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One of the concerns patients have at the end of appointments is "Do you think my teeth are too yellow", or "Does the product that the store sells provide any benefit". It is at this time that I usually can not answer this question as quickly as I would like, or the patient desires, asking themselves, "why did I ask this guy that question....?"

In reality, there is no easy answer, and a level of understanding of the topic goes a long way toward the patients expectations and satisfaction of tooth "whitening". 

Patients generally do not have an understanding of tooth anatomy, and this is an absolute must, before expectations can be met. With this post, I will continue to put you to sleep, in hopes that people will understand what whitening will accomplish and what it won't. I am always amused by pictures in trade journals or lectures by the latest cosmetician  who will be happy to show how effective bleaching can be today. My objective is to bring some sanity to the insanity that has become tooth whitening.

Have you ever been in a waiting room or office and had the pleasure of seeing a frosted glass door that is the partition between you and the personnel on the other side? Do you remember seeing things move in the background, but you can not seem to make out exactly what is going on (Play with me for a second)? If you have encountered this phenomenon before, you have just understood the concept of dental enamel. The body tissue that is known as enamel has varying degrees of opaqueness and translucency, and at the end of the day, every person has an individual characteristic of this property. If one envisions dental enamel as a thin shell with this frosty quality, you are halfway there!

What lies underneath this enamel is a structure known as dentin, and this material is again, variable in light yellow to very dark grey. Different shades can mean different things, but for the purposes of our blog we will assume a healthy tooth. So place the dental enamel over the dentin (yes, just like a tooth), and you have this individual value, hue, and chroma, or color of each tooth, and it does vary (like the genome) with different teeth in the same patient!

Whitening is proposed to remove the stains that accumulate in dental enamel from a variety of food and drink, tobacco, etc. My facebook page has a great article on the substances which stain teeth! Whitening will effectively remove years of accumulated stains in dental enamel alone. SO, it stands to reason and is what we actually see, that the tooth is whitened by removing this surface stain, but in no way will correct the underlying color. Why? theoretically, enamel should cover the entire tooth; in reality this does not occur, usually for numerous reasons, and should not reach dentin, and anyone who has experienced extreme sensitivity form this treatment can attest to this adverse effect of tooth bleaching. It is at this moment, that I require a very large cross and a steroid laden bulb of garlic to fend off the the anger that ensues.

Performed properly and responsibly, tooth whitening can be accomplished with good results. A couple of caveats; One, there have been some assertions that this treatment can "ruin" the enamel; studies have shown that used responsibly, this cosmetic enhancement of your teeth will not do this, period. Like the adverse effects of anything, if you whiten too much, it may be harmful, but a patient would have to bleach a LOT. Another concern, and this addresses the original concern of over the counter treatments; the concentration of the active ingredient in the store whiteners is always much less that in professional formulations, so the pound for pound effect ends up being less, yet still mildly effective; it may be more expensive at the dentist, but more effective. Last, and certainly not least is who provides bleaching for the individual. I do not like mall bleaching. No one is there to monitor you if something needs to be addressed, ie sensitivity ( remember the cross and garlic). The state generally allows the dispensation of this product by technicians in the mall, but the state is not there when something goes wrong. A little more spent at the dentist will allow you to address concerns that invariably arise with tooth whitening!

You may awake again, and visit our office or facebook page with any further questions!

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I know what you have seen on TV and the internet. The joke goes something like this " I would rather have a root canal......". In the past, maybe someone has said to you "You need a root canal" and the exit to the office could not be found soon enough. I am sure that a friend or associate has come from the dentist and said " I just had a root canal, it was$#@^^$@$! Well, todays entry will attempt to dispel some of the myths of root canal therapy and hopefully will provide you with much less anxiety about the procedure if and when you hear those words from your co-workers.

