Archive for March 2011

Did you know that some studies have shown that the average person only brushes his/her teeth for 37 seconds at a time? If you are one of those people, we have to ask you to think about how clean you can get your teeth in 37 seconds?

Odds are, anything you clean around the house, you spend more than 37 seconds doing it. Certainly many people will spend more time than that cleaning their kitchen sinks and counters. Of course, we know it is important to make sure you do not allow bacteria to build up in those very areas you will be preparing your food.

So based on that logic, you should also be just as concerned about removing bacteria from the area of that mouth the food enters  into your body. In fact, we recommend nothing less than two minutes should be spent brushing your teeth.

Then you need to remember that brushing, no matter how thoroughly, is simply not sufficient to ensure that you have properly cleaned your teeth. In fact, the best job you can do brushing your teeth will only succeed in cleaning, at most, 65% of the surface area of your teeth.

The reason for this is simply. Approximately 35% of the surface area of your teeth is found in the spaces between your teeth. Your toothbrush simply cannot access these areas effectively. To make sure you get at this 35% of the tooth, you need to make sure you take the time to floss every day!

Think about it…you need not feel good preparing your meals on counters that were only 65% clean. Imagine all the potential bacteria that could get into your food that way.

Now think about the bacteria that will build up on your teeth if you leave 35% of the surface area unclean. No matter how effectively you clean the rest of the tooth, bacteria will build up between them. The longer it is allowed to remain, the more damage it will do.

Plaque will develop and it will spread.  Bacteria will attack the gums, likely leading to gum disease which is a leading cause of tooth loss amongst adults. You might even develop more serious health complications, including infections in the bloodstream, asthma, or even heart disease.

The simple act of adding flossing to your regular oral health care routine, combined with brushing for at least two minutes, is all that you need to do in order to reduce the risks of these serious health complications. We understand that we are asking you to commit more than 37 seconds to your routine. But you have to ask yourself…isn’t your health worth it!

We believe it is! We believe YOU are worth the investment! You deserve the best in oral health care for yourself! That means proper brushing and flossing. It also means regular visits to the dentist to confirm your oral health in being properly maintained.

So invest the time in yourself! Because recognizing you deserve the best in oral health care is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

Many of you might have heard of the concept of an “abscessed” tooth. However, you may not really be sure as to what that means.

In its simplest terms, an abscess of the tooth is an infection. Like any infection, it can be so mild that you may not even be aware it is there. On the other hand, it can become quite painful as puss may accumulate around the pulp of the tooth, resulting in pressure on the nerve.

Also like any other form of an infection, it can spread to other parts of the mouth or throughout the body. Given the potential health consequences associated with a spreading infection, an abscessed tooth is not something to be taken lightly even if it is not causing you any discomfort.

Aside from pain around a tooth, other potential signs of an abscess include fever, pain when chewing, bad breath, bitter taste in the mouth, swelling in the gums or neck and an open sore.

If your dentist concludes you have an abscess, the first thing that must be done is that the infection must be drained. The most common way to achieve this is through the process known as a root canal.

Given an infection was involved, your dentist may prescribe anti-biotics to prevent it from spreading. In addition, pain medication, such as ibuprofen, may be needed to alleviate any pain that you may still be experiencing.

In addition to dealing with the infection itself, you may also have to deal with the tooth. As a result of the infection, the pulp of the tooth may actually have died off. If that is the case, you will have to consider different treatment options. It may be that the best option for you is an implant. For some patients, crowns are best. This is a matter that you will need to discuss with your dentist before making any final decision.

Like most other dental conditions, the best way to treat an abscess is through prevention! The two primary causes of an abscess are decay and trauma.

Preventing decay means following a good oral health regime. This means brushing at least twice per day for a minimum of two minutes each time. It also means flossing at least once per day. Adhering to a healthy diet is also recommended, as are regular visits to your dentist.

Following such a plan can reduce the likelihood of your enamel being compromised. If the enamel is in good shape, it is harder for bacteria to penetrate the tooth and start an infection.

Even healthy teeth are susceptible to infections after some form of trauma. If your teeth have experienced such a trauma, you should consult your dentist to make sure that they are not cracked. Just because YOU cannot see a crack does not mean there is not one there! Let your dentist take a closer look to make sure there are no small fissures that bacteria might be able to slip through.

It is never pleasant to have an abscess. An abscess is an infection and infections can have troubling consequences. That is why prevention is the best solution. Because preventing an infection is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulous

Dental Surgeon

As anyone who visits their dentist on a regular basis is likely aware, one of the number one goals we have is to ensure you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible…all of them! There can be one exception. Wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars that will develop for most of us. They usually come in during the teenage years. However, it is quite common for them to first erupt in people as late as the mid-twenties.

When wisdom teeth erupt fully and are properly aligned, there is no reason to remove them. Unfortunately, many people find their wisdom teeth are not so well aligned or that they fail to fully erupt from the gum line.

Poorly aligned wisdom teeth can cause many problems. First and foremost, they can result in crowding. This can affect the bite and may result in uneven wear and tear on teeth throughout the mouth. Some people will experience strain in the muscles around the mouth which, in turn, may result in frequent headaches or general pain in the jaw joint.

Even chewing with misaligned teeth can prove difficult, sometimes painful, and this can have an impact on nutrition. Nutritious foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables, that are hard to chew may be passed over for less healthy, but easier to chew, alternatives.

Crowding also makes all teeth harder to clean. It makes it more difficult to get at trapped food particles with conventional brushing and flossing. Consequently, plaque may accumulate on both the wisdom teeth and the adjacent teeth that are affected by the crowding. With increased plaque build-up, the risk of decay is increased.

Crowding may still be a problem even if your wisdom teeth have not erupted. They may be under the surface of the gum line, still putting pressure on the adjacent teeth.

Moreover, partially erupted wisdom teeth provide an opening that makes it easier for bacteria to make its way to the bloodstream. This can lead to serious health complications, including infections or even heart disease.

Your best bet is to have your dentist monitor the development of your wisdom teeth. By using x-rays, your dentist can usually determine if your wisdom teeth are likely to make a proper and beneficial appearance or if problems are likely to be just around the corner.

If you are the parent of a university student who will soon be returning home after another school year, now may be the perfect time to schedule an appointment to check out how those wisdom teeth are doing.

Talk to your dentist if you are concerned about your wisdom teeth. S/he will recommend keeping them if it is possible. However, if keeping them is not in the best interests of your oral health, it is usually easier to remove them sooner than later…because ensuring the proper development of ALL of your teeth is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon