Oral Hygiene

Benefit of Routine Examination and Xray Imaging

There are many benefits to routine dental office.  Even though a person does not feel having any dental problems such as pain or swelling, there could be some hidden problems that only dentist can detect.  During routine dental examination, a dentist would take appropriate set of xray images and perform clinical examination on your teeth and surrounding oral structures.  Xray images are able to show areas of teeth that cannot be seen visually.  For example, in this patient we take xray image of her lower right teeth during her routine examination.  We took a full series of xray images which consists of 18 films and this type of xray images are taken on average once every 5 years depending on dental needs of the patient.  And this year it is her time for having this type of xray taken.  So we took a full set, and one of her xray images shows her lower right tooth has a root fracture.

Xray Image shows root fracture.

Xray Image shows root fracture.

 

She has had no previous symptoms and she is not aware of having any problem.  The cause of root fracture might be due to her teeth grinding and clenching habits.  Because of root fracture, we are not able to restore the tooth and the tooth would need to be extracted.  Due to early detection, no real infection or no further damage occurs.  After the extraction, patient would need implant.

 

Routine dental examination can help detect dental problems.  If dental problems left untreated, there are chances of addition risks such as infection, bone loss, and other adverse health effect.  Dentist recommends routine checkup and cleaning at least twice a year or once every 6 months, depending on the needs of patients.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Toothpick Can Cause Severe Damage To Teeth

Toothpick is one of the most earliest ways people use as a dental cleaning tool.  However, if used incorrectly, it may cause severe irreversible damage to teeth.

Toothpick is usually used to clean out food debris in gum in between two adjacent teeth.  Food sometimes would get caught in the gum pocket area.  If we use the toothpick incorrectly, the tip of the toothpick might create mechanical abrasion on the root surface area of the tooth.  Overtime, a hole is created and food again is more likely to get caught in it.  This creates a  cycle of continual food impaction.  Decay is eventually formed.  However, this type of decay is especially hard to treat because its location is almost at the gumline.  And sometimes, the decay can very easily spread very quickly and decay may progress into the nerve at the center of the tooth.

I would suggest to use dental floss, toothbrushes and medicated rinses for daily oral hygiene.  Also I would encourage routine dental visit where dentist can use special instruments to clean out the harded plaque from those hard-to-reach area.

 

 

Toothpick causes damage to teeth

Cavity is formed at the location where the toothpicks were inserted and irreversible damage to the root surface area of the tooth.

 

 

Toothpick Damage Repaired Xray Image

Decay at the root surface area can spread quickly and the tooth becomes painful. To treat, root canal therapy, buildup and crown procedures are necessary to be performed for saving the tooth.

 

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

What is Teeth Cleaning?

This seems like a simple question but if you ask most people whether they know what the dentists are doing during teeth cleaning procedure, they probably may not know the answer.  So let me explain in details what exactly goes on in the professional teeth cleaning procedure.

As we chew on variety of food with our teeth every day, we accumulate plaque and stains.  Plaque are food debris left over on our teeth and around the gum.  Stains are discoloration caused by solubles like soy sauce, coffees and wine.  Unless we brush immediately and thoroughly after each meal, there will be some leftover plaque and stains.  These plaque can slowly be turned into calcified plaque or in professional terms “calculus.”  These calculus contains millions of bacteria which can cause dental infections and tooth decay.  And these calculus cannot be removed by toothbrushing.  It requires professional cleaning.

At the dental office, the dentist would use automatic devices called the ultrasonic scaler to remove these calcified plaque.  The tip of the ultrasonic scaler would vibrate at high-frequencies, and when the dentist make this tip in contact with the calcified plaque, they would help dislodge the calcified plaque from the tooth surface.  The ultrasonic scaler is efficient at removing big pieces of calcified plaque.

Then dentist would follow by using the hand scaler.  These hand scaler are small instrument to scrap off small plaque from the tooth.  Next, the dentist may use floss to remove the remaining miniscule plaque from the gum pockets around the tooth.

The final step is to use the prophy paste to “polish” the tooth.  After the hand scaler, the tooth would have some microscopic scratches.  The prophy paste essentially removes biofilm and polish the surface of the tooth to remove these micro scratches.  By making the teeth more smooth, the bacteria and plaque won’t stick on the teeth as easily.

And whether dentist would follow each of the above steps during the cleaning procedure depends on the amount of plaque and dental condition of the patients.  It is recommended that a person see a dentist for checkup and cleaning at least once every six months.

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Cosmetic Dentist

 

The Importance of Periodic Dental Visit and Examinations

One way to save money is to spend money.  This is contradictory statement but it is perfectly applicable to personal dental heatlh.  Going to dentist for routine checkup can greatly benefit your dental health.   By having periodic examination, dentist can detect small changes in your dental conditions.  Small dental problems such as small cavity are often easy to fix and does not require much expenses.  Also, periodontal diseases are readily manageable if they are detected and treated at its early stages.

