The dental clinic is a place where you go to get rid of your dental infections. Remember that you are not the only one, and therefore it is also a sort of 'warehouse' for microorganisms that can cause infection. The organisms are invisible, and so there have to be some measures to ensure they are not being passed from one patient to another. Needless to say, dental health care practitioners are exposed to these all the time, and are at greater risk for contracting these infections.
Ways that infection can spread in a dental clinic:
- Inhalation of infective microbes from the air
- Direct contact with infected material like blood, saliva, and other patient materials
- Indirect contact of organisms through contaminated objects like instruments, equipment, or office surfaces like dental chairs
- Sneezing, coughing, talking leading to sputtering of infected material
- Contact of the infected hands to eyes, nose, or oral mucosa
There are some measures that a dental clinic should have in place to manage this risk. Whenever you step into a clinic, watch for these, and when in doubt, feel free to check with your dentist:
- Evaluate the Office: A tidy, uncluttered office is an indication of an office space that is easy to sterilize. A carpeted office may look nice, but it is hard to sterilize it. Tabletops that do not have too many things on them is a good sign.
- Sterilization of Instruments: Type 'B' vacuum autoclave is the preferred method of sterilizing dental instruments over Type 'N' non-vacuum autoclave. Steam sterilization requires direct contact between the saturated steam and every surface of the instrument. As this direct contact can be prevented by the presence of air in the chamber a vacuum must be present to remove the air and enable steam penetration. All pouched instruments, instruments with lumens or cavities (whether pouched or un-pouched) and porous loads (e.g. swabs or dressings) must be sterilized in a vacuum autoclave.An advantage of pouching all instruments is that they remain sterile for up to 6 months until you use them.
- Gloves: When you are on the dental chair, check where the gloves are coming from. These should be disposable ones that are pulled out from a box. Using gloves that were used earlier, even for a simple examination, are a strict no-no. Another good practice that most dentists have is to clasp the hands together to avoid the gloves coming in contact with any other surface.
- Patient Bibs / Drapes: Make sure the clinician places a tidy bib/drape before start of the procedure. A disposable bib/drape is always preferred and safer.
- Syringes: Almost all the dental clinicians use a new sterile disposable syringe is always used for administering local anesthesia. Some clinicians use same irrigation syringes in many patients. Make sure the syringes used for irrigation or disinfecting the root canals or surgical sites are new or the same used for administering local anesthesia.
- Antibiotics: For some dental procedures, there may be no need for an antibiotic but it is always good to confirm the same with the dentist.
- Waste Disposal: Keep a watch on where and how the used syringes, cotton, and other materials are thrown out. This is another tip to identify safe practices.
- A Frank Talk: It is not inappropriate to have a discussion with your dentist on how instruments are sterilized in the office and general practices followed to ensure a sterile environment. Be diplomatic, however, and do not sound accusing though!
Patients are entitled to receive services in safe, sterile environment. Thus, it is important to get your treatment in dental clinics where they follow "standard sterilization" procedures and strictly respect the "one instrument-to-one patient" rule and use disposable instruments when needed.These simple tips can help you identify sterile dental practices in the dental clinic. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a dentist.
The appearance of the milk teeth is one of the most awaited landmarks in a child's life. The first teeth to erupt are usually the lower front teeth during 6 to 8 months of life, and the last milk tooth to fall off is at 12 to 14 years of age. The playful nature of teeth, difficulty to make them maintain good oral hygiene, and the food habits put the children at increased risk of dental disease.
Very often, because they are in place for a shorter duration, parents tend to ignore decay in the milk teeth. But whether it is decay or gum disease or broken teeth, it is important to immediately treat them.
Listed below are some functions that milk teeth play:
- Eating: They may be exerting slightly lesser force than the bigger permanent teeth, but they still play a significant role in chewing and digestion. Children with weak, missing, or decayed molars have poor nutrition and food habits due to their inability to chew food well.
- Esthetics: A child with a good set of teeth and an open smile is loved by all. This adds not just to the beauty of the child but also to his self-worth and self-esteem. These children feel more confident and are more social.
- Speech development: A good set of teeth are essential for the child's speech development. Improper spacing between teeth or lost tooth not replaced can lead to speech issues.
- Space Maintenance: In addition to the above functions, the milk teeth also help to preserve and "maintain" the space that is required for the permanent teeth. As the permanent tooth nears eruption, the milk tooth, gets resorbed, becomes mobile, and finally falls off. In cases where the primary tooth was lost and not replaced, the space may be reduced due to movement of the adjacent and opposing tooth into this space.
Given the above reasons, it is very important to take good care of the primary or milk or deciduous teeth. Some simple things to do would be:
- In the very early stages, before regular dental care can begin, the teeth can be wiped off with a gauze wrapped on the finger.
- By the first year of life, brushing should be introduced along with rinsing after each meal.
- A biannual visit to the dentist for oral prophylaxis with regular cleaning should be started by first year of life.
- If the dentist identifies the child to be prone to decay, fluoride application and/or pit and fissure sealants should be used.
These are sufficient reasons to take care of the primary teeth, which play a very important role. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist.
The primary or milk teeth begins to erupt at about 6 months of life with the complete set in place by 2.5 years of age, and the entire set is replaced by the age of 14. The benefits of some of the preventive dental measures are outlined below.
- Maternal care during pregnancy: The teeth begin to form during the second trimester of pregnancy. It is very important that the maternal diet includes sufficient amounts of calcium, potassium, and fluoride for optimal tooth mineralization. Good tooth structure has greater resistance to decay than hypomineralized teeth.
- Routine oral hygiene: For the first 6 months, though there are no teeth, after each nursing, end it with a spoonful or two of water to wash down the milk. Gradually, the gums can be just wiped with a gauze pad or soft cotton to remove any residual bacteria. The baby also gets used to this habit, and once the teeth are in, there are lesser bacteria for the decay process to begin. Once the teeth begin to erupt, the nursing habits also need to be modified to ensure the baby is not allowed to go to sleep with a bottle. This is a common practice to put the baby to sleep and should be avoided to reduce the occurrence of nursing bottle caries.
- Fluoride application: Fluoride has been shown to have significant benefits in preventing caries. Once routine dental visits begin, then the dentist will be able to tell if fluoride needs to be applied. This can happen either in the form of a gel or varnish that is applied in the dental office or as a paste that is used at home. This helps in building resistance to decay.
- Pit and fissure sealants: The tooth has a number of pits and fissures which are 8 times more vulnerable to decay than other surfaces. Deep pits are shown to harbor more bacteria and thereby greater incidence of caries. There are sealants which are thin resins that can be applied on the tooth, which can reduce bacteria accumulation and further decay.
- Space maintainers: In the event that a child has lost a tooth, either due to trauma or decay and subsequent infection, then a space maintainer should be placed within the next 3 months. This helps in maintaining the space and establishing a good bite during the transition phase and later, once the permanent teeth are in place.
- Orthodontic treatment: If there is malocclusion, then early intervention helps by reducing treatment time and getting better results as the teeth and periodontium are still very elastic and are more malleable to movement.
By doing these preventive measures early in life, the result is a child who has healthier teeth, less decay, less pain, and a happy smile all the time! If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dentist and ask a free question.
Root canal treatment is an effective procedure which is used to treat a tooth whose pulp has been infected. The treatment helps to remove the elimination and further protects the tooth from future microbial attacks. Root canals are physical hollows in a tooth which naturally consists of nerves, blood vessels and other cellular beings.
Learning about Root Canal Treatment-
Before one decides to go for root canal treatment, it is important to realize that this method is useful for preserving a dead tooth, not to save one. So, why does one keep the old tooth which is beyond repair? One can pull out the dead tooth and fill the gap with an implant along with an artificial tooth. However, the main reason for doing this is because it is much simpler than an implant. Even though the old tooth is dead, one can immensely benefit from keeping it as its structure will help you to chew food and talk properly.
In root canal therapy, the doctor cuts off the infected nerve tissue inside the tooth so as to prevent it from infecting the rest of the tooth. But there are consequences of root canal therapy as well. A root canal procedure makes the tooth brittle and much more fracture prone. This is because the inside of the tooth has been removed leaving the outside shell dry and brittle. This is why a root canal therapy often involves a second procedure called crown. A root canaled tooth needs to be protected because the tissue inside of it has been removed. Here comes the crown. The crown is a strong outer covering which is even stronger than the enamel which preserves the structure of the tooth thus preventing fractures.
Failure to undergo permanent restoration placement by the dentist after root canal treatment within next few weeks may result in failure of the root canal treatment due to decay, infection, tooth fracture and/or loss of the tooth structure.
Factors Determining the Success of Root Canal Treatment-
A root canal therapy is an attempt at saving the remains of your tooth. However, sometimes the damage is too much or the enamel is too brittle to withstand the procedure. These factors may cause the loss of a tooth.
Many factors contribute to the success of root canal treatment and not all factors can be determined in advance. Some of the factors are:
- individual resistance to infection.
- the size, shape and location of the canals.
A case may be more difficult if the tooth has blocked, curved, or narrow canals. The treatment may not relieve the symptoms and treatment can sometimes fail for unexplained reasons. If treatment fails, other procedures (including re-treatment or surgery) may be necessary to retain the tooth, or it may have to be extracted. During and after treatment, the patient may experience some pain or discomfort, swelling, bleeding and loosening of dental restorations and may also need antibiotics to treat any associated infections.
Another factor in this method is the development of an abscess near the root of the tooth if some of the infection remains back or if the antibiotics are not effective enough. Root canal instruments sometimes separate (break) inside the canal which may or may not effect the prognosis. If the separated fragment cannot be retrieved, it may be sealed inside the root canal, or require additional treatment in the future.
