The importance of regular trips to the dentist

In a busy world of packed schedules, it can be easy for trips to the dentist to fall off the calendar. However, there are more reasons than you might expect for going to the dentist regularly- it’s not just about whiter teeth and brighter smiles.

You may notice that your dentist examines not only the health of your teeth, but also your gums, mouth overall, and throat. This is because they are checking for issues that you may not even be aware of, beyond the obvious ones that may already be giving you pain. The symptoms they see may indicate early signs of oral cancer, diabetes, tooth decay, and Gingivitis/gum disease. Early detection can make all the difference in prevention, successful treatment, and decreased pain, as well as lessen the amount of future problems. This also means lowering the potential cost and frequency of treatments since symptoms are less severe and easier to treat when caught early on.

On average, patients are recommended to visit the dentist once every 6 months. Because everyone’s situation is different, the frequency of recommended visits should be determined on a case by caste basis. In addition to regular visits, it’s also important for patients to inform their dentist of any pain or deterioration in their oral health between visits. For example, bloody and swollen gums can indicate plaque build up that may cause Gingivitis or gum disease if left untreated. Letting the dentist know as soon as symptoms are caught rather than waiting until the next appointment will save future pain and troubles.

Remember to determine the optimal frequency for you with your dentist and in the meantime, practise good oral hygiene!

The world of dentistry (pt. 2)

As promised, here’s part 2 of your introduction to the dentistry team!

When an invasive procedure is needed,
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons step up to the plate.
Complications and difficulties will go unheeded
With all levels of sedation to take away the aches.

When symptoms need a specialist’s care
Or when surgeries you’d prefer to forego,
The diagnosis and treatment they handle with flair.
The specialists in Oral Medicine & Pathology will know.

Imaging tools like CTs and MRIs
Are daily used by these pros.
The little things won’t escape their eyes.
True diagnostics will Oral Radiologists propose.

When the going gets tough, you know who they’ll call.
The Prosthodontist will diagnose, plan, and oversee.
This expert and leader will hold them all in awe.
To succeed in a complicated treatment, they hold the key.

And that’s the full dentistry team! Feel free to reach out for any questions.

The world of dentistry (pt. 1)

The world of dentistry can be confusing to navigate but here’s something that should help. Introducing the dentistry team!

Your General Dentist is always here
Helping to restore, preserve, and maintain.
For all oral woes they’ll lend you their ear
And specialists’ aid they’ll help to attain.

For everything inside your pearly whites,
The complicated canals of blood vessels and nerves-
These are an Endodontist’s delight
Your teeth they will preserve.

Experts of the bite and jaw,
Orthodontists do more than just braces.
From imperfect smiles to other flaws,
They ensure all are in their rightful places.

The biggest threat to your natural teeth
Isn’t cavities, but gum disease.
The master of the gums is the one you’ll need
The Periodontist will provide care with ease.

From infancy to teenage years,
The Pediatric Dentist provides specialized care.
Able to soothe all cries, bites, and tears,
You’re in good hands in a Pediatric Dentist’s chair.

Stay tuned for part 2!

What to expect when you’re expecting

Pregnancy is a miracle, but it’s a miracle that comes with its own bag of complications. This goes for oral health as well: changing hormones increase the severity of the body’s reaction to various stimuli (like plaque), a more sensitive gag reflex gets in the way of the usual oral hygiene regimen, and everything comes at a time when oral health is the last thing on an expecting mother’s mind. Routine check ups at the dentist are crucial at this time, as well as having overall awareness and alerting the dentist early to any changes to your oral health. These will help to prevent complications, and early action will help to keep any symptoms from worsening.

The following are common concerns during pregnancy.

Gingivitis

  • Symptoms: bleeding, swollen gums
  • Cause: hormonal changes make the mouth more irritable to plaque, causing gums to swell.
  • Prevention: practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Stay on schedule with professional cleanings and alert dentist of any pain.

Pregnancy Tumor/pyogenic granuloma

  • Symptoms: Lump/growth on gums that frequently will bleed and may be painful
  • Cause: hormonal imbalance makes gums more easily irritated. Despite the scary name, Pregnancy Tumors are not cancerous nor contagious.
  • Prevention: practice good oral hygiene. In most cases, Pregnancy Tumors disappear upon the baby’s birth and the dentist may choose to leave them alone. If the lump does interfere with eating, the dentist may advise for it to be directly removed through a safe process or for the stimuli that cause the lump to be removed.

Increased risk of tooth decay

  • Symptoms: cavities
  • Cause: hormone changes; morning sickness exposing mouth to more acid which eats away at the enamel.
  • Prevention: practice good oral hygiene. Rinse mouth with baking soda and water after throwing up from morning sickness (mix 1 tsp baking soda to 1 cup water).

Loose teeth

  • Symptoms: moving or wobbly teeth
  • Cause: increased levels of progesterone and estrogen can affect ligaments and bones that support the teeth, making them feel looser than usual.
  • Prevention: practice good oral hygiene. Symptoms should go away with birth, but alert the dentist especially if teeth are still loose after birth.

The most important things to remember during pregnancy are to keep your dentist updated on any changes or discomfort, continue with routine visits, and maintain good oral hygiene. Your dentist will help ensure that oral complications are not a part of everything you need to worry about during pregnancy.

How to prepare for wisdom teeth extraction

Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be a nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing procedure for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to help ensure you’re making the right decision and that you’ll be going into the procedure stress-free.

  • Ask questions before saying yes. Not everyone has to get their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have enough space in their mouth that their wisdom teeth are able to grow in without affecting their overall oral health. If your dentist is recommending that you get your wisdom teeth removed, you deserve to know the reason behind the decision.
  • Take notes from your dentist. What should you consume or not consume for 24 hours before your procedure? What type of anaesthesia will be used? What kind of foods should you stock up on for your recovery period? Are there any dangers to the procedure? Should you prepare any pain medication ahead of time?
  • Check with your insurance company. This is not an inexpensive procedure and it isn’t covered under all insurance plans. While your dentist office would like to help you out with your insurance company, the easiest way to find out whether this procedure will be covered and by how much is to call your insurance company directly.
  • Prepare in advance for a safe ride home. If general anaesthesia will be used, then you will need someone to drive you home. Make sure to have a ride prepared ahead of time.
  • Take time to rest after. You will still be under the effects of the anaesthesia for the full day after your surgery, so make sure that no one (except your couch or bed) will be expecting you. It would be best if you can stay in the comfort of your home for a day or two after the surgery as well, since you will experience discomfort with eating and your cheeks may be puffy. If this is an option, make sure to prepare ahead of time.

It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe going into this procedure. Make all the necessary preparations and ask the right questions before going in, and you’ll have a stress-free experience.

Bad breath: what causes it?

Bad breath (also knows as halitosis) affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. It is the unpleasant odour that comes from the mouth and has a variety of causes. Although bad breath can be sometimes embarrassing, there’s no need to worry as there are many ways to remedy the symptoms.

The most common cause of bad breath is a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. This build-up is fuelled most commonly by the foods that we eat. Food particles that remain in the mouth after eating can collect bacteria on the teeth, gums and tongue. Other causes of bad breath include smoking, dieting, hormonal changes, certain diseases and some medications. These all cause bad breath in different ways but most share the theme of bacteria build-up.

The easiest way to remedy bad breath is with proper oral care. The simplest place to start is at home with your oral care routine. Starting by flossing can help remove the build up of food that can get stuck between the teeth which is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. After that, brushing of the teeth and gums can whisk this bacteria away leaving the mouth clean and healthy. Lastly, don’t forget to brush your tongue with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush. A lot of bacteria can build up on the surface of the tongue which can then lead to bad breath.

A proper dental cleaning and checkup can go a long way in removing and keeping bacteria build-up at bay. If bad breath becomes chronic, contact us at Hatamian Dentistry to determine the root cause.

A parent’s headache: getting a child to the dentist

Getting a child to the dentist can be emotionally and physically draining for both the parent and the child. It helps when your dentist makes the visit quick and painless, but that isn’t always the first thing in a child’s mind. This is one parent’s strategy to getting their child to the dentist- what’s your strategy?

