Posts for: March, 2018
Wearing braces takes time, but if all goes well the changes to your smile will be well worth it. In the meantime, though, you’ll have to contend with one particular difficulty—keeping your teeth clean of disease-causing, bacterial plaque.
Don’t worry, though—while keeping dental disease at bay with braces can be challenging, it is doable. Here are 4 tips for minimizing your chances of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease during orthodontic treatment.
Eat less sugar. Like any living organism, bacteria must eat—and they’re especially amenable to sugar. The more they have access to this favorite food source, the more they multiply—and the greater your risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Eating fewer sugary foods and snacks and more dental-friendly ones helps restrict bacteria populations in your mouth.
Brush thoroughly. Brushing with braces can be difficult, especially in areas blocked by orthodontic hardware. You need to be sure you brush all tooth and gum surfaces around your braces, including above and below the wire running through the brackets. A soft multi-tufted microline bristle brush is a good choice for getting into these hard to reach places. Brushing around braces takes more time, but it’s essential for effective plaque removal.
Use flossing tools. Flossing is important for removing plaque from between teeth—but, unfortunately, it might be even more difficult to perform with braces than brushing. If using string floss proves too daunting consider using a floss threader or a similar device that might be easier to maneuver. You can also use a water irrigator, a hand-held device that sprays water under pressure to loosen and flush away between-teeth plaque.
Keep up regular dental visits. While you’re seeing your orthodontist regularly for adjustments, you should also see your general dentist at least every six months or more. Besides dental cleaning, your dentist also monitors for signs of disease and can prescribe preventive measures like antibacterial mouth rinses. Of course, if you see abnormalities, like white spots on your teeth or red, puffy or bleeding gums, contact your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner a problem can be addressed the less impact it may have on your orthodontic treatment and overall oral health.
If you would like more information on caring for teeth and gums while wearing braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
Going to the dentist for regular preventive care and practicing good oral hygiene habits at home are the most important steps in protecting your teeth and gums from decay and gum disease. But finding the time to get everyone the care they need when they need it can sometimes seem next to impossible for busy families. One member of the family may only need a checkup and dental cleaning, while another may need to have a cavity filled or dental implants for missing teeth. Taking everyone in the family to a different dentist for different needs can be time-consuming, expensive, and unnecessary. Dr. Timothy Brooks, a family dentist in Huntsville, AL, solves this problem by offering a range of general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services in a single practice for patients of all ages.
A family dentist offers the same services as a general and cosmetic dentist but does not have age restrictions (some dentists will only treat adult or pediatric patients, for example) so that your whole family can receive dental care in a single practice. For young children and teenagers, getting care from a trusted family dentist can help to ease fear and anxiety around dental care and encourage a long-term commitment to good oral hygiene and health practices.
If your family has a history of oral health problems like gum disease, a family dentist can offer personalized and preventive care and know exactly what to look for before symptoms have a chance to develop and progress.
Family dentistry services include:
- Checkups and professional dental cleanings
- Cosmetic dentistry services like professional teeth whitening
- Oral cancer screenings
- Invisalign clear aligner trays
- Dental implants
Getting all of your dental care in one place can save your family time and minimize much of the stress and anxiety that often comes along with going to the dentist. For more information, contact our office by calling (256) 883-8008 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brooks today.
Find a Family Dentist in Huntsville, AL
It may begin as an itching or burning feeling on your skin, followed by numbness or sensitivity to touch. But then you develop a painful red rash that forms crusty lesions. Fever and fatigue may follow.
These are the common symptoms for a form of chicken pox called shingles, a contagious disease from the human herpes group of viruses. While anyone can contract the shingles virus, it most often lies dormant in a person’s nervous system for decades after an earlier bout of chicken pox. It then breaks out (sometimes repeatedly), usually in patients over fifty.
A shingles outbreak can be miserable. It could also affect your dental care, especially if you have a rash on your face and neck. Here are 3 things you should do if you have shingles in regard to your dental care and overall health.
Tell your dentist you have shingles. A shingles outbreak is highly contagious in its early stages and can spread from direct contact with blisters or through airborne secretions from the infected person’s respiratory system. Even a simple teeth cleaning (especially with an ultrasonic device) at this stage could spread the virus to staff and other patients. So inform your dentist if your appointment coincides with an outbreak—it may be necessary to re-schedule your visit.
Start antiviral treatment as soon as possible. If you’re diagnosed with shingles, more than likely your doctor or dentist will recommend immediate antiviral treatment (typically acyclovir or famciclovir) within 3 days of symptom onset. This can help speed up healing, alleviate pain and possibly prevent more serious complications.
Get the shingles vaccine. Of course, you don’t have to wait for shingles to occur—there is an effective vaccine that could help prevent an outbreak. If you’ve had chicken pox (over 90% of American adults have) or you’re over sixty with or without previous chicken pox, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends you get vaccinated.