Oral health – tips and techniques for looking after your teeth between dental visits

Oral health – tips and techniques for looking after your teeth between dental visits

oral health

Who doesn’t love the feeling of a clean mouth right after visiting the dentist’s office? But we can’t visit the dentist every day for professional teeth cleaning, which means we must implement and maintain a good oral health routine at home to keep that feeling of freshness every day. So what can we do to look after our teeth between visits to the dentist?

Here are five tips for enhancing your oral health routine at home:

  1. brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
  2. refresh yourself on proper brushing technique to get the most out of your brushing – remember to hold the bristles against your teeth, tilt them at a 45-degree angle to your gums and move the bristles in a circular motion as you clean all surfaces of your teeth
  3. brush your tongue as bacteria lives there too
  4. replace your toothbrush regularly, at least once every three months and when the bristles of your toothbrush are worn past that point of cleaning effectively
  5. floss once per day to clean the areas of your teeth and gum line that a toothbrush simply can’t reach – be sure to ask your dental team about the best flossing method to use and let your dentist know if your gums bleed or you experience pain while flossing
  6. avoid excessively sugary foods and beverages to reduce acid in the mouth – remember that lowering the number of heavily sugared drinks you consume throughout the day by replacing them with water will benefit both your mouth and your health in general

So, you can see from the tips above that it doesn’t take much time or effort to maintain a good oral health routine at home to keep that feeling of freshness in-between visits to your dentist.

Why does my jaws ache?

painThere are a number of possible causes of an aching jaw. Until the problem causing the pain is corrected, jaw ache can cause make it difficult to chew or drink. Severe jaw pain can even cause headaches and digestive problems.

Is an aching jaw serious?

Not all jaw ache is a symptom of a serious condition. It can be caused by innocuous activities like excessive gum chewing or jaw clenching resulting from stress. This results in simple exhaustion of the jaw muscles and are easily correctable without a visit to a health care professional.

Sometimes the sources of jaw ache are not always so easy to pin down. They can be neurological, muscular, or pathological (caused by an infection). A visit to the dentist can determine if achy jaws are caused by a breakdown in oral health. Then they can usually be easily corrected by a dentist or an oral surgeon.

What’s causing the ache?

The most common cause of dental-related jaw pain is the existence of cavities, which can be corrected with a simple filling or a root canal therapy.

Tooth abscesses are a bit more serious as the infection can migrate to the jawbones causing the jaw to ache. A round of antibiotics prescribed either by your dentist or doctor is necessary to clear up the abscess.

Gum disease can also migrate to the jaw area making your jaws ache.

Teeth grinding causes jaw pain and you may not even be aware you are doing it in your sleep. Your dentist can mold a dental guard so teeth aren’t worn by constant grinding and recommend stress release techniques so you don’t experience jaw pain from tension.

Misalignment of teeth due to over and under-bites or missing teeth can also cause pain. This can be corrected by orthodontia (like braces), dental appliances, or dental implants.

The eruption of wisdom teeth is a very common cause of jaw ache and something nearly everyone suffers at one time or another. Wisdom teeth can impact, creating pain in the jaw bone. Your dentist can remedy this all-too-common problem by removing your wisdom teeth.

When it’s not your teeth

Some causes of jaw ache aren’t dental-related even though the pain is experienced in the jaw area. Like pain from earaches or sinus infections. Once your oral health professional has ruled out dental-related causes for the pain they may suggest you see your general practitioner or a neurologist for further treatment.

5 important things you can do for your children’s teeth

children's dentistry Good dental care starts in childhood. When you make sure that your children’s teeth are taken care of, their risk of developing dental caries becomes significantly lower. The following tips are essential to keep in mind for protecting your children’s teeth.

 

Visit the Dentist

You don’t have to wait until your children start getting their permanent teeth to take them to the dentist. In fact, you should take them for an initial visit when they’re around a year old. This helps them get used to sitting through dental exams, which makes these visits easier as they get older.

