Dentists across the United States already know that saliva is essential for maintaining good oral health. Saliva helps to protect the teeth from the development of cavities, it dilutes sugars, and it even boasts antimicrobial properties to minimize the presence of bacteria that can cause bad breath. But saliva could also hold the key not only to oral health, but also to systemic health.

Why Saliva?

A watery, transparent liquid; saliva may look simple, but it’s actually more complex than many patients think. It contains a variety of proteins, antibodies, ions, hormones, and biomarkers for disease which are important ‘clues’ as to the likelihood of illness. Many of these biomarkers, and other chemicals and proteins, enter saliva through the bloodstream, so we can reasonably conclude that blood and saliva contain many of the same markers, with the mouth essentially becoming the ‘mirror’ of the body.

Traditionally in medicine, we’ve accessed these biomarkers through the blood in the form of routine blood testing, but salivary diagnosis could render many types of blood test obsolete in the near future. It is believed that there would be a number of benefits to switching from blood to salivary diagnosis:

* Salivary diagnosis could minimize the need for invasive, uncomfortable medical procedures, ultimately boosting patient satisfaction and encouraging more Americans to visit their doctor.

* There is the potential for salivary diagnosis to reduce the risk associated with blood drawing procedures, such as bruising, discomfort, infection, excessive bleeding, and dizziness/faintness.

* It is possible that salivary diagnosis could ultimately facilitate better medical outcomes by making screening for disease much more accessible, especially to those with aichmophobia – a fear of needles.

* Experts hope that patients will be able to access treatment more quickly, due to reduced testing times. A saliva-based HIV test is capable of producing accurate results in as little as 20 minutes.

* The safety of laboratory assistants and research could be improved. For example, saliva is widely understood to reduce the infectivity of HIV, boosting the safety of handling patient samples.

There are a number of different diseases and conditions that are believed to have oral manifestations, including diabetes, HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C, the ebola virus, malaria, and tuberculosis. There are also many studies looking at whether salivary diagnosis could possibly be used for detecting certain cancers.

The Salivary Diagnosis Journey

Oral diagnosis certainly isn’t a new concept. In fact, the first oral thermometer, which was designed to identify abnormal temperatures which could indicate illness, was invented back in 1612 by Santorio Santorio. It is, therefore, slightly surprising that it has taken so long to make salivary diagnosis a primary focus. Regardless, it is fully expected that with further understanding and continued funding, portable oral diagnosis kits, which produce chairside results, will become a standard addition in many dental practices across the United States in the near future. It appears that dentists are supporting these new methods of testing, with the UCLA School of Dentistry reporting that more than 80 percent of US-based dentists would be happy to collect saliva samples for diagnosis.

As parents, we all want what’s best for our children’s teeth – and we want what’s best for our own teeth, too! The good news is that sales of sugary sodas in the United States are declining, with research showing that Americans drank a whopping 51 gallons of soda in 1998, compared to 44 gallons today. The question that needs to be asked, however, is whether or not we’re drinking the right things.

The Dangers of the Sugar-Free Culture

Unfortunately, the relatively recent introduction of ‘no added sugar’ drinks in our local stores has created a bit of confusion, and many of us don’t know what the best options are for a refreshing, healthy beverage. While ‘no added sugar’ drinks may seem like the healthier option, they still contain large amounts of sugar. Just because they have no artificial sugar added to them doesn't mean they’re completely sugar free. Many drinks labelled as ‘sugar-free’, including Kool-Aid style sachets and fruit juices, contain natural sugars, which can be damaging to teeth. ‘Drinking too much can cause a host of dental problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, dental cavities, and even bad breath’, says Colgate.

Of course, you’re not limited to just water or milk if you want to keep your teeth, and your family’s teeth, looking and feeling healthy. Here are a few tasty ideas to try in your own kitchen:

* Fruit Water

If you find water to be a little too bland and boring, and want to steer clear of sugary fruit juices, whipping up your own fruit water can be a great alternative. All you need to do is make up a jug of water and sliced fruits in the morning (and a few ice cubes to keep it nice and refreshing), and it should last you and your family all day. Lemon water is the most well known example of fruit water, but why stop there? How about slicing up some strawberries or kiwi fruit and creating your own delicious concoctions...

* Coconut Milkshakes

If your little ones love milkshakes but you hate the sugar content of store-bought mixes, then why not make your own? It’s easier than you think. Coconut is a great addition to milkshakes; it’s strong enough to flavor the milk, yet natural and healthy enough to protect teeth. Blend some coconut water and milk together to taste and, if you like your milkshakes extra creamy, then half an avocado will do the job. It shouldn’t detract too much from the coconut flavor, and ‘green milk’ is sure to be a hit with the kids!

* Sugar-Free Grape Soda

If you’re finding it difficult to step away from your favorite soda, then this recipe is for you. Although it contains grapes, which contain natural sugars, the ‘syrup’ is diluted with water to make it a much healthier alternative to fruit juice or soda. Simply cook down about 1lb of fresh grapes until soft, blend, then push through a strainer to collect the juice. Allow to cool, then make up your ‘soda’ with half grape juice and half ice water for a refreshing, tasty alternative to the more traditional sugary drinks.

Although many forms of tooth restorations are designed to last a lifetime, dentists are still seeing a large number of patients returning for treatment when their restorations fail. In fact, it’s reported that around 10 percent of tooth restorations fail, and replacement now accounts for the majority of surgery undertaken by dentists in the United States today. So what can dentists be doing to improve success?

Why Tooth Restorations Fail

When a tooth restoration fails, it’s very easy for the patient to place the blame on the dentist’s own experience and skills, or on the material that was used for the restoration. However, while these are important factors, one of the main reasons for a failed restoration is a lack of proper finishing and polishing. These are essential aspects that are all too frequently overlooked in clinics today.

Polishing: A New Trend

While all dentists know that polishing is very important for cosmetic work, its role in restorations isn’t given as great a focus. An important question to ask is ‘why?’ While there’s no definitive answer, we can safely assume that previous failures in polishing restorations have played a big role. Looking back to when composite materials were first used for restorations, many fillers were quartz-based. As we know, quartz doesn’t polish well, and despite best efforts, patients were still left with sharp, jagged edges.

Restoration practices then evolved without the inclusion of polishing, which didn’t really contribute anything to the finished effect at the time. However, we’ve come a long way from the composites of the 1950’s and 60’s, and today’s microfilled composites lend themselves very well to polishing and finishing.

Why Polish?

Polishing and finishing correctly really can mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful tooth restoration. Here are just some of the reasons to include tooth polishing in your processes:

  • Polishing a tooth restoration helps to create a smoother surface with lower levels of adhesion, reducing the risk of plaque build ups and staining, leaving the tooth healthy for longer.
  • The smooth finish created by polishing a tooth restoration can significantly minimize the risk of irritation to the gums, reducing sores, bleeding, and maintaining the health of the tissue.
  • Polishing tools provide a shinier, more reflective surface, encouraging a natural smile. A patient who is satisfied with their treatment may be more likely to take care of their teeth in the future.

Best Polishing Practices

There are a number of polishing processes that are regularly used in clinics, and every dentist has their own preferences. However, for tooth polishing, diamond-based finishers are often recommended, as they are said to be the most effective at minimizing the abrasive qualities of the composite, and leaving a smoother surface.

But it’s not just about material. A good polish is also about coarseness, too. It’s important to use a selection for polishing a tooth restoration. Course polishers can help with contouring and shaping, a medium coarse polisher can work to remove imperfections, and a fine polisher can bring out the shine of the tooth.

Gazelle nanocomposite polishers from Microcopy is a 2-step polishing system that offers a Satin and a Hi-gloss finish. The Satin finish is ideal for all restorations. Then follow up with a Hi-gloss polisher if a higher luster is desired on anterior restorations.

The proper finishing and polishing is a key component for maximum restorative success. There are a lot of great polishing options available. Try out a few and find a polishing system that gives your patients the best restoration while keeping your schedule predictable.

When is a toothbrush not just a toothbrush? When it's an electric toothbrush – because no matter what kind of dental issue you have, or what your personal teeth cleaning preferences are, you can choose from a sometimes bewildering array of toothbrush heads to fit your unit.

How to Choose An Electric Toothbrush Head

Assuming you have already chosen the actual toothbrush, you will find a range of interchangeable heads which fit that make and model of brush. It's important to note that toothbrush heads are usually not interchangeable across different brands – for instance, an Oral B electric toothbrush head is unlikely to fit your Philips toothbrush.

Popular Electric Toothbrush Heads Explained

Two of the most popular electric toothbrush brands are Oral B and Philips. There are dozens of different types of heads available for these toothbrushes, but here's our quick guide to some of the most common.

ORAL B TOOTHBRUSH HEADS

Precision Clean – This is the standard head which comes with an Oral B toothbrush. It has an oscillating rotating action, moving around each tooth to clean the surface. It's a perfectly adequate brush head – remember, any electric toothbrush will give a more thorough clean than manual brushing alone – but if you want something more specific, you could try:

Dual Clean – This head is the same as Precision Clean, with an added lower section of brush which sweeps across the teeth, for better plaque removal.

Sensitive – Like Precision Clean, but gives a more gentle brush for those with sensitive teeth and gums.

Floss Action – This brush has flat flossing strips built in among the bristles, which can slip between your teeth during brushing.

3D Whitening – This brush features a rubber polishing cap at the center of the bristles, which is designed to mimic the actions of a hygienist's polishing tool. Best used with a whitening toothpaste.

Cross Action – This brush has sets of bristles which are all at carefully calculated different angles, to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth can be reached at the same time.

PHILIPS SONICARE TOOTHBRUSH HEADS

Pro Results – This is the standard head which comes with a Philips Sonicare toothbrush. It has a curved look, with bristles of different lengths designed to reach all teeth areas. Again, perfectly adequate for a good clean.

Diamond Clean – This brush has more densely packed bristles, and is designed to do a more thorough teeth cleaning, helping to remove more plaque than the standard brush.

Pro Results Gum Health – This brush is designed to clean thoroughly but the curved profile provides a more gentle gum experience, to help those with painful or sensitive gums.

No matter which electric toothbrush you choose, with which toothbrush head, what matters most is that you brush regularly and with good technique. All electric toothbrush heads will help to keep your teeth clean and healthy, so in the end it's a matter of personal preference.

07-15-2016

All About Plaque

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If you've ever missed cleaning your teeth for a day (which is never a good idea!) you'll be familiar with the soft fuzzy feeling of your tongue against your teeth – this means they need attention, ideally right now. That feeling is plaque; but what exactly is plaque, and how can you get rid of it?

Plaque is a Bacterial Biofilm

Made up of mucus, saliva, bacteria and food particles, plaque is a sticky film which is constantly forming in your mouth, adhering to your teeth and gum line.

Why is Plaque Harmful?

The bacteria which thrive in this biofilm produce acids, which over time will destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Left alone, plaque will eventually calcify or harden into yellow-ish tartar. This is unsightly in your smile, and much, much harder to remove than plaque, so it pays to stay on top of the plaque in the first place. 

How to Spot Plaque

Because plaque is colourless, it's difficult to see during your normal brushing routine. Fortunately, there are various products available which will help to make the plaque more visible, so that you can brush it away:

1. Disclosing Tablets. People of a certain age will remember these well! You chew a tablet, and the red dye in the tablet reacts with the bacteria to stain areas of plaque bright red. The resulting vampire look is not to everyone's taste, and can be quite alarming for small children. On top of that, the dye can take some time to fade, so this isn't the best option if you're in a real hurry.

2. A less dramatic option is a mouthwash; one popular brand will stain plaque areas blue, for example, and is much easier to brush away completely.

3. New, two stage toothpastes are beginning to emerge. With these, you brush your teeth as normal, and the toothpaste will stain plaque areas green. These green areas can then be brushed away with water, with no further toothpaste necessary - a good option for helping children in particular to develop good brushing techniques.

How to Minimize the Build Up of Plaque

Everyone has some plaque, but there are a few things you can do which will help keep it to a minimum.

  • Brush twice a day, paying particular attention to the gum line and any gaps in teeth.
  • Floss once a day, to remove food particles from between teeth.
  • Use a disclosing product occasionally, to check that your dental hygiene routine is up to scratch.
  • Limit snacks between meals, and try to avoid sugary snacks where possible.
  • An antibacterial mouthwash can help to keep bacteria in check.
  • Keep your routine six monthly dental appointments, to have your teeth checked and professionally cleaned.

Fighting and removing plaque through good brushing habits is an essential step in maintaining oral hygiene. It's important to play your part of course; don't just think you can leave it all up to your dentist!

Tooth pain can range from a mild, dull pain to a sharp, shooting attack. No matter how it feels, the underlying mechanism which causes the pain is the same. Tooth pain occurs when the nerve endings contained within the pulp of the tooth are stimulated by an outside source. The pain is your body's way of telling you that something isn’t as it should be, and that you need to see a dentist. Below is a rundown of the main causes of tooth pain.

Dental Cavities

Dental cavities are one of the leading causes of tooth pain. Cavities occur when food particles become trapped in the mouth. Bacteria feed upon this food and produce an acid, which damages the protective enamel on teeth.

Gum Recession

Gum recession is caused when the gum tissue which surrounds the teeth pulls back or wears away, exposing the tooth. Gum recession is most commonly caused by periodontal disease, an infection which damages the gum tissue which supports your teeth. It can also be caused by brushing your teeth too vigorously, which also damages the gums. This can allow pockets to form between the gum and the teeth, which are the perfect place for bacteria to grow. The bacteria attack the tooth which leads to tooth pain.

Recent Dental Work

If you have recently had dental work carried out on your teeth, it may have caused them to become sensitized. This normally subsides after a few weeks, and your teeth should return to their normal state as they heal.

Acid Reflux

If you suffer from acid reflux, you may be at particular risk of tooth pain. The acid from your stomach can accelerate tooth decay, leading to an increased occurrence of pain.

Abscess

An abscess is caused by an infection in the mouth, throat or jaw. Abscesses are normally the result of an infected tooth or poor dental health. They can also occur when dental work already carried out begins to fail. Under these conditions, bacteria thrive, leading to inflammation and the formation of pus, as your body tries to fight the infection.

Referred Pain

Sometimes the source of the pain will be another tooth or another area of the head, neck or jaw. For example, if you have an infected sinus, the pain may radiate into your mouth and feel like it is occurring in a tooth. When this is the case, your dentist will describe the problem as 'referred pain'. You may be given an x-ray to confirm the true source of your discomfort.

Chip, Crack or Fracture

As you bite and chew, your teeth may become weakened. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching may also contribute to causing chips, cracks or fractures to your teeth. When your teeth suffer damage such as this, it can expose nerve endings which are trigged when exposed to hot or cold temperatures or foods.

If you experience tooth pain, you should book an appointment to see a dental health professional to have to checked out. Tooth pain rarely goes away by itself.

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, and Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services have recently released new guidelines which are aimed to help encourage Americans to change their diets when it comes to sugar. It is hoped this will prevent diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, and may well also improve dental health.

Promoting Healthy Eating

The guidelines, which are titled ‘2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’, is designed to educate the general public, as well as adding to the conversation between health professionals and those that make policy.

“Promoting healthy eating to the public involves giving them the power and information they need so they can make healthy decisions every day of their lives,” said Secretary Burwell.

“By highlighting the small shifts people can make to what they drink and eat, we can demonstrate how eating healthy is manageable. The guidelines provide a range of recommendations on food and nutrition, which are based on scientific research, so the public can go on to make choices that could help to keep their weight down, while also helping to prevent chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.”

Reduced Sugar

One of the 5 key recommendations made by the report is that calories from added sugars should be reduced, along with saturated fats and salt. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines is the first edition of the report which has recommended that the public consume under 10% of their calories from added sugars. Sugar is added to a number of foods such as candy, pies, sodas, and cakes.

An edition of the report has been published every five years since 1980. The 2015 edition also repeats the guidance about the building blocks needed for a healthy diet from previous editions of the report, which suggest that there is still some way to go before Americans begin to fulfill the targets on healthy eating and lifestyle.

Healthy Eating Patterns

The report also recommends that the American public adopt healthy eating across their entire lifespans, with a focus on the amount, variety and nutrient density of foods eaten. Healthy diets and patterns of eating should include fruits, grains and vegetables, low or fat free dairy products, and lean meats and other sources of protein. The report recommends limiting the amount of trans and saturated fats, sodium and added sugar. A healthy diet should be adaptable to any individual's personal taste, culture, and budget.

The Role of Nutrition

The USDA and HHS have a joint responsibility to ensure that advancements in scientific understanding about the role of nutrition in health reach the American public. It is hoped that the updated guideline will assist health and dental professionals, as they support their patients in making healthy choices about their lifestyle and diet.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Report was put together using recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which is composed of leading researchers in the fields of health, medicine and nutrition, and by consideration of comments from federal agencies and the public.

Every dentist knows that in order to win the trust of patients, their offices need to be clean, modern and professional. But have you ever given any thought to your dental practice’s website? With increasing numbers of consumers using the web to find the services they need, isn’t it time you took another look at the webpage for your dental office?

First Impressions

First impressions count. Your dental website should be as clean and professional as your offices. A professional, modern, clean-looking website lets patients know that your dental practice is trustworthy. Research by Stanford University has found that half of consumers say that they make a judgment about the credibility of a business based on how its website looks.

Building Trust

The relationship between a dentist and their patient is a very personal one. After all, who would be comfortable with a complete stranger poking their gums and polishing their teeth? Your website should help to establish a level of trust, before a patient has even booked their first appointment. Photos and bios of all the staff at your practice, containing information about your family, hobbies and education, can help to break down barriers between you and the patient, by showing that you are just another human being as well as a dental professional!

Contact Point

You should include the contact information for your practice in the top right-hand corner of each page of your website. This is where people tend to look, and it is better not to force prospective patients to hunt down ways to contact you. You should also include a call to action, which encourages people to get in touch and book an appointment. You could also include a map to help prospective patients find you.

Mobile Responsive

Increasing numbers of internet users are accessing websites using their smartphones. It is vital that your website is mobile friendly, and can be viewed with ease using the smaller screens found on cell phones.

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way of making sure that your website is as visible as possible on the internet, and appears high in the results of popular search engines such as Google. You can improve your SEO by taking the following steps:

1. Local Listings: Add details of your dental practice to local business directories. Adding the contact and location details of your practice to local listings and business directories will ensure that details of your business are displayed when someone searches for the word "dentist" and your city.

2. Keywords: Keywords are a way of letting a search engine know what your website is about. You should think of search terms that people might use when looking for a dentist, such as "dental appointment", "family dentist" and "dental cleaning".

3. Blogging: Adding a blog to your website is a great way to incorporate and update keywords, while also keeping your patients informed about what is happening at your practice, and in the wider world of dentistry.

By making sure your website is clean, professional and ranking highly in local search engine results, you can attract new clients and better serve existing patients.

Dental health has always used cutting edge technology, but with the rise of high quality apps for smartphones and tablets, it is now easier than ever for dental health professionals to access information and treat patients. Below we look at seven of the best.

DCStory: Patient Education

Educating patients about oral health is a key part of any dental health professional's job. This app presents complex information in an easy to understand format, detailing treatment plans and procedures using high definition 3D images, photos and x-rays. The app also allows you to draw additional information onto the images using a stylus. The information can then be printed or emailed directly to the patient.

Epocrates Rx

This app gives you access to an online clinical library, which contains information about drugs and their formulations and interactions. While the basic app is free to use, you can also purchase add-on information dealing with insurance, diagnostic tests and alternative treatments.

Note Taker HD

This app allows you to enter details of patient history and other clinical notes onto a laptop or PC. The data is then synched with mobile devices. The app also allows you to take handwritten notes directly onto a smartphone or tablet, which are then saved as a digital image which can be shared among your staff.

Box: Data Access & Management

This app uses a cloud database, which allows users to create and share their files and documents safely from a mobile device or computer. Within your dental practice, this app could be used to back up important patient documentation, allowing you to store copies securely in one place. It will then be possible for any member of your clinical team to share or access the documents at the click of a button.

Dental Expert

Dental Expert is the perfect app for educating patients about procedures and good dental health. The app contains information and advice about choosing a dentist, cosmetic dentistry, dental emergencies, and how to deal with fear and anxiety. After exploring this app, your patients will attend their dental appointments feeling a little less daunted and a lot more knowledgable, which will make it easier to treat them once they are in the chair.

Dental Manager

Dental Manager allows you to easily calculate cost and create treatment plans on your smartphone or tablet. You can also keep track of patients' contact information and make detailed notes. The app also features a treatment planning tool, which makes it easy to discuss the best possible treatment solutions with patients and track their progress. All of the information within the app can be easily shared with colleagues.

MyDentist

This groundbreaking app is revolutionizing the way patients communicate with their dentists. Using the app, patients can send text and photos directly to you to explain their problems or questions. The app makes it easy for you to reply quickly with instructions and information, and it can also be used to arrange a patient's next visit to your dental office.

Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to arrive, erupting right at the back of the mouth anytime from your late teens to your early to mid twenties. For most people, wisdom teeth don’t cause any major problems when they arrive, aside from a little pain and discomfort. However, for others they can cause complications.

Ancient Teeth

Wisdom teeth are believed to be something left over from the early days of human evolution, when people would have eaten a primitive diet contain raw and tough foods. The modern human skull has a smaller jaw compared to its ancestors, and so sometimes people can have problems with space when wisdom teeth arrive.

Misalignment

Because of the lack of space, wisdom teeth will sometimes become misaligned, protruding at odd angles into the mouth, gums or other teeth. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to pain and damage in neighboring teeth, nerves or jaw bone.

Impacted Teeth

Wisdom teeth can also become impacted. An impacted tooth doesn’t fully break through the gum into the mouth. This encourages the growth of bacteria around the wisdom tooth, which can lead to infection, swelling, and pain. Because it can be hard to reach an impacted tooth with a toothbrush, they are also more likely to be prone to gum disease and tooth decay.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you are having problems with your wisdom teeth, you should see a dental health professional. Your dentist will assess you and may also conduct an x-ray to look for signs of impacted teeth. The most common form of treatment is the removal of the wisdom teeth. Before the teeth are removed, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area, and may offer an oral sedative if you are feeling anxious.

Recovery from Wisdom Teeth Extraction

After you have had your wisdom teeth extracted you will experience a recovery period as your body reacts and heals. You may experience:

  • Bleeding. For a few hours after the extraction, you may experience light bleeding in your mouth. This can be easily controlled using clean gauze.
  • Facial Swelling. Some swelling around the area where the tooth was extracted is normal. To combat swelling, wrap a piece of ice in a towel, and apply it to the swollen area for 10 minutes. Repeat this a couple of times an hour as needed.

Food and Drink

You should avoid food until the numbness from the pain relief has worn off. You should then only eat soft foods for the next few days, to avoid damaging your gum as it heals. Avoid hot drinks as these can cause complications. You should continue to gently brush your teeth, avoiding the extraction area for the first 24 hours. It may take a few weeks for your mouth to fully heal, but the outlook is generally good once this procedure has been performed.

If you are suffering from pain or discomfort due to your wisdom teeth, you should book an appointment with a dental health professional.

There are two words which are guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of any dental patient: Root Canal. Over the years, many misconceptions have built up around this treatment, which can cause patients a great deal of unnecessary distress. Let's take a closer look at some common myths which surround root canal treatments.

Myth 1 - Root Canal Treatment is Only Needed if you have Tooth Pain

If a patient is experiencing no pain, they may be resistant to root canal treatment. However, if the root of a tooth is dead, it may no longer cause pain or discomfort. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t in need of treatment. Dentists have a range of tests which allow them to confirm that a tooth is dead, and that it requires root canal treatment.

Myth 2 - Root Canal Treatment Causes Pain

The perception that root canal treatment is painful has been around for years. While the treatment may have been highly unpleasant generations ago, with modern pain control and treatment technology, root canal treatment creates no more discomfort that having a filling. Surveys have shown that those patients who undergo root canal treatment are around six times more likely to describe the process as 'painless', compared to those who have not had the treatment.

Myth 3 - Root Canal Treatment can Cause Illnesses

A century ago, a doctor called Weston A. Price claimed that root canal treatments could lead to other illnesses and diseases manifesting themselves in the body. Dr. Price was an advocate for tooth extraction rather than root canal treatment, which lead to many patients losing teeth in painful operations. The poorly designed research, which was carried out at a time before the medical profession understood how diseases were caused, was long ago disproved by medical science. However, the claim is still repeated, and, unfortunately, can easily be found by a patient searching the internet for pre-treatment information.

Myth 4 - Extraction is a Good Alternative to Root Canal Treatment

This myth also has its basis in the discredited work of Dr. Price. In truth, nothing can perfectly replace a natural tooth, and therefore, they should be saved wherever possible. Extracting a tooth is a traumatic procedure which leads to significantly more bacteria entering the patients bloodstream. Root canal treatment causes much less trauma, which leads to lower levels of bacteria in the bloodstream, improving clinical outcomes.

Myth 5 - Root Canal Treatment is Only a Temporary Fix

Root canal treatment has a very high success rate, and the benefits can be long lasting. Effective treatment will completely relieve any pain the patient has been experiencing, while also helping to preserve the tooth. With appropriate restoration work, a root canal is the most cost-effective way to treat damaged or dead teeth. It is usually less expensive, when compared to tooth extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant. Following root canal surgery, millions of patients from around the globe enjoy the benefits of improved oral health for many years after the initial treatment.

