By Dr Lawrence Spindel Sunday August 23, 2009

Tip of the day was a feature on the front page of our website this month . This article will include the best dental tips that were mentioned. They are truly random tips but it is my hope that some may be helpful to the reader.

1. Using a good electric toothbrush tends to be the easiest way to brush your teeth well. I particularly like the Braun rechargeable models. Their brush makes to have a high number of revolutions per minute and the better models also pulse in and out.

Because less effort is required of the patient , these brushes tend to be less ‘goof proof’. A person employing a manual brush actually requires quite a good technique to get teeth as clean as this electric toothbrush. Most people who switch to one of the Braun models comment that their teeth seem cleaner and my hygienists claim they can tell the difference as well.

2. Black holes- little spaces between the interproximal gums (papillae) and the teeth, can mar an otherwise beautiful smile. These spaces are due proximal bone loss and can be evidence of a history of periodontal disease.

When these space are large, there is not much a cosmetic dentist can due hide them. Small ‘black holes’ can be made to disappear by bonding additions to the proximal surfaces of adjacent teeth.

After these bonding modifications, the holes can either appear diminished in size or disappear.

3. A tooth that hurts intermittently when biting down may mean you have ‘cracked tooth syndrome’. Although initially this can be a minor annoyance, this symptom should be pointed out to your dentist. Left attended, cracks in teeth tend to worsen and can cause patients to require endodontic treatment or even require extraction.

If dealt with at an early stage, teeth with cracks can be corrected by crowning and this protection can lessen the likelihood of the crack propagating.

4, Use a good electric tooth brush to clean your teeth. Clean in between with either dental floss, Stimudent or small interdental brush. The brand and type of toothpaste is not as important as advertisers would have you believe! Ninety five percent of the effect of tooth brushing is how you brush teeth and not dependent on your tooth paste.

As for what tooth paste to use, keep it simple- use a basic flouridated tooth paste. It is really not necessary to spend extra for whitening or tarter control tooth pastes. They do not do much extra when compared with a ‘basic formulation

5. Treatment of periodontal disease has changed its emphasis over the years. Now most treatment tends to be “non surgical”. Treatment begins with a series of ‘deep cleaning’ and the use of a type antibiotic. Patients are placed on three month recall after wards. For many patients this is all the treatment that is planned.

Some patients still benefit from flap surgery, especially those with infra bony defects that will not be eliminated by root planning alone. Full thickness flap surgery allows the periodontist an opportunity to either recontour bone defects or add bone grafting material to add to defects

6. School holidays or vacations can be a great time to take your chid to the dentist. No time needs to be missed from school and often parents have already taken time off from work to be with their kids. Our office is open on many days that schools are closed and many families plan a day together in the city and include a visit to our office, so their kids can get their check ups or any needed dental treatments.

NYC is full of interesting places and kids can associate a trip to the dentist with fun times, if the day is planned properly

7. Everyone knows that eating too much candy can lead to tooth decay, but did you know that excessive snacking on carbohydrates can make you more likely to develop cavities as well?. Bacteria in plaque have the ability to convert carbohydrates to easily metabolized sucrose.

Since it does take longer for the bacteria in plaque to process carbohydrates, tooth brushing at regular intervals can protect carboloaders from tooth decay. Brush your teeth well!

8. Tried flossing but couldn’t get it together to do it every day? Don’t give up! Flossing intermitantly can still be beneficial. Even if you flossed twice a week, you would acheive most of the benefit. The bacteria in plaque get nastier the longer they are in place. If the plaque remains undisturbed, the number of harmful anaerobic bacteria increases. Flossing every third day will probably remove most of the intraproximal plaque and the complex colonies of harmful bacteria will have to start reforming again

9. Small cavities do not hurt. Waiting for tooth pain is not the way to determine when it is time to go for a dental visit. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, people often do wait until they experience mouth pain before deciding on making a dental appointment.

Better not to procrastinate and possibly let little dental problems become big. Keep a regular schedule for your check ups and cleanings. Better to prevent problems and fix little problems early
10. In order to prevent gum disease, regularly cleaning between your teeth is almost as important as tooth brushing. There are several devices that can be used to accomplish the cleaning a tooth’s proximal surface including dental floss, Stimudents, and interdental brushes.

If these are used properly and regularly, they will prevent the build up of the harmful dental plaque that can eventually cause bone loss and periodontal disease. If you are not currently keeping these surfaces clean ask your hygienistr to suggest which method would be appropriate.. The proper technique can be demonstrated and she can make sure that you are able to use which ever method she suggests