Dentures

Many people believe that once they have dentures, they no longer need regular dental care because they don’t have any teeth. Denture wearers require regular check ups and maintenance to ensure their health, comfort, and appearance.

You’ve just received your new dentures. whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new denture wearer, we’re sure there are many questions which may need to be answered. We hope that the following information will prove to be helpful during the next few weeks of your denture adjustment period.

  • Learning to wear a new denture can take time. Don’t become discouraged if you find some difficulty in the beginning. YOU’RE NOT ALONE! Please do not listen to friends who tell you how easy it was for them to get used to their dentures and how they can eat everything and anything. They are either bragging, have greater bone and gum support or their memories may be poor.Your dentist will help you through any difficulties you may face or any situations that may arise during your adjustment period.
  • A lower denture usually takes more time to adjust to than an upper denture. The tongue may feel restricted and will tend to play, sometimes even subconsciously, with the new prosthesis. It will soon adapt to the restrictions and to the new feeling that a denture presents.
  • Try to eat only soft foods for the first couple of days. Then, as you progress to more solid foods try to eat slowly and deliberately, attempting to place even amounts of food on both sides at the same time during the chewing cycle By placing food on both sides of the mouth at the same time, you balance the biting forces on the new denture and will help to make it more stable.The longer you take to eat your meal, the faster you will learn to master your new prosthesis.
  • Try to take small bites at first. Cut all your food into small portions. If, and when, your gum tissues are strong enough to try foods which are bitten off (bread, corn on the cob, etc.), try to press the food against the back teeth on the upper in order to stabilize the denture.
  • It is perfectly normal to experience some discomfort associated with sore spots during the adjustment period. Nature did not intend for us to wear hard plastic against soft gum tissue. It takes a while for the gum tissues to firm up and to accommodate to the hard plastic denture.
  • If sore spots should develop (and in some cases they do not), please be sure to wear the denture for at least 24 hours prior to your adjustment visit! If your dentist can’t see the sore spot visually, it is sometimes impossible for him to make the necessary adjustments. Reading aloud during the first couple of days will go a long way in reducing any minor speech problems which may result from wearing a new denture. If speech problems continue to persist, please let your dentist know.
  • An unclean denture is neither healthy, attractive or comfortable. Clean you new denture every morning and night with either a denture toothbrush and denture toothpaste (if necessary, any toothpaste can be used) or with one of the commercially available denture cleaners. Please be sure to check with your dentist to make sure that the commercial cleaner will not interfere with the type of denture liner you may have in your prosthesis. Permanent soft liners and temporary soft liners react poorly to most commercial cleaners. We prefer that you leave out one or both of your dentures at night. This allows your gum tissues to breathe and also relieves them of the constant pressures of mastication. When left out of the mouth, all dentures should be left in water to prevent warpage.
  • Gum tissues are in a constant state of change but dentures are not. Therefore, periodic relining of your dentures may be necessary. If you find your denture getting looser and mastication more difficult, this may be a sign that a reline may be needed. It is very important for your dentist to see you regularly to evaluate the state of your oral tissues and to determine if additional treatment is required. Dentures typically need to be relined or remade every 3-5 years.
  • NEVER try to adjust your dentures yourself ! Home remedies, although simple, will only lead to trouble.

Immediate Dentures

You’ve been advised to have an Immediate Denture. But what is it and how is it done? We hope that this information will help to explain the concepts and clear up any of the questions you might have regarding this type of prosthesis.

Let me explain what an immediate denture is by using an example. Suppose, for instance, that you have eight (8) remaining upper teeth. These teeth are, unfortunately, poor and can not be utilized in any way to support a new prosthesis. If you were to have a traditional denture made, it would be necessary to have all of these teeth extracted first, the bone and gums would have to heal and then a denture could be fabricated. This process could take several weeks, if not longer, and for that time period you would have to go around without any teeth. In order to avoid this type of problem, we utilize an Immediate Denture technique. This involves taking impressions of your mouth while your teeth are still present. At the same time, when your teeth are extracted, we have a denture ready to be inserted. In this way, you never have to walk around without teeth. Immediate Dentures do present certain situations which I would like to list for you.

