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Fontana Dental Care
Mon, Tue, Thu: 8AM - 5PM
Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: Closed
Riverside Dental Care
Wed, Fri: 8AM - 5PM
Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun: Closed
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Dr. Kim's specialties include:
- Dental Implants
- General Dentistry
Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be an uncomfortable and socially awkward issue. It's important to note that most individuals experience bad breath at times, particularly in the mornings, even if they are unaware of it.
There can be several causes for bad breath, but in healthy individuals, a significant factor is the presence of microbial deposits on the tongue, particularly towards the back. Research indicates that brushing the tongue alone can reduce bad breath by up to 70 percent, highlighting its effectiveness as a simple solution.
What causes bad breath?
Morning time: Reduced saliva flow during sleep allows bacteria to multiply, leading to bad breath.
Certain foods: Foods like garlic and onions contain odor-causing compounds that are carried through the bloodstream and exhaled through the lungs.
Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow food particles to remain in the mouth, promoting bacterial growth and resulting in bad breath.
Periodontal (gum) disease: Bacteria and food debris trapped beneath inflamed gums can contribute to halitosis.
Dental cavities and ill-fitting dental appliances: Decay and ill-fitting dental devices may harbor bacteria, causing bad breath.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia): Reduced saliva production, which can be caused by medications, salivary gland problems, or mouth breathing, can lead to bad breath.
Tobacco products: Smoking or using tobacco products can dry out the mouth and leave a persistent foul odor.
Dieting: Ketones, released during fat burning, can be detected in the breath and contribute to bad breath.
Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals: These factors can lead to a decrease in saliva production, allowing bacteria to thrive and causing bad breath.
Certain medical conditions and illnesses: Conditions like diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia can contribute to halitosis.
Keeping a record of your diet and discussing any relevant medications, surgeries, or illnesses with your dentist can help identify the cause of bad breath and determine appropriate treatment.
How to prevent bad breath?
To combat bad breath, follow these oral hygiene practices:
Brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush.
Flossing: Clean between your teeth and along the gumline daily to remove plaque and food particles.
Tongue cleaning: Use a tongue scraper or brush to gently clean the surface of your tongue and reach the back areas.
Replace toothbrush: Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
Denture care: If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and put them back in your mouth in the morning.
Regular dental visits: Schedule check-ups and cleanings with your dentist at least twice a year. More frequent visits may be recommended if you have or have had periodontal disease.
Quit tobacco use: Seek guidance from your dentist on strategies to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
Stay hydrated: Drink water frequently to maintain moisture in your mouth and wash away bacteria.
Mouthwash/antiseptic rinses: Consult your dentist about using mouthwash or antiseptic rinses that can help alleviate bad breath and kill the bacteria causing it.
Professional evaluation: If persistent bad breath persists despite good oral hygiene, your dentist may refer you to a physician to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Remember, most cases of bad breath can be treated by your dentist. If your mouth is deemed healthy but the issue persists, further evaluation by a physician may be necessary.
Proper brushing and flossing techniques are essential for maintaining oral health and controlling dental diseases. Here are the recommended practices:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before bed, using a soft-bristle brush and ADA-approved toothpaste.
Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and use a small circular motion, ensuring the bristles touch the gums.
Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner, and biting surfaces.
Clean the inside front teeth using the tip of the brush head.
Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are also effective, simply guiding the bristles along the gums and teeth, allowing the brush to do its job.
Floss daily to clean between teeth and under the gumline, preventing plaque buildup and protecting gums, teeth, and bone.
Take 12-16 inches of dental floss, wrapping it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss for maneuvering.
Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently inserting it between teeth with a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a "C" shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Move the floss up and down to clean the side of each tooth.
Floss holders can be used if you find conventional floss difficult to handle.
After brushing, rinse your mouth with water. If unable to brush after meals, rinsing is recommended.
Consult your dentist or dental hygienist before using over-the-counter rinsing products to ensure their appropriateness for your needs.
By following these techniques, you can effectively control plaque and bacteria, reducing the risk of dental diseases and maintaining good oral health.
