Posts for: May, 2015
Over the last century dentistry has acquired the knowledge, techniques and treatments to prevent or minimize tooth decay. With this enhanced knowledge we’ve amassed a wealth of data about what increases dental disease development and what prevents it.
This has produced a balanced approach to identifying and treating disease-causing factors and incorporating factors that inhibit tooth decay. Known as Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), this approach first identifies each patient’s individual set of risk factors for dental disease and then develops a customized prevention and treatment plan to minimize their risk.
Rather than simply reacting to occurrences of tooth decay — “drill and fill” — CAMBRA anticipates and targets your susceptibility to decay. The primary factors can be represented by the acronym BAD: Bad bacteria, particular strains that produce acid, which at high levels erode enamel and expose the teeth to infection; Absence of saliva, or “dry mouth,” an insufficient flow of saliva that can’t effectively neutralize acid and restore mineral content to enamel; and Dietary habits too heavy in sugar or acid, which can result in bacterial growth and enamel erosion.
With an accurate picture of your particular risk level we can then apply countering factors from the other side of the balance — those that protect teeth from decay. In this case, we use the acronym SAFE: stimulating Saliva flow when needed or applying Sealants on chewing surfaces most susceptible to decay; Antimicrobials that reduce unhealthy bacteria levels and give healthy bacteria an opportunity to thrive; incorporating Fluoride, a chemical known to strengthen enamel, through hygiene products or direct application to the teeth; and an Effective diet, low in sugar and acid and high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
There are a number of preventive and treatment measures that fall into each of the four preventive factors. Using the CAMBRA approach we can develop a treatment and prevention plan that incorporates measures that uniquely fit your dental health situation. With such a plan we can greatly reduce your risk of disease development and impact and better ensure a long and healthy life for your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on managing dental disease prevention, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
The health of your teeth and gums is important to you. However, past dental and medical procedures have made you fearful of going to the dentist. You are not alone in this frame of mind. Many individuals avoid getting the care their teeth need because of:
- sensitive teeth
- inability to sit still for extended periods of time
If you have been putting off dental work, sedation dentistry may be your solution. Your Prior Lake, Minnesota dentists can take away the worry and anxiety by administering various levels of medication perfect for you and the procedures you need.
Here's how sedation dentistry works.
First, the dentist does a complete oral exam. He then discusses what concerns you about dental procedures. The dentist will review your current medications and medical history. It's important to give the dentist complete information, including any vitamins or herbal supplements taken on a regular basis. Then, together you will determine what level of relaxation is right for you.
Levels of sedation
Dentists who offer sedation have specialized training to administer it. Some dental practices even employ anesthesiologists dedicated to selecting, giving and monitoring the drugs which relieve pain and relax the patient.
Levels of sedation include:
- topical or local anesthetics which typically are injected to numb the area of the mouth to be worked on
- minimal sedation such as nitrous oxide or laughing gas, administered via mask, which allows the patient to be awake but relaxed, and even somewhat euphoric, during the procedure
- moderate sedation in the form of pills such as Valium, Vistaril or Versed or intravenous medication through a needle in the arm
- deep sedation or general anesthesia which renders the individual unconscious
Local anesthetics and nitrous oxide work well for many people, especially if the dental work is under 2 hours in length and relatively uncomplicated. The medication simply wears off, leaving the patient with no side effects.
With deeper kinds of sedation, the patient is carefully monitored for level of pain and consciousness. During the procedure, the dentist can adjust the amount of medication according to need. Vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse and respirations are watched, and the patient must be driven home from the appointment if moderate or deep sedation is used. These medications are best for patients who are extremely nervous or who have numerous and complicated procedures.
Babcock & Morgan Family Dental
Doctors Michael Babcock and Tom Morgan want their patients to be as comfortable as possible during their dental appointments. As such, they offer different kinds of dental sedation. They can help you decide what kind is right for you.
Contact their friendly and compassionate staff at their Prior Lake, Minnesota offices today. Call (952) 447-4611 to see Dr. Babcock or Dr. Morgan. They can make your dental visit a stress-free experience.
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”