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TOOTHSAVERS APP TO THE RESCUE!

Check out this great free app for getting kids to brush their teeth!

Save the fairy tale kingdom with your toothbrush!

An evil sorceress has cast a wicked spell, leaving everyone’s mouths to rot and be overrun by cavities. Now it's up to you to help Toothy and the Toothsavers save everyone's teeth!

You’ll have two minutes to brush and scrub away the spell for each of the kingdom’s quirky inhabitants. From the Dragon to Little Red Riding Hood to the Pirate, only you can help them clean their teeth.

Save your own teeth by brushing them with each Toothsaver for two minutes, twice a day. They’ll help make brushing fun. And for every few days you brush, you'll unlock a new Toothsaver to brush with. Brush for 30 days and you’ll have the chance to defeat the evil sorceress herself!

And be sure to brush your friends’ and family’s teeth using the two-player Toothsaver mode. Keep your whole family clean with Toothsavers!

You can find more info at http://2min2x.org/toothsavers/.

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WHY EVERY SIX MONTHS?

A stitch in time saves nine.  

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  

Choose whatever old bit of wisdom you like, but that’s the principal behind the 6 month recall. It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking that if it doesn't hurt, everything’s okay.  It’s a trap that will leave us disappointed more often than not.  

Usually, if you wait until it hurts or “feels funny”, it can be too late to do small, less invasive procedures.  

My son Roger demonstrates different prevention methods at tee-ball

X-rays are important for the same reason.  They allow me to “see” where I can’t see with my own eyes – in-between the teeth and into the bone surrounding the teeth.  In addition to my physical exam, x-rays allow me to evaluate existing fillings, crowns, and other restorations, bone health, joint health, crowding, spacing, infections, possible cancerous lesions, and even sinus cavities. 

This is loads of info I wouldn't have otherwise to try to spot problems BEFORE they are big issues.  The truth is that the 6 month recall is not only essential, but minimum to maintaining the health of your mouth.  In a nutshell, professionally cleaning and examining your teeth at least every 6 months prevents periodontal disease and decay.

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WHERE DO CAVITIES COME FROM?

This one I get asked a lot.  Usually it comes from a place of frustration than from genuine curiosity.  Regardless, cavities (or caries) are essentially bacterial infections albeit in a specific situation.  There are four contributing factors to decay.  They are as follows (in no particular order):  hygiene, nutrition, time, anatomy.

The first two are the ones you probably already know about.  Brushing your teeth removes bacteria that cause tooth decay (and other mouth problems).  Brushing can’t do it alone because it can’t reach the in-between spaces.  That’s where flossing and mouthwash help too.  Those bacteria that stick to your teeth are powered by carbohydrates (sugars).  That’s the nutrition part.  Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Simple.  But now let’s discuss the things that you might not think about related to tooth decay.

The anatomy of the tooth itself will drastically affect the bacteria involved.  Some teeth have deep grooves in the top part (occlusal surface) that bacteria can hide in.  if you’re unlucky, some of these grooves are narrower than the bristle of a toothbrush.  That means that you can’t clean them effectively, even when you scrub.  That’s another spot that mouthwash can help.  This is also how sealants can help prevent tooth decay, especially in the molars of children.  Another factor is the state of the enamel of the tooth.  Is there a rough surface?  Then it is much easier for bacteria to adhere and start chiseling away!

The last and most interesting factor, to me, is time.  When you drink a soda, do you sip it over the course of a few hours or do you guzzle it down in seconds?  Surprisingly, the latter is the better method, at least for your teeth.  As you have an acidic or sugary (or both) drink like soda, the pH in your mouth changes to acidic.  Your saliva has to “buffer” that back down to a normal neutral pH.  That takes some time.  Even up to a half an hour sometimes.  That acidic environment is the optimal time for bacteria to work.  They loooove it!  If you sip, your mouth never really recovers that neutral pH.  Advantage: cavities!

Thanks for reading this blog.  As always if you have any questions feel free to ask!  Toothbrusher’s Dental (405) 789-6935.

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THE BACTERIA STRIKE BACK?

I’ve always been fascinated with the balance of things.  Like how radar guns are used to detect speeders and then radar detectors (fuzz-busters) were invented.  Like how fungi fight bacteria by making penicillin, and then bacteria become resistant.

It seems that bacteria have had a secret weapon to accelerate tooth decay.  Fluoride has long been used to fight tooth decay.  The main action is through the binding of fluoride to the enamel of the tooth.  But, researchers found long ago that high levels of fluoride will be toxic to most bacteria.  Recently Yale researchers discovered that bacteria have a weapon against fluoride- the riboswitch.  This process can detect the build-up of fluoride and activate the defenses of bacteria, including those that contribute to tooth decay.

We should have known that these little test tubes of evolution would come up with something!  These riboswitches appear to not be a recent adaption and the mechanism seems only to be triggered for the survival of the organism.  So it probably won’t affect the way dentistry uses fluoride for tooth decay, coating the tooth to prevent the attack from causing damage.  Bacteria could use this pathway in the future to become resistant to the actions of current toothpastes and mouthwashes.  Of course much more research is needed.  Be assured that dentistry will continue to emphasize prevention as the best way to fight disease.

Journal Reference: Jenny L. Baker, Narasimhan Sudarsan, Zasha Weinberg, Adam Roth, Randy B. Stockbridge, and Ronald R. Breaker.Widespread Genetic Switches and Toxicity Resistance Proteins for Fluoride. Science, 22 December 2011 DOI:10.1126/science.1215063

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DO I NEED A CROWN?

The question of whether or not a tooth needs a crown can be a bit confusing.  There are many reasons to get a dental crown.  If there is a substantial amount of tooth gone or badly decayed, a crown can act as a binder to hold the tooth together during times when pressure is put on the tooth, like chewing,  If a tooth is cracked, it may also need to have that hard outer shell that a crown provides to give strength to the tooth to prevent further fracture.

Another indication for crowns is after a root canal.  After a root canal teeth can become brittle, due to the removal of blood supply to the tooth when the nerve is removed.  A crown is not always necessary in these cases but clinical judgement is necessary to determine whether a crown is necessary or not.  I look at the bite of the patient, the size of the filling in the tooth, and discuss the patient's dental habits to decide.  Dental habits could include teeth grinding, ice chewing, and dietary considerations.  A crown can be considered sometimes to simply make a tooth look better.  Crowns can be made with all porcelain and look very natural even beside teeth without crowns.

 

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HOW DO I GET MY KIDS TO BRUSH?

When my son Roger was born, I was ready to put into practice all the home techniques I’d learned as a student of dentistry.  It turned out that things don’t always go as the textbooks tell us! 

We would “brush” his gums with a washcloth to get him used to the motion with the goal of easier brushing later.   And when he finally got teeth, we brushed first without and then with kid’s toothpaste.   It was a real struggle for a while.  There was thrashing and wiggling, stalling and crying, and a lot of general unhappiness when the time came to brush his teeth.  But eventually we developed a system.  I’d sing a toothbrushing song (ours is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, if you know that one) and he’d reluctantly let me brush his teeth.  

Now, with his 5th birthday in 2 weeks, we’ve developed a healthy habit.  He brushes his teeth first and I follow.  I’ve been letting him do more and more of the brushing, and I’m doing less and less.  I remind him of the places that he missed just while I’m sitting on the tub watching him.   

I can’t say that it’s been easy.  And I simply want to remind all you parents that I know its tough.  Sometimes dentists seem like they are talking to you from high on a mountaintop.  Like we know all and you will obey!  I’ve found what it really it comes down to is persistence and a commitment to oral hygiene.  That matters much more than technique.  That matters much more than what brand of toothpaste or manual verses electric toothbrushes. 

Oh and now we are starting again with my 1 year old, Lila!

 

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HYGIENISTS AND ASSISTANTS

It has come to my attention that many people get dental hygienists and dental assistants confused.  It’s an understandable mistake.  Both perform supportive roles in the office and see patients independently sometimes.  Furthermore in my office, we have more of a team approach and the hygienist and I will sometimes perform the assistants’ duties too. But dental assistants and hygienists do have different tasks that they perform in the office and also have differing levels of training.

In my office, Cheryl and Laura are the dental assistants. They prepare the room for treatment, get out all the equipment, and sterilize the room.  They will help the dentist with the procedure, passing instruments and mixing materials and such.  They can take x-rays, impressions, polish teeth, and educate patients on everything from insurance co-payments to oral hygiene.

Kala is our dental hygienist.   She has more specialized in the area of oral care and cleaning teeth.  Kala will remove calculus (or tartar), chart dental conditions, administer local anesthesia, and may work autonomously from the dentist. However, different states have different rules on the level of autonomy. 

Most dental assistants will receive a diploma or certificate from a vocational school and the program will last from 9 – 12 months.  Dental hygienists receive a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.  In Oklahoma, a four year degree is required to be licensed to perform the duties of a dental hygienist.

 

Toothbrusher's Dental is a northwest Oklahoma City dental clinic, Some describe us as a Warr Acres dental clinic or Bethany dental clinic.

At Toothbrusher’s Dental, we care to get to know our patients and they get to know and count on us. We strive to provide adults and children a relaxed atmosphere. Our entire team focuses on attentive, friendly care with kindness and honesty.

We serve patients of all ages, from the very young to seniors. We use modern equipment and up-to-date dental practices to ensure the health of our patients.

Toothbrusher's Dental does provide emergency dental care during office hours. We provide general dentistry services like tooth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, tooth bleaching or tooth cleaning, tooth crowns and more, 

Nathan Guilford, DDS excels in helping all ages understand dental procedures and putting his patients at ease. He always discusses the best treatment solutions directly with his patients in easy-to-follow language to allow for questions and feedback. Dr. Guilford has cared for thousands of families since 2001.