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Floss/Interdental Cleaners

Introduction

Dental floss (or dental tape) and other interdental cleaners (e.g., small brushes, special wooden or plastic picks, sticks or water flossers) removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces.

Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar, a hard mineral deposit that forms on teeth and can only be removed through professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.

Interdental cleaning helps remove debris and interproximal dental plaque, the plaque that collects between two teeth. Dental floss and other interdental cleaners help clean these hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay. Use of an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 communication to the ADA.

Floss and Other Interdental Cleaners

Tooth Cavities

A cavity, also called tooth decay, is a hole that forms in your tooth. Cavities start small and gradually become bigger when they’re left untreated. Because many cavities don’t cause pain in the beginning, it can be hard to realize that a problem exists. Regular dental appointments can detect tooth decay early.

Cavities and tooth decay are some of the most common health problems in the world. Anyone with teeth can develop cavities, including babies.

Finding out that you have a cavity might come as a surprise. This is especially true if you think you have a good oral hygiene routine. However, even if your dentist delivers this news, there are ways to treat a cavity and prevent new ones from forming.

Symptoms of tooth cavities

The symptoms of a cavity depend on the severity of the decay. They include:

  • tooth sensitivity
  • tooth pain
  • a visible hole in your teeth
  • black or white staining on your teeth

Tooth cavities are caused by plaque, a sticky substance that binds to teeth. Plaque is a combination of:

Everyone has bacteria in their mouth. After eating or drinking foods with sugar, bacteria in your mouth turn sugar into acid. Plaque starts forming on your teeth soon after eating or drinking anything sugary. This is why regular brushing is important.

Plaque sticks to your teeth, and the acid in plaque can slowly erode tooth enamel. Enamel is a hard, protective coating on your teeth that protects against tooth decay. As your tooth enamel weakens, the risk for decay increases.

Everyone is at risk for cavities, but some people have a higher risk. Risk factors include:

  • too many sugary or acidic foods and drinks
  • a poor oral hygiene routine, such as failing to brush or floss daily
  • not getting enough fluoride
  • dry mouth
  • eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
  • acid reflux disease, which can result in stomach acid wearing down your tooth enamel

Cavities develop more often in the back teeth.These teeth have grooves and openings that can trap food particles. Also, these teeth are sometimes harder to reach when brushing and flossing.

Treatment options for tooth cavities

Tell your doctor about uncomfortable symptoms like tooth sensitivity or pain. Your dentist can identify tooth decay after an oral exam. However, some cavities aren’t visible from an oral exam. So your dentist may use a dental X-ray to look for decay.

Treatment options depend on severity. There are several ways to treat a cavity.

Tooth fillings

A dentist uses a drill and removes decayed material from a tooth. Your dentist then fills your tooth with a substance, such as silver, gold, or composite resin.

Crowns

For more severe decay, your dentist may place a custom-fit cap over your tooth to replace its natural crown. Your dentist will remove decayed tooth material before starting this procedure.

Root canal

When tooth decay causes the death of your nerves, your dentist will perform a root canal to save your tooth. They remove the nerve tissue, blood vessel tissues, and any decayed areas of your tooth. Your dentist then checks for infections and applies medication to the roots as needed. Finally, they fill the tooth, and they might even place a crown on it.

Early stage treatment

If your dentist detects a tooth cavity in its early stage, a fluoride treatment may restore your tooth enamel and prevent further decay.

Dealing with pain

Cavities and tooth decay can be the cause of a lot of pain and discomfort. You may want to find ways to soothe irritation while you wait for your dentist appointment. There are a few things you can do to deal with discomfort temporarily:

  • Keep up your oral hygiene routine.Continue to brush and clean all parts of your mouth, including any sensitive areas.
  • Try over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.Check with your doctor if you can use OTC anesthetics.
  • Watch what you eat.Stay away from extremely hot or cold foods when eating or drinking.
Complications from tooth cavities

A tooth cavity can cause a variety of complications if it’s left untreated. These include:

  • ongoing tooth pain
  • a tooth abscess, which can become infected and trigger life-threatening complications, like an infection that enters the bloodstream or sepsis
  • the development of pus around the infected tooth
  • an increased risk for breaking or chipping a tooth
  • difficulty chewing food

You may cause damage to your tooth that can’t be reversed if you put off seeing a dentist. At this point, the only way to fix the cavity is for your dentist to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant or bridge.

