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How safe are dental X-rays?

X-rays, also termed as radiographs, are a crucial element of any dental care treatment plan. Dental or medical X-rays are diagnostic, but they can also be preventative, by enabling a dentist or physician to diagnose potential oral care problems in a patient’s mouth before they turn into a severe problem. Dental X-rays are typically conducted in a dentists’ office under specialist surveillance. First, a dental specialist will protect you with a heavy lead apron from the neck to the knees to guard your body and organs from the stray radiation emitted by the x-rays. Next, the dental specialist will inject a little apparatus, made up of plastic, into your mouth and invite you to bite down on it - this grasps the X-ray film well in place. The dental technician will then continue to take an X-ray imagery of the targeted area. This dental treatment procedure is pain-free and will be continued until the pictures have been received for your entire mouth. The use of digital X-rays offers substantially less radiation to the patient and is comfortable, safe and time saving for the dental practice. Dental X-rays pose no threat or harm to your body or mouth. These are performed with care and specific shields for that matter.

Dental X-rays are quite safe and disclose you or your kid to a lesser amount of electromagnetic radiation. When all the standard safety precautions are taken into consideration, these days radiograph devices equipment are capable to eliminate irrelevant stray radiation and helps the dental professional to target the X-ray beam on a certain part of the mouth. High-speed film allows the dental professional to minimize the amount of radiation the patient receives.

On the flip-side, the advantages of dental x-ray or radiograph images are very important. They disclose relevant details about your oral condition that was previously deemed impossible, such as parts of decay inside the tooth or beneath the gum line.

An x-ray is a kind of energy that travels through soft tissues and is absorbed by tough tissue. Teeth and bone are very tough, so they absorb X-rays, while X-rays travel more conveniently through gums and cheeks.

X-rays are classified into 2 prime categories i.e., intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral is a type of dental X-ray that is taken from inside the mouth while an extraoral X-ray is carried out from outside of the mouth.

Intraoral X-rays are the extensively used and most popular type of radiograph performed in dentistry. They provide a higher degree of detail of the tooth, supporting tissues of the mouth and bones. These X-rays are beneficial and helpful for dentists to:

  • Identify cavities, gum disease and some types of infections.
  • Observe deeply the tooth roots
  • Radiographs help dentists to check inside a tooth and underneath the gums to determine the health of the bone and supporting tissues that hold teeth in place.
  • Inspect the health and strength of the bony part around the tooth
  • See if the gum or periodontal disease is an oral care problem prevailing in your mouth
  • Check the status of the developing teeth
  • Otherwise, examine good tooth health through prevention

The most common types of X-rays performed are:

  • Periapical
    This type of X-ray gives a clear view of the full tooth, right from the crown to the bone that aids to support the tooth.
  • Bite-Wing
    This radiograph provides a view of both the upper and the lower posterior teeth. This kind of X-ray reveals to the dentist how these teeth touch or occlude one another and helps to identify if decay is there between back teeth.
  • Panoramic
    It provides a visual of the teeth, jaws, joints of the jaw, sinuses, and nasal area, and is generally taken when a patient may require a orthodontic treatment plan or implant placement.
  • Occlusal
    It provides a deep insight and a clear visual of the floor of the mouth to depict the bite of the lower or upper jaw. This type of dental X-ray shows a kid’s tooth development to highlight the primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth.

There are a number of X-rays a dental specialist can arrange. The type of dental X-ray required will depend largely on the kind of care the patient needs to obtain.

What are dental sealants, who should get them, and how long do they last?

Dental sealant is a thin, protective layer of coating, often made from plastic, resin, glass or ionomer that covers the tooth. It prevents plague and tartar from building up on your teeth. It also blocks bits and pieces of food from stuck and sticking on your teeth and making holes. It is painted on the grinding surfaces of the teeth — generally the back teeth (the molars and premolars) — to prevent and block tooth decay. The painting on liquid sealant instantly bonds into the groves and depressions of the teeth creating a protective guard over the enamel of every tooth.

The sealants are typically put on only on the molar teeth. This is because; molars are the teeth that are more susceptible to decay and dental caries. Molars are primarily used to tear and grind food which makes them the ideal room for remnant food particles to produce and nurture bacteria. The structure and composition of molar teeth also makes them more susceptible to cavities. Molar teeth have fissures and pits and about 80% of all cavities occur in these areas.

Dental Sealants can also be used on non-molar permanent teeth but it is not very common. If for few reasons your non-molar tooth has any notable hollow or grooves, it may be an eligible candidate for a sealant.

