Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back to blogging!

It has been hectic the past few months. Thus, the long absence from cyberspace! Very often I meet anxious parents who are so worried about their little ones' dental and oral condition. They seek treatment hoping that the problems will solved in one visit and no further episodes of pain and discomfort will occur. Parents need to understand that each child is born with his/her own genetic make and the risk factors for dental decay and gum problems differ accordingly. Maintaining balanced diet and good oral hygiene regime are important factors in combating these problems.

Parents often have questions about how to take care of their children's teeth. When should you start brushing? What kind of toothpaste is best? When should you go to the dentist? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you keep your kids' teeth healthy and cavity free.

Although you don't necessarily need to brush them yet, you should start cleaning your infant's teeth as soon as he gets his first tooth. At first, you can just use a wash cloth to clean your infant's teeth. As he gets more, you can use a soft children's toothbrush.

Because there is some danger if your child gets too much fluoride, your choice of toothpaste is important. Keep in mind that most brands of kids' toothpaste are fluoridated. They just have different flavors and popular characters on them to make them more fun for children, but that doesn't make it safe for your children to swallow too much of the toothpaste.

If using a fluoride toothpaste, use a small, pea-size amount of toothpaste, so that there is little danger of your child getting too much fluoride if he swallows it. And begin to encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste at a young age. The other alternative for younger children is to use a non-fluoridated toothpaste.

The timing of the first visit to the dentist is a little controversial. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that children should see a dentist when they get their first tooth and not later than 1 year of age. In contrast, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unless your child has risk factors for having problems with his teeth, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle, teeth staining, thumb sucking, etc., the first visit to the dentist should be by around the third birthday.

However, an early visit to the dentist is a good way to learn proper oral hygiene at an early age, including avoiding nighttime bottles or cups of formula or juice, proper toothbrushing, and a diet that promotes good dental health. You may also want to see a Pediatric dentist early if your child has a medical condition that puts him at risk of having dental problems, such as Down Syndrome.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Root canal treatment

Saw a nice picture and writeup on rootcanal in Wikipedia. Thought it will be nice to share the info:

A root canal is the space within the root of a tooth. It is part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth that consists of the pulp chamber (within the coronal part of the tooth), the main canal(s), and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root.

The smaller branches are most frequently found near the root end (apex) but may be encountered anywhere along the root length. There may be one or two main canals within each root. Some teeth have more variable internal anatomy than others. This space is filled with a highly vascularized, loose connective tissue, the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the tissue which forms the dentin portion of the tooth.

The formation of secondary teeth (adult teeth) is completed by 1-2 years after eruption into the mouth. Once the tooth has reached its final size and shape, the dental pulp's original function ceases for all practical purposes. It takes on a secondary role as a sensory organ.

Root canal is also a colloquial term for a dental operation, endodontic therapy, wherein the pulp is cleaned out, the space disinfected and then filled.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wow ... absent for so long!!

I have been away from my cyberspace for so long!! Just realised it is almost 1 year and need to celbrate my anniversary of absence!!

Methods of tooth whitening

Also take from Wikipedia:

There are two main methods of gel bleaching--one performed with high-concentration gel, and another with low-concentration agents. High-concentration bleaching can be accomplished either in the dental office, or at home. Performing the procedure at home is accomplished using high-concentration carbamide peroxide which is readily available online or in dental stores, and therefore is more cost-effective than the in-office procedure by many orders of magnitude. Whitening is performed by applying a high concentration of oxidizing agent to the teeth with thin plastic trays, for a short period of time, which produces quick results. The application trays ideally should be well-fitted to retain the bleaching gel, ensuring even and full tooth exposure to the gel. Trays will typically stay on the teeth for about 15-20 minutes. Trays are then removed and the procedure is repeated up to two more times. Most in-office bleaching procedures use a light-cured protective layer that is carefully painted on the gums and papilla (the tips of the gums between the teeth) in order to reduce the risk of chemical burns to the soft tissues. The bleaching agent is either carbamide peroxide, which breaks down in the mouth to form hydrogen peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide itself. The bleaching gel typically contains between 10-30% carbamide peroxide (15% is recommended) which is roughly equivalent to 3-10% hydrogen peroxide concentration.

Low-concentration whitening is far less effective, and is generally only performed at home. Low-concentration whitening involves purchasing a thin mouthguard or strip that holds a relatively low concentration of oxidizing agent next to the teeth for as long as several hours a day for a period of 5 to 14 days. Results can vary, depending on which application is chosen, with some people achieving whiter teeth in a few days, and others seeing very little results or no results at all. Whitening is potentially better at a dentist because the strip or mouth-guard does not completely conform to the shape of the teeth, sometimes leaving the tips of the teeth (near the gumline) unbleached. The bleaching agent is typically less than 10% hydrogen peroxide equivalent so irritation to the soft tissue around teeth is minimized. Dentists as well as some dental laboratories can fabricate custom fitted whitening trays that will greatly improve the results achieved with an over-the-counter whitening method.

A typical course of bleaching can produce dramatic improvements in the cosmetic appearance of most stained teeth however, some stains do not respond to bleaching. Tetracycline staining may require prolonged bleaching, as it takes longer for the bleach to reach the dentine layer. White-spot decalcifications may also be highlighted and become more noticeable. Bleaching is least effective if teeth have white spots, decay or infected gums. It is also least effective when the original tooth color is grayish. Bleaching is most effective with yellow discolored teeth.

Laser bleaching, also known as power bleaching, utilizes light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office. Different types of energy can be used in this procedure. The ideal source of energy should be high energy to excite the peroxide molecules without overheating the pulp of the tooth, creating an inflammatory response.[2] The use of an argon laser to safely and effectively speed up the whitening process is ideal for laser bleaching. The use of an argon laser is preferred over the use of an arc lamp (the traditional dental method of light-activated bleaching) or infrared laser because it does not exhibit any of the heat or UV ray emissions of the arc lamp.[2] Chemical burns, which are occasionally a side-effect of gel bleaching, or heat-induced sensitivity, are not a factor with argon laser whitening.[2] Most laser teeth whitening treatments can be done in approximately 1 hour, in a single visit to a dental physician, (depending on the condition of a person’s teeth).

Whitening ... your million dollar smile!

Teeth whitening is becoming an increasingly popular cosmetic "treatment". Who doesn't want a winning smile? ... here is an interesting article for your reading (taken from Wikipedia):


Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry. A child's deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the adult teeth that follow. As a person ages the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, foodstuffs and tobacco. Certain antibiotic medications (like tetracycline) can also lead to teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel.

There are two methods to whiten teeth: bleaching gel and laser bleaching. Traditionally, at-home whitening is done with bleaching gel which is applied to the teeth using thin guard trays. Oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are utilized to lighten the shade of the tooth. The oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and oxidizes interprismatic stain deposits; over a period of time, the dentin layer, lying underneath the enamel, is also bleached. Laser bleaching utilizes light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office. The effects of bleaching can last for several months, but may vary depending on the lifestyle of the patient. Factors which will decrease whitening include smoking and the ingestion of dark colored liquids like coffee, tea and red wine.

Internal staining of dentin can discolor the teeth from inside out. Internal bleaching can remedy this. If heavy staining or tetracycline damage is present on a patient's teeth, and whitening is ineffective, there are other methods of whitening teeth. Bonding, when a thin coating of composite material is applied to the front of a person's teeth and then cured with a laser can be performed to mask the staining. A veneer can also mask tooth discoloration