Dental Therapist, a New Title in the World of Dentistry

To allow the dentist to focus on more complicated procedures, a dental therapist can work on basic procedures.

The University of Minnesota is leading the way in creating a new title in the world of dentistry, the dental therapist. Not a “shrink” for your teeth, but a new team member to bridge the gap between a dental hygienist and dentist. This new team member would be allowed certain functions such as basic preventative care and restorative treatment, along with the extraction of primary (baby) teeth. This concept would therefore allow the dentist and his assistant to concentrate on more of the meat of the practice.

patient and dental professional working on him
A dental therapist will work on basic functions to allow the dentist to concentrate on complex dental procedures.

fOkay, so let’s assume that we have introduced this new team member. Now where would they be most beneficial? Welcome to the somewhat controversial debate that has been going on for decades. In theory, dental therapists are specialties that would would go into under-served areas of a community targeting the public sector or public health clinics, to take care of filling teeth and other basic needs. Although, there are many states that are extremely restrictive in what they allow other staff members, besides the dentist, to perform. And what they can do, they must perform under the direct supervision of a dentist.

Some believe that this type of new position would also greatly benefit the growing senior population. A dental therapist would be responsible for the preventative care and minor restorative treatment to the geriatric patient. They could also be employed by adult care facilities and or travel to geriatric hospitals to care for the needs of those patients admitted there. With our growing senior population, oral health care is a big concern and one that poses a challenge for the family practitioner.

Some dentists may complain that someone other than a dentist performing “basic restorative treatment” (i.e. fillings) isn’t knowledgeable enough, and this arrangement may potentially put the public at risk.  There will be skeptics when it comes to this new title. Maybe if we had a dental therapist or similar position in place, either in a hospital or public health clinic, it would prevent drains on our healthcare facilities.

.

This article is provided on behalf of West Palm Beach dentist Dr. Sam Sadati, www.floridasmiles.com

Top Ten Common Procedures Of Cosmetic Dentistry

You can get the self confidence you need through cosmetic dentistry with whitening, implants and other procedures.

A beautiful smile can increase your self confidence in all aspects of your life, including your love life and your professional life. Let’s face it, a horrible looking mouth gets far more attention than we wish. Have you ever refrained from smiling or even talking to someone due to the condition of your teeth?

two images illustrating teeth whitening
Cosmetic dentistry makes your teeth more gorgeous

If you have, it may be time for you to consider having dental aesthetics through cosmetic dentistry. Here is a list of the top ten ways that a cosmetic dentist can improve your smile:

Whitening

Several techniques used to whiten teeth. A dentist can give you a laser treatment, a peroxide treatment, or a prescription whitening kit to take home.

Veneers

Veneers are thin layers of composite resin or porcelain that are cemented directly onto the front of teeth. Veneers are designed to correct discoloration, chips, gaps, cracks, and misaligned teeth.

Bonding

A damaged tooth can be bonded with porcelain or a composite resin material and crafted to resemble the natural tooth. The types of damage that bonding can cover up are chips, cracks, discoloration and decay.

Crowns

Damaged teeth can also be corrected with crowns. Crowns are also made of porcelain or composite resin, but are fused to a piece of metal which gives it more strength. Crowns are larger in size than bonds. Damaged teeth are prepared by having a layer of enamel removed.

Bridges

Bridges are devices that replace one or several missing teeth without using a dental implant. The teeth on both sides of the missing teeth need to be healthy. A bridge uses the natural teeth as a supporting structure for it. Crowns are placed on the healthy teeth with a prosthetic tooth or teeth placed in the middle to fill in the gap of the tooth or teeth that are missing.

Dental Implants

Cosmetic dentistry can replace missing teeth with dental implants. These are surgically implanted into the jaw bone and can last for a lifetime. The entire treatment could take months to complete; however, some dentists specialize in providing dental implants in just one day.

Inlays

An inlay is similar to a bond, but is done by using an impression of your teeth to allow the dentist to create a filling that is customized to fit directly onto or into your teeth to fill in broken or chipped teeth and gaps between teeth.

