Caring For Your Toothbrush

A good oral hygiene plays the most important role in taking care of your pearly whites. But to keep your teeth healthy for longer, you also have to do proper care and maintenance of one of the tools that helps you do so – your toothbrush.

Here are some general considerations on how to take care of your favorite oral hygiene buddy, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

NEVER Share Your Toothbrush with Anyone.

The oral cavity is loaded with millions of microorganisms that may potentially cause infections, both oral and systemic. And these could be transferred to your toothbrush during use.

Sharing your toothbrush with anyone results in the exchange of these microorganisms between users, putting everyone at risk for infections. But individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems or have existing infections are at greater risk.

Rinse Your Toothbrush Thoroughly After Every Use.

Rinse your toothbrush under running water after brushing to wash off any remaining toothpaste and other debris.

Some individuals soak their toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash, while others use commercially-available sanitizing solutions for toothbrushes. Both methods are acceptable. A dishwasher may also be used, but not for long periods.

Allow Your Toothbrush to air-dry After Rinsing.

Put your toothbrush in an upright position and let it air-dry until your next use. If two or more toothbrushes are stored in the same holder, keep them apart to prevent cross-contamination.

Avoid storing your toothbrush in closed containers. A closed container provides moist environment which is conducive for growth of microorganisms.

Use Proper Brushing Techniques.

How well you care for your toothbrush is just as important as the care you give your teeth. When you brush, do it gently using short strokes instead of long, hard strokes. Vigorous brushing makes the bristles get worn easily.

Replace Your Toothbrush Every 3 to 4 Months.

Even if you follow all the tips given above, they would still be useless if you don’t replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

The ADA recommends getting a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or as soon as the bristles start to look worn and discolored from everyday use. Worn toothbrushes clean much less effectively, particularly on areas where plaque accumulates the most – underneath the gums and in between the teeth.

Now, the rates at which toothbrushes wear out depend on factors unique to every individual.

Check your toothbrush regularly, look out for signs of wear, and replace as needed. Even if you don’t see any obvious signs of wear and tear, you still need to change your toothbrush regularly because they often have microorganisms which can build up to significant levels over time.

Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently than adult brushes. Also, you may have to replace your toothbrush much sooner if you get colds or other viral infection.

But no matter how often you get a new toothbrush, replacing them ensures that you have a clean, efficient brush that will optimally clean your teeth and provide you with a healthy smile for life.

Diagnosing Periodontal Gum Disease: How Dentists Do It

An accurate diagnosis of the patient’s periodontal condition is of paramount importance in the subsequent management of the disease.

It is the first step towards the development of an appropriate treatment plan that when implemented, will lead to the resolution of the infection and restoration of the patient’s Periodontal Gum Disease.

In this article, we will give you an overview on how dentists accurately diagnose your periodontal problem.

Medical and Dental History

The first most important thing in coming up with an accurate diagnosis is obtaining detailed information regarding the patient’s medical and dental history.

According to studies, Diagnosing Periodontal Gum Disease affects and can be affected by a variety of systemic diseases and conditions. These include diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy, chronic stress, and smoking to name a few.

Dental history, on the other hand, will give your dentist an idea as to what must have contributed to the periodontal problem, how it will progress, and which of the treatment options may or may not suit the patient.

Periodontal Gum Disease  Tissue Inflammation

After history-taking, your dentist will now rely on visual examination of your overall oral condition. This method will only assess whether or not the gum tissue is inflamed.

This assessment is done by examining the color (coral pink, red, or red-purple); consistency (firm or soft); and texture (stippled or smooth) of the gum tissue.

A healthy gum tissue is coral pink, firm, and stippled, while an inflamed one is red, soft, and smooth. Your dentist will inspect the gum tissue on the cheek side and tongue side of every tooth and compare it to what healthy gums should look like.

Periodontal Gum Disease

Plaque and Calculator Deposits

Periodontal disease is mainly caused by accumulation of plaque in the gum line and in-between teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can induce host response, resulting to the inflammation of the gum tissue. If left for a long time, it will eventually harden, forming what is known as calculus (a.k.a. tartar).