Over time, there have been concerns raised about the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. Amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin, and zinc, bound together by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this mixture to fill teeth for over a century. The controversy arises from claims that exposure to mercury vapor and particles from amalgam fillings can lead to various health problems.
The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that up to 76% of dentists use silver-containing mercury for dental fillings. According to the ADA, silver fillings are considered safe, and studies have not found any link between silver-containing mercury and medical disorders.
The general consensus among dental organizations, including the CDC, World Health Organization, FDA, and others, is that amalgam fillings are safe, durable, and cost-effective. The U.S. Public Health Service states that the only contraindication for silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has received fewer than 100 reported cases of allergies to components of silver fillings, considering the countless millions of silver fillings placed over the decades.
While studies suggest no measurable health risks associated with silver fillings, it is important to note that mercury is a toxic substance at high and unsafe levels of exposure. For example, we are advised to limit the consumption of certain fish with high mercury content. However, the ADA maintains that when mercury combines with other components in amalgam fillings, it becomes an inactive substance that is considered safe.
There are alternative options to silver fillings, such as composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. It is advisable to discuss these options with your dentist to determine which is the best choice for you.
It is recommended that you undergo dental check-ups and cleanings at least twice a year, although your dentist or dental hygienist may advise more frequent visits based on your individual needs.
Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are crucial for preventing dental problems and ensuring the overall health of your teeth and gums. During these appointments, several important aspects of your dental health will be assessed and monitored. These include:
Review of medical history: Understanding your current medical conditions, medications, and illnesses provides valuable insights into your overall and dental health.
Examination of diagnostic x-rays: X-rays are essential for detecting decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. They also help determine the position of your teeth and roots.
Oral cancer screening: A thorough examination of your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums is conducted to identify any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: The gums and bone around your teeth are checked for indications of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces are inspected for decay using specialized dental instruments.
Assessment of existing restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations are evaluated.
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus refers to hardened plaque that has accumulated on the tooth surface over time. It forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed using specific dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky film comprising bacteria, food debris, and saliva that coats the teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that cause gum inflammation, which is the initial stage of periodontal disease.
Teeth polishing: Polishing eliminates stains and plaque that may not be effectively removed through regular toothbrushing and scaling.
Oral hygiene recommendations: Recommendations are provided regarding oral hygiene aids that may benefit you, such as electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning tools, fluorides, rinses, and more.
Review of dietary habits: Your eating habits significantly impact your dental health, and guidance regarding dietary choices is offered.
As you can see, a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning involve much more than just cavity checks and teeth polishing. We are committed to delivering the highest quality care, which necessitates regular check-ups and cleanings.
Four out of five individuals have periodontal disease without even realizing it. This is primarily due to the fact that the disease is usually painless during its early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, periodontal disease can progress silently without noticeable symptoms. Therefore, regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are of utmost importance to identify any existing periodontal issues.
The development of periodontal disease begins with the presence of plaque, a sticky, colorless film consisting of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria release toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and gradually destroy the underlying bone. Proper and regular brushing and flossing are essential to ensure that plaque is effectively removed, preventing its damaging effects.
Apart from poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Smoking or tobacco use: Tobacco users are more susceptible to plaque and tartar formation on their teeth.
Tooth or appliance conditions: Ill-fitting bridges, crowded teeth, or defective fillings can trap plaque and bacteria, contributing to periodontal problems.
Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives, can reduce saliva flow, leading to a dry mouth and increased plaque accumulation.
Hormonal changes: Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives, and puberty can cause fluctuations in hormone levels, making gum tissue more sensitive to bacterial toxins.
Systemic diseases: Conditions like diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV/AIDS, and others can impact gum health.
Genetic factors: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to a more aggressive form of periodontitis. Those with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gum health.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
Red and swollen gums: Healthy gums should not appear red or puffy.
Gum bleeding: Gums should not bleed, even when brushing vigorously or using dental floss.
Persistent bad breath: The presence of bacteria in the mouth can cause chronic bad breath.
