Posts for: June, 2012

By Dr. Hartmann D.D.S
June 23, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
MaintenanceManualforYourTeethandGums

Your car comes with a maintenance manual that tells you when to get an oil change, rotate the tires, and perform other necessary tasks. By following the manual's directions you can keep your car running in good condition for many years. Too bad a manual doesn't come with your teeth and gums!

Such a manual would concentrate on a few basic tasks we call oral hygiene and teeth cleanings. Both tasks are mainly dedicated to removing dental plaque or biofilm from the surfaces of your teeth and the surrounding gums. Plaque is now referred to as a biofilm, a film composed of bacteria, that naturally forms in your mouth. Studies have shown that dental plaque causes periodontal disease (gum disease) and dental caries (tooth decay).

Tips for Daily Removal of Dental Plaque
The way you hold your toothbrush is crucial to your ability to remove plaque effectively. We recommend that you hold it in your fingertips as you would a pen or pencil. Use small motions and pressure. Brushing too hard can damage gum tissues. Use a soft bristled brush, hold it at about a 45 degree angle to the gum line and then use a gentle scrubbing motion. Studies have shown some electric toothbrushes to be more efficient at plaque removal than hand-held brushes; but in general how you use the brush is more important than what kind of brush it is.

To remove plaque deposits from the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth, floss at least once a day. Wrap the floss around each tooth surface and gently move it up and down for a few strokes, cleaning the sides of your teeth where they face each other.

You can use an antibacterial mouthrinse to get help reduce the bacterial plaque or biofilm that you missed in brushing and flossing.

The best way to make sure you are brushing correctly is to have a dental professional demonstrate for you. We would be happy to demonstrate the correct techniques in your own mouth so that you can see how it feels, and you can copy the methods we use.

Professional Maintenance Schedule
Your car needs to go into the shop from time to time for professional maintenance. Your teeth also need a regular schedule of maintenance from a professional dentist or hygienist. Over time, plaque that you do not manage to clean off your teeth accumulates and forms hard deposits called calculus or tartar. If left on your teeth these deposits cause inflammation of your gum tissues and can lead to infection, abscesses, and even tooth loss. During a professional cleaning a technique called scaling removes these substances. For more advanced forms of gum disease, root planing is used to remove deposits of calculus below the gum line.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about oral hygiene. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Hygiene Behavior.”


By Dr. Hartmann D.D.S
June 15, 2012
Category: Oral Health
TipsForDentalEmergenciesWhileTraveling

Planning a dream trip is something many people spend weeks, months or even years doing prior to their departure. However, in all of their excitement, they often forget about preparing for any “what if” dental emergencies that could occur while on the road. This is especially important if the trip will be overseas where you could face language barriers in addition to the concerns of finding qualified dental professionals you feel comfortable with treating an emergency.

The first and most important step you can take prior to departure is a proactive one: schedule an appointment with us for a thorough exam. (You should also do the same and schedule an appointment with your physician concerning your general health.) During this visit, be sure to let us know about your travel plans, where you will be going and what you will be doing so that we can ensure you are best prepared for your trip. For example, if you will be trying some new or high-impact activities, you may need a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Also, have any dental problems taken care of prior to traveling because pressure changes, especially during air travel, can cause pain in an untreated tooth.

As for seeking safe emergency dental care while you're traveling, here are some tips:

  • Be sure to carry your travel information with you at all times, including the names and phone numbers of organizations to contact in case of a dental or medical emergency.
  • Some good sources to contact in an emergency are:
    • Friends or relatives that you are visiting in the area
    • A local hotel concierge
    • If traveling overseas, Americans living in the area or American military personnel; The International Association For Medical Assistance To Travelers, a network of doctors and medical institutions around the world (www.iamat.org; 716-754-4883); American Consulate or American Embassy in the country you are visiting; or if in Europe, the American Dental Society of Europe (ADSE; www.adse.co.uk; Phone: 011 44 141 331 0088)

And be sure to take our address with you on your trip. We would love to receive a postcard from you while you're traveling!


By Dr. Hartmann D.D.S
June 07, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
OralHealthTipsforSpecialNeedsChildren

If you are the parent or caregiver of a special needs child or a child with a chronic disease, you face additional challenges when it comes to life's everyday routines. This includes establishing and maintaining good oral health so that your child is not at risk for other healthcare issues due to poor oral hygiene. For these reasons, our office has put together real-world advice that will make a difference in the life of your child.

The visit to our office that can make the biggest difference is your child's first one. However, be sure to contact us in advance of your child's appointment to let us know the details of your child's special needs or chronic disease state. This will give us the opportunity to contact your child's primary care physician or one of his/her specialists before starting treatment to obtain any medical information or special instructions. It will also enable us to be prepared so that we can pay special attention to these needs, as well as to make any necessary modifications to our office and/or equipment. Our primary focus is to work with you and your child's healthcare team towards the same goal. We all want your office visit to go smoothly and comfortably so that your child's first dental experience is a positive one.

Depending on the age of your child and his/her special needs, we most likely will start a gentle process of training and education. For example we will teach your child how to brush properly. It is important that you sit in and participate in this educational process so that you can reinforce this training at home. And little things count; before working with your child at home, you should set the stage so that it will be a comfortable setting with adequate light, fresh water for rinsing, and a mirror. You also need to have all of your supplies handy, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and rubber gloves (if needed).

To learn more tips, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How To Care for the Oral Health of Children with Disabilities and Special Needs.” Or, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about your child's special oral healthcare needs.




Gina Piccioni, D.M.D. and John G. Hartmann, D.D.S.

River Forest, IL Dentist

River Forest Dental Studio

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