Mission Viejo Dentist - Dentist in Mission Viejo - Mission Viejo Dental Group

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Oral Health Care



Introduction
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Does mercury in the silver fillings in your mouth pose any long-term health risks? Does fluoride, in spite of everything we've been told since childhood, actually cause more harm than good? What does the latest research reveal about tobacco use on your overall oral health?

This section is dedicated to the latest information about these and other oral health topics, culled from authoritative sources such as the American Dental Association.

Click here for the latest news from the American Dental Association.





The Preventive Program
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Both natural teeth and teeth with restorations survive best in an oral environment that is clean and where the intake of harmful foods is controlled. Our program is designed to help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored and manage periodontal disease. At the initial visit oral hygiene instructions are reviewed and are reinforced at subsequent recall visits. The following are helpful recommendations:
  • Brush your teeth twice a day in a circular motion with a soft bristled toothbrush aimed at the gum.
  • Floss every night in an up and down motion while keeping the floss in a U-shape and against the tooth surface.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid sticky sugary foods.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Use antiseptic and fluoride rinses as directed.
  • Sealants placed on young permanent teeth.





Fluoride
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For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, and thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.

In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.

Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.

Fluoride has come under some recent scrutiny by public health officials, some of whom question how effective it is in preventing cavities.

Bottled Water and Home Water Treatment Systems

The American Dental Association has maintained that consistent use of bottled water could result in individuals missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water. Moreover, the ADA has held that some home water treatment systems change fluoridated water supplies for the worse.

Enamel Fluorosis

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if he or she gets too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel.

Water Fluoridation

If you're wondering how fluoridated your community's water supply is, chances are you can get the latest information by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site.

A feature called "My Water's Fluoride" allows consumers to check out basic information about their water system, including the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates to account for the tendency for people to drink more water in warmer climates.

Toothpaste Warning Labels

The American Dental Association has stated that the FDA-required warning labels on toothpaste packaging, which state that poison control centers should be contacted if one swallows fluoride toothpaste, "could unnecessarily frighten parents and children, and that the label greatly overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by fluoride toothpastes."




Filings
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What's in a Filling?

Fillings, known clinically as amalgams, are synthetic materials that are used to restore a portion of a tooth damaged by decay or traumatic injury. There are different types of materials used to fill cavities, including gold and metal alloys.

Conventional amalgams are the silver-colored material many people have had placed in their teeth following treatment of a cavity. Many amalgams are actually a combination of various metal alloys, including copper, tin, silver and mercury. Mercury, a binding agent used in amalgams, has come under scrutiny lately by some health officials who claim it may cause long-term health problems.

Is Mercury in a Dental Filling Safe?

The American Dental Association cautions that emotional reports claiming amalgam is responsible for a variety of diseases are confusing and perhaps even alarming people to the point where they will not seek necessary dental care. Moreover, the ADA maintains that there has been no scientific evidence to show that amalgams are harmful because the miniscule amounts of mercury are so stable, they present no risks to humans. There have been rare cases of patients developing allergic reactions to amalgams.

Alternative Materials

There are alternatives to conventional substances used in amalgams, such as gold and metal alloys. These include materials made from porcelain and composite resins, which are colored to match natural tooth enamel. Unfortunately, few materials can match the strength and durability of conventional dental amalgam and may need more frequent replacement.

Common amalgam alternatives include:

  • Composite fillings - As stated, composite fillings are just what the name implies: a mixture of resins and fine particles designed to mimic the color of natural teeth. While not as strong as dental amalgam, composite fillings provide a pleasing aesthetic alternative. Sometimes composite resins need to be cemented or bonded to a tooth to allow for better adhesion.
  • Lonomers - Like composite resins, these materials are tooth-colored. Ionomers are made from a combination of various materials, including ground glass and acrylic resins. Ionomers are typically used for fillings near the gum line or tooth root, where biting pressure is not a factor. They are more fragile than dental amalgam, however. A small amount of fluoride is released by these compounds in order to facilitate strengthened enamel in the affected area.
  • Porcelain (ceramic) - These materials are usually a combination of porcelain, glass powder, and ceramic. Candidates for porcelain fillings are typically crowns, veneers, and onlays and inlays. Unlike ionomers, porcelain fillings are more durable, but can become fractured if exposed to prolonged biting pressures.





Infection Control
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Standards and Best Practice

With all of the increased media attention on infection outbreaks such as AIDS and multi-drug resistant strains of viruses, it's no wonder people have heightened concerns about infection control during a medical procedure.

Gloves, gowns and masks are required to be worn in all dentist offices today, a far cry from just a few decades ago, when fewer than one-third of all dentists even wore such personal protective equipment, or PPE. After each patient visit, disposable PPE-such as gloves, drapes, needles, and scalpel blades-are thrown away, hands are washed, and a new pair of gloves used for the next patient.

All hand instruments used on patients are washed, disinfected and/or sterilized with chemicals or steam after each use.

One of the most effective methods for preventing disease transmission-washing one's hands-is practiced in our office. It is routine procedure to wash hands at the beginning of the day, before and after glove use, and after touching any surfaces that may have become contaminated.