Typically, young children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars (adult teeth) as early as these teeth appear in. In this manner, the sealants can save the teeth through the most cavity-prone years of ages of 6 to 14. However, adults without cavities decompose or fillings in their molars can also reap advantages from dental sealants. The dental Sealants can protect a person’s teeth from decay for up to 10 years of age, but they are required to be checked for wearing down or chipping at routine dental check-ups. Sealants

Dental sealants is typically applied to the chewing surface of the teeth, act as a obstacle against cavity-causing bacteria.

Dental Sealants are mostly transparent but they may have a white tint. Still, they are almost invisible.

If you wonder if Dental Sealants Really Work, then let the statistics do the talking here!

  • According to American Dental Association (ADA), dental sealants have been reported to minimize the risk of decay and cavity by 80% in molar teeth.
  • The Center for Disease Control shows that young children that do not have sealants on teeth have 3 times more cavities than their counterparts who have them.
  • The ADA states that resin-based sealants can minimize risk for dental caries for up to four years after placement by 60% or more.

While sealants have amazing advantages, it still reminds us that they are a part of a cleaning regime, not your complete dental hygiene plan.

Is Dental sealant safe?

Well! Many people have raised a concern about BPA present in dental sealants. BPA is actually a chemical that is incorporated in manufacturing of resins and plastics. While huge amounts of BPA can be dangerous, the amount contained in dental sealants is very low. In fact, you are more exposed to high amount of BPA by certain foods you consume or touching a counter receipt than in dental sealants.

Sealants are “virtually painless. The dental professional just cleans and let the tooth dry and put an acidic gel on it. A nicely placed sealant implant can last for maximum up to 10 years. To keep the dental implant intact and functional, visit your dentist on routine basis.

The average cost for dental sealant is somewhere between Rs.1500 per tooth. And there are some insurance service companies that cover them as preventative care. An ideal way to find out, if your specific insurance policy covers them is to call and ask.

When will drill-less dentistry become a reality?

Drill-less dentistry, also known as micro-abrasion or air abrasion, has already come into existence, is now being offered by a few recognized and world class dental offices in metro cities of India. Drill-less dentistry or Air abrasion is a technique used to

  • Remove tooth decay
  • Eliminate old composite restorations
  • Prepare a tooth surface for sealants or bonding
  • Remove superficial discolorations and stains.

The air abrasion device functions like a mini sandblaster to sway away the decay, stain, as the stream of particles strikes them and to prepare the tooth surface for sealant application or bonding. The leftover particles are then “suctioned” away. With drill dentistry or abrasions, a fine flow of particles is targeted at the tooth surface. These aimed particles are made of aluminum oxide, silica, or a baking soda blend and are provocatively streamed toward the tooth surface by compressed air or a gas that flows through the dental hand piece.

So, to an extent, drill dentistry has become a reality. Teeth can be trimmed and prepped with lasers technology or water cooled Piezo tips. Both of these techniques are a costly affair, take more time to trim the tooth than usual, and are not as easily changeable or universal. Hard tissue lasers can tear through the teeth but do so very gradually and leave a very rough surface, which would make it very complicate to make a perfectly sealed crown. They also produce radiation and heat, so they must be maintained and calibrated routinely. They can cost anywhere from rs.3000-5000, whereas a high quality dental hand piece runs about 30000-35000.

Piezo units are ideally used for highly intricate procedures in small areas. For example, they are not very well fitted to shape a tooth for a crown, but are ideal for polishing and even out the margin (collar) of the prep.

So, to be precise, drill free dentistry can be a reality for oral surgeons, periodontist and endodontists. But for normal dental professionals doing crowns and fillings, hand pieces (drills) will pertain to be a necessary tool.

What is the latest word on the safety of amalgam-type fillings?

There have been concerns rolling all over the release of a little amount of mercury vapor, silver-colored fillings from amalgam fillings. As per the several researches conducted all across the globe however, there has been no scientific evidence found that shows this small amount of mercury from amalgam fillings can have adverse health effects.

However, to be on a fully safer side, it is ideal to use gold inlets or porcelain crowns than amalgam type fillings. The present days cutting edge dental offices and expert dental professionals are stepping away from amalgam fillings and incorporate more mercury free materials and porcelain materials for restorative work.

Although, the research-based information and guidelines given by the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA), states dental amalgam fillings is a safe and an imperishable material that has been successfully in use for over 100 years by the dentist. It is a blend of metals like silver, tin and copper, with an add-on of mercury. The mercury is actually added because of its properties to bind and hold these components to create an alloy which has a long held record of safety and durability as a dental filling.