Toothpaste has a long and fascinating history. While many people believe that it's a modern invention, it has in fact been around in one form or another for thousands of years.

5000 BC - The First Toothpaste!

While historians and archeologists aren’t exactly sure when man first rubbed a substance onto his teeth to clean them, they know that the Ancient Egyptians used a dental cream as far back at 5000 BC. The cream was very different from modern toothpaste, being made of the powdered ashes of oxen hooves, egg shells, pumice and myrrh. As you can imagine, this probably tasted pretty bad, but it did at least do the job of helping to remove debris from the teeth and gums.

The Romans

In 500 BC the Romans began to adapt this basic recipe by adding more abrasive material, such as crushed oyster shells and bones. They also added flavoring using crushed bark and charcoal, in an attempt to improve the taste and fight off bad breath. The idea of charcoal improving the flavor of something indicates how bad the original paste must have tasted.

Ancient China and India

Around the same time that the Romans were improving toothpaste, societies in China and India also began to use paste to clean their teeth. The Chinese attempted to improve the taste of the toothpaste by adding salt, herbs and mint, which probably tasted substantially better than crushed up charcoal.

The Dark Ages

After these quite rapid advancements in toothpaste technology, the development of toothpaste enters something of a dark age. While toothpaste slowly spread westward toward Europe, very few new developments were made. The new dental technology wasn’t available to everyone; you had to be very rich to be able to afford toothpaste and it was out of the reach of most people.

The 1800s

It wasn’t until the 1800s that there was any big change in the ingredients used to make and flavor toothpaste, and that change was the addition of soap. However, whether soap would actually have improved the taste of the bone and ash is questionable. By the 1850s, toothpaste was being sold prepackaged in jars, and when Colgate began mass production in 1873, toothpaste finally began to be available to the middle classes. Early Colgate toothpastes were quite good at removing debris from teeth; unfortunately they were also very good at removing the enamel which protects teeth from decay.

The 20th Century

In 1914 toothpaste design made a giant leap forward when fluoride was added for the first time. The abrasiveness of the toothpaste was also reduced as the years went by, and more synthetic ingredients were added, such as sweetness and foaming agents. The price of toothpaste fell, until it became affordable for the vast majority of the population. The final decades of the century saw the addition of new flavors, whitening agents, gels, and micro-beads, which are used in many of the toothpastes we use today.

Over its long development, despite some fairly unappetizing early versions, toothpaste gradually became the number one weapon in fighting dental disease and decay.

A dental hygienist plays a key role in any dental practice. Their job involves cleaning and polishing teeth using a range of power and hand-operated tools, such as air polishing and ultrasonic devices.

Main Tasks

The main tasks carried out on a day to day basis by a dental hygienist are:

  • The removal of plaque, tartar and stains from patients' teeth
  • The application of fluorides and sealants to protect teeth
  • Taking x-rays
  • Creating and tracking patients' treatment and care plans

Educating Patients

As well as cleaning teeth, dental hygienists also help to educate patients about how to achieve and maintain good oral health. They may give advice about how to select the best toothbrush, or help a patient to understand how diet and oral health are linked.

Education Requirements

A dental hygienist will normally train for 2 years via an academic program at a technical or community college, dental school or university, receiving an associate degree upon graduation. This degree enables the prospective hygienist to sit state and national licensure examinations. Once the hygienist is licensed, they can begin working in a dental office.

Dental hygiene programs offered at universities may include the option to study for a baccalaureate or master’s degree, which require a further two years of studying. These additional qualifications are needed if you wish to pursue a career in clinical research, teaching or public health programs.

Examinations and Licensure

All dental hygienists in the United States are licensed by individual states to provide care and education to patients. Almost every state will require a dentist hygienist to be a graduate from a course which is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). CODA is the only organization which can accredit dental hygiene educational programs.

As well as passing the state licensure exam, which tests knowledge and clinical skills, most states generally also require candidates who are applying for licensure to have passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Once the hygienist has received their license, they can use R.D.H after their name to show they are a state Registered Dental Hygienist.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements vary from school to school, so it is important to research individual schools and colleges in advance. Generally, high school courses such as biology, chemistry, heath, psychology and mathematics will be of benefit to those wishing to enter into the dental hygiene profession. The majority of programs favor candidates who have completed at least one year of college education.

Program Content

Most programs include a wide number of courses, in a variety of liberal arts subjects such as English, sociology and psychology, as well as sciences such as physiology, anatomy, chemistry and microbiology, and clinical sciences such as dental hygiene and radiology. During a dental hygiene education program, you will receive some clinical training in the form of supervised patient care experience, which will allow you to develop your treatment skills.

Further Training

Finally, after completing the dental hygienist program, as well as working in a dental office, dental hygienists can choose to pursue further training in business administration, public health and education.

Everyone knows that cakes and soda are full of sugar, but there are also a host of foods that look innocent, which in fact contain massive amounts of 'stealth sugar', which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Below is a selection of foods that are often shockingly sugary – and some alternatives you can use to sweeten your meals.

Pasta Sauce

While pasta sauce bought from the supermarket might taste savory, on average, a half-cup serving of it will contain anywhere between 6 and 12 grams. To avoid this you should take the time to make your own sauce, using freshly chopped tomatoes, olive oil and herbs.

Salad Dressing

It's very clear that eating salad is a healthy thing to do. However, when you cover your salad in shop bought salad dressing, you are also covering it in sugar. Two tablespoons of salad dressing can contain up to 7 grams of sugar. To avoid this, you can make your own salad dressing using vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil.

Iced Tea

When buying bottled iced tea, you should carefully check the label. The sugar levels can vary widely depending on the brand. Some are virtually sugar free, while others can contain up to 32 grams of sugar in every bottle – which is like eating 8 teaspoons of sugar every time you drink one!

Ketchup

Before you cover your fries in ketchup, you should consider that every squirt adds around 4 grams, or one teaspoon, of sugar to your meal. You could consider using yellow mustard instead, which contains only one gram of sugar per squirt on average.

Energy Drinks

Many people think that the thing that gives them a buzz when they have an energy drink is the caffeine. However, that rush also comes from the massive hit of sugar each drink gives you. On average, an 8 ounce serving of energy drink will contain around 25 grams of sugar, which is more than your daily recommended intake. You can avoid this by drinking unsweetened tea or coffee instead.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw can seem like a very healthy dish to have on the side of a meal, but most fast-food coleslaw will contain up to 15 grams of sugar. Avoid the coleslaw when eating out, and make your own low sugar homemade coleslaw using vinegar, mayonnaise, garlic powder, white cabbage and carrot.

Yogurt

While yogurt is full of calcium and protein, it can also contain a lot of sugar. An average serving of sweetened and flavored yogurts can contain between 17 and 33 grams of sugar. To avoid this, buy plain Greek yogurt and add chopped fruit.

Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal can make a great breakfast that is full of fiber, but a serving of instant oatmeal from a packet usually contains between 10 and 15 grams of sugar. Instead, you can buy your own oats to prepare at home using milk or water, adding fruit to flavor it.

Keeping the amount of sugar you consume down is a major part of the battle for healthy teeth and gums.

Before a dentist can start to practice their profession, they must first undergo years of education and training. Because of the number of choices you have during your school years, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be doing in order to achieve your aim of becoming a dental professional. Below we look at the different stages of education and training.

High School

If you want to become a dentist, your journey begins in high school. While at this point you will not be studying anything specifically about dentistry, it is important you maintain a high GPA across all subjects. Your GPA will be one of the main indicators that a college will look at during the admission process.

College

In most cases, you will need to study for a bachelor’s degree before being admitted to dental school. Your bachelor’s degree should be in a science subject, such as chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or physics. Each dental school has its own individual requirements, so it is important that you take the time to research them before you get too far into your bachelor’s degree.

The Dental Acceptance Test

To gain entry to dental school you will need to pass the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT). You should take the DAT during the junior year of your undergraduate degree. The DAT is conducted by the American Dental Association, and consists of four multiple choice exams which test your knowledge and abilities in the following areas:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Natural Sciences
  • Perceptual Ability
  • Quantitive Reasoning

You may sit the DAT up to three times, but must wait at least 90 days between each attempt. In some cases, if you receive special permission, the DAT can be taken a fourth time.

Doctor of Dental Surgery, or Doctor of Dental Medicine

There are two types of dental degree programs which prepare students to work as a dentist; the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. The difference between the two degrees is mostly in name only, as they are both based on the American Dental Association’s curriculum, and both are accepted by state licensing boards. The course involves both didactic and clinical elements, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Oral Diagnosis
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pedonotics
  • Endodontics
  • Microbiology

National and State Licensing Exams

Licensing laws vary from state to state. You should contact the dental board of the state where you wish to work for further information on their particular licensing requirements.

The Joint Commission of National Dental Examinations conducts the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE), which is a pass or fail test. You must pass this test in order to be able to practice dentistry in any state. Your dental school may arrange for you to take this test as part of your training.

Some states also require dentists to take state or regional exams. These are clinical tests which require dental students to perform procedures on patients.

Training to become a dentist takes many years of hard work and training, so start planning today if you want to become the dentist of tomorrow!

There are many reasons people fear visiting the dentist; the thought of a painful procedure, the cost, and the idea of having to have an X-ray. Because X-rays use electromagnetic radiation, people sometimes fear it may lead to burns, birth defects and brain tumors. Below we look at the history of the X-ray, dispel some of the myths around dental X-rays, and celebrate what is a vital tool that helps your dentist diagnose oral health problems.

The History of the Dental X-ray

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a Professor at Wuerzburg University in Germany discovered X-rays in 1895. When he presented his discovery, the potential for using X-rays in medicine and dentistry were quickly realized. In January 1896, the first dental X-ray was made by Dr. Otto Walkoff, but the exposure time required was 25 minutes. Since then our knowledge, and the technology used to deliver dental X-rays has developed, and modern technology and methods have increased the efficiency and safety of the procedure. However, some myths still remain about dental X-rays and the effects of radiation on the body.

Myth: Dental X-rays can be harmful because the radiation passes through the patient's head.

Because the amount of radiation used during a dental X-ray is so low, it could be applied to any part of the human body without causing any damage or harm, and due to improvements in the technology, the amount of time needed to take an X-ray has decreased, and the radiation can now be focused so only the teeth and mouth are exposed to the rays.

Myth: Dental X-rays can affect the milk of women who are breast feeding.

Nursing mothers will often have numerous tests such as mammograms and X-rays. Having a dental X-ray procedure at your dentist office is no different than undergoing any of these tests.

Myth: Dental X-rays expose you to potentially dangerous levels of radiation.

Modern day X-rays use one-fourth of the radiation used by traditional X-ray methods. The high speed X-ray film used in modern equipment means that the levels of radiation needed, and the amount of time the patient is exposed it, has decreased by a considerable amount.

In fact, the levels of radiation you will be exposed to during a dental X-ray are lower than the levels you are exposed to during many daily activities. For example, you are exposed to higher levels of radioactivity when cooking using natural gas, or flying in an airplane, than you are when you have a dental X-ray taken, so there is no reason to worry if your dentist suggests you undergo a dental X-ray.

The treatment and diagnostic benefits that dental X-rays provide far outweigh the extremely small risk of potential problems. Many diseases of the mouth cannot be detected by a physical or visual examination. Dental X-rays can be used to diagnose cavities, gum disease, tumors and infections at an early stage, helping your dentist to offer you the best treatment options, which should reduce the cost and length of the treatment while also increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

When it comes to your oral health, you really are what you eat. Everyone knows that sugary and acidic foods are bad for your teeth and overall oral health, but what about the good foods? Below we take a look at some of the foods which can help to keep your teeth bright, and your gums healthy.

Cheese

If you are one of those people who loves to chomp on cheese, here is another reason to eat more of this tasty food. The chewing required when you eat cheese increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, which helps to combat the build up of plaque and bacteria. Cheese also contains high amounts of protein and calcium, nutrients which help to strengthen tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Yogurt is another food which is high in protein and calcium, making it a great thing to eat to strengthen your teeth. Yogurt also contains ‘good’ bacteria known as probiotics; these may help to crowd out the bad bacteria which cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Apples

Apples might contain a large amount of natural sugar, but they aren’t all bad for your oral health. Alongside sugar, apples also contain water and fiber. When you bite into an apple the tough skin helps to remove debris from the surface of your teeth and to stimulate the gums.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach and kale contain high levels of calcium to help build the enamel on your teeth, as well as folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin which can help to combat gum disease.

Celery

While celery might not be at the top of everyone’s favorite food list, it is a favorite when it comes to oral health. The tough, stringy nature of celery makes it excellent at removing plaque and debris from your teeth. It is also high in Vitamins A and C, which are vital for healthy gums.

Cranberries

Cranberries contain compounds called polyphenols, which slow the growth of bacteria in the mouth and help to prevent gum disease and cavities. However, many foods that contain cranberry often have added sugars to offset the sour flavor.

Strawberries

Strawberries contain malic acid, which naturally whitens the enamel on your teeth, giving you a brighter smile. However, be sure to floss after enjoying this fruit as the tiny seeds can become trapped between your teeth.

Raisins

Raisins contain oleanolic acid which helps to inhibit bacteria in the mouth. However, make sure that the raisins are naturally sweet and do not contain added sugars.

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a natural sugar which prevents the growth of plaque forming bacteria in your mouth, while leaving ‘good’ bacteria untouched. This helps to combat a host of oral health problems, such as tooth decay, tartar, and gum disease.

By eating these foods as part of a balanced and healthy diet, regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, and having regular check ups at your dentist, you can beat bacteria, prevent tooth decay, and stop gum disease in its tracks.

If you look at photographs of high schoolers from the 1950's and 60's, you’ll see that many of the teenagers have smiles that are framed with braces. The sight is much less common these days. This is because kids now tend to get their braces at an early age, with some beginning treatment at the age of just 6 or 7.

So is there a best age for your child to get braces? To answer that question we need to look at the two approaches used when it comes to orthodontic treatment for children.

Interceptive Orthodontics

The interceptive approach treats children at younger ages, typically between 7 and 11. It is argued that interceptive orthodontics results in fewer teeth being extracted and leads to a better end result. The interceptive approach is split into two phases; phase one begins around the age of eight or nine, and commences with treatment to extract teeth and the use of braces for one or two years. This is followed by a retention phase, in which the child wears a retainer for one to three years, while the rest of the baby teeth fall out.

Phase two begins around the age of 11 upwards, and last for up to two years. One drawback of the interceptive approach is that, with treatment often lasting for up to five or six years in total, it can be expensive, and can mean your child has to deal with wearing braces for a longer time.

The American Association of Orthodontics has published a recommendation that young children are screened to see if they require orthodontic treatment, as this is when permanent teeth begin to arrive in the mouth and any problems with crooked teeth become apparent. At the same time, your dentist will also assess your child for any problems with the jaw bones, crossbones and overcrowding. If the problem is severe, it is likely that it will be recommended that treatment be started sooner rather than later. With less acute problems, it is often down to the parent to decide when to begin treatment, taking into account the individual needs of the child.

Traditional Orthodontics

The traditional approach to orthodontics is to wait until all the adult teeth have arrived. This is around the age of 11 or 12. One of the benefits of this approach is that the dentist knows exactly what they are dealing with, and doesn’t have to attempt to predict how teeth will arrive and develop. The traditional approach also means your child spends less time in braces – normally around 2 years – although these are the sensitive teen years, which means your child is less likely to be compliant with the treatment than if they were younger.

In truth, the best age at which your child should be treated with braces will depend on the type and severity of the dental problem. You should also seek the advice of at least one dental professional if you suspect your child needs braces. It isn’t unusual for different orthodontists and dentists who specialize in pediatric treatments to disagree, because they have different philosophies about when it is best to commence treatment. You shouldn’t be surprised if you ask for a second opinion and receive a slightly different answer!

04-13-2016

The Anatomy of a Tooth

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Have you ever wondered what your teeth look like on the inside? They might look hard and white, but beneath the surface is a fascinating world. Below we look at the anatomy of a tooth, and explore the different types of teeth you have in your mouth.

The Four Dental Tissues

Teeth contain four key dental tissues. Enamel, cementum and dentin are hard tissues, while the fourth, pulp, is a soft tissue.

Enamel is the hard calcified tissue in the crown of the tooth, which covers the dentin. Enamel cannot repair any decay or damage caused by wear and tear, because it does not contain any living cells.

Cementum is the hard connective tissue which covers the root of the tooth, providing an attachment to the periodontal ligament.

Dentin is found beneath the enamel and cementum. Dentin contains microscopic canals and tubes. When enamel is lost and the dentin is exposed, these canals and tubes allow hot and cold foods to stimulate nerves inside the tooth. This is the cause of sensitive teeth.

Pulp is contained within the very centre of the tooth. This soft material contains connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves.

Other Parts of the Tooth

The crown is the part of the tooth which is visible in your mouth. It will normally be covered in enamel.

The gums (gingiva) are the soft tissues which protect and cover the roots of the tooth, and also cover teeth which have not yet erupted into the mouth.

The root canal is the space within the root which contains pulp.

Types of Teeth

There are four types of teeth inside your mouth and each performs a certain function.

Incisors – At the front of your mouth are eight straight, thin teeth known as incisors. There are four at the top and four at the bottom. These teeth are used to bite into food, to support the lips and to help with the pronunciation of words when you speak.

Canines – On each side of the top and bottom sets of incisors is a single canine tooth. These pointy teeth are used for biting and tearing food and also help to support your lips. The canine teeth also act as a guide to bring your teeth into line when you close your mouth.

Premolars – Behind the canines, running towards the rear of the mouth are the premolar teeth. Premolars are flat on top and are used for chewing food. There are normally a total of eight premolars, four on the top and four on the bottom of the jaw.

Molars – Finally, at the very rear of the mouth are the molars. These are the widest and flattest of all the teeth. There are normally 12 molars in an adult mouth, with six at the top and six at the bottom.

Supernumerary Teeth

While the normal adult mouth contains 32 teeth, sometimes extra teeth can develop in the mouth. These supernumerary teeth do not always cause problems, but if they are crowding the mouth they may need to be removed by a dentist.

Often, fear of going to the dentist doesn’t involve the fear of any specific thing – it is frequently a fear based on the fact that we don’t know exactly what the dentist is going to do, or what tools they will use to do it. Below is a guide to some of the tools your dentist may use to care for your oral health.

Mouth Mirror

This is perhaps the most familiar piece of equipment, which enables your dentist to look inside your mouth to see those hard to reach places, such as the back of your teeth, so they can spot any potential problems.

Scaler

A scaler is a specially shaped tool, which often features a hook. This is used to remove tartar from your teeth. Tartar is plaque which has hardened so it cannot be removed from the teeth by brushing.

Curette

A curette is used to remove tartar in the same way as a scaler, though curettes are shaped differently and designed for use below the gum line.

Burnisher

A burnisher will often be used after tartar has been removed from your teeth. The burnisher is used to polish and smooth the teeth.

Suction Hose

While undergoing a dental procedure, you may find that debris and saliva build up in your mouth. This can be unpleasant for you, and it can also make things difficult for the dentist. A small suction hose may be used to remove debris from the mouth, which will make you more comfortable and allow the dentist to carry out their work.

Dental Drill

Perhaps the most feared of all dental tools! While the noise, and vibrations caused by the drill during use might sound and feel unpleasant or strange, the use of the drill is nothing to fear. Dentist are highly trained in the use of these tools which will allow them to remove decay attached to a tooth before giving you a filling.

Spoon Excavator

When the decay attached to a tooth is soft, the dentist may use a spoon excavator to remove the material. As the name suggests, this is a small spoon shaped tool.

X-Ray

Sometimes a dental problem won’t be visible to the naked eye, and your dentist will need to look at what's going on below the surface. To do this, your dentist may take an x-ray image of your teeth and jaw so they have a more detailed view. Having an x-ray is painless, and the most challenging thing for most patients is keeping still while the image is taken.

Mold

Your dentist may use a mold to form an impression of your mouth. You will be asked to bite down on a soft material. When the material hardens, the impression your teeth have made will be filled with plaster, creating a perfect model of your teeth, which can be used to create caps, crowns, and mouth guards.

It is important to remember that your dentist is highly trained in the use of their tools, so you have nothing to fear when you climb into the dentist chair.

If you have ever been brushing your teeth and noticed blood in the sink, the chances are it came from bleeding gums. While it can seem like a minor irritation, bleeding gums can be a signal that your oral health is not as good as it could be. Below we look at what causes bleeding gums, and the action you should take to combat this problem.

Gum Disease

Bleeding gums are often a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when the gums become inflamed by a bacterial infection. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to a more serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis and gingivitis are one of the major causes of adult tooth loss.

The Cause of Gingivitis

Because your gums attach to your teeth below the visible edge of the gum, this creates a space called a sulcus. Food and other debris can become trapped in the sulcus, and can cause infected gums.

If plaque which builds up on teeth is not removed it will harden into tartar. When this extends below your gum line, it can lead to an infection, and damage to the tissue and bone which support your teeth. If this is left untreated can cause the teeth to separate from the gums. Eventually, the tooth may fall out, or need to be removed by your dentist.

Risk Factors

Below are some risk factors which increase the chance of gingivitis:

  • Diabetes
  • Medications (such as oral contraceptives, anticonvulsants and steroids)
  • Broken Fillings
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Crooked Teeth

Treatment

The treatment of gingivitis involves maintaining good oral hygiene over an extended period of time. Depending on how far the gum disease has progressed, your dentist may also use other treatments to get the condition under control.

Cleaning

Your dentist may perform a deep clean of your teeth to remove any build up of tartar above and below the gum line. This can be carried out using scaling and root planing to smooth or remove infected parts of the teeth.

Medication

Your dentist may also prescribe medication to help to treat gingivitis by killing bacteria in the mouth. This will normally be in the form of oral antibiotics or an antibiotic mouthwash.

Surgery

In advanced cases, your dentist may recommend surgery to treat gum disease and save teeth. There are two forms of surgery which are normally used to combat gum disease:

1. Flap surgery. During this procedure the gums will be lifted back so plaque and tartar can be removed. The gums will then be sutured to close the gap between the tooth and gum.

2. Bone and tissue grafts. This procedure is used when the teeth and jaw are damaged to a point that they will not heal.

Complications

If left untreated, in the long term, gingivitis is associated with other health problems such as heart attack, lung disease, diabetes and stroke. So, if you notice any blood when you brush, make an appointment for a check up with your dentist and beat this problem before it beats you!

Have you ever taken a sip of an ice cold drink and then winced because of the pain, or found you are unable to enjoy a hot cup of coffee without your teeth starting to ache? If this sounds familiar, the chances are you have sensitive teeth.

What are Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity normally affects teeth that are worn and have thin enamel, or are chipped or broken. This exposes the soft surface beneath the hard enamel, called dentin. Dentin is what forms part of your inner tooth, surrounding the pulp. The dentin contains thousands of microscopic tunnels which allow triggers such as hot or cold drinks to reach the nerve inside the tooth, which in turn causes pain.

The Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Brushing Too Hard. Yes, believe it or not – brushing your teeth can actually damage them. If you aggressively brush your teeth, not only will you remove plaque, you will also remove the outer layer of enamel. Vigorous brushing can also damage the gums, causing them to recede and expose the root.

Teeth Grinding. Teeth grinding is often a result of stress. The constant pressure placed on your teeth can wear enamel away and cause your teeth to crack, which exposes the dentin below.

Acidic Food and Drink. Acidic, sugary food and drink can cause tooth decay. This decay will eventually lead to increased sensitivity in your teeth.

Dental Treatment. Sometimes after dental treatment such as fillings, crowns and teeth whitening, teeth can feel sensitive.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

If you are experiencing the pain of sensitive teeth, your first port of call should be your dentist to discuss the problem. You should tell your dentist exactly when the pain started and describe the symptoms. Your dentist will examine your mouth to determine the exact nature of the problem.

Treatment might be as simple as filling a new cavity or repairing an existing filling. However, if the cause of the sensitivity is gum loss, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist who will be able to perform a gum graft which will protect and support the root of the tooth.

Prevention and Reduction of Tooth Sensitivity

By taking the following steps you can help to reduce existing sensitivity and prevent further problems:

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. You should make sure you clean every tooth, using the correct brushing techniques. Afterwards, you should rinse your mouth with mouthwash.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush gently. This will prevent the removal of tooth enamel.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste which is specially designed for sensitive teeth.
  • If you grind your teeth in your sleep, consider investing in a mouth guard which can be worn at night to protect your teeth.

The good news is that sensitive teeth are a dental problem which can be solved with a little time and effort, meaning that before long, you will once again enjoy that ice cold water – or steaming cup of coffee.

Everyone knows that it's recommended to eat fruit as part of a healthy diet. When compared to junk food, it's hard to imagine that fruit might be bad for you. While it may seem like a healthy option when compared to a bowl of ice-cream, is it actually any better when it comes to your oral health?

While there are worse high sugar foods out there, when it comes to fruit, oral health outcomes very much depend on how you eat it. Below we look at the different ways of consuming fruit, and the impact each of them has on your oral health.

Canned Fruit

While canned fruit should be just as good for you as fresh fruit, you need to careful. A lot of canned fruit is covered in sugary syrup, which can make the fruit harmful to your oral health. Even cans labeled "light syrup" contain a large amount of added sugar, as this describes the consistency of the syrup, not the sugar content. You should always check the label and look out for low sugar options.

