Dental treatment can be costly but prevention is always the least expensive. Prevention is also less demanding on your time and emotions. The key to this is good oral hygiene.
The good news is that dental diseases are mostly preventable. With this in mind a clear understanding of the disease processes is the first step you need to take to reduce unnecessary dental expense. In our experience, most people have issues with the cost of dentistry but those who choose a high level of dental health are very pleased with the lasting benefits they get. The old saying, “do it right the first time”, really works in dentistry.
Decay is still one of the most prevalant diseases known to man. The good news is that decay is preventable. Your diet, home care and preventive dentistry all play a part in keeping your teeth strong and healthy for the whole of your life. While the degree to which each of these three factors has a varying influence on each individual it is important to know which are most relevant for you. We like to diagnose the level of your decay rate and work on curing the causes before starting treatment. It just doesn’t make economic sense to keep having more and more fillings to patch your teeth, or eventually loose them, when you can prevent decay.
Diet plays a key role in dental decay. Sugars plus bacterial plaque, “Bugs”, eat the sugars that we eat and turn it into acid that dissolves away the calcium in our teeth. Once there is a pit, fissure, small hole or roughness on teeth that cannot be cleaned by a brush or floss, other bacteria take up residence and the process accelerates. The development of these decays can be quite quick but usually take many years to get close enough to the nerve to become noticeable. In many instances where a person has been unaware of decay until it is starting to hurt to find at an examination that the tooth is hollow and difficult to save.
Some predisposing factors found besides sugar and sweets are diet drinks, chewable vitamin C tablets, gastric reflux, sports supplements and even some fruits. The acid and sugar content of some of our foods and drinks can be quite a surprise. Some home treatments may be applicable. These can protect your teeth and in some cases heal the initial decays.
Correct home care is your best defence against dental disease. Removal of the bacterial plaque by brushing and flossing is essential to dental health. Correct brushing and flossing is quite difficult until the correct habits are formed. Having a clear knowledge of how it is best to clean your teeth is best taught on an individual basis as areas you need to concentrate on are not always obvious until you have had a comprehensive examination. Some people need extra help where a special toothpaste or mouthwash may be needed. Click here for brushing and flossing instructions.
Modern preventive dentistry has made some recent advances. The traditional method of waiting until a decay becomes “big enough” to drill a hole big enough to hold a silver filling have been overtaken by early interceptive micro-dentistry techniques. These include new decay detection methods and new stronger white filling materials.
Use a soft bristle brush with a “pea size” amount of tooth paste. Place the brush half on the gum and half on the teeth where the teeth and gum join. Use slow, circular motions only, no fast scrubbing. If another person can hear you brushing you are usually scrubbing. Scrubbing can cause damage to the teeth that can be costly to repair.
Electric tooth brushes: Use only as directed by your dentist. Wendouree Dental only recommend sonic electric toothbrushes as they do not scrub like the small, round, spinning ones. Avoid heavy grit tooth paste. Ask your dentist if you are unaware.
A waxed floss is recommended for use. PTFE (Teflon) coated floss or tape can be useful while learning but it is better to master the correct technique to make this simple, fast and effective. To date, there are no effective flossing substitutes. The dentist may recommend interdental brushing aids for specific sites but these never replace the need to floss first. Ask the dentist for special instruction if you have limited dexterity such as severe arthritis.
Scale and Clean
It is sometimes difficult to be a perfect brusher and flosser all the time and the small amounts of plaque (bacteria) that is left behind can be calcified onto your teeth by saliva. The calcified bacteria is called tartar, calculus, build up, and/or deposits, and can be unsightly. The main problem with calculus is that the body can react to this, as it would a splinter, or other foreign body. The foreign body reaction in your mouth is similar to the rest of the body, however there is usually no pain associated with calculus.
If good oral hygiene is not practiced, gum disease can progress which can potentially lead to tooth loss.
Another oral health related problem that can result from poor oral hygiene is halitosis, commonly known as bad breath. At Wendouree Dental in Ballarat we have many treatment options and diagnostic tools to manage bad breath, find out more.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene or to book an appointment, please contact the Wendouree Dental team on 03 5339 3770