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Dental Advice

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January 2018

 

1.  Children’s Dentistry

Being a family practice, we see patients of all ages (currently 0-102 years old!).

 A common question from new Mums and Dads in regards to children's dentistry is:

“At what age do I first bring my child in?”

Henry Farrington

Realistically, we expect to be able to have a child’s cooperation by about the age of 3; but we do encourage you to bring your toddlers in with you or with the older children so that they are familiarised with the practice.

On the first visit we will aim to make it as fun and entertaining as possible for your toddler, whilst running through any questions about children’s oral health and development. As General Dental practitioners, we are responsible for the management of all of the factors which influence oral health, not just the teeth.

On a young child’s visit these are some of the things we are looking out for:

  • Teeth - detection of decay; erosion, presence or absence of deciduous (baby teeth) and monitoring for congenital or environment defects of these teeth.
  • Soft tissue- Gum health, muscle attachment (tongue ties, lip ties)
  • Diet
  • Tooth brushing technique and plaque control
  • Habits - tongue thrust, thumb or dummy sucking, lip biting
  • Airways, tonsils and sleep habits
  • Orthodontic skeletal or dental early defects
  • Infections of the mouth including viral and bacterial (eg: hand foot and mouth disease)

Dr Cooke used this examination on his two now grown-up kids; whilst Dr Farrington will be soon performing it on Henry (pictured above).

 

2.  Alternative dental treatments

The internet is an infinite depth of misinformation and subliminal marketing. Two questions that we have been asked quite frequently this year amongst the social media generation are “Does coconut oil-pulling cure help with healthy teeth and gums?” and “Do charcoal toothpastes whiten teeth?”

Read more about these topics by clicking the links below:

 

3.  Staff Emergency training

Last week the Dentists and support staff participated in their regular C.P.R and medical emergency training. We take pride that all our staff are trained in emergency management and CPR, not just the dentists. Whilst this training is a necessary part of being a Nationally accredited practice, it is also a lot of fun!

 Staff CPR training day

4.  Gum Disease

 If teeth are the house, then the gums and bone are the foundations. Left unchecked, gum disease progression can be the subsidence that slides your waterfront mansion into the ocean.

Gum (Periodontal) diseases are caused by bacterial infections that attack gums, ligaments and bone.

Gum disease ranges from Gingivitis; which is inflammation of the gums, to aggressive periodontitis; which is destruction the bone, ligaments and gums leading to tooth loss.

The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

However the disease is often painless, and may develop slowly or progress quite rapidly and can occur at any age.  Unless you have regular dental checkups, you may not be aware you have a problem until your gums and bone have been seriously compromised.

Diagnosis is by a combination of:

  • Periodontal Charting and Analysis – using a specialised probe.  Gum pockets greater than 3mm usually indicate disease.
  • Clinical – areas of Pus and bleeding will be recorded.
  • Close up X-rays – show bone levels and areas of bone loss.
  • A Panoramic X-ray gives an excellent overview of the disease situation.
  • Close-up Photographs – to record colour, texture and position of gums.

This x-ray was taken of a new patient in October 2017 who complained only of a mild awareness that the tooth was wobble.

The x ray shows complete bone loss around this upper tooth. Unfortunately there is no other treatment but to extract this tooth.

Prevention

Prevention of gum disease can be as simple as adhering to a self-care oral hygiene regime; including Tooth-brushing, flossing, use of tailored oral hygiene products, and in some instances antibacterial mouthrinses.

Risk factors for an increased likelihood of developing periodontitis include smoking, diabetes and other systemic illness, certain oral bacteria, family history and age. Whilst some of these we can’t control, the ones we can need to be modified!

Treatment

As periodontal disease is a bacterial disease, the aim of treatment is to mechanically remove the toxin producing bacteria from along and below the gumline, as well as off the root surfaces of the teeth.

Depending on the severity of the disease treatment might include a deep cleaning using ultrasonic and hand scalers under local anaesthetic in one or more appointments. An antibacterial gel and or mouthrinse may be used during and after the deep cleaning.

In severe cases we refer to our trusted specialists, who are known as periodontists.

All treatment is carried out in conjunction with tailored at-home oral care routines and oral hygiene products to help keep the bacteria at bay.

Periodontitis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.