  • Since we are unable to try in the denture prior to extracting your teeth, certain esthetic compromises may have to be made. This should not present any significant problem, however, and your esthetic result should be more than satisfactory.
  • Since our goal is for you never to be without teeth, we will be inserting your new denture immediately after the extraction of your remaining teeth. This may seem odd, but it is perfectly normal. Typically, after the extraction of teeth, there may be some swelling. By placing your denture in immediately, this swelling can be kept to a minimum. If you did not place the denture immediately, the swelling that occurs might not allow you to wear your denture until the swelling subsided.
  • It is very important that you follow the post-operative instructions of your dentist or oral surgeon very carefully. You must wear you new immediate denture for three (3) days, after the surgery, without removing it. This will help to control the swelling.
  • Once healing has occurred, after approximately three (3) months, you will either need a reline of your existing denture or the fabrication of an entirely new denture. If a new one is to be made, we will then be able to make any esthetic and phonetic changes that you want within the limits of denture prosthodontics. If a new denture is to be made, you will then be able to use the immediate denture as a spare (emergency) denture. This can sure come in handy if your new denture should break and need to be repaired at the laboratory.

Denture Soft Liners

A temporary soft liner is placed in a new or old denture in order to (1) help improve the health of your gum tissues by absorbing some of the pressures of mastication (acts as a tissue conditioning material) and (2) helps to determine the maximum retention possible by utilizing undercuts in the bone and gum which hard liners may not be able to negotiate without causing irritation. Soft liners will spring around these undercuts and allow for greater retention than hard liners might be able to produce in the same mouth. If we find that temporary soft liners provide enhanced retention, we will then be able to determine if we should replace them with a more permanent type of soft liner in the future or whether a hard liner is indicated.

Important Instructions
Temporary soft liners require special care and attention in order for them to produce the desired results. The following suggestions are designed to assist you in the maintenance of your new denture.

  • Do not remove the prosthesis from your mouth for the first 24hrs. This is extremely important! The material that is placed in your denture will stay soft for the first 24hrs and will shape itself to your oral tissues during that first 24hrs period.
  • After the first 24hrs, you may remove the denture once every 12hrs for the first two days. At each removal, please rinse the denture with warm water only. Do not use any of the commercially available cleaners. If need be, you can brush the tooth part of the denture (the white teeth on) with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. The softliner is still very fragile and will tear if subjected to chemical or mechanical cleaning.
  • During the next week you may remove the denture as often as you like, still keeping in mind that the liner is fragile and must be treated with care. The pink plastic may be brushed gently, trying to avoid the soft liner.
  • If possible try not to use any denture adhesive, especially during the first 72 hours. We are, once again, trying to ascertain the amount of available retention. Using adhesives will only tend to confuse the issue.
  • For the first 24 hours you should try to maintain a softer diet. After that trial period, you should eat as regular a diet as possible so that the softliner can mold itself to your tissues until normal function.
  • We may be replacing this softliner on a regular basis until the tissues heal adequately or we have determined that the retention for your new denture is maximized. Further instructions will be given to you at that time.
  • Please be sure to bring your old dentures with you at each recall visit just in case your dentist determines that relining your softlined denture is required. This would necessitate sending your denture to the laboratory.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Bedford, MA

Through advances in modern cosmetic dentistry materials and techniques, the shape, color, and alignment of your teeth can be improved to give you a smile you’ve always wanted. The experts at Bedford Family and Laser Dentistry are here to help you put your best smile forward.

Tooth Bleaching – Whitening Your Smile

How we look and how we perceive ourselves has much to do with our self-esteem. When the color of our teeth makes us embarrassed to smile, it’s probably time to get those teeth whitened.

As we age, our teeth may darken from coffee, tea, tobacco, berries, and other substances that get into microcracks in the enamel, causing discoloration. Some people have gray or brown bands on their teeth caused by an early childhood fever or tetracycline medication that was taken when the tooth enamel was forming. In parts of the country where fluoride is found in naturally high concentrations in the drinking water, individuals have developed teeth with bright white patches or dark brown blotches (mottled enamel or fluorosis).

Not everyone is a candidate for bleaching. Teeth discolored from aging give the best results. If you have tooth-colored resin or composite fillings in your front teeth, they will not change color from bleaching and will stick out like a sore thumb after the procedure. If you would like to have your teeth whitened, then inform us at your next check-up visit. If you are not a good candidate, we can suggest alternatives such as bonding or porcelain veneers.

