Dental Tips Blog

Aug
30

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

You might be surprised to learn that a hygienist’s job involves more than just teeth cleaning. Understanding your local dental hygienist’s role in healthcare could even motivate you to make some changes in your oral hygiene routine.

Hygiene – Not A Job Just Anyone Can Do!

Hygienists are registered and licensed in various ways depending on the state they live in. But one thing they all have in common is a solid education. Most dental hygiene programs are rigorous 2-4 year long college courses that are very similar to nursing.

Dental hygienists also get hands-on training in a disciplined environment to prepare them for their work responsibilities. As a result, they pick up skills and habits like:

  • Cleanliness
  • Attention to detail
  • A sharp eye
  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Good manual dexterity

If you had to pick someone to clean your teeth with small and very sharp tools, wouldn’t you want someone who fits that description?

Your hygienist is a respected professional in the medical community.

Beyond The Brush

A dental hygienist’s work doesn’t end with cleaning teeth.

Perhaps most important of all is their role in educating patients on the importance of oral hygiene. This aspect often has them actively promoting preventive dental care in schools, nursing homes, and underserved areas.

For the record, your hygienist doesn’t get on your case about flossing for no reason! He or she wants you to understand the deeper connection between clean gums and a healthy body.

If you pay attention to what your dental hygienist has to say, you’ll learn lots of practical tips that can make your flossing and brushing routine worlds easier – and improve your overall health.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Jun
28

4 New Year’s Dental Health Resolutions For Your Family

What can you do this year to boost your family’s oral health?

Making the following four resolutions your resolutions can make a big difference, even saving your family money that would otherwise be spent on dental care.

  1. Floss More

We’ve all set this as a resolution at some point (usually while we’re in the dental chair.)

Make it work for you this year by trying out new methods for flossing. Your family will probably floss more if they have easier ways to do it. Floss picks, floss threaders, and water flossers are all motivational tools.

  1. Switch To Water

Cutting out sweetened drinks in favor of drinking more water is one of the best things you can do for your health, in general.

By reducing your exposure to sugar, you significantly reduce your chance of getting cavities.

Avoid keeping soda, juice, and sports drinks in the house as everyday beverages. Save them for special occasions!

  1. Get Oral Cancer Screenings

Do you know your oral cancer risk? This disease is one of the deadliest cancers, not because it’s hard to treat, but because it usually goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Educate your family on the seriousness of oral cancer and how to do a self-exam to check for suspicious growths.

  1. Visit The Dentist At Least Twice A Year

Make sure that every family member, including your kids, gets to see the dentist at least twice a year for a dental cleaning and checkup.

Regular visits help your dentist stay on top of your family’s dental health. You’ll also experience more preventative benefits which can postpone the need for more expensive treatment.

Make an appointment with your dentist to find out what other resolutions are right for your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

Jun
9

5 Ways to Protect Your New Smile

At long last, your smile makeover is complete, and boy, do you look good!

Next on your list of priorities is making this gorgeous investment last a long time. How can you do so? Keep the following five tips in mind as you go about your daily routine.

  1. Avoid Staining Foods

Most of your new restorations should do well with resisting stain. But your natural teeth will be just as prone to stain as ever before.

If your teeth darken because of exposure to staining foods and drinks, they’ll stand out in contrast with all your shiny white restorations.

You may need to whiten your teeth on occasion to keep them bright. Limit how often you eat things like:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Curry
  • Soda and sports drinks
  1. Wear Mouthguards For Sleep and Sports

One of the deadliest things to a new smile is trauma. Grinding your teeth in your sleep or taking a blow to the mouth during a sports game are quick ways to undo all that beautiful dental work.

  1. Wear Your Retainer

If your smile makeover included orthodontic treatment, make sure you wear your retainer as directed. This ensures that you won’t need to repeat any expensive tooth realignments.

  1. Practice Great Oral Hygiene

Keep your gums plaque-free to ward off inflammation and avoid getting any more cavities! Daily flossing is a must.

  1. Keep Your Dental Appointments

Now that your smile is “fixed,” it’s easy to forget that it won’t stay that way on its own.

Regular dental checkups and cleanings will ensure your smile makeover is still holding strong. Your dentist will alert you to potential problems so that you can fix them while they’re still small.

Posted on behalf of:
Smiles by Seese
610 Jetton St #250
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 895-5095

Jan
8

Worried Your Dentist Will “Yell” at You for Not Flossing?

Most people are hesitant about visiting the dentist because they feel it means that they’re only going to get griped at. Of course, no one likes to be told they’re doing a bad job taking care of their dental health.

How does your dentist really feel about your dental checkups? What can you do to make your next experience a positive one?

What the Lecture Means

There’s actually far more to the spiel about flossing than you might have realized at first.

