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Brident Dental Blog

My Perio Protect Journey, Part 2
I arrived at the Western Dental office in Hawthorne, California for a dental check-up. Being a new patient and a member of the Western Dental Plan, my exam and x-rays were free of charge. The main purpose of my visit, though, was to begin the Perio Protect program. Dental appointments can give me a twinge of anxiety, but the staff at the office made me feel calm and welcome. The first step of the process was getting a thorough set of digital x-rays from a very friendly and efficient x-ray technician (I was done in about five minutes). They needed those to build my file and to make sure I didn’t have any hidden problems before starting Perio Protect. But all looked good. Next was a teeth cleaning. The hygienist went to work on my teeth, cleaning, polishing and checking the depth of the gum “pockets” around each tooth. Anything over 3 millimeters, she explained, indicated warning signs of possible periodontal disease, or at the least, gingivitis (a milder form of the disease). I checked out ok, except for a few “4’s” around the back molars. Her advice: give extra attention when brushing, and make sure to floss. And Perio Protect was definitely going to help. After a thorough exam by the dentist, a dental assistant prepped the trays used to take impressions of my upper and lower arches. (The impressions would be used to make the customized Perio Protect trays I would need for my home-care routine.) She filled the trays with impression material (kind of like soft Silly Putty), then placed the first tray over my upper teeth and held it in place for a few minutes while the material set. After repeating the process on my lower teeth and rinsing out remnants of the impression material, they had all they needed. My part was done, for now. The office would send the impressions to a lab to make my Perio Protect trays. I’ll be back in a few weeks to pick them up and get started with the program. Can’t wait to reap the benefits!
My Perio Protect Journey, Part 1
Perio Protect is a take-home dental care treatment that prevents gum disease (with the added, long-term benefits of killing bacteria, freshening breath and whitening teeth). A Perio Protect kit consists of two light-weight dental trays made of a soft, pliable material that fit snugly over upper and lower teeth. Each tray is filled with a small amount of Perio Protect gel and worn for 15 minutes each day. The following describes one patient’s experience. Everyone loves the feel of a clean, fresh mouth. So when I heard how Perio Protect could maintain healthy gums and guarantee fresh breath by killing bacteria, I wanted to learn more. Being in the dental business, I was invited to attend a training session for dental hygienists that highlighted how Perio Protect works and the benefits of the treatment. By wearing customized trays filled with a small amount of Perio Protect Gel for 15 minutes each day, powerful medication is delivered deep below the gum line, reaching every possible nook and cranny where bacteria hide and multiply. Its clinical benefit is in the prevention and treatment of gum disease, but Perio Protect also alleviates swollen, sensitive or bleeding gums, maintains fresh breath and restores overall oral health. Over time, the mild concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the gel whitens teeth. Even though I’m meticulous about my oral hygiene, I learned what I was missing with my toothbrush, rinses and floss. I got a lot more detail than I needed, but enough to make me schedule an appointment the next day. I’ll report back after my visit. Stay tuned…
Fear of Dental Visits: Best Methods to Alleviate Anxiety
Most people are a little apprehensive about a visit to the dentist, while others are just downright frightened. People who don’t see a dentist regularly admit that fear is the overriding issue. The fear can be so severe that some individuals will put up with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unsightly teeth, rather than make a dental appointment. 5 Ways to Help Alleviate Fear • Identify your causes of anxiety and phobia. Pain is the major concern. Other concerns include loss of control, feeling of helplessness, embarrassment over condition of teeth and gums, and negative past experiences. • Communicate fears prior to appointment. Before you set an appointment, be vocal about your apprehensions, fears and anxiety. This gives the dentist a way to gauge the situation and create an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists will devise cues and signals. • Use distractions. This helps divert attention during treatment. Try listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball or counting to yourself. Prior to appointment, watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax. • Are sedatives helpful? Sedation can help reduce anxiety and keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Sedatives include nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist which one might work best for you. • Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises can help someone stay calm during treatment. The tactics include breathing, which involves taking a deep breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax the muscles and slow down heart rate.
How braces can deliver more than just a straight smile
When contemplating the merits of orthodontic treatment, prospective patients don’t often look beyond the obvious benefits of an improved bite, straighter teeth, and a higher self-esteem. Braces can correct myriad of oral health issues that, if not treated, can cause bigger problems later in life. And, while other non-traditional forms of orthodontic treatment to improve physical appearance have sprung up over recent years (like online mail-order services or the clear molded trays designed to move teeth), they’re not appropriate for everyone, and they do nothing to address other more serious dental health problems. Crooked and misaligned teeth can contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and possibly gum disease or total tooth loss. In more extreme cases, disfiguring of the face and mouth occurs, affecting the development of the jaw and position of the teeth. That can lead to breathing or swallowing problems which can cause snoring and sleep apnea problems as an adult. Improper occlusion and jaw alignment can also create speech, chewing or biting problems. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints, leading to headaches or face and neck pain. Of course, the typical reasons for braces are to correct a cross bite (one or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth), deep overbites (lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth), under bites or lower jaw protrusion (when the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw) and spacing problems due to missing or extra teeth. While orthodontic treatment is most common for young teens, all ages can benefit from braces, from pre-ortho treatment at age nine or so, to full braces for teens and young adults. And it’s not unheard of for older adults whose teeth may have shifted over the years to undergo treatment to realign their smiles. Though orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum dental health. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children get an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. Many parents take their children to the orthodontist to correct problems arising from issues of early childhood. For example, finger or thumb sucking habits can cause protrusion of the upper incisor teeth and constriction of the upper jaw. Teeth that erupt out of position can also be guided to proper alignment with braces. It’s important to meet with an orthodontist for an evaluation. Many orthodontists provide ortho consultations free of charge. At that point, they can present options, including clear, gold or traditional braces, and discuss financing packages. With all the recent advancements in orthodontics, wearing braces has never been easier or more effective.
What Are “Sealants,” and How Can They Reduce Cavities in Children?
If you’re a parent, you know that getting your child to brush after every meal can be a challenge. Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but your children may have other priorities.   While brushing is important, it’s not always possible to reach every nook and cranny of your teeth, especially back molars where food particles and cavity-causing bacteria can hide. That’s why sealants, a clear, thin protective coating, can be a key treatment in reducing and preventing cavities when applied to teeth.   In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health since, according to a report issued by the Center for Disease Control, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants." (October 2016)   Early intervention is key. Sealants should be applied before teeth have a chance to decay. First molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Applying sealants to new molars can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run.   How sealants are applied. It’s an easy and painless process. Your dentist preps the surface of your tooth by applying a gel to form a strong bond between your tooth and the sealant. Sealant is then ready to be applied into the grooves of your tooth making the surfaces smooth which prevents bacteria-filled plaque from sticking to teeth. Sealants harden and dry to a clear, invisible coating, so your dentists can observe if the sealant is effectively protecting your tooth each time you come in for your appointment.   Sealants will often last for several years. Your dentist can advise if sealants are an option for you and how often you might need to reapply them.
Children's Dental Health is Important - Steps to a Healthy Smile
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents take their child to a pediatric dentist within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday. If that seems early, consider this: Tooth decay is the single most chronic health problem suffered by children and, if left untreated, can destroy the child’s teeth and have a strong, lasting effect on a child’s overall general health. Tooth decay can be caused by bacteria which interacts with carbohydrates in the diet, producing acids that result in mineral loss from teeth. that’s why it’s important to follow these guidelines at an early age:   Wipe infant’s gums with a clean, wet gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. Begin brushing infant’s teeth as soon as first tooth appears twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Parents should use a ‘smear’ of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than two years of age. Twice-daily use has benefits greater than once-daily brushing. Do not nurse or breast feed for prolonged periods. Infants should not be put to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, sugar water, or fruit juice. If an infant falls asleep while feeding, the teeth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed.   As your child gets older, you’ll want to encourage them to drink from a cup by their first birthday. This means moving from the “sippy” cup, which is meant only as a transition from the bottle to a real cup. Be wary of what you put in a sippy cup. Only use water, except maybe during meals. Allowing a child to drink from a sippy cup filled with juice or milk throughout the day continuously bathes the child’s teeth in cavity-causing bacteria.   Dental health habits develop at an early age. Parents should use a dab of toothpaste and perform or supervise a toddler’s toothbrushing. Teach them how to brush, and to spit out – not swallow – the toothpaste. Help them develop good eating habits early on and choose sensible, nutritious snacks.   By being proactive about your child’s teeth will help avoid painful – and potentially costly – dental health problems later.
How to Get the Most from Your Dental Plan
  Going to the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind this holiday season. But while you’re making your to-do list, you might add “make dentist appointment” because December is an ideal time for a visit. Kids are out of school for their holiday break, appointment slots are available, and for many of us, dental plan benefits expire at the end of the year.  That makes getting in to see the dentist a higher priority this month.   If you’re in the middle of dental treatment, it can be important to make that next visit. For example, as patients receiving a dental implant know, there are several steps to receiving your implant. If your last appointment was for bone restoration a few months ago, you may be ready for placement of the implant. Or the doctor may have your permanent crown ready to replace that temporary crown you received a few weeks ago.   Scheduling a cleaning with the hygienist is wise every six months, and more often if you had periodontal care on your last visit. Coming in for an appointment now to continue treatment you’ve started means you can use up deductibles and maximize your plan’s benefits this year.   You may also want to start needed treatment with any remaining benefits you may have this year, and then pick up where you left off with fresh new benefits in January. Many people split care over two year’s benefits this way for best coverage.   Don’t neglect your oral health altogether this holiday season. Squeeze in an hour of your day to see your dentist just one more time before year end.  You’ll know you’re getting the most out of your dental plan, and you’ll feel good about starting off the New Year with a fresh new smile!