I like to tell about this case about a patient who recently come to my office for infection in his gum.  He said he always goes to Taiwan two times per year for dental cleaning.  However, for some reasons, he was not aware that he has severe periodontal disease, especially severe bone loss in his front teeth.  The periodontal abscess is what makes him come to see me.  The severe bone loss demonstrates that he has severe periodontal disease and the prognosis for his teeth are poor.  Those teeth might need to be extracted in order to prevent further bone loss to the adjacent teeth.

Undiagnosed periodontal bone loss

Undiagnosed periodontal bone loss. The teeth would need to be extracted.

Perhaps, if he were able to have periodic dental examinations, his periodontal disease could be more readily treated.  In United States, dentist would perform dental examinations when patient come in for cleaning visit.

It is Possible To Keep All Teeth Over 90 Years Old!

I would like to share my experience as a dentist about the relationship between dental care and a person’s dental health.  Most of the dental problems are preventable.  Often, prevention is the best cure to most dental problems and also is the least expensive ways.

People would often ignore the importance of routine checkup and cleaning dental visits because they feel it is unnecessary and too troublesome to visit dentists two times a year.  They feel it is unnecessary because they don’t have any pain or discomfort and as the result they might forget.  However, routine checkup is a good way for dentist to find small problems like small cavity and fix them before it gets too big.  Dental procedures like checkup exam, cleaning and fillings don’t cost much in comparison to other more complicated procedures like crowns, root canals and bridges.

From my observations, I would generalize that the group of people who has routine dental care would have less severe dental problems than those who only comes to dentist when they have pain or discomfort.  Also, the first group of people would also have less chance to lose their teeth.  I have many patients in their senior age who has maintained most of their teeth and they all are my routine dental patients who come for routine checkup and cleaning visits.  Part of the reasons might be genetic but more importantly, dental care throughout his/her life can greatly improve the dental outcome and helps to maintain teeth even to senior age.

This person is over 90 years old and with routine dental care, he has maintained all his teeth.

This person is over 90 years old and with routine dental care, he has maintained all his teeth.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist

Stannous Fluoride Or Sodium Fluoride in Toothpaste.

There are two major types of fluoride molecules within the toothpaste.  More common form is the sodium fluoride and the other is stannous fluoride.  So which ingredients should you choose and why?

Sodium fluoride is the more common form of fluoirde in toothpaste.  It is known to release fluoride which help strengths the tooth enamel.  It is also better tasting and more cheaply manufactured.

The other stannous fluoride is more preferrred form of fluoride.  In the past, it is not as good tasting and may stain the teeth.  However, with the advance in chemistry, pharmaceutical company is able to make stannous fluoride better tasting and would not stain the tooth.  Stannous fluoride has the advantage to starve off the bacteria because it interferes with bacteria’s metabolic process.  It help decrease amount of bacteria on the teeth.  Bacteria are known to release acidic byproduct which erodes the tooth enamel.  If there are less bacteria, there will be less chance of acidic erosion and more chance for the fluoride to penetrate into the tooth to strengthen the tooth enamel.

But it doesn’t mean you should toss out the toothpaste containing the sodium fluoride.  It still help prevent the cavity.  And also please remember to brush after each meal everyday and floss.

How to Choose an Effective Toothpaste.

Toothpastes have variety of ingredients but generally it narrows to the following types:

1.  Fluoride Containing.  Generally almost all toothpaste in the market contains fluoride.  The ingredient of fluoride help prevent cavity and strengthens enamel.  Generally there are two main types of fluoride molecules within the toothpaste: stannous fluoride or sodium fluoride.  Some advocates stannous fluoride over sodium fluoride for its increased anti-bacteria properties.

2.  Desensitizing Agent.  Some special toothpaste markets as desensitizing toothpaste for people with sensitive teeth.  It contains active ingredients such as potassium nitrate which helps penetrate through the enamel and calms the nerve.

3.  Anti-gingivitis.  If you know you have reddish gum, then you might have gingivitis, which is a mild localized inflammation of the gum tissue around your teeth.  This toothpaste ingredient help to minimize the amount of gingivitis-causing bacteria within your gum and help your gum to heal.

4.  Tartar control.  If the toothpaste contains this type of ingredient, then it can help to slow down the buildup of plaque around your teeth.  The plaque will become hardened over time if not removed immediately.  This hardening process is called calcification in which the calcium from saliva will accumulate into the food plaque and hardens it over time.  The ingredient of the toothpaste help slow down this calcification process and help you to remove them with brushing.

