Lets Talk About Gum Disease

Gum Disease

When your dentist or hygienist talks about gum disease, they are referring to either Gingivitis or Periodontitis.  Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around the teeth and is a general term for diseases affecting the gums. Gingivitis most often occurs when bacterial plaque and tartar collect and stick on tooth surfaces.  Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium, the tissues that support the teeth in the mouth, and if left untreated, can result in bone and tooth loss. Today we will explore gingivitis, it’s cause, symptoms, treatment and prevention.

Gum Disease Causes

Gingivitis is usually caused by calculus (tartar) that forms on tooth surfaces when bacterial plaque builds up in the hard to clean spaces between your gums and teeth. These accumulations may be tiny, even microscopic, but the bacteria in them produce chemicals and toxins that cause inflammation of the gums around your teeth. This inflammation can, over time, cause deep pockets between your teeth and gums and, eventually loss of bone around your teeth (periodontitis) if left unchecked.

People with healthy gums, bone and surrounding tissue should book a professional cleaning and check up every 6 months to help keep their mouth that way. For those of you who find yourselves struggling to keep plaque and tartar from building up on your teeth, more frequent cleanings can help. If the inflammation in your gums becomes especially well-developed, it can invade the gums and allow tiny amounts of bacteria and bacterial toxins to enter your bloodstream. You may not even notice this, but some studies suggest this can result in a generalized increase in inflammation in the body which can lead to possible long-term heart health issues.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Most healthy individuals have gingivitis in some area of their mouth at one time or another, usually due to inadequate brushing and flossing. Most often, a trip to the hygienist for a professional cleaning and a little more attention paid to flossing and brushing arrests the inflammation. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are as follows:

  • Swollen gums
  • Persistent mouth sores
  • Bright-red or shiny gums
  • Gums that are painless, except when pressure is applied
  • Gums that bleed easily, even with gentle brushing, and especially when flossing
  • Itchy Gums, mild to moderate severity
  • Receding gumline, you may not notice but your hygienist will.

Gum Disease Treatment

If you think you may have one or more symptoms of gingivitis, come see us. We can perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums, check for any underlying issues and give you tips to help prevent the concern in the future. The removal of plaque is usually not painful, and the inflammation of your gums should be gone within 7 – 10 days.  The hygienist will use specialized tools designed to get in and around your teeth to scale, or scrape, any residue off the tooth surfaces. We can also perform an assessment of your overall oral health and provide individual education targeting any trouble areas.  An anti-bacterial rinse or mouthwash can also help with prevention by rinsing away debris and food residue in between brushing.

Gum Disease Prevention

The easiest way to prevent gingivitis is with thorough oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing. For more stubborn cases, a rigorous plaque control program which includes periodontal scaling and curettage have also proven to be helpful. And don’t forget your twice annual cleaning and checkup, we can help keep gum disease at bay!  Contact Devon Dental Centre today for your check up and stop gum disease before it starts!

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All About Flouride

Fluoride therapy

Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth topically or systemically, which is designed to prevent tooth decay which results in cavities. Most commonly, fluoride is applied topically to the teeth using gels, varnishes, toothpaste/dentifrices or mouth rinse. Systemic delivery involves fluoride supplementation using tablets or drops which are swallowed. This type of delivery is rarely used where public water supplies are fluoridated.

Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride use in the modern dental field is generally agreed upon as being useful. Fluoride combats the formation of tooth decay primarily in three ways:

  1. Fluoride promotes the remineralization of teeth. Fluoride found in saliva will absorb into the surface of a tooth where demineralization has occurred. The presence of this fluoride in turn attracts other minerals (such as calcium), thus resulting in the formation of new tooth mineral.
  2. Fluoride can make a tooth more resistant to the formation of tooth decay. The new tooth mineral that is created by the remineralization process in the presence of fluoride is actually a “harder” mineral compound than enamel, the tooth’s original protection.
  3. Fluoride can inhibit oral bacteria’s ability to create acids by decreasing the rate at which the bacteria that live in dental plaque can produce acid. By disrupting bacteria’s ability to metabolize sugars, less acidic waste will be produced to participate in the demineralization process.

Where Can You Get Fluoride?

Fluoride is available in several formats, including at home therapies and professionally applied topical fluorides. At home therapies can be further divided into over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription strengths. Whether OTC or prescription, fluoride therapies are generally categorized by application: dentifrices, mouth rinses, gels/ foams, varnishes, dietary fluoridate supplements, and water fluoridation. Some fluoride is naturally present in many water sources, though generally thought not to be enough for any real benefit without supplementation. The most common forms of fluoride available to patients today are:

Dentifrices – Toothpaste containing fluoride is an effective way to expose teeth to the benefits of fluoride. Use of toothpastes containing fluoride have shown to be effective at reducing dental decay in patients of all ages, though close supervision is recommended for children who may accidentally swallow toothpaste while brushing. Prescription strength fluoride toothpaste contains a higher level of sodium fluoride to increase exposure when needed, this prescription dental cream is used once daily in place of regular toothpaste.

