What is Sedation Dentistry?

There's a reason that the simple thought of dental work can strike fear in the hearts of so many people. Maybe you have sensitive teeth. Maybe you're currently in a state of pain, or you've had a bad experience with a dentist in the past. Whatever the reason may be, sedation can help. The truth is that technology has made dental work easier and gentler than ever before. But in certain cases, that's not enough. That's where sedation comes in. Sedation can make it possible for you to get through dental procedures that might otherwise cause you pain or fear.

How Does Sedation Dentistry Work?

Conscious Sedation

Gentech Dentist provides sedation dentistry.
During conscious sedation, you can be responsive, but very relaxed.

You're probably familiar with general anesthesia, which involves medications that render you unconscious. General anesthesia is sometimes used in dentistry, for people who need extensive surgery or for whom other types of sedation are not useful. However, in most cases, your dentist will recommend conscious sedation, which can be done with either oral or intravenous drugs.

During conscious sedation, you'll be awake and able to follow instructions and respond to the dentist. However, you'll be in a relaxed state that can relieve fear or anxiety, leaving you unaware of any pain. The drugs used to create the conscious sedation also have an amnesiac effect, which means that when they wear off, you're unlikely to remember the procedure even taking place.

Oral vs. IV Sedation

Your dentist can achieve conscious sedation in a couple of different ways. If you suffer from mild anxiety or fear, your dentist will probably opt for oral sedation. That means that you'll take the sedative medication by mouth -- no injections -- and wait for it to take effect before the procedure begins.

Patients with intense fear or anxiety might benefit more from IV sedation. IV sedation is also used for patients who need more extensive dental work, or who wish to combine several procedures into one appointment. Your dentist may also use nitrous oxide (AKA "laughing gas") to help you achieve a relaxed state so that you can have your dental work without pain or anxiety.

Sedation Safety

Sedation Dentistry is a great option for those who experience fear or anxiety at the dentist.

With any type of sedation, there is a risk of complications or side effects. However, conscious sedation is safe for most patients. Before administering sedation, your dentist will talk to you about your health conditions and any medications you are currently taking. Be sure to give your dentist complete and accurate information so that they can determine which option is best for you.

If you're going to have any kind of sedation during a dental procedure, you'll need to arrange a ride home -- it's not safe to drive after being sedated. You may also want to have someone at home with you until the effects wear off fully.

If you're feeling fearful or anxious about dental work, we can help! Give us a call today, and we can answer any questions you may have about sedation dentistry.

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Jingle Bell Run 2016

This past Sunday, Gentech Dentist sponsored employees to run in the annual Jingle Bell Run in downtown Portland. This festive tradition put on by The Arthritis Foundation, raises money and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability.

Gummy Vitamins: Are They Bad for Your Teeth?

It can be hard to get kids to eat healthy meals every day, or even to do it yourself all of the time. If you're like most parents, you have a busy schedule that doesn't always allow time to cook every meal from scratch -- sometimes convenience food or pizza delivery is the only reasonable option. You may also have a picky eater in your house -- plenty of kids and adults have difficulty with certain tastes or textures, and this can put a variety of foods off-limits.

However, you still want to make sure that you get all the nutrients you and your kids need every day. This is where gummy vitamins come in for many families. The gummy varieties are easy and convenient for kids or adults who may have trouble swallowing pills. But could they be hurting your teeth?

Sugar Content

Gummy vitamins taste good because they're full of sugar.
Gummy vitamins taste good because they're full of sugar.

Have you ever tried to chew a regular multi-vitamin, the kind that aren't intended to be chewable? If so, you know that it's not a very pleasant experience. The vitamins may be good for you, but they certainly don't taste good. In order to make chewable and gummy vitamins palatable, the manufacturers add sugar, sometimes in very high quantities.

Of course, there are sugar-free varieties too, but you still have to be careful with these. Even the sugar-free varieties often contain citric acid for flavoring. The reason that sugar causes cavities is that the bacteria in your mouth converts the sugar to acid, and the acid wears down your tooth enamel, causing decay. When you eat foods containing acids, there's no need to wait for the bacteria -- the acid can just immediately start attacking your tooth enamel.

Stickiness

Of course, you're usually only supposed to eat one vitamin a day. You can rationalize that even vitamins with a high sugar content don't amount to much compared to many of the other things that you might drink or eat. Even one glass of juice or soda probably has more sugar and acid than one small gummy vitamin. So is it really something that you need to worry about, as long as you're brushing your teeth regularly?

What you have to realize is that not only do gummy vitamins have a high sugar or acid content, they're also sticky. This matters, because unlike juice or soda, particles of the gummy can get stuck to your teeth, and they can't be easily washed away by the saliva in your mouth. If you take a gummy before bed, but after brushing your teeth, that sticky residue has all night to do its worst.

What To Do

So, what's the solution? If you or your child can swallow pills, it's best to take non-chewable vitamins. It's not as tasty, but it eliminates the chance of any problems with your teeth. If chewable vitamins are necessary, try the powdery type of chewables, instead of the gummies.

If gummy vitamins are the only kind that you or your child can tolerate, then it's important to be careful when you take them. Don't take them right before bed or on your way out the door to school or work -- it leaves the residue on your teeth for too long. Take the vitamins during a time of day when you can brush and floss your teeth shortly after.

It's important to discuss your diet and the supplements you take with your dentist, so that the dentist can help you avoid choices that can lead to cavities.

Happy Friday! 💎

"Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond" - miguel de Cervantes

How to Stop the Progression of Gum Disease

Gum disease sounds serious...because it is serious! But if you're still in the early stages, there are plenty of things that you can do to stop and even reverse the progression of gum disease, returning your mouth to good health.

Plaque Removal

Brushing and flossing are your first steps of defense against gum disease.
Your first lines of defense against gum disease.