One may wonder, why do I need a root canal? There is a simple answer. Your tooth "nerve" or pulp is dead or dying. This happens in any number of ways, but primarily due to a large insult to the tooth. When this happens to the pulp, it causes inflammation. Sometimes this inflammation is accompanied with sensitivity or pain. If regular visits to the dentist are not a hallmark of a patients calendar, this condition can begin to bother you, sending you what I refer to as "a warning sign" Many people will then go to the dentist, and may describe their pain in a number of ways. If a patient ignores the "warning signs", this pain can become quite debilitating, bringing the studliest of patients to their knees and may make the patient reach for the tool kit to find a pair of pliers!

Very little of what I have just told you is newsworthy. What is the best news possible in the early stages of inflammation and mild pain is that Root Canal Therapy can be quite painless. The procedure is straightforward and is always used to save a tooth that otherwise must be pulled. I often say to my patients that nothing is ever quite as valuable as a natural tooth root; This root preserves invaluable space for both your bite and support for the tooth. Implants are fantastic, and after the tooth is pulled a great option, but in my way of treatment, that root must stay!

A couple of words about the procedure. At Dr. Partrick's office, we discuss all risks, benefits and alternatives to therapy. One a patient understands the reason for treatment and wishes to proceed, an ordinary injection of local anesthetic is given to the patient; A contraption known as a rubber dam must be used to protect the patient. The canal of the tooth is cleaned and then filled with a plastic-like material; in some instances, a crown must be placed over the tooth to aid in keeping the tooth for the long term.  

Most root canals are treated by the general dentist. Some general dentists are quite experienced with Root Canal Therapy. There are occasions that arise that may require you to see a root canal specialist, or endodontist.  These occasions are too many to describe in just a short posting, but essentially endodontists usually treat complex root canals. For the most part, a dentist can tell before he begins a root canal whether he has the ability and training to operate on your tooth. An endodontist is part of a team that ensures that you receive the best dental care available. 

Disclaimer; Notice I didn't say totally (there is no totally in any health profession) painless in the third paragraph. As with any dental procedure, there are incidents where the nerve is not 100% asleep, and may require more local anesthetic. More importantly, if a person puts off treatment from procrastination, fear, whatever, this makes the job of a root canal much harder, in terms of anesthesia. Of course this is not always something that anyone can alter, but for the most part Root Canal Therapy is predictable, useful, and painless.

Dr. Partrick will be happy to discuss any concerns a patient may have with Root Canal Therapy. He will use some visual materials to help patients understand the diagnosis and the treatment for root canals. We hope that you never need a root canal, but maybe the next time you hear that "it was just #$^&#%$@ awful", you may temper your thinking!

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Have you ever had braces? If you have, how long was it before you lost your retainer? How long before you stopped wearing it? The answers are widely variable, but common to the vast majority of patients is that soon after the braces came off, the retainer disappeared! I am speaking form personal experience as well!

 

Orthodontic retention, or wear of the retainer is a lifetime project. Dentists, orthodontists alike are not great communicators when braces have come off. Parents are ecstatic that they do not have to harass the child to be compliant with the dentists recommendations and the teenager, well...... If one does not wear some form of retention, the teeth that have been fabulously moved into alignment will find their way into a concept known as relapse. In other words, your teeth will move. The movement of teeth is a dynamic process, and unless they are fixed into retainers, they will move. Wonder why your teeth move with a bonded retainer? Maybe one of your teeth are no longer bonded or fixed into place. 

 

Enough about retention. What can a patient do to make them straighter, regardless of whether you have had braces or not? If someone had asked me a couple of years ago about doing this, I would have recommended braces with an orthodontist. Now there is a fantastic tool available to most dentists, Invisalign. The benefits are self evident. No one wishes to wear these orthodontic brackets when they are in the workplace, Invisalign has clear devices to move teeth in a reliable fashion. Oral hygiene can be kept at previous excellent standards, and the treatment produces consistent results. 

 

Can I afford Invisalign? You may already have some insurance coverage for orthodontics, and the remainder can be easily financed. The one question that still remains is do you want this amazing Invisalign therapy to correct those crowded teeth? See Dr. Partrick for an Invisalign consultation today!

