Why your dentist needs to know about your medicine

Why do you need to inform your dentist about your medicine and what kind of medicine is it especially important for your dentist to know about?

The dentist needs to know about your medicineMany patients forget to tell their dentist about their use of medicine. Others do not realize that this information might influence their dentist’s choice of treatment and/or the results of it. Why do you need to inform your dentist about your medicine and what kind of medicine is it especially important for your dentist to know about?

Most medicines have an effect not only on the area of your body that they are supposed to treat, but on your whole organism. Many side effects of medicine can be seen in the mouth e.g. as dryness or increased bleeding. An example of medicine that it is especially important for you to inform your dentist about is anticoagulants (or blood thinners). Blood thinners are administered to prevent blood clots, but this medicine can cause problems during dental treatment, because it makes your gums bleed more after for example extractions or dental cleanings.

Some dentists will recommend their patients to stop taking the anticoagulant medicine just before dental treatment in order to prevent bleeding, but newer research has shown that the risk of stopping the medicine intake temporarily is too high compared with the danger of the bleeding caused by the medicine.

Instead of advising the patients to halt their medicine intake temporarily, the dentist might therefore take extra precautions during and after treatment to make sure that the bleeding has stopped before the patient leaves the clinic. When choosing what kind of pain killers to recommend to the patient, the dentist should also be aware that some pain killers enhance the effect of the blood thinning medicine.

If you are in doubt about whether your medicine is important for your dental treatment, talk to your dentist about it next time you see him. In fact. make it a habit always to tell your dentist when you have started taking new medicine or if your dosage has been changed.

Are you considering a dental bridge?

What is a dental bridge and when is it a good alternative? How long can you expect a dental bridge to last and what factors affect the life expectancy? Find the answer to these and many more questions in this article…

Dental bridgeWhat is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a tooth replacement, which replaces one or more missing teeth. It is only possible to make a dental bridge if there is at least one natural tooth next to the missing teeth on which it can be fixed. If there are no natural teeth, it might be possible to make an implant as an anchor for the bridge. A dental bridge is called so, because it’s construction is similar to that of a real bridge. Just like a real bridge is mounted on solid land and extends over an empty void, so is a dental bridge mounted on one or two of your natural teeth (by capping these teeth with dental crowns) and extends over the toothless gums on either one or both sides.

Different kinds of bridges

The traditional dental bridge is the kind that is supported by a natural tooth in both ends. This is the ideal kind of bridge since the double support makes it more stable and strong.

A cantilever bridge is a dental bridge, which is only supported by a natural tooth in one end. This is normally done, when the missing tooth is the last in the row and there is no tooth further back on which to support it.

A Maryland bridge (or a resin-bonded bridge) is the simplest and cheapest way to make a dental bridge. Two metal ‘wings’ are attached to a plastic tooth and are bonded to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. This kind of dental bridge often does not last very long and is mostly used as a temporary or more economic solution.

When is a dental bridge a good alternative?

Since both the traditional bridge and the cantilever bridge requires capping of the neighbouring teeth with crowns, many dentists would not recommend a dental bridge, if your neighbouring teeth are healthy and have not previously been restored with fillings. It is a pity to remove so much healthy tooth substance, when there are alternatives. Especially with young people who have just lost one tooth and whose dental health is generally good, an implant is normally the preferred treatment, since it can last a lifetime and does not harm the neighbouring teeth.

If, on the other hand, the neighbouring teeth already have large fillings and might eventually require a capping anyway, a dental bridge would be a good solution. Your dentist will be able to give you proper advice in the individual case.

How long does a dental bridge last?

Some dental bridges last 20-25 years while others need to be changed after only 5 years. Since a dental bridge is not a cheap solution, you are probably very interested in knowing the life expectancy of a dental bridge in your case. While it is not possible to predict the lifetime of a dental bridge in each specific case, there are some different factors that play a role:

The condition of the supporting natural teeth: Cavities under the crown on the natural teeth and periodontal disease around the roots are the main threats to your dental bridge.

The oral hygiene: Your dental hygiene is an extremely important factor, when it comes to extending the lifetime of your dental bridge. Good dental hygiene will help prevent problems such as cavities and periodontal disease, which can shorten the lifetime of your dental bridge considerably.

The size of the dental bridge: A bridge replacing several teeth might break more easily than a bridge replacing only one tooth, since the distance between the anchor teeth is longer in a large construction.

The force of the bite: People have different habits when it comes to chewing and some people bite very hard. Other people are in the habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. Depending on your habits and the location of the dental bridge in your mouth, it might be exposed to more strain than it can handle in the long run.

It is always important to consider your options very well before you make a decision regarding your oral health. With the right choices and the proper care you can maintain a healthy and well-functioning set of teeth throughout your lifetime.