Fruit Juice

While fruit juice might taste great and seem like a healthy thing to have with breakfast, it is basically fruit with all the nutrition removed, which leaves you with a sugary water and natural fruit flavours. The American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry recommends that children should only be given one cup a day.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit can seem like a great alternative to fresh fruit. It's convenient and easy to carry around, but unfortunately it is terrible for your teeth. When fruit is dried, most of the water is removed but all of the sugar remains. Additional sugars are also released from inside the fruit. This makes dried fruit very sticky, which means it gets stuck to teeth and gums. The sugar in the dried fruit then feeds bacteria inside your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay. To make matters worse, some manufacturers add sugar to dried fruit.

Fresh Fruit

Eating fresh fruit is good for oral health when it's consumed as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Fresh fruit also provides your body with essential vitamins needed to maintain a healthy mouth.

The Benefits of Fresh Fruit

Eating fresh fruit with hard skin, such as an apple, can actually help to remove plaque and debris from your teeth as you take a bite. For this reason, hard skinned fruits are better for dental health than soft skinned varieties.

Many fresh fruits contain vitamin C, a deficiency of which can lead to gum disease. Fresh fruits also contain calcium and iron which promote teeth and tongue health. Most fresh fruit also contains a large amount of water, which can help to clean teeth and gums and fight the growth of bacteria.

Eating fresh fruit, as part of a balanced diet, is the best option when it comes to your dental health. You can still enjoy canned fruit, fruit juice, and dried fruit, but you should do so in moderation, remembering to brush and floss regularly to fight tooth decay and keep your mouth healthy.

Periodontal disease is a frightening term to the layman. Patients, on first hearing their diagnosis, can become frightened and even panic. It is important to understand how to explain this common issue to a dental patient. Speaking in layman’s terms, refraining from technical jargon and using a calm, soothing tone are essential. Relay the basic facts and answer all questions in a reassuring manner.

Basics of Periodontal Disease

Begin any explanation of periodontal disease by explaining that it is also known as gum disease and is fairly common. Dispel any panic by explaining that it can be successfully treated. Most patients are not aware of how important gums are, or of the need to care for them well. Gums protect the teeth roots and when damaged, can affect the rest of the mouth. When plaque develops on the gums and teeth and is not removed in a timely fashion, it can cause an infection in the gums. Plaque releases bacteria, acids and toxins that cause swollen, red, bleeding, painful gums. It can be hard to eat or drink, and painful to allow cold air into the mouth. If left untreated, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, and create pockets that can fill with germs and bacteria. These pockets of toxins work at the teeth and jawbone until the teeth fall out.

Risks & Warnings

Other important elements to touch on are the risk factors and warning signs of periodontal disease. Smoking is the most significant factor relating to gum disease, and it can also impede treatment. Bad breath and poor oral hygiene are two other big warning signs. Poor nutrition, some medications and illnesses, and aging all put the patient at a higher risk for gum disease.

Treatment for this disease depends largely on how advanced the condition is, what symptoms have presented and how long it has gone untreated. Treatment can vary depending on the circumstances, from medicines to surgery.

There are some signs to look for that indicate a patient may have periodontal disease and these should be explained as well. Red and irritated gums are a good indicator that gum disease is present. If bleeding and discomfort occur when brushing most likely gum disease is in its early stages. This is when gingivitis & bad breath occurs. Gum disease can be treated with great success at this stage. Sensitive teeth are another dead give-away. Gums pull away from the teeth when gum disease sets in and this can cause sensitivity and pain from cold air, drinks and food. In extremely serious cases teeth will begin to shift and feel different in the mouth. There may even be large gaps that develop in between the teeth.

Periodontal disease can be nothing more than a pesky issue – or it can be devastating and painful. Explaining the risks and symptoms, along with the treatments and ways to avoid it, is both important for health and helpful in demystifing the condition. Knowing they can prevent it, and that treating it quickly can prevent further damage is a huge comfort to patients.

Everyone wants a clean mouth and bright smile. The number of teeth whitening products on the market can attest to this fact. A good oral hygiene regime consists of keeping plaque from the teeth by brushing regularly, as well as flossing and regular dentist visits. Some people, however, can take it overboard. Brushing is essential to a healthy mouth but too much brushing can be harmful. Few people realize that over-brushing can cause more harm than good; the key is to understand your teeth, and the basics of oral hygiene.

Brushing Recommendations

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily. Eating and drinking leaves particles of food and sugar on the teeth. Plaque is also found on the teeth, and the buildup of plaque is a natural process that cannot be stopped. When foods interact with the plaque, it releases bacteria that attacks the protective enamel on the teeth, eventually causing cavities, gum disease and pain. Plaque also turns into tartar if not removed regularly; this deposit is hard and not easy to get rid of.

We are taught from an early age to brush our teeth in the morning and before bed, but also after every meal and following sugary snacks. This could be three, four, five times a day or more. While it seems like a good thing to keep the mouth clean and free of plaque, there are several reasons not to brush more than two to three times a day, as recommended by the ADA.

Twice a Day

Brushing excessively will cause enamel to wear down. It irritates the gums and eventually exposes the roots of the teeth. Exposed roots lead to all sorts of dental issues and can cause serious pain. Once plaque is removed, it takes approximately 12 hours for it to build up to a dangerous level again. Brushing twice per day is enough to remove all plaque.

When to Brush?

There is also the question of when to brush. Brushing at the wrong times can be more harmful than not brushing. Acidic foods and drinks weaken the enamel, so, after eating these types of foods, one should wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing. This allows the enamel to strengthen. Brushing immediately after ingesting acidic foods can remove some of the enamel from the teeth.

Bacterial Threats

There are other dangers as well. People who carry a toothbrush with them everywhere are also exposing their teeth to a plethora of bacteria and germs, which can adhere to the bristles of the brush in a purse or other compartment. Even inside a plastic sandwich baggie, bacteria can transfer from the toothbrush to the bag and vice versa, both ending up in your mouth.

Some people cannot associate a clean mouth with anything but a freshly brushed one. The truth is that brushing at the wrong times, or too much, can be harmful to your teeth as well and can cause pain. If you just don’t feel clean until you brush your teeth, try chewing a piece of sugar-free minty gum or using a breath freshener. Many are designed to help keep teeth clean and plaque-free between brushing.

A successful dental practice needs many things to achieve its full potential. Besides a great dentist, a practice needs state of the art equipment and fantastic staff to successfully treat patients and keep them coming back.

One of the most important people on a dental office's staff is the dental receptionist. This person is the primary liaison with your patients and the community. They are a practice's representative to the public. Every patient that enters the office must first interact with the dental receptionist. It is imperative this person is phenomenal at their job. They must be clean, well dressed and friendly. A great dental receptionist can answer all of the patient’s questions and be able to put them at ease in the office.

Skills

The dental receptionist is also a main player in keeping the office environment pleasant, and the day to day operations running smoothly. Some of the skills an efficient dental receptionist must possess include being well organized, patient, friendly and approachable; they must be able to work under pressure, and they must have a pleasant telephone manner.

Responsibilities

Dental receptionists are responsible for meeting and greeting the patients and entering their details into a computer system to await their turn to see the dentist. A skilled dental receptionist will also use this time to recheck the patients personal and contact information. Phone, address and email should be updated regularly for each patient. Patients love a receptionist who can remember their names and make them feel welcome.

Making appointments by phone and in person is another important duty of the dental receptionist. A good receptionist will be patient and have a pleasant speaking voice. They field insurance and payment questions, dental advice, complaints, and business calls. This job also requires rescheduling and changing appointments as well as sending out reminders for annual dental visits. The dental receptionist also welcomes and registers referred patients. It is imperative to be patient, understanding, and a skilled “people person” to handle all parts of the job.

Extra Duties

Billing and payments are also often entrusted to the dental receptionist. It is the receptionist who takes the patients' payments and makes sure their account is marked accordingly. Often patients have a balance due, and the dental receptionist can be responsible for contacting the patient and making arrangements for the remainder of the bill. The smaller the practice, the more bookkeeping and financial responsibilities will fall on the receptionist.

Organizing everything from patient’s personal information to lab results can be the receptionist’s duty. Dentures, partial plates, bridges and crowns are created in a lab after the initial dentist visit. It can take days or weeks for the patient’s dentures to arrive. It is the receptionist’s responsibility to keep track of each order, keeping the dentist and patient informed along the way.

Hiring

Hiring a dental receptionist is one of the most important tasks in a practice. While there is no nationally approved credential to become a dental receptionist, there are a few things to look for in applicants. A college degree in some sort of computer-related or business management field is always an advantage, but a work history with dental practices trumps everything.

A dental practice needs an experienced dental receptionist. The benefits far outweigh the cost of wages paid!

Teething can be one of the hardest times of parenthood. It can be a terribly painful time for a child, and can last two to three years – or longer. It’s no wonder we use the term "terrible twos" for a time when they are in so much mouth pain, but have very little way of telling anyone what’s wrong. We can, however, use what we know and try to preempt as much pain and anguish as we can. Knowing about the teething milestones, and when and how they happen, can be vital information for new parents.

First Baby Teeth

The first tooth a baby gets is usually one of the two small front bottom teeth. They emerge most often somewhere around the sixth month of life. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. Some children get their first tooth at three months, and some are even born with a tooth or two. It isn’t unusual for a child to go in the other direction either. Some children do not get any teeth until just before their first birthday.

First Trip to the Dentist

A baby should see a dentist for the first time soon after her first birthday. This needs to be done whether or not the baby has any teeth yet. A pediatric dentist can take a look, and perform some x-rays to ensure proper tooth development. They are also there to provide parents with all the information they need to take care of this primary set of their children’s teeth. Kids keep this first set of baby teeth, or primaries, for several years, so proper care and maintenance is of the utmost importance.

Here Come the Rest

Throughout a baby’s first few months of life she will begin to get a mouthful of 20 tiny teeth. You’ll be able to tell when one is about to erupt by certain signs parents begin to see each time a new tooth starts to make an appearance. A child may run a slight fever or be irritable and cranky. Some children pull their ears and/or slobber a lot. After a few teeth pop through, parents are easily able to sense it, and can try to assuage the pain. Use a medication or a frozen teething ring to help ease discomfort.

First Oral Hygiene Lesson

Somewhere around the age of two is a great time for parents to begin to introduce daily tooth brushing and flossing. Open a dialogue about tooth decay and the pain and damage it causes, and offer incentives for cavity free dental visits. Instill the significance of good oral hygiene and the importance of brushing and flossing. Starting early gives a better chance that it will become a lifelong habit.

First Lost Tooth

Children begin to lose their baby teeth at around five years of age. Most often it starts with the upper or lower two in front. Often, more than one will fall out in a short period of time. Within a few days a small nub of new tooth can be seen poking through the empty gum socket.

Having patients miss appointments is one of every dental office’s worst nightmares. It is costly in ways the average person doesn’t realize. Much more than just not earning the appointment fee, missed appointments also cost the practice in manpower, and disrupt scheduling. People are unpredictable, and it’s hard to find a technique that works at a 100% acceptance rate, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the numbers of patient no-shows.

Motivation

Patients need motivation to keep their appointments. One might hope that the desire to keep their teeth in their mouth is enough motivation, but it isn’t that way for everyone. Offer incentives for not missing appointments, such as discounts on cleanings or checkups. Freebies also work well; try giving out coffee mugs, flashlight keychains or electric toothbrushes for a certain number of appointments kept.

Confirmation Calls

Giving patients a call a few days before the scheduled appointment, and then again the day before, will keep it fresh in their mind. This is especially helpful if your practice makes certain appointments months ahead of time. Text messages are another way to accomplish this. Send a few reminder texts periodically before the appointment, and ask for a confirmation response.

Be Prepared

All staff should be prepared to deal with patients who attempt to make a cancellation. Let them know how important it is to have their procedure done, that the doctor is worried about them and how it may be quite some time before they can be worked back into the schedule. Remember that some patients will cancel out of fear of the dentist's chair, so try to make sure their excuse is valid.

No Call/No Refund

Missing an appointment for treatment and calling to reschedule, or at least to let the office know is bad enough. However, even worse are the patients who simply don’t show up. One way to deter this is to make sure the patient knows they will be charged for each appointment they miss without calling to cancel. This is a risky move that patients are not fond of, but it does work – and patients usually only miss an appointment without calling one time.

Language Makes a Difference

Copious research has been conducted to show that the way you speak to someone, and the language you use, has a big impact on how they respond. Asking patients to 'please let you know if something changes before the appointment time' will not work nearly as well as asking 'will you please call me if you can’t make the appointment'. The very fact that they have responded to you with a 'yes' is enough to cut your rate of cancellations by approximately 50%.

Software

Consider using some type of dental office scheduling software. There are many on the market, with varying prices and functions. They help keep offices from over- or under-scheduling, as well as offering a wide variety of solutions to a dental office’s most pressing issues, including cancelled appointments.

Discovering the trick to getting people to keep the dental appointments they make can feel like a never-ending battle. Never stop learning, and never be afraid to try new techniques!

There are many, many folk lore stories about being pregnant, and how it affects everything from your hair and nails to your eyes. Very little of it is even remotely based on fact, and pregnancy’s effects on oral health is no different. One of the most popular and well-known of these tales is that calcium is removed from the mother’s teeth to produce the baby's when she is pregnant. While none of the rumors are true, there are some changes in oral health during pregnancy that can seem scary and weird. The change in hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause some strange reactions in your mouth. Being aware of them before they happen can ease your worry.

Gingivitis

Many moms to be have to deal with pregnancy gingivitis. Women who have chronic gingivitis anyway will experience it more acutely during pregnancy. Sometimes during pregnancy, gingivitis will appear and cause the gums to become red, swollen and tender. Left untreated, it can lead to a more serious case of gum disease which can harm the baby. A variety of different studies have shown a link between gum disease and preterm births.

Periodontitis

When pregnancy gingivitis is left to run rampant and no action is taken, it will lead eventually to periodontitis. This is actually just gum disease that has progressed to a more serious level. It not only shows in sore and swollen gums, but also an infection that spreads to the jaw bone.

Pregnancy Tumors

Some women will develop small painful tumors on the inside of their mouths during pregnancy. They are not cancerous and are usually left untreated, and they should go away on their own. They appear as swollen lumps on the gums between teeth, when plaque builds and bacteria form. Since they generally disappear without treatment, it's unusual for them to be viewed as a serious problem unless they cause considerable pain. They can be removed if they interfere with eating.

Teeth Falling Out

If the gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis and the bone has become infected along with the gums, teeth can become loose and fall out. The swelling and infection in the gums and jaw bone cause decay, and the bone loses density.

Decaying Teeth

The longer pregnancy gingivitis goes untreated, the worse it gets. Bacteria begins to work away at the health of your mouth and acids break down the enamel of the teeth, making it easy for cavities to form. Pregnant women can have more acid present in their mouths than those who aren’t expecting. Morning sickness is another issue. A lot of vomiting will leave the mouth with large amounts of acid in it.

Though it may not seem like your daily oral hygiene routine would have much to do with your pregnancy and the child growing inside you, it certainly does. Taking care of yourself in every way, especially with good tooth care, is more important than ever. When anything harmful appears in the mouth, it has a direct route into the body, blood stream and nervous system.

12-15-2015

Merry Christmas!

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Cold weather can be dangerous. We all know that. Unless you live your whole life on a tropical island, you have surely felt the bite of winter. Subzero temperatures can cause frost bite, which can get serious enough to cause amputation of limbs and digits. However, hardly anyone realizes the damage cold weather can do to their teeth. What many also don’t realize is that just as there are preventative measures to protect against cold and flu, there are also a few to protect teeth from the wintery chill.

Like various other parts of the human body, our teeth expand and contract while experiencing an extreme change in temperature. In teeth, this change can cause cracks and tiny fissures to form. They are not visible in most cases and often cause no immediate health issues, but can result in sensitivity. Sometimes, that sensitivity can be great enough to affect daily life. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to protect and defend our teeth against the pain of winter sensitive teeth.

The Nose Knows

Do all your inhaling through your nose. Opening your mouth and dragging freezing cold air past your teeth can be a painful experience. Breathing through your nose whenever possible can drastically reduce the pain of sensitive teeth. Sadly, with winter's frequent congestion problems, it isn’t always possible. Even without pain or sensitivity, it's better for your teeth to breathe through your nose in cold temperatures.

Classic Cover-Up

The old stand-by move of using a scarf or zipper jacket to cover your mouth always helps stave off cold weather teeth pain. It serves as an insulation of sorts for the teeth; the air warms as it passes through the layer of clothing and isn’t quite as cold when it reaches the inside of your mouth. Continuing to breathe through your nose even with a covering like this keeps teeth extra protected.

Double Duty Toothpaste

There are many useful brands of toothpaste on the market that desensitize the teeth. They use special compounds to reduce the extent of pain due to cold weather or liquids. Hot air and beverages can also cause tooth pain. Sensitive teeth toothpaste must be used regularly, as its effects diminish with time.

Don’t Brush Too Much

No one ever expects to be told that they brush their teeth too much. Over-brushing can be detrimental to the enamel that covers and protects teeth. Brushing two to three times a day with a soft bristled brush is perfect for those with sensitive teeth.

Time for a Straw

Using a straw when drinking hot or cold liquids that hurt your teeth can reduce the pain. It moves the liquid past your teeth without touching them and getting the chance to cause pain. Even that little stick-like coffee stirrer will do in a pinch.

Taking care of your teeth properly is important all year round; the winter months, however, present a set of challenges that not everyone considers when the temperature begins to drop. These simple tips should see you through the season, but if you’re in any doubt about your oral health, or you find that you’re suddenly in pain, do make an appointment with your dentist.

Approximately 70% of the population have at least one tooth missing. Dental implants and bridgework are two of the most often executed, least expensive and easily tolerated of the many options for replacing teeth offered by the dental industry. Often, it’s hard to choose between the two, so let's take a look at their various advantages, disadvantages and differences.

Bridges

Bridges first became a part of dentistry in approximately 700 BC, in Etruscan society. The modern version we use now came into use in the early 20th century. It works by adjoining to abutments, or healthy teeth still in the mouth. The dentist makes a mold of the mouth and prefabricates the bridge specifically for that patient's shape.

The process of installing a bridge requires that the abutment teeth be prepared to hold and give additional strength to the bridge. This preparation often includes drilling and some sanding, to make sure the healthy teeth can support the bridge. Most often a cap is placed over the healthy teeth that are meant to support the bridge.

With all the grinding, sanding and buffing done in preparation for the bridge, it’s a good time for plaque to take hold, and tooth decay is likely. Most people will need to have a root canal at some point after getting a bridge, especially if nerves were affected. There is also a greater chance of gum disease if a patient is wearing a bridge. They have a life of about 10 years in most conditions.

Implants

Implants are a whole new ball game that does more or less the same thing as a bridge. Put simply, it’s a pricier option, with a few more perks than a dental bridge, but it also has some distinctly unpleasant disadvantages. Implants are permanent replacements for teeth. They use an apparatus that is screwed into the jawbone and protrudes from the gum, upon which a crown is placed. It does not wear out or have to be replaced. It can replace a single tooth without affecting any others, or the health of the rest of the mouth.

Implants are very reliable, as they do not decay or become loose. Installing implants is a much bigger procedure than wearing a bridge, and it takes good planning and a fair amount of surgery time. There is a moderate amount of time required for healing, both before and after the crown is added, so there will be some time spent with missing teeth. Weighing the advantages and higher cost to implement, implants are a considerably better option for some people than bridge work.

While both procedures do the same job, essentially, they do so in radically different ways, with different costs and difficulties. Choosing which procedure to use depends solely on one’s own situation and circumstances. While you're deciding which is best for you, consult with a dentist. It’s beneficial to write down any questions you have before you visit the dentist so you won’t forget any import information. Ultimately, only you can make the right decision for yourself, but a dental professional can help you do so by providing all the information you need.

It’s no big secret that stress can cause all kinds of nasty things to happen to our bodies. The longer a person is under stress, and the amount of stress involved, can cause everything from headache and stomach troubles, to hallucinations and sleep problems. A little known fact, however, is that stress can also affect your teeth, gums and general oral health.

Canker Sores and Fever Blisters

Not many people are aware that canker sores and fever blisters can be brought on by stress. Canker sores appear as small, shallow, white or greyish ulcers inside the mouth. Talking, yawning, eating, and anything else you do with your mouth can be very painful when they are present. Cold sores or fever blisters are also brought about by stress. They appear as blisters on the outside of the mouth filled with a clear fluid. While fever blisters are extremely contagious, canker sores are not.

Bruxism

Another way stress affects the teeth is when bruxism develops, which is the grinding and clenching of the jaws. It can be caused by a variety of things, but it's usually stress or anxiety related. Many people will show these symptoms without even knowing. Bruxism also occurs during sleeping hours when the person is unaware. Signs that bruxism is present can be the flattening of the tips of the teeth, loss of enamel, and indentations in the tongue.

Temporomandibular Disorders

The group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint, or the jaw, are called Temporomandibular Disorders or TMD, and are thought to be caused by stress and anxiety. It not only affects the teeth and jaw but also the neck. It can eventually cause pain and a popping in the jaw. TMD wears down the enamel of the teeth as well.

Gum Disease

Many prestigious universities across the country have done studies showing a connection between gum disease and stress factors. An interesting fact garnered from such studies is that the degree of gum disease, or periodontal disease, is directly related to the degree of stress experienced in the last 12 months. This can include many factors; for example, financial problems. Studies show people who stress about their money issues in highly emotional ways develop gum disease at a higher rate than those who do not.

Drugs and Alcohol

Certain drugs used to treat anxiety and stress can lead to dry mouth, which causes bad breath, gum disease and often, tooth loss. Saliva plays an important role in the prevention of tooth decay and good oral health. Alcohol can also give you dry mouth. It may be strange to think that drinking something can give you dry mouth, but in the case of alcohol, it's true.

One of the main reasons stress affects the teeth so badly is because when people stress out, they are less likely to be in the mood to take care of themselves. Brushing and flossing fall to the wayside when you can’t find the motivation to get out of bed. Make sure you see a professional about what's causing the stress – or the problem will continue.

As soon as the last Halloween costume is bagged up for the year, the start of the holiday season seems to arrive. With November come cooler temperatures, and falling, swirling leaves. This time of year also brings social gatherings indoors a little more, and big, hearty meals composed of delicious seasonal dishes become a part of everyday life. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, for most of us it's properly chilly outside, and the perfect time to gather the family and give thanks for all we have. No matter what your eating habits are during the rest of the year, everyone cheats a little bit through the holiday season. Never fear; there is plenty you can do to protect your teeth from the traditional sweets and treats of Thanksgiving.

Keep Up the Good Work

The most important thing to remember about taking care of your teeth during Thanksgiving and the holiday season is to keep up your normal oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing three times per day is more important now than ever, because of the influx of extra sugars and acids that cause cavities. It’s OK to brush an extra couple of times if you’ve eaten something really sugary and sticky, or otherwise harmful to your teeth.

Rinse and Floss

If brushing after lunch isn’t possible and you’re exposed to a lot of sugary food throughout the day, rinse and floss. It might seem simple, and it is, but it goes a long way in terms of oral care. It reduces the amount of time the decay-causing materials are left in the mouth to do their dirty work on teeth. So after Aunt Edna guilt trips you into trying a slice of her chocolate cherry cheesecake, rinse your mouth with water, floss, and then rinse again. For extra protection, swish with an antibacterial mouthwash.

Grazing Your Way to Gingivitis

It’s hard not to when food is always lovingly prepared and beautifully displayed at every relative's home, everywhere you turn, week after week – but it's important not to graze. Grazing is for cows. It’s when you have just a bite of this, or a helping of that, all throughout the day, that this time of year can be terrible for your teeth. Grazing constantly keeps food remnants in your mouth, and on your teeth.

Drink Water

Drink plenty of water. Humans are supposed to drink at least eight glasses a day, and this time of year is no exception. Drinking a lot of water not only keeps you feeling fuller longer, but also keeps your mouth rinsed free of food particles. It’s a smart idea not only to drink water between meals, but during them as well. Replace sugary soft drinks and punches with water whenever you can.

It isn’t hard to take care of your teeth during Thanksgiving. The main thing to remember is that we eat and drink in different ways, when our normal routines are replaced by the fun and celebration of the holidays. Taking the time to adjust in order to compensate for these changes can save you a lot of pain – and money – from cavities and other dental issues.

How to get Youngsters to Look After Their Teeth

Personal health and hygiene are often the very last things on the minds of children. Teaching them to do the basics in terms of looking after themselves is often one of the hardest lessons of all. You can pretty much count on any young kid you meet hating vegetables, being bad at remembering to scrub behind their ears, and brushing their teeth regularly. Oral hygiene, in fact, seems to be hardest life skill of all to inculcate! It often seems impossible to make them understand how important good oral care really is. The key is to start early in life, and to keep it interesting. Here are some tips to help.

Equipment

The toothbrush your child is using can have a big effect on how often they brush. Imagine if you have, in one hand, a plastic toothbrush, and in the other an electric toothbrush. Which would you use? What if your electric toothbrush played your favorite song, had a timer or a selection of speeds and tempos? Getting something other than a plain old plastic toothbrush for your child provides a little encouragement and excitement when the time comes to brush their teeth. Get flavored toothpastes and flosses. Use products that make brushing fun!

Game Time

If you have more than one child, you can turn oral hygiene into a game. The opportunities are endless. Personalize the game for your children and make it something they will find delightful. Give rewards for no cavities, or just to anyone who remembers to brush all week. Turn it into a nightly scavenger hunt, or give a hint about a bigger surprise to those who brush each night.