 

 

 

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This issue of the blog concerns dental care for expecting mothers and their consequent new infants. This post will discuss some of the basics, as they are easy to remember. This post will also assume your OB has not covered any of this material with you, as most don't. They mean well, but just as I am not an obstetrician, they are not dentists, and the information found here is extremely important.

As a pregnant parent, it is essential to eat a healthy diet. Most people do not consider that a fetus has developing teeth, and do not know that at their birth, a child's permanent 1st molars begin to calcify. Vitamins A,C, and D are important. Protein is  beneficial as well. Calcium is extraordinarily important, and dairy products are essential. Your OB can consult with you on possible supplements.

A common problem that all dentists see in their office with expecting mothers is the concept of a "pregnancy gingivitis". Some hormones may spike higher during pregnancy, causing this issue. A good flosser usually has no problem with this concept, but some new mothers may have such nausea that this will not allow then to floss properly. but it is imperative that a good flossing routine be followed.

Please tell the dentist if your are considering becoming or are pregnant. The dentist and his staff can then tailor the exam to your needs, forgoing x-rays, unless absolutely required, and although it is safe to make x-rays after the 1st trimester, I prefer not to make them with expectant mothers.

After the new infant comes home to his already exhausted and soon to be shredded parents, he most often asked question in my office with new parents is "when do I bring my child to the dentist?". According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentists, you should establish a dental "home", (home being a public health term for dental office) for your child at 6mos-1 year. Before some revision in the guidelines, the quick answer was 3 years of age, but it was officially felt that there was too much risk in childhood caries to warrant waiting this amount of time. Although I may quibble with these rules from time to time, childhood cavities is a very serious matter, and a parent should go by the best evidence available to include a child's individual needs.

A thorough exam of a child's oral cavity should be performed when a parent is ready to bring their child to the dentist for the first time. Instructions for oral hygiene need to be introduced to the infant. With this exam, there is the rare possibility that there may exist a problem that the parent does not notice, and demands attention. Basically this first visit is designed to get the child accustomed to the concept of primary care for their teeth.

I am sure to get into problems with the Welch's Corporation for the next statement, but fruit juices should be ingested at a bare minimum. These drinks are slam full of simple sugar, and will rot a child's teeth. Please ignore the label that says this juice has only natural ingredients, sugar is a natural ingredient.  The same admonition goes for milk, at bedtime. One Google search for baby bottle caries will alert a new parent to this phenomenon. There exists a sugar in milk, lactose, at it eats teeth alive as the sugar coats the child's teeth during sleep.

Lastly, fluoride in a child's diet is essential. A child should have a therapeutic dose of this element in their diet, to make to teeth more resistant to cavities. Just ask most adults who grew up without it. A parent is advised to consult their municipalities before  providing this benefit to their children, as there does exist the real possibility that an excess of fluoride can provide a permanent unsightly condition to a child's dentition. Assuming that there is a proper amount of fluoride in  the water supply, and a parent notice the water tastes funky, a Brita filter is fine. Fluoride is a hot topic with the fringe element, and while they have a valid concern about too much fluoride, again a therapeutic amount is safe, and your child may thank you later in their life for this benefit, although with my kids, I am still waiting on a thank you for the meal I cooked last night.

OK, this topic turned out to be a little more than a short note, even with the editorials. Any one can schedule with me to discuss this topic, and it will not involve needles!

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         2 or 3 years ago, a British dental study was published that made a connection between dental x-rays and brain cancer. The study has since shown to have the least reliability in terms of meticulous data crunching that most published dental research undergoes, but as far as a study goes, it brings up an assertion that is not without value. This post has to do with dental radiography, or x-rays, most specifically the safety of these x-rays with patient exposure. First and foremost, I do take patient safety seriously.  Dental x-rays are extremely valuable for the proper diagnosis of dental disease.  A dentist's concern is to view the surfaces of teeth that only superman (with, by the way, of x-ray vision) can see. Hopefully, dentistry can view these spaces without x-rays in the future, but as of present, no other option exists.

