Archive | November, 2014

Daily Dental Tip: Tooth Sensitivity

29 Nov


If you feel pain when you eat cold foods or liquids, your pain may be from a cavity. It’s time to make an appointment to see your dentist.


A guide for youths considering aesthetic dentistry (via @YourHealthSG)

29 Nov


Recent reports from a local medical research group have revealed that youths in Singapore are becoming more receptive to plastic surgery. This trend is prevalent internationally as well.

However, many of these youths and their parents may not be aware of the risks involved in these procedures. Dr Bruce Lee from T32 Dental Centre provides some insights and advice on aesthetic dental procedures.

Everyone loves a nice smile and there is increasing interest in dental procedures that enhance smiles.

Aesthetic dentistry aims to mimic and recreate a person’s natural smile. The procedures restore, enhance and rejuvenate the form and function of the patient’s smile, which may be deformed, damaged or destroyed by nature, trauma, disease or time.

Here are some of the common aesthetic dental procedures available:

1. Teeth-whitening

2. Orthodontics(Teeth-straightening using braces)

3. Direct Dental Bonding (Tooth-coloured fillings)

4. Indirect Dental Bonding

5. Dental Implants

6. Aesthetic Gum Lifting Procedure

7. Smile Makeover & Digital Smile Design

8. Full-Mouth Rehabilitation

Looking for a quick fix? Think again

Patients who desire quick results may disregard how invasive the procedures can be.

However, they are advised not to be too hasty. Their dentist should first understand their needs and expectations, and make a detailed assessment of their condition before prescribing a suitable treatment.

An example of a quick fix treatment would be ‘Instant Braces’, which promises to help patients achieve straight smiles in a few weeks as compared to two years of conventional orthodontics treatment.

To achieve this ‘instant’ result, patients’ teeth will be trimmed, filed and fitted with dental veneers and crowns. In severe cases, the nerves of teeth with deep fillings may even be removed in the process.

The invasive measures taken in the quick fix treatment may result in serious dental issues in the future.

Going for an aesthetic dental procedure? Here is some advice from Dr Lee:

1. Do not rush into any procedure.

2. Discuss your aesthetic needs/wants/concerns with your dentist. If you have a procedure in mind, check with your dentist if it is the best solution for your needs.

3. Your dentist will conduct a thorough assessment of your smile so that he/she can formulate a comprehensive plan for your needs. (Photos and models of your teeth may be taken)

4. Your dentist will show you what you can expect in his/her diagnostic plans. You will also be able to visualize the potential results in real-life.

5. Discuss potential pros and cons in the treatment recommended, as well as understand the alternative treatments available.

6. Be aware of potential failures or problems which may arise from undergoing the procedures.

7. Discuss the treatment costs with your dentist after you have understood the various treatment options available.

8. Look at ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of cases performed by your dentist to get an idea of potential results and to also gauge his/her experience in the relevant procedures.

9. If in doubt, seek a second or third opinion from other dentists. This may also provide clarity in what was recommended and other options for consideration.


Daily Dental Tip: Oral health for children

28 Nov


Children over six years old should clean their teeth three times per day with junior or adult toothpaste.

Long-in-the-Tooth #Dental Advice (via @NYtimes)

28 Nov

Terry O’Brien, 73, a retired administrative assistant in Billerica, Mass., recently had to make a tough decision about her dental care.

“I always took care of my teeth,” she said. But even so, she was told she needed a crown — an artificial cap — at a cost of about $2,000.

Since she and her husband lack dental coverage, she opted for a less expensive filling. She worries, however, about how she will fund dental care long term. “I’ll make 100, I bet,” she said. “But I wonder how long my teeth will last.”

Older Americans face such situations often, because many people over age 65 lack dental insurance. Only about 10 percent of retirees have dental benefits from their former employer, according to Oral Health America, a nonprofit advocacy group.

And 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries had not seen a dentist in five years, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2012. The main factor is the cost of care, said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare policy expert with the foundation.

Traditional Medicare, the federal health program for older adults and people with disabilities, doesn’t cover routine dental care or dentures. Some Medicare managed care plans offer coverage, but it is often limited to preventive care like cleanings. Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people, may cover some dental care for adults, but benefits vary by state. Individual plans are available, but they typically cap payments at low levels and may not cover any advanced treatments, like implants to replace lost teeth.

That means most older Americans must pay for dental care out of their pockets.

According to 2013 data from the American Dental Association, which surveyed private dentists, the average cost of a basic examination is about $45, while a cleaning is $85. X-rays are another $27; a tooth-colored filling is $149, while a silver filling is about $125. Costs vary widely, however, depending on the market.

Artificial implants average about $4,000 per tooth, the A.D.A. found. But the bill can be much higher, after adding anesthesia and related treatments like bone grafts. Implants involve inserting a metal screw into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for a replacement crown.