Routine is Important

There should be no reason to skip a brushing. It doesn’t matter how late you eat or if an emergency occurs. In fact, keep extra toothpaste and a toothbrush in your car or purse. As soon as physically possible, children should begin their brushing routine, and should be encouraged to keep it up throughout life. Making sure they never miss a night helps them to remember as they grow.

Education

Simply talking to your children and exposing them to information about tooth care, oral hygiene and gum disease can be very helpful. Kids are smart. Talking to them about tooth pain and showing them photos of how bad it can get goes a long way in their young minds. There are a lot of age appropriate videos and websites online, as well as a lot of books and children’s periodicals that address the topic. Make sure your kids know what happens if you don’t take care of your teeth, and they will thank you when they get a little older.

Get Involved

Children enjoy - and need - the structure of family projects, daily meetings and routine events. Make daily brushing an important part of their lives, and watch how much easier it becomes with your kids. It shows them that you feel it’s necessary for the whole family, and that you want to make sure no one suffers tooth pain.

Oh, where would we be without dental floss? That tiny roll of teeth saving, breath rescuing filament has saved humanity from tooth decay and gingivitis. This modern miracle started life non-descript enough but it didn’t take long to rise to the state of household necessity. The history and facts that accompany the life and times of dental floss is nothing short of fascinating.

The Invention of Dental Floss

An American dentist from New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, is said to have invented the first use of dental floss. It was the early 1800’s and not everyone could afford a toothbrush. People have been using makeshift dental tools since prehistoric ages but the first mass produced toothbrushes came out in 1780 in Europe.

The best way to clean your teeth in those days was to rub a combination of soot and salt on the teeth with a rag. In 1882 the Codman and Shurtleft Company from Massachusetts began to manufacture and sell rolls of unwaxed silken thread. In 1898 Johnson and Johnson patented a design using thread used in injury stitches in hospitals. While the first dental floss was silken threads, the 1940s brought more changes to dental floss, with nylon beginning to replace silk because of its tendency not to shred.

Dental Floss Today

Since its humble beginnings demand has grown. If all the dental floss sold in the USA in a single year were placed end to end, it would stretch 3 million miles. The average person uses 122 yards of dental floss every year. Not flossing keeps 35% of tooth surfaces uncleaned and using dental floss every day can ward off heart disease. The plaque that dental floss removes holds more than 300 different species of bacteria. Enamel of the teeth is the hardest substance in the body but without brushing and dental floss tiny bacteria can destroy it.

Modern floss comes in a variety of sizes, with wider sizes available for people with bridgework and spaces in between their teeth. Waxing floss makes it easier to slide through teeth, especially when they are close together. Women floss more than men do. Even though only about half of Americans floss at all, most of them are women. Even if you forget to floss a few times a week, some flossing is better than no flossing. Men seem to feel that water picks are an adequate replacement for flossing but this is not true.

Most people, 73% actually, hate flossing so much they would rather go to the grocery store. Americans also spend approximately $2 billion each year on dental care items compared to $100 billion per year spent on hair care products.

There’s no doubt about it, not only should flossing play an important part in your dental care regimen but it also has quite an interesting history. Use it to your advantage to develop a stronger, healthier and brighter smile.

People usually do heavy house cleaning in the springtime. The air is warmer outside so the windows can go up. The whole house airs out the stale winter air and it’s a perfect time to get rid of the stuff that’s been cluttering up the house throughout the stifling winter season. You can do the same for your mouth, tongue and teeth and it doesn’t even have to be spring.

Deep Clean Your Mouth

You can deep clean your mouth once a month if you’d like. Begin by taking extra care brushing your teeth. Brush the entire mouth. You should not only brush the front and back of the teeth but also the cheeks, tongue and roof of your mouth. Bacteria can reside anywhere in your mouth, not just on the teeth.

Scrape Your Tongue

Invest in a good tongue scraper. They can remove more bacteria from the tongue than a toothbrush. They are not expensive. A rounded edge is used to gently scrape the tongue with just a few strokes forward and back.

Go Electric

Use an electric toothbrush. Even if you only use it once a month it can help remove bacteria and plaque much better than a manual toothbrush. Studies have shown massive differences in gingivitis reduction and less plaque with an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can be pricey. Some come with sensors to tell how hard you’re brushing and timers to make sure you brush long enough. Get a new toothbrush or use a UV light to destroy the harmful bacteria that congregate on moist toothbrushes. UV lights can also be used to sanitize the entire bathroom counter and sink area.

Mouthwash

Use a quality mouthwash. Many mouthwashes simply mask bad breath. There are some far superior mouthwashes, however, many offer gum protection and health benefits and 24 hour protection against gingivitis.

Floss

Floss everywhere. A lot. Most people hate to floss but it really is critical to fighting decay. Flossing extremely well at least once a month is better than not at all. Floss back and forth between each tooth. Wrap the floss around the tooth to cradle it and pull out the bits of food particles left below the gum line.

Purchase a water pick. Flossing works wonders but every person’s mouth is a different size and shape, sometimes making the back teeth hard to reach with floss or a brush. The power of the tiny jet of water is able to squeeze between teeth and blow out bacteria and food particles.

Change your Toothpaste

All toothpastes are not created alike, contrary to popular belief. Some have baking soda, fluoride and other abrasive ingredients to help remove plaque and debris. Some contain whitening agents or ingredients for sensitive teeth. Choose a toothpaste with ingredients for your specific teeth issues.

Taking care of your teeth is the single most important thing you can do to keep your health in good shape. Gum disease from poor oral hygiene can and will cause issues in the rest of the body.

Having periodontal disease is not a death sentence. It can be treated successfully. As a matter of fact, periodontal (gum) disease has many forms and a variety of harm levels. It could be as simple as a mild case of gum irritation or as drastic as serious bone disease and tooth loss. Most people experience some form of it during their lifetime and the progression or stopping of it depends on how well you take care of your teeth before, during and after the appearance of periodontal (gum) disease.

Plaque and Tartar

Our mouths are full of thick, sticky, colorless, fats, bacteria, mucus, and food particles that make up plaque which covers the teeth and causes decay. Brushing, flossing and professional cleaning can all remove plaque from the teeth. If plaque is not removed it becomes hardened on the teeth and is called tartar. Brushing and flossing does not remove tartar. Tartar must be removed by professionally cleaning. If it is not removed, it causes periodontal (gum) disease.

As the time goes by, tartar causes more and more damage to the teeth, gums and bones of the mouth. Gingivitis is the first sign that trouble is afoot. When tartar causes gingivitis the gums become red, swollen and painful. They may also bleed. When caught at this stage, brushing, flossing and a simple professional cleaning can stop it in its tracks before there is any bone damage or tooth loss.

If gingivitis is not caught it, most often progresses to periodontitis. During this phase of the disease the gums pull away from the teeth and leave a pocket that fills with infection. The infectious bacteria then delves below the gum line and intrudes into bone. The body’s own response to infection and the toxins in the bacterial begin to break down the bone and connective tissue eventually causing tooth loss and bone destruction.

Gum disease doesn’t usually manifest until age 30 – 40. Men are more prone to periodontal (gum) disease. There are now some new ideas on the horizon for stopping this disease by targeting the molecular receptor that periodontal bacteria use to start the disease. In tests it has shown to stop and prevent periodontal (gum) disease in mice.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that can increase the chances of periodontal (gum) disease developing. Smoking is one of the most common risk factors. It also lowers the chances of treatments being successful. Some hormonal changes in women and girls can also make gums sensitive and more susceptible to gingivitis. Diabetes is another risk factor. People with this disease are at a higher risk for developing infections anywhere in the body, including the gums. Certain medications can also make a person more susceptible as well as some predisposition by genetics.

The best way to prevent periodontal (gum) disease is to simply brush, floss and take care of your teeth as we have always been taught to do. Visit a dentist regularly to keep gum disease in check and your mouth healthy and happy.

Halloween has got to be a dentist’s least favorite holiday. Just the thought of all that chocolate, caramel and sugar resting on the teeth and between the cracks makes them cringe. There’s no doubt about it, Halloween is not a holiday that does teeth any good. Everything about it screams sticky, gooey treats and candies of all sorts. It’s a nightmare of scary costumes, horror movies and fattening, teeth rotting foods. Thankfully, there are some dental hints and tips that carry us through the holiday with as little damage as possible.

Don't Deny Halloween Fun

One tip dentists recommend is not to deny the Halloween fun. It’s a tradition and all the kids are doing it. Keeping your kids out of the fun just because of all the candy makes it even more irresistible. You may find them sneaking candy or binging. Instead try portioning out the candy. Each night after Halloween, have them choose 10 pieces of candy. Put the rest away for the next night or the next week.

Set a Time

You can also set a treat time when children are allowed to sit and eat their treats for a specific amount of time. This encourages healthy thinking about eating sugary snacks at specific times as opposed to all day long. They also look forward to this time and will keep good behavior in mind if no treat time is a punishment.

Parental Tricks and Treats

Eat a big dinner before going out trick or treating. Having a full belly will deter over-eating when you get home with full bags of candy. Another parental trick is making sure kids drink plenty of water after their candy eating. This is a big help, especially if you can’t get to a toothbrush right away. As soon as the candy extravaganza is complete, make sure the kids brush extra well, use floss and mouthwash.

Dentists recommend choosing candies that melt or dissolve quickly. Even the sticks of pure powdered sugar aren’t as bad as you’d think. Sure, its pure sugar but it dissolves quickly and residue rinses away with a drink of water. Of course, sugar free candy and gum are the best choices but aren’t always what the neighbors give out or what children want. Chewy and hard candies are the hardest on teeth. They stick around in the mouth longer, getting hinged between teeth and embedded in molars. They take a bit of extra brushing to be fully get rid of.

Visiting your dentist before Halloween can put some tricks in the parent’s bag. Have some sealants put on your children’s teeth prior to the candy eating. You can also ask for tablets that children can eat prior to brushing their teeth that show the places plaque and tartar have built up the most. This will help make sure their teeth end up really clean.

Halloween can be fun no matter what your personal philosophy on candy eating may be, by using a few of these tips everyone can have a great time and a great smile. Protect your teeth during this frightfully sweet holiday.

Chronic bad breath occurs for a variety of reasons. Bad breath in children is usually due to leftover food particles. These small bits that are left stuck in between the teeth and wedged beside the gums begin to deteriorate and give off an awful sulfur smelling odor. Most often the solution is to brush and floss your teeth and give your tongue a quick brushing. Sometimes, that doesn’t solve the problem and there is a deeper issue at hand. All kids get bad breath every now and again but if it seems to be chronic and happens over and over, or if it happens in spite of brushing, your child’s health may be at stake. Watch out for signs your child has chronic bad breath.

Dry Mouth

When you have dry mouth the saliva in your mouth is inadequate to wash away the food particles and bacteria left in the mouth. Germs that cause bad breath remain in the mouth. Watch for signs of dry mouth in your child like dried spittle in the corners of the mouth and unquenchable thirst. There are many causes for dry mouth, even in children. Some medications can cause dry mouth, such as those for certain allergies or infections. Mouth breathing also causes dry mouth.

Eating Habits

Some foods can give kids bad breath and others can cause stomach issues that result in bad breath and malodourous burps and belches. Garlic, cheeses and onions are just a few of the foods that can make your child’s breath smell bad. It can be caused from articles of food left in the mouth or stomach issues that arise from bacteria. If your child has an allergy or avoidance to certain foods, they may have bad breath when they consume it.

Tonsil Stones

Tonsil stones sometimes form on a child’s tonsils regardless of level of oral hygiene. They are small white or cream colored gummy spots on the tonsils. The can omit a faint rotted odor. It’s a good idea to have a dentist check if you child brushes regularly but still has bad breath.

Strange Looks

If you’ve noticed that people back away or look startled or offended when your child speaks, there may be a bad breath issue. Take a closer inspection of your child’s mouth. You may not have seen it until just recently but if it’s bad enough to get a response from others, it could be a dire situation.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis, whether it’s acute or chronic, can be the cause of bad breath. If you’ve found your child’s bad breath to be a recent, new thing and it’s accompanied by fever, swelling and green, thick nasal discharge, it’s probably a case of sinusitis.

If you have found your child to have bad breath chronically, turn first to a better managed oral hygiene routine. Use products especially for kids of that age. If bad breath persists, investigate other causes and set up an appointment with a pediatric dentist.

As time progresses and more advances are made in technology, and life in general, we sometimes do not notice the smaller changes. The way we drink water and hydrate our bodies doesn’t seem like a very important change, but it is. More people drink bottled water than ever before, and this change has both advantages as well as disadvantages. Bottled water is far more convenient than looking for an elusive drinking fountain. Not to mention safer, when you consider who or what may have had their mouth over the spigot last.

Brands & Marketing

There are more than 600 brands of bottled water available in the U.S. Each brand labels their product as glacier water, pure spring water or some other tempting, thirst quenching description. Each comes at its own price, which varies from around a dollar per bottle to somewhere around $8 per bottle - but is it worth it?

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a food source. It can come from wells and artesian wells, springs and even a plain old municipal water supply. Some states may require higher standards than those required for tap water from a municipal supply - others may not.

Health Issues

Tap water can come from a municipal water supply, surface water like lakes and streams, or wells. Providers of tap water are held responsible for testing of water-borne illnesses and notifying the public of any such instance. The contaminant, the level present, its effects on human health and measures to prevent illness must all be reported to the public if the contaminant exceeds the EPA’s standards.

Bottled water is often thought to be healthier than tap water but this isn’t necessarily the case. Some bottled water companies add minerals to their water such as magnesium and calcium, which are found naturally in most ground water supplies. Other companies add nothing. Most municipal water supplies have fluoride added. Many rural residents who drink water primarily from their own underground well lack adequate fluoride, and often suffer from cavities more often than those with a municipal supply.

Waste & Pollution

The controversy over bottled water isn’t just about whether it is clean and safe, with enough minerals; it's also about the wastefulness of the bottles and what they does to the ecosystem in particular. There have been instances of bottled water containing excessive phthalates, which are used to make plastic softer. They are used in a variety of plastics including baby toys, shower curtains and cosmetics, but are still under scrutiny. They have the ability to affect normal functions of the body. Known as endocrine disrupters, they mimic hormones and can also block their functions. Phthalates can deform the reproductive organs of male fetuses if they're exposed for too long.

There are benefits to both types of water, as long as you are sure of the distributor. Occasionally one will be revealed as selling water from wells near toxic waste dumps or municipal sources while claiming spring or artesian well sources. Check the labels of all water you drink, and look at the manufacturer's website for further information. You can’t be too safe with your health.

Everyone knows oral hygiene is important, but did you know that it can affect the health of the rest of your body as well? It’s true. As if gum disease and cavities aren’t bad enough, bad oral hygiene is also linked to several other health issues, sicknesses and maladies. Serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory disease and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to gum disease.

Organ Issues

Organ issues are the scariest of the problems that can occur from bad hygiene. Organs are what make the body function and work. When only one organ is affected, serious health problems can arise. Gum infections can spread to other parts of the body. Infection gathers and is washed into the body and absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream it has the capability to infect other organs causing swelling and pain. Damaged organs do not work properly and can cause illnesses and death.

Heart Risk

Poor oral hygiene has been linked to heart trouble in several studies. The American Academy of Periodontology has reported those with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have a heart related issue when compared to those without the condition.

Dementia

Dementia is a disease people develop in old age. It is a chronic (or recurring) mental disorder. It manifests itself by marked memory disorders, changes in personality and diminished reasoning. Taking good care of your teeth from an early age can lower the risks of dementia, according to several studies. Dementia sounds like a lesser of the many evils that can occur from bad oral hygiene but it is devastating. When teeth begin to fall out in younger years from cavities or decay can be a warning sign of what is to come. Tooth loss before the age of 35 is a warning sign for dementia. This doesn’t include tooth loss from injury.

Loss of Memory

Bad breath can make you forget your car keys in the morning! We know bad oral hygiene can cause dementia but there are other memory issues that can also arise. Gingivitis has been shown in some tests to cause memory lapses. People with healthier gums performed better on memory tests than those with bad breath.

Alzheimer’s

Not only are memory loss and dementia real issues from bad breath but also Alzheimer’s disease. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease also contributes to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If it enters your blood stream and travels to the brain, the brain will release specific neurons to kill it. If these neurons are continually released it causes long term problems with the brain’s ability to function.

Diabetes

Diabetes affects us in many different ways. It is also one disease that is contracted in unusual ways. You can have diabetes only while pregnant or from genetics. Periodontal disease begins with infection. When the body begins to fight the infections it becomes more insulin resistant which has a negative effect on glucose levels in the blood.

Good oral hygiene is important for many reasons at every age. Seeing a dentist regularly will help.

October is a month for celebrating dental hygiene in the United States. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company together with the ADHA and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) aim to make this 6th year, 2015, the greatest ever. They are promoting the Daily 4 Program to bring awareness to oral hygiene and how important it really is.

The Daily 4 Campaign

The Daily 4 Campaign focuses on the 4 components that make up complete oral hygiene. These components are:

  • brushing
  • flossing
  • mouthwash
  • sugar-free products

Facts have shown us that good oral hygiene contributes to overall good health. Research has proven that gum disease can to lead to a whole host of issues like heart disease, organ damage and diabetes. Dentists all over the country are celebrating by introducing patients to the Daily 4.

Teeth must be brushed twice daily. Patients are given live examples of the best brushing techniques. All the teeth must be flossed at least once a day. Studies show a very small percentage of people floss and they are mostly women. Rinse after every brushing with an antimicrobial mouthwash. There will be events held throughout the year with a dentist and staff present to help educate people on the importance and ease of taking care of your teeth.

Sugar free gum is another big part of the Daily 4. Gum has a bad reputation when it comes to teeth but it all depends on the type of gum. Chewing gum actually helps oral hygiene by stimulating the production of saliva which washes down food particles. The key is to use sugar free gum. Gums loaded with sugar leave a coating of it on the teeth until you brush them, which could be hours. Over time, this has the ability to cause tooth decay.

This is also a great time to schedule a dental checkup. Many dentists run super cheap specials or free procedures for those who attend their celebrations. So much is at stake when proper oral hygiene is pushed to the wayside. The mouth is the perfect entrance for harmful bacteria and there are so many ways to prevent damage that people just aren’t aware of. This is also the month the public will learn the latest dental technologies in everything from children’s dentistry to cracked teeth and other repairs and cleanings.

The simple act of brushing and flossing twice a day should not be the cause of an early death. It should not be a reason anyone does not get to live out a long, healthy life. Take advantage of the many National Dental Hygiene Month campaigns and programs you’ll find around in this fall month. It just might save your life. Plus you’re bound to get a free toothbrush or two.

Dental appointments can be expensive and sometimes uncomfortable. Cosmetic dentistry is even more pricey and can take years to save for. Age also plays a few dirty tricks on our teeth and oral health. Not all of us can visit the dentist as often as we’d like to, though our smile is often the first impression we give. Fortunately there are several ways to take care of our teeth and improve our smile between dental visits that cost little to nothing.

Brushing and Flossing

We all know that brushing and flossing is essential for healthy teeth and a bright smile, and yet many people do not do it enough, or even correctly. Brushing your teeth three times per day is ideal, even if it means taking a toothbrush to work or school with you. Brushing the teeth regularly prevents plaque from building and turning into stuck on, damaging tartar. Only two or three teeth at a time should be brushed at an upward angle in small strokes before moving on to the next few teeth. Pay attention to all sides of the teeth. Flossing is equally as important and should be done just as often as brushing. It also removes plaque but is able to reach places that a toothbrush cannot. Extract a string of floss twice as long as your hand and wrap securely around your forefingers. Gently rub the floss between all teeth and near the gum line to extract lodged particles of food and built up plaque.

Water

This is a dental health tip most people overlook. It seems too simple to help in any meaningful way. However, water is important to the body in many ways including oral hygiene. When babies are first born we use water to rinse their mouths and gums free of damaging bacteria. The same happens in adult mouths. Drinking water after and between meals helps rinse out food particles that have stuck between teeth, and bacteria that can be harmful.

Toothbrushes

Taking care of your toothbrush and choosing the right one can go a long way to make your smile healthy and bright. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Hard bristles can scrape some of the protective enamel from your teeth and cause the gums to recede. Make sure to let your toothbrush dry completely before using it again. Shake well under cool running water when done brushing, and hang in a place where it doesn’t touch anyone else’s toothbrush. Get a new toothbrush every three months; after that the bristles become less effective.

Dental Cleaning

Everyone should have their teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist twice a year. It is almost impossible to remove every speck of plaque from teeth and the left over particles will eventually turn to hardened tartar and cavities. Dentists are able to use professional tools to remove the hardened, stuck-on tartar and stop cavities in their tracks.

There are many ways to take care of your teeth on a budget but some problems must be taken care of by a dentist. Taking care of your teeth to the best of your ability can avoid painful dentist visits, and keep them at simple yearly cleanings.

Odontophobia, or fear of dentistry, is a very real problem for some people. It stems from many issues like bad previous experiences, fear of needles and pain and even embarrassment. Most cases are not severe, but more of a general anxiety about visiting a dentist. Typically, dental phobias can be overcome by gaining knowledge of the experience, and what will happen during simple processes like cleaning.

No matter how well we brush and take care of our teeth, microscopic debris and plaque builds up. Eventually this debris builds up on the teeth and they become discolored and develop cavities. It is impossible to remove with regular household toothbrushes and dental floss. Scaling, as teeth cleaning is called in the dental profession, removes this stuck on debris and plaque with specially developed dental tools.

Calculus is the name given to the hardened materials left on the teeth. The scaling of this debris can be done in two different ways, supragingival and subgingival. Supragingival removes only the plaque and debris that can be seen above the gum line. Subgingival is the removal of debris stuck one to two mm below the gum line.

The hygienist uses two different types of scalers during a teeth cleaning, hand scalers and ultrasonic scalers. Hand scalers are made in many different sizes and shapes to adhere to the curves and shapes of the different teeth. Little is felt but the gentle scraping of the tool. With an ultrasonic scraper, vibrations are felt. They also emit a small stream of water that helps wash away the dislodged debris from the teeth and between the crevices. Sometimes sensitivity is exposed from the water jet. If the water hits a cavity or recession in the gums, there's a feeling similar to that of sensitivity to cold drinks or ice cream. Often, the dentist will recommend the use of toothpastes for sensitive teeth which block the area of the tooth that hurts when exposed to cold.

The dentist or hygienist will take some safety precautions when cleaning your teeth. He or she will wear goggles and protective gloves to protect both professional and patient from disease or flying debris. The patient is draped with a paper napkin to protect their clothing from water splashes, drips and falling debris. A small suction device will be placed in the patient’s mouth to siphon the excess water and loosened plaque and food particles.

After a cleaning, teeth sometimes feel sensitive for a few days. The calculus that has been removed had formed a barrier over the tooth prohibiting it from most feelings. After a few days this sensation will subside. If not, the dentist should be notified immediately.

A dental cleaning is a very simple and relatively fast experience. It is imperative to keep teeth healthy and cavity free for the lifetime of the tooth. While many people feel trepidation about the dental office, once they go, it usually subsides. The healthy glow of clean teeth is a reward that is incomparable.

Choosing the right type of toothpaste for your teeth can be harder than you think. There are a variety of toothpastes to consider depending on the needs of your teeth. Tartar control, sensitivity, fluoride, whitening, all natural; the list goes on. Considering the needs of your teeth and the services of the toothpaste can help you decide which one will best fit your teeth.

Basic Ingredients

Toothpaste is either in a gel form or a paste form. There are many brands and types of toothpaste but they all contain some of the same ingredients. All types must contain some kind of abrasive agent. Something coarse and grainy to help scrape off the debris left on the teeth such as calcium carbonate or silicates must be present. Flavoring is another ingredient that is always present. Artificial sweeteners make the taste of toothpaste a little more tolerable. The most popular flavoring is mint or spearmint, but flavorings can include anything from bubblegum to chocolate. Other ingredients include a humectant to prevent drying out of the toothpaste, thickeners, and detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate.

Fluoride should be in any toothpaste you choose, regardless of whether it's gel or paste. It is a mineral that occurs naturally. Its use in toothpaste has drastically reduced cavity occurrences over the last 50 years. After eating, sugars and starches remain in the mouth and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Acid is released within these remnants, which can destroy the teeth. Fluoride provides a barrier against these destructive acids. It performs this job by strengthening the enamel of the teeth and re-mineralizing areas of the tooth that have begun to decay.

Tartar Prevention

Tartar control is another must in toothpaste. The bacterial layer of plaque that grows on teeth can turn to tartar if not removed promptly and correctly. It is hard to remove and builds up both above and below the gum line and eventually turns to gum disease. Tartar controlling ingredients can include zinc citrate, pyrophosphates and an antibiotic called triclosan. Toothpastes with more than one tartar fighting ingredient are the most beneficial.

Sensitivity

Some people have teeth sensitive to heat or cold. Eating or drinking anything too hot or cold can cause moderate to extreme pain. These people can choose a toothpaste specially for sensitive teeth. They contain an agent such as strontium chloride or potassium nitrate that protects teeth from extreme temperatures by blocking the pathways to the nerves. The downside is they often take a few days or even weeks to start helping.

A Whiter Smile

People have always sought out whiter teeth and a brighter smile. Recent years have brought more and more whitening toothpastes to the market. Contrary to popular belief, these toothpastes do not contain bleach. Instead they include chemicals or other particles that are abrasive and can polish teeth. Others can cling to the stains and pull them from the surface of the teeth.