The underlying cause of gum disease is plaque, which forms on your teeth and hardens into tartar. If you're in the beginning stages, it's a good sign that you need to step up your plaque removal, and that means more frequent brushing and flossing. Brushing is the best way to remove plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. Because plaque can harden into tartar in less than 24 hours, it's important to brush several times a day to make sure that you remove as much of it as possible.

Of course, your toothbrush won't fit into the spaces between your teeth -- but food particles and bacteria will, and plaque will form there. This is where flossing comes in. Floss allows you to get into those hard to reach spaces and remove the plaque from those areas as well. Brushing and flossing may not be a revolutionary idea -- you've probably been doing both since childhood -- but they're among the most important things you can do to get your gum disease under control. Your dentist may also recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash that can help reduce bacteria in your mouth and fight plaque.

Professional Cleaning and Scaling

Scaling and Root Planing may be necessary if you have gum disease.
You may need more frequent and in-depth professional cleanings.

In addition to cleaning your teeth at home, your dentist may recommend that you come in for more frequent professional cleanings. You should already be visiting your dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings (and if you aren't doing that, now is the time to start) but if you are showing signs of gum disease, you may need three or more cleanings per year.

Additionally, your dentist may prescribe other in-office treatments, like scaling and root planing. Scaling involves scraping away both plaque and tartar that have accumulated above and below the gumline, and root planing involves smoothing away the rough spots on the roots of your teeth where bacteria can collect and multiply.

Medications

Finally, your dentist may prescribe medications to help control the gum disease. Antibiotics can help reduce the amount of disease-causing bacteria in your mouth. Some newer antibiotics are designed to be applied locally to the diseased areas, which can help stop the gum disease without affecting the entire body.

Following your dentist's plan is vital if you want to stop gum disease from progressing. If you have questions, or would like to come in for an evaluation, you can call your local Gentech Dentist office, or schedule an appointment below.

Schedule an appointment today

What You Need to Know about Receding Gums

The first sign of receding gums isn't always looking in the mirror and noticing that your gum line is higher than normal. Recession can happen gradually, so you may not notice it just by looking at first. However, you might notice that your teeth are sensitive to cold, heat, or spicy food. This happens because when your gums recede, the sensitive tooth root becomes more exposed, so it can be more easily irritated by the food and drink in your mouth.

What Can Cause the Recession?

Brushing too hard can cause receding gums.
Are you brushing your teeth too hard? You could be destroying gum tissue.

There are a few reasons why your gums might be receding. One of the major causes of gum recession is gum disease. The bacteria that cause gum disease can destroy your gum tissue, leading to recession. However, it may surprise you to learn that another common reason for gum recession is overly aggressive brushing. That's right -- brushing your teeth too hard can wear away both enamel and gum tissue, leading to receding gums.

Poor dental care can also lead to gum recession. If you don't brush or floss often enough, or don't have your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist twice a year, it can lead to plaque buildup that may result in your gums receding. Hormonal changes can also have an effect on your gums.

What Problems Can Receding Gums Cause?

In addition to tooth sensitivity, receding gums can cause other problems for you. When gums begin to recede, they pull away from the tooth's surface, which can create pockets between the gum tissue and the surface of the tooth. Inside of these pockets, food particles and bacteria can accumulate, leading to infections.

If not treated, continued recession can eventually lead to tooth loss, as the tooth becomes looser inside of the socket. And of course, gum recession has a cosmetic effect, causing your teeth to appear longer than normal as the gum line changes.

Treatment for Gum Recession

There are a number of different treatments that can be used to treat gum recession and the symptoms surrounding the condition. Early intervention to identify the underlying cause of recession is the best strategy -- if gum disease, for example, is caught and treated early, before the gum recession is severe, you may not need any treatment to correct a minor gum recession.

Your dentist can prescribe desensitizing agents to help you deal with any tooth sensitivity that occurs as a result of exposed tooth roots. There are several treatments that can help to restore the gum line, from gingival veneers made of acrylic or silicone to surgery or grafting gum tissue over the recession. Your dentist will help you decide which treatment is right for you based on the severity of your gum recession.

If you're concerned about your gum health, there's no time like the present for a check-up. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Happy Thanksgiving from Gentech Dentist!

We're thankful for all our patients! Enjoy the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving from Gentech Dentist

2016 Halloween Candy Buyback Results

- - -THE RESULTS ARE IN! - - -
This year's Halloween Candy Buyback brought in 821 pounds of candy!! That's 180 more pounds than last year!!

A huge thank you to our patients for participating in this great cause. Operation Gratitude will be happily sending out these goodies to our troops overseas. Check back later this week to find out who will win our raffle prize, the iPod Touch!

Gentech Dentist collected 821 pounds of candy this Halloween!

Thank you for participating in the Halloween Candy Buyback!

Thank you to all of our patients and their generous kids for participating in this year's Halloween Candy Buyback! We had an amazing turnout with lots of goodies for our troops overseas! Check back tomorrow to see the total number of pounds that were collected by our six offices!

Tips for Preventing Yellow Teeth

Our last blog post discussed how teeth can turn  yellow naturally over time, due to the thinning of enamel, which allows the natural color of dentin to show through. However, there are precautions you can take to lessen your chances of having yellow teeth. 

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush (brushing too hard, and/or using hard bristles can wreck havoc on your enamel)
  • Drink lots of water after consuming exceptionally sugary or acidic foods or beverages (such as, oranges, candy or wine)
  • Don't brush your teeth immediately after consuming sugary or acidic foods/beverages (brushing right away basically makes your toothbrush an aid to scrubbing away your enamel)
  • Stop smoking/chewing tobacco (or if you already don't consume tobacco, then don't start)
  • Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste