A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating of resin material that is placed in the pits and fissures (or grooves) on the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent cavities.
When do you place a sealant? Usually when someone is 6-12 years old. This is when the molars are newly erupted and hasn’t had the chance to form any cavities.
Is a sealant the same as a filling?No. A sealant is placed to prevent a cavity, and no enamel is removed in order to place it.
How do sealants prevent cavities? The grooves on the tops of molars are often too small for toothbrush bristles to clean. Plaque is able to sit undisturbed and form cavities. Filling the grooves with a sealant (as seen in the picture above) creates a shallow easy to clean surface.
Do you have to be numb to get a sealant? No! Getting a a sealant is a quick and painless process. They are placed on top of the tooth, so you do not need to be numb.
Can I still get a cavity after I get a sealant? According to the CDC, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for 2 years and continue to protect against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
If you have any questions about if sealants are right for you, don’t hesitate to ask!
Periodontal charting (or gum measurements) are your dentist’s primary screening process for gum disease. This annual assessment allows your hygienist to check the gum tissue and bone levels around each tooth for inflammation (swelling) and infection . When done regularly, periodontal charting can catch gum disease early, allowing your dentist to be proactive about treatment and stop any progression of the disease.
Your hygienist will use a instrument called a perio probe that is marked like a small ruler to take measurements around each tooth. But what do the numbers your hygienist calls out mean?
1-3mm: This spot has a healthy amount of bone surrounding the tooth
4mm: 4 millimeters usually means the beginning stages of inflammation and infection in the gums around the tooth.
5+mm: Measurements that are 5 millimeters or higher let your dentist know that the gum disease has started to affect the bone around the tooth, and it is time to consider treatment options to stop the progression of bone loss.
How can I improve my measurements?
Stop smoking: smoking tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease because it prevents proper healing
Control your blood sugar: uncontrolled diabetes affects the immune system making it harder for you to fight off the bacteria that cause gum disease
Brush your teeth: plaque on your teeth contains bacteria that cause swelling, bleeding, and infection
Floss your teeth: Flossing is just as important at as brushing. Your toothbrush is too wide to properly clean between the teeth, and it leaves behind harmful bacteria. Using floss will remove trapped bacteria
If you have any question about periodontal charting, gum disease, or how they affect you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist!
A dental implant is a stable and secure tooth replacement option. According to the American Dental Association, Implants are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.
What are Implants made of? Implants are made out of titanium (a very strong, lightweight and durable material) and other materials that are all biocompatible with the human body.
How long do implants last? The implant post should last a lifetime as long as you continue with regular dental checkups and maintain good oral hygiene at home. The crown of the implant generally lasts 10-15 years before needing replacement due to regular wear and tear it from everyday use like eating.
Will the implant blend in with my other teeth? Yes. After the implant has healed, the abutment and crown are added to the post, and it will look and function like a regular tooth.
Am I a good candidate for an implant? Because the implant requires surgery, it is important that you are in good overall health before beginning the implant process. Chronic illnesses like periodontitis (gum disease) and diabetes or bad habits such as smoking can cause slow healing or infection around the implant.
Do you brush and floss an implant? Yes. You brush and floss an implant exactly like a normal tooth. It is important to remove food and plaque from around the crown of the implant.
Is it worth it to replace one tooth? Teeth naturally shift with time. This can be exacerbated when there is a space or gap between teeth, so replacing missing teeth help prevent teeth from shifting. Having gaps in the mouth filled also allows you to chew your food properly. When food is not chewed properly before ingestion, it can cause digestive problems.
An implant is one of several tooth replacement options, so if you have any other questions, contact your dentist. They can can help you decide whether implant treatment is right for you!
There are two main reasons to be looking to using a mouth wash: preventing cavities or reducing inflammation to control gum disease.
Preventing Cavities : If you’re looking to decrease your chance of forming cavities, adding a mouth wash to your routine is a super easy step to take to increase your protection! The fluoride in the mouthwash will help strengthen your enamel just like the fluoride in your toothpaste, but it will be able to protect the hard to reach spots your toothbrush might miss. Here are some of the active ingredients to look for when comparing mouthwash brands:
Stannous Fluoride: natural cavity-fighting mineral that strengthens the teeth and makes them more impervious to decay and deterioration. Stannous fluoride can cause staining, but it also acts as an antibacterial agent
Sodium Fluoride: natural cavity-fighting mineral that strengthens the teeth and makes them more impervious to decay and deterioration.
