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What You Should Be Asking to Find the Best Dental Handpiece Repair Service

Dental handpieces are the bread and butter of any dental office.

 

Imagine a violinist without a violin or a painter without a paintbrush. That is what dental handpieces are to dentists and hygienists.

 

Without them, a dentist couldn’t fully function safely and easily.

 

Every dentist has their own personal preferences to which handpieces they use. The speed, and size and just overall feel of the equipment allows us to feel comfortable in delivering the best possible experience and quality for any patient.

 

But like most things, everyday use can wear down the machinery. Handpieces are investments and so their repairs shouldn’t be brushed aside.

 

What should you ask when your handpieces are wearing down and it’s time to get them repaired?

 

1. Do All Repairs Come With A Warranty? 

 

Handpieces are investments to your overall business. You need a guarantee that it will work.

 

The tools you use in your office, are extensions of yourself and your business. If something goes wrong because of a faulty repair, you’re liable for that patient’s safety.

 

A warranty is a silent indicator that the company is confident in their services to ensure your tools with a failsafe. Not only that but if something does happen, you’re covered.

 

Typically, the average repair service warranty is 3-6 months, depending on the handpiece and the type of repair. You’ll want a company that carries out quality repairs with a guarantee that it will work well.

 

If a repair service lacks a warranty, it’s probably best to avoid their services. They may have an inexpensive price tag, but you’ll get what you pay for. There’s a reason they are cheap.

 

Imagine yourself bringing your car in to get new brakes on your car. The technician says they’ll be covered under warranty for the next year. This is a necessary investment to ensure that you’ll be safe on the road, not only to those around you but also yourself.

 

Handpiece repair warranties are similar to car warranties. They are necessary investments to perform your daily tasks safely.

 

2. What Kind Of Parts Are Being Used?

 

Like we said before, handpieces are investments to the success of your business.

 

The last thing you’ll ever want is to replace your high-quality handpiece parts with cheap, poor quality parts. You wouldn’t replace violin strings with yarn, so why would you expect anything less than high-quality parts for every repair?

 

Sadly, if you end up with poor quality parts in your tools, not only is it not going to last as long but it may also damage your tools beyond repair.

 

One of the best things you can do is find out what others recommend. Personal recommendations are huge because they know how the product actually turned out.

 

No one should ever take expensive equipment to someone they don’t know!

 

3. Does The Company Provide High-Quality Customer Service?

 

You need someone who will give you the best experience possible.

 

What does that look like? Someone that honours the promises they make. If they are charging you for a quick turnaround, they make sure they are delivering their work on time.

 

If you don’t get a good feeling around them, or your personalities clash, then don’t entrust them with your repairs.

 

Some of the best repair services are the ones that let you speak directly with one that’s handling your equipment. They have the knowledge on what needs to be done.

 

An indication of a good repair company is if they offer you a free no obligation quote. You need someone to tell you if your tools are just beyond repair. Someone who won’t waste your time trying to fix something that can’t be.

 

Giving you an estimate or advice, means that you can trust their knowledge and they have your best interest in mind.

 

Extending the lifespan of your handpieces can allow you to save money. But you need someone who will tell you like it is, when things are beyond repair. Talk to us about our handpieces and how we can help you!

 

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Struggling with a Difficult Patient? Here’s How to Manage 4 Difficult Dental Patients

In any business, there are customers that we like and customers that test our patience. The same goes for the patients that visit the dentist’s office.

 

And sometimes, it’s hard to handle them so that they have the best experience and you can do your job.

 

Here are 4 types of patients that can be difficult and how to manage them.

 

 

1. The Google Expert 

 

We all know that one patient.

 

They know all the latest and greatest medical news and can’t wait to share with the dental hygienist. Instead of giving them a cleaning, we’re bombarded with questions that have taken four years of dentistry school to learn.

 

“Why didn’t you use this treatment?’

 

“Shouldn’t you be doing this?”

 

It can be exhausting.

 

It’s wonderful that the patient is enthusiastic about getting involved with the process, but it can hinder dental hygienists’ trying to do their job and sometimes even be harmful to the patient.

 

So, what’s the best course of action?