Crown Lengthening

Some people are born with excessive gum tissue covering their teeth. Crown lengthening is done not by lengthening the crowns, but by removing gum tissue after lifting it away from the teeth. This surgical procedure is called a gingivectomy, and usually requires sutures. If the roots are exposed as a result of a gingivectomy, crowns or veneers may be provided.

Gummy Smile Correction

This is a less invasive procedure for those who have a small amount of excessive gum tissue on their teeth. A dental laser is used to remove the gum tissue. Sutures are not needed due to the fact that only a small amount of gum tissue is removed.

Complete Makeover

A complete makeover will likely be a major transformation. Depending on the amount of work that is needed, a complete makeover could take several months to complete. There could be many various combinations of the above procedures can perform to give someone a complete smile makeover. A complete makeover is ideal for those who foresee being in the spotlight of the media due to job advancements, those with career choices in the entertainment industry.

Gum Disease Symptoms and Causes

Pain, bleeding and your gums changing colors are symptoms of gum disease which should be taken care of.

We tend to usually ignore gum disease symptoms and causes which often lead to severe pain and other complications at a later stage. Considering how serious the problem can get, it is essential to identify the symptoms in the early stages and look for possible remedies.

man showing his teeth and gums
Gum disease is a common problem in the United States.

The National Institute of Health reports that about 80 per cent of adults in the United States are suffering from some kind of gum problems. Goes without saying, you should focus on identifying the gum disease symptoms & causes before it is too late. The first thing that you should focus on finding out is whether your gums are changing color. In most cases, you will find your gums turning red. Mostly, the red gums swell at an alarming rate.

Another key symptom that you should not ignore is pain in your gums. In the first stages, you will experience onlymild pain that is hardly ever taken seriously. You will initially find it tough to eat hard foods such as biscuits and apples. Soon, you will find yourself struggling to eat anything without pain. The most evident symptom to detect gum problems is their bleeding.

Interestingly, bleeding of gums is not just associated with eating hard foods but also with brushing and gurgling. Apart from these symptoms, some other signs to look out for include bad breath, pus from teeth and gums and a foul taste in the mouth.

While you understand that gum problems need to be addressed as quickly as possible, you should also know the top factors that lead to it. Bad bacteria are the top reason why people face gum problems. Over a period of time, the bad bacteria turn into plaque which later becomes tartar. Tartar is difficult to get rid of and is often responsible for causing gum problems. So, now you know why ignoring the early signs of gum problems can lead to serious difficulties at a later stage.

Finding a Good Dentist for You

Going through the steps in finding a good dentist not only prevents dental problems, but also gives you the confidence to smile.

If you want to always have your best smile, then you will have to find a good dentist and  have check ups on a regular basis. The American Dental Association has stated that patients need to see the dentist every six months. Regular trips to the dentist gives you that confidence to smile and prevent a number of problems from occurring later on down the road.

Keep your smile. Smile often. Find a good dentist.
Keep your smile. Smile often. Find a good dentist.

It is a good idea to choose an experienced dentist over someone who has just graduated from dental school.

Here are some of the things that you should look for in a dentist:

Qualifications/Credentials

Your dentist should be board-certified. Board-certified dentists have completed training beyond dental school. They have also taken a difficult written and oral examination. You can find out whether a dentist is board-certified by checking with your local dental board.

You should also consider the number of years that a dentist has been in practice. Experienced dentists have most likely diagnosed and treated several dental issues. That is why it is a good idea to choose an experienced dentist over someone who has just graduated from dental school.

Keep in mind that there are some dentists who only provide care for children while there are some dentists who provide care for the care the entire family. Furthermore, some dentists specialize in additional areas, such as cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry and dental surgery.

References

A qualified dentist will have a good reputation. You should take a look at the reviews of previous patients. You can find patient reviews online. Everyone will not have a positive experience with a dentist, so one or two negative reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. However, a good dentist will have many more positive reviews than negative ones.

