Posts for category: Oral Health
You're not just a patient to your dentist—you're also a partner for achieving your best oral health possible. And it takes what both of you do to achieve it.
No doubt your dentist always strives to bring their "A Game" when providing you care. You should carry the same attitude into your personal oral hygiene—to truly master the skill of brushing.
Like its equally important counterpart flossing, brushing isn't mechanically complicated—you need only a minimum of dexterity to perform it. But there are nuances to brushing that could mean the difference between just adequate and super effective.
The goal of both brushing and flossing is to clean the teeth of dental plaque, a built-up film of bacteria and food particles most responsible for dental diseases like tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Brushing removes plaque from the broad front and back surfaces of teeth, while flossing removes it from between teeth where a toothbrush can't reach.
While a lot of cleaning tasks require bearing down with a little "elbow grease," that's unnecessary with brushing—in fact, you may increase your risk of gum recession if you brush too vigorously or too often. All you need is to apply a gentle, circular motion along all tooth surfaces from the gum line to the top of the tooth—a thorough brushing usually takes about two minutes, once or twice a day.
Your equipment is also important. Be sure your toothbrush is soft-bristled, multi-tufted and with a head small enough to maneuver comfortably inside your mouth. Because the bristles wear and eventually lose their effectiveness, change your brush about every three months. And be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride to help strengthen your enamel.
One last tip: while it may sound counterintuitive, don't brush immediately after a meal. Eating increases the mouth's acidity, which can temporarily soften the minerals in tooth enamel. If you brush right away you might slough off tiny bits of softened enamel. Instead, wait an hour before brushing to give your saliva time to neutralize the acid and help re-mineralize your enamel.
Unlike your dentist partner, your role in caring for your teeth doesn't require years of training. But a little extra effort to improve your brushing proficiency could increase your chances for a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on best practices for personal oral hygiene, 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 “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”
Your checkups with a doctor have lessened since childhood, so why do you still need to see your dentist as often as you did during elementary school? Dr. Colin Smith, your dentist in Lake Oswego, OR, understands that his adult patients have busy lives, but leaving your schedule open for regular dental checkups is important. Find out how making time twice a year to visit Lake Oswego Smiles can have a lasting effect on your health!
What happens during a dental checkup?
A typical checkup starts with X-rays from one of our trained dental assistants; you'll sit in one of our comfortable exam chairs, where a small sensor will be placed inside your mouth and repositioned for each image. Your Lake Oswego, OR, dentist will analyze your X-rays while a dental hygienist cleans your teeth, starting with a handheld tool called a scaler to remove any hardened plaque (known as tartar). We'll also use floss and a electric polisher to ensure that your teeth and gums are completely cleaned. During your checkup with Dr. Smith, any discrepancies on your X-rays will be examined further, and any follow-up treatments will be discussed.
How often do I need a dental checkup?
The "gold standard" for dental checkups is once every six months, regardless of the patient's age. However, everyone has unique needs when it comes to their dental health, and Dr. Smith is committed to tailoring each patient's experience to give them the best care possible. Someone with diagnosed gum disease, for example, may need to see their Oswego dentist more often to ensure that their treatment is working. Those who have shown risk factors for problems, such as excessive tartar buildup or precancerous lesions, should also plan to see their dentist more than twice a year. Conversely, patients who have excellent dental health and low risk of cavities or gum disease may be fine with only one checkup a year.
If you need to get back on track with your dental checkups, Dr. Colin Smith is ready to see you! Contact Lake Oswego Smiles in Lake Oswego, OR, to schedule an appointment today!
How can you keep your teeth forever? Maintain your oral health daily with brushing, flossing, a good diet and regular in-office care. At Lake Oswego Smiles in Lake Oswego, OR, your dentist, Dr. Colin Smith, shows his patients proper hygiene techniques. Patient teaching is part of his preventive dental care plan for your best possible smile.
Do it twice daily for two minutes, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Use an ADA-accepted toothpaste and soft brush, and if necessary, set a timer to ensure you spend the proper amount of time. Brush all tooth surfaces thoroughly, and clean your tongue and all soft oral tissues gently. They hold onto harmful bacteria which cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
The International Dental Health Association recommends a small to medium-sized brush with soft bristles to get those hard to reach areas. Change your brush after the flu or a cold or whenever it looks or feels worn out.
It's not optional. Using a quality flossing product (strand, plain, flavored, interproximal brushes, Y-flossers, water flossers), carefully remove the accumulated food residues from interdental spaces and at the gum line. Flossing reduces plaque and tartar formation, both leading players in cavity formation and gum disease (and its systemic effects).
A healthy diet
Skip the processed sugar, and limit your carbs because oral bacteria thrive on them. Drink plenty of water daily, and up your intake of fiber--grains, fruits, and veggies. And, don't forget the calcium. Enjoy dairy products such as yogurt and milk to keep bones and tooth enamel strong.
Visit your Lake Oswego, OR, dentist
Every six months is best, although some patients who are prone to gum disease may require more frequent cleanings and check-ups. During your oral examination, Dr. Smith will look for signs of gingivitis and tooth decay, assess your soft tissues for oral cancer (it takes just a few minutes) and look at your dental bite and current fillings and crowns.
If necessary, he'll take digital X-rays to look for decay between the teeth and to assess your bones and root structure. A detailed treatment plan outlines restorative care, recommended cosmetic improvements and how to improve your at-home routine. Plastic sealants and fluoride treatments help some individuals reduce tooth decay. Your dentist in Lake Oswego, OR, will tell you these coatings are right for you.
Good habits and great smiles
They go together. Your friendly team at Lake Oswego Smiles joins you in that great goal. Call today for your routine appointment: (503) 635-3653.
For many patients, dental fears keep them from having healthy teeth and gums. For individuals that are afraid of going to a Lake Oswego, OR, dentist such as Dr. Colin Smith, has the answer – sedation dentistry. He understands that some people with sensitive teeth and gums or those who are immune to numbing techniques may be scared to have regular dental examinations and cleanings. However, with his approach to sedation dentistry, those fears can diminish.
More about Sedation Dentistry
Conscious sedation includes treatment options that keep the patient awake during procedures. With one pill taken an hour before your appointment, you can be worked on with little to no anxiety. The patient will need a driver to bring them to and from the dental office as they will likely feel drowsy upon arriving at our Lake Oswego dentist's office. Patients are sedated just enough to be unaware of the treatment as if they are asleep, but still are fully conscious. Dr. Smith can perform a variety of dental procedures in just one visit when anxious dental patients choose this sedation technique. After completion of dental treatment under conscious sedation, you will have little or no memory of the procedure at all.
Sedation dentistry also benefits anyone that has put off dental care because of anxiety, is fearful of any dental work, has to have all of their dental care taken care of in just one or two visits, or who wants to be treated in a relaxing and comfortable environment.
If you’re interested in learning more about sedation dentistry from our Lake Oswego, OR, dentist, Dr. Smith, call to schedule an informative consultation today at 503-635-3653. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important to your overall health, so allow us to help you relax and give you the dental care you deserve!
Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.
“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.
Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.
Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.
Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.
If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.
When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.
Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.