 

Be firm with the patient and confident in your own education. It’s important to make sure that they know we have their best interest in mind and that we are a much better resource than anything they can find on the web. 

 

2. The Late Comer

 

It’s 3:50. Their appointment was at 3:30. At this point, we’re assuming they just aren’t coming.

 

That’s when they stroll on in. The only thing more frustrating than that is if it happens on the regular.

 

Lateness has a domino effect. Regardless if all the next patients are on time, there’s no way to get back that 20 minutes. The worst part is making other patients wait just because someone has chronic tardiness. It isn’t good for anyone.

 

The best way to manage lateness is to incorporate a late policy. And stick to it.

 

Anyone that is more than 15-20 minutes late to their appointment, cannot be seen that day and will have to reschedule.

 

Generally, patients will respect the set appointment time and it will reduce the amount of late arrivers.

 

3. The Nervous Patient 

 

Dental anxiety is no joke. Nearly 1 in 5 patients have some degree of dental anxiety.

 

As dental hygienists, no one wants to see a patient cringe and tense as we recline the chair or pull back their cheeks. But no matter what we try to do to calm them, nothing works.

 

Sometimes, their discomfort and tension can radiate onto us, making us nervous too.

 

The best advice is to stay calm yourself. This is much easier said than done but often times what you put out into the world you get back in return.

 

It may be beneficial to open up the floor to a discussion about what is causing the anxiety and how we, as hygienists, can ease that discomfort. By knowing what makes them the most worried, you can avoid or minimize that factor.

 

In extreme cases, the patient may need to consult their doctor for anti-anxiety medication to take before appointments.

 

4. The Chatty Cathy 

 

You love them, but at the same time they can be quite frustrating.

 

These are the types that will get to know you, ask about the kids or about upcoming vacations. They are often the sweetest patients you’ll get!

 

As much as they make the workday go by faster, they can eat into the appointment through their conversations and suddenly we’re behind schedule!

 

It can be challenging when managing a Chatty Cathy because we don’t want to be rude in any way but we also have to get the job done on time. But like any skill, managing chatty patients comes with time and experience.

 

Focus the conversations towards the beginning and end of the appointment as well as during the period of time before the patient is seen by the doctor. These time zones are optimal for conversations because they don’t interrupt your job but also give the patient a chance to socialize.

 

Not only that but it will also build a better relationship with the patient!

 

While these four types of difficult patients can pose a challenge, there’s nothing we, as dental hygienists, can’t handle.

 

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Dental Hypersensitivity Treatment and Prevention Tips

 

You’re happily enjoying your favorite ice cream when suddenly you are met with a sharp pain in your mouth. If you have found yourself in this unpleasant situation, you could be suffering from dental hypersensitivity.

 

Dental or dentin hypersensitivity is a common, painful condition in which exposed dentinal surfaces produce sharp pain when exposed to air or hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks.

 

It can affect any age group however is slightly more common in women and seems to peak between the ages of 20 and 40. Though temporary, the pain can become chronic with acute episodes. It can affect a single tooth or a variety of tooth surfaces, most often the canines and premolars of both arches.

 

Cause of Dental Hypersensitivity

Under normal conditions, the underlying layer of the tooth immediately surrounding the nerve is covered by tooth enamel and gums. Over time, the enamel layer can grow thinner and the gums recede, exposing the dentin surface. Any conditions wherein the dentin are exposed can lead to hypersensitivity.

 

Risk factors for developing dental hypersensitivity include:

  • Gingival recission due to periodontal disease
  • Gingivitis (inflamed and sore gums)
  • Dental caries
  • Cracked teeth
  • Acidic diet
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Bleaching
  • Extreme toothbrushing
  • Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Plaque build-up
  • Dental procedures (dentin sensitivity can increase after professional cleaning or tooth restoration procedures)
  • Teeth grinding

Treatment for Dental Hypersensitivity

Many people with dental hypersensitivity avoid dental treatment. This is not advised, as visiting a dentist can help rule out the underlying causes of your tooth pain.

 

Your dentist can determine the root cause of your tooth sensitivity and will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment to ease your discomfort and worsening of your condition. Different treatments for managing dentine hypersensitivity may be tried and modified based on the results.