Increased spacing between teeth: This can be an indication of bone loss.
Loose teeth: Bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers that support the teeth can cause tooth mobility.
Pus around the teeth and gums: The presence of pus signifies an underlying infection.
Receding gums: Loss of gum tissue around a tooth, leading to exposed tooth roots.
Gum tenderness or discomfort: Irritation of the gums and teeth caused by plaque, calculus, and bacteria.
Maintaining good oral hygiene, following a balanced diet, and scheduling regular dental visits can significantly reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease.
Regular brushing of our teeth is effective in removing food particles, plaque, and bacteria from most tooth surfaces. However, there are areas that our toothbrush cannot reach, particularly the spaces between our teeth, which are highly prone to decay and gum disease.
To effectively clean these areas, daily flossing is essential. Flossing not only helps remove debris from between the teeth and under the gumline, but it also disrupts the formation of plaque colonies, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and supporting bone.
Plaque is an almost invisible sticky film that forms on the teeth. It consists of a community of living bacteria, food particles, and saliva. These bacteria produce toxins (acids) that contribute to tooth decay, gum irritation, and inflammation. When plaque is not removed, it hardens and transforms into calculus (tartar) above and below the gumline. This further exacerbates gum inflammation, leading to the gradual destruction of the underlying bone, which marks the onset of periodontal disease.
Proper technique for flossing:
Take around 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert it between the teeth using a sawing motion.
Form a "C" shape with the floss around each tooth and slide it under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, ensuring to clean the side of each tooth.
If you find it challenging to use conventional floss, floss holders can be helpful alternatives.
By incorporating daily flossing into your oral care routine, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile throughout your life.
If you're feeling self-conscious about your teeth or desiring a more confident smile, cosmetic dental treatments offer a solution to enhance your appearance.
In recent years, cosmetic dentistry has gained popularity due to advancements in procedures and materials, as well as an increased focus on overall health. Patients are now seeking to improve their dental well-being, aiming for healthier, whiter, and more radiant smiles.
A range of cosmetic dental procedures exists to improve the aesthetics of your teeth and transform your smile. Depending on your specific needs, these treatments can have a dramatic impact, from restoring a single tooth to a complete smile makeover. Consult your dentist to discover how cosmetic dentistry can enhance the health and beauty of your smile.
Here are some common cosmetic procedures:
Teeth Whitening: This procedure lightens stained or discolored teeth caused by aging, food, beverages, and smoking. It can also address teeth darkened by injury or certain medications, with effectiveness varying based on the extent of staining.
Composite (Tooth-Colored) Fillings: Also known as bonding, composite fillings are widely used as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings. They repair teeth with cavities and replace old, defective fillings. Additionally, tooth-colored fillings can fix chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. They are beneficial for filling gaps and protecting sensitive root surfaces exposed due to gum recession.
Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are custom-made, thin tooth-colored shells that bond to the front of teeth, creating a beautiful, individualized smile. They can restore or conceal damaged, discolored, misshapen, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal removal of tooth structure.
Porcelain Crowns (Caps): These tooth-colored, custom-made coverings encase the entire tooth surface, restoring its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other restorations. They are ideal for large fillings, fractured or broken teeth, and extensively decayed teeth.
Dental Implants: Implants are artificial roots surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be designed to attach securely to implants, providing a strong, stable, and long-lasting alternative to removable dental appliances.
Orthodontics: Advancements in orthodontic technology have made teeth straightening more appealing to adults. Less visible and more effective brackets and wires are available, and in some cases, custom-made clear aligners can straighten teeth without braces.
Thanks to modern dentistry's progress, cosmetic treatments can significantly enhance your smile and make it shine brightly.
Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted from tooth-shaped porcelain. They are designed to cover the front surfaces of teeth, providing a durable and stain-resistant solution for enhancing or restoring the beauty of your smile.
