Oral Hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean.
Oral hygiene is a means of preventing cavities (dental caries), gingivitis, periodontitis, bad breath (halitosis), and other dental disorders. When we talk about oral hygiene, we mean both the personal and professional
First, here's what you should know !
Dental plaque is a biofilm (usually of a clear color) that builds up on the teeth. If not removed regularly, it can lead to dental cavities (caries) or periodontal problems (such as gingivitis).
The bacteria present in dental plaque are all naturally present in the oral cavity, and are normally harmless. However, failure to remove plaque by regular toothbrushing means that they are allowed to build up in a thick layer. Those microorganisms produce acids which consequently lead to demineralization of the adjacent tooth surface, and dental caries. Plaque build up can also become mineralized and form calculus.
The frequency of brushing and flossing with good technique is very important, as is the use of fluoridated mouthwash, and regular dental check-ups during which professional dental cleaning is performed.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums (gingivae) around the teeth. Gingivitis may be caused by a build up of plaque and tartar due to improper cleaning of teeth, or by injury to the gums from over-vigorous brushing and/or flossing. The condition is generally reversible. Brushing teeth thoroughly, but gently, with toothpaste and flossing with dental floss are the best ways to prevent gingivitis.
The symptoms of gingivitis are as follows:
- Swollen gums
- Mouth sores
- Bright-red, or purple gums
- Shiny gums
- Gums that are painless, except when pressure is applied
- Gums that bleed easily, even with gentle brushing
- Gums that itch with varying degrees of severity
- Receding gumline
Gingivitis is usually caused by bacterial plaque that accumulates in the spaces between the gums and the teeth and in calculus (tartar) that forms on the teeth. This bacteria produces damaging byproducts that cause gingival swelling and inflammation. This inflammation can, over the years, cause deep pockets between the teeth and gums and loss of bone around teeth otherwise known as Periodontitis.
The sudden onset of gingivitis in a normal, healthy person should be considered an alert to the possibility of an underlying viral aetiology, although most systemically healthy individuals have gingivitis in some area of their mouth, usually due to inadequate brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis can be prevented through regular oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing. It is also recommended that your dentist be seen after the signs of gingivitis appear. The dentist will check for the symptoms of gingivitis, and may also examine the amount of plaque in the oral cavity, and will perform a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums; following this, persistent oral hygiene is necessary. The dentist may also test for periodontitis using X-rays or gingival probing as well as other methods.
The removal of plaque is usually not painful, and the inflammation of the gums should be gone between one and two weeks. Oral hygiene including proper brushing and flossing is required to prevent the recurrence of gingivitis. Anti-bacterial rinses or mouthwash, in particular Chlorhexidine digluconate 0.2% solution, may reduce the swelling and local mouth gels which are usually antiseptic and anaesthetic can also help.
So, what can you do to maintain proper oral hygiene ?
Brushing & Flossing
Careful and frequent brushing with a toothbrush and flossing help to prevent or reduce build-up of plaque and calculus which is believed to lead to cavities and gum disease.
Special appliances or tools may be recommended to supplement (but not to replace) toothbrushing and flossing.
Your dentist can instruct you and demonstrate to you the proper brushing and flossing techniques. Just ask !
Regular Professional Dental Cleaning
Regular cleaning by your dentist is recommended to remove tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult for a patient to reach on his own at home. Professional cleaning includes scaling and polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated.
Visit Your Dentist Twice A Year..
Your dentist plays a crucial role in the prevention of gum disease. Although some people experience bleeding gums, loose teeth, or bad breath when they have gum disease, for others, gum disease is often "silent". This means they may not experience any pain or other symptoms until significant damage has occurred!
During routine checkups, your dentist can detect gum disease early and remove tartar build up. Early intervention can effectively treat gum disease, protecting your health.
Most dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months. More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during the treatment of many of the dental/oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least once a year. This may include annual selected dental X-rays.
However, in between professional cleanings , everyone must have good oral hygiene to support the professional care.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Properly
Brushing and flossing are two of the most crucial elements for attacking bad breath. Bad breath is caused by bacteria which live on our teeth and gums. These bacteria feast on food particles left on our teeth creating volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). These sulfur compounds give breath its foul odor.
Brushing and flossing remove bacteria and the food bacteria feast on so that they can no longer create volatile sulfur compounds. Unfortunately, many people do not brush long enough to remove bacteria from their teeth. It takes 2-3 minutes to brush all tooth surfaces yet most people spend less than a minute brushing their teeth.
Worse yet, few people take the time to floss allowing odor producing bacteria to grow rampantly in the spaces between your teeth. Brushing without flossing is like washing only 70% of your body when you bathe - the other 30% remains dirty !
Clean Your Tongue !
While brushing and flossing are crucial first steps, brushing and flossing do not always eliminate bad breath. This is because odor causing bacteria hide deep within the crevices of the tongue.
Ironically, many of these bacteria are anaerobic meaning they can not live in oxygen. How do these bacteria live in the mouth then ? They live safe from oxygen under a protective layer of mucous, food particles and proteins .
Cleaning your tongue with a tongue cleaner can remove this layer and much of the bacteria which resides on your tongue. Remember to clean near the back of the tongue where most of the bacteria resides but be careful not to gag yourself.
Drink Plenty of Water
A dry mouth represents the ideal home for odor causing bacteria which flourish in this type of environment. Saliva normally keeps the mouth moist. Additionally, saliva helps wash away the food particles bacteria feed on and dissolves odorous volatile sulfur compounds. Actions which dry the mouth or reduce saliva flow can increase bad breath odor. These include:
* The use of prescription medications including antihistamines and decongestants
* Excessive talking
* Drinking alcohol or using mouthwashes containing a high amount of alcohol
By drinking water we stimulate saliva flow, wash away left-over food particles, and moisten the mouth making it less hospitable to odor causing bacteria.
Use Anti-bacterial Mouthwashes
Mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are the latest advance against bad breath. In these mouthwashes the chlorine dioxide directly attacks the volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath.
Conventional mouthwashes at best only temporarily mask bad breath odor. At worst, conventional mouthwashes can make the situation worse by drying out the mouth making it more hospitable to odor producing bacteria.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum !
If you can't brush after a meal or snack consider chewing sugarless gum. This chewing action helps cleanse the teeth and stimulates the flow of saliva. Saliva in turn further helps to cleanse the mouth and dissolves odorous volatile sulfur compounds. Make sure, however, to use gum which does not contain sugar .
Check for Signs of Gingivitis and Other Dental Problems
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and ligaments which support the teeth. Periodontal disease creates new hiding spots in the gums for odor causing bacteria. Signs that you may have periodontal disease include:
* Red or swollen gums
* Loose teeth
* Sensitive teeth
* Pus coming from around the teeth
* Pain on chewing
* Tender gums
* Bleeding gums.
When dentists treat periodontal disease they can eliminate the bad breath associated with it.
and finally remember..
..Have A Dental Check-up At Least Once A Year..
Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Dentistry is a discipline within dentistry in which the primary focus is the modification of appearance of a patient's oral cavity and surrounding structures, in order to improve or enhance the existing aesthetic appearance of the teeth, smile and face overall.
Through cosmetic dentistry, the appearance of the mouth can be altered to more closely match the patient's subjective concept of what is visually pleasing.
Common cosmetic dental procedures today include:
Whitening, or "bleaching", which is probably the most commonly prescribed cosmetic dental procedure. While many whitening options are now available, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth.
Enamel shaping is another simple procedure where the dentist removes parts of the contouring enamel to improve the appearance of a tooth or group of teeth. It may be used to correct a very small chip. The removed enamel is irreplaceable. It is also known as Reshaping,Slenderizing, and Enamel Stripping.
