Ask your dentist When? What? How?
When should I replace my toothbrush?
Replacing your toothbrush every 3 months will ensure good oral hygiene. The best way to remember this is to buy a new toothbrush at the beginning of every season.
What sort of toothbrush should I buy?
Many people think that a medium/hard toothbrush will clean your teeth better. This is not the case. These toothbrushes do more harm than good. They actually wear away the hard enamel surface on your teeth. The next layer of tooth structure is the dentine, which is more soft, sensitive and susceptible to decay. Because this layer is soft it is easier to wear away thus there is less tooth structure and your teeth become more sensitive.
A Small soft toothbrush for everybody is the way to go. The soft bristles don't wear away your enamel and dentine and a small compact toothbrush can get into the hard to reach places.
So if you are using a medium/hard toothbrush save them to clean your bathroom!
How regularly should I go to the dentist?
The benefits of regular dental visits are significant. Early identification of cavities results in minor restorations and regular cleaning and good oral hygiene in good periodontal health. It is now recognized that oral health can have an influence on general health. At Caring Dentistry an individual maintenance program based on your needs will be made for 6 months, 9 months or 1 year.
Periodontal disease and heart disease
There is significant research being undertaken which suggests that there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. It is proposed that local periodontal inflammation can result in a wider immune response in the body which may lead to a response in the endothelial lining of arteries leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease. If you are over 40 years, have a family history of gum or heart disease, a regular dental check of your teeth and gums is very important.
Dentistry and Pregnancy
In pregnancy, because of changes in hormone levels, there is increased blood flow to the periodontal tissues (gums). This can result in an increase in inflammation of periodontal tissues in some circumstances. It is therefore important to pay particular attention to oral hygiene in pregnancy, including visiting your dentist for dental examination and routine cleaning. Ideally, dental treatment is carried out before conception or after the first trimester (12weeks). Also following child birth a dental check of your teeth and gums with x rays is necessary to detect any early decay or gum disease. We normally do not x-ray teeth during pregnancy.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Degeneration of oral health is commonly seen in diabetes. This is not an inevitable outcome of diabetes but often diabetics suffer periodontal (gum) disease and bone loss resulting in loose teeth and extractions. Dry mouth can also be an irritating side effect of medication. If diabetes has been diagnosed, then regular dental visits are important. Good oral hygiene and regular maintenance by your dentist can help prevent deterioration of your periodontal condition.
Significance of medication in dentistry
Medication can have an influence on your oral health.
Some medication can cause a reduction in salivary flow rates which can result in increased levels of dental decay. Other medication can result in periodontal conditions. If you are taking medication, you should discuss the dental implications of this mediation with your dentist. Your dentist can help anticipate these problems and provide solutions to compensate for the influence of these treatments.
It is also important to give the dentist a list of all of the medication that you are taking when you attend for dental treatment. This allows us to plan treatment to ensure that there is no interaction between your medication and medicaments used in treatment such as local anaesthetics. Please tell us if you are allergic to any medication in particular penicillin and if you are taking blood thinners.
Medical conditions and Dentistry
Some medical conditions have significance for dentistry.
Some bacteria which make up part of the normal flora of the mouth can pose a threat to patients who have certain medical conditions. They include
- Patients who have heart murmurs
- Patients who have had heart-valve repairs
- Patients who have had knee, hip, or other joint reconstructions.
If you fall into one of these categories, it is important to let us know. Treatment can still be carried out but these bacteria must be suppressed with antibiotic therapy prior to dental treatment. It is especially important to tell us if you are allergic to any medication for instance penicillin and if you are taking blood thinners. We will arrange an appropriate antibiotic at the time of the initial consultation and a prescription will be given to you before any treatment is done.
Other groups requiring special care include
- Immuno-suppressed patients
- Patients receiving chemo or radio therapy
- Patients on anticoagulant therapy blood thinners.
Wisdom (third molar) Teeth
It is common for third molar teeth to either partially erupt or erupt in a way that is not ideal. This may be related to the fact that there is not enough room for them to erupt properly or that they are oriented badly and cannot erupt.
The most common treatment for them is extraction. This can be complicated by the position of the third molars relative to the inferior dental nerve and canal which pass through the region where third molars usually erupt.
Because of the threat to this nerve, early assessment of the condition of the third molars is important. Early intervention and removal of third molars where necessary can significantly reduce the threat to this nerve in the removal procedure. We will organise an x ray to be taken at a radiologist (usually bulk billed) to show the orientation of the wisdom teeth before a treatment plan is organised for you.