 

Your dentist may recommend any of the following treatments:

 

  1. Desensitizing toothpaste: This toothpaste is available over-the-counter and can sometimes block pain after several applications. Your dentist can recommend the product which is best for you.
  2. Fluoride: Your dentist might apply fluoride to your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. or may also prescribe a fluoride that you can apply at home.
  3. Desensitizing or bonding: Exposed root surfaces may also be treated by applying bonding resin to the gum surfaces.
  4. Surgical gum graft: A small amount of gum tissue can be removed from another part of your mouth to replace any missing gum tissue, to reduce its sensitivity.
  5. Root canal: If no other method is proving to be successful in treating tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend a root canal, known to be the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

Prevention

Good dental care and oral hygiene are important for prevention and reoccurrence of dental hypersensitivity. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristle brush and gentle strokes. When drinking acidic liquids, such as citrus juice, coffee or wine, drink water to balance the acidic levels in your mouth.

 

Your dental self-care routine should include regular flossing followed with teeth brushing to prevent plaque build-up which can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.  Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush.

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The Causes and Treatments of Receding Gums

 

 

Your oral health indicates your general wellness. It can be startling if you notice you have receding gums.

 

Receding gums can be painful, but they are also treatable.

 

But what is it and how can we treat it?

 

What Is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession, or gum recession, is the process for which gum tissue surrounding the teeth is slowly worn away or pulled back. This then exposes the tooth or even the root of the tooth.

 

When this occurs, gaps form between the gum line and the teeth. These “pockets” allow for disease-causing bacteria to build up easily within the mouth.

 

Gum recession is a very common problem for many dental patients. And because it is a subtle build-up, most people don’t even notice they have it!

 

Early signs are typically the following:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth appears longer than normal
  • A “notch” is felt near the gum line

 

Leaving gum recession untreated can result is severe damage to the supporting gum tissue and bone structure. The teeth themselves can be damaged then, which can result in tooth loss.

 

Causes of Gum Recession

There are many typical habits people do every day that can be causes of gum recession. Treatment, in turn, is often dependent on the cause.

 

Aggressive Brushing or Flossing

Ever heard the saying, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”? This applies to brushing and flossing as well.

 

Gum tissue is a very soft and sensitive material.

 

The enthusiasm for oral health care is great, and many people lack such a thing, but in moderation. The Journal of Periodontology has done a study on aggressive brushing and hard toothbrushes. They found that hard brushing leads to more recession of the gums.

 

To summarize: it’s important to use a soft toothbrush and to brush not scrub your teeth. Brushing isn’t supposed to be painful!

 

Abnormal Positioning or Crooked Teeth

Misalignment of teeth can cause overlapping of teeth or gaps between.

 

When teeth aren’t coming together evenly, the force placed on the gums and the bone structure of the teeth can cause recession.

 

Similarly, lip or tongue piercings can have the same effect. The rubbing from eating or talking that is caused from the metal can irritate the tissue eventually wearing down the gum line.

 

Grinding Teeth

Do you notice that you wake up with a headache? This is a sign of grinding teeth in your sleep.

 

Grinding your teeth can not only cause gum recession but also can be the cause of many maladies. So, it’s important to talk to your doctor when you notice it!

 

While it can be the cause of many things, it is easily treatable with a mouth guard or several other options.

 

Genetics

Your genetics determines a lot about your health and body. And that includes your mouth.

 

30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of care.

 

The characteristics about your gum tissue is determined by your genetics. If one or both of your parents have gingival recession, you are more susceptible to getting it too.

 

Poor Oral Health

With poor oral health, you are at risk for many bacteria including periodontal disease.

 

Gum infections like periodontal disease, wreck gum tissue and the supporting bone structure. Actually, gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.

 

Treatment for Gum Recession

Gum recession in mild cases is very treatable!

 

When you catch gum recession early, it means you likely won’t need professional treatment. Though you might not need professional care, it’s important to have your dentist identify and instruct you accordingly on treating it.

 

Simple steps like evaluating your flossing habits or using a different toothbrush can help.

 

But if you have a more serious case of gum recession there are a variety of treatments to support you. Depending on the severity and cause, you may need surgical treatment.

 

Your dentist will decide the best course of action for you. This would include determining how you could benefit from scaling and root planing.

 

Your oral health is extremely important, since your mouth is a good indication of your overall wellness. Contact your dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

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How Your Oral Cavity Links to Other Health Conditions

 

Your mouth says a lot.

 

And no, we don’t mean like Chatty Cathy next door does.

 

Your oral health is more important than you might think. It can indicate and give clues about your overall health.

 

Problems you have in your oral cavity can actually affect the rest of your body in many ways.

 

Learn about how your oral cavity links to other health conditions and your general health.

 

From Oral Health to Overall Health

 

Our mouths can contain more than 6 billion bacteria. In other words, it’s packed with bacteria.

 

Though some of this is good bacteria and actually helps prevent disease, some can cause serious illness. Think about it this way: you mouth is a gateway to the digestion and respiratory regions of your body for intrusive bacteria to infiltrate.

 

Now the body’s natural defenses paired with a good oral health routine, keeps bacteria in check. But without daily brushing and flossing, the bacteria can become infectious. This can result to gum disease, tooth loss and eventual tooth decay.

 

Severe gum disease called periodontitis has been linked to several diseases including esophageal cancer, according to a decade long study.

 

But it goes both ways too. What you put into your body is just as important. Your nutrition and diet is known to be a sign and cause of enamel erosion.

 

One thing that some people don’t always consider is the importance of saliva. Saliva is the main method of washing away food and neutralizing the oral cavity of acids while also protecting microbes that can lead to disease.

 

Medications such as antihistamines, painkillers and antidepressants can sometimes reduce the flow of saliva. This in turn prevents the saliva from removing the harmful bacteria.

 

Conditions That Can be Linked to Oral Health

 

So what specific conditions can be linked to the health of your oral cavity?

 

Well your oral health can contribute to the following conditions:

 

  • Endocarditis

    This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers. When bacteria from another part of your body, such as your mouth, enters your bloodstream, eventually reaching the heart and attaches to areas within your heart. Typically, the areas that the bacteria attaches to are damaged already.

    Without treatment quickly, endocarditis can lead to life-threatening complications as it damages and even destroys the valves of your heart.

  • Cardiovascular disease

    Cardiovascular disease often is referring to the chamber of the heart that becomes narrowed or blocked blood vessels. This can lead to chest pain, stroke or a heart attack.

    It is not understood why or how cardiovascular disease is connected to oral health but research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke could be linked to the inflammation caused by oral bacteria

  • Pregnancy complications

    Your hormones undergo a lot of change throughout the pregnancy, making you more at risk for gum and bone disease.

    Not only that but periodontitis has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth.

  • Pneumonia

    Pneumonia is a very serious infection found in one or both of the lungs. It is caused by bacteria that enters into the lungs that causes inflammation in the air sacs within your lungs called the alveoli. Breathing is difficult because the alveoli fill with fluid.

The bacteria that enters through the mouth can be breathed into the lungs and cause pneumonia.

 

Conditions that might affect your oral health include:

  • Diabetes

    Gum disease is found more often and more severely in those who have diabetes. Diabetes reduces the resistance your body has towards infections which also means your gums are at risk.

  • HIV/AIDS

    It is common for people with HIV/AIDS to have pain within the mouth such as mucosal lesions and other oral problems.

  • Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a bone disease that results in weakened bones that are brittle and break easily. Depending on the severity, bones may break from a fall or from as little as sneezing.

From an oral standpoint, this would affect the bone structure of your mouth as well. Periodontal bone loss and tooth loss as well as damage to the bones of the jaw are common with severe cases.

 

Some other conditions linked to oral health includes eating disorders, arthritis, certain cancers and Sjogren’s syndrome.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

We’ll start with your oral health.

 

It’s important to take care of your oral health because it’s linked to so many other parts of the body and can have some serious effects.

 

Practice good oral hygiene! But what does that look like?

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it's important to contact your dentist or health care professional as soon as possible.

 

When you invest time and care into your oral health, your overall health benefits too.

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Dental Office Waste Poses a Public Health and Ecological Risk

The dental community is made up of healthcare professionals that care about the environment and with that goal in mind, dental office waste management has become an important aspect of the modern dental practice.

 

The waste that dental offices generate while delivering dental care includes a variety of materials that present a potential challenge to the environment. Dental practitioners are responsible for proper disposal methods of these materials to ensure both the public’s safety and minimize their effect on the environment.

 

Examples of such waste items include:

  • Dental amalgam containing mercury,
  • Silver,
  • Lead,
  • Biomedical office waste including spent x-ray processing solutions, disinfectants, cotton, plastic, latex, and glass which may be contaminated with bodily fluids and sharps including lancets, needles, and syringes, and
  • General office waste.

Amalgam

Dental amalgam is a safe, durable, long-lasting, cost-effective material that has been used as a filling material for more than 150 years. Amalgam contains mercury, which is a toxic and bioaccumlative material, continuing to accumulate in living organisms, thereby posing a threat to plants, animals and humans should it enter the water system. Left uncontained, mercury has the potential to enter our food web, harming birds and fish.

 

Amalgam that is replaced or removed generates mercury-containing waste when amalgam particles are vacuumed from the mouth. These particles must be effectively collected and maintained. To this end, many dental practitioners have chair-side filtration devices that collect larger particles of dental amalgam removed via suction. Amalgam separators are devices designed to filter finer amalgam particles from the wastewater to reduce the amount of amalgam entering the sewage system.

 

There are standards and regulations in place in Ontario associated with the quality of the dental practice and amalgam waste disposal. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario establishes and maintains a standard of practice under the regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, and the Dentistry Act, 1991.

 

Silver

Silver is another heavy metal that can be found in dental amalgam. It also occurs as silver thiosulfate in radiographic fixer, a solution used in the processing of dental radiographs (x-rays). The used fixer must not be washed down the drain. Dentists can install in-house recovery units that recover the silver for reuse.

 

Another common waste product from the dental office is unused film, since they contain unreacted silver that can be toxic in the environment.

 

Incorporating digital imaging as a replacement means to obtain dental radiographs reduces the amount of silver waste generated by the dental office.

 

Lead

Lead shields that are contained in each film packet used in traditional radiography are another waste product of the dental industry. Lead, like mercury and silver, is toxic to the environment and accumulates in the environment. These lead packets need to be collected and returned periodically to the supplier for recycling.

 

Biomedical Office Waste

Biomedical waste is one of the many types of waste regulated by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Biomedical waste includes any materials capable of causing disease such as blood-soaked gauze, tissues, and syringes.

 

General Office Waste

Dental offices can also minimize the effect of waste accumulation in the environment by implementing best practices such as:

  • Purchasing products with minimal packaging
  • Use of reusable plastic containers
  • Use of products made from recycled or partly recycled materials
  • Use of energy-efficient office lighting
  • Conscientious use of paper in the dental office for printing and use of both sides of a sheet of paper

By implementing best practices in the collection and disposal of dental office waste, a dental office can successfully minimize and substantially reduce the effects of dental waste on the environment.

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6 Reasons Why Privately Practicing Dentists Aren't Going Anywhere

There are many corporate-style dental practices cropping up, and plenty of advantages to being part of a large-scale dental service. But despite many smaller practices being scooped up, you can rest assured that privately practicing dentists aren’t going anywhere!

 

Why?

 

There is a lot to gain by remaining small! The freedoms that come with your own practice can benefit staff and dental patients alike.

 

1. Customer Service and Individualized Patient Care

Private dental practice has roots in the community. The smaller the practice, the more opportunities to create and maintain meaningful relationships with your dental patients. These connections are priceless and a huge advantage over corporate chatbots and AI customer service interaction.

 

While a corporation may push for quotas, introductory offers, and discounts ruled by their budgets, often at the patient’s expense—a privately practicing dentist will always be looking out for their patients’ best interests.

 

2. Human Resources

Having a solid, experienced team you can trust is key to delivering quality dental care. You have to rely on your team and be able to collaborate well in order to be successful.

 

As a practicing dentist running your own clinic, you have the ability to make any personnel changes you feel are necessary. It’ll be your responsibility to hire whomever you want to get a good group of team members that click together. You’ll have the freedom to implement your own policies, health benefits, bonus structure, and training programs.

 

3. Management

Nothing is more frustrating than having management make decisions that ultimately affect your patient’s care. As an employee of a large corporation, you would need to abide by the company’s rules, whether that means replacing your personal assistant or backing one brand of supplier exclusively over another.

 

However, the freedoms of owning a private dental practice do come at a price. There is all the hiring and firing, scheduling, insurance filing, accounts receivable, and other management decisions that go into running a business. To accomplish these tasks, you can hire an office manager that you feel is the most knowledgeable and who’s thinking is in line with your own.

 

4. Marketing

Being the master of your own marketing campaign offers huge rewards. You may be up against some large established dental corporations that have huge marketing machines, but you also have the freedom to share your own unique story. As a private practitioner, you can choose how to market yourself and stand out from the crowd.

 

5. Third-Party Vendors

The quality of dentistry you can provide is not always determined by skill alone. Dentistry skills rely on hardware, software, and a variety of consumables used to deliver high-quality dental care.

 

Running your own practice allows you to choose your own vendors by price and quality of service. It allows you to try out new cutting-edge techniques, equipment, and strategies. Additionally, you would not be constrained to a specific theory of dentistry and limited to only the techniques and treatment plans that the practice selects.

 

6. Your Goals as Privately Practicing Dentist

You’ve worked and studied hard to become a dentist. Becoming a cog in a large corporate dentistry wheel may not be your idea of success in your field. Starting your day with morning meetings reviewing financial metrics over delivering quality individualized dental care may not be in line with your goals.

 

As a privately practicing dentist, your focus is on making sure each patient receives the individualized care that they need, from taking the time to discuss brushing techniques to an after-hours dental emergency.

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Periodontal Disease May be Linked to Esophageal Cancer According to this Decade-long Study

Esophageal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide – eighth to be exact. Not only that but it is also the sixth most common cancer caused deaths.

 

Only 15-20% of all patients survive in 5 years.

 

Dr. Jiyoung Ahn is an associate professor and associate director for population science and the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Center at New York University. She conducted a study, lasting a decade, that was focused on how oral bacteria can lead to periodontal disease and increase a patient’s chance of developing esophageal cancer.

 

What is Esophageal Cancer?

The esophagus is the long hollow tube within the body that connects the throat and mouth to the stomach.

 

Esophageal cancer is 3 times more likely to be found in men than women.

 

Esophageal cancer develops from malignant cells that form inside the esophagus, typically becoming a large tumor or mass that continues to grow.

 

There are two major types of esophageal cancer that develops in different ways and areas.

  1. Squamous cell carcinoma – cancer is formed inside the lining of the esophagus in thin flat cell. Usually it is found in the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
  2. Adenocarcinoma – within the glandular tissue is where a tumor forms. Typically, it forms in the lower section of the esophagus, near the stomach.

Those who have esophageal cancer may experience the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Pain behind breastbone or throat region

The reason it has such a low survival rate is because it is caught in the late stages. When it is too far along. If left untreated, it can eventually spread to nearby organs such as lymph nodes, stomach, liver and lungs.

 

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease. It stems from gingivitis, or inflammation of the gingival.

 

Healthy gums should be pale pink and tightly fitted around your teeth. With periodontal disease your gums become swollen or puffy, bleed when brushing or flossing and the gums are receding.

 

This occurs because of trapped bacteria under patient’s gums causes irritation. When plaque builds up to tartar, it requires professional care to remove.

 

While gingivitis is reversible, advanced periodontal disease is not. It leads to tooth decay and tooth loss.

 

With the leading cause of periodontal disease being poor oral health, make sure you have good oral habits. This includes brushing twice and flossing daily and regular dental checkups.

 

Dr. Ahn's Study

This study was based on prior research on how periodontal disease was associated with cancers in the mouth, head and neck. The study was primarily based specifically on the oral microbiota found as a result of periodontal disease.

 

Dr. Ahn’s goal was to identify whether the oral microbiota increased the chances of developing either adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma later.

 

The study was conducted using 122 000 different samples from patients who participated in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition and the Nation Cancer Institute Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screen Trial.

 

Dr. Ahn found that after a decade, 106 patients developed esophageal cancer. They extracted their oral DNA and compared to the previous test.

 

Certain types of bacteria were linked to higher rates of esophageal cancer. Porphyromonas gingivalis connected to squamous cell carcinoma and Tannerella forsythia caused a higher risk of adenocarcinoma.

 

Both of these bacteria are linked to periodontal disease.

 

However, there was an interesting discovery regarding other types of bacteria. Several bacteria actually helped lower the chances of patients being diagnosed in the future.

 

Dr Ahn hopes to conduct more research in the future. She believes that learning more about the different bacteria will allow doctors to identify the disease predictively. It will help diagnose patients earlier and prevent the later stages of the cancer from occurring.

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How Dental Professionals Can Help Patients With Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. It belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) which occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract.

 

The disease causes inflammation all along the GI tract, from the mouth to the digestive organs. Although there is no cure, dental professionals can help patients manage the oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease through medications, supplements and oral hygiene care.

 

How Crohn’s Disease Affects the Oral Cavity

Patients can experience several oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease. Some are directly related to the disease itself, while others are side effects of medications they take to manage the disease.

 

Common oral manifestations include:

  • Aphthous Ulcers: a condition marked by the formation of benign and non-contagious mouth ulcers (aphthae) in otherwise healthy individuals.
  • Xerostomia: also known as dry mouth, this occurs when the salivary glands in the oral cavity don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth can increase the risk of dental caries, secondary decay and halitosis.
  • Erythema: when the gingival tissue appears irritated with localized redness.
  • Gingivitis: a type of periodontal disease caused by bacteria in the gum tissue.
  • Cobblestone appearance: when buccal mucosa has multiple bumps lining the tissue.
  • Oral Granulomatosis: swelling of the orofacial area. This is not a common reaction.

Not every case of Crohn’s will present in the same way. Each patient will require different treatment.

 

Although experts still don’t fully understand the relationship between Crohn’s disease and its impact on oral healthful, the connection is likely due to large amounts of inflammation.

 

Role of Oral Care in Managing Crohn’s Disease

There are several different forms of treatment for the oral manifestations of Crohn’s disease. Doctors typically prescribe a topical steroid, hydrocortisone ointments, vitamin supplements such as Vitamin B12, Calcium or Folate, recommend dry mouth products, and increased oral hygiene care.

 

Dentists and registered dental hygienists can provide hygiene instruction to patients with Crohn’s disease based on the individual’s needs and symptoms.

 

  • If periodontal issues are involved, we recommend the use of interdental brushes based on embrasure space size. The patient can then begin mouth washing daily and regular brushing  twice a day
  • If the patient is suffering from dry mouth, we recommend a dry mouth product. Fluoride varnish treatment and mouth product, fluoride varnish treatment and mouthwash to help increase saliva production and maximize enamel remineralization.
  • Baking soda-based toothpaste is another product we recommend for patients with a plaque and tartar control, have high caries risk, and low saliva production.
  • Research shows that diet and nutrition also play a huge role in flare-ups of Crohn’s disease.  
  • In addition, dental professionals can provide fluoride rinses, at-home trays, and fluoride varnish treatments for root caries prevention.

Crohn’s disease can be treated in a variety of ways. However, there is no cure for the disease. There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed, but at times, the side effects of these medications have their own risk factors.

 

Most people who take medication to help control Crohn’s disease typically end up needing surgery to help with symptoms.

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7 Questions to Ask if Your Dental Office is Up to Current Standards

Standards are crucial to maintain the quality of the dental office and the dental profession. They help gain and maintain trust of the patients.

 

Do you know if your office is up to code?

 

Here are 7 questions to consider, ensuring your hygiene department is up to the current standards.

 

1. Are you viewed as “just a cleaning”?

Patients that tend to postpone regular checkups lack the preventative care that dentists can provide. Without regular cleanings, patients return months later with cavities, gum disease and pain.