Water Quality and Biofilms

Concerns about the quality of water used in a dentist's office are unfounded, provided the dentist follows the infection control guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association.

Some health "experts" in recent years have called into question the risks associated with so-called "biofilms," which are thin layers of microscopic germs that collect on virtually any surface. Essentially, these bacteria and fungi occur everywhere, including faucets in your home; your body is no less accustomed to being exposed to them than in any other situations.

In fact, no scientific evidence has linked biofilms with disease. If you have a compromised or weakened immune system, you are susceptible to germs everywhere. Consequently, let our office know if you have such a condition so additional precautions, if any, can be taken.




Latex Allergy
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Naturally occurring latex has been linked in recent years to allergic reactions in people who use such products as latex gloves. The proteins in the latex, which can also become airborne, can cause problems in vulnerable people such as breathing problems and contact dermatitis. Some allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, have been more severe.

Many health experts have rightly attributed the dramatic increase of allergic reactions to latex in the health care community to the increased use of gloves and other personal protection equipment in light of the AIDS epidemic.

Latex is a pervasive substance in many household items-from toys and balloons to rubber bands and condoms.

Latex allergies could cause the following symptoms:

  • Dry skin
  • Hives
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory problems
  • Tingling sensations
  • People with high-risk factors for latex allergy include those who have undergone multiple surgical operations, have spina bifida, or are persistently exposed to latex products.

If you are vulnerable to latex or have allergies related to it, please notify our office and, by all means, seek medical attention from your family physician.




Age and Oral Health
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Oral Changes with Age

Is tooth loss inevitable in your later years? How much should adults be concerned about cavities? Here you'll find helpful answers to some frequently asked questions about oral health questions you may have as you get older.

As many people get older, they often overlook their oral health when considering other wellness issues, according to a survey by a major national dental group.

Surgeon General's Report

Four years ago, the Surgeon General released a landmark report that explored the effects of tobacco on oral health. The report galvanized the medical community even more toward the issue of tobacco use and its overall impact on our health.

In his report, the nation's chief health officer found a lot of inequities in how the nation's health care system cares for minorities and the disadvantaged. The Surgeon General called upon all U.S. health organizations to more actively promote oral health.




Tobacco
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What effects can smoking have on my oral health? Are cigars a safe alternative to cigarettes? Are smokeless tobacco products safe? The American Dental Association has some alarming news that you should know on its web site at http://www.ada.org.

The American Dental Association states that it "has long been a leader in the battle against tobacco-related disease, working to educate the public about the dangers inherent in tobacco use and encouraging dentists to help their patients break the cycle of addiction. The ADA has continually strengthened and updated its tobacco policies as new scientific information has become available."




Oral Piercing
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Oral piercing (usually on the tongue or around the lips) is one of the more disturbing fashion trends in recent years. Many people fail to realize that that even precautions taken during the installation of a piece of piercing jewelry are not enough to stave off harmful, long-term consequences such as cracked or chipped teeth, swelling, problems with swallowing and taste, and ugly scars. Add to this the possibility of choking on a piece of dislodged jewelry and one has to ask if the risks are warranted.

But the most serious long-term health problems from oral piercing come in the form of damage to the soft tissues such as the cheeks, gums and palate, as well as opportunistic infections. Any kind of body piercing may also put you at risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.

A common form of body piercing involves the tongue. Tongue piercings have been known to cause blocked airways (from a swollen tongue). In some cases, a tongue piercing will cause uncontrolled bleeding.

Some states actually regulate or ban oral piercing, so ensure that you are not breaking any laws.




High-Tech Office
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One national agency estimates that advances in dental research save Americans more than $4 billion a year. Dentistry today has the most sophisticated, high-tech equipment ever available, allowing the dentist to treat and diagnose with remarkable precision. Such technology also vastly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, much of the pain and discomfort for you. Some of the more exciting advances coming out in dental research include new genetic therapies, tissue repair methods and improved materials that are biocompatible.

Here's a look at some of the newer technologies:

  • Air abrasion - Uses powerful particles of aluminum oxide to remove debris and decay. The most exciting thing for patients is air abrasion is quite painless and in some cases, doesn't require an anesthetic.
  • Digital imaging - Allows almost instantaneous views of images inside the patients' mouth. Examples include intra-oral cameras, extra-oral digital cameras (images from outside the mouth looking in), and digital X-rays on a PC screen.
  • Digital radiography - like traditional X-rays, digital radiography allows your dentist to easily spot deep tooth problems such as bone loss, deep decay and root canals.
  • Lasers - Lasers may one day replace drills, with more precision and less pain. Some teeth whitening, gum, and decay removal therapies employ the use of lasers today.


A Future without Drills and Fillings?

Some health experts believe that a future without drills and fillings is not that far off.

From regenerated teeth using your own DNA, to such futuristic techniques called "bio solutions" that treat disease on a molecular level, incredible advances are being explored every day. For example, bacteria that cause decay may one day be able to be modified before they cause damage.


Mission Viejo Dentist - Dentist in Mission Viejo - Mission Viejo Dental Group