Veneers are versatile and can address various dental conditions, including:
- Severe tooth discoloration or staining
- Uneven or unwanted spaces between teeth
- Worn or chipped teeth
- Slight tooth crowding
- Misshapen teeth
- Teeth that are too small or large
The process of getting veneers typically involves two visits. First, an impression (mold) of your teeth is taken and sent to a professional dental laboratory. There, each veneer is meticulously customized in terms of shape and color to suit your unique smile.
During the application of veneers, minimal or no anesthesia is required. The front surface of the teeth is gently buffed and shaped to accommodate the thinness of the veneers. The veneers are then carefully fitted and bonded to the tooth surface using special bonding cements. In some cases, a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers offer an excellent dental treatment option, capable of producing remarkable improvements in the appearance of your teeth. They can give you a natural and beautiful smile that you can confidently showcase.
Due to the increasing aesthetic concerns of many patients, teeth whitening has become the primary focus for achieving a brighter smile. There are numerous products and methods available to cater to this demand.
Professional teeth whitening, also known as bleaching, is a non-invasive dental treatment that can effectively change the color of natural tooth enamel. It is an ideal solution for enhancing the beauty of your smile. While over-the-counter products exist, they are generally less effective than professional treatments and may lack approval from the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel naturally wears away, gradually revealing a darker or yellow shade. Additionally, the inner part of the tooth may darken over time. Certain habits like smoking or consuming beverages like coffee, tea, and wine can also contribute to tooth discoloration, resulting in a yellow and dull appearance. In some cases, teeth can become discolored due to childhood medication such as tetracycline. Excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, known as fluorosis, can also cause tooth discoloration.
It's important to consult your dentist to determine if you're a suitable candidate for teeth whitening. Some stains, such as those caused by tetracycline or fluorosis, may be challenging to bleach, and alternative options like veneers or crowns may be recommended to conceal such discoloration. Since teeth whitening primarily affects natural tooth enamel, it is essential to assess and replace any old fillings or crowns before beginning the whitening process. Once whitening is complete, your dentist can match any new restorations to the shade of your newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not a permanent solution, occasional touch-ups may be necessary every few years to maintain a bright smile.
The most commonly used professional teeth whitening systems include:
Home teeth whitening systems: These products typically consist of a gel applied to custom-fitted mouth trays created from impressions of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes or overnight while you sleep. Achieving the desired results may take several weeks, depending on the extent of staining and the level of whitening desired.
In-office teeth whitening: This treatment is performed at the dental office and produces immediate results. It may require multiple visits, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes. The teeth are protected while a bleaching solution is applied, and a special light may be used to enhance the whitening process.
Some individuals may experience temporary tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening. However, this sensation typically subsides shortly after completing the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
Teeth whitening can be highly effective, providing you with a brighter, whiter smile that boosts your confidence.
With the advancements in modern dentistry, there are now numerous state-of-the-art treatments and preventive measures available, reducing the need for tooth extraction. When a tooth encounters an issue, our primary goal is to restore its original function. Extracting a tooth is considered a last resort because we are aware that failing to replace it can lead to severe dental and cosmetic complications.
Losing a tooth can be a distressing experience, and it's unfortunate when it occurs. Injuries, accidents, fractures, extensive tooth decay, and gum disease are the primary reasons for tooth extraction. If a tooth is lost due to injury or needs to be removed, it is crucial to replace it to avoid future dental and cosmetic problems.
When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that supported it begins to deteriorate, causing the adjacent teeth to shift or tilt into the empty space. Additionally, the tooth above or below the gap will start to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite against. These movements can lead to issues such as decay, gum disease, excessive wear on specific teeth, and TMJ (jaw joint) problems. Although these problems and movements may not arise immediately, they will eventually impact your ability to chew, the health of your bite, and the aesthetics of your smile.
Here are the options available for replacing missing teeth:
Removable bridges: This type of bridge is a suitable solution for replacing one or more missing teeth, especially in complex dental cases where other replacement options are not viable. They typically consist of artificial teeth that match the natural tooth color and are accompanied by metal clasps that attach to adjacent natural teeth. Removable bridges are the most cost-effective option for tooth replacement but may not be as aesthetically pleasing due to the visible metal clasps.
