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Friday, January 12, 2018

Caring for people who have special needs

People at any age can have a condition that makes it difficult for them to look after their own dental health.
This could affect people who suffer from a wide range of conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, Alzheimers disease or arthritis.
However, people in all of these categories have the same dental needs as everyone else – they need daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits and a balanced diet.
There are some steps caregivers can take to make it easier to look after people in those categories.
If the person is uncooperative or uncontrollable, try to explain what you are about to do and schedule the task for a time of day when they are rested.
Move in a calm, slow, reassuring manner to avoid startling them. Give praise and encourage them when they help themselves.
Support the person's head, and take special care to prevent choking or gagging when the head is tilted back.
If the person is unable or unwilling to keep their mouth open, your dentist will explain how you can make and use a mouth prop.
Ask your dentist for advice on how to care for people with special needs and check if they have facilities for caring for these needs in the dental office.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Action steps to prevent gum disease

Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults but it can be prevented or reversed if you take the right steps.
Its caused by plaque a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
However, you can help avoid gum disease by caring properly for your teeth and having regular dental checkups. These are some steps you can take to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Brush your teeth well twice a day: This removes the film of bacteria from the teeth. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay.
Clean between your teeth every day: You need to remove the bacteria and food particles that a toothbrush can’t reach so you should clean between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaners every day. Your dentist will show you how to do this properly without injuring your gums.
Even if you already have early stage gum disease, it can often be reversed by daily brushing and flossing.
Eat a balanced diet: A good diet based on a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and dairy products will help your teeth. Its also a good idea to limit snacks between meals.
Visit your dentist regularly: To prevent gum disease, its important to have regular dental checkups and professional cleaning.
Taking the right steps will help you avoid gum disease and can even reverse it if you catch it in the early stages.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Understanding your wisdom teeth

Many patients ask whether wisdom teeth are really necessary since so many people have them removed.
The fact is that wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned.
However, problems can occur that sometimes make it better to have them removed.
For example, when the jaw isn’t large enough, the wisdom teeth can become impacted – misaligned or unable to grow in properly. They may grow sideways, emerge only part way from the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
The reasons wisdom teeth may have to be extracted include:
– The teeth have only partially erupted. This leaves an opening for bacteria which cause infection.
– There is a chance the wisdom teeth will damage adjacent teeth.
– A cyst forms which may destroy surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.
Ask your dentist about the health and positioning of your wisdom teeth.
Your dentist will tell you if there are any issues and will recommend any steps needed.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What will it be like living with dentures?

People who are new to wearing dentures naturally have many questions about how their life will change.
New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place.
During this time, its not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases.
As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish.
Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.
Initially you may also find that wearing dentures changes how you speak. Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you’re talking, speak more slowly.
You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile.
After your dentures are fitted, youll have a few follow-up appointments with your dentist to take care of any initial issues and to answer any questions you have.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The difference between canker sores and cold sores

Although canker sores are often confused with cold sores, there is a difference.
Canker sores occur inside the mouth, and cold sores usually occur outside the mouth.
Canker sores are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. There can be one or more sores in the mouth. They are very common and often recur.
They usually heal in a week or two and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthrinses may help reduce the irritation.
Cold sores – also called fever blisters – are composed of groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or chin.
Cold sores are usually caused by herpes virus type I and are very contagious. They usually heal in about a week.
Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide temporary relief and prescription antiviral drugs may reduce these kinds of viral infections.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Choosing the right mouthwash to meet your needs

These days many people like to use a mouthwash and there is a huge range of options to choose from.
The key to choosing the right one for your needs is being clear about what you are using it for.
Many people opt for mouthwash because they want to have fresh breath.
But many mouthwashes contain alcohol which can cause the mouth to dry. It’s best to minimize the chances of suffering from dry mouth as it can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Therefore if you want fresh breath, a breath spray or drops may meet your needs better.
Another reason for using mouthwash is when you’ve been told you have a gum disease such as gingivitis. In this case, you’ll need to choose a mouthwash that contains ingredients known to kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
If you like to use a mouthwash that improves your oral health, use one that contains fluoride.
Read the directions of your mouthwash and make sure you spit it out.
Don’t assume that the most expensive mouthwashes are best. Think carefully about your needs and check the ingredients.
Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best choice of mouthwash.