FAQ 1. Is Flossing REALLY Important?
Honesty is the best policy! Here at Clatskanie Dental, we won't judge you. We're here to educate you & help you reach your oral health goals!
So...is flossing REALLY important?
Flossing cleans the surfaces in between the teeth that you can't reach with a toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends people clean in between their teeth daily, but flossing is just one modality. When used correctly, people can achieve the same oral hygiene using small interdental brushes or oral irrigators (aka 'water flossers").
Cleaning between the teeth can reduce harmful inflammation and therefore lower your risk of PERIODONTAL DISEASE, which is said to affect at least 50% of Americans.
Still unsure? Ask your Dentist before implementing any new oral hygiene regimen.
FAQ 2. How Can I Make Dental Care More Affordable?
How a Health Savings Account (HSA) May Reduce Your Dental Costs*
WHY open a HSA?
To help save you money on dental or medical care!
WHAT is a HSA?
A Health Savings Account is a separate account you or your employer can put money into before taxes are taken out, which may save you money on your dental care.
WHO can open a HSA?
You may ask your employer if they offer HSA to employees or you may apply for your own HSA through your financial institution or bank.
Interested in opening a HSA? Contact your employer or financial institution/bank for more information!
To learn more, see article: click here
FAQ 3. Painless Dental Injections: Fact or Myth?
Can getting a dental injection really be a 'painless' experience?
At Clatskanie Dental Clinic, we think it can! Let's explore why we believe this and why you should care.
What do most people dread about going to the dentist: the injection! However, there are actually quite a few techniques your dentist can implement to make the injection 'painless.' Here at Clatskanie Dental, Dr. Ross uses 3 distinct methods to ensure you have the most comfortable injection possible:
- We Warm It Up: We warm the dental anesthetic so that it is near body temperature. Your body can interpret cold substances as pain, so this helps the body absorb the anesthetic more comfortably.
- We Go Slow: We administer the anesthetic very slowly, which gives the body more time to adjust and therefore reduces the chance of it feeling painful.
- Remember To Breath: Most people forget to breathe during dental injections because they're afraid. We gently remind you to breathe during the injection, which calms our patients. Also, the body interprets pain less during exhalation so you don't feel it as much.
- Topical Agent: Our topical agent is very effective at "pre-numbing" the area, making the injection even more painless!
We strive to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible and we know dental fear is real. If you're suffering from dental pain and are avoiding going to the dentist because you're afraid, you're not alone!
We want to help you in any way we can. Let us help you by calling us today to schedule a complimentary DENTIST MEET AND GREET so you can get to know us!
FAQ 5. Can a Dental cleaning really lower my risk of heart disease?
For decades, medical researchers have hypothesized the link between oral health and whole-body systemic health. Is this link still considered ambiguous in the medical community or is there hard evidence to prove that poor oral health leads to systemic deterioration? Recent studies published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (2013), Journal of Oral Science (2016) and Journal of Cardiology (2010) suggest the answer is clear in regards to the link between oral health and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Have you or a family member ever been told by your dentist that you need a “deep cleaning?” According to the CDC (2010), 1 in 2 Americans (47.2%) have moderate to severe periodontitis. Once you hit age 65 your odds of developing periodontitis skyrocket to 70%. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis that, through multiple complex processes, illicit production of host immune and inflammatory chemicals that lead to the deterioration of the endothelial cells of the gums and subsequent bone supporting the teeth, similar to the way termites eat and destroy wood, potentially leading to serious acute infections and eventual tooth loss. Although periodontitis is an incurable condition, treatment modalities have shown to be effective long-term in slowing the progression and stabilizing the condition. The traditional treatment for periodontitis is non-surgical periodontal therapy, aka a “deep cleaning”, performed at your dentist’s office. Periodontal therapy, depending on the severity and presence of co-morbidities such as diabetes, may include adjunctive treatments such as local antibiotics that help treat the diseased tissue directly or even laser therapy.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Americans, killing over 600,000 people every single year (CDC 2017). Atherosclerosis, an immune and inflammatory disease that presents as dysfunctional thickening of blood vessels, presents in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The process by which atherosclerosis, or blood vessel thickening, takes place is multifaceted. Basically, as plaques build up in the arteries, endothelial cell breakdown leads to foam cell formation that narrows the blood vessel leading to blood flow blockage. These atherosclerotic plaques may burst open, potentially causing a blood clot that can block the flow of blood causing a thrombotic stroke. The destructive inflammatory processes involved in CVD lead to increased cardiovascular risk markers such as destructive inflammatory blood markers (CRP, fibrinogen, interleukin-6), increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, increased left ventricular mass (an enlarged heart), and arterial stiffness (thickened blood vessels). Biomarker interleukin-6 is especially correlated with cerebral ischemia (stroke).
So, what is the connection between periodontitis and the number one killer, heart disease? Both diseases exhibit a mechanism of endothelial (blood vessel wall) breakdown which leads to increased inflammatory biomarkers CRP, IL-6, haptoglobin and leukocytes, which present as bone and soft tissue destruction around teeth (periodontitis) and blood vessel thickening and subsequent heart blockage or stroke (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease). The microbiological processes and components involved in both processes are analogous and the bacteria P gingivalis is present in most (64%) atherosclerotic plaques seen in patients with cardiovascular disease. Because research to find a causal relationship between oral bacteria and heart disease is extremely difficult and complex, as technologies improve medical researchers are finding more and more correlative and causative relationships between certain biomarkers. In a 6-month randomized clinical trial, non-surgical periodontal therapy was shown effective in reducing levels of systemic inflammatory markers such as ESR and triglycerides (significant reduction), as well as reduction in CRP and total cholesterol (moderate reduction). Periodontal therapy helps to stabilize these biomarkers up to 6-months post-operatively in patients with periodontitis.
