A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because it allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to irritate or injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing thoroughly at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams. If you wish to or are able to invest in an electric toothbrush, the "Sonicare" with a small head is superior to others on the market. It's advisable to also use a toothpaste that contains flouride to decrease the incidence of dental decay. Many toothpastes contain "sodium laurel sulfate" which is usually not a problem, however, an estimated 10% of the population is sensitive to this ingredient which may trigger an increase the likelihood of oral ulcers. If you find you have teeth that are sensitive to cold, you should look for a toothpaste that does not have sodium laurel sulfate in it such as (most) Sensodyne products. Dr. Marra also recommends flossing of your teeth twice per day. This helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach and also helps to keep your gums healthy. Another excellent product, in addition to dental floss, is a product made by GUM called "soft picks"; they are disposable, and can remove food particles between teeth and stimulate gum tissue.
This is a focused beam of x-ray particles through bone which produces an extremely high quality digital image showing the structure through which it passed. This gives the familiar black and white images that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process and are recommended once a year; not to use them could lead to an undiagnosed disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention. In our office, we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional x-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.
Fillings are done to remove decay, and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a new material fills the hole that decay left. Although the U.S Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there are no health reasons not to use amalgam (silver fillings), most teeth are now treated with bonded tooth colored composite resin fillings that help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated, decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth may need more durable restoration such as root canal treatment or an extraction.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro-etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
Sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. So the dentist or dental professional will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENTS
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one's teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium (gum disease) may be as follows: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. Any of these signs may mean something is wrong. With the proper care, however, it may be possible to return them to a healthy state. This is where appropriate gum treatments come in. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we can take care of it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to get it treated at the first sign of a problem.