 

Keep Teeth and Gums Clean

Brush and floss your children’s teeth at least twice a day, preferably after meals, to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Introduce your children to brushing when they get their baby teeth and get them used to a daily routine of brushing. You can start flossing your children’s teeth when they start growing closer together, typically between two and six years of age. Make sure you use children’s toothpaste with fluoride when brushing for better protection from tooth decay. Plan on helping your children brush and floss until they’re old enough to do so on their own.

 

Limit Sugary Foods and Beverages

What your children eat has a big impact on their chance of developing tooth problems. Encourage your children to eat healthy snacks, such as fresh vegetables, rather than lollies and other sugar-filled foods. The sugar in these foods can lead to a higher amount of plaque build-up, which increases the risk of tooth decay. Keep in mind that many fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar, so it’s important to provide your children with healthy drinks as well.

 

Understand the Importance of Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral found in most water supplies throughout Australia. Fluoride helps lower the risk of tooth decay, so it’s important to make sure your children are drinking plenty of water each day. Your children can also get fluoride protection by using toothpastes that contain this mineral and receiving fluoride treatments at the dentist. By taking advantage of the protection fluoride provides, you can considerably lower your children’s risk of getting tooth decay.

 

Consider Dental Sealants

When your children’s molars come in, these permanent teeth often require extra protection from decay. The surface of molars contains many grooves that food can become trapped in, leading to decay. Talk to your dentist about whether they would recommend fissure sealants for your children’s molars and any other teeth that are at an increased risk of tooth decay. Dental sealants are coatings placed over these teeth to cover the grooves, which helps keep food and dental plaque from building up on these surfaces.

 

Following these tips on a regular basis is the most effective way to keep your children’s baby and permanent teeth in good condition. The combination of dental care at home and routine visits to your professional dentist care can help prevent tooth decay and ensure that your children receive prompt treatment for any problems that are detected early.

Crowns – what you need to know

crowns

A dental crown is essentially a cap used to cover weak, decayed or broken teeth. If you have a tooth that is decayed to the point of cracking or breaking, a dental crown will likely be one option available to restore strength to the tooth. Dental crowns are affixed to the affected tooth with a hardening material that not only keeps the crown in place but also protects the tooth down to the gum line.

What’s involved with getting a crown?

X-rays are generally performed to determine the condition of the tooth in question. It is essential to evaluate the tooth above the gum line as well as the underlying root and bone structure. X-rays are part of the process which assists in reducing the risk for any complication, such as infection.

Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area of the affected tooth before filing the tooth down to prepare it for the crown. If your tooth is too decayed or broken down, the dentist may use a filler treatment to increase the tooth’s surface area so the crown can be securely applied. After the tooth is prepared, a cast is taken so that a customised crown can be moulded to fit over the tooth. It is not uncommon for there to be a period of a few days to a couple of weeks before the crown is applied to your filed down tooth as dental crowns are individually crafted. Whilst you wait for your customised crown, your dentist will apply a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the permanent one is in place.

The actual application of a crown is less involved than the initial prepping and fitting. Once again, a local anaesthetic will be applied to the area and your dentist will use a cement-like material to affix the crown to your tooth.

What are dental crowns made from?

Today, dental crowns are made from a variety of materials, from ceramic to metal and porcelain, we can also use a zirconia-based material. The type of crown you choose is entirely dependent on your preference and budget and also what the Dentist would recommend to best suit your individual situation.

How long do dental crowns last?

Generally speaking, a dental crown can last up to 15 years as long as it is cared for with regular flossing and brushing.

If you have a cracked or broken tooth, we recommend attending to it as soon as possible to minimise the risk of complications.

Wisdom teeth – The facts

wisdom teethHere are some of the facts that you should be aware of regarding wisdom teeth;

Fact #1

Wisdom teeth are the last of the permanent teeth to erupt. They are also called third molars.

Fact #2

Wisdom teeth usually appear in the late teenage years or early twenties. Most people will have four wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can be responsible for causing misalignment or crowding of the front teeth and for this reason some people opt to remove them.

