What do you say to patients who have concerns about dental x-rays?
As a dental hygienist I usually see patients twice each year; in between visits patients have the responsibility for their daily hygiene. I tell patients that brushing twice a day and doing it properly to remove plaque is very important. Flossing is also important, and for areas of the mouth that cannot be reached well with floss I recommend Waterpik flossers.
Different brushes and techniques are available for each patient’s needs. We recommend proxy brushes too, which are little Christmas-tree shaped brushes that clean in between the teeth in spaces where floss is not wide enough to span the space and clean properly. I tell people that if they are getting in between their teeth twice a day, they are doing pretty well with their dental hygiene.
Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and others need to be consumed with the knowledge that they contain sugars and acids that are not good for the teeth. To rehydrate and get the benefit of these particular drinks, I advise patients to drink them all at once—instead of sipping the products over the course of an hour, for example. When we sip we are exposing our teeth to the sugar and acid each time, whereas if we drink them all at once we are exposing our teeth just that once. I also advise them to rinse with water afterwards to neutralize the acidity and treat their teeth kindly.
In terms of how to brush, some people think they are actually taking a long time to brush their teeth but often they are spending too little time brushing and perhaps not fully concentrating on all areas. Usually if a patient spends at least two minutes brushing conscientiously they are going to hit all the spaces around their teeth and clean them well.
I recommend that patients have cavities filled while they are still small so the tooth can have a good prognosis and the patient can save money. We tell our patients that with proper care modern dental fillings can last for many years—even a lifetime.
Jessica Sapara, Dental Hygienist
West Park Dental
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Do you find yourself waking at night gasping for breath? Are you exhausted all day long because you just can't get a good night's sleep?
'Apnea' is a Greek word meaning "without breath"; people who have apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep. A cessation of breath lasting for 10 seconds in adults, or 2 and 1/2 breath cycles in a child, is the clinical definition of sleep apnea.
X-rays are used for diagnostic purposes, and to protect the patient from oral health problems that could arise—or are currently present—which would not be discovered without the use of this important diagnostic tool.