The Bleaching Process

There are various options for whitening your teeth, including in-office and at-home procedures. Depending on the level of staining and desired whiteness, an in-office procedure may involve several appointments of 30-60 minutes each. The bleaching agent is applied to your teeth and activated with a special light. For the at-home procedure, you will be given a custom-made mouthguard filled with a bleaching gel to be used for two hours daily, or at night, for approximately two weeks. Certain kinds of toothpaste have added whitening agents and can be used as an adjunct to the other two procedures. In any case, there is no reason for a person to suffer the embarrassment of discolored teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers are probably the most aesthetic means of creating a more pleasing and beautiful smile through cosmetic dentistry. They require a minimal amount of tooth reduction (approximately .5 mm) and are a more conservative restoration than a crown. Porcelain veneers allow us to alter tooth position, shape, size, and color. They are also the only alternative for all aesthetic abnormalities.

Some facts you might want to know about porcelain veneers:

Since they require approximately .5mm of tooth reduction, porcelain veneers are NOT considered a reversible form of treatment.

Occasionally, the preparation of a porcelain laminate veneer does not require the use of local anesthetic. However, for patients who are particularly sensitive or anxious, a local anesthetic is advisable.

The laboratory time required for the fabrication of a porcelain laminate veneer is approximately one week. Due to the minimal amount of tooth reduction, it is usually not necessary to fabricate any temporary restoration. Should a temporary be needed, they can, in most circumstances, be made at the time of treatment. Between your preparation visit and the insertion visit, you can expect some tooth sensitivity to hot and cold liquids. This is normal and is due to the removal of a small portion of the enamel covering of the tooth. This sensitivity should disappear after the placement of your porcelain laminate veneer.

During your second visit, the insertion of your laminate can be accomplished, once again, with or without local anesthetic. This visit is usually longer in duration. The laminates are then fixed in place with a light-sensitive resin that is hardened using a white light.

Once placed, laminates are very strong and will resist most of the wear and tear placed upon them by a normal diet. Porcelain has great crushing strength but poor tensile strength. Therefore, you should avoid anything that will tend to twist the laminate. Opening pistachio nuts with your teeth and chewing on bones or candy apples is probably not a good idea.

Maintenance of Your New Porcelain Veneers

The maintenance of your porcelain laminate veneers is relatively simple. A few suggestions, however, are in order:

Please practice good dental hygiene prevention and brush and floss as you normally would; do not be afraid that you will damage your veneers by either flossing or brushing. Any non-abrasive toothpaste is acceptable. A good home tooth-care regimen will ensure the success of your cosmetic dentistry work for years to come.

As a reminder, some sensitivity to hot and cold may be experienced after the placement of your veneers. This is a function of the amount of enamel left on your tooth after preparation, the proximity of the nerve, and several other factors. Some sensitivity is absolutely normal and usually dissipates after one to two weeks. If this sensitivity persists or becomes a cause for concern to you at all, please call us right away.

If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, then please let us know. We will fabricate a soft night guard for you to wear to minimize the stress placed on your teeth while you sleep.

Approximately one week after the placement of your laminates you will be asked to return to the office for a treatment evaluation. This visit gives us the opportunity to evaluate the placement of the laminates, the tissue response, and answer any questions you might have regarding your new smile.

We hope that your porcelain laminate veneers can provide you with a beautiful smile for years to come. If you live in the Bedford, MA area and are interested in veneers or having your teeth whitened, then reach out to Bedford Family and Laser Dentistry by filling out our contact form or calling 781-275-6349. We can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. For your convenience, all of our new patient forms are available online.

Root Canal Therapy

If a tooth’s pulp (nerve and blood supply) become infected or inflamed, root canal treatment is often the only way to save the tooth.

What is it and why you may need it?

Your dentist may have suggested to you that root canal therapy (otherwise known as endodontics) was needed for a particular tooth. They may have briefly discussed some of the facts concerning the procedures involved in root canal therapy but perhaps you would like some more information.