Any toothpaste used should be approved by the American Dental Association. They have been tested for effectiveness and safety. Never choose a toothpaste made in China. In 2007, many Chinese toothpastes were found to contain the toxic substance diethylene glycol.

The ability of vitamin D to reduce the incidence of cavities has been a long standing discussion in the dental community. There seems to be some proof of this according to Science Daily. The extreme damage the sun, a major source of vitamin D, can do is now common knowledge. People spend less time in direct sun and use of sunscreen is more popular than ever. There is also a rise in cavities in children. This could point to exactly how useful vitamin D really is to teeth and oral care. Studies show vitamin D intake can be linked to as much as 50% reduction in tooth decay.

Vitamin D is essential to the body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphate from the food it takes in. Both calcium and phosphate increase the strength of teeth, and the ability to fight against the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities. Vitamin D receptors on the cells of the immune system and in teeth help protect the body from disease and infection. Vitamin D binds itself to the receptors and helps build up antimicrobial proteins the body uses to kill cavity causing bacteria. More research is needed, but vitamin D may also help the dentin and enamel receptors in the teeth.

Sometimes, getting adequate sunlight is an issue. Between work and family issues, it’s possible that there just isn’t enough time to sit in the sun. Depending on where you live, winter and fall seasons also provide little sunlight, even if you have the time. Vitamin D supplements can help. Research from the Boston University Dental School and Tufts University Nutrition Research Center showed that participants who took a vitamin D supplement experienced less cavities and tooth decay than those who took a placebo.

Nothing can replace good oral hygiene, proper brushing and flossing with regular dental visits and cleanings. The full benefits of vitamin D have yet to be discovered, but it does seem to be a definite help.

A new baby comes with a lot of new things, like baby teeth. Parents, especially first timers, have a lot of questions. Babies can be confusing and unpredictable and that includes their brand new tiny teeth. The oral care of infants is important even before they have teeth. Parents should swab their infants mouths after feeding with a clean, moist cloth. For further prevention, babies should never be put to bed with a bottle. The fluids they eat will enable more bacteria to grow in their mouths overnight causing "baby bottle decay".

Teething Trouble

Children begin teething between the ages of four to six months, although it isn’t uncommon for children to be born with teeth. Saliva flow will increase and the gums will be red and swollen at times. Babies become cranky from the pain and cry a lot. Teething rings, gum rubbing and medicines can be used to ease some of baby’s pain. Eventually the unease will subside and tiny buds of teeth become visible, usually on the bottom middle area of the mouth. While they are small, it is still imperative to care for them.

Cleaning Tips

Baby teeth are placeholders for permanent adult teeth. Without healthy baby teeth, adult teeth can develop issues and the child can have trouble talking and eating. Baby teeth should be brushed with a soft bristled toothbrush with a tiny head and large handle. Use only a moist toothbrush at first, but as teeth emerge more fully, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Make gentle rounded strokes around, in front and behind teeth. Encourage the child not to swallow and instruct them to spit out the toothpaste.

Between the ages of 6 – 12 months, children will begin to eat more solid foods. Their drinks are distributed more by cup than bottle. This helps the sugars wash down the throat as opposed to lingering in the mouth around the bottle nipple. Bottles can cause a lot of damage to the teeth if they are used too much.

Spotting Problems

Regularly check your child's mouth and teeth. Make sure you are familiar with the healthy appearance of their gums and teeth and able to spot a problem right away. Tiny imperfections like brown spots or indentations can be a sign of a cavity. Introducing a glass of water after baby eats is a wonderful start to cavity protection. Baby foods are some of the easiest to wash from small teeth. Using water is best when there are only a few teeth.

One of the most important things to do for infant oral care is to instill good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Make sure your baby never goes to bed at night without brushing her teeth and always keep to a routine of dental exams. Good habits instilled at a young age can carry on into adulthood for a lifelong healthy smile.

In today’s technological era, it is easy to barely come in contact with your dental patients. There are machines and devices galore to take care of many parts of a dental practice, as well as hygienists and staff more qualified than in any era of dentistry. While it may be easier to let the miracle technology and educated staff take care of most of the work, and saunter in only at the moment you're needed, it isn’t good for the practice. Study after study has shown that patients will search out a dentist that forges a personal relationship with them. In short, patients want a dentist who talks to them and listens to what they have to say.

No one understands a patient's examination results quite like the dentist. Patients also feel more informed themselves when they hear their results straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. When the dentist personally tells the patient test results and what they mean, it gives the patient a chance to talk directly to the person who will be doing the work on them, and eases many of their fears in a way nothing else can.

Listening To Patient Concerns

Much more important than just examining a patient's mouth for problems and developing a treatment plan, a dentist must ask a patient about their wishes and really listen. Do they want to make changes? Do they have a time period they are working with? What are their major concerns or fears and how can you alleviate them? Even things that seem small to the practice, such as the use of an ultrasonic scaler vs a hand scaler, are important. It may be protocol to use an ultrasonic scaler on every patient, but what happens if the patient dislikes the vibrations, or has a fear of the equipment? A short and simple conversation can mean the difference between keeping that patient and losing him to a more attentive dentist.

Explaining Choices

It is also the dentist's job to make sure the patient is educated on the different stages of treatment and the choices they have in that treatment. Once all the patient's personal concerns and wishes are addressed, this is the next step in creating a healthy rapport. Future treatments should also be discussed. When a patient is well informed of all the options ahead of them, even far in the future, they feel confident in their choice of dentist.

In some cases, patients are shy or embarrassed to bring up a topic they are confused or displeased with. One way around that is to initiate a patient feedback form. It can be a card in the office, perhaps mailed to their home or sent via email. Give them a chance to list their grievances - or compliments - either anonymously or with full disclosure. Allowing patient feedback in this way gives you a clear picture of what is working and what could use a little attention. It also helps you to know how your staff are performing. Being able to give kudos to your staff is a great way to rally team participation.

Retaining patient loyalty is one of the single most important jobs of a dental team. It is made possible by many factors that work together to make a patient's dental visit pleasant, productive and profitable. Patient loyalty depends on a comfortable environment and friendly, nonjudgmental staff, not just professional levels of treatment. People can be very emotional about the condition of their teeth. Socioeconomic standards in the United States have not allowed every citizen to afford proper dental treatments and their teeth often fall into disrepair. All too often people are ashamed and embarrassed as well as afraid to visit a dentist, even when in extreme pain.

Social Media

Every business under the sun is taking advantage of social media and there is no reason a dental practice can’t jump on board and find some success. This technique takes some time to master but can develop a rapport with patients that would previously have been impossible. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram accounts can go a long way towards keeping in touch with your patients and making them feel like part of the family. Running contests, posting daily trivia questions and even a "patient of the day" can give your patients fun and interesting ways to interact with the staff.

Monthly Newsletter

Sending out a monthly newsletter via email or post is a great way to let patients know about new developments in the practice. It could also offer coupons and other incentives to patients. Discounts on procedures or free cleaning are always a big hit. Add fun photos of staff and holiday good wishes. Dental hygiene tips and new studies are also interesting for patients to discover. Keeping it fun and interesting will ensure it gets read each month as opposed to tossed in the junk pile.

Dental Savings Plan

Dental treatment is one of the most expensive personal care choices people make. Everyone needs it but not everyone can afford it. Offering patients affordable and manageable ways to pay for the work they need is often the only way they can get it. It also shows that your practice cares about its patients, and wants to help make sure they get the dental assistance they need. Studies have shown patients who take part in a dental savings plan see their dentist more often, and are more active in their dental hygiene.

Referral Plans

Asking patients to refer their friends and relatives for discounts or incentives is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Running a promotion in a newspaper or magazine only lasts as long as the ad and it's expensive. Asking patients for referrals where they both find an incentive gets two patients back through the door for services, and the opportunity to keep them for years to come.

A large part of patient loyalty is having staff that patients like and feel comfortable with. Many people have a legitimate fear of going to the dentist and it takes a lot to get them there. Feeling at ease with the staff is a huge step in the right direction.

Coffee is more than a luxury for some people. For many it is a necessity each morning, and anytime a quick pick-me-up is needed. It’s also enjoyed after dinner with sweets and desserts as a treat to chat over as the evening ends. There are coffee connoisseurs who can tell which type coffee beans were used, and how they were prepared, with one single sip. Starbucks coffee shops and new cafes just like them are so popular, carrying their cups around has become the new status symbol of the times.

Sadly, this delicious beverage has a downside. It does a real number on your teeth. The tannic acid that gives it its dark, beautiful color gets into the grooves and pits of the teeth and discolors them, leaving them a dingy brownish yellow. Thankfully, there are ways of preventing this misfortune without giving up that cup of Joe.

Prevention Techniques

One of the simplest ways to prevent coffee stains is to brush your teeth after drinking your final cup for the day. If that isn’t possible rinse your mouth with water, swishing it around your mouth before spitting it out. Rinsing with water also neutralizes acids and bacteria in the mouth that cause decay. It also dislodges any food particles left behind.

Whitening products are another option. Many toothpastes come with whiteners that can help remove the coffee stains without damaging the teeth. They are used just like any other toothpaste and can be used several times per day. Some mouthwashes also have whitening agents. Simply swish around your mouth for 30 seconds after brushing and it will help remove all types of stains. There are myriad other whitening agents that contain strips or trays. They are harder to use but often have better results. The best whitening results come from professional treatments performed by the dentist.

Physical Damage to Teeth

Coffee causes other minor damage to the teeth other than staining. The acidic content of coffee allows it to lightly wear down the protective enamel of the teeth. Poor enamel coverage leads to decay, sensitivity, pain and cavities. Coffee also has a tendency to cause dry mouth. Improper saliva production causes more damage than most people realize. Without enough saliva the mouth cannot protect itself against bacteria and acids that harm teeth and cause disease and infection.

Use A Straw!

Drinking iced coffee is an option. Iced coffee still causes stains on the teeth, but if sipped through a straw the stains hit the back of the teeth more than the front where it is more noticeable. Drinkers can also limit their intake of coffee. This is a tough choice for hardcore coffee lovers, but drinking less obviously limits the exposure of so much coffee on the teeth.

It’s hard to give up something you love and coffee is no exception. Use these tips wisely to make sure your passion doesn’t put a stain on your smile.

Many people are afraid to visit the dentist. So many, in fact, there is a name for it; odontophobia. The people that suffer from this phobia often suffer alone, despite the fact that there are so many other sufferers in the world. The reason is often that when they voice their fears, they'll hear responses like “You're just being silly” or “Does anyone like going to the dentist?”

Their fears are seen as inconsequential, which is part of the reason so many people chose not to see a dentist until it is absolutely necessary - or not at all. Some people will suffer through tremendous pain instead of going to a dentist, or even pull their own teeth. There are several common reasons people suffer from odontophobia, most of which a capable dentist can help to assuage.

Embarrassment

Some people feel they have such bad teeth that they are embarrassed to go to a dentist. It sounds like a Catch-22, and that’s exactly what it is. People can wait so long to see a dentist that their teeth are little more than rotted stubs, and the thought of opening their mouths and having someone stare directly into it is mortifying. Some research even points to embarrassment as the most common reason people are afraid to go to the dentist. Often it isn’t even the person's fault their teeth are in such bad shape, but even so, they fear that they will be perceived as neglectful or lazy.

Pain

The fear of pain felt in the chair due to dental treatment is another huge concern for patients. This is an especially difficult conundrum, since the longer tooth pain goes without treatment, the worse it gets. This fear often stems from a previous bad experience, perhaps in childhood. Dentistry has come a long way since the days that the local blacksmith also pulled teeth. Local anesthesia takes much of the bite away from the Novocain injection.

Needles

Many people have a fear of needles. They avoid injections at all costs, and even faint, or have panic attacks at the sight of a needle or syringe. This fear usually stems from a bad childhood experience. Most dentist offices can offer laughing gas as an option, so there is considerably less pain and patients can feel some relief in the dentist's chair.

Sensitive Gag Reflex

There are some patients who are easily gagged. They fear making a fool of themselves during an appointment because of it. A sensitive gag reflex can be brought about by both psychological and physiological factors. There are even patients who have trouble brushing their teeth at home due to sensitive gag reflexes. Talking to your dentist can help. They can help determine the reason for the gagging, and devise a plan to get the dental work done.

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be terrifying. Most of the reasons that people are afraid of the dentist are rooted in previous experiences. The best recourse is to face the fears and get to the bottom of them; knowing why these fears exist is the first step to conquering them.

Repercussions of delaying dental care. Infographic 

There are some people who have wanted to be dentists since childhood. The teeth, and all the care and maintenance that accompanies them, are fascinating to some. Others are drawn to the benefits and advantages of the profession. US News and World Reports named it the number one best job of 2013, proving the hard work and dedication it takes to be a dentist is definitely worth it. There are several reasons why dentistry is a wonderful profession.

Making a Difference in People’s Lives

If you have ever had an experience with poor teeth and an unattractive smile, you know the difference it can make in your life. Having a dubious smile can make it hard to get a job and make friends. Photos ops are all but ruined, and you cover your mouth whenever you smile. Smiles can go wrong for all kinds of reasons, and some of them aren’t even down to lack of good oral hygiene. Changing a bad smile to something you can be proud of is a genuinely life changing experience.

Professional Variety

Most medical professions have the distinct advantage of having several different specialties to go into. Dentists have 13 specialty areas within which they can focus their careers. There is incredible opportunity for change and growth, way beyond dental school. Research into dental procedures, techniques and treatments is also an important facet of the dental profession. Laser drills, stem cell technology for implants and computer programs have all come to fruition within dental research.

Salary and Wages

According to Payscale.com, the average U.S. yearly salary for a dentist is over $100,000. Most dentists only work a five day work week as well, making that figure even more exciting. Those who own their own practice are able to schedule their own vacation days. Dental professionals offering the newest and most exciting procedures are able to make even more money. It is a lucrative field!

Owning Your Own Practice

Dentists can open their own practice once they have graduated from dental school. This gives them full responsibility for how much money they bring in each year. No one likes making their boss richer with each passing year. Owning your own practice not only puts the money in your hands, but allows you to run the practice your way, and put emphasis on what you feel is most important to your patients.

Interaction with the Public

Dentistry is a great profession for individuals who like to be around other people. Being a people person is a huge benefit in the dental field. You're able to put people at ease during a time that many consider highly stressful. It’s also fun to be able to meet so many different people from so many different varieties of life.

There are many great reasons to be a dentist. The profession has some great benefits, and very few downsides. If you have the aptitude - and the fortitude - to make it through college and dental school, it definitely pays off in the long run.

Missed dental appointments are a hazard for every practice. They cost money, disrupt office routine and unsettle scheduling. Many new dentists just resign themselves to the problem, but while the unexpected will always happen, there are many ways to curb the amount of missed appointments each month.

Set a fee

Setting a fee for missed appointments can ensure patients make it to every appointment they set. It’s a good idea to set the policy in writing, and have each patient sign it when they come in for treatment. Make sure to tell each patient at every visit that a fee is charged for missed appointments. It’s also a good idea to print it on the appointment cards. This is a pretty unpopular policy among patients, however. Expect some pushback and arguments from them!

Collect Deposits

When patients need complex procedures performed, or when a pricey cleaning is necessary, it is a good idea to get a partial (or even whole) deposit upfront. This ensures that they will show up for a procedure they have already paid for. It’s also beneficial to give patients the option of paying in multiple installments for more costly procedures. Knowing they are paying for a better smile makes it easier, and once it's paid for they will definitely show up.

Follow-up Calls

One great way to reduce no-shows and cancellations is to make a follow-up call right after the initial visit, as well as the day before the appointment. Call the patient after the first visit, to discuss the treatment plan and what happened during the appointment. Discuss any concerns and confirm the payment arrangements. Make another call the day before the next appointment, to remind the patient and make sure they are coming. If something unavoidable has come up, this gives the office 24 hours to fill the appointment slot.

Same Day Dentistry

Offering same day appointments gets the job done without having to schedule a new appointment. People avoid going to the dentist in most cases, and won’t go unless there is severe pain. Often with toothaches, the pain will subside for a few days or weeks; long enough for the patient to decide they don’t need to go to the dentist at that time, or to spend the money they intended to spend to take care of their dental problem. Getting them in on the actual day they feel the need for a dentist takes care of two birds with one stone.

Show Don’t Tell

Using visual tools to let the patient know exactly what kind of damage they have in their mouths, goes a long way towards keeping them coming in for regular checkups. X-rays and intraoral cameras show patients exactly what is causing them pain and discomfort. It isn’t usually a pretty sight, and it's often enough encouragement to get them in for the repair appointment. Explain the damage and point out what it has done, and is doing to the patient to get the maximum effect.

Missed appointments are bad for business, bad for the patients who miss them, and bad for those that could have used the slot. Don't resign yourself to the situation!

 The office team is, in many ways, the most important part of the entire dental practice. Everything that makes a practice operate efficiently, from collections and scheduling to case presentation, depends on a smoothly running team. Motivated and well-trained staff make for more efficient patient care, and can reduce the stresses on the dentist exponentially.

The problem is that not everyone you hire will be a fit for the team. While dental schools spend a lot of time teaching clinical skills, most do not even touch on the office management side of a practice, and this often leaves dentists in a bind from the start. A successful dental office has staff that are motivated, that are team players, and that have a sense of satisfaction that encourages them to stay for years. Fortunately, there are techniques to employ that will ensure a smooth running dental office team.

Train Specifically for Your Office

When a new employee is hired train them on all processes and equipment necessary for their job - but don’t stop there. Each dentist runs his practice in a way unique to his or her own personality, experiences and education. Training employees not only to do what is necessary, but also to take account of the little nuances that make the office unique, is imperative. What makes your practice special to you should be special to your staff as well. This builds loyalty and motivates employees to be proud of their job.

Train Efficiently

You can’t expect a new employee to learn everything in a day. They also can’t perform jobs they don’t know how to perform. Something that seems like common sense to you, may not be so to someone who has never worked in a dental or office environment. It’s imperative to train thoroughly and with adequate time to integrate a learning curve.

Hire Competent Staff

Running an ad in the paper or starting an account with the local employment service is a fine idea, but make sure your qualifications are listed, and make sure to do a complete interview before make any hiring choices. Anyone can say they have office or dental experience but it’s quite another thing to prove it. One idea is to hire directly from colleges. Place help wanted ads in school student areas. During the interview process, make sure to ask if they have experience in office work, and always check references.

Employ a 90 Day Trial Period

Even the most perfect new hire can go sour. There are a lot of shady people in this world, and many of them can con an employer as fast as a car salesman. Using a 90 day trial period ensures you hired the person you think you did - with the skills they claimed they had.

Performance Reviews

Finally, performance reviews; these can motivate employees like nothing else. Be it a pay rise, days off or vacation time, a bonus for good performance is something employees will strive for. Be specific about what goals must be reached to achieve the bonus, and how often the reviews will take place. The better the bonus, the harder they will try to achieve it!

Put some or all of these tips into practice and you should see an improvement in your team as well as an increase in your overall efficiency.

The dental profession is one of constant change and improvement. New and experienced dentists alike face many challenges throughout their careers. From loans and monetary concerns to patient and office issues, these challenges affect both small town practices as well as those in larger cities to varying degrees. The following are the five largest concerns facing dental practices today.

Student Loans

The biggest misconception of student loans is that older practices have them paid in full. This is not so. Often student loans for dental students are astronomical and take many years of repayment to fulfill. Dental practices that are 20 years old or older are still under the debt of a student loan. Hand in hand with this concern is the high cost of dental school tuition, which seems to increase each year. Couple these issues with the state of the American economy and it is clear this is a real challenge facing many of today’s dental practices.

Third Party Interference

It is exasperating for dentists when a third-party payment company imposes limitations on fee setting in dental practices. These payment companies can also provide benefits for services and in those cases the vexation is slight. However, when limitations are set upon fees that the company provides no benefits or services for, it is frustrating for dentists. This is one of the major challenges in the profession today as it affects income and the ability to raise money for better equipment.

Corporate Dentistry

The new Millennium has brought scads of super-stores that incorporate an increasing number of products and services in one retail space. For instance, Wal-Mart stores provide everything from groceries, clothing and household goods to furniture and garden equipment. Recent years have seen these types of stores also offering dentistry and optometrist services. This is a big concern for private practice dentists, especially those in smaller towns.

Dental Laboratories

There is a proliferation of issues for dentists concerning laboratories. Many dental products are produced in labs outside of the country, which has caused approximately 2,000 dental labs in the United States to close. There is little to no regulation of these products which is also cause for concern. Practicing dentists also voice a concern over the irrelevance of many research projects in labs. Surveys report dentists feel the present research is not focused on disease prevention and issues relevant to dental practices today.

Lack of Support

A lesser concern, but one that still resonates through dental practices across the country is the lack of support from the profession for newly qualified dentists beginning practice. Many believe dental academies should lend a helping hand to graduating dentists. A mentoring program of some sort from established dentists and those in the Pierre Fauchard Academy or the American and International Colleges of Dentists could assist new dentists immensely. It has been suggested that each should have its members take a new dentist under his or her wing and provide advice and patient referrals.

Although the challenges are wide ranging, from the individual dentist student loan to dental clinics as organisations having to deal with competition from corporate dentistry, this doesn't mean they are impossible to overcome. Dentist who focus on what they can control and who concentrate on providing a high quality, local service, while taking the time to build relationships with their patients and team, will find it easier to overcome the many challenges facing dentistry today.

One of the most common fears people have is going to the dentist. The trepidation surrounding what might happen causes so many people to avoid the dentist and endure sometimes excruciating pain. Much of this trepidation is due to old, worn out myths about dentistry that persist year after year, but are simply not true. Then there are the new age myths that crop up as new developments in dental technology take hold. As with everything in life, a little research and study goes a long way. Here is the truth about the most mind-boggling myths about dentistry.

Myth: Cutting out sugar keeps your teeth healthy.

Truth: Nope. It’s a nice idea and it makes sense, since sugar is a mortal enemy to teeth, but just cutting out sugar from your diet isn’t going to help much. The truth is, everything you put in your mouth is potentially detrimental to your teeth. Lots of foods, like fruit, have natural sugars in them which act in the same way on your teeth as regular sugar. Any food you eat will leave tiny pieces behind in your mouth, which eventually turn into an acid that attacks the teeth. The best defense is brushing after every meal, or at least rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

Myth: Oral hygiene pertains to the teeth and mouth only.

Truth: Absolutely not. Problems with teeth and gums will only get worse without treatment. Infections are not necessarily confined to the mouth; an infection can spread throughout the body. There is even scientific proof that poor dental health can lead to heart problems. The foods that expecting mothers eat can even affect the development of their unborn child’s teeth. Pregnant women who eat a lot of junk food and empty calories are depriving the fetus of proteins, vitamin A and D and calcium, all used to create healthy teeth.

Myth: Brushing your teeth more than just after meals makes a brighter smile.

Truth: A white, brilliant smile is an obsession for millions of people. There are those folks who carry a toothbrush with them everywhere and brush their teeth after meals, between meals and almost hourly. The truth is, over-brushing causes more harm than good. Enamel, the teeth’s protective coating, is brushed away with each teeth cleaning. A better idea is to use mouthwash with enamel added between brushing, or just plain clean water.

Myth: An aspirin or pain reliever placed next to a painful tooth will cure the toothache.

Truth: Pain relievers send messages to the brain to make it believe the pain has gone. The problem is that the effects eventually dissipate and the pain returns. Placing an aspirin directly on the ailing tooth also damages the soft tissue of the gums and mouth. You can take more pain reliever, but it still returns after a while. The only way to rid yourself of a tooth ache permanently is to have the dentist treat it.

The dental profession has come a long way since the days that blacksmiths performed teeth treatment for the villagers. Still, myths persevere. The truth is, your teeth are the only ones you're given - and taking care of them correctly can only be done with the help of a professional dentist.

Dental practices are no different than other competitive business niches. Being such, they must have a strong growth strategy just as any other successful business does. A marketing plan with cohesive strategies both online and off is imperative. Aside from following your marketing plan, you’ll have to assess your current practice and identify its strengths and weaknesses on an ongoing basis. All inefficient and ineffective protocols and processes must be eliminated to make room for more successful practices.

Training is Essential

Once a new dentist enters the world they can quickly be overcome with the responsibilities of starting and maintaining a new practice. It can be overwhelming. One thing that must not be overlooked is staying abreast of the newest equipment, techniques and research. A successful dental practice is aware of all its patients options and can suggest them accordingly. Very few dental schools teach the business side of dentistry and that’s why many new dentists struggle to grow their practice. It’s equally important to go to marketing seminars and to constantly be learning about new ways to get your practice out there. It is equally important to invest time and intellect into growing a new practice as it is to invest skill and money.

Employees are the Key

The right employees can make or break a dental practice. Everyone from your associates, the hygienist and assistants, to the receptionist must be a valuable part of the team. Ideally, everyone you hire will have dental office experience. This makes the process much more streamlined. Receptionists should already be familiar with the ins and outs of a dental office and its billing and accounts receivable software. Protocol for dental office visits is a thing all its own so having an assistant that is familiar with the process is invaluable. Hygienists and assistants should be as knowledgeable in their field as the dentist is in theirs. It is important that all employees are a good fit for the practice, not only in skill set but in personality as well. Patients are sensitive about their smiles and having a hygienist with a bad attitude can cause immeasurable damage, including lost patients.

