ToothBrush, Poisoning, Crowns
Here, Use My Toothbrush…
Ever use someone else’s toothbrush? You may think twice about doing it again after reading this:
• Toothbrushes can be a source of repeated dental infections.
• Toothbrushes can cause a bacteremia (bacteria entering the bloodstream) that may result in an endocarditis (a heart infection).
• Toothbrushes can harbor and transmit viruses and bacteria.
• Toothbrushes can retain 50% of the herpes simplex virus for one week.
• Gingival [gum] inflammation can be reduced by changing toothbrushes biweekly.
Still think it’s sexy to share a toothbrush? How about sharing food? Kissing? Certain bacteria can be transmitted from site-to-site in the mouth via dental instruments or from person-to-person sharing someone else’s eating utensil. In juvenile periodontitis, virulent bacteria can move from an infected site to an uninfected site in the same mouth. Certain bacteria can be transmitted between spouses. Certain bacteria can be transmitted between parents and children. Certain bacteria can be transmitted from dogs to children.
So you see, bacteria once thought to be localized to specific sites in the mouth, can be migratory. We’re not advocating that you stop tasting a scrumptious morsel or two at a four-star restaurant; we are advocating that everyone maintain good dental health not only for themselves but for the sake of those they love.
As far as ridding toothbrushes of bacteria, soaking them in a mouthrinse containing essential oils for 20 minutes kills 100% of the bacteria on the bristles. Ultraviolet light also sanitizes toothbrushes. But when researchers* tested the efficacy of using a toothpaste containing a common disinfectant compound – triclosan – they found little benefit when it came to eliminating the offending bacteria attached to the toothbrush bristles.
So what can you do about bacterial contamination from toothbrushes? Soak them in a suitable mouthwash, expose them to ultraviolet light, or from a practical stance, change them frequently. As for kissing someone, the benefits may still outweigh the risks …as long as you have an inkling as to their periodontal status!
Your Mouth Up Close And Personal
Patients rarely have a chance to clearly observe all areas of their mouths. It’s difficult to see past the front of your teeth into the darker side and back areas. Often the cheeks or tongue block visibility.
But intraoral cameras have changed all of that. Now you can sit comfortably back in the chair while the dentist or hygienist inserts a sterilized small probe-shaped camera that is moved around the inside of your mouth. Covered with a disposable plastic sheath for contamination prevention, the wand simply takes a video of the inside of your mouth and transmits the images via cable to a computing unit. The computing unit enlarges the full-color images and sends them to a TV screen. Everyone is able to view together every last detail of your oral health.
This painless, no radiation technique allows us to see and document dental conditions such as worn-out, defective fillings, fractured teeth, decay, bleeding gums, oral lesions and plaque. The intraoral camera is a great diagnostic tool that provides an accurate view of the current state of your mouth and potential problems.
Second, the eye of the camera can show, in a moment, how well you’re doing with your oral care home hygiene regimen. This helps you and your dentist realistically assess needed steps to improve your techniques and monitor your progress.
We can also freeze and store the video of the inside of your mouth for a bigger and better look and then make an instant photograph for you and your records or for the insurance company for verification of treatment.
As new technologies become available to us, we strive to keep up-to-date with the latest advances in order to provide our patients with the most modern, highest quality dental care possible.
Child Safety: Poisoning
A poison is anything that you eat, breathe or touch that could cause illness or death. In the United States a child is poisoned every 30 seconds and 60% of those children are under the age 6 who are curious by nature and attracted to colorful materials and packages. Most accidents involving poisons occur in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. One of the leading causes of death is the ingestion of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Household cleaners are high on causing fatalities and carbon monoxide from cars left running or faulty gas heaters is also often fatal. Plants and cosmetics are commonly involved in poisonings.
Prevention “Poison-proof” your house. Tour your home and determine which substances might be poisonous. Then carefully lock those away. Do not transfer potentially poisonous materials to unlabeled containers or food containers such as milk bottles. Instruct the older children in the family as to the dangers of swallowing unknown or non-food substances. It is not uncommon for them to feed poisonous substances to their younger brothers and sisters in “playing doctor” or “playing house” games. Be sure your babysitter is made aware of potential problems and where the phone number to the poison control center is located [it should be on every phone]. Store food and household chemicals in separate areas. Most poisonings occur when the product is in use, so take the young child with you to answer the phone or doorbell. Many poisonings occur when your daily routine is interrupted and at meal times. Be extra cautious during these times. Keep all medicines out of sight and out of reach. Do not call medicine candy. Consider vitamins as medicine since vitamins with iron are especially poisonous. Many household plants are poisonous. Call your local poison control center and request a list of poisonous and non-poisonous plants.
First Aid If poisoning does occur, do not excite the youngster, for you will need his/her cooperation. Remain calm! Call the poison control center. The local number can be found on the inside cover of the white pages phone book and should be kept at each phone. They are open 24 hrs. a day, 365 days a year, and there is no charge for their professional emergency advice. If possible have the following information available for the poison control specialist:
• Child’s condition, age and weight
• Name of product and/or ingredients
• How much of the product was taken
• Time poisoning occurred
• And your name and phone number.
The poison control center will tell you what to do next. You can get additional information on poison prevention that can save a life as well as a checklist for a poison-proof home at www.aapcc.org.
A Crowning Achievement
When too much tooth structure has been lost due to decay or fracture, the best treatment choice to restore the tooth to normal function and cosmetic appearance is often the fabrication of a crown [cap]. Crowns are usually made of porcelain fused to metal or all-ceramic depending on the situation and judgment of the dentist. The restoration of the damaged tooth becomes more of an esthetic concern if it is located near the front of one’s mouth. How we perceive our smile and appearance affects our self-esteem, our moods and how we function in social and business relationships. So, when this situation occurs, there is a sense of urgency.
The tooth is prepared to allow enough room for the crown to fit over the tooth without extending too far and interfering with the person’s occlusion [bite]. This procedure usually takes 2 visits, depending on the situation. A provisional acrylic crown is made and temporarily cemented over the tooth. In the second visit, the crown is “tried in” to see how accurately it fits and to check that the ceramic color chosen matches the surrounding teeth. If both the patient and dentist are satisfied, the crown is permanently cemented or bonded to the tooth. Call our office if you think you’re a candidate for this type of procedure.