Fact #3

In some cases, wisdom teeth never erupt through the gums and are referred to as impacted wisdom teeth (or impacted third molars). Impacted wisdom teeth are typically blocked from erupting due to the positioning of other teeth. If wisdom teeth remain impacted, they can cause pain and inflammation and infection may occur. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can cause damage to adjacent teeth. For these reasons, it is often necessary for individuals with impacted wisdom teeth to have them surgically removed. Your dentist can advise the most appropriate time for extraction.

Fact #4

Depending on your specific circumstances, wisdom teeth can be surgically extracted by your dentist in around 20 – 30 minutes. You’ll then need to spend some time under supervision in recovery as the sedation wears off.

If you have pain in the area of your wisdom teeth or are concerned that your wisdom teeth have not erupted, make an appointment with your dentist today to discover your treatment options.

Handling a dental emergency

dental emergencyDental emergencies do happen. Despite being careful with your teeth, mishaps and accidents can happen. Therefore, it is important to be aware of some of the ways in which dental emergencies can be managed. Here are some tips on handling dental emergencies.

 

Injured tongue and lip

Like other oral tissue, the tongue and lips are very sensitive. When they are injured, controlling bleed loss can be a tough job.

The first step is to relax and refrain from panic. Then, try the following:

  • rinse your mouth with lukewarm water
  • firmly hold a piece of cotton or gauze to the area that is injured to stem the bleeding
  • place an ice cube folded in a cloth on the affected area to alleviate pain and reduce swelling and bleeding
  • make a dental emergency appointment with your dentist

 

Toothache

Extreme toothache can be very painful. To reduce pain until you can see your dentist, try:

  • gently rinsing your mouth with lukewarm, salty water
  • flossing in the gap between the teeth that are hurting to make sure nothing is stuck that might be causing pain
  • using pain relief medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol

In the case of severe pain, see your dentist urgently.

 

Loose crown or tooth cap

If your crown or tooth cap becomes loose or falls out, immediately

  • wrap the loose crown in a tissue or other protective covering so that it remains safe
  • make a dental emergency appointment, even if you are not experiencing any pain

 

Broken tooth

In cases of a broken tooth, follow these steps;

  • immediately call your dentist
  • keep the broken pieces of the teeth as our dentist may need the pieces to mend the tooth
  • place an ice cube folded in a cloth on the affected area to alleviate pain and reduce swelling and bleeding

When you have experienced a dental emergency, it is important to ensure your teeth are checked by your dentist even if your pain subsides and your bleeding stops.

Should I be worried about my amalgam fillings?

fillingsIn today’s Internet age, with a seemingly infinite amount of information available, it sometimes seems harder than ever to find a definitive answer to even a simple question. Health-related matters are often the most widely covered subjects, which makes sifting through the various sources and opinions even more difficult. A perfect example of this is the controversy over the safety of amalgam fillings, used by dentists worldwide for more than one hundred years. The purpose of this article is to briefly discuss why the controversy exists and to provide some facts from authoritative sources.

 

 

Amalgam Overview

Amalgam fillings are composed of a powdered alloy, consisting primarily of:

  • Silver
  • Tin
  • Copper

This mixture is added to liquid mercury to bind the alloy particles together and form the amalgam, which is where the controversy begins. Ingesting mercury can cause multiple health problems.

The Controversy

Opponents of mercury-based amalgam fillings suggest that the mercury can leach from the filling into the body, causing mercury poisoning. Thanks to the Internet, the controversy has spread quickly and become a concern for many people. Dentists often receive requests to remove the fillings and replace them with another material. Though dentists often comply with their patients’ wishes, most dentists agree that the fillings pose no harm and removal is unnecessary.

Current Research and Opinion

Extensive research by governments and universities has revealed no negative effects caused by mercury amalgam. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires dentists to warn patients, but only due to possible allergic reactions and not possible mercury poisoning, The FDA considers fillings safe for anyone age six and older. The Australian Dental Association’s official stance on amalgam fillings is:

“The ADA policy remains, on the basis of the research available, that the use of dental amalgam produces no harmful effects.”