Reducing Inflammation/Controlling Gum Disease : A mouthwash can be an excellent addition to your oral hygiene routine if you’re looking to prevent gingivitis or control gum disease. When comparing brands it’s important to look for active ingredients that are antibacterial and prevent tartar build up like the following:
Triclosan: Antibacterial agent
Essential oils: Antibacterial agents
Pyrophosphates: Tartar control
It’s important that you’re looking for a mouth wash that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) if you’re looking to reduce inflammation (bleeding gums) and control gum disease.
If you have any questions about which mouthwash is best for you, don’t hesitate to ask!
When if comes to picking out the right floss, the amount of options can be overwhelming. The American Academy of Periodontology’s research found that using traditional waxed floss is the way to go when you’re maintaining a healthy smile!
If using traditional floss is a struggle or if you’re working on controlling periodontal disease, come talk to us about which flossing aids are best for you!
Typically, when a parent brings a young child to the dentist, the last discussion they’re expecting to have is one centered on braces and orthodontic appliances. Yet, even at ages three and four, a talk about braces, sagittal expanders, and retainers can indeed be front and center when a child is diagnosed with a crossbite. The question then is what to do about it, how soon should intervention take place, and what the complications are that can arise if nothing is done at all. Let’s get some answers.
What Exactly Is a Crossbite?
Imagine for a moment you’re sitting in front of a nice soup bowl with a wide flat brim, and inside that bowl is hearty chowder you’d like to keep warm until you’re ready to devour it. So, you grab another bowl designed exactly like the first, and hover it upside-down over the bowl containing the soup. As you slowly lower it, you try to line up the brims so when they rest together they form a nice even seal. Unfortunately, given the soup is hot, you don’t quite get the brims to line up perfectly, and the edge of the top bowl ends up resting just slightly to the left of the lip on the bottom bowl. The way these two bowls now rest unevenly atop one another is exactly what you would see in a person with a crossbite. A crossbite can affect several teeth, or a single tooth, and can occur on either one side of the mouth or both. Simply put, if any one tooth (or several teeth) lies nearer the tongue or cheek instead of coming together evenly, you’re likely dealing with a crossbite.
So, What To Do About It And When?
The dental community is split on when to initiate treatment for a crossbite, with some suggesting treatment should begin as soon as it is noticed (sometimes as early as age three), while others suggest parents should wait until a child’s sixth year molars have arrived. Despite the difference of opinion as to when treatment should begin, dentists and orthodontists are in agreement that the condition cannot be left untreated. Doing so presents a host of complications for the child later in life including gum and tooth wear, uneven jaw development that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and facial asymmetry – something no parent or child wants.
What Does Crossbite Treatment Look Like?
Crossbite treatment generally involves adjusting the spread of a child’s teeth with dental appliances so the bite pattern matches evenly on all sides. Depending on the type of crossbite a child has, this can be done with dental expanders that resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly to “spread” a child’s bite to the prescribed width. Additionally, dental facemasks, braces, and clear aligners may be used – particularly when a single tooth is out of alignment. Crossbites are generally regarded as genetic in nature, and they’re not overly common. It is, however, a condition that needs to be treated before permanent damage to a child’s facial and oral development occurs. So, if you find yourself at the other end of a discussion about having your little one wear a dental expander, be sure you listen and get however many opinions regarding that advice as you require. Your child, and your wallet, will thank you long into the future.
1. We are highly educated. Dental hygienists have varying degrees of higher education, ranging from an associates degree to a masters degree. Associates degrees often take 3 to 4 years to obtain while schooling through summer breaks! No matter our degree level, we all must pass the same board exams to prove our competency level and gain our license to practice. Also, we are not done learning once licensed; we are required to receive a set amount of continuing education hours to renew our license every two years. We LOVE learning!Continue reading “10 things you probably don’t know about your dental hygienist”