As a dental health professional, your dentist feels obligated to help you enjoy the healthiest smile possible. By encouraging flossing the professional shows that he or she:

  • Values preventive dental care
  • Promotes patient education
  • Wants to work with you as a team in reaching your smile health goals

Rather than being shameful, the chance to discuss your flossing habit will help you get a handle on the technique and see results much sooner. 

Before Your Next Appointment

What if you know you’ve been slacking on the oral hygiene?

Come to your appointment prepared with questions. Ask things like:

  • Is standard floss right for my smile?
  • How can I reach my back teeth?
  • What if my teeth are too tight?
  • Are there any other tools I should use for the best results?

By showing an active interest in how to improve your technique, it doesn’t feel so much like you’re being “yelled” at! Instead, take the team-approach and really try to hear your dentist out. Carefully weigh his or her concerns and suggestions about flossing and you’ll be on your way to a better smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Smiles by Seese
610 Jetton St #250
Davidson, NC 28036
(704) 895-5095

Mar
30

Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

Each dental hygiene visit represents an opportunity for you to get personalized advice from a dental care professional. This is your chance to get help that Google can’t provide!

How do you get the most from each session?

Be On Time

Your dental care providers understand that life happens. Emergencies arise and bad weather can come up. But if you can, try to arrive to your appointment early. This will help your dental team accommodate you so that you get the full appointment time you deserve.

It’s encouraged to ask questions of the hygienist. But be careful that you don’t talk too much! The issue is that when you’re talking, the hygienist can’t clean your teeth. Too much talking will waste valuable appointment time that is otherwise spent getting your teeth thoroughly cleaned.

Come Prepared

Don’t forget to bring any oral appliances such as mouth guards and dentures to your appointment. The dentist will check the fit of your device and then make sure that it gets properly cleaned. Keep an updated list of your current medications handy. You might want to bring “comfort” items that will help you relax such as:

  • Neck pillow
  • Music device and headphones
  • Book or crossword puzzle

Take Away Valuable Knowledge

The recommendations your hygienist gives go beyond the standard brush-floss-rinse. Listen to HOW you should brush, WHERE you need to floss carefully, and what KIND of rinse you should use. You’ll be alerted to potential problems so that you can treat them early or even avoid them altogether.

Don’t miss your next hygiene appointment! Call your local dental office to schedule it.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Oct
12

Questions You Should Always Ask Your Hygienist

Hygienists are always asking questions: “How often are you flossing? Does this hurt? How hard are you brushing your teeth?” In turn, there need to be some questions that you’re asking them. Knowing the right questions to ask can help you keep your mouth healthy, your teeth longer, and your breath fresher.

Ask her:

“Do I have any new pockets?”

Pockets are the areas under your gums, around your teeth. Healthy pockets are less than 3mm deep, but deeper pockets indicate that gum disease is present and beginning to destroy the bone in your mouth. Excessive pocketing may mean that perio therapy like deep cleanings, laser treatment, or even gum grafting is necessary. 

“Are any areas of my gums bleeding or swollen?”

Gingivitis is the first step in developing gum disease. Thankfully, it is 100% reversible. Symptoms like bleeding, swollen gums are signs that gingivitis is present. With routine brushing and flossing, gingivitis should completely reverse within 2 weeks. 

“Is there any recession?”

Recession is when gum tissue creeps down the neck of the tooth, exposing the root. It can cause sensitivity, compromise the stability of the tooth, and allow the root to develop cavities. Scrubbing too hard when you brush, using a hard toothbrush, grinding/clenching, and gum disease can all contribute to gum recession. 

“Do you see any demineralized enamel?”

The first stage of cavities is weak, demineralizing enamel. This often appears as frosty white areas on the teeth where brushing is less than adequate. Common areas are those along the gumlines, or around orthodontic appliances. 

If you’re having an area of sensitivity or something doesn’t quite look right, your hygienist is a great resource to utilize during your check-ups!

Posted on behalf of Find Local Dentists

Jun
10

Who is Taking Care of You at the Dental Office?

Have you ever wondered what licenses or education the different members of your dental team have, and how it allows them to be qualified to be able to care for you when you’re visiting for your dental check-ups?

Assistants:

Licensed / Registered Dental Assistants are an important team member that works alongside of the dentist during patient care appointments. Every assistant has taken a state or national examination as well as formal technical training in order to be qualified for their job role. They set up for the treatment before you arrive, make sure the proper equipment is available, and keep the doctor running efficiently during their appointments. Assistants often have additional licenses including Nitrous Oxide monitoring, placing sealants, or coronal polishing. They may also be in charge of running the sterilization and radiology portions of the office. Because they work one-on-one with the dentist during patient care, they have a great understanding of the need and treatment process of different procedures.