Years ago, a badly infected tooth, or one that just had significant decay, was doomed to be extracted. Today the majority of these teeth can be salvaged through procedures utilized by both the general dentist and the root canal specialist, the endodontist. Extraction is truly our last resort!

Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:

  • Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone.

Root canal treatment consists of:

The removal of the infected or irritated nerve tissue that lies within the root of the tooth. It is this infected pulp tissue that causes an eventual abscess.

  1. The first step in a root canal is to obtain access to the nerve. This is accomplished by establishing a small access opening in the top of the tooth. It will be done under a local anesthetic.
  2. The length of the root canals is determined and the infected pulp is removed. At the same visit, the canal where the nerve is located will be reshaped and prepared to accept a special root canal filling material. This filling procedure will probably not occur until your next visit. The number of visits necessary to complete your root canal will depend upon several factors including the number of nerves in the tooth, the infected state of the nerve and the complexity of the procedure.
  3. The final step in your root canal will be the sealing of the root canal with a sterile, plastic material, called gutta percha. This is done in order to prevent possible future infection.
  4. The tooth will then possibly need a post and core and a crown in order to re-establish normal form and function. This decision will be based upon several additional factors.

If treated early, root canal therapy need not be uncomfortable. With the use of local anesthetics, the entire procedure can be totally painless.

Another “old wives’ tale” is that by removing the nerve the tooth becomes “dead.” This is not true. The tooth is very much alive and functioning because it receives a source of blood supply and nerve supply from the surrounding tissues that hold it in place in your jaw bone. The tooth will have no sense of feeling to hot, cold or sweets but will be responsive to biting, pressure, etc. With the proper restoration, the tooth should last as long as your other teeth and can even be used as an anchor tooth for a partial denture or cemented bridge. The success rates for root canal therapy have been reported to be as high as 95%.

Sometimes when there has been long standing infection or abscess, there may be some soreness associated with the first or second root canal visit. If this should turn out to be true you will be given specific instructions to follow to minimize the discomfort. When an infection is present, it may be necessary to take an antibiotic. If pain should be present, analgesics may need to be prescribed. In either case, be sure to call your dental office if either of these problems should arise.

Postoperative Instructions

  • Postoperative discomfort is sometimes experienced after a treatment visit. This is due to irritation of the bone surrounding the tooth and may range from a mild discomfort in the area to an occasional episode of considerable pain. This discomfort will usually maximize in approximately 48-72 hours and then subside. Please avoid chewing on the treated tooth for a few days.
  • If a throbbing sensation occurs please keep your head elevated as much as possible and place extra pillows under your head when lying down. Avoid as much as possible any strenuous activity as well
  • If your tooth has been left open to aid in drainage of an infection, please place cotton in your tooth as directed. Do not leave the cotton in the tooth between meals. If swelling of the gum is present or should appear after a treatment visit, please rinse the area every 1-2 hours with a solution of warm salt water prepared by adding a teaspoon of salt to an 8 oz. glass of warm water.
  • If swelling of the face is present or should appear, apply an ice pack to the area for 5 minutes every 1/2 hour.
  • If antibiotic medication has been prescribed please take it as indicated until you have finished ALL of the medication. If you encounter any difficulty in breathing or a skin rash, or gastric disturbance should occur, please discontinue the medication and call the office.
  • If medication for pain has been prescribed , please take it as indicated. It is important to bear in mind that narcotic medications such as Codeine, Vicodin, Percodan and Demerol may make you drowsy. Therefore, caution should be exercised in operating any potentially dangerous machinery or an automobile. If any additional questions should arise after your visit, please do not hesitate to call your dentist.

Restoring Damaged Teeth

Unfortunately, teeth damaged by decay or injury will not heal like most other tissues in the body. They require an artificial material to replace and restore the damaged tooth structure.

White or Composite Fillings

Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.

Composites cost more than amalgam and occasionally are not covered by some insurance plans. Also, no dental filling lasts forever. Some studies show that composite fillings can be less durable and need to be replaced more often than amalgam fillings.

It generally takes longer to place a composite filling than it does for a metal filling. That’s because composite fillings require the tooth be kept clean and dry while the cavity is being filled. Tooth-colored fillings are now used more often than amalgam or gold fillings, probably due to cosmetics. In a society focused on a white, bright smile, people tend to want fillings that blend with the natural color of their teeth.