Step 1: The Lie

  • Goal: Move child into transportation vehicle and en route to the dentist.
  • Strategy: Shamelessly lie about destination. Replace “dentist” with said child’s preferred place (ie. park, playground, grandmother’s house, ice cream shop, etc.).
  • Sign of Success: Child’s presence while en route to dentist. Reaction of child and degree of excitement may vary per lie and per child.

Step 2: The Bribe
To be implemented once child realizes the truth of Step 1.

  • Goal: Placate child.
  • Strategy: Bribe child with reward after dentist (ie. trip to promised destination from Step 1, new toy, favourite food, etc.). Value of bribe needed will vary depending on level of child’s reluctance. Remind child of how quick and painless the last visit was.
  • Sign of Success: Hollering/crying reduced to sniffles. Pause in child’s effort to escape through sheer will.

Step 3: The Distraction
To be implemented once in dentist’s office.

  • Goal: Minimize child’s level of stress while waiting for appointment.
  • Strategy: Distract child with TV, toy, technology, noises, games, etc. Tactic will vary depending on immediate availability of means.
  • Sign of Success: Distracted child.

Step 4: The Handover

  • Goal: Transfer child to dentist and staff.
  • Strategy: Delicately hand over child (possibly with some apologies, depending on level of child’s reluctance). Relax with some magazines, now that child is in the capable hands of the dentist.
  • Sign of Success: Child’s presence in dentist chair. Decrease in blood pressure.

Step 5: The Fulfillment

  • Goal: Reward child for successful visit. Regain any lack of trust resulting from Step 1.
  • Strategy: Greet returning child with pride and hugs. Thank dentist and make note of advice and any to-do’s. Schedule next appointment. Fulfill bribe given in Step 2.
  • Sign of Success: Happy child. Dimished light of betrayal in child’s eyes.

Do you do any of these steps, or do you have an ingenious strategy of your own? If so, please let us and all the parents out there know!

Brushing your teeth: are you doing it right?

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your oral healthcare routine, and regular brushing helps to remove bacteria that builds up on your teeth and gums. Here at Hatamian Dentistry we recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day to maintain a healthy smile.

Here are a few tips to help brush-up your technique:

  • Keep the brush head at a 45 degree angle to your teeth.
  • Use a gentle, circular motion. Think of it as a massage for your gums!
  • Clean all 3 tooth surfaces: the cheek side, tongue side, and chewing surface.
  • Aim to brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes.
  • Think about dividing your mouth into 4 sections. Spend 30-45 seconds in each section and then you’re done!

Once finished brushing, ensure you rinse your toothbrush and keep it in a place where it will dry. Incorrect storage of your toothbrush can cause bacteria to build up which can then be introduced into your mouth during your next brushing.

Can stress impact your oral health?

an-gi-de-het-stress

It is common knowledge by now that stress levels can impact your health and wellbeing, and this goes for your oral health as well. Stress can be directly physically responsible for negative effects on oral health, and also impact oral health as a side effect of certain treatments for stress.

Here are just a few ways that stress can have a negative impact on your mouth.

Gum Disease: Stress can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and increase the possibility of developing infections like gum disease.

Canker Sores: These white spots that develop on the soft tissue inside your mouth aren’t harmful but can be painful and can be brought on by physical or emotional stress. They will usually go away on their own but you may also use a special rinse or cream.

Dry Mouth: Stress can itself cause dry mouth, but it can also be caused as a side effect of certain medicines a doctor may prescribe to treat stress and depression. Bacteria can thrive in a dry mouth without saliva and this can lead to tooth decay or infections like gum disease.

Bruxism: Stress can cause involuntary or voluntary bruxism (or tooth grinding) which can cause damage to teeth as well as jaw pain and headaches. You may not even be aware that you are doing it as grinding can often occur at night while you are asleep. A night guard may be recommended by your dentist to protect your teeth from damage.

If you think that stress may be impacting your oral health, you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.