 

The expense of dental cleanings is an important one to make. Cleanings every 6 months may seem like a lot (especially without insurance) but they are necessary. It prevents more expensive and invasive treatments once a disease takes hold.

 

An example of this is the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis. Gingivitis is easily treatable if identified early on by a hygienist. However, if it is left untreated can lead to irreversible periodontitis.

 

Periodontitis can lead to:

  • Tooth loss
  • Decreased nutritional intake
  • Serious disease within your body

During regular appointments dental hygienists identify any areas of potential disease, provide thorough cleanings and advise for at-home care and techniques.

 

2. Do all your practitioners understand oral health affects overall wellness?

Proper care to your body, like nutrition, is equally important for patients oral health.

 

This is because your body is full of bacteria, typically the bacteria is harmless. Your natural defenses and good oral health can keep these bacteria under control.

 

Without that care is when bacteria can get out of control. This can lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Studies can show that there are connections to internal diseases and oral hygiene. Known internal diseases include:

  • Endocarditis – This typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from other places in your body, such as the mouth develops. That bacteria then spreads through the bloodstream and into damaged areas of the heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease – heart disease, clogged arteries and strokes could be linked to inflammations and infections caused by oral bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and birth – Premature birth and low birth weight and periodontitis has been found to be correlated.

3. Are all oral evaluations with measurements comprehensively documented?

Whenever a dental practice is performed, it should be documented.

 

There are guidelines specifically designed to help practitioners meet the legal requirements for dental record keeping.

 

The following are basic record keeping information from the official RCDSO:

  • Accurate general patient information
  • A medical and dental history that is periodically updated
  • Accurate description of the conditions that are present on initial examinations (this includes entries such as “within normal limits” where appropriate)
  • Record of significant findings of all supporting diagnostic aids, tests and referrals like radiographs, study models, and reports
  • Diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Notation that informed consent was obtained from the patient
  • Description of all treatment that is provided, materials and drugs used and, if appropriate, the outcome of treatment
  • Accurate financial records

4. Do adult patients receive periodontal exams annually?

Comprehensive periodontal evaluations (CPE) are ways to assess patient’s periodontal health. It examines teeth, plaque, gums, bite, bone structure and any risk factors.

 

With yearly oral health assessments, both patients and dental professionals will know how healthy the patient’s mouth is. They will be able to notice any conditions like periodontal disease that have developed and in need of treatment.

 

5. Are there clear diagnostic distinctions between health, disease and maintenance oral health status?

If a patient has an active disease, is the hygiene department clear on case types of early, moderate and advanced conditions?

 

Everyone’s definition of something may be different.

 

As practitioners, we must make a point to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page. This will allow the documentation clearer to everyone and other members can easily pick up where it was left off.

 

6. Is there proper communication with the patients?

There are several important questions that will help initiate and maintain good communications with patients.

 

Is the hygiene team communicating with every patient the status of their supporting structures of bone and gums that hold their teeth in place?

  • What patient education tools, technology and visuals are being used to make sure the patient understands their status?
  • Do patients understand why they need the periodontal care and frequency regardless of how many sessions they have covered or what insurance pays?
  • Does the practice perform root planning, scaling and home care guidelines for patients with active disease?
  • Are patients with disease returning for their revaluation to assess their healing and success of gum therapy?

Proper communications are key for patients to understand what is happening to them.

 

Patients that receive good communications with their hygienist value the care provided. They can then place a degree of trust in the dentists for the success of treatment in the future.

 

7. Do your hygienists use intraoral cameras on all patients?

Intraoral cameras are one of the most important and useful tools to incorporate within the office.

 

They are tiny cameras that comfortable fit into the mouth and enables the dentist to show patients images of the mouth. This could be of individual teeth or the entire smile.

 

They allow patients to visualize what dentists recommend being done and show details that could easily be missed by standard examinations.

 

Additionally, they help uncover problems before they become serious or irreversible. Intraoral cameras can be crucial for conservation and preventative dental treatment.

 

Do you see any room for improvement in your dental office? Even little things, like making sure your front desk feels welcoming, can make patients feel more at ease.

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