In a 2013 study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, non-surgical periodontal therapy (deep cleaning) was shown to significantly reduce all cardiovascular risk markers evaluated, including systemic inflammation plasma markers (CRP, fibrinogen and interleukin-6), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, left ventricular mass (heart enlargement) and arterial stiffness, which lead to a lower cardiovascular risk. Scaling and root planing, aka “deep cleaning”, was shown to produce an even greater systemic reduction of inflammatory markers seen in patients who receive adjunctive therapies such as local administration of antibiotics such as minocycline.
Online Dental Education Library
Our goal here at Clatskanie Dental Clinic is to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Feel free to use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us. Call us today at (503) 728-2137
Have questions for Dr. Ross? Call her at (503) 728-2137
Frequently asked questions: dental fillings
Are dental amalgams safe? Is it possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam? Is it true that dental amalgams have been banned in other countries? Is there a filling material that matches tooth color? If my tooth doesn't hurt and my filling is still in place, why would the filling need to be replaced? Read this interesting and informative discussion from the American Dental Association.
FDA consumer update: dental amalgams
The Food and Drug Administration and other organizations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) continue to investigate the safety of amalgams used in dental restorations (fillings). However, no valid scientific evidence has shown that amalgams cause harm to patients with dental restorations, except in rare cases of allergic reactions.
ATSDR - public health statements: mercury
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some scientific background on mercury (contained within silver-colored fillings), and whether it believes the substance presents any health hazards.
Analysis reveals significant drop in children's tooth decay
Children have significantly less tooth decay in their primary (baby) and permanent teeth today than they did in the early 1970s, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). The analysis reveals that among children between the ages of six and 18 years, the percentage of decayed permanent teeth decreased by 57.2 percent over a 20-year period. In addition, children between the ages of two and 10 years experienced a drop of nearly 40 percent in diseased or decayed primary teeth.
Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, natural-looking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing esthetic materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. As a result, dentists and patients today have several choices when it comes to selecting materials used to repair missing, worn, damaged or decayed teeth.
The advent of these new materials has not eliminated the usefulness of more traditional dental restoratives, which include gold, base metal alloys and dental amalgam. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Alternatives to amalgam, such as cast gold restorations, porcelain, and composite resins are more expensive. Gold and porcelain restorations take longer to make and can require two appointments. Composite resins, or white fillings, are esthetically appealing, but require a longer time to place.
Here's a look at some of the more common kinds of alternatives to silver amalgam:
- Composite fillings - Composite fillings are a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glasslike particles that produce a tooth-colored restoration. Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth, and this may result in a smaller filling than that of an amalgam. Composites can also be "bonded" or adhesively held in a cavity, often allowing the dentist to make a more conservative repair to the tooth. In teeth where chewing loads are high, composite fillings are less resistant to wear than silver amalgams. It also takes longer to place a composite filling.
- Ionomers - Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials made of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders that are used to fill cavities, particularly those on the root surfaces of teeth. Glass ionomers can release a small amount of fluoride that help patients who are at high risk for decay. Glass ionomers are primarily used as small fillings in areas that need not withstand heavy chewing pressure. Because they have a low resistance to fracture, glass ionomers are mostly used in small non-load bearing fillings (those between the teeth) or on the roots of teeth. Resin ionomers also are made from glass filler with acrylic acids and acrylic resin. They also are used for non-load bearing fillings (between the teeth) and they have low to moderate resistance to fracture. Ionomers experience high wear when placed on chewing surfaces. Both glass and resin ionomers mimic natural tooth color but lack the natural translucency of enamel. Both types are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.
- Porcelain (ceramic) dental materials - All-porcelain (ceramic) dental materials include porcelain, ceramic or glasslike fillings and crowns. They are used as inlays, onlays, crowns and aesthetic veneers. A veneer is a very thin shell of porcelain that can replace or cover part of the enamel of the tooth. All-porcelain (ceramic) restorations are particularly desirable because their color and translucency mimic natural tooth enamel. All-porcelain restorations require a minimum of two visits and possibly more. The restorations are prone to fracture when placed under tension or on impact. Their strength depends on an adequate thickness of porcelain and the ability to be bonded to the underlying tooth. They are highly resistant to wear but the porcelain can quickly wear opposing teeth if the porcelain surface becomes rough.
Research has shown that almost everybody has a 95 percent chance of eventually experiencing cavities in the pits and grooves of their teeth.
Sealants were developed in the 1950s and first became available commercially in the early 1970s. The first sealant was accepted by the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics in 1972. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. In fact, research has shown that sealants actually stop cavities when placed on top of a slightly decayed tooth by sealing off the supply of nutrients to the bacteria that causes a cavity.
Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth. Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars, which erupt around the age of 6, and second molars, which erupt around the age of 12.
Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. Because of this, children derive the greatest benefit from sealants because of the newness of their teeth. Research has shown that more than 65% of all cavities occur in the narrow pits and grooves of a child`s newly erupted teeth because of trapped food particles and bacteria.
Sealant application involves cleaning the surface of the tooth and rinsing the surface to remove all traces of the cleaning agent. An etching solution or gel is applied to the enamel surface of the tooth, including the pits and grooves. After 15 seconds, the solution is thoroughly rinsed away with water. After the site is dried, the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden by using a special curing light.
Sealants normally last about five years. Sealants should always be examined at the child`s regular checkup. Sealants are extremely effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
Insurance coverage for sealant procedures is increasing, but still minimal. Many dentists expect this trend to change as insurers become more convinced that sealants can help reduce future dental expenses and protect the teeth from more aggressive forms of treatment.