Failure to undergo permanent restoration placement by the dentist after root canal treatment within next few weeks may fail if the root canal treatment, decay, infection, tooth fracture and/or loss of the tooth.
The alternative techniques to root canal therapy include either no treatment or tooth extraction. Tooth extraction may be followed by any prosthetic replacement procedure like dental implants or a removable denture. One can also fix a partial denture which is commonly called a bridge in medical terms.
Conducting no treatments is often accompanied by factors like occasional pains, infection and a possibility of deterioration in the dental infection such that the tooth will no longer be restorable. If a massive loss of tooth structure occurs, then extraction may be the only option.
Taking all factors into consideration, root canal therapy is a very effective method for removing dental infection and is the best possible method in the field.
For a child, the first visit to the dentist can be panicky. This is because they don't realize what's in store. Children get a better idea about dentists after getting some information about the visit. We, as grown ups, must be set up to answer the inquiries and instruct our children in the most ideal way.
The following are some valuable tips on the best way to set up a child for the first dentist appointment:
- Guardians regularly ask when they ought to take their child for the first ever dental visit. The best time to begin taking children for a dental checkup is either when their first tooth pops out, or right around their first birthday. Expert dentists are capable of instantly recognizing any potential issues with the development and advancement of the jaw and delicate palate. Children's teeth are more porous and defenseless to decay than grown-up's teeth; so early mediation is a basic to guarantee those small teeth staying sound. It is also recommended that guardians begin brushing their child's teeth when they start coming out, utilizing a delicate toothbrush and plain water. Brushing should be started as early as possible.
- It's never too early to begin acquainting your kids with tooth brushing and knowledge of oral health. The best time to begin is before your kid's first dental visit. Youngsters love to find out about their bodies, and love to grin, touch, and investigate new things. There are many fun ways to impart oral health education to children. The more agreeable they are with their mouth and teeth, the less demanding your youngster's first dental visit will be.
- Tooth brushing is an essential piece of our everyday self-care, and it is our habit. A child, after being introduced to a brush and a toothbrush will take a certain time period to make daily brushing a habit. Guardians and the kids can brush their teeth "together". It is essential to note that toothbrushes are apparatuses, not toys, and that infants and babies ought to be firmly directed.
- Little children, are extremely insightful and touchy to the states of mind of people around them. Children regularly reflect our conduct. When we are casual and upbeat, children will probably be loose, as well. Children are additionally more casual when they are prepared for or taught something. Invest energy conversing with children about going to the dentist. You can also discuss what the dentist will do, emphatically.
- Always choose the most trustworthy dentist who is friendly and knows how to handle a child on his first dentist visit.
A child's first dentist appointment is a special one, and you should prepare him accordingly.
My right incisor has broken slightly before 10 years. Whether I have to go for capping or any cement like filling is there. How much will it cost?
Pregnancy brings with it a whole lot of body system changes and oral health is no exception. Some simple careful planning, however, can help avoid a lot of oral health complications associated with pregnancy. The hormonal changes during pregnancy have a direct effect on the oral health and has higher incidence of decay, pregnancy gingivitis, and pregnancy tumors. Additionally, morning sickness affects the regular oral care, leading to more plaque and decay.
Before pregnancy: If you are planning to get pregnant, then a dental visit can help you get a thorough check-up ahead of the pregnancy. A routine cleaning and check for cavities should be sufficient to avoid any urgent treatment need during the period of pregnancy.
During pregnancy: If you were not able to do your pre-pregnancy dental visit, inform the dentists about pregnancy as early as possible. All elective procedures can be done after the delivery. Only really essential treatment that cannot wait until the delivery should be undertaken during pregnancy, most safe if done during the 4th to 6th months.
Listed below are some points to consider as far as oral/dental health is considered during pregnancy:
- Scaling and polishing can be done as usual
- Inform the dentist about all the medications that you are advised by your gynecologist
- Periodic check-up once in 3 months to reduce severity of gum disease and decay
- Good oral hygiene measures including brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Try a bland toothpaste if morning sickness is very severe
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Tooth formation happens in the third month and requires diet rich in calcium and minerals
- Avoid sweet snacks which can lead to greater plaque formation
The hormone changes combined with oral infection (could be gum disease or tooth decay) can lead to severe effects on the developing baby. It is extremely important to avoid dental infections, as these may necessitate antibiotics, require x-rays and even require treatment like root canal and/or extraction, all of which are best avoided until after the baby is delivered. It is considered safe for dental procedures to be done during the 4th to 6th month. Though now there are safer measures to do x-rays and dental procedures, they are best avoided, unless in case of emergency. This emergency situation can be avoided by better planning and some minimal care. Severe gum disease could also lead to premature or low birth weight of the baby. So plaque buildup should be avoided which leads to both decay and gum disease.
After delivery: After the delivery of the baby, please visit your dentist to ensure that there is no emergent dental condition requiring attention. Resume your regular dental care after delivery.