Mouth rinses – The most common fluoride compound used in mouth rinse is sodium fluoride. Over-the-counter solutions for daily rinsing are available and considered safe for everyday use. Again, adult supervision for children is recommended. The fluoride concentration in these mouth rinses, however, is not strong enough for people at high risk for decay, prescription mouth rinses are considered more effective for these patients.

Gels/foams – Gels and foams containing fluoride are most often used for patients who are at high risk for dental decay, orthodontic patients, patients undergoing head and neck radiation, patients with decreased salivary flow, and children whose permanent molars should, but cannot, be sealed. The gel or foam is applied through the use of a mouth tray which contains the product. The tray is placed in the mouth and held in place by the patient gently biting down. Application generally takes about four minutes, and patients are advised not to rinse, eat, smoke, or drink for at least 30 minutes after application to maximize effect. Some gels are available for home application and are used in a manner similar to toothpaste. Of course, the concentration of fluoride in these gels is much lower than professional products.

Varnish – Fluoride varnish has practical advantages over gels in ease of application, a non-offensive taste, and the benefit of smaller amounts of fluoride required than for gel applications. Varnish is intended for the same group of patients as the gels and foams and is applied with a brush, it sets within seconds.

Fluoride is important for everyone, but most importantly for children whose teeth are developing. As teeth are developing within their jaw bones, enamel is being laid down. Fluorapatite is a hard mineral that is formed when teeth are exposed to fluoride, making tooth enamel more resistant to acidity and decay. Studies have shown that the systemic ingestion of fluoride, as opposed to topical application alone, results in a greater component of fluorapatite in the mineral structure of the tooth’s enamel and, ultimately, stronger and healthier teeth!

Contact Devon Dental Centre to book a consultation for your dental treatment. We always offer the best option for your oral care,

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Humor For Healthy Teeth?

Laughter and Positive Thinking Can Be Good for Your Teeth

Are you or a family member scared of going to the dentist? Many people are. Some laughter and positive thinking might help. You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine and at Devon Dental Centre, Dr. Mike and the team certainly believe that to be true! Studies have shown that laughter helps release endorphins, improves circulation and blood pressure, and over the long term, boosts the immune system. Laughter can alleviate anxiety and tension, and is often the antidote for awkward, uncomfortable and stressful situations.

Nothing Funny About Dental Fear

While there is nothing funny about fear of the dentist or dental procedures, humor can be incredibly helpful in soothing a patient’s anxiety. Fear of going to the dentist is relatively common. For some, it may just cause mild anxiety, for others, it is a real phobia and can result in going years without visiting the dentist. Not being able to see the dentist for long periods of time can have unfortunate health impacts, beyond your oral health. This may be difficult for some to comprehend, but if you or someone you know suffers from dental fear, you understand how difficult it can be.

Find Strategies to Combat Dental Fear

There are several strategies for dealing with fear of the dentist. Strategies like finding the right dentist for you, meditation and relaxation techniques, distraction, and, our favorite, humor! You may find that one or a combination of these strategies can be helpful when dealing with dental anxiety:

Find a dentist you can trust

the most important step in combating dental fear is, of course, finding a dentist who is experienced in dealing with fearful patients. A good dentist can make all the difference in the world for someone dealing with fear. Not all dentists have this skill, and in fact, for some people their dental fear began with a negative experience with an unfriendly or rough dentist.

Relaxation and meditation

aside from the right dentist, many patients find using relaxation techniques such as meditation and distraction to be helpful in dealing with their fear. Listening to your favorite music while you wait or during some procedures can help relax and offer you some enjoyment while visiting us. Bring a book or magazine that you want to catch up on to read before your appointment or between procedures.

Work Humor Into Your Dental Visit

recent studies have shown humor may be the most effective tool for easing the fears of dental patients. There are a few reasons for this. Laughter has a relaxing effect and it eases stress and anxiety with the release of endorphins. Just as important though, is its effect on the dentist-patient relationship. When we are able to joke and laugh with our patients, it creates a more common, equal ground that allows the patient to feel understood and at ease.

Final Thoughts on Humor in Dentistry

If you have extreme anxiety, it may be helpful to have a supportive and humorous friend or family member bring you to the dentist. They can help keep you distracted while in the waiting room and make sure you get to and from your appointment safely. When you book your appointment with us, please don’t hesitate to let us know you are dealing with some level of anxiety. We are here to provide a service but also to educate and empower our patients to take control of their dental and overall health care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to have things explained, and to tell us if you are uncomfortable at any point. Dental fear can and does get better over time. Finding a dentist you trust and feel comfortable with, one who can make you laugh, may just make your dental fear a thing of the past. Come see Dr. Mike and his team at Devon Dental Centre, let us help you combat your dental fear.

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