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Friday, April 21, 2017

Caring for people who have special needs

People at any age can have a condition that makes it difficult for them to look after their own dental health.
This could affect people who suffer from a wide range of conditons such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, Alzheimers disease or arthritis.
However, people in all of these categories have the same dental needs as everyone else – they need daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits and a balanced diet.
There are some steps caregivers can take to make it easier to look after people in those categories.
If the person is uncooperative or uncontrollable, try to explain what you are about to do and schedule the task for a time of day when they are rested.
Move in a calm, slow, reassuring manner to avoid startling them. Give praise and encourage them when they help themselves.
Support the persons head, and take special care to prevent choking or gagging when the head is tilted back.
If the person is unable or unwilling to keep their mouth open, your dentist will explain how you can make and use a mouth prop.
Ask your dentist for advice on how to care for people with special needs and check if they have facilities for caring for these needs in the dental office.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How medication and anesthesia can help make your visit to the dentist easier

Your dentist will do everything possible to make your visit as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
Depending on the treatment you are receiving, there are several medications available to help.
Some drugs control pain, some help you relax and others put you into a deep sleep during dental treatment.
The best approach will depend on the type of procedure being undertaken, your overall health – including any history of allergies – and the degree of anxiety you feel.
Some of the options your dentist might discuss include:
Analgesics: These are the most commonly used drugs for relief of toothache or pain following dental treatment. They includes aspirin, acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. There is a separate category of narcotic analgesics – such as those containing codeine – which are used for more severe pain.
Local anesthesia: Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level. They may also be used to soothe mouth sores. Injectable local anesthetics prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by blocking the nerves that sense or transmit pain and numbing mouth tissues.
In other cases, your dentist many recommend sedation or general anesthesia.
Your dentist will discuss the best approach to suit your needs.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.
So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.
But what does it have to do with your dental care?
Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates. Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.
The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.
The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.
Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.
If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.
In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How older adults can handle dry mouth and taste problems

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults.
It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form.
Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
Another issue that can affect older adults is a loss of appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.
Whether you are suffering from dry mouth or problems with your sense of taste, your dentist will be able to make suggestions to help.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How mouth protectors can save your teeth

If you take part in sports that carry a significant risk of injury, you should wear a mouth protector.
Accidents can happen during any physical activity and, if you participate in sports such as football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics and volleyball, you might be grateful for the extra protection one day.
Something as simple as a misdirected elbow in a game, or a spill off a bicycle, can leave you with chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth or even tooth loss.
Mouth protectors usually cover the upper teeth and they can cushion the effect of a blow to the face, reducing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.
In addition, if you wear dental appliances such as braces on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
A properly fitted mouth protector will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe. The three main types of mouth protectors are:
Stock: These are inexpensive and come ready to wear. But they often dont fit very well and they can be bulky making breathing and talking difficult.
Boil and bite: These can also be bought at many sport stores and may fit better than stock mouth protectors. You first soften them in water, then insert them and allow them to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
Custom-fitted: Protectors that are specially made for you by your dentist are more expensive but are likely to fit better than one you buy off the shelf.
Choosing to wear the right mouth protector can help you avoid serious long-term damage to your teeth and mouth.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dry mouth is a common problem that can harm your teeth

If your saliva flow is reduced, this can cause dry mouth which often leads to increased tooth and gum problems.
Dry mouth known as xerostomia – is a common problem especially among older adults. Its caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
The common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
When there is not enough saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, there is a risk of extensive tooth decay.
If you are at risk from this condition, your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture.
For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
As dry mouth is a potential side effect of many prescribed and over-the-counter medications it is a very common problem.
These medications can include antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinsons disease medications, antidepressants and many others.
Fortunately there are many simple solutions available to reduce the risk to your oral health caused by dry mouth so talk to your dentist if you are on any kind of medication or you feel you may be at risk from this issue.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The risks of oral piercing

Young people today choose to make a variety of fashion statements affecting not just the clothes they wear but also their bodies through tattoos and piercing, for example.
Oral piercing may be something they feel looks good but it can lead to problems where they end up needing medical or dental treatment.
Oral piercing can often lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow and injuries to the gum tissue.
There can be severe bleeding if a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing.
Swelling of the tongue is also a common side effect and, in extreme cases, this can block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties.
Other possible problems include chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning or even blood clots.
Infection is a very common complication of oral piercing because of the millions of bacteria in your mouth.
Of course, the jewelry itself also causes risk. It can be swallowed or cause damage to your teeth.
So, while young people may feel piercings in the mouth look cool, a great smile will look a lot better in the years to come.