Why Use Other Materials?

People often wonder why some dentists don’t use amalgam if they consider it safe. The simple answer is that other better materials are now available, such as white fillings.

Conclusion

As it currently stands, there’s no indication that amalgam fillings pose any health risk. The material is strong and long lasting, making it a good choice for many people. More and more dentists are moving away from the material, but usually not from fear of its toxicity, rather because modern materials offer other benefits.

Teeth whitening for a celebrity smile

teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is as easy as visiting your dentist. It is a simple treatment to lighten your teeth and remove stains or discolouration. It is a very popular and effective way to create a celebrity-style smile.

When is teeth whitening used?

Teeth whitening is used to treat extrinsic stains on teeth.

The outer layer of your tooth is called the enamel. The enamel helps to give your teeth their natural colour. If your enamel is too thin, the underlying dentin will show through. The enamel and the dentin can become stained from daily use. Some of the most common reasons for stains include drinking fluids with a dark colour, not taking care of your teeth properly and ageing. These types of stains are known as extrinsic stains.

Stains can also form on the inside of your tooth. These are known as intrinsic stains. They are caused from having too much fluoride as a child, taking tetracycline antibiotics and trauma. Teeth whitening do not treat intrinsic stains as effectively.

How in-chair teeth whitening works

When you are ready to have your extrinsic stains taken care of your dentist will:

  1. find and treat any cavities present – this is important because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas of your teeth, reaching the innermost parts
  2. thoroughly clean your teeth
  3. apply a whitening agent, activated by a soft light
  4. supervise progress as the whitening occurs to ensure that you are comfortable and that the shade of white you require is achieved

Advantages of in-chair whitening

  • It works quickly – results are achieved in one dental appointment
  • Your treatment is fully supervised so the amount of whitening that occurs is controlled
  • Your dentist will use a rubber shield to protect your gums from the whitening product
  • Your dentist can match the types of stains you have with the best whitening agents, leading to better results

What to expect after whitening

After the procedure, you may feel some minor sensitivity throughout your mouth which will diminish. Provided you regularly brush, floss and attend dental appointments, your teeth should remain whitened for up to two years.

Your top dental questions answered

top questions

When it comes to oral health, there are always many questions. Here are the answers to the top 10 most commonly asked oral health questions:

How often do teeth need to be cleaned by a professional?

Brushing teeth is recommended twice daily and flossing once daily. Getting the teeth professionally cleaned by your Dentist or Hygienist is also very important. It is suggested to get teeth cleaned professionally every six months to once a year; this depends on how well you are doing at home with your brushing and flossing.

What sort of brush should I use for brushing my teeth?

Various types of brushes are available today. Whichever brush you select, it must have soft bristles, and rounded shape is best. Soft bristles ensure that teeth enamel is not damaged by harsh brushing.

Should I use waxed or unwaxed dental floss?

It really doesn’t matter what type of floss you use. The thing that matters is using it in the right way. When you floss correctly, all the food particles that cannot be removed by your toothbrush will be removed with the floss.

Can I use an electric brush to clean my teeth?

Studies have revealed that electric brushes are more effective at cleaning teeth than manual ones. But did you know that the incorrect use of electric brushes can lead to more severe root wear of the teeth? Please ask us at your next visit if you are not sure.

Do bleaching products work?

Bleaching products do work. However, before you think of using any of them, it is recommended that you consult your dentist. He will recommend the right brand to use and make sure no existing issues are going on prior to commencing whitening, which will be perfect for your oral health too.

Will bleaching be harmful?

Use of the right product should not be harmful. Again, consult your dentist for the best advice.

How long do veneers and crowns last?

Veneers and crowns can last for up to fifteen years. Both are made from strong material but they can still be damaged and damage can decrease their lifespan. Regular check-ups with your dentist and hygienist are recommended to optimise the lifespan of your veneers and crowns.

How often do I need to visit the dentist?

It is recommended that you see your dentist at least twice a year. You can discuss your oral health and seek tips to ensure healthy teeth.

Contact our friendly staff today to make a booking.

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