Many scientific studies have also demonstrated that the very little amount of mercury is dispersed from an amalgam filling in the course of its placement or removal, and in fact over the entire life of that restoration, do not result in any devastating health effects including - kidney disease, autoimmune disease, chronic degenerative diseases, cognitive function, unfortunate pregnancy outcomes, or any non-specific symptoms. Also, the research studies have failed to show that the removal of amalgam fillings will revamp patients’ health, or lead to the remission of any symptoms of sickness.

How do Whitening Toothpastes Work and How Effective are they?

For dubious buyers though, the air of unreliability hangs over the efficiency of the whitening toothpastes. You actually wonder do they actually work seeing the ads on TV trying to sell you whitening toothpastes.

First of all, it is crucial to understand that all our teeth have different color shades. Most of us do have majority of white teeth or some yellowish and brownish in color. Very few people have the milky white teeth color that we have all been made to think is the correct color for teeth. So when people hear or see an advertisement of toothpaste that can enable them whiten their yellowish or tainted teeth, they just cannot oppose the opportunity of trying these teeth whitening toothpastes. The big question though is whether these whitening toothpastes actually work. Let us understand how these whitening tooth paste work and how effective they are

Unlike ordinary toothpastes that are meant to remove the peripheral stains from the outer surface of the teeth, whitening toothpastes are made with the purpose of removing more stubborn stains from the surface of your teeth and help alter the color of your teeth. These teeth whitening toothpastes have some specific chemical and polishing agents in them that give supplementary stain removal. These whitening toothpastes have more abrasive components than the ordinary toothpastes. Ingredients like silica are in plenty in whitening toothpastes and they help to abrade the surface of the teeth to pull off any stains and contribute to whiter teeth.

The outcomes of using whitening toothpastes are not as quick and visible as the adverts make them appear so. In reality, whitening toothpastes will not alter the color of your teeth to the extent that you readily have milky white teeth. These whitening toothpastes are just better produced to shrug off stains such as those that are caused by excessive coffee consumption, alcoholism or smoking. If the natural color of your teeth was not originally white, you should not expect to get a set of milky white teeth after using the whitening toothpastes.

For Long-Term Whitening Results, use it at least twice daily. For effective results, users must brush regularly with whitening toothpaste for few months. Whitening toothpaste that does not contain blue covarine can still produce spectacular results. However, it is essential for users to know that the whitening is not generally observed right after the very first brushing or for few days.

Whitening toothpastes obtains long-term results through a blend of abrasives that brighten the teeth and chemicals that disintegrate stains. Most Common abrasives present in whitening toothpastes include:

  • Calcium carbonate
  • Hydrated aluminum oxide
  • Magnesium carbonate

These whitening toothpastes may also contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which helps whiten teeth and polish them. Carbamide peroxide is a chemical that works rapidly, but these ingredients lead the way to overall degree of color change over a period of 15 days.

One Important Product Considerations before deciding on which whitening toothpaste to buy is to make sure you select a safe product like an American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

While the ADA Seal of Acceptance does determine products that are safer, it is essential to note that no whitening product or bleaching agent is without risks. The main problem with whitening toothpastes and other similar products is of moderate irritation of the mouth and gums. Some people may also encounter increased tooth sensitivity.

Q. I’m interested in changing the shape of my teeth. What options are available?

For anyone who is seeking to modify the shape of their teeth, whether it is for solely aesthetic or various other reasons, this is a question you have possibly asked a lot. The good news is that there are different options available for you if this is something you want to do which are as follows:-

Dental bonding

One option for reshaping tooth is dental bonding using a tooth colored resin material. In this procedure, the resin material applied on to the tooth surface and then the material is toughened by executing a special light and while this hardening procedure the resin bonds to the tooth.

Dental Crowns

Another option you have is the crowns. Dental crowns are the caps that are kept over the existing tooth. These dental caps are cemented into place and completely enclose the revealing area of the original tooth.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are known as just as veneers, are personalized dental items that are custom made to cover the front surface of the teeth. The veneers act like shells for the teeth and are very thin and tooth colored. Fixed through bonding to the front of your teeth, they render an impressive new look for your teeth.

Teeth Re-contouring

As the term says it all, it is the most extensively used tooth re-shaping procedure of today’s times. Teeth re-contouring, often termed as tooth reshaping or known by dental term called odontoplasty. This procedure involves shrugging off of small amounts of enamel from the teeth so that the shape, length, width or even surface texture of the teeth is taken into consideration.

Undoubtedly with various options available there are variations in the results too. Some options are safer than others while some are more durable, whilst the expense does differ between choices as well. And lastly, the other variation in these procedures is the duration of time it takes to have the treatment completed.