         The salient point with dental x-rays is the principle of ALARA, which is a term to denote a concept of as low an exposure as possible. Most dentists have been trained in this concept.  The concept is fairly easily understood, but to make it even simpler, depending on the dentist's judgment, x-rays should be made as infrequently as possible, with a patient's susceptibility to cavities. For instance if one has a dental plaque problem, with the occasional cavity, x-rays may be recommended more frequently. Little to no history of cavities, no problem, less frequently. Research dictates this provides the patient with a level of safety from excessive radiation. Remember, the word is judgment, and each dentist views this a bit differently, depending on the situation.

           Radiation exposure is measured in a unit called a sievert, formerly roentgens, rads, grays, etc. In a standard periodic view of dental radiographs, an exposure of .005 millisieverts is within the normal tolerances. Interestingly , and most people forget, is that radiation exists in our normal environment! exposing a person to a relative mean of 3.2 Sieverts per year. One can see that although no one should be careless with this data, it has shown to be a minor risk to a person's health.

          With older models of dental radiograph machines, patients were exposed to higher levels of radiation. Todays units are engineered to provide extra protection, such as collimation. The dental team who make dental radiographs place an apron with lead inside to shield a person from harmful exposure. Digital radiography can expose a patient to less radiation. All this combines to provide what I view as an acceptable level of exposure.

           There are many options a dentist has to evaluate a patients condition radiographically. One relatively recent development is the practice of cone beam technology. While this concept can expose patients with a bit more radiation than a typical routine set of radiographs, it also can be an invaluable tool to aid in the diagnosis of dental problems we were previously unable to diagnose without a ct-scan (talk about radiation exposure:( ). Orthodontists and root canal doctors can see things that before were only guesses.

            I do not pretend that this covers all the information a patient could ask on this matter, but it is a good starting point for a intelligent discussion on dental x-rays. For instance, when one wants information on various types of health care radiation exposure, dental exposure is a fraction of what one can receive from medical offices/hospitals. I am very happy to discuss any matter of dental safety, including dental radiology. There is an excellent article in the September 2011 Journal of the American Dental Association that discusses this matter from a patient perspective. It deserves a look!

 

 

 

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One of the most asked questions in my office is "Do I need to use a mouth wash?" to address a periodontal or "gum" problem. This is one of the most difficult questions to answer, for a couple of reasons. Let me begin to answer this question with some facts. This is a complex topic, so I will keep my assertions general.

The idea that a mouth wash is a part of good oral hygiene has been around, even before the advent of Listerine. The pharmaceutical companies that sell these mouth rinses have always made the assertion that their product "kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis", and to some degree this claim is true. Through various mechanisms, they in fact do reduce the amount of bacteria that cause periodontal (gum) inflammation, or gingivitis. They do "kill" bacteria they can reach. This is where the controversy starts.

Most people who have been to my office can attest to the fact that around the tooth and gums exist "pockets" where bacteria, in a biofilm, can lie undisturbed, hence creating gingivitis. These pockets have various depths, and to make a long story short, these rinses do not penetrate these pouches with complete efficacy. So, as one can see without the 50 dollar charts, gingivitis will still exist in some form, even with the use of these rinses. The American Dental Association stepped in after the pharmaceutical companies made the claim that rinsing was as effective as flossing. For this  "pocket" reason, I do not feel that rinses are essential  to the practice off good oral hygiene. Attention to detail flossing will reach these areas in most circumstances in patients with healthy gingivae.

Let me be very clear. Many rinses disrupt biofilms and kill bacteria, i.e. control plaque. Your gums may appear very healthy, but if a patient uses these rinses and still has bleeding when they floss, the periodontal disease remains. For this reason, I maintain that flossing is key to good oral hygiene. There is a technique involved to maximizing your effort, and I can you this method, or the American Dental Association has a video of this technique on the patient window of ADA.org.