How to brush your teeth

When it comes to keeping your teeth clean, there are many means to the same end. How should you brush? When should you brush and when should you not? How do you avoid damaging your gums and teeth? Find the answers in this article…

How to brush your teethThe goal when you brush your teeth is to remove plaque from all surfaces of all your teeth. A tooth has five sides. With your toothbrush you will normally be able to brush the front, back and ‘top’ of your teeth clean. The sides of the teeth (which is between your teeth) are normally only accessible with floss, toothpicks or interdental brushes (tiny brushes developed especially for cleaning between the teeth).

When to brush – and when not to…

Dental professionals normally recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day. Some people brush their teeth after every meal. There is nothing wrong in this, as long as you use the right brush and the right technique in order to avoid causing damage to your teeth and your gums. However many times you choose to brush your teeth every day, it is important that you brush very thoroughly at least once a day.

Some dental professionals recommend that you do not brush your teeth immediately after having eaten something sour (e.g. fruit juice and sour fruit), since the surface of the teeth will be more porous and easier to damage. If you wait around one hour after every meal before you brush, you should be on the safe side.

How to brush?

When you brush your teeth it is a good idea to be systematic. You can do this by dividing your mouth into sections – e.g. upper, lower, right and left. Always start the same place and brush your way around all your teeth. You can for example start on the outside of the upper right section. Start with the back teeth. Make sure to brush all around the tooth at the very back and continue brushing your way one tooth at a time towards the left side. When you have reached the back teeth in the left side, you brush your way back on the inside. Do the same with the lower teeth. Afterwards brush on top of your teeth in both sides of both upper and lower jaw.

Make sure that every single tooth is clean. Teeth that are standing in a straight line are easier to brush clean. On the other hand, if your teeth are cramped for space it might take a greater effort to keep them clean. Some teeth might be ‘hiding’ behind other teeth and are not so easy to reach with the brush. You might be able to clean them simply by turning your brush vertically and brushing up-down instead of from side to side. Otherwise it is possible to buy toothbrushes with just one very small brush, which is ideal for cramped spaces.

Remember to brush the gums

The edge between your teeth and your gums is especially important to keep clean. It is very easy for germs to hide here. At the same time, it is the germs that sneak in under the gum line that eventually cause periodontal disease. When you brush your gum line, you should place the toothbrush in an angle of 45 degrees with the brushes pointing against the gums. When you brush the gums it is especially important not to be too rough in order to prevent the gum line from receding or drawing back, exposing the root surface of the teeth.

Circular or straight movements?

Whatever way you like to move your toothbrush, it is important that the movements are small. If you imagine that you were painting your teeth rather than brushing them, it might be more clear how thorough you need to be. When painting a rough surface with pits and cracks in it, you won’t just give it a few long, superficial strokes with the brush. You will make sure to get the paint into every little crack, using small precise movements. Use the same principle when you brush your teeth. Make sure that the brushes reach into all the cracks and pits.

Be regular and thorough

As you can see there are many possible means to the same end, when it comes to keeping your teeth clean. However you prefer to maintain your dental hygiene, the important thing is to be regular and thorough without overdoing it. Get into the habit of checking your teeth in the mirror and feeling them with your tongue to check whether they are clean. Teeth covered in plaque feel ‘furry’, while clean teeth feel smooth and nice.

Smoking and periodontal disease – what’s the connection?

Although dental hygiene is a must in order to avoid periodontal disease, there are some factors that increase the risk. Among these is smoking. Some studies suggest that the risk of developing periodontal disease is up to 11 times higher for smokers than for non-smokers. But why is it so?

tooth-healthy-medical-illustration

Periodontal disease is a very common problem, which most people will suffer from at some point in their lives. Although dental hygiene is a must in order to avoid periodontal disease, there are some factors that increase the risk. Among these is smoking. Some studies suggest that the risk of developing periodontal disease is up to 11 times higher for smokers than for non-smokers. But why is it so?

Smoking and your gums

One reason that smoking is a risk factor for developing periodontal disease is that nicotine makes the blood vessels in the gum tissue constrict, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the area. Without oxygen for the cells, the body’s ability to defend itself against bacterial infection is reduced.

Nicotine and cytokines

Another effect of nicotine is that it triggers an over-production of immune factors called cytokines, which can be harmful to cells and tissue. When nicotine is combined with certain oral bacteria, the cytokines multiply and become even more harmful to the oral tissues.

Makes periodontal disease ‘invisible’

Another tricky thing about smoking and periodontal disease is that the effect of nicotine can make the periodontal disease ‘invisible’. The constriction of the blood vessels results in less bleeding from the gums. Since bleeding gums are normally an indicator for periodontal disease, the disease might not be discovered as easily. It is therefore vital that your dentist makes a thorough examination of your gums and measures your gingival pockets regularly in order to get an exact idea of your periodontal status.