Calculus has a rough surface that further facilitates plaque accumulation. Plaque and calculator deposits can be detected via visual examination or through the use of plaque disclosing agents. Disclosing agents contain a dye which is absorbed by plaque, allowing them to be more easily seen by the dentist.

Bleeding on Probing (BOP) and Periodontal Pocket Depth (PPD)

Bleeding on probing and measuring periodontal pocket depths provide a more objective and detailed assessment of the patient’s existing periodontal condition.

BOP confirms the presence of inflammation, while PPD determines the extent of destruction. Both are measured using a special instrument called periodontal probe, which has millimeter calibrations.

To measure PPD, your dentist will insert the probe into the groove between the gum tissue and the tooth. Normal PPD is 1-3mm, while more than 5mm is indicative of periodontitis.

Tooth Mobility

If periodontitis is suspected, your dentist will also assess the mobility of the involved teeth.

Mobility is usually a sign of bone loss. It is evaluated by pushing the tooth between two fingers or instrument handles and observing any movement.

This movement may be slight or severe (almost as though the tooth will pop out of its socket) depending on the amount and extent of bone loss.

Bone Loss

Periodontal Gum Disease that has been left untreated for a very long time results to bone loss, which your dentist can detect by taking dental x-rays.

Some dentist would take x-rays of the involved teeth only, while others prefer a full mouth series.

A full mouth series is a set of 18 x-rays that covers the entire dentition. It is recommended for cases where periodontitis seems to involve almost all of the patient’s teeth.

Mind The Gap: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention of Diastema

Diastema, otherwise known as tooth gap, pertains to the spacing between two or more teeth. It is most often seen on the front teeth, although the back teeth may also be involved.

Children are the most commonly affected, albeit temporary and should correct itself once the primary teeth fall off and the permanent teeth comes out.

In adults, however, diastema is most likely permanent and requires orthodontic treatment for correction.

Causes of Diastema

The most common cause of diastema is the discrepancy between the size of the teeth and that of the jaw. Spacing occurs when the teeth are normal in size but the jaw is too big, or if the jaw is normal in size but the teeth are too small for it.

A special condition called a peg lateral refers to the developmental defect of the lateral incisor, resulting to gap between the lateral incisor and the teeth adjacent to it (central incisor and canine).

The spacing may also cause the central incisor to drift into the space, resulting to a small midline gap between the two central incisors.

Other causes of diastema include missing or unerupted teeth, oral habits (such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking), periodontitis, mesiodens, and oversized labial frenum.

If diastema is caused by a missing tooth, the spacing tends to get worse over time as other teeth drift into the space, leading to gaps between more teeth.

Meanwhile, oral habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking push the upper front teeth forward, creating space as they flare out.

Periodontitis, on the other hand, refers to the advanced form of gum disease characterized by bone loss in addition to the inflammation of the gums.

The aggressive form of this disease results to the fast destruction of the supporting bone, causing the affected teeth to become mobile.

Mobility results to gap formation, which tend to worsen over time if periodontitis is left untreated. The labial frenum, a small band of soft tissue located found just above the two upper central incisors, may also cause diastema if it is large enough.

If this tissue extends far below its normal position and passes between the two central teeth, it prevents these teeth from naturally closing the space between them.

Lastly, mesiodens causes diastema the same way as an oversized labial frenum – it grows at the back of the central incisors, thereby preventing them to come together and close the gap.

Treatment of Diastema

Although diastema doesn’t have any adverse effects on one’s health, most patients prefer to have it corrected for aesthetic purposes.

There are several techniques of closing a diastema, and the use of each one depends on the cause of the problem and the amount of space that has to be closed.

The most recommended method for closing a diastema is orthodontic treatment. It involves the installation of dental braces on the upper and lower teeth to pull the teeth together and close the space.

But if the cause of the problem is an oversized labial frenum or mesiodens, then surgery must be performed first prior to putting braces; otherwise, the problem may only recur once the appliance is removed. The surgical procedure for removing frenum is called a frenectomy.