In the interests of clarity, there has been one rinse which has which has received FDA approval for efficacy in reducing plaque and gingivitis. This is Peridex, and sorry, it does not penetrate the pocket effectively. Gum doctors use this after surgery, when tooth brushing may be a problem, and this rinse stains teeth badly. An additional question arises about water piks. They are great at removing debris, but not much else. Effective tooth brushing accomplishes the debris removal task. So, brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is generally all a patient requires. There are some exceptions, and I will happy to discuss these exceptions at your next appointment.

Mouth rinses/washes do little good as far as halitosis is concerned. Oral malodor, or bad breath again is caused by oral bacteria, and without going into an anatomic lecture of the tongue, oral bacteria do become longed into the microscopic nooks and crannies of the tongue, and left to their devices can cause a funk, or so I am told. In any event, this perceived malodor is only masked by mouthwashes, and brushing the tongue, coupled with flossing once a day ( I do know I am beginning to sound like a broken record) will go a long way to solving this issue. Let me know if I can help you!

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Has the dentist ever told you that you have receding gums? One must automatically think that the sky is falling. Or "my parents have (had) this, so It stands to reason that I have it." Or how about this thought... "What in the world is he talking about?" This short article to is explain the many meanings of "receding gums", or gingival recession.

 This concept may be difficult to understand, and can not be easily explained. When a dentist informs their patients that they have receding gums, they may mean periodontal disease. Conceptually, this makes sense, gum is attached to the tooth, and as the gingival attachment move away from the tooth caused by periodontal disease, the gum recedes. The profession has not been stellar in explaining this very well, so dentists try this explanation to unearth the mysteries of periodontal disease. Sometimes it has the opposite effect and causes some confusion.

The second and most likely explanation for the uninitiated is that the gums are receding. This recession without the presence of gum disease can most be seen by an ever increasing view of the tooth root, a yellower hue, just below the crown of the tooth, and can be caused by a number of happenstances, such as dental crowding, trauma with the toothbrush, or just plain thin gums. When I diagnose gum recession, this means the gum is receding due to one of the above factors.

From a oral hygiene point of view, "scrubbing" your teeth with any bristled toothbrush, grabbing the brush with your Kung Fu grip, with apply excess force to your teeth and gums. Gum recession, Tooth abrasion and sensitivity will ensue, and one will spend their useful hours in CVS hunting Sensodyne extra strength. Be conscious of brushing your teeth softly, with circular motions, at and away from the gum line. Oral hygiene will be covered in the next post.

So you already do this and you still have gum recession? Dentists may look at the size of the teeth, and the size of the jawbone they fit in. To add insult to injury, the bone which encases the tooth sometimes is very thin, and as the bone recedes with dental crowding, the soft tissue goes with it, ergo gum recession.

Finally, A patient just may have thin gums, ie you were going to have this anyway. Heredity plays a major part in this, but this condition can be aggravated by any of the above conditions, including periodontal disease.

In most circumstances, an easier toothbrush technique will suffice. Sometimes, augmenting the lost gum with a graft may be required.

I know, you are as confused as ever before. So, what I suggest is come see me, and I will attempt to demonstrate with models and printed materials, and hopefully, we can untie the Gordian knot. Remember the force should not be with you, and take it easy all you Type A people!

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If the dentist detects a patient with periodontal disease, just what does that mean? How did this happen, or how did I get it? How do we cure it? What are my treatment options? How exactly does one detect periodontal, or gum disease? All these questions have been asked by lots of patients before and these questions are in one fashion, very easy to explain, and at the same time,  quite complex. This post will discuss in basic terms the root causes, diagnoses, and treatment options for periodontal, or "gum" disease. This post will also cover the risks of no treatment.

Periodontal disease is a disease of the peridontium, which is loosely the supporting structures of one's teeth, ie the bone which encases the tooth. This disease is caused by dental plaque. Dental plaque is really nothing more than aggregations of oral bacteria in a matrix, known as a biofilm. Am I losing you? OK. Well, this bacteria is a mass "clinging" to the tooth and gum. This mass of bacteria secrete substances that cause redness and swelling of the gums, and may erode the peridontium. ie the supporting structures of one's teeth. So, dental plaque causes gum disease.

