Category: Dental Hygiene

Radiation Safety in Children’s Dentistry

Radiation Safety in Children’s Dentistry

A very common concern from parents is the amount of radiation their children are exposed to when their X-rays are taken.

From the clinician point of view, we need to understand the overall status of both visible and concealed areas in the mouth. These are mainly the contact areas of the molars where food may keep getting stuck leading to cavities or carious decays.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Questions About Dental X-Rays for Children

As per the documented researches, nearly 80% of the decays in young children occur in-between the contact areas of the baby molars. The primary reason for this is frequent snacking and lack of flossing by kids.

At Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic, we follow these steps to make sure that X-ray exposures are minimal:

  1. Fast speed films are used.
  2. X-ray beams are focused around the core areas.
  3. Protective collars and shields are used.
  4. Proper film exposure and processing techniques are followed.
  5. The number of X-rays is limited to a minimum.

The AAPD recommendation

As per the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry or AAPD, at approximately around age 5 years, when primary dentition is complete, we should do two bitewings and two periapicals.

The total amount of radiation for this set is 0.008 mSv. If one or more adult teeth are present, then a panoramic x-ray is additional. The amount of radiation exposure in a single panoramic x-ray is 0.007 mSv.

SEE ALSO: “Help! My Child’s Teeth Are Rotting.”

The radiation around us

According to the US National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, almost any average person receives an effective dose of 3 millisieverts (mSv) per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic radiation from outer space. Naturally occurring radioactive materials can be found in the air that we breathe and the food

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Don’t Let Tobacco Take Your Breath Away #NoTobacco

Don’t Let Tobacco Take Your Breath Away #NoTobacco

Around the world, there are many campaigns that discourage smoking and the use of tobacco. Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners celebrate the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).

This year’s theme “tobacco and lung health” aims to spread and increase awareness on the dangers of tobacco on our lungs which includes a wide range of illnesses from chronic respiratory disease to cancer. The campaign also advocates for effective government policies that support the fight for tobacco control.

In the UAE’s National Agenda, one of the key performance indicators of the pillar of world-class healthcare is the reduced consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products. The federal law of the country forbids smoking in private cars when a child under the age of 12 is present and selling of tobacco products to those less than 18 years old, amongst other regulations.

“The law protects the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences generated from smoking tobacco and inhaling its smoke,” said UAE Health Minister H.E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim.

What do we know about tobacco use?

Here are some statistics from WHO.

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • It kills one person every four seconds.
  • No level of tobacco exposure is risk-free.
  • Around the world, 8 million deaths are caused by tobacco annually.
  • Every year, over 1 million deaths are caused by secondhand smoke.
  • The most common cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking and it causes about 1.2 million lung cancer deaths annually. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke at home or in the workplace have a 30% higher risk of developing lung cancer.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer. Smokers are 5-10 times more likely to develop oral
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Orthotropics in Paediatric Dentistry

Orthotropics in Paediatric Dentistry

Orthotropics, is the field of dentistry that deals with the growth modification. An age-old phenomenon introduced by Prof. John Mew explains the importance of Tropic Premise: tongue in upper jaw, lips sealed; teeth in contact; set posture which means back straight; chin up.

Orthotropics banks on tropic premise and it explains that the facial development is in alignment with the same. When children develop the habit of mouth breathing and poor posture, it affects the development of face; chin growth reduces significantly, there then comes a tendency to develop long faces with deficient mid face growth and of course it affects the occlusion as well leading to either Class II, upper and lower crowding and class III facial developments.

SEE ALSO: Mouth Breathing in Children

Orthotropics focuses on the importance of posture and the use of parallel appliances that benefit postural corrections. In general, and totality these appliances are given over the period of twelve to twenty-four months, starting from Stage I active appliance to stage II training appliance and finally ending with Stage III retention appliance. The forces applied are slow and steady which allow teeth to develop around the modified and corrected surrounding facial structures, thereby ruling out the need for lifelong retention. The treatment does not focus on straightening the teeth but, certainly emphasizes on development and maintenance of correct postural habits and facial development lasting life time.

As a paediatric dentist, orthotropics can be applied from the age between five to nine years.

Treatment can certainly be well extended to older kids if and when the need arises. In conclusion, tropic premise and the tools to maintain the same for life is the philosophy of orthotropics that compliments the organic facial and dental growth.

Laser Specialist Pediatric Dentist
Visiting Faculty, AALZ, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
Neurolinguistic

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How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

Many people present to their dentist or dental hygienist asking how they can make their teeth whiter. That’s because an improved smile is on most patients’ priority list when visiting the dentist. And bright, white teeth are a significant part of what makes a smile appealing.

Teeth whitening at the dentist is becoming increasingly common, effective, affordable and, most importantly, safe.

Compared to whitening products that can be purchased off the supermarket shelf or at your local chemist, the products used at the dentist are of a significantly higher strength and potency and are designed to maximise contact with your teeth, in order to achieve a more desirable shade.

