Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Is Debridement?

What Is It?

Debridement is the removal of excessive amounts of plaque and tartar from your teeth.

What It's Used For

Debridement is done on people who have heavy plaque and tartar (calculus) build-up, usually because they haven't visited a dentist in several years. The plaque and tartar accumulation on the teeth is so heavy that your dentist can't see the teeth to examine them. Before he or she can do an exam, the plaque and tartar must be removed through debridement.

Some people who are very sensitive to pain might need local anesthesia for this procedure. Others might require some form of sedation, such as nitrous oxide. Often, people who avoid the dentist have some form of dental phobia, so anesthesia or sedation may be necessary to make them comfortable.

How It's Done

Debridement is done with a combination of hand instruments and an ultrasonic device. This device uses water and high-frequency vibrations to dislodge plaque and tartar from the teeth.


Debridement is usually the first phase of comprehensive periodontal treatment. After completing the debridement, your dentist will re-evaluate your teeth to determine the appropriate course of therapy, which may involve scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery.


If your gums are inflamed they can bleed during the procedure. In some cases, you may notice that your teeth are sensitive to temperature (hot and/or cold) after debridement. This occurs when the roots of the teeth are exposed following the removal of plaque and tartar.
Infection is possible after debridement, but it is very rare.

When To Call a Professional

Call your dentist if:
  • You have bleeding that doesn't stop
  • You think the area might be infected
  • You have excessive swelling or discharge from the area
  • Lymph nodes beneath your lower jaw or in your neck become swollen

Article Source: Colgate

Hagen Dental
18426 Brookhurst St., #101
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tel. 714.965.5255

Follow us on Twitter: @hagen_dental

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dental Caries -- Explained

What Is It?

Dental caries is the medical term for tooth decay or cavities. It is caused by acid erosion of tooth enamel. Many different types of bacteria normally live in the human mouth. They accumulate (along with saliva, food particles and other natural substances) on the surface of the teeth in a sticky film called plaque. Plaque forms especially easily in cracks, pits or fissures in the back teeth; between teeth; around dental fillings or bridgework; and near the gum line. Some of the plaque bacteria convert sugar and carbohydrates (starches) in the foods we eat into acids. These acids dissolve minerals in the surface of the tooth, forming microscopic pits or erosions that get larger over time.
The damage can occur anywhere the tooth is exposed to plaque and acid, including the hard outer enamel on the tooth crown or the unprotected root of the tooth that has been exposed by gum recession. Caries can penetrate the protective enamel down to the softer, vulnerable dentin (main body of the tooth) and continue through to the soft tooth pulp and the sensitive nerve fibers within it. No one really knows what causes the pain associated with cavities, but theories include inflammation caused by bacteria, exposure of the root surface and an imbalance of fluid levels in the tubules inside the dentin.


Early caries may not have any symptoms. Later, when the decay has eaten through the enamel, the teeth may be sensitive to sweet foods or to hot and cold temperatures.


A dentist will look for caries at each office visit, regardless of whether it is a routine visit or an appointment made by the patient because of pain. The dentist will examine the teeth visually and will probe the teeth with an instrument called an explorer to determine if there are pits or areas of damage. Periodically, or if the dentist suspects hidden caries, X-rays will be taken by looking at the teeth.

Expected Duration

How long caries lasts is determined by the stage at which it is found. White spots, indicating early caries that has not yet eroded through the enamel, may be reversed if acid damage is stopped and the tooth is given a chance to repair the damage naturally. Caries that has destroyed enamel cannot be reversed. Most caries will continue to worsen and deepen and with time, the tooth may decay down to the root. The amount of time the erosion takes will vary from person to person. Caries can erode to a painful level within months or it can take years to reach that stage.


Cavities can be prevented by reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. The best way to do this is by daily brushing and flossing and professional dental cleanings twice a year. You also can reduce the amount of acid in your mouth by eating sugary or starchy foods less frequently during the day. Your mouth will remain acidic for several hours after eating, so snacking throughout the day is more likely to lead to caries than avoiding between-meal snacks. Chewing gum that contains xylitol helps to counteract the acidity that occurs after eating.
Teeth can be strengthened by fluoride. A dentist can evaluate your risk of caries and then suggest appropriate fluoride treatments. In children, new molars can be protected by having the dentist apply a sealant as soon as the teeth come fully into the mouth.


The standard treatment for caries is to fill the tooth. After the dentist removes the decayed material in the cavity (usually following the use of anesthesia to block the pain), the cavity is filled. Fillings usually are made of a dental amalgam, which is a silver-gray material made from silver alloyed with copper or other metals in order to improve durability, or of a composite resin, which is tooth-colored for a better appearance. Amalgams are used primarily in molars and premolars. Resins are used primarily in the front teeth, although it is possible to use them in all teeth. Gold inlay may be used if greater strength is needed, but this is more expensive.
If a cavity is large with extensive erosion, the remaining tooth may not be able to support the amount of filling material that would be needed to repair it. In this case, the dentist will remove the decay, fill the cavity, and cover the tooth with an artificial crown.
Sometimes the crown of the tooth remains relatively intact, and there is more damage in the interior of the tooth. In these cases, the dentist may refer you to a dental specialist called an an endodontist for root canal treatment. In this procedure, the endodontist removes the tooth's pulp and replaces it with an inert material. In most cases, the tooth's natural crown will need to be replaced with an artificial crown.

When To Call A Professional

The early stages of decay are usually painless. Only regular professional examinations and X-rays can detect early trouble. If you develop sensitivity to chewing or to hot, cold or sweet foods or beverages, contact your dentist.


If a cavity goes undiagnosed, it likely will cause the tooth to erode significantly. Eventually, the tooth may be destroyed by uncontrolled decay.
Having caries increases your risk of more caries for several reasons:
  • The same oral care and dietary habits that contributed to the plaque and acids that caused the initial cavity may cause more decay
  • Bacteria tend to adhere to fillings and other restorations more than to smooth teeth, so those areas will be more susceptible to new caries
  • Cracks or gaps in the fillings may allow bacteria and food to enter the tooth, leading to decay from beneath the filling

Article Source: Colgate

Hagen Dental
18426 Brookhurst St., #101
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tel. 714.965.5255

Follow us on Twitter: @hagen_dental

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Family Guide To Oral health

By following the information in this guide, you and your family can have healthy teeth and gums to last a lifetime. As a parent, you can work with your children to help them understand why good oral care is important — and show them how to do it right!

Four Steps to a Bright Smile

  1. Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, especially after eating breakfast and before bedtime.
  2. Floss every day.
  3. Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day.
  4. Visit your dentist regularly.
It’s easy to guide your family toward good oral health. All it takes is the right information and a little practice to keep them moving in the right direction!
In this section, learn about:
  • 1. How to brush
  • 2. How to floss
  • 3. Fluoride
  • 4. Snacking and tooth decay
  • 5. The dental checkup
  • 6. Preventing early childhood cavities

Fluoride – your family’s best defense

Fluoride is the best cavity fighter you can find as you guide your family to a lifetime of bright smiles! It keeps the whole family’s teeth strong — no matter what their ages.

How fluoride works

Every day, the enamel on teeth is attacked by acids produced in dental plaque. These acids can make teeth weaker, and can result in decay.
That’s where fluoride comes in. When it reaches your teeth, fluoride is absorbed into the enamel. It helps to repair the enamel and prevent tooth decay. It can even help stop the decay process.

How to get fluoride

You can get the benefits of fluoride from different places. It can work from the outside of your teeth, and from the inside of your body. To work the best, you need to get it both ways! At home, you and your family should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after eating breakfast and before bedtime.

Snacking and tooth decay

If fluoride is our greatest protection against decay, then frequent snacking can be our teeth’s biggest enemy. Every day, you and your family face snacking challenges. Here’s what you need to know:

It’s how often you snack that matters

The truth is that what your family eats isn’t as important as when and how often they snack! It all has to do with the “plaque reaction,” and this is how it works:

The plaque reaction

Everyone has plaque bacteria in their mouths. But when these plaque bacteria meet up with the sugars and starches that are found in snacks such as cookies, candies, dried fruits, soft drinks or even pretzels or potato chips, the plaque reacts to create acid, and a “plaque attack” occurs.
The fact is, most snacks that you eat contain either sugars or starches that give plaque this opportunity to make acid. And each “plaque attack” can last for up to 20 minutes after you have finished your snack. During this period, the plaque acid is attacking tooth enamel, making it weak. That’s when cavities can start!

Fighting back against plaque

The good news is, you can take a stand against plaque! By brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and by reducing the number of times you snack each day, you and your family can help prevent tooth decay.
When it comes to snacking, it’s best to choose something nutritious and to snack in moderation. It’s also better to eat the whole snack at one time! Here’s why: eating five pieces of a snack at one time exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay — for approximately 20 minutes. Nibbling on those same five pieces at five different times exposes your teeth to possible tooth decay for approximately 100 minutes. What a difference!

You need to watch baby’s sweets, too!

Infants are just as susceptible to decay as older children and adults. In fact, Early Childhood Cavities can be a very serious condition. See The Preventing Early Childhood Cavities section below for more information.

The dental checkup

The dentist is your family’s partner on the Bright Smiles pathway. Be sure to schedule regular dental appointments for the whole family. A child's first visit should take place before his or her third birthday.
Dental checkups early in a child’s life allow children to have a positive dental health experience. TIP: Take your young toddler with you to your own appointment first. That way, the dental office becomes a familiar place.

Your dental checkup: what to expect

Fluoride treatments:

Your dentist may treat your child’s teeth with extra fluoride in the form of a gel to make teeth stronger. This gel goes in a tray that fits into the mouth that children wear for a few minutes to let the fluoride sink into their teeth. It comes in neat flavors for kids!

Dental sealants:

These are thin, protective plastic coatings applied by the dentist to the permanent back teeth (molars). They fill in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth where foods and bacteria can get stuck and cause cavities. Once applied, sealants can last for several years.


These “pictures” show the dentist what’s going on inside the teeth and beneath the gum line. During the X-ray, your child will wear a lead apron to prevent unnecessary exposure.

Preventing early childhood cavities (sometimes known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)

Early Childhood Cavities is a childhood disease that can be prevented. The following steps can help guard your baby against this painful condition – and ask your dentist or physician for more information.

It’s best not to put a bottle in bed with your baby. But if you must put a bottle in bed with your baby, put only plain water in it. Any liquid except water, even milk and juice, can cause cavities.
You can use a bottle to feed your baby at regular feeding times, but allowing the bottle to be used as a pacifier can be a major cause of cavities.
  • Hold your baby while feeding him/her. If your baby falls asleep, remove the bottle and put him/her in bed.
  • Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle.
  • Avoid letting your toddler walk around with a bottle.
Click here for more information on Early Childhood Cavities.

Article Source: Colgate

Hagen Dental
18426 Brookhurst St., #101
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tel. 714.965.5255

Follow us on Twitter: @hagen_dental

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Video: Gingivitis

From the ADA:

If your gums are tender, swollen or bleed easily when flossing, you may have gingivitis—the early stage of gum disease. Fortunately, gingivitis can be prevented by following a good oral health care routine and by regularly visiting a dentist. Find out more about how to reduce the risk of gingivitis and, if needed, how to treat it.

Video Source: The ADA

Hagen Dental
18426 Brookhurst St., #101
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tel. 714.965.5255

Follow us on Twitter: @hagen_dental