There are various stages of gum disease, ranging from it's mild forms to the more severe. For instance, gingivitis is a common form of periodontal disease, marked by gum inflammation alone.  Periodontitis is a disease marked by inflammation and loss of support around the tooth, again, ranging from mild to severe. The two for instance, are not mutually exclusive, and often appear together. In order to reverse the damage done by dental plaque, there must be a therapy to intervene.

Periodontitis is a more insidious problem. As mentioned earlier, this diagnosis is marked by loss of support for the tooth. The real question is why do some patients exhibit periodontitis and others don't? The short answer is we really don't know. The disease shows some family traits, genetic. Family histories are important in discussing periodontal disease with patients. Biochemically, we do not know why this affects one patient, but not the other. Research is looking for an answer.

The front line therapy, or treatment depends on the exact diagnosis of gum disease. In recent years, various names have been given to describe these treatments, ie "deep cleaning", "soft tissue management", "scraping" etc. therapies range from oral hygiene instruction alone, or in conjunction with "Scaling and Root Planing", which constitutes placement of an instrument along the tooth, and removing the irritants along this surface. Removing dental plaque and "tartar" ( which happens to be calcified layers of bacteria) are the objective. Periodontal disease can not be "cured" but a patients overall gum health can be improved with this therapy

In the meantime, periodontal therapy is crucial. without this treatment, periodontal disease can progress. This can be noted by loosening of teeth, periodontal infections, pain, and if no therapy is instituted, loss of affected teeth may follow.

During a dental exam, a periodontal evaluation should be conducted to evaluate a patients periodontal status, and predisposition towards periodontal disease. Dr. Partrick performs these examinations routinely, as part of a patient's overall dental health. Schedule your dental exam today, so that periodontal problems can be headed off at the pass!

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Recently, Tony Gwynn, one of baseball's superstars, died at age 54 from oral cancer.  If you were lucky enough to see Tony Gwynn play baseball, you were witnessing a rarity. In what is arguably the toughest sports to play, Gwynn had an uncanny eye for the baseball, and no pitcher was safe. The San Diego Padres were a lucky team to have him. He will be missed in the baseball world. Major League Baseball should institute a health advisory and education campaign on the danger and fallout of smokeless tobacco.

However, this is not a baseball blog. By accounts, Tony died of a salivary gland tumor, probably from the wads of chewing tobacco he placed in the pouches of his cheek. When speaking from an oral health care perspective, chronic irritation from tobacco products have shown to be major risk factors for oral cancer. Although tobacco, both lit and smokeless, are two risk factors for oral cancer, there are others. For instance, most people associate smoking with lung cancer and they would be correct. However, people seem surprised by the fact that smoking is a major risk for oral cancer. Alcohol abuse is another common risk for oral cancer.

Teenagers are particularly susceptible to smokeless tobacco marketing and use. Every parent knows that teens think they are invincible, and this an example. Public health efforts to get children as well as adults go only so far, and parents should be super aggressive at educating their children on the ill effects of tobacco use. These products are highly addictive and can be troublesome to part with.

The good news is that with few exceptions, oral cancer is preventable. If one is a smokeless tobacco user, discontinue the habit immediately. If one notices any white patches on their gums or cheeks, see your dentist immediately. Not all white patches are pre-cancerous, but it is best to have your dentist take a look. Early detection of oral cancer can dramatically improve one's prognosis, if diagnosed with oral cancer.

There is a way to address early detection. An oral cancer screening can alert the dentist to any suspect areas. Dr. Partrick performs an oral cancer screening at every examination appointment. Schedule your appointment today if you suspect you are at risk!

