Posts for: August, 2015
Professional basketball player Lamar Odom is sometimes known as “the candyman” because of his notorious fondness for sweets. But when his sweet tooth finally caught up with him — in the form of a mouthful of decayed teeth — the six-foot-ten-inch, 230-pound hoops star admitted that he had been avoiding treatment… because he was afraid of going to the dentist!
It took two Kardashians (Khloe and Kim) and a painful toothache to finally persuade Odom to sit in the chair. Once he did, it was found that he needed a root canal, a wisdom tooth extraction, and several fillings. Yet the fretful forward sailed through the whole set of procedures in a single visit, and walked out with a big smile afterward. How did his dentists make that happen?
Put it down to the “magic” of sedation dentistry. With anxiety-relieving medications that can be delivered orally (in pill form or by gas) or intravenously (into the bloodstream), the techniques of sedation dentistry can help even the most fearful patients get the dental care they need. That’s good news for about 50 percent of the population, who admit they’re at least somewhat afraid of the dentist — and even better for the 15 percent who avoid dental care completely due to their fear.
Dentists have a number of ways to ease apprehensive patients through a dental visit. An oral anti-anxiety drug can be given in pill form about an hour beforehand. Nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”), which is administered by a mask placed over the mouth or nose, may also be used to relieve anxiety. The calming effects of these medications help make any nervousness melt away — and in many circumstances, mild sedation is all that’s needed to ease the fear.
For lengthier or more complex procedures, intravenous (IV) sedation may be recommended. Unlike deeper (unconscious) sedation, IV sedation doesn’t cause “sleep.” Instead, it puts you in a comfortable semi-awake state, where you can still breathe on your own and respond to stimuli… but without feeling any anxiety. And when the procedure is over, you probably won’t have any memory of it at all.
IV sedation can be administered by dentists who are specially trained and equipped with the proper safety equipment. While sedation is being provided, you will be monitored at all times by a dedicated staff member; when it’s over, you will rest for a while as the medication quickly wears off. Then (as is the case with oral sedation), you’ll need another person to give you a ride home.
Does sedation dentistry really work? Lamar Odom thinks so. “I feel so much better,” he said when his 7-hour procedure was over. “I feel like I accomplished something.”
If you've already had braces to correct your tooth alignment, but your teeth have shifted back out of place, chances are that you don't want to visit your Prior Lake dentist to get braces once again. The good news is you probably don't have to. Whether your teeth have shifted slightly, significantly or not at all, Invisalign may be just what you need to keep your teeth exactly where they belong.
Here are three reasons you might want to consider visiting Michael Babcock, DDS or Tom Morgan, DDS at Babcock & Morgan Family Dental for Invisalign after you've already had braces.
1. Invisalign Can Correct Relapses
If you've neglected to wear your retainer and your teeth have shifted, Invisalign can move them back where they belong. In fact, Invisalign is designed specifically for the type of minor adjustments that often need to be made once teeth begin shifting out of place.
2. It Can Also Prevent Relapses
If your teeth haven't yet shifted or if you've corrected the shifting and you'd like to keep it corrected, Invisalign can help with that too. Because Invisalign covers your entire tooth, it does an excellent job holding your teeth exactly where they are supposed to be.
3. Invisalign is Practically Invisible
One of the main reasons why Prior Lake residents love the Invisalign aligners they get from their dentists is because, unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners are practically invisible. Wear them to work, school, on a date or in a meeting; no one has to know but you.
Of course, Invisalign isn't right for everyone. If you grind your teeth, can't commit to wearing your aligners for the recommended time, frequently forget where you left your aligners or need the most cost-effective option possible, Invisalign aligners may not be the right choice for you. Only your dentist at Babcock & Morgan Family Dental in Prior Lake can help you decide for sure, however.
You've already spent several months and hundreds or even thousands of dollars to correct your tooth alignment. Don't let that time and money go to waste. Speak to your dentist at Babcock & Morgan Family Dental in Prior Lake to find out if Invisalign aligners are right for you.
Brushing and flossing are foundational to good oral health and an essential part of daily life. Practicing both these habits removes most disease-causing bacterial plaque from tooth and gum surfaces.
It doesn’t take much to manually perform them — a quality soft-bristle toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and string floss. But what if you have a physical impairment that makes performing these tasks difficult to perform — or your mouth condition requires a little more “power” to adequately access and clean surfaces?
You do have power options for both brushing and flossing. Electric toothbrushes, of course, have been available since the 1950s. As with other technology, they’ve improved in quality and affordability over the last few decades. They’re available in various sizes, rechargeable or battery, and each with their own claims of cleaning ability.
The ultimate question, though, is: are they as effective at removing plaque as manual brushing? That’s been the subject of a number of comprehensive studies, including one conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, a research organization. They evaluated a number of powered toothbrushes over various lengths of time. They concluded that some powered toothbrushes with a rotation-oscillation action had a statistically significant (though modest) reduction in plaque compared with manual toothbrushes.
As to flossing, admittedly it does take some dexterity to accomplish effectively. Traditional string flossing is also difficult if not impossible for people with braces or similar access restrictions to the teeth. An oral irrigator (or water flosser) is a viable alternative. Water flossers work by pulsating water at high pressure through special tips at the end of a handheld or countertop device. The pressurized stream penetrates between teeth and below the gums to flush away plaque.
Are water flossers effective? According to one recent study orthodontic patients were able to remove up to five times the plaque between teeth as those who used only a manual toothbrush.
When considering alternatives to your manual toothbrush or string floss, speak with us first. We’ll be happy to guide you toward the best form of brushing and flossing to do the most good in your situation.