All of these factors can affect your choice, it can be a confusing state and booking a consultation with your dentist you can talk through the options available for your condition and find out the very suitable option now that you have all the factors and alternatives in hand.

I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist. What should I do?

Congratulations: Following a few simple steps you will be all set to meet your dentist and tackle the problem head-on. Dental visit is like any other ordinary medical visit and there is nothing to make a puff about. Here are some effective ways you can make your dentist visiting more comfortable and perhaps even enjoyable, calming the anxiety down you have battled in the past.

  • Dentists presently use Pain Management Options for helping people to overcome a fear of dentists. Use of a topical anesthetic to numb the part of the mouth or teeth where an injection will be made. Inserting anesthetic through an electronic method or practicing laser drills in place of traditional ones to ease of the dental dread of the patient.
  • A casual meet with Your Dentist before Treatment may put your mind at ease. This could be as simple as making up a time to come in and talk for 15 minutes, putting across your queries you might have about the procedure or the policies.
  • Upfront about Your Dental fear will make the dentist to be more attentive and cautious towards you. Now a day’s dentists keep you engaged in talking during a cleaning session, make you see, touch or hold the dental devices before they are used — to help you make feel familiar, explaining things in detail that will happen during the process.
  • Try avoid making alone visits. Take a Family Member or Friend who can help you stay calm during the appointment and provide the comfort you need.
  • For instance, say you have got a sensitive gag reflex that makes you fearful getting X-rays done. Ask about modifications and concerns with your dentist. Perhaps the dentist may give you a panoramic X-rays instead, which are less likely to make you gag. Modern dentistry is full of options and alternatives that are safer and more comfortable; you just need to find them.
  • Make use of Noise-Canceling Headphonesas this would decline your dental dread that instantly ratchets up a few notches just when you hear the drill.
  • Use a Nasal Strip in case you breathe via your mouth, because you may experience difficulty in breathing during a dental appointment as you are not habitual of taking in air through your nose. You certainly let the passages open up and get more air in by using a nasal strip.

There are so many toothpastes to choose from; how do I know which one to use?

First, when buying toothpaste for either you or your child, make sure to pick the one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been reported to prevent dental caries. But one word of caution: make sure to check the manufacturer's label; some toothpastes are not prescribed for kids under age 6 of years. The reason is that the young children tend to swallow the toothpaste and gulping too much of fluoride can result in tooth discoloration in permanent (adult) teeth.

Second, when undertaking other properties of toothpaste -- such as gum care, whitening toothpastes, sensitivity control or tartar-control, etc. -- the best way for choosing among these products may be to just ask your dental hygienist what the main concerns are for your oral health at this time. After discussing it with your dentist about your greatest needs, search for products within that category and select a good brand.

Lastly, some amount of personal choice comes into play. Select the toothpaste that tastes and sense best. Paste or gel, spearmint or wintergreen all taste and work well.

I can't afford regular dental care. Are there some resources available to me?

Of course! So many charitable trusts, government hospitals and other dental hospitals in India have various dental clinics/missions that provide dental services at low costs. Do visit them and receive the treatment from there. Like there is Bharti Vidyapeeth, AnadPuram charitable trust in Pune, India. Safdurjung Hospital or AIIMS in Delhi offers dental treatments in really very low prices. These governmental organizations are established to help budgeted income groups and uninsured people who are at high risk of developing health problems to receive the medical attention they need.

I recently moved and need a new dentist. How can I find one?

  1. Look for a certified dental clinic that is affiliated to an association which requires its certified dentists to abide by professional code of conduct and certain ethics when dealing with patients. As such, a database is a perfect place to begin when looking for a skilled, trustworthy, dentist in your new area. You can also find certified dentists in your new find a dentist tool or calling Just dial.
  2. Ask for Recommendations is one of the most trusted ways to find out more information about the dentists in your new location. Ask around your new neighborhood, community acquaintances if they already know a reliable dentist or anyone in their social circle who may know.
  3. Schedule a Consultation session with the dentist, meet their staff, have a look at the clinic before you commit to become a new patient.
  4. Get your old dental records transferred to your new dentist to make sure that your new dentist is able and need to know all about dental health history, including medications, surgeries and checkup records, you may be taking.
  5. Go for a routine cleaning to evaluate the cleanliness and ethics of the dentist’s office. It is a great way to start and decide if to proceed further. Things like the level of cleanliness and hygiene of the office, mannerism and basic conduct of the dentist and the staff, level of comfort, conversations or level of advice you're given, value as a patient should be undertaken before choosing your new dentist.
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