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A topic which dental patients want to know more about is "cavities" or in dental terms, caries. This can get mildly confusing for patients because dentists have used the term cavities to denote many things, such as an existing filling, a hole in the tooth, or dental decay, to keep their conversations simple for patients to understand. In reality, the diagnosis of dental caries can be complex and confusing for a patient. In this article, Dr. Partrick will describe the concept of dental caries, the diagnosis and prevention of caries, and in very basic terms, will discuss what can be done in the event dental caries is diagnosed.

The term dental caries is used to describe the phenomenon of tooth decay. In a nutshell, for caries to arise requires three things: a tooth, dental plaque, and sugar. Sound simple? theoretically, if you remove one of these 3 things, dental decay cannot occur. Good luck removing sugar from the diet (more about this later)! Certainly, no one wishes to remove the tooth, unless the tooth is badly decayed, so one must rely on removal of the dental plaque to prevent dental decay.

Dental plaque is nothing more than oral bacteria coupled with a sticky film that adheres to teeth. These oral bacteria are living organisms that metabolize sugar (found in many foods/drinks) to produce acids that cause breakdown of dental enamel, and if not found early and controlled early will progress further into the tooth. A dentist makes the diagnosis of decay in two proven ways, instruments and bite-wing radiographs performed in the course of an examination. The dentist's instruments find "soft" tooth in all exposed areas of the tooth and the x-rays detect decay in places where dental instruments cannot reach.

Prevention of dental caries is quite simple; control the plaque, reduce the risk for caries. One should brush their teeth with an American Dental Association approved toothpaste, twice a day. Flossing once a day will help reduce the dental plaque, in areas where brushing is ineffective. For most patients, this is what they require to reduce their risk of decay. Certainly, there are exceptions such as whether the patient has been exposed to fluoride as a child, the fluoride concentration in the toothpaste, the total time dental plaque has been exposed to the tooth, etc. For example, if the patient was not exposed to a municipal  fluoride (therapeutic dose) in the water supply, this patient will certainly have a higher risk of decay. A really easy way to prevent decay is to examine one's diet. For example fruit juices are really high in simple sugars. Kids can get less than routine with their oral care, and these beverages can eat a tooth away. Dr. Partrick is not proposing no sugar in the diet, just moderation.

If caries are diagnosed soon enough, there exist the possibility of halting their progression with good oral hygiene, as described above. If caries progress too far into the tooth, one form or the other of dental restoration, or "filling" will be required, and this is unfortunate because once decay tooth needs to be removed, there is no dental filling which is nearly as good as healthy tooth. Classically, no symptoms will accompany decay of a tooth, so it becomes very important to keep regular visits with Dr. Partrick to keep your teeth free from dental caries. Call Dr. Partrick today to schedule a dental exam and cleaning to discuss your risk for dental caries!

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Taking care of your teeth and gums can be easy with a minor commitment of time each morning and evening. This routine, coupled with good eating habits and regular check-ups with Dr. Partrick can greatly reduce one's risk for cavities and gum disease.

Proper oral hygiene is best accomplished by flossing once a day, and brushing twice a day. There is no set time one should floss, in the morning or evening is fine. One should brush once in the morning and once in the evening. Most people reading this already know this, but techniques are important.

When it comes to oral hygiene, one should remember the goal, and that is removal of dental plaque. Dental plaque, a very sticky substance that can grab onto natural teeth as well as most dental fillings, is really no more than a mixture of many types of oral bacteria. Coupled with sugars in the diet and other factors, it will cause dental decay. So removal of plaque with the tooth brush and floss decreases the risk! What is important to note is that one should never "hammer"  their teeth and gums. Too much pressure with the tooth brush can cause gum recession and scrubbing away of healthy tooth structure. So, softly brush those teeth. Technique is important!

Plaque can also cause gum disease. Again, technique with the floss is important in adequately removing this group of bacteria, to reduce the dreaded gingivitis! In a slightly different manner, oral bacteria cause inflammation of the gums, and in some cases, can lead to loss of bone that surrounding the tooth!

Contact Dr. Partrick for your next dental appointment today!

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