Scheduling and Appointments

Utilizing effective scheduling techniques and knowing how to get those patients back for checkups and routine hygiene is a big part of growing a practice. A dental receptionist with experience in this area is the ideal fix. Seminars and conferences also address this issue often. Techniques include specific computer software, marketing techniques and patient reward programs. Demographics and other factors often play into these approaches.

Can Do Attitude

Dental practices are not easy to maintain successfully throughout the years. It takes a practice that is constantly learning and growing to keep up with the trends and actions that create success. The most important part of this is a can-do attitude. So many dentists make excuses about why they can’t garner new patients. They blame the economy or the competition or a thousand other things. Approaching the situation with a no-excuses mindset is half the battle in growing your practice successfully and offering the best service you can to your patients.

Besides pain and cavities, improving the look of your smile is one of the top reasons people visit a dentist and whiter teeth play a big part in this. Teeth whitening is also on the less expensive end of the spectrum, which makes the treatment available to more patients. People have been attempting to whiten and brighten their smiles since ancient times using a variety of techniques that are both frightening and genius. The techniques have come a long way but still consist of the basic ingredients first discovered in the early 19th century.

Ancient attempts

Ancient tooth whitening attempts were as primitive as you’d expect. Early man used frayed sticks and thorns from bushes to clean and scrape their teeth. Once civilization began to emerge, white teeth were a sign of nobility and wealth. Romans used a paste of urine and goats milk. Egyptians used pumice and a wine vinegar. 12th century physicians recommended that patients use a sage and salt rub to whiten their teeth or that they scrub them with the Elecampane flower. The public turned to barbers for their dental needs in the 17th century, who would use a metal file to make the teeth abrasive and then paint them with nitric acid. The late 18th century brought about the use of bleaching with oxalic acid by some physicians. While all these techniques probably worked to an extent, they also caused immeasurable damage to the teeth.

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The birth of modern whitening

With the dawn of the 19th century, dental professionals were concerned with healing the gums from disease and infection, especially in conjunction with braces and corrective orthodontic wear. They had discovered the positive restorative effects of hydrogen peroxide and were constantly developing ways to enable patients to keep their gums exposed to it for longer periods of time. In 1918, it was discovered that a heated lamp in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide would lighten teeth. A dentist in the late 1960’s discovered that after prescribing an overnight soak in carbamide peroxide using an orthodontic positioner for gum irritation, the teeth were significantly whiter.

The idea was tossed around the dental convention circuit for 20 years before it really took off. A thick whitening gel, Opalescence carbamide peroxide (Ultradent Products), was patented in 1989 and is still the basic technique used today. Dentists offices began offering tray whitening services and strip whitening also began to take off. Another technique used in offices today is to visit the dentist several times consecutively to have highly concentrated bleaching solution applied in conjunction with an LED light. Tooth bleaching trays are custom made to fit the exact mold of the patients teeth.

At-home products

The popularity of teeth whitening procedures led to an influx of at-home varieties. They vary in cost and effectiveness but many rival office procedures and are cost effective. There are also a wide variety of whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Dental offices have had to make concessions for the huge amount of at-home products for good quality teeth whitening as people continue to search for the perfect smile.

Despite the fact that studies have shown a correlation between good oral health and a long life, men still delay their oral hygiene. This isn’t much of a surprise considering the reports showing that men also delay their physical health care and regular physician visits. Men consistently report a lesser amount of healthcare visits per year than women, regardless of the repercussions.

Increased Risk Factors

Not only do men take a more lax view on their professional oral hygiene visits but they also carry more risk factors. Smoking is a huge risk factor for a whole slew of oral problems from bad breath to stained and loss of teeth and even oral cancer. According to the American Lung Association, in 18.3% of women smoked as opposed to 23.1% of men in a 2008 study.

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Smoking or chewing tobacco causes oral cancer. It's true many women smoke but more men use different forms of tobacco like chewing and snuff. Oral cancer can affect the tongue, the roof of the mouth or under the tongue, the soft tissue around the inside of the mouth and the gums.

Men also suffer from a higher rate of heart attacks than women and are more often on medications for such. The types of medicines cause dry mouth, which is a drastic restriction in the saliva production in your mouth. Saliva helps wash away many of the bacteria in the human mouth. Without adequate saliva production, the bacteria and tartar cause cavities at a faster pace.

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Sports also significantly raise the risk of oral health issues. While women certainly play a variety of sports, in the amateur realm women are far more careful than men. They wear their protective and safety gear more often and take less serious risks than men, according to a Swedish study published by the American Physical Therapy Association in 2012. Contact sports cause a great deal of trauma to the mouth and teeth.

Men are often the breadwinners of the family and under a lot of daily stress. Stress also affects the teeth because people tend to grind them together in stressful situations and even during sleep. Add this very common issue with the variety of other unhealthy habits and tendencies of males and you have a recipe for disaster.

All of these factors when put together can cause huge oral hygiene problems, many of which can be overcome by regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dental hygienist. When it comes to hygiene, the mouth is often left out but it's about time men took a look at their increased risk factors and started paying more attention to their oral health.

Anyone looking for information on the effects of chewing gum on the teeth may have a hard time finding it. The reason is simple, it can be both good and bad for your teeth for a variety of reasons. The defining factor is the type of gum you are chewing.

Gum can be one of three types depending on what is used to sweeten it. Gum is sweetened by natural sugar, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, and by sorbitol, xylitol and other sugar alcohols. Each type of sweetener effects the teeth in a different way.

Sugar

Gum sweetened with sugar effects your teeth in two separate phases. First the sugar from the gum is released into your mouth. The bacteria in plaque uses the sugar to make cavities in the teeth. Once the sugar has been completely removed from the gum and digested into the body, the chewing and continued saliva production promotes remineralization of the enamel.

Artificial Sweetener

Artificial sweeteners have no sugar and therefore nothing for the plaque to use against the health of the teeth. After eating or drinking, the pH balance in the mouth becomes unstable and promotes tooth decay and bad breath. Studies have shown that chewing gum with no sugar 741x

stimulates the saliva production which helps restore the pH balance and reduce tooth decay.

Sugar Alcohol

Some sugar alcohols, such as Xylitol, have shown an ability to fight against bacteria that cause tooth decay. This type of sweetener is the most beneficial of the three. There is no sugar to eat away at the teeth and it also stimulated the saliva production but it also provides extra cavity fighting abilities.

Chewing gum after a meal has been proven effective in several ways. Just make sure that it does not contain natural sugars as a sweetener and you’ll receive all the fun of chewing gum as well as a few great advantages for your teeth!

Summer time and the availability of fresh fruits often encourages people to enjoy sweet and fruity drinks. Many have citrus bases and alcohol or soda mixed in. All these factors have an effect on your teeth. Everything from oral cancer to bad breath is possible if you’re not careful.

Alcohol

Drinking beverages containing alcohol significantly increases the risk of oral cancer. Alcohol dehydrates your entire body, including the cell walls inside the mouth which makes it easier for carcinogens to permeate the tissue of the mouth. Alcohol abuse and heavy use significantly impacts the risk. Oral cancer can manifest on the lips and tongue. It can also appear on the roof of the mouth or under the tongue. Paired with tobacco use, the risk is even higher.

Soda

Soda drinks have acidic sugar byproducts that soften the enamel of teeth, making them weak and susceptible to cavities. Reports have shown soda to be a significant contributing factor in tooth decay. Some reports show it to be as damaging to teeth as swishing with battery fluid. Damage to teeth from soda consumption actually starts as soon as three minutes after intake. Sodas also stain the teeth.

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Citrus

Fresh citrus is very good for the body in many ways but not when it comes to teeth. Highly acidic fruits like lemon and grapefruit can eat away tooth enamel after an extended period. The outer layer will wear away and reveal a very sensitive under layer. Orange juice is the least harmful citrus to ingest.

Combat the effects of summer drinks by practicing proper oral hygiene and visiting a dentist regular. Enjoy the beautiful summer! 

Many dental offices, both new and established, see their hygiene departments as a loss leader or a nonprofit area at best. Hygienists who hear they must increase profits often believe that means working more hours. The facts couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the dental office hygiene department is capable of at least a 35% profit margin.

Role of the Dental Hygienist

The critical role of the dental hygienist must be carefully considered. A hygienist must be capable of providing a high level of quality service in a quick and efficient manner. He or she must have the skills to perform their duty but also to develop lasting and friendly relationships with dental patients. Their salaries are comparatively high and so the practice must receive maximum benefit from all they employ.

Make the Best Use of Chair Time

We talked above about how important it is to make sure the hygienist’s time is well spent. Part of that is making sure he or she packs as much quality patient care into the chair time as possible. The hygienist could spend two to three hours with the patient if everything possible is taken care of but that isn’t always necessary. A proper screening of the patient can disclose what is most important for that individual patient's care. Not every patient needs the same information. Some are already more informed than others are. It is important to know what each patient needs and to use the time in the chair while performing basic hygiene treatment, to keep them informed. Remember, the idea is not to cram more work into less time or more hours into the day. Instead, it is to tailor the work to match the patient and provide a high level of quality to each patient.

Re-care

Many dental offices undervalue the re-care system. Taking the time to come up with a well-developed re-care system can drastically increase profits. Ninety-five percent of the patients should have a new appointment scheduled with the hygienist before they finish their appointment. Discuss the usual patient objections and barriers to future appointments at daily team meetings before the patients ever enter the office. Patients often claim they do not know when or where they will be in four to six months when it’s time for another appointment. A good plan of action in these instances is to offer a reminder sent to their smartphones or Google calendars.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations are a dental office's worst nightmare and they happen most often in the hygiene department. A cancellation policy for patients can be of great benefit. Strategies such as charging patients for last minute cancellations and offering incentives for kept appointments go a long way in retention numbers.

Hopefully these tips will give your practice (& hygiene department) a boost!

Many people assume that dentistry is a modern invention, and history is full of bad teeth and worse breath. Surprisingly, mankind has been infatuated with a beautiful smile as far back as 600A.D. Check out these amazing, historically fun facts about dentistry, oral hygiene and teeth.

Dentistry Fun Facts
  • Tooth enamel is the toughest element in the human body. It is even harder than our bones. Enamel covers our teeth and even though it is extremely hard, it can decay and deteriorate if exposed to bacteria and acid for prolonged periods.
  • Beeswax may have been the first ever cavity filler. A human canine tooth over 65 centuries old was found in Slovenia containing beeswax, presumably to ease the pain and sensitivity of tooth pain.
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  • The first dental drills were made of stone. Teeth have been found belonging to stone age humans with stone drilled holes around decayed matter.
  • Rats, aardvarks, beavers and horses have teeth that never stop growing. They wear them down by chewing on wood and bark but they grow right back until the animal dies.
  • In early colonial days, the village blacksmiths also served as the community dentist because they had tools that could most easily pull teeth, which was the only way they dealt with a toothache.
  • Aristotle and Hippocrates first contemplated type of dental braces as far back as 300 A.D. and archaeologists have discovered mummified remains of people with bands made from catgut wrapped around their teeth.
  • Saint Apollonia is the Patron Saint of Dentistry because of the tortures she suffered as a virgin martyr in an uprising against Christians in Alexandria. All of her teeth were shattered and pulled out.
  • In approximately 619 in China’s Tang Dynasty, the first toothbrush was invented. They were made from horsehair or boar bristles. Travelers carried these first toothbrushes back to Europe.
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  • H.N. Wadsworth was granted the first U.S. patent for a toothbrush in 1857. In 1938, the first nylon bristled toothbrushes were mass produced by DuPont.
  • Teeth are like fingerprints, no two are alike and everyone’s is specific just to them. Even twins do not share the same dental fingerprint.
  • The average male only smiles about eight times a day but the average woman smiles 62 times per day. Children smile over 400 times per day.
  • People use more blue toothbrushes than any other color.
  • South paws chew their food on the left side while right-handed people chew on the right.
  • The cure for a toothache in Medieval Germany was to kiss a donkey.
  • George Washington’s wooden teeth are a fable. He actually had four pairs of dentures made from lead, ivory, gold and one set was made from an amalgam of animal teeth including donkey, hippo and deceased humans.
  • The plaque that grows on human teeth consists of 300 different species of bacteria.

If these facts don't make you want to take care of your teeth then nothing will!

No one likes to go to the dentist and this fact is never truer than when it comes to children. Kids today are savvier than ever and the traditional cheap toy treasure box hardly does the job anymore. Keeping your kiddie clientele happy doesn’t have to break the bank or include dancing clowns, however. There are a ton of inexpensive and creative ways to ensure they leave with attitudes as bright as their smiles.

First Thing's First

The first experience your patients have in your office is your staff and waiting area. The front desk person has the job of greeting each and every patient in a friendly, comforting manner and children are no exception. Take special consideration during the hiring process to make sure the person you hire for the job is comfortable with children and has a knack for making them feel at ease.

Another big part of the first impression is the waiting area. Many dental facilities make the mistake of leaving out the children’s perspective here. A few children’s books in the waiting room does not a child friendly area make. Dedicate and entire area to your children’s practice by placing child-sized furniture and adequate distractions like children’s television programming, an activity table and books and magazines geared to a variety of age brackets.

Check-up Checklist

Often children will enjoy their stay in the waiting room and become terrified once they enter the exam room. Assuage some of those stress factors by affording some simple comforts. Make it your practice to allow kids to bring a special toy or security blanket into the exam or offer an office stuffed animal and explain that he is scared too and needs to be held during the exam.

Giving children a bit of control over their experience also helps to ease some of their fears. Ask them which flavor of fluoride gel to use, or which smell of scented exam gloves they like best. This allows them to have a hand in what’s going on and comforts some of their fear of the unknown.

And, taking x-rays is probably one of the more frightening procedures you will perform on kids. Forget using those overly complicated film and x-ray holder systems. They are big, bulky and scary, especially if you need to have the child put it in their mouths. Not only is it frightening for children, but you in most case won’t get the x-ray you need. Try simpler-to-use alternatives like Flaps Bite Tabs from Microcopy. They’re child tested and hygienist approved.

Tailor Your Explanations

Just as it is important to explain your procedures to your adult patients, it is also important for your child patients. The difference is in the wording. Obviously, children do not understand complex dental terms or even some not so complex terms but its important for their comfort level to know and understand all that is about to happen to them. Use words they can understand and explain each step of the process.

Implementing these easy tasks into your practice not only comforts the children but also makes the parents aware of just how much you value your child patients.

 We try hard to keep children’s teeth and gums clean and healthy. Leftover Easter candy presents a challenge because children seem to have a sixth sense called “sugar sense.” In spite of efforts to promote fruits and healthy snacks, they find the most sugar-filled snacks in the house. If you’re looking for alternatives for that leftover Easter candy, here are some fun ideas:

  • Chop it, freeze it and keep it to sprinkle over ice cream
  • Craft it into a sweet piece of art using leftover Easter grass, glitter, tissue paper, glue, and small pieces of candy
  • Melt the chocolate bunnies into a chocolate fondue and dip your favorite fruits
  • Mix it with other favorite trail mix ingredients like granola and mixed nuts and take it for a snack on the go
  • Use your Peeps and pair with chocolate and graham crackers to make yummy S’mores!
  • String jelly bean necklaces and bracelets to compliment any spring outfit

 And of course, don’t forget to help the children floss after eating candy – especially those chewy and sticky candies!

Carbide burs are common tools used in dentistry to perform maintenance on teeth including excavating cavities, drilling old fillings, and finishing preparations for crowns. They are made out of extremely durable materials including steel, steel coated tungsten carbide, diamond coated steel, or tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is traditionally preferred as it can be used more times than steel only burs due to the durable nature of this material. While tungsten is typically three times stronger than steel, it is more brittle, but perfectly suitable in high-speed and low pressure dental applications. Additionally, tungsten burs have the ability to hold a sharp edge longer over other bur materials.

Finishing and Trimming Carbides

There are several types of carbide burs that dentists use for different procedures. The most necessary type of dental burs that every dentist should own are the finishing and trimming carbides. This type of dental bur is used to complete the last step in dental procedures by smoothing the walls of teeth and then polishing the composite for a smooth finish.

The most popular finishing and trimming carbides that are currently offered in dentistry supplies are the 12 Blade FB burs. They are constructed out of a single-piece of tungsten carbide and are plated in gold to increase strength and provide anti-microbial benefits for the patient. The solid construction reduces vibrations of the drill and makes the procedure more stable than other dental burs on the market. It also decreases the chances of the tool malfunction which is commonly found in other options for dentistry utensils.

Benefits

One of the key benefits offered by Metal or Carbide Burs is the improved results versus Diamond Burs. When a dentist is grinding on enamel, a Carbide Bur leaves a generally smoother surface than that produced when using a Diamond Bur, this can substantially reduce time spent polishing the surface post grinding.

One popular brand, specifically NeoBurr, offers a unique neck brazed weld which dramatically improves the longevity of the bur by providing a greater surface area for affixing the bur to the shank. Many dentists report that, while priced more competitively than other brands, NeoBurr brands perform just as well, and often outlast other brands that don’t offer this feature.

How it can help the industry

Dentists that have used the NeoBurr finishing and trimming carbides have noticed the comfortable feel and handling characteristic and that the unique neck offers easy mobility around the inside of the mouth while performing procedures. By offering a variety of shapes for trimming carbides, dental professionals can feel confident that they have the right tool for each patient.

Finishing and trimming carbides have revolutionized the way dentists perform routine maintenance and common dental procedures. They have increased the productivity level of dentist’s offices worldwide because of their smooth performance. By properly cleaning and sterilizing finishing carbides, you can extend the life of the dental bur and decrease the amount spent on dental supplies.

YouTube can be a powerful tool for promoting your business and you should definitely use it for much more than watching funny cat videos or NBA highlights. It is the second largest search engine overall behind only Google and ahead of Yahoo and Bing, with over a billion monthly users and reaching more US adults between 18 and 34. All of this makes YouTube a must-have online platform for your business.

Why Your Small Business Should Use YouTube

These days it seems that everyone has a Facebook and other social media sites are not far behind. Instagram and Pinterest are getting their fair share of the online cake and the same goes for Google + and Twitter.

But because of this "social media marketing craze", it seems that video sharing sites such as YouTube are being a little overlooked. This, of course, is one slip-up that you should not make.

Videos are a great way to show off your brand, product or service and to better bond with your customers. One huge reason for using video is that people today tend to be too busy to read a long article and you can keep their attention much better with a short video on YouTube.

There are four key reasons why it's a good idea to include YouTube as your brand's online platform:

1. Original video content can improve your SEO
Videos frequently get shared either through social media sites or via email. For this reason, search engines will put more emphasis on those websites that offer video content than those that do not.

2. Videos can get your message to a much wider audience
Few formats are quite as shareable as video. If your viewers like a video you uploaded, they are much more likely to share it with their friends. As such, a good video that successfully connects with those that watch it has the power to become viral in no time. This is a huge plus for your brand.

3. Videos are a potent branding tool
If you want to send a certain message about your brand video content is perhaps the most powerful instrument at your disposal. It certainly beats the typed word any time.

4. Video content creation is inexpensive and easy
Anyone can create a good YouTube video that will send the right message to his audience. All you need in order to create a YouTube video is a device capable of recording, such as a webcam or even a smartphone. In addition, video creation doesn't even have to take a big hit on your company's budget.

Setting Up Your YouTube Channel

Now that I talked at length about why YouTube is an online platform that you should not miss out on using, it's probably time to explain how to set up a YouTube channel for your business.

In order to create a YouTube channel, you first need to have a Google account. This is of course free and if you are using Gmail or G+, you already have it.

However, if you are using YouTube for business purposes, you should set up a distinct account on it and use your business email address, instead of your personal one.
Creating a unique Google account is a straightforward piece of business and takes only the following 6 steps:

  1. Visit www.youtube.com from your browser
  2. Click the "sign-in" button on the YouTube homepage (it's located on the top-right of your screen).
  3. Click on the "Create an Account" button when the "Sign In" screen comes up. YouTube will first ask you to create a new Google account.
  4. If you created a Google account before, this shouldn't pose a problem for you now. Simply fill in the necessary fields, enter your first and last name and choose a username. Be sure to use a name that best represents your business and not your personal name. Finally, create and confirm a password and click "Next".
  5. Create a Google Account Profile. Make sure to upload your company logo instead of a personal mug shot.
  6. Now click the "Back to YouTube" button and wait for the two emails you will receive from Google. The first one will prompt you to verify your email address (click the link provided in order to confirm it) and the second one will include your new Gmail account details.

However, this is only a part of what you need to do in order to set up your YouTube channel. The following 5 steps will show you how to transform a Google account into a YouTube channel:

  1.  Visit www.youtube.comand sign in with your new Google username & password.
  2. In the top-right corner of the newly opened YouTube home screen is your profile picture. Click this to open your Google Account Menu.
  3. Click the "My Channel" link (upper-right on your screen). This will display a new screen entitled "Create Your YouTube Channel".
  4. In the "Activities", there are four options:
  • "Like a video"
  • "Comment on a video"
  • "Favorite a video"
  • "Subscribe to a channel"

5. Click the "OK. I'm Ready to Continue".

With this, your YouTube channel is created and all is left for you to do is to start uploading some videos on it.

Bear in mind that there is no YouTube channel for business or a way to create a specialized business account. You will have to use standard YouTube settings, so make sure that it displays your business in the best light possible.

How to Create, Upload and Share Your YouTube Videos

Unless you are happy with an empty YouTube channel (trust me, your visitors will not be), you need to create, upload and, for the coup de grace, share your videos. This is how it's done:

Create a Video

You can create a video using a video recorder, digital or laptop camera, or even a cell phone, as long as the device you are using supports video file formats allowed by YouTube.

Be mindful of the length of your video (standard YouTube license allows up to 15 minutes of material), but feel free to play around with your video. Depending on your business, you might want to appear more professional in your videos or more casual.

Once you are happy with your video, save it and get ready to ...

Upload Your Video

You can upload a video from your computer, IOS, Android or email. Here's a rundown on how to do this with each of these:

1. From a computer:

  • Sign in to YouTube.
  • Click "Upload".
  • Select a video from your computer.
  • Wait for it to get uploaded.
  • Click "Publish".

2. From IOS:

  • Sign in to YouTube.
  • Open the Guide (three thick horizontal lines in the top left corner of your screen) to get to the "My Channel". Alternatively you can touch the Upload icon (arrow pointing upward).
  • Select a video to upload from your camera and confirm.
  • Touch the Upload icon.

3. From Android:

  • Sign in to YouTube.
  • Open the Guide in the upper left corner and go to Uploads.
  • Touch the Upload icon.
  • Choose a video to upload.
  • Upload a video by touching the upload icon.

4. From email:

  • Go to YouTube settings
  • Find an email address (it will look something like this: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). If you don't see one click on the "Create Mobile Profile" button and fill in the information necessary.
  • Now email the video to this address. An email should come your way telling you that the video has been successfully uploaded.

Share a Video

After creating and uploading your YouTube video, you need to share it with your followers in order to better convey your brand's message to a wider audience.

Although you can share a video via email, for business purposes, sharing this type of content on Facebook, Twitter or Google + is a much better solution and can help you reach more people.

...And you're done

With a good camera, enough time to record, edit, upload and finally share your video content, YouTube can soon become your standard bearer when it comes to your company's online presence. You may not get it right on your first try, but after a while, you will be able to pluck the fruits of your labor and enjoy the success YouTube brings to your brand

The smart dental practice knows there needs to be a plethora of educational ways to promote great dental health for patients. Educating others on the proper ways to improve their dental health with some insightful tips can be a fun, and even enlightening way to safeguard dental health for the long-term. It all begins with the proper routine on a daily basis! Tooth decay can be prevented, as can disease caused by it—which is why preventative dentistry is necessary. If you want to maintain a healthy mouth, strong teeth and disease free gums for a lifetime, this is the best way!

From properly flossing to keep gums healthy, to brushing in the right direction and motion, and on to rinsing in between meals—the proper preventative dental tips can keep everyone one step ahead, so oral health becomes second nature! The following helpful tips will keep you on your toes and away from the dental drill for fillings. Remember, just a few changes to your existing routine can really help!

Dental Tips To Live By For Enabling The Perfect Oral Health Habits

1. Use daily antibacterial rinses to minimize the risk for gum disease: It's true; a daily rinse with topical fluoride can improve your gum health and actually soothe irritated gums or thinning gums. While this isn't a miracle solution it can decrease the risk for gum disease like gingivitis.

2. Integrate a rotation bristle brush to minimize the risk for cavities: This type of toothbrush has been shown to be ideal for reducing gum inflammation and removing food particles between the teeth that a normal brush might miss. So, a rotation oscillation electric brush can possibly help minimize cavities and actually bring more enjoyment into the action of brushing teeth.

3. Have regular tooth cleanings and routine dental examinations: Dental cleanings, every 6 months can reduce plaque and eliminate many adverse oral health diseases. This regimen allows for earlier treatment possibilities, and if you're prone to dental health issues there is easier management in place.

4. Have you considered dental sealants to improve tooth health: Dental sealants can smooth over surfaces of teeth where there is a chip or a partial gap. Furthermore, sealants are ideal for improving the structure and function of the teeth due to the longevity they provide. Sealants can last up to 10 years, protecting the teeth like nothing else can.