Take note that in children, orthodontic treatment is not always a necessary follow-up as the space naturally closes once the cause is eliminated.

For small gaps, the patient may opt for placement of composite restorations or crowns instead of orthodontic treatment.

If the space is due to a missing tooth, then tooth replacement options like fixed bridges, removable dentures, and dental implants should be considered.

If it is brought about by periodontal disease, professional cleaning and deep scaling are the initial steps because the aim is to control the disease first. This will be followed by splinting of the involved
teeth, installation of dental braces, or restoration with a fixed bridge or denture.

Prevention of Diastema

If diastema is caused by developmental defects, then there’s no way to avoid it. Further widening of the space, however, can be prevented by using splint to stop the teeth from moving farther away from each other.

Orthodontic treatment is also preferred as early as possible. For diastema due to periodontal disease, the best method to prevent further widening of the gap is to practice proper oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing can do so much to halt progression of periodontal disease. Then, splinting the involved teeth is also recommended to stop the teeth from moving away some more.

For cases caused by oral habits, the most logical thing to do is to break such habit. You can go to your dentist for counselling and placement of appliances that can help control the habit.

Difference between Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers

Do you know most politicians & celebrities don’t have ideal teeth or smile?

Nowadays it’s exasperate to see crooked or yellow teeth on TV screen. In order to overcome these problems you might have heard about the terms like porcelain veneers and lumineers. These procedures can work best to,

  • Align Teeth
  • Straighten crooked teeth
  • Provide ideal gum and tooth balance
  • Lengthen, or widen teeth
  • Correct stubborn discoloration that some tooth whitening may be unable to correct
  • Fill chipped teeth
  • Give uniform, even sizing presentation of all teeth

Both Veneers and lumineers are used for correcting teeth imperfections. They are used to repair the damaged or crooked teeth. These types of procedures come under cosmetic dentistry.

Veneers and lumineers can likewise be utilized to cover fillings which have changed shading and have an unpleasant appearance or to cover gaps between teeth.

These gaps can be adjusted by orthodontic procedures, yet porcelain veneers or lumineers give a quicker arrangement.

Both porcelain veneers and lumineers have a characteristic look, are exceptionally solid and don’t change color over time.

What Veneers are

A veneer is a layer of material placed over the tooth in order to improve the aesthetic s of tooth to protect tooth surface from damage. There are basically two types of materials exist in order to fabricate veneer:

  • Composite Veneer: can be directly or indirectly fabricated placed by dental practitioner in a lab and later bonded to tooth.
  • Porcelain Veneer: Can only be indirectly fabricated.

Difference Between Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers

Porcelain veneers:

Porcelain veneers are more durable and look more natural than composite veneers.

These are more expensive than composite veneers. In case of dental veneers, reshaping of tooth can be done and this can be quite tricky because veneers needs to be placed on tooth, in order to avoid bulky look dentists remove around 5 mm from surface of tooth.

Having done this, person will lose its natural enamel and are protected by porcelain veneers only.

Lumineers:

Lumineers on the other hand are improved variant of Porcelain veneers.  They are same as that of porcelain veneers in terms of functionality.

The only difference between porcelain veneers and lumineers is that they don’t require the removal of enamel and hence can be better and long term solution than porcelain veneers.  While placing lumineers, structure of tooth remains unchanged.

Lumineers are sleeker than porcelain veneers, but this doesn’t make them less durable. Given that lumineers are placed without the tooth being altered, they do add to the overall structure of the tooth and might feel a little bulkier than the classic porcelain veneers.

However, the additional benefits are well worth it; the tooth is still protected by its natural enamel, even if the lumineers need to be taken off.

In terms of costs, lumineers have similar costs as that of porcelain veneers.

Conclusion:

Both veneers and lumineers are used for protecting tooth surface from damage. The only difference lies in the face that lumineers don’t require the removal of enamel and hence can be better and long term solution than porcelain veneers.

Contact Dr. Safarian for Cosmetic Dental Treatment in San Diego.