Why Dental Hygiene Visits are About More Than Clean Teeth

female dentist in dental chairThere’s no surprise that your bi-annual dental hygiene visit is about getting your teeth a deeper clean than you can get alone at home. The hygienists at our dental office in Doylestown are dedicated to removing plaque, flossing in between each and every tooth, and polishing your pearly whites for the ultimate clean. But your visits are about more than just getting your teeth clean. In fact, they’re about much more…

Checking Out Those X-Rays

Sometimes at your cleaning appointment, you’ll receive digital, low-radiation dental x-rays that are used to see what the human eye cannot. Both your hygienist and dentist in Doylestown will review these x-rays and check for cavities that are just forming and are still too tiny to see without the help of digital images. X-rays can also help your dental team see problems below the gum line like an abscess or bone loss in the jaw that holds your teeth in place.

Taking a Peek at Your Gums

We already know that your hygienist is taking a good, long look at your teeth during your visits, but she’s also paying quite a bit of attention to your gums. Gum health is critical to keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you may be in the beginning stages of gum disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to other whole-body health issues including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Keeping an Eye on More Than Teeth

While your hygienist is working on cleaning your teeth, she’s not only looking for decay, cavities, or gum disease, she’s also searching for any signs of a larger concern. Since there is a correlation between oral health and several serious systemic diseases, some early warning signs of these health issues often first appear in the mouth. Your hygienist is trained to look for any areas of concern in order to catch any problems early when treatment tends to be more successful.

At-Home Care is Important, Too

One of the best ways you can keep your smile healthy in between appointments is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home by brushing and flossing every day. Brushing should be done twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing should be done once a day to remove food particles and plaque buildup from between teeth.

The team at our Doylestown dental office wants to encourage our patients and neighbors to visit their dentist at least twice a year. And if you’re family is looking for a dentist, we always welcome you to give us a call.

Why Do I Care About iCat?

Sometimes we dentists just can’t help ourselves. We are enthralled with the technology that becomes available to us. And sometimes our patients have to remind us that the benefits of a 3D, soft and hard tissue scan of the jaw, head, and neck aren’t immediately clear to them. I usually think of myself as a good educator, but when I get my hands on a tool like this, I get so excited, I completely geek out! Let me take a second to remedy that.

The Big Deal

CT scanning has been used in the medical field for years. Instead of the single beam traditional x-rays emit, a CT scanner emits a series of narrow beams. The images produced are far more detailed and actually three-dimensional. This advantage allows doctors to distinguish tissues inside a solid organ. But getting the scan can be inconvenient and cost prohibitive. Here’s what a traditional CT experience was like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx-0emi4m8s

Now, there is a CT scanner specifically designed for use in dentistry, and that is wonderful news.

The iCat FLEX is the newest and best in x-ray technology. It takes a precise, three-dimensional – and even two dimensional panoramas– for a clear picture of your head, not your entire body.

That’s cool on a number of levels.

First, because it has a smaller footprint, we can keep and use this device right here in our office – you don’t have to go to a hospital to have it done.

Second, you don’t have to lie down or get undressed for us to get a great image. All you have to do is sit on a stool while the machine does its work.

Plus, there are all these other terrific benefits:

Since the images are digital, and getting them is super fast,  you’ll be exposed to significantly lower radiation levels than with traditional x-ray technology.
We have increased insight to relieve discomfort associated with TMJ.
We can choose what we look at most closely, so you’ll have results you can trust absolutely.
To find out more about how the iCat CT technology can benefit you, give us a call today, or ask us about it at your next appointment.

Do I have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. The trouble is, it’s difficult to identify a possible sleep condition when you’ve been – you guessed it – sleeping through the symptoms. Take the quiz below to assess your risk for sleep apnea!

1. Do you snore?

A. No, I have never been told that I snore.
B. Yes, my roommate or partner complains about it constantly.
C. Absolutely! I snore so loudly, I usually wake myself up!

2. How do you usually feel at bedtime?

A. Snug as a bug! I can’t wait for my head to hit the pillow.
B. I feel okay. Some nights are better than others.
C. I dread going to sleep. I can never get a good night’s rest.

3. Are you a morning person?

A. I thrive in the morning. It’s my most productive time of day!
B. I hit the snooze button a couple times, but I manage.
C. Mornings are torture. There’s not enough coffee in the world….

4. What’s your workday like?

A. I power through 9-5, then I go to the gym after work. I just have so much energy!
B. I usually slow down a little after lunch, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.
C. I have to drink coffee, take naps, or get up from my desk regularly to avoid crashing completely. I have trouble concentrating on my work.

5. Do you ever feel like fatigue is compromising your safety?

A. Nope! I feel great.
B. Sometimes I have trouble remembering small things, but I’ve never made a mistake that could be considered dangerous.
C. I have fallen asleep while driving, or in a public place. I’m worried that I’ll get seriously hurt some day, or hurt somebody else.

How’d you do?

Mostly A’s…

Congratulations! Sounds like you’re getting a great night’s rest.

Mostly B’s…

Be careful! Sleep apnea can present a variety of symptoms, so it can’t hurt to talk with a professional about your sleeping habits. If there are other people around while you’re asleep, ask them if you snore or if they notice changes in your breathing throughout the night. If you have any doubts that you’re breathing perfectly well, consult with your dentist about the alignment of your bite, or ask about the possibility of a sleep study.

Mostly C’s…

Schedule an appointment TODAY. You have some very clear symptoms of sleep apnea that need to be addressed immediately. You may also experience headaches or dry mouth in the mornings, or wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. Sound familiar? Get to a professional as soon as possible for an evaluation and potential treatment with a specialized mouthguard. There’s no need to go through life feeling so exhausted – and there’s certainly no need to continue putting your health and well-being at risk. Book your consultation today; we can help!