken care of and had a new bridge on its way for her.

Just because a crown, implant or bridge is not "real" per-say, doesn't mean that it can be ignored! If something goes wrong, it should be treated and maintained just like a real tooth at all times.

If you have questions as to how to properly care for your bridge, be sure to consult with your dentist.

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Smoking And Drinking Can Cause Fillings To Fail

Yes, this is true. The Pittsburgh Dental School did some research and found that people who drink and/or smoke have a greater number of filling that fail.

It turns out that the chemicals in alcohol and a cigarette can actually degrade the bond used by dentists to put a filling in. It will actually cause the bond between the filling and the tooth's surface to fail and cause the filling to fall out.

The interesting thing is that a filling failure could also be a genetic condition in most people. A difference in the gene for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2), an enzyme found in teeth, was linked to increased filling failure. Those that have that difference could be at higher risk for filling failure, and drinking and smoking can amplify it in them quicker than a person without it who smokes and drinks.

Original post from December 2017