Other kinds of smoking

The impact of cigar, pipe and waterpipe smoking is largely the same as that of cigarette smoking. Passive smoking is also thought to increase the risk of periodontal disease, although not by as much as ‘active’ smoking. Since nicotine gum also constricts the blood vessels in the mouth, there has been speculations that nicotine gum might also be a risk factor in developing periodontal disease. No studies have confirmed these speculations yet, though.

Effect on treatment prognosis

Apart from being a risk factor for developing periodontal disease, smoking also negatively affects the prognosis of treating periodontal disease. Because of the effect of the nicotine, the gum tissues do not heal as well for smoker as for non-smokers. Many dentists and dental hygienists will therefore offer advice on how to quit smoking as part of their treatment plan for periodontal disease.

Dental health and your teeth

Dental hygiene dental care beautiful teethYou eat with them. You speak with them. You smile with them. In fact, you spend most of your life with them. What are they? Your teeth.

As long as they don’t cause you pain or problems, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your teeth. They are, however, a very important member of your body and deserve your care and attention.

Good dental health starts early in your life with good habits for dental hygiene and regular visits at the dentist. Dental health, though, has nothing to do with how many fillings you have or how many (or few) teeth you have left. Dental health is about the condition of your teeth and gums right here and now. Even a mouth with only very few teeth can be healthy, if good dental hygiene is maintained. At the same time a mouth full of pearly-white teeth can be diseased and unhealthy if for some reason the oral hygiene is suffering.

This website has been established to help you achieve and/or maintain good dental health. If you treat your teeth well, they will be your loyal partners for life.

A nutritious diet for healthy teeth

Your diet has a greater influence on your dental health than most people realise. Everyone knows that too much sugar combined with poor dental hygiene causes cavities. But your diet’s influence on your oral health goes far beyond this and started already before you were born.

A healthy diet means healthy and strong teethYour diet has a greater influence on your dental health than most people realise. Everyone knows that too much sugar combined with poor dental hygiene causes cavities. But your diet’s influence on your oral health goes far beyond this and started already before you were born.

While the teeth are formed

Already during pregnancy it is important that the mother gets the recommended amount of minerals and vitamins through her diet in order for the teeth of her baby to develop properly. The fetus starts to form teeth already in the 8th week after fertilization and from the fourth month they develop continually.

At birth, most of the crowns of the teeth are mineralized, although they will not be visible in the mouth untill about 6 months later. After the child is born the roots of the teeth continue to develop and the need for a proper diet thus continues. In fact, the forming of the teeth does not end before age 18, when the wisdom teeth normally erupt.

Diet and the development of muscles and jaws

Developing teeth not only need nourishment for mineralizing. Your diet is also important for the development of your oral muscles and the growth of your jaws. More and more children need braces because their jaws have not grown enough to make room for the erupting teeth. This happens when the child eats too much soft food that does not require much chewing. Hard vegetables and coarse-grained foods are very beneficial for the development of a child’s muscles and jaws.

Your diet and cavities

Cavities are the result of a combination of plaque and sugar. Plaque is a layer of bacteria that is formed automatically within a short time after you brush your teeth and which will continue to build up untill you brush them again. Plaque in itself does not cause cavities. It is only when sugar is added to the plaque, that the bacteria in the plaque start to produce the acid which breaks down the tooth. At the same time sugar alone does not cause cavities if there is no plaque on the teeth. Since it is normally not possible to keep your mouth 100% plaque free, it is important to be aware of the amount of sugar you take in through your diet. It is especially the sugary snacks in between meals that damage your teeth. If you are constantly adding sugar to your plaque, your teeth will be under a constant acid attack. Your mouth needs a break between meals so that your saliva can neutralise the acid and restore the natural balance in your mouth.

If you are in the habit of snacking between meals, consider eating sugar free candy or chewing gum. Be aware that many ‘healthy’ snacks such as fresh or dried fruit and biscuits also contain sugar, although in a less unhealthy form than the refined sugar in cakes and candy. Vegetables (especially carrots) are the least ‘damaging’ snacks, since they contain very little natural sugar.

Give your teeth a break

Also try to limit your consumption of sugary and/or sour beverages. A bottle of soda or juice can often last for hours if you are only sipping from it now and then. This habit is very damaging to your teeth, though. Research has shown that it normally takes around 20 minutes for your mouth to restore it’s natural acid balance after you have eaten. This means that if you are snacking all through the day e.g. by eating candy of drinking softdrinks, the acidity in your mouth will be constantly out of balance and your teeth will be under constant attack. Instead of quenching your thirst with sugary drinks, consider a more healthy alternative such as milk or water.

Brush!

If you absolutely need your sugary snacks and beverages, remember that cavities arise from a combination of sugar AND plaque. A clean tooth will not develop a cavity, so remember to brush your teeth completely clean at least two times per day.