Crowns

At your clinical examination, your dentist suggested that the proper means of restoring your tooth was a crown. The reasons for making that suggestion can vary from case to case. Some of the indications for a crown are:

  • A previously filled tooth where there now exists more filling than tooth. The existing tooth structure becomes weakened and can no longer support the filling. Extensive damage by decay.
  • Discolorations and compromised esthetics.
  • Fractures.
  • Root canal – After root canal, teeth tend to become brittle and are more apt to fracture. They, therefore, need to be protected by a crown.
  • Bridges – When missing teeth are replaced with a bridge, the adjacent teeth require crowns in order to support the replacement teeth.
  • Crowns strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure and can improve the appearance of your teeth. Crowns can be made from different materials which include the full porcelain crown, the porcelain fused-to-metal crown and the all-metal crown.

You and your dentist will decide which type is appropriate, depending upon the strength requirements and esthetic concerns of the tooth involved. Fitting a crown requires at least two appointments. During your first visit, the tooth is prepared for the crown, an impression or mold is made of the tooth, and a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth. At the subsequent visit, the temporary crown is removed and the final crown is fitted and adjusted and cemented into place.

First Visit

The first visit begins by giving you a local anesthetic. Depending upon the type of local anesthetic used, you can expect to be numb for one to four hours. If your anesthesia should last longer, do not be concerned. Not everyone reacts to medication in the same manner. One word of caution : While you are numb, please be careful not to bite your lip or tongue. A soft diet or no meal at all while you are numb is probably a good idea. If your child has been the patient, please watch them carefully to be sure they do not play with their tongue or lip while it is numb.

Once you are numb, your dentist will prepare your tooth in a very specific way in order to maximize the retention and esthetics of your new porcelain to metal crown. After the tooth is fully prepared, we proceeded with the impression stage. We used a thin piece of retraction cord which is placed around your tooth in order to get the impression material under the gum where the crown ends. Please rest assured that this small piece of cord was removed prior to the end of today’s visit.

Should you experience any discomfort you can take a mild analgesic (Tylenol™, Advil™, Anacin™, etc.) as long as there is no medical contraindication based upon your medical history. Typically, you can take anything you would normally take for a headache. If the discomfort persists, please call your dentist.

Once the impression stage is completed , your dentist or his assistant will place a temporary (transitional ) crown (or bridge if multiple teeth were involved) on your tooth. These plastic (acrylic) restorations are placed on teeth to protect them and the gum tissues between dental visits. The temporary cementing medium used is designed to allow the easy removal of the temporary at your next scheduled visit.

There are a couple of additional facts you should know about regarding the care of your temporary crown:

  • Home care is extremely important while your temporary crown is in place. The health of your gum tissue and the success of your final treatment restoration depends upon it. PLEASE do not be afraid to clean your teeth between visits. With a minimal amount of home care, you should be able to maintain the continued health of your teeth and gum tissue during the time required to fabricate your new crown.
  • Sometimes, even with meticulous care, temporary crowns or bridges may become loose between visits. If this should occur, please place the temporary crown or bridge back on your tooth immediately. Putting a drop of Vaseline™ in the temporary crown or bridge will very often increase the retention and hold the temporary in place until you can schedule an appointment. Once again, REPLACING THE TEMPORARY CROWN IMMEDIATELY IS VERY IMPORTANT! It only takes a short time for teeth to move if the temporary is not put back into its proper position. This could affect the final restoration significantly and may necessitate new impressions and a great deal of time. If you can not replace the temporary crown yourself, put it in a safe place and call the office. We will be happy to recement it for you at the earliest possible moment.

Second visit

At that time, the temporary crown is removed and any temporary cement is cleaned from the prepared tooth. Your dentist will fit the final crown, check for accuracy, adjust for any bite discrepancies and evaluate the esthetics. If all of these factors are acceptable, the crown is cemented to your tooth. It is not unusual for the new crown to be mildly sensitive to cold temperatures for a few weeks. However, if the sensitivity is severe, does not subside, or if the bite feels uncomfortable, contact your dentist. Further adjustments to the crown may be necessary.

We hope that this brief instruction sheet will answer most of your questions regarding crowns. Following these simple guidelines will help provide you with the finest in dental care. If you have any questions regarding this or any other procedure, please contact your dentist.