Convenience

There will probably be times when you have to get off work early or get your kids out of school early so that you or your children can visit the dentist. That is why you should choose a dentist whose office is conveniently located close to your home or job.

Meet The Dentist In Person

You should not choose a dentist before meeting him or her in person. There are several questions that you should consider asking a potential dentist. Do you offer treatments to patients who have special conditions? Do you offer sedation or other relaxation techniques for patients who are afraid of the dentist? Do you stay up to date with the latest technology? Do you accept my dental insurance? Do you take continuing education courses? In addition to interviewing the dentist, you should also make sure that the office is tidy and that the support staff is friendly. Your overall comfort at the office should also be taken into account.

 

What You Should Know About Gum Disease - A Layman's Guide To Fighting Gum Disease - A book

Try SmileMakers if you are looking for a good dentist and live in the Harrisonburg, VA area.

dentist image by Giuliamar of Pixabay

Eating When You Have Braces

Your Orthodontist is a good source of what to eat and what else to do when you have braces. It pays to also educate yourself and cut up certain foods.

Eating when you have braces takes getting used to. Once you get braces, there are many rumors that float around about what you can and cannot eat. You may be under the impression that there is a big list of things you cannot eat, but it may not be factual.  Your orthodontist can tell you best. Many times, cutting things up to manageable slices will allow you to eat what you desire.

There are strategies to eating when you have braces.
There are strategies to eating when you have braces.

If you have recently gotten braces put on your teeth, you are well on your way to having a beautiful smile. However, you have to deal with having braces for a period of time before you can get those nice, straight teeth.

There are many choices for foods for people who wear braces. All you have to do is educate yourself. Here is a guide that can help you know for sure what you should and should not eat while you have braces on your teeth: One great food you can eat while you have braces is fruit. Fruit is a healthy choice for any diet. It is recommended by professionals that we eat 1 or 2 cups of fruit every day. For people who have braces, biting into certain fruits like apples can be painful. Your teeth are often sensitive, and any forceful pressure on them is unwanted.Your teeth become even more sensitive when the dentist tightens your braces.
It is necessary for your braces to be tightened, but your teeth will definitely be more sensitive after they have been tightened. If you want to eat fruits that are hard to bite into like apples, you should cut them up into smaller pieces and then eat them. This way, you can eat them using your back teeth so the experience isn’t as painful. If you don’t feel like cutting up your fruit before you eat it, try opting for softer fruits, like raspberries or blueberries. If your teeth and gums feel tender, these fruits will be soothing.

Another food group that is equally as important as fruits is vegetables. Just like fruits, it is recommended that people eat 1 or 2 cups of vegetables per day. When you have braces, biting into hard vegetables like carrots or cauliflower can be painful and even cause damage to the brackets on your braces. If you still want to eat these vegetables, you can cut them up into smaller pieces so that you can chew them with your back teeth.

Another great way to enjoy your favorite vegetables is to cook them. Cooking vegetables automatically makes them softer, which is a great thing for people who wear braces. You can boil or steam vegetables to make them softer and tastier for eating. Another very important food group is grains. Grains give us iron, fiber, and many other nutrients that are essential for our bodies. Most grain products are easy to chew for people who have braces.

However, there are some grains you should watch out for. Any grains with hard crusts, like bagels, can be difficult to bite into for people who wear braces. You can break these grains into smaller pieces so that you can chew them with your back teeth. You may think there is little you can eat as someone who wears braces. However, there are many choices for foods for people who wear braces. All you have to do is educate yourself.

.

What You Should Know About Gum Disease - A Layman's Guide To Fighting Gum Disease - A book

dental braces image by Wikimedia Commons

 

Does Chewing Gum Help Your Teeth?

Depending on the type of gum and its contents, chewing gum can be beneficial or detrimental to your teeth. If you chew gum, choose one good for teeth.