5.  Whitening.  Toothpaste may help to remove the surface staining caused by the coffee and other food.  But intrinsic staining requires other dental cosmetic procedures to properly address.

In addition to the above type of ingredients, some toothpaste might be advertised to have natural ingredients such as golgi and other herbs but keep in mind that the effectiveness of these natural ingredients are not readily proven in research studies.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

 

Types of Dental Cleaning

The purpose of dental cleaning is to remove the food debris on the tooth.  However, there are situation in which the teeth may need a deeper cleaning and many patients might not understand the difference between the regular dental cleaning and this “deeper” dental cleaning.  So let me explain here types of dental cleaning.

There are many levels of dental cleaning depending on the clinical findings which indicates the underlying dental disease process.  The clinical findings can be multitude of measurements such as depth measurement of the periodontal pockets around the tooth, the amount and location of the dental calculus and the radiographic finding of bone loss.

The followings are different level of dental disease process and types of cleaning needed to help control the disease progression:

–  Healthy Gum within pocket 0-3 mm –  This is the healthy gum with periodontal disease. The pocket measurement is from 0 to 3 mm.  Absence or almost no bleeding upon probing.  Minimal plaque and no bone loss.  The patient would need regular basic dental cleaning.

–  Mild to Moderate Periodontal Disease with pocket from 3-4 mm – This is a person with mild to moderate periodontal disease process.  The clinical finding shows pocket measurement from 3-5mm.  There is usually accompanied by bleeding upon probing.  Plaque and calculus can be detected below the gum line.  Radiograph can show calculus and some bone loss.  The patient would need a “deeper” cleaning called the Scaling and Root Planing procedure.  It is indicated for complete removal the disease-causing calculus from within the gum pockets on the teeth.  This procedure is usually performed at the general dentist’s office.

–  Severe Periodontal Disease with pockets greater than 5mm.  This indicates a more severe periodontal disease status and it requires more extensive treatment and surgery.  Patient might be referred to the Periodontist for periodontal surgery and special antibiotics to help control the disease progress.

So “deeper” cleaning is really just a lay-man term for a special treatment to treat the periodontal disease.  It should be better understood as periodontal treatment.  I often would tell patient that this is not just a cleaning but rather to cure a specific dental disease.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Pain Is Not The Only Reason to Fix A Tooth

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I would like to point that many people have misconceptions that a tooth only needs to be fixed, i.e. getting a dental filling, if there is pain.  If a tooth is already becoming painful or starting to becoming more sensitive, the nerve within the tooth might be affected and the tooth might require some additional treatment like the root canal therapy to alleviate the pain.  A filling is not enough to fix the tooth.  That’s because there might be some underlying dental problems such as dental cavities and infection that is so severe that it affects the nerve within the tooth.  Nerve chamber of the tooth is located at the most inner part of the tooth and only a deep cavity can affect the nerve to elicit painful response.

Another misconception is that some people will wait out the pain.  They might have some pain initially but they would not see the dentist because they hope that the pain will go away.  Sometimes the pain will go away.  Sometimes the pain goes away for the wrong reasons.  If there is an infection to the nerve within the tooth, the bacteria will continue to damage the nerve until the nerve dies.  The deaden nerve will not sense pain but it will continue to rot.  A tooth would sense pain only if there is dental problems.  It is best to see the dentist before the infection gets worse.

There are many other good reasons to see the dentist.  Dental cavity, ulcers, bad breathe, gum recessions, clenching and grinding habits can affect your teeth.  It is best to fix a small cavity before it gets too big.  If you can feel the pain, the cavity may already be too big.  A big cavity takes more effort and costs more to fix.  I as the dentist would recommend people to get routine dental checkup and cleanings at least two times a year.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Fluoride Rinse Helps Prevent Cavities

<<  Topic in General Dentist Dentistry Dental Office in Tempe AZ >>

Fluoride is a chemical ingredient common in toothpaste that has a special properties of strengthening the enamel of teeth.  In turn, this helps to prevent the cavity formation.  Often for patient who are more susceptible to cavity formation, I would recommend fluoride rinse to patients.  I would instruct the patient to use the rinse in addition to their dental hygiene routine.  Typically I instruct them to rinse with fluoride rinse after brushing their teeth and flossing.  Rinsing wth fluoride rinse for 30 seconds help the fluoride to distribute onto the surfaces of teeth.  After rinsing with fluoride rinse, I would tell patient to spit it out and do not rinse with water or drink water for at least half hour.  This allow the fluoride on the tooth to penetrate into the enamel.

However, over-ingestions of fluoride for children during their teeth development may cause fluorosis to their teeth.  So make sure that children do not swallow too much of those rinses or fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride rinse can be purchased over-the-counter in drug stores.  One brand is ACT fluoride rinse manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist