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Dental Health and Oral Hygiene

Stopping Tooth Decay

Looking in the mirror and realizing that there might be a problem with your teeth can be a frightening experience. Some are forced to wonder if there is serious mouth pain their future, or if their friends and colleagues will notice a flaw in their teeth.

A healthy smile is an important possession, which is why it’s important to recognize tooth decay early. As soon as you recognize these signs, see your South Jordan dentist in Utah as soon as possible.

The whole reason for brushing and flossing is to keep damaging bacteria in your mouth at bay. This bacteria, combined with food, creates acid that can eat away the tooth’s protective layers, leading to pain (toothaches), infection and even losing teeth.

We hear the word “plaque” a lot when talking about teeth. Plaque contains the bacteria that can damage your teeth, which is why we try and get rid of the plaque. And of course it is a constant battle. There is always bacteria in the mouth, and we need consistent brushing and flossing to make sure we win the battle and the war.

In addition to brushing and flossing, the body produces its own fighting force. Minerals in our saliva, like calcium and phosphate, help the enamel of our teeth repair itself. We are always losing and gaining minerals.

If we look carefully, we may be able to see spots on our teeth where the enamel has begun to lose the mineral battle, meaning that the enamel is losing some of its protective power. A white spot may appear.

Dental checkups and cleanings are important because your South Jordan dentist can recognize these problems in the enamel. If caught soon enough, the decay is actually reversible, or at least it can be stopped. If the decay isn’t stopped, a cavity will form, and the dentist will most likely correct the problem with a filling.

The hidden cost of Braces for South Jordan kids

I was still wet behind the ears from dental school when I saw a teenager at our old Riverton office.  He was in braces, but he was not taking care of his teeth.  He had food stuck in his braces everywhere and his enamel around his brackets was turning white. If I knew then what I know now I would have asked his orthodontist to take off his braces until his home care improved.  That teenager is now in his twenties and at last count we have done 14 fillings due to cavities that started while he was in braces.

I mention South Jordan kids here because those are the kids I see on a daily basis along with kids from West Jordan, Riverton and Herriman, but I suppose kids all over are at the same risk when they take on orthodontics.  Teenagers are already at a higher risk for cavities, but teenagers in braces face an even tougher challenge.  Flossing with a floss threader between every tooth is tedious and time consuming.  Brushing is much less effective with so many places for food and plaque to hide.  Consequently, there is is hidden cost to braces if measures are not taken to care for teeth while undergoing orthodontics and those costs can last a lifetime.

So what can you do to keep your or your child’s teeth healthy while in braces?  First of all, parents need to play a role in checking their child’s teeth after they brush until they are convinced that adequate cleaning is taking place. If unsure ask your orthodontist, or better yet ask their assistant. Watch for enamel turning white around the brackets or gum line. Second, utilize technology.  High end ultrasonic toothbrushes are worth every penny.  Water Pik or Air Flosser by Sonicare can make flossing so much easier which increases compliance.  Disclosing tablets can help your child see if they are cleaning adequately as they will stain any plaque left behind.  Oral B even makes a toothbrush that works like a Fit Bit which shares with a smart phone through a bluetooth connection the quantity and quality of each brushing event.

Braces are a great investment that your child will thank you for throughout their life.  Care needs to be taken though that one isn’t compromising healthy teeth while aligning them.  Carefully taking care of teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment can provide both a beautiful AND healthy smile.

Emergency Dentist Frequently Asked Questions

There is no emergency room for dental emergencies. Although most dental emergencies are not life threatening they can cause incredible pain and inconvenience. I am happy to talk to anyone with a dental emergency when I am available with no strings attached. The easiest way to contact me is to text me at 801-915-5661.The most common type of dental emergency is a toothache, which is discussed below, but first lets go over two types of true dental emergencies where time is of the essence.First, lets discuss a tooth that has been knocked out or avulsed. If this occurs try to put the tooth back in the socket without cleaning it aggressively and get to a dentist ASAP. There are cells on a tooth that are useful to reattachement and we don’t want to clean those off. Gently rinse debris off of the tooth and put it back in the socket. If it won’t go back in the socket put in the patients mouth if (if they are old enough and conscious) until you get to the dentist. We don’t want the tooth to dry out. Milk is third option.

 The second type of true dental emergency is swelling from a dental infection that is growing rapidly and moving toward the airway.  If the swelling is under the under the chin and moving toward the neck don’t wait it out.  Get to a dentist, urgent care center or emergency room to address the tooth, the infection and treatment with antibiotics.

Most dental emergencies involve a toothache or a broken tooth. So what can you do to prevent and treat dental emergencies?  Below are a few tips for avoiding a dental emergency.

Prevention

  • Get regular checkups
  • Treat little problems before they become big problems
  • Wear a mouthguard whenever contact with your teeth could occur
  • Have a dentist.  If you have a toothache you are much more likely to be seen quickly or at inconvenient times if you are a “patient of record.”

I have a dental emergency, what can I do?

  • Taking ibuprofen as well acetaminophen as directed can alleviate pain as well as narcotic pain medications.
  • Cold water or ice can help soothe teeth that are dying but not quite dead yet.