The truth is that there could be multiple answers to this question. It really depends because there are all sorts of things that could be inside gum that could actually hurt your teeth. At the same time chewing gum also has some major benefits in maintaining your teeth and all around health in your mouth and keep you from going back to the dentist. Here are some of the things that could actually cause problems for your teeth.

A pack of five chewing gums.
A pack of five chewing gums.

Some gum actually has sweeteners that are good for your teeth. There are also different types of gums that are whiteners and that get rid of plaque.

Sugar

Gum can’t be tasteless otherwise people won’t choose to buy it. There has to be a type of sugar or sugar substitute in order to make the gum tasty for consumers. This causes issues because you are lodging those sugars all over your teeth as you chew. As these sugars remain on the teeth they become food for the bacteria that lives in your mouth. This can cause cavities and other plaque and residue forming in the teeth.

One thing that chewing gum can cause is jaw disorders over time. People who chew a lot may find that their jaws pop or their jaw muscles tire out. There is a lot of extra wear and tear when someone starts to chew gum. This can cause extra damage for the cartilage in your jaw.

Gums without sugar can be just as hard on you as anything else. In fact, some of the sweeteners found in gum can actually cause neurological disorders and birth defects.

So now that we have talked about the bad things about chewing gum maybe it is time to talk about the good for a little bit.

Lavadent Natural Teeth Whitening
Saliva

Saliva is the natural way that our mouths manage acid and too much bacteria build up. Chewing gum can actually stimulate more saliva and keep your mouth healthier by neutralizing acid and cleaning teeth. There is also the benefit of keeping your mouth fresh smelling because of the minimized amount of bacteria swimming in there afterwards.

Some gum actually has sweeteners that are good for your teeth. There are also different types of gums that are whiteners and that get rid of plaque. It really depends on the type that you get but overall sugar free gum can be a good option if you are in a hurry and you aren’t able to brush your teeth at that moment.

This is definitely not to say that gum can replace the toothbrush because it can’t. A toothbrush can get much more in depth cleaning and reach areas that the gum just rubs. Gum is more meant to augment the brushing experience in the end, much like the role of Listerine and other mouth washes.

Overall we can see that the dental healthiness of chewing gum is completely dependent on the type of gum and their individual contents. Gum can be a great addition to your dental hygiene kit and can keep you from having extra of those pesky visits to the dentist.

.

chewing gum image courtesy of Open Clipart

 

How to Pick Your Dentist

When picking a dentist, the American Dental Association recommends to get recommendations from friends, family, co-workers, and your family doctor.

Is there such a thing as a positive experience when going to the dentist? There absolutely is, and a big part of making sure that it is a positive experience is picking the right dental professional to go to. Here are a few helpful tips to assist you in picking the right person to take care of your dental health and insure that you have healthy teeth.

two dentists working on a patient
Dental work is important, so you must pick your dentist wisely.




The American Dental Association recommends that you first gather information and recommendations from your friends, family, co-workers, and even your family doctor.  Who better to help you with the decision of picking a new dentist than from someone has firsthand experience with your potential prospects and whose opinion you trust? Getting just a few recommendations will help narrow your options and speed up the process.

The next thing to do after narrowing your list is to find out what type of person your dentist is and choose one that you trust and feel comfortable with. Just because a dentist is qualified and certified to be in their position, it does not mean that you will have a good experience with them. A few questions to find out are where did the dentist receive his education and training? And how frequently is the dentist attending continuing education workshops and conferences to keep up to date in an industry that is constantly changing? It is very important to be comfortable with your dentist so keep that in mind when meeting them.

After getting to know your dentist it is important that you are comfortable with the dental staff and that the office and environment are clean and professional.  Make sure all equipment, as well as all tools and devices are completely clean and orderly.  Are the staff members friendly and willing to help and answer your questions and are the dentist and their staff wearing gloves and proper protective gear during treatment?

The final thing to do is make sure that it is going to be a good fit for your physical and financial needs. Ask yourself: What are the office hours and does it work with your busy schedule? Is the dental office located in a place that is easy to get to from your home or work? And finally is the dentist covered under your dental health plan?