Bridges

The loss of a single tooth can have a major impact on your dental health and personal appearance. Your teeth support and rely on each other. When one or more teeth are missing, the remaining teeth can shift out of their normal position. Teeth adjacent to the space or from the opposite jaw will often drift or tilt. These teeth are often more susceptable to decay and gum disease because they are more difficult to clean around. All of this shifting and drifting will lead to changes in the bite, which may put stress on the jaws, muscles and teeth. Ultimately, your ability to chew comfortably and your appearance may be affected.

If tooth loss occurs, your dentist may recommend that a bridge be placed. A bridge consists of a replacement tooth/teeth attached to crowns on each side. The bridge is cemented to the teeth adjacent to the space, effectively replacing the missing tooth and preventing any shifting.

The procedures involved in making a bridge are very similar to those for making a crown. Bridges can be made from the same materials as crowns – full porcelain, porcelain fused-to-metal, and all metal. At least two appointments are necessary. At the first visit, your dentist will prepare the teeth next to the missing tooth for crowns. An impression of the prepared teeth will be made and a temporary bridge will be placed. At the subsequent visit, your dentist will fit and adjust the bridge and thencement it in place.

Your new bridge will require some special care when brushing and flossing. Your dental professional will instruct you how to clean around and under the bridge. They may recommend various cleaning aids to help you keep the plaque off and prevent further decay and gum disease.

Prevention

Prevention and early detection are key in avoiding costly and painful dental treatment. Prevention begins with the control of plaque and calculus, the main cause of decay and gum disease.

Plaque and Calculus

Plaque

  • Research has shown that controlling plaque is important in the control of decay and gum disease. Plaque is neither food or food residue. Plaque is a clear, sticky deposit of bacteria that adheres to the surface of teeth and gum tissue. It is so adherent that it can only be removed by mechanical cleansing.
  • Plaque contains a variety of different types of bacteria. For this reason, certain types of plaque are associated with dental decay, others with calculus formation, and others with the inflammatory response of the gums (gingivitis).

Calculus

  • Plaque which is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing can harden into calculus (also called tartar). Calculus is plaque that has mineralized, forming a tough, crusty deposit that can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist. These deposits can form above (supragingival) and below (subgingival) the gum line. Calculus deposits are a significant contributing factor in periodontal disease because it is always covered by a layer of nonmineralized plaque. The calculus keeps the plaque close to the gingival tissue and makes it much more difficult to remove the plaque bacteria. Thorough removal of these deposits is necessary to prevent the progression of periodontal disease.

Some people form heavy calculus deposits rapidly while others form little or no mineralized deposits. This is due to differences in the saliva, the types of plaque bacteria, and dietary factors. One can help reduce the formation of calculus by brushing with and ADA-accepted tartar control toothpaste and by having regular professional cleanings every 6 months or more frequently as recommended by your dentist or hygienist. The prevention of gum disease and decay requires a lifelong commitment to fighting plaque and calculus formation.

Tooth Brushing Simplified

The Brush To Use

Hard bristles were once recommended but are now thought to be too abrasive to the teeth and gums. We now suggest a soft, rounded-end nylon bristle brush. Be sure to discard brushes when the bristles are bent or frayed or approximately every three to four months. How To Brush

Begin by placing the head of the brush beside your teeth, with the bristles angled against the gum line (where the teeth and gums meet). Think of the brush as both a toothbrush and a gum brush. With the bristles contacting both tooth and gum, move the brush back and forth several times across each tooth individually.

Use a short stroke and a gentle scrubbing motion, as if the goal were to massage the gum. Don’t try to force the bristles under the gum line; that will happen naturally, especially with a brush that has soft, flexible bristles.

Brush the outer surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Then use the same short back-and-forth strokes on the inside surfaces. Try to concentrate harder on the inside surfaces; studies show they’re more often neglected. For the upper and lower front teeth, brush the inside surfaces by using the brush vertically and making several gentle up—and-down strokes over the teeth and gums.

Finish up by lightly scrubbing the chewing surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. You should also brush your tongue for a fresher breath.