5. Always eat healthy foods to promote the good health of the teeth and gums: There are many foods which are not only excellent for strengthening the enamel of the teeth, but also for reducing acidity in the mouth and safeguarding the structure of the teeth. Fresh fruits and vegetables are common choices, but you want to avoid those high in natural fructose too. This is because it can act just like table sugar in high amounts. Also, too many citric fruits can hurt the enamel of the teeth, so pay attention to this as well.

6. Don't be afraid to drink tap water: Believe it or not, tap water is far better for your teeth than bottled water. The fluoride your teeth need is only in tap water, and this can help to lower the risk for cavities with ease. You can put a filtration device on your tap to make the water more agreeable, but always consider the pro benefits. One glass of tap water a day is sufficient.

7. Communicate with your dental provider to receive top care: Don't be afraid to communicate with your dental provider. Your dentist can only help you if you explain your complaints. Remember, radiographs sometimes miss small cavities or cracks; so pointing these out by communicating your symptoms can pinpoint a problem. The same is true about your gum health as well. Communication is definitely key between the dental provider and the patient.

Get The Boost You Need For Improving Your Oral Health Today

If you allow these dental tips to be your guide for gradually improving your oral health day after day, month after month and year after year, you'll make great, healthy gains for your entire body. So, remember, when you follow the advice and change your lifestyle to improve your dental health, you can greatly reduce the possibilities for many oral health diseases and complications such as: periodontal disease, gingivitis, chronic inflammation of the gums, tooth loss, oral cancer and more.

You can integrate a proper dental health regimen into your life to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. Beginning a regimen like this at an early age instills the desire to maintain and manage oral health, as one grows older. You don't want to wait—start now to enhance the natural beauty of your teeth and feel great doing it!

Dentists, like any other profession, can benefit greatly from social media and especially interacting with their customers via Facebook, Twitter and other networks. Of course, it’s not enough just to have a profile and expect results to magically come your way. You need to work hard to engage your audience and make the visitor participate.

Social media is crucial for any company’s online presence and things are not different here when it comes to dentists. You will need to roll up your sleeves, but if you put your back to the task and follow the next 10 tips, you’ll soon find your dentist site leading the online race by a mile.

1. Post regularly

Social media won’t do you or the people you want to target any good if you are posting or tweeting every 2-3 weeks. Users demand to be constantly updated with new things from you. No one will look twice at your Facebook page if he sees that the last post you made was in 2013.

2. Think about what you’re posting

On the other hand, what you post is equally, if not more important, than how often you post. Make sure that you only post something that is relevant to your niche. If you have something funny or interesting to tweet but that has nothing to do with dentistry in any shape or form, you always have your own personal profile for that.

3. Choose the right platform(s)

Facebook, with its billion active users every month is a true must for any company these days, but that does not mean you can or should ignore other platforms.

Twitter is also a strong platform with over 270 million active users and is perfect if you want to quickly update your customers. Instagram is quickly gaining on Twitter when it comes to followers and other platforms, such as Google +, Tumblr and Pinterest all have plenty of benefits as well.

Start with the two primary platforms, Facebook and Twitter. Post interesting consumer messaging on Facebook, while Twitter can be for short, more newsy posts and links to interesting articles.

Creating some fun how-to graphics on Pinterest and Instagram can lead to more bursts of followers.

4. Honor your brand strategy, but don’t get too formal

Dentistry is a serious profession and it stands to reason that dentist websites lean more toward the professional tone. With social media, and that’s regardless of which one(s) you pick for your platform, you can unbutton your shirt a little and not worry so much about being “prim and proper” all the time.

However, don’t go far away from your relaxed approach, as this can hurt the way people look at your credibility and expertise. A conversational tone without too much technical talk is what you should be aiming for here.

5. Always prepare before you post

Most dentists don’t have a problem with social media as it is, but simply don’t have the time on their hands to update their profiles. Because of this, their Facebook page has the same status since the day they first opened it and the only time they tweet something is on weekends and holidays.

Fortunately, there are plenty of automated tools that can help you by posting pre-loaded content for you. This way, you can concentrate almost fully on your dentist practice and worry less about updating your profile.

However, even with the best automated posting tool you should still check on your profiles now and then to prepare the next updates and to make sure everything is running tip-top.

6. Post regularly, but don’t over-post

It’s a thin line between being appreciated by your followers for the news and updates you send their way and being chased with pitchforks for over-posting.

Lest you want followers to leave you faster than some of them can jump from a dentist chair, you need to limit your daily posting. Remember, you can always post it tomorrow.

7. Communication is the key

Most people simply post something on their company page and expect their followers to comment on that.

This is not enough by a large margin. If you manage to get people to comment on your post, make sure to follow up their comments with at least a courtesy “thank you”. Social media is intended to be a two-way street for both parties (you and the visitors) to communicate and you should use this.

8. Get personal with your followers

Your social media page serves to remind people that you are a person of flesh and bone, just like they are. Don’t be afraid to showcase your office as a place where actual people care for actual patients. A sure way to connect with followers on a more personal level is to have your employees showcase their sense of humor and positive side.

9. Celebrate shareability

The best thing about social media is that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. You just need to post something interesting and make sure that it’s easily shareable.

Of course, not everything you post is equal when it comes to sharing. Inforgraphics, with some good and interesting information, a good viral video or even a simple link or a blurb will get much more and much faster shares online than a long-winded text.

10. Finally, monitor, track and analyze

Your work is far from done after you post something and get people to comment and share. Monitor your profiles regularly and keep an eye on any usage trends. Your social media strategy will be much more effective if you follow trends well.

Using social media is not nuclear science, but it does need your attention and care from time to time. By following the 10 tactics explained here, you can make your dental practice stand above the competition on social media sites.

Everyone loves to find a good deal, and this includes when it comes down to purchasing dental supplies. It’s clear, even dental practices would like to keep their running costs down, and purchasing dental supplies, or other necessary materials is a part of the cost ratio, of course. Regardless of whether a dental provider might be purchasing these from a secondary marketplace, or direct from a dental wholesaler—the idea is the same.  Everyone wants good quality, the right features and great affordability, all at the same time, but there are some false notions within this.

Dental supplies should help to improve the oral health of a dental patient and/or benefit and improve upon a dental practice.  The point of this article is to debunk some of the most common myths surrounding the purchase and use of some of these products.  The following tips and advice will do just this.

Debunking The Misconceptions Surrounding Dental Supply Purchases

Once again, there are many common misconceptions concerning dental products on the market today.  Some of these are due to false advertising, others are due to consumers’ bad experiences, and still some other concerns lie in how effective some of these dental products really are.  In other words, how relevant are common dental tools to managing oral health?  Are many of these overrated and overpriced?   It is believed these tips will help dental suppliers, dental providers and the patients themselves.  Read on to learn more.

Tip #1 Comprehend True Cost Savings And Not False Advertising

Cost savings is important, even to dental providers.  This is the very reason why many secondary marketplaces have flourished online—those like Amazon and eBay for examples.  However, one misconception that needs to be cleared up right away is determining who is on the up and up?  Yes, a dental practice can end up purchasing faulty dental supplies if they are unsure of whom they’re purchasing from. 

Making certain any and all dental supply purchases meet the FDA approval guidelines can save a practice from some serious circumstances!  Now, purchasing items such as toothbrushes for patients might be a little bit tricky.  Let’s look at what makes more sense with this dental supply purchase.

Tip #2 What Options Should Be Considered When Purchasing Dental Toothbrushes?

Dental items as common as a toothbrush can come with some false ideas too, though every dental patient and/or everyday consumer certainly needs one, or two.  The idea that a toothbrush can be perfect is absolutely wrong, but the idea of providing proper education on proper use is what makes the difference. 

This one dental tool has transformed dramatically through the years, yet, there are still numerous misconceptions on what type of toothbrush works best and whether or not soft bristles or hard bristles are most effective. 

The bottom line is understanding how to brush the teeth most effectively, despite the type of toothbrush being used, though most dentists recommend a soft bristled one.  A soft bristled toothbrush, paired with floss, for flossing are the only dental items a patient might need to manage their dental health.  Therefore, a dental practice can purchase items like these with affordability and cost savings in mind, without worrying about what toothbrush is better than the next.

Tip #3 Are Refurbished Dental Instruments And Materials Bad Purchase Choices?

This is one of those that can prove to be a bit of a quandary.  Some dental providers have the idea that refurbished dental tools have to be faulty, but this is absolutely a misconception, and one needing to be demystified.  Refurbished dental tools and materials can save a practice a great deal of time and money. 

Finding a reputable dealer who sells the necessary items can prove to be a worthwhile solution, especially for a newly emerging dental practice.  As long as the items are high quality, and are legitimate, there’s nothing wrong with making a purchase like this.  The problem lies in the wrong mindset, but most refurbished dental items, such as X-ray equipment and dental mirrors are perfectly safe.  It’s simply a wise way to save money while getting a great investment too.

Tip #4 Check The Features Of Dental Equipment And Materials Before Purchasing

The one thing that a dental provider does want to pay particular attention to is the feature of the equipment he or she might be buying.  A dentist doesn’t have to have high-end, sophisticated materials to perform an excellent job; this is simply a misconception as well.  Comparing options and saving on extravagant expenses can prove very beneficial for the long-term success of a dental practice. 

Patients aren’t going to examine the dental materials and turn away because they aren’t fancy.  As long as the features provide everything a dentist needs for adequate treatment procedures, this is all that really matters the most! 

As the year 2014 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on a lot of things. Such as the state of your business and how you can turn it around in 2015. Because, hey, there's always a better way to do some things and your business might just benefit from them.

So, without any further ado, here are exactly 12 ways that will help you makeover your business in the year that follows:

1. Never, even for one second, assume that you know everything about your business. There is always something new that you can learn or something that you hear that can help your business. Also, don't scoff at a friendly suggestion from a more experienced entrepreneur.

2. Think about opening another location. Is it a good idea to expand your business with a new office in 2015? It might just well be. Of course if you do decide to make this move, make sure that your company has enough staying power and that it is showing a steady growth. Also, a new office should be chosen based on what it can offer to your business and not for the nice view.

3. Get Social! Okay, I don't know of any self-respecting business owner who doesn't have at least a Facebook page, but there are all sorts out there. And today Facebook might not be enough anymore. You also want to be on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr, just to name a few social networks. You don't have to be on all of them at the same time, in fact, a wrong social media funnel may even hurt your business. For example, a construction company has little reason to post pictures on Pinterest or Instagram, but can greatly benefit from LinkedIn.

4. Lower (or even raise) your prices. Don't be afraid to play with your prices a bit in 2015. A nice price drop will generate more sales for you, while an increase in prices will bring some short-term revenue benefits for your business. Just make sure that you don't overdo either. A little change is good to shake things up, but dropping your prices too low or raising them too high is not a good way to start the next year.

5. Find a source of expansion financing. Okay, so your friends and family help you start a business (I hope you still remember to pay them back their money), but where to go and who to talk to when you need to grow your business? Bank and other lending services are usually not an option, especially if you don't have anything to offer as a security or collateral. There are actually three choices:

  • Friends and family again, although I wouldn't push it too far, especially if you haven't repaid the previous debt yet.
  • Vendors. You can open a credit with them, so you buy the necessary materials without paying upfront.
  • Government. You can get SBA-backed financing, including micro loans.

6. Target other markets. There are very few products and services out there that cater to just one single niche. You can always reach out to new markets. For instance, if you are selling something to working moms, you may want to try stay-at-home mothers as well.

7. Outsource some of your work. The bulk of your budget goes towards employees. In 2015, you can save a lot of money by hiring workers via a professional employment organization. Take content marketing, as a good example. There are a lot of good copy and content writers on oDesk or Elance that can help your business.

8. Upgrade your computers. Don't go into 2015 with slow computers that halt your production every now and then. This is an important tool for your business, so you should make sure that you and your employees are working on some good machines. Of course, don't forget about your servers and asking your ISP company to put you on a better server.

9. Renegotiate existing contracts. If you have a consulting or software support company that you work with, you can always try to negotiate a better deal with them. However, don't push it if they are not receptive to this idea.

10. Less paper, please! You know, there are computers today where you can keep most of your documents and business correspondence. Only backwater municipal services still ask you for printed documents, to “stamp the hell out of them”. Start sending emails to your vendors and partners instead of letters.

11. Backup on cloud. You know this cool new thing everyone is using. It's called the cloud and you can use it to back up your entire business on it. You should really think about using a good cloud platform. There are a lot of them from Microsoft's Azure, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox to Avere and Carbonite to choose from.

12. Do you want to keep doing this? Finally, ask yourself: “Is this something I want to do in 2015?” Don't be afraid to put your business to a stop or at least on a pause if the answer is no.

Hopefully you'll find at least some of these 12 ways helpful in boosting your business in 2015.

It can be hard to find the time to get individuals into the dentist for that annual cleaning, but you’d be surprised how your practice can capture the attention of possible patients when you promote a discounted holiday cleaning opportunity! This is one of the best ways to build up your dental practice’s credibility in the local community! While it might appear you’re losing by offering lower cost cleanings for the Christmas season, you have to look to the long term benefits this is going to award your practice! You can stand out above your local dental practice competition and show you care about the well being of people, rather than just about building your practice!

Offer That Christmas Day Special To Show Your Dental Team Cares

Show you care! This time of year gives your practice an excellent opportunity to reach out to the community and make a dramatic impact that illustrates, as a dental provider, you really do care! This is also an ideal way to market your practice most effectively. For example, amazing dental discounts can enable patients with hectic schedules to come in during the holiday season rather than waiting to try to fit in time between work and possible school schedules. You can diminish the stress and time constraints. You can also offer exclusive discounts for families with children!

If you market and offer a promotion for children to have a discounted check-up and cleaning before classes take back in, parents will take advantage of this! There is nothing better for a youngster than to start the New Year out with a beautiful, healthy smile! A special cleaning for children who might have ingested a little bit too much Christmas candy can end the holiday season with perfect contentment! For most, nothing is better than having a cavity free smile and clean teeth! You can also offer some holiday discounts for others as well, such as those more mature in life.

More mature adults need dental services just as anyone else does, and they get just as excited to receive a wonderful dental discount as well. For older adults, candy eating might cause a crack in dentures, or possibly even loosen teeth placed in a partial. Some adults have problems with gum irritation that might require dental care. All in all, you want to show those in the local community your practice cares about their dental health needs, no matter what age. Also, you should set an example and illustrate you don’t mind offering discounted services, or possibly even free cleanings at different times of the year.

You can also offer patients Christmas goody bags that are holiday gift bagged

Holiday Promotions Only Stop When You Lose Creativity: Give Christmas Gift Bags

People love goody bags, it is a common fact. For younger people, goody bags from the dentist are a treat, but it can be a nice treat for parents too. This holiday season; take a little extra time with those patient goody bags. Fill these with a brand new toothbrush, wrapped in a bow and dental floss that is peppermint in flavor. You can add to the fun by placing sugar free peppermints in the goody bags! If anything, your practice can represent good cheer and put patients at ease who decide to come in during the holiday season.

Just think, when you set up a great, friendly environment all year long, word-of-mouth can grow in a spectacular way. You can mention to your patients to not forget about mentioning your practice as you hand them their gift bag! You’ll find they’ll be more than happy to. Further, you can even offer a 20% discount for each patient referral you receive. While it might seem a bit pushy, the holiday is the perfect time to follow through with a marketing and promotion plan such as this.

Your gift bags can do all the promoting for your dental practice! When others find out about how generous a specific practice is, and the extras they can get for becoming a patient, they will stop by just to see how good the word really might be.

A dental practice should never lose sight of the fact that they are a business and they have to promote themselves above their competition. Doing this in a friendly and cheerful manner is one way to illustrate authenticity and originality as well. Try these tips and tactics on for size and watch your practice gain recognition within the community!

NeoDiamond, NeoBurr, and Gazelle receive the 2015 Top Product Awards from Dental Advisor.

Kennesaw, Georgia, December 10, 2014—Microcopy was recently notified by Dental Advisor, that three of its premier products have received the 2015 Top Product Award in their respective categories. Each product received the highest 5+ rating by a team of independent evaluators. To qualify for the Top Product Award, a product must receive the 5+ rating, as well as stand out from other competitive products in the marketplace. “We are extremely honored that three of our top-tier products have received this prestigious award,” said Paul Tucker, Director of Marketing at Microcopy. “It continues to signify that Microcopy is at the forefront in providing products that meet or exceed the Dental Advisor’s high standard for innovation, quality and excellence.”

In the Diamond Bur category, Microcopy’s NeoDiamond received the Top Award when compared with other competitive diamonds on the market. NeoDiamond continues to be the market leader in diamonds in the U.S., and is steadily increasing in the number of new customers using the product and joining the Microcopy family. “For over 25 years, NeoDiamond has been the diamond of choice for dental practitioners across the United States,” said Peggy Gober, Marketing Manager. “Our advanced technology makes NeoDiamond the highest performer and the bur of choice for a premium-quality diamond. With 20% more cutting surface, NeoDiamond provides maximum efficiency and productivity in the dental practice.”  In the carbide category, the NeoBurr line of premium-quality carbides took home the top honors and continues to demonstrate the need for a quality carbide that goes the extra mile for safety.

The new-to-market Gazelle nano composite polisher took home the top spot in the Composite Finishing/Polishing category. Available in both Satin and Hi-Gloss finish, Gazelle is optimized for today’s nano composites and its exclusive manufacturing process makes it the most durable, non-crumble polisher available. “We are really excited that Gazelle took home top honors and is making a difference in this category,” said Barb Lincoln, Marketing Manager. “Being on the market for less than one year, Gazelle has lived up to its expectations as a clinical workhorse for nano composite restorations.”

For more information, or to receive product samples, call Microcopy at 800-235.1863 or go to www.microcopydental.com/sample.

It doesn't matter how good of an employee you are and how hard you work if the dental office you work in is still using clearly outdated products, or if they deal with the wrong vendors. Everybody here suffers. You don't get to work with new products and test new dental practices, the business gets stalled and the patients don't get the care they deserve and leave to find someplace they can.

Now, as a dental assistant, you may think that your job is to pass the instruments while the dentist operates, clean those instruments and maybe part-time as a receptionist and that is it. But you can't be much further from the truth there.

Older dentists are often creatures of habit and as a “young buck” it is your responsibility to urge them to push forward. They may not always listen to you, but it is essential that you try.

If the First Approach Fails, Try Another One

It's often about what type of approach you take. The most logical course of action for you as an “innovator” in the dental office may not “strike a chord” with the senior dentist.

Take an example of the lead fillings. These were used in the 18th century and no dentist gave it a second thought. They didn't know, as we do today, that lead is poisonous and that they were harming their patients. But this isn’t why they stopped using lead fillings. In fact, many dentists of that time would notice the poisoning, but would dismiss it for something else entirely. “Surely, sir my fillings are not the cause of this quagmire. That is preposterous.”

Fortunately, a more practical problem (when it comes to their profession) was also evident and that was the longevity of the lead fillings. They were simply too soft and would get worn off pretty quickly. So when an 18th century dentist was confronted by his young assistant with this “hard” fact, he would have to relent and start using other types of fillings.

Do Your “Pros and Cons” Research

If you want to convince the chief dentist to switch from what he was doing for years to some “crazy, hip idea” you need some cold, hard facts. That is where it pays off to know the pros and cons of the product, vendor or company the office works with and those you think they should use.

For most people touching on one or two pros and cons on each side is usually enough to have them make a turn, but sometimes it takes more than that.

One good tip I can give you is to bide your time and strike when the problem (or con) is evident. Then you can chime in and offer your insight as to how with alternate product or vendor this problem would never occur.
If you can offer a positive example from the competition, the head dentist would have to be a really stubborn person not to at least take your advice into account.

For example, many older dentists prefer using amalgam alloys as fillings. However, even though they can last for a very long time, are strong and cheap, not many patients will accept them in their mouth, because of their unattractiveness, if they have any choice.

Be Persistent in Your Quest to Improve the Dental Office

Not all of your brilliant ideas will get a positive response. Don't let this discourage you. If anything, you should be even more passionate about ideas, products, vendors, methods or technologies you believe the dental office should be using.

However, never do this to the point where it turns into an argument. Don't lock horns with your employer over every little thing. Pick your battles carefully, instead.

Create the Right Atmosphere for Your Pitch

Talking about change when the dental office is in the middle of a rush hour can only get a “not now, colleague” response. This is why you need to do this when your employer is not busy.

People are much more amiable to respond positively to your ideas over a nice cup of coffee or tea after work, as opposed to during work hours.

Of course, a nice gesture, such as buying your employer a friendly drink in a nice café near where you work can often mellow even the most rigid mind when it comes to accepting innovation.

Know When You've Hit a Wall

Finally, it may just be that no amount of convincing is enough to persuade the chief dentist to try something new. Unfortunately, the dentist is missing out on some great opportunities to save time and money.

If you have an online presence for your dental practice you want to get found and most importantly you need to get positive results. The right marketing strategies can ensure you get the new clients, not your competition! Today, video marketing and video testimonials are making ground and fast becoming the ideal way to obtain growth for a new practice. Dental practices are learning that no one can tell their professional story better than their patients themselves!

Now, there is a dramatic difference between traditional patient testimonials and video testimonials growing in popularity. Approximately 85% of new patients have been influenced by past patient testimonials, which clearly demonstrate how effective these testimonials really are. If you’re a dental practice who has never considered using patient testimonials as a marketing tool, consider these benefits:

  • Boosts credibility
  • Allows for a more personal connection with your target audience
  • Improves your reputation and builds trust
  • Offers leverage above your competition

Strategic Marketing That Effectively Targets And Attracts New Patients

Patient testimonials can actually be a dental practice’s best means for effectively attracting new patients. If your goal is to acquire new patients, then past patient satisfaction is a sure way of attracting positive attention. Let’s be very clear here, connecting with the community and reaching out to existing and new patients doesn’t have to be complicated for a reputable dental practice. In fact, positive past patient experiences prove to be one of the best means for expressing how well a practice provides care. This has been shown to drive new patients to action as well, because everyone hopes to gain a great dentist! It’s also relevant to point out that this method is a proven strategy for gaining growth when you’re a new practice.

What appears to be working best for many dental practices is utilizing patient video testimonials as marketing tools. These are far more effective than just the written word. The video testimonial appears to connect on an entirely different level with potential patients. Now, due to the powerful results video marketing provides, businesses in general are turning to visual marketing as an ideal advertorial strategy. Clearly, testimonials are the easiest way of getting that boost your practice needs—if it’s positive that is! It’s also cost efficient, which is always a plus.

Patient Testimonials Simply Build Your Image and Remove Skepticism

 If you utilize your testimonial marketing strategy in the most effective way you’ll remove skepticism that new prospects might have. Because there is no way for these to be salesy at all, they build a level of trust between a dental practice and the potential new patient. Now, what you might not know about marketing testimonials lies in what makes them effective and ineffective.

A dental practice needs more than just positive feedback on their online page. They need testimonials that discuss what services a past patient was totally satisfied with. The tips listed below will help your practice determine how to begin gathering the most efficient testimonials for your dental practice.

  • Choose a testimonial that mentions what was gained or what they felt most satisfied with
  • Go with a testimonial which can connect with others, in other words, one which is colorful in conversation in a positive way
  • Choose testimonials which clearly build your credibility in the dental community
  • Testimonials that compare your dental practice to another and which highlight what makes your practice better is one of the best testimonials to use on a business page

It is simple to gain testimonials from past patients as well. Having something such as an auto responder allows an existing patient, client or customer to leave his or her own feedback for you. Further, a link on your dental site homepage can allow patients to leave their personal response in an easy, timesaving manner as well. However your practice goes about gathering these, the bottom line is to use them to your practice’s advantage! You can certainly grow when you have past patients spreading great experiences about what you and your dental team offer to them.

How well you take care of your dental health surely affects your entire body. If you follow good practices you can improve your oral health, but if not, you might be in for some problems. Even your normal sleep habits can be impacted with poor oral care. However, there are some issues in life, which can actually create oral health problems too. Let’s learn how these negative habits can be changed to give your body exactly what it needs so you can live a far more productive life!

Educate Yourself On The Importance Of Sleep And Good Dental Hygiene

Are you aware of how your oral health habits can impact your ability to get sufficient rest? The research and statistics do show poor oral health can keep you awake at night! But we are speaking about far more than just poor dental hygiene here. It is possible your problems might not be related to bad dental habits at all. If you’re an individual who suffers from extreme anxiety or who is under a great deal of stress—this will come through in your sleep at night. But how is this possible?

These very characteristics severely impact your dental health in multiple ways. For example, from teeth grinding to clenching of the jaw to gum disease and canker sores—stress can be responsible for all of these adverse symptoms. Clearly, how you handle your health daily impacts your oral health, which in turn adversely impacts your ability to get a good night sleep! The proper amount of sleep each night can actually protect your oral health instead of harming it.

If you can get a handle on stress, anxiety and worry in general you can begin making dramatic changes to your oral health! The less anxiety you have in your life the more able your body is to ward off dental issues like: periodontal disease, bad breathe, canker sores and more. You might even find good stress management can help minimize the risks of cavities as well! It’s amazing, isn’t it? But, what if your health issue is more than this? What if you have a sleep obstructive disorder you’re not aware of? Let’s discuss this and see what the solution might be to improve your sleep and thus improve upon your health in general.

Obstructive Sleep Disorders Prevent A Good Night’s Sleep

It might be hard to believe sleep has such an impact on your dental and physical health and vice versa but it does. In other words, poor oral health prevents you from getting good sleep. For example, are you familiar with obstructive sleep disorders? One of these, better known as sleep apnea creates severe sleep disturbances, which then interferes with the natural processes within the body.

