Patient Education

Patient Education

Patient education has been identified as one of the major contributing factors in maintaining optimal oral health. The best time to start learning about proper oral hygiene is when you are young so you can develop good lifelong habits. But adults sometimes have questions too. We recommend that if you have a question about your oral health that you consult Dr. Blair or Dawn. They will be your best source for information. Dr. Blair takes time with each patient, both during and after an examination, to make sure all their questions and concerns are answered. If you have a question or concern please feel free to call us, send us a letter, or e-mail us. You can find all of our contact information by clicking here. If you want to read more about oral health, the American Dental Association and the Wisconsin Dental Association both have valuable information. Below are links to their sites and selected articles, blogs, and information repositories.

Technology

Links To Come

Other

Links To Come

Frequently Asked Questions

I've always said that the best toothbrush is the one which is used properly and long enough. I've never been too excited about all the toothbrush companies' claims that their brush is better because it has an angled head or angled bristles or any other gimmick. I do recommend a soft toothbrush. Harder brushes can actually damage tooth and gums. I've never been a fan of mechanical brushes because too many people expect the brush to do all the work. You still need to angle the brush into the crevice between the tooth and gum and you still need to spend two to three minutes to get every surface of every tooth. If you want to invest in a mechanical brush, spend a little more a purchase an ultrasonic one. These brushes are wonderful for elderly patients, arthritics or anyone else with a condition which effect dexterity. Personally, I still use a soft manual brush.
Every three months or when the bristles begin to bend or split. It is also a good idea to replace your brush after the cold or flu.
Bad breath has many causes and treating it effectively depends on figuring out which cause we are dealing with. This gets more difficult in cases where there is more than one cause in the same patient. A dental professional can help in assessing your particular situation. Common causes of bad breath are the foods you eat, smoking, dry mouth, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, tooth decay, infections and cryptic tonsils. It is estimated that 75 percent of bad breath originates in the mouth. The remaining 25 percent are caused by systemic condition such as diabetes, liver, kidney, lung or sinus diseases, or gastrointestinal disorders.
This is not an uncommon problem. A lot of kids grind their teeth while sleeping. The sound can be awful, but in most cases we advise observation only. Most kids stop grinding when their 6 year molars come in. The child should be monitored though to make sure there isn't excessive damage to the teeth. Let your dentist know if your child grinds so he or she can look for signs of tooth damage.
If a baby tooth has a cavity and is ready to come out and is not painful to the child, often we don't have fill it. If the tooth is going to be there for a while it should be filled. Cavities are progressive and longer the decay is present the greater chance of infection, pain or both. Also, one of the functions of the baby teeth is to maintain the space for the permanent tooth when it is ready to come in. Properly restoring baby teeth can sometimes prevent a crowding problem later.
The pediatric dental community suggest first dental visit at 18 mos. Personally, as a general dentist, I like to see children for the first visit between 3 to 3 1/2 years old unless you see sometime that you think should be checked. We see very few problems prior to age 3 unless there is some kind of trauma. Nursing Bottle Caries is a rampant decay of baby teeth but we don't see that very much any more as parents have been better educated about not leaving a bottle in the crib with the baby.
Generally, a dental benefit plan is a contract between your employer and the insurance company, and these contracts can vary greatly. Most dental plans cover procedures on a percentage basis and often a deductible applies first so there usually is some expense on the patient's part. Often, in order to make the contract affordable, an insurance will write a particular dental benefit plan which includes a UCR clause, least expensive alternative clause and/or pre-existing conditions clause and all of these will affect the benefits you are entitled to. In addition, treatment exclusions, annual maximums and preferred provider networks will all impact your benefits.
X-rays are a necessary diagnostic tool in dentistry. Many oral conditions can not be diagnosed without X-rays and even those which can be seen without X-rays are not fully diagnosed until you know the extent of the condition or disease. Without X-rays inadequate or improper treatment may be offered. Yes, you really need dental X-rays. Annual X-rays will usually be sufficient to check for developing conditions when they are still small and easily treated.
This is as frustrating to dentists as it is to patients. There are many factors which effect getting cavities. Some people's saliva composition or genetics make them more vulnerable to cavities. When someone does all the right things at home but still gets cavities it is often hard to convince them that they really are doing the right things. The only consolation we can offer is that if you didn't take such good care of your teeth, you could expect the problems to be worse.
Dental lasers have many uses, but they also have many limitations. Because lasers work by vaporizing tissue, controlling the heat generated is a problem. For soft tissues and very shallow hard tissue conditions lasers work very well but they are still a long way from replacing the drill.
A pop or click in the jaw joint is usually the cartilage disc slipping over the boney knob part of the joint. This disc is supposed to keep the two bones from wearing on each other, but it can not satisfy this purpose if it's not in the proper position. There can be significant damage to the joint if this condition is left untreated. This is definitely something you want to bring to the attention of your dentist.
Yes, teeth whitening does work. The results vary between patients. The key factors in it's effectiveness are the concentration of the bleaching agent and the duration of action. Because the bleaching agents can cause irritation to gums, any delivery system which doesn't control flow of the bleaching agent well requires a lower concentration. That is why we can use higher concentrations with the customized tray system which a dentist can provide. It is important to note that the bleaching agent will only whiten enamel. If you have porcelain or resin restorations in a visible area these will likely be more noticeable after whitening unless you replace them to match the whitened teeth.