Flossing

Instructions

With all of the wonders of modern man available to you there is no better way to clean the sides of your teeth than DENTAL FLOSS. Inexpensive, readily available and easy to use. But it is and has always been an excellent tool in the fight against dental decay and periodontal disease. There are many types of dental floss available in your local drugstore. Please speak with our hygienist regarding the best floss for your particular set of dental needs. Here’s How To Floss

You should floss under both sides of each flap of gum tissue between your teeth. The following technique has proven to be very effective: Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind a good bit of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around the middle finger of the other hand. Grasp the floss with the thumb and forefinger of each hand, leaving about an inch of floss between the two hands to work with.

Pull the floss taut and use a gentle sawing motion to insert it between the two teeth. When the floss reaches the tip of the triangular gum flap, curve the floss into a C Shape against one of the teeth. Then slide the floss gently into the space between the tooth and the gum until you feel resistance. Holding the floss tightly against the tooth, scrape up and down five or six times along the side of the tooth. Without removing the floss, curve it around the adjacent tooth and scrape that one too. Repeat on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the far sides of your rear teeth. When the floss becomes frayed or soiled, a turn of each middle finger brings out a fresh section of floss. After flossing, rinse vigorously with water. Flossing Problems

If you don’t like manipulating floss, try one of the commercial floss holders. They have limited flexibility, however, and you must use them with care to avoid injuring the gum.

You may have trouble working with the floss between certain teeth, or the floss may consistently break or tear in certain areas. Several causes are possible, including calculus buildup, or improperly installed fillings. Please let us know if this problem occurs. Flossing between bridges requires additional instruction and the use of floss threaders. Alternatives to floss includes such things as StimudentsR, Perio-AidsR or Plac-piksR. Please discuss these tools with your dentist or hygienist before using them. None of these are as good as floss in tight areas between teeth.

Recare

Your Recare Appointment

This is also commonly called the “checkup and cleaning.”It is very important for you to understand that during your recare appointment, you will receive much more than just a cleaning. I don’t know if you have ever given it much thought, but you are receiving a FULL SPECTRUM of diagnostic, preventive, and educational services specifically and individually designed to help you keep the best possible smile for a lifetime. Based upon your specific dental needs, your dental team will formulate a program designed to accomplish your dental goals. Some or all of the following procedures will be included in your recare appointment.

During the DIAGNOSTIC phase of your visit we may include:

  • A review and updating of your medical history.
  • A recording of any changes in your prescribed medications and physical condition.
  • Necessary X-rays for detecting decay, bone loss and oral pathologies (disease) such as cysts etc.
  • An examination of your teeth to detect decay.
  • An inspection of all existing restorations (filling and or crowns) for leakage and cracks which may result in future decay.
  • Evaluation of your periodontal (gum) tissues.
  • Checking your biting patterns.
  • Evaluating possible cosmetic alterations which you may feel will improve your smile.

The PREVENTIVE services of your visit may include:

  • Blood pressure screening (if necessary).
  • Head and neck oral cancer screening.
  • Scaling of your teeth to remove all plaque and calculus (tartar).
  • Polishing of teeth to remove all surface stains.
  • Polishing all porcelain crowns.
  • Polishing all silver restorations.
  • Flossing.
  • Application of fluoride if necessary.
  • Referral to a specialist for specific treatment if necessary (ie. Endodontist, Periodontist or an Oral Surgeon).

The EDUCATIONAL aspect of your visit may include:

  • A tour of your mouth with our intra-oral camera and a discussion of findings. Toothbrushing and flossing instructions. Instructions on specific plaque-control items such as: Proxybrush™, Perio-Aid™, rubber tip, Interplak™Rotadent™ Dietary discussion (if necessary).
  • Presentation of prescribed dental treatment.
  • Updating you on what’s new in home care products and the latest advances in Dentistry.
  • A discussion of the recommended time periods between recare visits.
  • Hope you can see now that your oral hygiene recare visit IS MORE than just ‘a cleaning’. We believe that our patients deserve the benefits of the FULL SPECTRUM of available dental services that can assist in the protection of their overall medical and dental health.

Please remember, good oral hygiene is a great habit to get into! The rewards of a FULL SPECTRUM Recare Appointment are a healthy dentition, a bright smile and the confidence that you have begun a program that will continue to provide benefits to you for years to come.