Following a thorough check up and clean at Smile Solutions the choice of which whitening approach to be undertaken depends on the causes of your teeth staining (smoking versus antibiotic staining), time-frame for achieving your results, and your budget.

Causes of discolouration

The outermost layer of your teeth is enamel. Most of us start out with thick, sparkling white porcelain-like enamel. With age, enamel becomes worn down and more transparent, allowing the yellow colour of the inner tooth structure, dentine, to show through.

There are two categories of tooth staining:

  • extrinsic (or external) staining – the most common causes being smoking, heavy consumption of tea/coffee/red wine and poor oral hygiene
  • intrinsic (or internal) staining – which can result from trauma (such as a fall), excessive fluoride exposure while teeth are developing, or medication (tetracylines can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child up to the age of 8).
  1. Food and drink

Extrinsic tooth staining (staining on the outer surface of the tooth) can be caused by the consumption of highly pigmented foods and drinks such as black and green

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Root canal treatment: who and what is involved?

Root canal treatment: who and what is involved?

What does root canal treatment involve?

Root canal treatment, or root canal therapy (RCT), is required to treat a tooth with a dead, dying or inflamed pulp, more commonly known as the ‘nerve’.

Endodontology, or endodontics, is the art and science of root canal treatment. Endodontics is one of the dental specialities recognised by the Dental Board of Australia, which also maintains the register of specialist endodontists, all of whom have had a minimum of three years post-graduate training.

Endodontic treatment is required when the pulp of a tooth becomes inflamed or if it becomes necrotic, ie; it dies! The presence of a dead nerve can lead to the formation of an abscess. Inflammation of the pulp, or indeed pulp deaths, can be caused by trauma, such as a blow to the mouth or tooth, by deep dental decay (dental caries), the presence of a crack or split in the tooth, or in some cases, simply a reaction to a very deep filling or the placement of a new crown on a compromised tooth.

Endodontic problems can present in an acute phase, with pain and swelling, but in many cases the patient could be symptom free and the presence of an endodontic problem is diagnosed via a routine radiograph, or X-ray.

Endodontic treatment is carried out over one or two visits and involves the endodontist, or general dentist, creating a small hole in the top of the tooth and removing the dead or dying pulp with a series of fine files. Once the canals have been shaped to allow filling, they are soaked with a strong antibacterial solution to make sure all the bacteria are rendered ineffective. 

Following this antibacterial irrigation, the root canals are dried with small, sterile paper cones, and then filled with a soft rubbery material.

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How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

How do I protect my teeth during pregnancy?

Being pregnant is incredibly exciting but it can also be a very nervous time for a new mum. And it’s a time when you need to pay particular attention to protecting your teeth, especially your gums.

There are plenty of guidelines as to what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do, and these can be overwhelming. As far as oral health is concerned, two questions often asked are: “How do I protect my teeth during pregnancy?” and “Is dental surgery safe during pregnancy?”.

A woman’s hormone levels rise during pregnancy, which can cause her gums to swell and bleed more than usual. This is one reason why it is very important to see a dentist and hygienist while you are pregnant.

In addition, preventive dental work such as teeth cleaning is essential to avoid oral infections and gum disease – both of which have been linked to preterm birth. And dental surgery such as cavity fillings should be carried out to reduce the chance of infection.

In a nutshell, we recommend you do the following to maintain your oral health and hygiene and protect your teeth while pregnant:

  • Keep your teeth and gums clean, which means brushing twice daily for a minimum of 2 minutes and flossing once daily.
  • Be gentle with your teeth and gums and always use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a gentle brushing technique and a fluoride toothpaste.
  • If you have extreme gum sensitivity, try using a sensitive toothpaste or talk with your dentist about what you can use.
  • Eat a balanced diet and try to cut down on sweets and candy. Try to make healthy snack choices such as fruit, veggie sticks or nuts.
  • Have preventive exams and cleanings during your pregnancy.
  • Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or after delivery if
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How can I improve the whiteness of my teeth?

Bridges, implants, or dentures for replacing missing teeth?

How can I replace my missing teeth?

Before we delve into replacement options of bridges, implants and dentures, let’s start with why we have to replace missing teeth at all. Is it important to do so? What will happen if you don’t get a replacement? 

The human dentition is designed to function with twenty-eight interacting teeth. Each tooth connects with two other teeth in the opposing arch.

When we lose a tooth it’s like knocking a brick out of a wall! At first nothing happens, but soon gravity and external forces take over and the wall starts to collapse. 

It’s the same with teeth: gravity and other forces win. The teeth either side of the gap begin to collapse inwards and the opposing teeth start to move. This results in malocclusion (abnormal tooth alignment).

The longer you wait to replace missing teeth, the more complicated replacement gets and the more costly. You may even sacrifice replacement options – for example, the bone at the gap resorbs over time and so an implant may not be feasible.

There are various ways to replace missing teeth and all have different cost implications and different benefits. It’s much like getting from A to B: you can, for example, walk, cycle, scooter, or drive a small, medium-sized or extravagant car. Each will get you there, but differently.

The available tooth replacement options are: dentures, implant-supported crowns, and bridges. You will have to rely on the expertise of your clinician to ascertain which is the best option for you.

Meanwhile let’s have a look at the two most popular long-term replacement options: bridges and implants, and we will discuss dentures a little later.

A dental implant consists of an implant crown and an implant screw, whereas a dental bridge consists of two crowns and one

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Dr Philippa Robinson

Why would I need to see a dental specialist?

Dental specialties explained

All dentists fall into one of two groups: general dentists and dental specialists.

General dentists have a university degree in the general aspects of dentistry, enabling them to provide a broad range of dental care, such as regular checkups and teeth cleaning, repairing damaged and decayed teeth and gum care. Dentists should be your first point of call for general teeth and mouth issues, like your family doctor is for your general medical concerns.

General dentists will readily refer to specialists in cases where a patient has a difficult dental situation or in cases where a patient may be seeking a second opinion. General dentists and specialists work together as a team to provide comprehensive and tailored care for each patient.

Dental specialists, have both a general dental degree and a further postgraduate university degree of at least three years’ duration in a particular field of dentistry. In all, there are 13 fields of dental specialisation in Australia, including oral and maxillofacial surgeryorthodonticsendodontics, paediatric dentistryperiodontics, and prosthodontics.

It is important to determine that your dental specialist is, in fact, registered as a specialist with the Dental Board of Australia, as distinct from a general dentist with a “special interest” in a particular field. The terms used by various clinicians can be confusing but a practitioner’s true qualifications are easily checked on the website of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Smile Solutions is both a general practice and a dental specialist clinic: all of our general and specialist dentists work together in the same comfortable CBD location at Collins Street Specialist Centre, not only for the convenience of the patient but also to ensure the highest level of integrated clinical care.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

need see dental specialist

Oral

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All your conventional braces questions answered

All your conventional braces questions answered

Caring for your conventional braces

Has your orthodontist suggested conventional braces to straighten your teeth?

Here are all your questions about this treatment answered.

What are braces made up of?

Conventional braces consist of two main parts: a series of brackets (either metal or clear) attached to the surface of each tooth, and an arch wire running through slots in the brackets which slowly moves the teeth when tensioned.

How should I care for my teeth while wearing braces?

Excellent oral hygiene is crucial for anyone wearing conventional braces. You should take particular care to ensure the areas around your braces and along your gum line are kept free from plaque.

We recommend you use your new orthodontic toothbrush, along with Superfloss and Pixsters, after snacks and meals. Superfloss has a stiffened end that can be threaded between your teeth and the arch wire. You then use the spongy section to floss large spaces and the smith end for the smaller ones.

In addition, you can use Pikster inter-dental brushes to clean between your teeth and the arch wire. With bendable heads, these can easily reach around to your back teeth and will last up to two weeks when properly rinsed after each use.

If you are finding it hard to clean your teeth or notice that your gums seem puffy or bleed easily, we recommend more frequent visits to your dentist or hygienist for professional hygiene therapy.

What happens if a part of my braces breaks or comes loose?

You need to take care while wearing your conventional braces to ensure brackets and arch wires stay in place. This is often caused by eating foods that are particularly crunchy or sticky. This is not an emergency and commonly happens within the first weeks of treatment. If this occurs, make

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Dr Cynthia Chu

Why do I need a filling?

Signs and symptoms of needing a filling

There are many instances in which a filling is required. Normally dental fillings are needed when there is a cavity caused by one of the following:

  • tooth decay (caries) due to sugary diet and bacteria forming acids that dissolve the enamel and dentine. If left untreated, cavities can lead to serious dental problems – including pain, infection and abscess.
  • enamel loss due to wear and abrasion causing sensitivity
  • fractures caused by trauma
  • crack lines due to weak tooth structure and heavy bite or grinding
  • a broken or lost filling.

Some symptoms and signs that may indicate a filling is needed:

  • Noticeable holes which are seen with the eye or felt with the tongue
  • sensitivity to heat or cold or pressure
  • toothache
  • pain on biting or chewing
  • floss that keeps tearing in a particular gap
  • Discolouration or shadowing of tooth surfaces.
  • rough tooth surface.

Because most cavities start silently, without symptoms or pain, it is important to see your dentist for regular check-ups and dental care. Your dentist will manually examine your mouth and if necessary take X-rays to check between your teeth.

Fillings serve to stop further tooth decay and restore the function, integrity and morphology of the missing tooth structure.

Five different types of filling materials are used:

  1. amalgam
  2. composite resins that are tooth coloured fillings
  3. ionomers – also tooth coloured fillings that release small amounts of fluoride
  4. gold
  5. ceramic/porcelain fillings – which are custom produced for larger fillings that need external surfaces of the tooth covered.

The right filling choice for you will depend on your dentist’s recommendation and your personal preference and budget.

In general, placing a filling involves four stages:

  1. Anaesthetic (optional). The area is made numb to minimise discomfort during the procedure.
  2. Preparation of tooth. The tooth
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