If an obstructive sleep disorder is the problem keeping you from getting rest there are dental devices available to minimize circumstances such as these. Whether it is from snoring or blocked airflow in general, not seeking treatment for these problems can create some severe health issues far worse than gum disease or dry mouth. Just some of these you could be faced with are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Gum disease
  • Slow reflexes

As mentioned, there are treatment options to help you if you do have a condition keeping you from getting the rest you need at night. The oral devices mentioned are non-invasive, easily fitted and can dramatically improve your dental health and physical health almost immediately. It is definitely worth looking into when you consider the health circumstances that can develop from not being treated.

Seek Treatment For Dental Issues Today

If you do have dental concerns interrupting your sleep patterns, or if it is stress creating the issue—it is important to understand proper sleep is the pathway to excellent health. Without 8 hours of sleep you will find your physical, mental and oral health suffers. When you have been diagnosed with an oral health issue that interrupts proper sleeping habits you place yourself at higher risk for health problems such as:

  • Memory or cognitive functioning
  • Metabolic rate
  • Productivity
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleepiness
  • And more

The bottom line here is to start doing the right thing, which means safeguarding your health. You should stay on top of healthy oral health habits and include a regular sleeping routine. This can ensure you live a happier, healthier and more productive life free from dental issues. The rewards are many and you can get the help you need!

Learn about the benefits of Digital Radiography in this informative dental infographic.

As a dentist, it's your job to fix any problem your patients have with their teeth, not making the problem worse by adding infection to the list. Find out how you can improve infection control in your dental office.

About Infection Control Regulations in Dentistry

About 25 years ago, the ADA (American Dentist Association) identified HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) as a potential hazard in dentistry. This organization was the first to recommend to dentists that they should implement and follow infection control procedures.

In 1993, ADA, together with CDC (Center for Disease Prevention Control) issued a series of infection control recommendations for dentists. Ever since, these recommendations have been updated several times as the understanding of infection control grows.

Perhaps the biggest consolidation and update of the ADA/CDC infection control recommendations was released in 2003. The new document is important as it brings together several CDC publications regarding infection control in dentistry that were by that moment scattered and includes a thorough review of the science behind infection control in dentistry.

The Role of Autoclave in Infection Control in Dentistry

Infection control in dentistry can be greatly improved with the use of a machine called autoclave, or steam sterilization. This machine uses high pressurized steam to disinfect and sterilize medical and dental instruments and allow them to be reused.

The recommended working conditions for the autoclave are 1.1 to 1.25 bar pressure and 250 to 255 degrees Fahrenheit (121 to 124 degrees Celsius). The program should last at least 15 minutes.

When it comes to packaging dental instruments, in the United States, this has been the norm for more than 5 years. Many regulatory bodies also recommend packaging instruments before autoclaving. Among them are the American Dental Association and Center for Disease Control.

To ensure proper sterilization of dental instruments by an autoclave and prevent cross-infection, only distilled water should be used. Tap water often contains calcium, which may create deposits in the chamber and pipes and render the autoclave nearly useless.

In addition, an autoclave should be inspected on a regular basis, with everything inside wiped with distilled water.
Of course, it goes without saying that, when it comes to infection control in dentistry, it is in good part affected by how much a dentist is responsible. Not wearing latex or nitrile gloves either when touching instruments or when operating on the patient is one of the biggest mistakes a dentist can make.

Time to ruin Halloween for kids by telling them what they can and can't eat during this holiday. Don't worry, your kids and you (I know you take a candy or two when you think no one is looking, so don't try denying it) still have plenty of tasty treats to enjoy on Halloween, without having to go to the dentist the next week.

Take a look at the worst and best candy a trick-or-treater can bring.

Worst Halloween Candy

These candies are an absolute menace for your teeth. But they are so hard to resist! Unfortunately, they are also the ones a kid yelling “trick or treat!” hopes for when ringing on your door.

  1. Taffy and candy with nuts, coconut or caramel. These are a true menace for your teeth as they can get stuck anywhere in your mouth. Even between teeth, yuck! The longer the food is stuck to the teeth, the more time bacteria has to feed and create cavity acid.
  2. Sour candy. Because of their high acidity these are able to quickly break down tooth enamel. On the positive side, saliva in the mount acts to slowly restore the acid balance.
  3. Sugary snacks. Not all cavity problems are caused by industrial candy. Cookies and cakes are all high in sugar amounts and may lead to tooth decay.

Best Halloween Candy

Ugh, so what are we supposed to munch on on Halloween? Surely there is something in the Halloween basket we can eat? Yes, and here is what:

  1. Sugar-free gum. This treat contains xylitol, which is a natural sugar bacteria can't create plaque on. Also, sugar-free gums leave no sticky residue like other candy and increases saliva. This way it prevents tooth decay and neutralizes mouth acid.
  2. Sugar-free lollipop and hard candy. These two stimulate saliva and prevent dry mouth. Plaque can build up faster in dry mouth, which increases risk of cavities.
  3. Chocolate with no fillings. Chocolate on its own is not only incredibly tasty, but you don't have to worry much about cavities either. Without fillings to get stuck on or in your teeth, this is a much better option when you're looking for something sweet.

There you go! Three types of candy you and your kids should avoid on Halloween and three that you can enjoy without getting a toothache tomorrow. Happy Halloween, everybody!

Life is crazy hectic, right? You try to keep track of everything but with a family, it can be quite more than just difficult. Dental hygiene is that one general area where many individuals tend to focus least on, even though the risk of an unhealthy smile is more than likely. Now, since October happens to be the month when dental practices all across the country focus on celebrating dental hygiene, let’s consider some of the activities every family could engage in to improve dental health! Now is the time to begin making those changes so you can feel better about your teeth!

Develop Healthier Dental Habits: Brush, Floss And Rinse Three Times A Day!

Not only should you properly celebrate dental hygiene month (which just happens to be the biggest candy eating month: October) but also, you should begin developing healthier habits all year long. Parents should encourage their kids to brush, floss and rinse at least twice a day, but preferably three! The following tips might help you recognize the importance of dental care much more. This just might help your entire family change their dental habits!

  • When you can’t brush your teeth, carry an oral protective rinse to prevent against tartar buildup
  • Floss regularly, hopefully after every meal to keep spaces between the teeth healthy. This is where many cavities develop, so flossing three times a day is more important than brushing three times a day!
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables to help improve the dentin of your teeth and protect the enamel
  • Drink more water and minimize alcoholic beverages which can erode the enamel from your teeth
  • Carry travel dental brushes with you so you can brush after eating out

On top of these very useful tips you can also begin to practice hygiene habits, which are far gentler for your teeth and can preserve their structure. National dental hygiene month offers educational guidance so everyone can become better educated on the proper methods to brush, floss and rinse, as they should. You only have one set of teeth and taking care of them is far more than a requirement, it is a necessity!

Don’t Postpone Dental Care: Dental Visits Should Become A Habit Twice A Year

You can boost your dental health tremendously when you follow through with a regular dental routine that includes twice-annual dental visits. In fact, you learn tactics, which help you keep your teeth healthy. Dental checkups and cleanings help spot problems with your teeth before they become serious problems, such as dental issues requiring a root canal!

Furthermore, having your teeth professionally cleaned helps to minimize bacterial plaque, which can invade spaces in between the teeth and irritate the gums. Dental visits can also pinpoint gum health issues like “gingivitis” in early stages, actually saving your teeth! You also learn healthier cleaning habits for yourself such as brushing softer and with a softer bristled toothbrush. Too few people realize what abrasive brushing does to the composition of the teeth. In fact, receding gum lines could be avoided if more education was given. Once again, celebrating this month improves the possibility of dental education!

It is hoped you can see why there is such importance placed on celebrating national dental hygiene month now. It is one of the main periods out of the year where the focus is on reaching out to those in rural areas and those in cities as well to educate and provide the services and tools communities need to have healthy teeth and a healthy smile!

A Halloween candy buyback program is a great way for families to get rid of that excessive Halloween candy that is just not needed. This is also a fantastic way for others to share in putting a smile on the faces of military personnel who are serving overseas. The program takes donated candy and sends it abroad to those who serve our country faithfully!

It’s also amazing how a program such as this connects a dental practice to a community in the most amazing way. However, you have steps necessary to ensure it goes over extremely well! There are multiple ways a dental office can publicize their buyback program. At the same time, there are numerous creative ideas one can put in place to make it engaging for the young and the old. Let’s point to how this can come together in the perfect way!

Begin Planning For Your Halloween Buyback Program In Advance For Success

The first step for a professional dental practice is to begin gaining attention, even if it is small. The goal is to certainly get the word out locally and possibly even beyond this. Local media is the easiest and most reliable way of spreading the word. You can take advantage of local radio stations, your community newspaper and more.

Furthermore, you want to establish your program in a way where the benefits of becoming involved are noticeable to all, specifically families with children! In other words, your buyback program has to encourage kids to give up that bad, yucky candy known to lead to those awful cavities! There are many ways you can do this, and hopefully the following unique tips will give you some starting points:

  • Door prizes: you can make a game out of it, with the children donating the most candy receiving a great prize!
  • Interactive games: your practice can establish fun and playful games such as traditional ones like bobbing for apples, kick the can, or something even more creative. This can give kids an interesting twist of entertainment they’ll definitely enjoy!
  • Donations from distributors: It might be very possible to have some of your distributors provide packages of well designed toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for the kids to practice their own dental hygiene.

These are just a few ideas, which might help get families with children eager to participate.  If anything, your practice will certainly gain the opportunity to better educate families about proper dental care.  Hopefully your practice will encourage them to donate their unopened candy to others who will enjoy it just as much as they do!  The best news is preventive dental care is what can grow out of this. In order for a dental practice to develop a lasting and trusting patient & dentist relationship, another great approach following your Halloween candy buyback would be to really show appreciation to those who participated.  More often than not, many dental practices that carry out this program award kids with a special “token of appreciation” for sharing their Halloween candy.  This also influences kids to develop better dental habits.

Publicize Your Halloween Candy Buyback Event Ahead Of Schedule

There are a number of ways your dental practice can ensure success, each and every year. One great way of doing this is to engage and interact with your local businesses, which was briefly mentioned earlier. You’d be surprised how willing local companies will be to donate coupons and free samples of products to help you engage families in your community. You can take it one step further as well and request businesses to co-sponsor your event!

When you tell businesses you’ll promote them to families across the community, you gain even more rewarding associations. It’s a win-win type of situation! Of course, it isn’t hard to persuade local companies to help influence families with children to not over indulge in Halloween candy either. Now, don’t forget the influential outreach of social media either. It’s free, easy to use and is guaranteed to get you noticed!

The Influence of Social Media On Your Halloween Candy Buyback Event

You can definitely get noticed and gain interest when you post messages about an activity like this through the Internet. It doesn’t matter if it goes beyond your local community! Most dental practices find the larger the turnout, the better the event becomes! This is especially the case when you consider the appreciation that is gained between patients and the dental practice in particular! And let’s not forget the happiness, which is being shared with many others.

You can utilize social media platforms such as: Facebook, pinterest, twitter, reddit and others to announce your upcoming Halloween candy buyback event. If your practice has decided to have interactive entertainment as suggested, this is the best way to get that news out there. Your dental practice can make certain this year’s Halloween candy buyback will be the best yet! Following the advice, tips and guidance of others can dramatically improve the outcome of something like this. When you take your time to plan right, it all comes together perfectly.

New Packaging and Production Facility to Meet Increasing Product Demand

Kennesaw, Georgia, October 10, 2014—Microcopy Inc. today christened its new packaging and production facility in Atlanta, GA. The new facility grows Microcopy’s existing space by 10,000 square feet and consists of new packaging rooms for its high-quality bur products, NeoDiamond and NeoBurr, and several new products including the recently introduced Gazelle polishers and Bite-Chek articulation films.

“We are extremely excited to take the next steps in the evolution of Microcopy ” said Perry L. Parke, President of Microcopy. “The new facility gives us the added space we need to meet the ever-increasing demand for our innovative product lines.” With new warehousing capabilities as well, Microcopy will continue to service its expanding base of customers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select partners in the global market. “In addition to our new physical plant, we have made some additional investments in personnel and now have top-notch product development and marketing teams which positions Microcopy for continued success in 2015 and beyond,” added Parke.

b2ap3 thumbnail MC Ribbon cutting 2“The new production facilityalso allows us space and resources to continue driving product innovation through testing and product prototyping,” said Steve Rogers, General Manager. “With the recent successes of our Gazelle nano-composite polisher and our Bite-Chek articulation film, we are now well established in the product development arena. And, our new facility brings with it the opportunity for developing even more innovative products in the future.”

Microcopy has been in business for 44 years and its core products include NeoDiamond, the #1 selling diamond in the U.S., the NeoBurr line of award-winning carbides, and NeoDrys, the best-sellingabsorption pad for saliva control. For more information, call 1-800-235-1863 or go to https://microcopydental.com.

Media Contact:

Paul Tucker, Marketing Director

1.770.425.5715, x255

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Going to a dentist is, to many, a dreaded experience that they try to avoid as long as possible, even at the cost of suffering numbing pain. Odontophobia is a prevalent condition and it's very easy to jump on the “dentists are scary” bandwagon. Getting out of it is usually a little more difficult, especially if you are constantly hearing stories of “butcher dentists” and such.

In order to do his job with success, a dentist will need the cooperation of his patients. He can't just put people to sleep the moment they waltz into his office and start drilling and pulling. He has to use tact and he has to calmly explain what he intends to do with the patient's teeth. Of course, when a nervous patient walks into the dentist's office (most likely kicking and screaming), explaining the dental procedure proves to be a little more complicated. However, not impossible. Here is how you can talk with your edgy patients about dental procedures.

Explaining the Fillings

Most people sitting in the dentist's chair are there because of cavities. This is probably the most simple procedure in dentistry and most dentists have done it a billion times by now. Still, many people, when they see a needle used for numbing the mouth before they can administer a filling, start to have “second thoughts” and remember “prior engagements”. If you don't want your patent to jump out of his chair when he sees a needle in your hand, talk to him and calmly, but in a firm voice, explain what you are doing next. For instance, you could say something along the lines of “this will help you offset the pain”. Also, a lot of people feel the need for a distraction, so if they feel more relaxed listening to music on an iPod while you work, let them.

Explaining Tooth Extractions

extractions are the most feared dental procedure of all. Most good dentists try everything in their power to heal the tooth and only pull it out as the last resort and if it threatens other teeth. The worst first words you can utter as a dentist is “we'll have to extract this”. Try treating the tooth for a few days, at least, and only when you see that it doesn't work, start preparing the patient for the tooth extraction. This is where patients are won or lost forever, so give your patient a day or two to mentally prepare for the procedure. Once the patient finally arrives in his chair, having an assistant with you can work wonders for soothing him or her.

Finally, don't forget to talk while you work with your patient. If you show that you are relaxed, the patient is likely to be more composed as well. If you know of a good joke or an anecdote, tell them to the patient.

Marketing tools don’t have to be complex to work and that’s a fact. If you want to gain long-term benefits from your PR campaign, then you need to have an effective plan in place. As a dental professional, you should ensure your marketing plan focuses on the specific services your practice is equipped to offer. In other words, your health seminar is your opportunity to illustrate that your practice is about more than just improving your image. This is an opportunity to share helpful dental and medical information in an engaging way. You want your audience to take something away from the health seminar that will improve their lives.

Use Your Health Seminar to Position Yourself as a Prominent Dental Practice

You’ll hear this many times over. You can use your professional position in a way to improve your community. For the dental community, a health seminar isn’t just about bolstering patient quota, or staying on top. This is more about educating and sharing with those who can benefit from the facts. Any health seminar or public relations campaign should highlight those needs. Maintaining a balanced ethical front truly influences your audience.

Furthermore, for the biggest PR boost, the focus should be on those community services needs, which are highest in demand as well! For instance, if a community of retiree’s resides near your medical practice, your health seminar should offer medical information related to conditions and needs such as:

  • Proper nutrition
  • Proper oral heath care
  • Prompt treatment for gingivitis and other oral health issues
  • Proper oral heath techniques for children
  • Offering community outreach
  • And more

The right marketing approach does pack the perfect punch and there should be no doubt how effective a free health seminar can truly be for your public relations.

The Health Seminar in Action: This Can Make All The Difference

Now you know. Free, public health seminars are proven to be excellent ways of growing a dental practice and broadening your practice’s visibility. This widens the potential for growing and acquiring new patients for a practice as well. For instance, when community members do attend a free, open health seminar they can then discover what the dental group or practice is about and what principles they stand by.

Furthermore, when it comes to speaking at a seminar, you can be an influential figure. You can establish your practice as one, which promotes individual patient care. You can demonstrate you are more about reaching out to make a difference in others lives through proper healthcare, health education and dental treatments as well.

This is exactly how you can build the credibility your practice needs to manage and maintain continuous growth and financial success. You want to prove you’re about more than just your dental practice; you’re about servicing the needs of those within your community.

It seems that today there is no aspect of our lives that cannot be enhanced, or made easier, with the use of apps. There are literally thousands upon thousands of apps on Android and iPhone devices ranging from games to heart rate monitors. Some apps are free to download and use, some require payments for extra features and upgrades (but their basic version is still free of charge), while some apps you will have to pay to even download.

With so many apps to choose from, it would be a mistake to simply divide them into “free” and “paid”.

Dental apps are, naturally, not lagging behind, as there are some really good and useful apps out there. If you are a dentist and are looking for something that will help you improve the service you offer to your patients, you no longer need to waste hours searching through apps for that really good one. I've already done that for you.

DDP GP

This app functions as a virtual assistant to dental professionals, helping them give diagnosis and lay out treatment plans for their patients. With DDP GP, patients will have a better understanding of the treatment you suggest to them. The library for this app is very extensive and is being updated regularly with tons of presentations ranging across all aspects of dentistry.

DCStory

Most dental apps focus on the professionals, but DCStory looks to educate the patient and help him understand his role in dental treatment. And it does so in a language that is clear and understandable to a layman. There are several features that this app offers, including educational counseling and different treatment plan templates. The app covers over 200 dental procedures.

Epocrates Rx

ePocrates RX is a cost-free clinical reference library which, I'm sure both dentists and patients will find extremely useful when searching information about a certain drug. This app is one of the most complete guides for drugs, including information on drug interactions you should be wary of. The app comes in several versions and can be very helpful to all medical professionals, not just dentists.

Dental Expert

Patients today no longer want to simply sit in a chair and leave the fate of their teeth to you. They want to know what you are doing and they want to be engaged in the process of healing their teeth as well. Dental Expert is an app that is developed with these exact patients in mind. The app provides not only the basic information, but also some really useful tips on good dental habits. Remember, the more a patient knows about oral health, the more relaxed he will be in the chair.

Lex-Dental Complete

Developed by Lexi Comp, Lexi-Dental Complete is an extensive library of dental resources in which you can find information on dental procedures (complete with high definition images-), dental conditions, different drugs and their effects, Steadman's Medical Library and much more. You can download a 30 day trial for free, while the annual subscription will cost you $285.

Dental Manager

Most dentist apps out there focus on providing information about diagnoses, treatments, drugs or simply tips on oral hygiene. However, few of them really tackle organizing treatment plans for patients. This is where Dental Manager comes into picture if you download it on your Smartphone device. The app even offers a cost assessment tool, which will help you calculate them much easier and focus on what's really important here – providing dental care to your patients.

MyDentist

The idea of this app (created and provided by Dental Anywhere) is to enhance communication between doctors and patients. Using MyDentist app, a patient can text his or her dentist, or send him photos and diagrams, to better illustrate his problems. The dentist, on his end, can respond with information or advice that would help the patient, especially in an emergency, or set up an appointment.

Medscape

Medscape has for years been one of the most widely used (and downloaded) medical apps. And with good reason. Developed by WebMD, this app provides vast amounts of information about different afflictions, prescription drugs, OTCs and herbal drugs, drug interactions, medical procedures and more.

Romexis

Developed for the iPad, Romexis is a 2D and 3D image viewer app that obtains images from Planmeca X-ray units (such as ProFace 3D). The app offers only high resolution images and can be an invaluable resource in communicating with and educating patients. The images can also be shared across multiple mobile devices, zoomed in and out and adjusted in different ways. Finally, there is also a feature that allows dentists to search and list their patients and images on the Planmeca Romexis server.

Canvas Note Taker HD

One of the things that I'm positive dentists hate the most is dealing with patient history forms. This is why most dentists will find Canvas Note Taker to be of tremendous help in organizing patient history forms and their notes, which can be saved on their PC or laptop they have synced with mobile phone. Well, I hope that you found this information helpful and that the apps you decide to download will aid you in giving better dental care to your patients.

Social media offers businesses a powerhouse of useful tools, tips, and techniques to grow and develop their business practices in the way they want, when they want!  That’s right, if you utilize platforms such as Facebook, you’ll find yourself a step ahead of your local competition!  Facebook can help a business, such as a dental practice; build up brand recognition in a fast and very prominent way. 

Now, when it comes to dentistry in particular, a professional has to understand how to get their potential patients and/or visitors actively engaged on FB, and other social media platforms.  So, how does a dental practice gain authentic likes and interactions on their business page?  It’s really easy, but let’s consider some options right now. 

Learn How Your Dental Practice Can Achieve Facebook Success

There is value in using Facebook, but, for starters, a FB page alone isn’t what builds the social reputation of a dental practice. If you really want to grow and reach out to your patients, and other, potential patients, begin with the following:

1. Highlight your office in a way that attracts attention

Every successful practice begins with a vision, and sharing this vision among potential patients and existing patients helps you to grow and widen your reputation. You can have your audience perceive you in a positive way with the right social media campaign in place.

2. Illustrate your dental practice by introducing your dental team

Your dental team is on your side, and putting them to the test is worth it when it comes to how this can help your practice grow. Share your teams profile pages and utilize images to help your prospective patients become familiar with them. 

3. Regularly update your practice with visual content that is engaging

Having a blog that you can guide your existing and potential patients too can definitely help draw interest and build a dedicated community of followers too. If you add optimized images, which accentuate your practice and what you offer, this provides even more of a professional edge for you. Your audience is more likely to interact with you with images than with plain content!

4. Share and provide helpful information and dental advice

This type of style will illustrate you as an expert in the dental profession, but more than this; it will show you are friendly and compassionate toward your patient’s needs. Every potential dental patient wants a dentist they feel comfortable with. Taking the time and building a social rapport builds trustworthiness on your Facebook page.

5. Build a consistency and update Your Facebook Page regularly

If you want to remain popular on Facebook you have to post regularly. In other words, to really reap the rewards on a social media platform like FB, 2 updates a day are the norm, but ensure they always are authentic and intriguing!

6.  your dental practice’s involvement in Community events

Your audience will be drawn in if you share exciting community events you take part in. This illustrates your willingness to freely make a difference in your community, and once again, this builds trust! This also gives your prospects a chance to engage with you outside the practice. They can learn about you and your team’s personality, which is always a positive reputation builder!

These tips are just the beginning for your dental practice. Once you begin discovering exactly what Facebook can do for your dental practice, you’ll definitely gain a competitive edge. For instance, from learning the basics of Facebook, to actually developing a targeted custom application, you’ll have the ability to reach a far larger audience.

Facebook can provide a dental practice page with custom applications that allow your potential patients to request information, or schedule an appointment directly from your Facebook page! The fact is, many dental practices have achieved success through Facebook and other social platforms many times over. Now is the time for you to gain your own success and get started with a social campaign that really will work for your dental practice.

Having Facebook likes is one thing, but being known as a reliable, dependable, and friendly dental practice builds long lasting patient/dentist friendships online and offline! This is exactly what will help your dental practice stand out from others in your community.

While I was driving through Eastern Kentucky one sunny day in 2001, my mom called to tell me my Uncle Thom Maass was looking for a business partner at Microcopy. I had taken the day off from work to look for a small business to call my own, so the call couldn’t have come at a better time. 

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him but my Uncle Thom was a giant-killer. Thom was on a quest to make dentistry easier for the dentist and safer for the patient. He had observed back in the ‘80s that large companies, all of which offered only expensive, multi-use diamonds, dominated the business.  The trick was in the cleaning of these burs – you couldn’t very well. He started the journey in 1989 with the introduction of the NeoDiamond.  It was a challenge at first, he was relentless about matching the quality of the market leaders, and he did.  But everything else about it was completely different.

With a drastically lower price, burs sterilized in individual packets on a roll of 25, all the shapes a little shorter than the competitors and with his own part numbering system, he was different.  And then there’s the box: he called the box color magenta, but it looked pink to me.  Finally, he didn’t like the thought of the bur being called disposable, nor did he like the term “single use,” so to take it the extra mile he created his own category called “single-patient-use.”  Wow! 

At first the big companies didn’t notice us at all. When they finally did, their response was to knock our quality, and did they ever.  Big mistake. Thom had that nailed and with supportive independent studies and ever-increasing sales. The proof was hard to ignore.

Now, 25 years later, the Single-Patient-Use category that Thom created is used and referred to by competitors and industry analysts alike. Other competitors have copied our box design, packets, sterilization and even part numbers. With 100 million sold, NeoDiamond celebrates its 25th anniversary and is the market leader in unit sales.

I came on board about 6 months after that phone call in 2001, just when NeoDiamond sales were getting really interesting. Thom has long retired, but I’m continuing his commitment to innovation and safety... and to writing the next chapter.

We thank all of you for being a part of the “Story of the Little Pink Box.”

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