Implants are an economic impossibility for some patients, said Beth Truett, chief executive of Oral Health America. But, “If they can afford it, they are a great solution to maintaining not only that tooth, but the teeth around it.” A full set of teeth for an adult is 28 (32 if you still have your wisdom teeth), and you should have at least 22 teeth to eat properly, she said. Once a tooth is lost, nearby teeth bear additional strain and it gets more difficult to chew; that leads to a cycle of poor nutrition and further tooth loss, she said.

Ed Decker, 69, a retired hospital pharmacist in Ashland, Mass., said he had poor dental health his entire life and had budgeted to make dental care a priority. “I think my family was born with marshmallows instead of teeth,” he said. Ultimately, he lost so many teeth he couldn’t chew, and had 10 implants, at a total cost of about $50,000. He was able to pay for it, he said, because of successful investments recommended by his financial adviser. “When you put in an implant, it’s like having a natural tooth,” he said.

Judith Jones, a professor at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and an authority on dental care for older people, recommends that after age 65, the bare minimum level of care needed is a professional examination and cleaning at least once a year. Poor mouth health has been linked to other ailments, like heart disease and diabetes.

Patients should brush at least twice a day for two minutes, she said. If older people aren’t able to do it themselves, family members or caregivers should assist them. Basic mouth hygiene, including daily flossing, is important to maintain healthy gums and remove tartar and plaque, which traps bacteria and can lead to infections.

People also need to be aware of the possibility of being pressured into unnecessary treatment. To find a reputable dentist, you may want to ask your doctor or your friends for a referral. And be skeptical of treatment that sounds overly aggressive. “If you go in and they want to replace every filling in your head, you should get a second opinion,” said Athena Papas, co-head of geriatric dentistry at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

However, she noted, patients who haven’t been to the dentist for several years may have a real need for restoration work, particularly if they are on multiple prescriptions. Some medications can cause a reduction in saliva, which can promote development of cavities.

One way to limit costs for replacement teeth is to have implants on the lower jaw, and use dentures to replace upper teeth, said Dr. Papas; it’s easier to keep upper dentures in place.

Older adults on tight budgets generally should avoid cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, dentists say. But many dismiss the idea that older people don’t need to spend on oral care because they are near the end of their lives. Patients who are in their 80s, but who are fit and have a healthy lifestyle, can benefit from technologically advanced dental care “because it is estimated that they will have another 10-15 years of life span,” Helena Tapias-Perdigón, an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Dentistry at Texas A&M Health Science Center, said in an email.

Some dental schools offer discounted treatment, although some require deposits and may have waiting lists. The American Dental Association lists accredited schools on its website.

You can also ask dentists if they offer a payment plan. But read the fine print of any discount program, said Jim Quiggle, a spokesman for the nonprofit Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, since some programs offer little in the way of true savings.


Daily Dental Tip: Clean your removable appliances

27 Nov


If you wear removable appliances, clean them after eating and rinse before putting them back in your mouth.

#Texas School District offer registered #dental assistant program (via @HoustonChron)

27 Nov


Clear Creek school district is developing a two-year dentistry program to offer high school students the opportunity to learn about the dental profession as well as become registered dental assistants.

The program will be housed at Clear Creek High School which is being renovated as part of the 2013 bond program.

When the school is complete in December 2016, the Career and Technical Education wing will include space for a dental lab.

“This will be a signature Career and Technical Education program that will be open to students across the district beginning in 2017,” said Elaina Polsen, district director of communications. “Enrollment will be based on availability.”

According to district officials, students will learn standard medical office procedures and participate in internships at area dental offices as well as learn how to prepare patients for dental procedures, assist dentists during procedures and take patient X-rays.

Students in the program also will learn how to teach patients about proper oral health, ensure the sterility of the dental environment and work with suppliers.

At the completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the state certification exam to become a dental assistant.

“Clear Creek ISD is enthusiastic about paving a path for students interested in one of the top 25 jobs in the country and one of the fastest-growing occupations,” said Janice Scott, CCISD assistant director of communications. “We anticipate more than 370 students will enroll in the program.”

According to data recently collected through the district’s online Naviance system, almost 400 ninth-graders expressed an interest in choosing dentistry as a career.

The students could choose a career path to be a dentist, dental hygienist or dental assistant.

Preliminary costs for the dental program are estimated to be $240,000. Approximately $190,000 will go toward major dental equipment and sterilization casework.

The remaining $50,000 will cover dental supplies and instruments, instruction models, computers, curriculum and certification expenses.

“We believe the cost of the program is a small price to pay to offer students the chance to select a career path that seems destined for a bright future,” Scott said.

Course sequence, staffing and supplies for the program were unanimously approved by the Clear Creek school board on Oct. 20.

“Our career and technology education programs like the new dental program allow students to gain hands-on experience in the field of their choosing,” Polsen said.

“We are excited to help bridge the gap between students and industry.”

The district also offers career programs in biotechnology, auto technology and computer maintenance.


For details on the new program, visit or call 281-284-0000.

Daily Dental Tip: How to maintain your #baby’s #oralhealth

26 Nov

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For Babies Months 1-12: From the first tooth, clean the tooth surface once a day with a pea sizes quantity of children’s toothpaste.