Hygienists:

Registered Dental Hygienists are the people you see for dental cleaning appointments, or for periodontal treatments. Hygienists have a 4 or 2-year degree in dental hygiene from an accredited school as well as passing a national written board and a national clinical board. A hygienist may function under the supervision of a dentist on patients of record to provide preventive care and periodontal therapy. Most hygienists are focused on the preventive aspect of patient care, including placement of sealants, screening for periodontal disease, conducting oral cancer screenings, and nutritional counseling. In some states hygienists are allowed to administer local anesthesia.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Dental Care

Google

 

Apr
9

Dental Hygiene Tip: Sip it Up

Next time you pick up a new tube of toothpaste or a new toothbrush at the drug store, think about buying some straws as well. It turns out they are good tool for oral hygiene.

Think about it.  When sugary drinks and juice are routinely allowed to sit on teeth, it can cause an acidic reaction that can eventually lead to plaque build up or tooth decay, or hide away under the gums to wreak havoc there with numbness and swelling and eventually periodontal disease. Likewise, when some juices, coffee or tea are allowed to sit on the teeth, they can stain, similar to the staining you see when coffee sits in a porcelain cup.

But what if you sipped your sweet and stain producing drinks through a straw? Indeed, the liquid culprit would just bypass the teeth and mouth and go right down the throat.  Of course some beverages, such as hot tea or coffee, would be challenging to drink through a straw, but most cold drinks could be consumed in this teeth-saving manner.

Other tips for avoiding the harmful effects of starchy food or sugars on your teeth when your away from home or a toothbrush include rinsing the mouth with water or following the meal or snack with milk, which is alkaline and helps to neutralize the acid in foods.

Of course the best way to avoid plaque and cavities is to follow a religious routine of brushing at least twice daily, especially after meals, and flossing once a day. See your dentist for a checkup once a year, and have a professional dental cleaning and checkup every six months – even more frequently if needed.

In the meantime, when you reach for a drink at your local bodega and you haven’t got your toothbrush with you, get a straw to go as well. You might avoid a cavity or two down the road.

Posted on Behalf of Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD

Feb
10

What Makes Frequent Cleanings so Important

Is it really important to have your teeth cleaned every 6 months? What is it about that length of time that makes dentists and hygienists recommend coming in for a preventive teeth cleaning? Is there ever a point where good brushing and flossing is enough?

Even with excellent brushing and flossing, our mouths develop small areas of plaque or tartar accumulation under the gumlines and on specific surfaces of the teeth, especially around saliva glands. Once plaque calcifies into tartar it can’t be removed with a toothbrush or floss, so it accumulates and harbors bacteria that causes gum disease and bone loss. For people with good oral hygiene, a cleaning every 6 months is typically enough to keep moderate levels of tartar at bay, and prevent serious gum infections.

Occasionally some people will need to have dental cleanings more frequently, because of active gum disease or heavy tartar buildup. This is usually re-evaluated at each cleaning appointment until an ideal recall schedule is found for that individual patient. Sometimes it’s necessary to do a deep cleaning (also called a scaling and root planing) to catch up on tartar removal before a routine cleaning can ever be performed.

Don’t wait until tartar is visible before you schedule a dental cleaning. By that point there is likely to be evidence of bone loss, gum bleeding, and possibly even tooth mobility. If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, that’s ok. Everyone has to play catchup sometimes. Schedule your dental cleaning today, and get control over your oral health!

Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental

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Dec
31

Aging and Its Impact on Your Teeth

It’s no secret that aging can bring a uprising number of changes to the human body. What you may not realize, though, is the impact aging can have on your overall oral health.

Because we tend to focus on the aesthetic value of our teeth, it’s easy to lose sight of their true function, which is purely mechanical. Your teeth are, at their essence, designed to break apart and grind the food you eat in order to aid in digestion. Years of performing this function, especially without proper care, can compromise them.  It’s not the process of aging which leads to compromised teeth, but the things that happen over the years to change their structure.

Caring for Your Teeth as You Age

There are some common-sense guidelines which can help you to keep your teeth intact as you age, like avoiding the action of chewing ice or very hard foods and maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine. To truly guard the health and integrity of your smile as you enter your golden years, though, it’s imperative that you keep to regularly scheduled dental exams.

Your dentist is able to spot cracked or damaged fillings, which can weaken the rest of the affected tooth. Another common problem with teeth as patients age can be directly attributed to dry mouth, which can cause the risk of gum issues and tooth decay to skyrocket. While the flow of saliva isn’t caused by the natural process of aging, it can be a very common side effect of hundreds of medications, which become a part of life for many aging seniors.

To make sure your smile is as healthy and strong as possible, be sure you visit your dentist regularly and follow their prescribed instructions. Together, you can ensure the continued health and functionality of your teeth for many years to come.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Scott Merritt, BridgeMill Dentistry

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