Preventing tooth cavities

Tooth cavities are a common dental problem, but you can reduce your risk by doing the following:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Eat fewer sugary and acidic foods, like sweets, candy, juice, soda, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Limit snacking between meals.
  • Consider getting dental sealants on your teeth.

The following foods can help fight tooth decay:

  • fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • calcium-rich foods
  • xylitol sugarless chewing gum
  • unsweetened black or green tea
  • water with fluoride

Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist at least twice per year for regular teeth cleanings. This allows you to get treatment for any problems your dentist finds, and it will help prevent future dental problems.

 

What are the various features of cosmetic dentistry?

WHAT IS A COSMETIC DENTIST?

In addition to restoring tooth functionality, cosmetic dentists use a variety of techniques to enhance the esthetics of your smile. Even if your teeth are in good condition, tooth whitening may add the extra touch you need to highlight an already beautiful smile. Other patients find dramatically increased confidence as their broken or missing teeth are repaired by their cosmetic dentist. Investing in a beautiful smile is more than just a way to look attractive: it is an important investment in your social and career opportunities.

WHAT COSMETIC DENTISTS CAN DO FOR YOU

Cosmetic dentistry offers many advanced techniques to help patients. Here are a few of the ways that cosmetic dentists can give your smile a lift:

• Replace missing teeth 
Whether you have a few tooth gaps or a mouthful of missing teeth, a cosmetic dentist can restore your smile with natural looking tooth restorations. Dental implants, dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures have all been used successfully to fill unsightly gaps in smiles.

• Whiten teeth 
Research shows that professional tooth whitening is safer and more effective than do-it-yourself remedies. It is perhaps the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure currently. Almost every cosmetic dentist offers a wide variety of in-office or take-home tooth whitening systems for a brightened, stain-free smile.

• Reshape teeth
If you feel that your teeth are too pointy, worn down, or oddly shaped, a cosmetic dentist can use one of many cosmetic dentistry techniques to reshape your teeth for a more pleasing look. Porcelain veneers are often used because they can be shaped exactly as you and your cosmetic dentist decide.

• Restore damaged teeth 
Years of wear and tear on your teeth can be revealed through cracks, chips, or discoloration. Cosmetic dentists use procedures such as bonding or porcelain veneers to cover the damage and enhance the look of the tooth. For more severe damage such as badly decayed or broken teeth, a dental crown provides a natural-looking tooth restoration that offers important structure and support.

• Straighten crooked or misaligned teeth
Few people have perfectly straight teeth, but many people want to avoid the humiliation and pain of traditional metal braces. Most cosmetic dentists offer clear braces as an alternative teeth-straightening option that has proven to be widely successful. Clear braces consist of a series of nearly invisible plastic aligners that shift your teeth in stages without the discomfort of metal braces.

• Lengthen small teeth
If you feel self-conscious about small teeth, a cosmetic dentist can bond dental veneers to each tooth surface to alter the length and shape of each tooth. Together, you and your cosmetic dentist can decide on the size, shape, and color of your veneers so that they fit into a beautiful smile that naturally fits your mouth.

 

By: Mary Benjamin (USA)

Oral Cancer Screening

Thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancer in Canada each year. However it can usually be treated successfully if caught early enough.

Signs of Oral Cancer include:

  • White or dark red patches in your mouth, or on your lips or tongue.
  • Lumps or changes in the texture or colour of the mouth tissues.
  • Bleeding or numbness in the mouth; sores or patches that do not heal.
  • Difficulty swallowing; changes in taste or tongue sensation.

Risk factors for Oral Cancer include:

  • Consumption of tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, etc).
  • Heavy alcohol consumption (It is especially dangerous to combine smoking and alcohol.)
  • Oral sex
  • Prolonged, repeated exposure of the lips to the sun.
  • Poor diet; genetics and gender (more men develop the disease than women.)
  • A history of leukoplakia – a thick, whitish-colour patch inside the mouth.

(BY :  Canadian Dental Association)