Posts for: October, 2017
Though you don't like to admit it, you don't floss very often. Oh sure, you know it's important to remove the film of bacteria and food particles called plaque that builds up between and on your teeth. And you know you should do it every day.
It's just that, well… you're not very good at using dental floss.
While it's effective, dental floss takes some technique to hold it with your fingers and work it between your teeth. It can be hard for people to get the hang of it — and some aren't physically able or have obstacles like braces that make it harder.
There is a solution: an oral irrigator. Available for home use for decades, these devices deliver pulsating water at high pressure through a handheld device that looks like a power toothbrush. The water flows through a special tip to loosen and flush out plaque from between teeth.
You may have encountered oral irrigation during dental visits. They're a regular part of dental cleanings especially for treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Because gum tissue weakened by disease may gradually separate from the teeth, large voids or gaps called periodontal pockets can form. These pockets can become further infected and accumulate plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that can also extend to the roots. Oral irrigation is a way to remove much of the plaque from these hard to reach places.
Oral irrigators have also proven effective for orthodontic patients whose brace hardware inhibits regular dental floss. A 2008 study, for example, found orthodontic patients were able to remove five times as much plaque with an oral irrigator as those who used only a manual toothbrush.
If you're simply looking for an effective alternative to dental floss, an oral irrigator is a good choice. We can help choose the right model for you and give you tips on using it. Your goal is the same as if you were using dental floss — remove the plaque between your teeth to keep disease at bay and your smile healthy.
If you would like more information on flossing options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cleaning Between Your Teeth.”
How root canal treatment from your dentist in Batavia can save your tooth
Tooth pain can drive you crazy. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate tooth pain, like getting a filling. But what happens if you have a new filling and your tooth still hurts? What do you do now? The answer may be root canal therapy. John C. Koechley, D.D.S. in Batavia, IL wants to share the signs you may need a root canal.
Root canal therapy is the state-of-the-art way to eliminate tooth pain and still let you keep your tooth. There are some definite recognizable signs and symptoms you may need a root canal. You need to watch out for:
- Pain that continues even after a filling is placed
- Increasing pain when you eat or drink hot or cold foods and beverages
- Radiating pain that moves into your face, head, and jaws
- Chronic or increasing aching or stabbing tooth pain
- A white or red bump on your gums near the root of a tooth
- Bleeding or drainage near a tooth
Root canal treatment works by removing the diseased and dying tissue from inside of your tooth. The dentist will create a small opening in the top of your tooth and draw out the infected tissue using ultra-thin instruments called files. He will place a sedative material inside your tooth to reduce inflammation and heal your tooth.
After your tooth has healed completely and is no longer painful, we will fill the tooth with an inert material and your tooth will be sealed up permanently with a small filling. Your tooth pain is gone, and your tooth is saved! Root canal treatment typically takes at least two or three appointments, depending on how infected the tooth is.
During a root canal, the blood supply and nerves are removed which can make the tooth brittle and prone to breakage. That’s why it is recommended to place a crown on a tooth that has had a root canal. The crown protects the tooth like a suit-of-armor.
If you have a tooth that hurts, think about root canal therapy. It’s the safe, effective way to eliminate tooth pain while still keeping your tooth. For more information about root canal therapy and other restorative and cosmetic dental procedures call John C. Koechley, D.D.S. in Batavia, IL today!
Perhaps you haven’t thought of it quite this way, but saliva is one of the true wonders of the human body. This unassuming fluid performs a variety of tasks to aid digestion and help protect your mouth from disease. And you hardly notice it — except when it’s not there.
That’s the case for millions of people in America who have a chronic condition called xerostomia or “dry mouth.” This happens when the salivary glands don’t secrete enough saliva, normally two to four pints daily.
Of course, we can experience mouth dryness when we first wake up (saliva flow ebbs while we sleep), feel stressed, use tobacco, or consume alcohol and certain foods like onions or spices. It becomes a problem, though, when periods of low saliva become chronic. Without its preventive capabilities, you’ll be at much higher risk for dental diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Chronic dry mouth can occur for various reasons: systemic diseases like cancer or autoimmune deficiencies can cause it, as well as radiation or chemotherapy treatments. One of the most common causes, though, is medication, both over-the-counter and prescription. The surgeon general identifies over 500 known drugs that may inhibit saliva production, including some antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants. It’s often why older people who take more medications than younger people suffer more as a population from dry mouth.
Because of its long-term health effects, it’s important to try to boost saliva flow. If your mouth is consistently dry, try to drink more fluids during the day. If you suspect your medication, see if your physician can prescribe a different drug. It also helps to drink a little water before and after taking oral medication.
We may also recommend medication or other substances that stimulate saliva or temporarily substitute for it. Xylitol, a natural alcohol sugar that also inhibits bacterial growth, can help relieve dryness. You’ll often find it in gums or mints.
Chronic dry mouth is more than a minor irritation — it can lead to more serious conditions. In addition to these tips, be sure to also keep up your regular dental visits and maintain a daily schedule of oral hygiene to prevent dental disease.
If you would like more information on overcoming dry mouth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth: Learn about the Causes and Treatment of this Common Problem.”