Bonding is an option for chipped or cracked teeth. It is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth's surface, sculpted into shape, hardened, and then polished. Veneers, ultra-thin, custom-made laminates that are directly bonded to the teeth, are an increasingly popular procedure. They are an option for closing gaps and disguising discolored teeth that did not respond well to whitening procedures.
Porcelain/Metal (PFM) Crowns and Metal-free, Ceramic crowns are used in cases where other procedures will not be effective. Crowns have the longest life expectancy of all cosmetic restorations, but are more time consuming, and require long-term maintenance.
Veneers are are thin pieces of porcelain or ceramic material cemented over the front of your teeth to change the color or shape of your teeth. Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces or are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced or crooked. They require little or no anesthesia. Veneers can be used to treat some of the same problems as bonding. There are specific indications when choosing veneers over other aesthetic options. Your dentist should explain the Pros and Cons of any procedure intended before beginning actual work.
Porcelain veneers require more than one visit because they are fabricated in a laboratory. Veneers have a longer life expectancy and color stability than bonding.
Tooth Whitening (Bleaching)
Bleaching is a common and popular chemical process used to whiten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while other just want a whiter shade. Unlike whitening toothpastes that remove stains to reveal the underlying whiteness of teeth, bleaching agents do actually make teeth whiter.
Discoloration occurs in the enamel and can be caused by medication, coffee, tea and cigarettes. Discoloration also can be caused by your genetic make-up or simply getting older! Bleaching can be performed by your dentist in the office or, under dental supervision, at home. Many patients enjoy bleaching at home because it is more convenient. Treatment begins when your dentist creates a custom mouthpiece to ensure the correct amount of whitening solution-10 percent to 20 percent carbamide peroxide-is used and that your teeth are properly exposed. Typically, whitening at home can take up to 1-2 weeks, but often only a few days, depending on the original shade of your teeth, and the desired shade that needs to be achieved.
An increasing number of patients today are opting for quick, in-office bleaching. Whitening in the office may call for one or more (30-45 minute) visits to your dentist's office.
A major side-effect of tooth bleaching is the increased tooth sensitivity immediately following the procedure. Usually this subsides within a few days. There is some evidence to suggest that " in-office" bleaching may produce more tooth sensitivity in certain patients, however, with the continued improvement in the quality of bleaching materials, equipment, and techniques, these side-effect should be kept to a minimum. In general, bleaching is a safe, relatively-inexpensive, and effective cosmetic treatment.
However, while tooth bleaching creates white smiles, people are sometimes disappointed with the results. The reason for this is that they have unrealistic expectations ! Many expect their teeth to be as white as Copy Paper after the procedure. Even at their whitest, however, your teeth can not approach this degree of whiteness. Teeth that look like this would appear very unnatural !
Overall, you need to be aware of TWO main issues when bleaching your teeth:
1. Some people have tooth colored fillings in their teeth that match their yellow teeth before the bleaching. After the bleaching, the teeth whiten but the fillings stay the same color. Consequently, these fillings will need to be replaced at an extra cost after the bleaching is completed. Additionally, crowns or porcelain restorations in conspicuous areas will not lighten from bleaching and may not match the shade of your newly bleached teeth.
2. Another word of caution - those people with sensitive teeth or with gum disease should avoid bleaching procedures. Some people can even experience considerable discomfort when bleaching sensitive teeth or when applying bleaching agent to gums damaged by gum disease !
At SDOC, we provide both methods of Tooth whitening (Home Bleaching and in-office bleaching), using well-known and certified bleaching systems such as Opalescence (UltraDent) and the new ZOOM! Advanced Power (Discus Dental) , according to our patients' needs.
Your dentist can advise you on the best approach to bleaching your teeth, after a thorough examination of your condition.
Which procedure is right for you?
Dr Maya Qatami Samawi handles all cosmetic cases and enquiries here at SDOC. Kindly call us at 0096265523031 and we will be happy to arrange for you a consultation appointment with Dr Maya to answer all the questions you may have about the procedures, maintenance and cost, to help you choose the treatment that best suits your needs.
At SDOC, we provide specialized Implant treatment and management through our highly-qualified and experienced prosthodontist, utilizing only the very best in Implant dentistry technology and materials.
Straumann ITI is our Implant system of choice due to its high quality, versatility and long-standing expertise in the field of dental implants in the past four decades.
In this section, you will find a list of some frequently asked questions about childhood orthodontic treatment.
You can also download our Introductory Patient Pack (PDF)
What is Preventive Orthodontic Treatment?
Preventive orthodontic treatment is intended to keep a malocclusion (“bad bite” or crooked teeth) from developing in an otherwise normal mouth. The goal is to provide adequate space for permanent teeth to come in. Treatment may require a space maintainer to hold space for a primary (baby) tooth lost too early, or removal of primary teeth that do not come out on their own so to create room for permanent teeth.
What is Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?
Interceptive orthodontic treatment is performed for problems that, if left untreated, could lead to the development of more serious dental problems over time. The goal is to reduce the severity of a developing problem and eliminate the cause. The length of later comprehensive orthodontic treatment may be reduced. Examples of this kind of orthodontic treatment may include correction of thumb- and finger-sucking habits; guiding permanent teeth into desired positions through tooth removal or tooth size adjustment; or gaining or holding space for permanent teeth. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can take place when patients have primary teeth or mixed dentition (baby and permanent teeth). A patient may require more than one phase of interceptive orthodontic treatment.
What is Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?
Comprehensive orthodontic treatment is undertaken for problems that involve alignment of the teeth, how the jaws function and how the top and bottom teeth fit together. The goal of comprehensive orthodontic treatment is to correct the identified problem and restore the occlusion (the bite) to its optimum. Treatment can begin while patients have primary teeth, when they have a mix of primary and permanent teeth, or when all permanent teeth are in. Treatment may consist of one or more phases, depending on the nature of the problem being corrected and the goals for treatment.
Orthodontic care may be coordinated with other types of dental treatment that may include oral surgery (tooth extractions or jaw surgery), periodontal (gum) care and restorative (fillings, crowns, bridges, tooth size enhancement, implants) dental care. When finished with comprehensive treatment, the patient must wear retainers to keep teeth in their new positions.
What is a "Space Maintainer"?
Baby molar teeth, also known as primary molar teeth, hold needed space for permanent teeth that will come in later. When a baby molar tooth is lost, an orthodontic device with a fixed wire is usually put between teeth to hold the space for the permanent tooth.
Why Do "Baby Teeth" Sometimes Need to Be Removed?
Removing baby teeth may be necessary to allow severely crowded permanent teeth to come in at a normal time in a reasonably normal location. If the teeth are severely crowded, it may be that some unerupted permanent teeth (usually the canine teeth) will either remain impacted (teeth that should come in, but do not), or come in to a highly undesirable position. To allow severely crowded teeth to move on their own into much more desirable positions, sequential removal of baby teeth and permanent teeth (usually first premolars) can dramatically improve a severe crowding problem. This sequential extraction of teeth, called serial extraction, is typically followed by comprehensive orthodontic treatment after eruption of permanent teeth has brought about as much improvement as it can on its own.
After all the permanent teeth have come in, the extraction of selected permanent teeth may be necessary to correct crowding or to make space for necessary tooth movement to correct a bite problem. Proper extraction of teeth during orthodontic treatment should leave the patient with both excellent function and a pleasing look.
How Can A Child's Growth Affect Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other. A common orthodontic problem to treat is protrusion of the upper front teeth. Quite often this problem is due in part to the lower jaw being shorter than the upper jaw. Upper teeth may also be the primary cause of the protrusion if they stick out too far. While the upper and lower jaws are growing, orthodontic appliances can be beneficial in reducing these discrepancies. A severe jaw growth discrepancy may require orthodontics and corrective surgery after jaw growth has been completed, although this is rare.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7 so that growth-related problems may be identified and so that treatment can be commenced at the appropriate time for each patient.
What Orthodontic Appliances Are Typically Used to Reduce The Severity of Jaw-growth Problems?
A process of dentofacial orthopedics (guiding the growth of the face and jaws) with orthodontic appliances may be used to correct jaw-growth problems. The decision about when and which appliances to use for this type of correction is based on each individual patient's problem. Some of the more common orthopedic appliances include:
* Headgear: This appliance applies pressure to the upper teeth and upper jaw to guide the direction of upper jaw growth and tooth eruption. The headgear may be removed by the patient and is usually worn 10 to 12 hours per day.
* Fixed functional appliance: The appliance is usually fixed (glued) to the upper and lower molar teeth and may not be removed by the patient. By holding the lower jaw forward, it reduces the protrusion of the teeth while the patient is growing and helps bring the teeth together. The appliance can help correct severe protrusion of the upper teeth.
* Removable functional appliance: This removable appliance holds the lower jaw forward and guides eruption of the teeth into a more desirable bite while helping the upper and lower jaws to grow in proportion to each other. Patient compliance in wearing this appliance is essential for successful improvement; the appliance cannot work unless the patient wears it.
* Palatal Expansion Appliance: A child’s upper jaw may be too narrow for the upper teeth to fit properly with the lower teeth (a crossbite). When this occurs, a palatal expansion appliance can be fixed to the upper back teeth. This appliance can markedly expand the width of the upper jaw. For some patients, a wider jaw may prevent the need for extraction of permanent teeth.
Can My Child Play Sports While Wearing Braces?
Yes. But wearing a protective mouth guard is advised while riding a bike, skating, or playing any contact sports, whether organized sports or a neighborhood game. Your orthodontist can recommend a specific mouth guard.
Will Braces Interfere With Playing Musical Instruments?
Playing wind or brass instruments, such as the trumpet, will clearly require some adaptation to braces. With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of musical instruments.
Why Does Orthodontic Treatment Time Sometimes Last Longer Than Anticipated?
Estimates of treatment time can only be that - estimates!.
Patients grow at different rates and will respond in their own ways to orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist has specific treatment goals in mind, and will usually continue treatment until these goals are achieved. Patient cooperation, however, is the single best predictor of staying on time with treatment. Patients who cooperate by wearing rubber bands, headgear or other needed appliances as directed, while taking care not to damage appliances, will most often lead to on-time and excellent treatment results.
How Important is "Patient Cooperation" During Treatment?
Good “patient cooperation” means that the patient not only follows the orthodontist’s instructions on wearing appliances as prescribed and tending to oral hygiene and diet, but is also an active partner in orthodontic treatment.
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient MUST carefully clean his or her teeth, wear rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed by the orthodontist, avoid foods that might damage braces and keep appointments as scheduled.
Damaged appliances can lengthen the treatment time and may undesirably affect the outcome of treatment. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their desired positions if the patient consistently wears the forces to the teeth, such as rubber bands, as prescribed.
To keep teeth and gums healthy, regular visits to the family dentist must continue during orthodontic treatment.
What is a Retainer ?
A retainer is an appliance (usually removable) that is supposed to be worn after your orthodontist removes your braces. When braces are removed, the teeth have a tendency to want to return back to their original positions. Retainers can minimize, and often prevent this from happening.
Most upper retainers are made of wire and hard plastic (Hawley-type retainer), or clear vaccum-formed (Essix retainers) and fit in the roof of your mouth. A lower retainer can be removable or permanently cemented to the lower teeth so that it doesn’t come out. Your orthodontist will decide how often they should be worn.
When your braces come off, it is very tempting not to wear your retainers! however, to keep your teeth from shifting and avoiding having to wear braces again, it is crucial to wear your retainers as often as your orthodontist tells you.
What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment simply means that the treatment is carried out in two stages. The first is the interceptive orthodontic phase (see above) and the second is the comprehensive orthodontic phase (see above).
Some of My Children’s Friends Have Already Started Treatment, But Our Orthodontist Says My Child Should Wait A While. Why?
Each treatment plan is specific for that child and his/her specific problem. In some cases, children mature early (e.g.: get their permanent teeth early) and in some cases early treatment is indicated to prevent a more severe problem from occurring. Your orthodontist is the best person to decide the most optimum treatment plan. If you have questions, you should discuss them with your orthodontist.
My Child Has An Allergy to Nickel. Can he Still Have Orthodontic Treatment ?
Yes, there are appliances available which are nickel-free. Please tell your orthodontist if your child has any allergies.
Adapted & Proofed from AAO & other sources.
If you have a tooth whose internal structures are damaged, you may benefit from root canal therapy. Also called endodontics, root canal therapy can restore your tooth to its state of health by treating the damaged part of your tooth.
If you have a choice, it's always best to keep your natural teeth !
The inflammation and infection spread down the root canal, often causing sensitivity to hot or cold foods, throbbing, aching, or pain when you chew. Pain may be prolonged or constant.
Because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy.
Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. This is all done under local anesthesia. Contrary to popular myth a root canal is causes very little discomfort!
More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. However, sometimes a case needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed or the fracturing of a canal filing instrument used, both of which rarely occur. Very occasionally, a root canal therapy will fail altogether, marked by a return of pain. In such a case, a re-treatment could be indicated.
So You've Got Braces Now..
Now that you have had your braces fitted, it's more important than ever to maintain your teeth and gums perfectly clean and healthy till the end of your treatment, and hopefully, long after !
The key to healthy teeth and gums is proper Plaque removal every day. Plaque is the sticky, invisible film of bacteria constantly forming on your teeth. If left to build up, it will cause tooth decay (cavities), discoloration and gum disease !
How to clean all areas of your mouth when having "braces"..
At first, doing a good job of removing plaque from your teeth and along the gum-line may seem difficult with braces; KEEP AT IT!.. With the proper instructions and a bit of practice it will get much easier!
Here is what you need to do:
1. Remove any elastics, Headgear or removable parts form your mouth before you start cleaning.
2. Place the special Ortho V-brush at 45 degrees angle to the gum-line and brush back and forth with gentle pressure.
3. Clean ALL surfaces of your teeth: inside-out, top and bottom.
4. Finally, use your special round-tipped orthodontic toothbrush to clean around each and every tooth and bracket, and under the wires. Take extra care not to break or damage any wires or brackets.
5. After properly cleaning your teeth, gums and braces, it is good practice to use a fluoride mouth-rinse at least once daily, preferably at night before going to bed. This can help reduce the chance of cavities.
If You Have A Removable Appliance..
Remove the appliance out of your mouth, brush and clean your teeth first, then use a dedicated soft toothbrush to clean your appliance inside-out using gentle pressure, and finally rinse it under cold running water before wearing it again. NEVER USE HOT WATER TO CLEAN YOUR REMOVABLE APPLIANCE!
YOU SHOULD PERFORM THESE STEPS AFTER EVERY MEAL OR SUGARY DRINK!
Anything Else I Can Do ?
Yes !.. adults in particular are advised to use special dental floss (Super Floss) to clean underneath the archwires and in-between teeth. This special floss is the same one used to clean under fixed porcelain bridges and can usually be found at most pharmacies.
Specially-designed spiral-twin brushes can further help in cleaning around orthodontic brackets and archwires, and in between spaced teeth.
Avoid HARD, STICKY & CHEWY foods & sweets, as well as FIZZY & SUGARY drinks during treatment.
They can seriously damage your braces, cause cavities & gum disease, and cause permanent discoloration of your teeth !
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