Monday, February 10, 2014

Why Daily Flossing is So Important

Dr. Melcher and his staff of dental hygienists have heard all of the excuses as to why patients don't floss. They range from, "I forget" to "It's a pain" to "I brush really well!"

Regardless of the reason, not flossing is inexcusable, because it is a vital part of maintaining the best dental health possible. The American Dental Association suggests that we floss at least once a day in order to keep teeth and gums healthy and bacteria free. If you think brushing alone is enough think again:
  • Simply brushing, even combined with swishing with a dental rinse just can not remove all of the food particles and plaque that collects between the teeth.
  • Flossing reaches the nooks and crannies that a toothbrush can not.
  • Patients who fail to floss run the risk of allowing plaque to harden into even tougher to remove tartar, which then promotes tooth decay.
  • Flossing prevents gum disease and cavities. It also helps condition the gums and keep them healthy and strong.
  • Some people have teeth that are "food trappers". When flossing is not routine, food particles remain lodged between the teeth and cause the growth of bacteria and bad breath!
To make flossing a part of your daily routine, experiment with several different types of floss and flossers. There are flavored, waxed, and easy glide nylon dental flosses available. Disposable, plastic flossers are handy to keep in a purse, briefcase, or gym bag. Another product that some patients like is a wooden plaque remover, also known as an interdental cleaner. For teeth that are difficult to get in between, it may be necessary to use "threaders," that allow one to loop the floss and access tight spaces.

If flossing hurts, or your gums bleed, do not be concerned right away. Sometimes it takes a week or two for your gums to toughen up. If pain or discomfort persists beyond two weeks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Melcher.

Just like anything that becomes part of our routine, we may take shortcuts from time to time. However, with flossing, there are tried and true ways to receive the most benefits. That's why even if you have been flossing for years, it is a great idea to have one of our hygienists demonstrate the most effective flossing techniques.

Need more convincing? See our earlier post about The Importance of Flossing.

Remember that flossing is not just for adults. Young children need to learn the importance of flossing as well. A good rule of thumb is to discuss flossing and show them how when youngsters have two teeth that touch. Plastic flossers are usually easier for small children to use and these days come in enticing shapes and colors!

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our Raleigh office at 919-782-0548.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tips for Treating Sensitive Teeth

As we age, so do our teeth. A common complaint among many adults is that of discomfort when eating or drinking certain foods. Sometimes, hot or cold foods can trigger dental pain. Also, sweet foods, brushing, flossing and exposure to air, may result in an aggravating, uncomfortable sensation. This is referred to as dental sensitivity.

Teeth can become sensitive for a number of reasons. The explanation may be one or a combination of the following:
  • Exposed tooth root
  • Worn fillings
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Breakdown in tooth enamel
Again, any of the above or combinations of those conditions, can result in pain and discomfort. The good news is that Dr. Simon Melcher and his skilled team of dental professionals offer a variety of ways to treat this all too common condition.

The first matter of business will be to identify the cause. Next, depending on what factors are causing the sensitivity, one or more of the following may be in order:
  • Dr. Melcher may feel the problem could be best remedied with a desensitizing toothpaste. This treatment involves the application of a special toothpaste that contains compounds that prohibit uncomfortable sensations such as heat or cold, from penetrating either or both the tooth enamel and root.
  • Another effective solution is the in-office application of a fluoride gel. These products serve to strengthen the enamel, which in turn eliminates discomfort.
  • When a tooth is sensitive due to a crack or decay, a crown or inlay bonding is the best choice to correct the problem.
  • Sensitivity that is caused by compromised gums may be treated with a surgical gum graft. This is an effective treatment plan for patients who have lost gum tissue at the root level.
  • For patients that have severe and persistent sensitivity that other methods can not cure, a root canal is often the best bet.
Please do not ignore dental issues. You do not have to live with pain or discomfort. Contact our office to make an appointment by calling: (919) 782-0548.