Fixed bridges: This type of bridge is commonly made of porcelain or composite material and is permanently cemented to natural teeth adjacent to the gap. The benefit of a fixed bridge is its stability as it is non-removable. However, the downside is that in order to create a fixed appliance, two healthy natural teeth need to be crowned to support the bridge.
Dentures: Dentures are used when most or all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. They are removable artificial teeth designed to closely resemble the patient's original teeth.
Implants: Implants are an excellent solution for replacing one or more missing teeth. They can also provide support for ill-fitting dentures. A dental implant is an artificial root surgically placed into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is then attached to the implant, providing a natural appearance and feel. Implants are highly stable, durable, and offer the most aesthetically pleasing option for tooth replacement.
If you have missing teeth, consult with your dentist to determine if replacement is necessary and explore the available options. Together, you can select the most suitable replacement option for your specific case. Remember, prevention and early treatment are always less complex and less costly than delaying treatment and allowing a severe problem to develop.
Many of us have had fillings in our mouths for years, some even dating back to our childhood. Over time, these fillings can become old, dark, and unattractive, making us feel self-conscious about our smiles, laughter, and conversations. Not only are old fillings unappealing, but they may also be defective. As fillings age, the margins between the tooth and filling can open up, allowing bacteria and food particles to enter and potentially leading to dental decay.
Your dentist can examine your fillings and determine if they are defective and in need of replacement. If you simply wish to replace unattractive fillings, you and your dentist can decide which ones should be prioritized and discuss the best replacement options for you. Fortunately, there are numerous state-of-the-art dental filling materials and procedures available today that are quick, painless, and cost-effective for replacing old, unattractive, or defective fillings.
Here are some options for replacing old, unattractive, or discolored fillings:
Composite (bonding) fillings: These fillings are tooth-colored and can be closely matched to the color of your natural teeth. They work particularly well for front teeth or visible parts of teeth, offering an excellent way to improve the health and beauty of your smile.
Crowns (Caps): Crowns are used when a tooth is severely damaged and cannot be repaired with a filling or other restoration. A crown covers and encases the entire tooth surface, restoring its original shape and size. It provides protection and strength to the remaining tooth structure and can be made of materials such as gold, porcelain, or other tooth-colored substances.
Inlays/Onlays: These are custom-made fillings that can be crafted from composite resin, porcelain, or gold. They are created by a dental laboratory and then placed by a dentist. Inlays/onlays are typically used for the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth and are an ideal solution for conservatively repairing teeth with large, unattractive fillings or those damaged by decay or trauma.
Porcelain veneers: Veneers are thin shells made of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted and permanently bonded to the front surface of teeth, primarily in the front teeth region. They are an excellent option for addressing issues such as discoloration, chips, misshapen teeth, slight crookedness, or unwanted spaces. Veneers are highly durable, natural-looking, and resistant to staining, making them a popular choice for restoring smiles affected by old, unattractive fillings.
As you can see, there are several options available for replacing old, unattractive fillings. These treatments offer strong, natural-looking, and long-lasting solutions to enhance both the health and beauty of your smile.
Many people are not aware of the impact that periodontal disease, which is the destruction of gum tissue and bone that support our teeth, can have on overall health. In fact, periodontal disease is one of the most common infections and may be even more prevalent than the common cold. It is not only the leading cause of tooth loss, but it can also affect the well-being of your entire body.
Periodontal disease is essentially a bacterial infection, starting with gingivitis in its early stages. It begins when plaque, a combination of bacteria, food particles, and saliva, is not regularly removed from the gums and teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins and acids that irritate and infect the gums, eventually leading to the destruction of the jaw bone that supports the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can ultimately result in tooth loss.
Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between gum disease and major medical conditions, revealing that individuals with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of systemic diseases. These studies suggest that oral bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs, potentially causing new infections. Research indicates that periodontal bacteria in the bloodstream may:
- Contribute to the development of heart disease
- Increase the risk of stroke
- Compromise the health of individuals with diabetes or respiratory diseases
- Heighten the risk of preterm, low-birth weight babies in pregnant women
While more research is needed to fully understand the link between periodontal disease and systemic conditions, existing studies provide support for the idea that infections in the mouth can impact other areas of the body.
To ensure a healthy and disease-free mouth, it is crucial to prioritize regular dental check-ups and cleanings, which include a thorough periodontal evaluation. Additionally, practicing diligent oral hygiene at home and maintaining a proper diet can help reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Remember the connection between oral health and overall well-being. Taking care of your oral health can contribute to your overall medical health!
While brushing and flossing are essential for removing food particles and bacteria from accessible tooth surfaces, they may not effectively reach the deep grooves found on chewing surfaces. Surprisingly, over 75 percent of dental decay originates in these pits and fissures. The size of toothbrush bristles makes it nearly impossible to adequately clean these areas. This is where sealants play a crucial role.
Sealants are thin plastic coatings that provide a protective cover for the chewing surfaces of molars, premolars, and teeth with deep grooves or pits. They create a smooth barrier that shields natural depressions and grooves, making it easier to clean and preventing decay.
Who can benefit from sealants?
- Children and teenagers: Sealants are recommended as soon as the six-year molars (first permanent back teeth) appear and can be applied anytime during the cavity-prone years of 6-16.
- Infants: Baby teeth with deep grooves and cavity-prone tendencies may also be sealed.
- Adults: Teeth without decay but with difficult-to-clean deep grooves or depressions can benefit from sealants.
Applying sealants is a quick and straightforward process performed by your dentist or dental hygienist. Each tooth's chewing surface is first roughened with an acid solution to ensure proper adhesion. Then, the sealant material is carefully "painted" onto the tooth surface, where it hardens and bonds to the teeth. In some cases, a special light is used to expedite the hardening process.
After receiving sealant treatment, it's important to avoid chewing on hard or sticky foods like ice cubes, hard candy, or popcorn kernels. Regular dental check-ups will include inspections of the sealants for signs of wear or chipping.
When combined with proper home care, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups, sealants prove to be highly effective in preventing tooth decay. They provide an additional layer of protection for your teeth and contribute to maintaining excellent oral health.
It's important to recognize that anyone can be at risk of having a tooth knocked out, with over 5 million teeth being lost each year. However, if we are aware of how to handle this emergency situation, there is a chance to save the tooth. By acting quickly yet calmly and following these simple steps, we may increase the likelihood of successful reimplantation:
- Locate the tooth and handle it only by the crown (the chewing part), avoiding contact with the roots.
- Refrain from scrubbing the tooth or using any soap or chemicals to clean it. If there is dirt or debris, gently rinse it with your saliva or whole milk. If those are not available, use water for a gentle rinse.
- Seek immediate dental attention within 30 minutes. The longer the delay, the lower the chances of successful reimplantation.
Transporting the tooth:
- Ideally, try to place the tooth back into its socket immediately. Gently bite down on gauze, a wet tea bag, or your own teeth to hold the tooth in place. Applying a cold compress to the mouth can help alleviate pain and swelling.
- If reinsertion is not possible, place the tooth in a container and cover it with a small amount of your saliva or whole milk. Alternatively, you can store the tooth under your tongue or between your lower lip and gums. Ensure the tooth remains moist at all times and avoid transporting it in a tissue or cloth.
- Consider purchasing a "Save-A-Tooth" storage container, which can be part of your home first aid kit. This kit, available at many pharmacies, includes a travel case and fluid solution specifically designed for tooth transport.
The sooner the tooth is reinserted into the socket, the greater the chances of survival and potential longevity. Therefore, it is crucial to be prepared and remember these straightforward steps for saving a knocked-out tooth.
Additionally, you can take preventive measures to avoid broken or knocked-out teeth by:
- Wearing a mouthguard when participating in sports.
- Always wearing your seatbelt.
- Avoiding physical altercations or fights.
- Refraining from chewing on hard items like ice, popcorn kernels, hard breads, and similar objects.
By following these guidelines and being cautious, you can reduce the risk of dental injuries and preserve your oral health.