Q&A with Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln.
Our hygienist in Lincoln, Rebecca is an integral part of educating patients and helping them to feel comfortable at our office. Rebecca has many years of experience working in a dental field and loves to educate patients on the relationships between a healthy mouth and the overall health.
Rebecca has answered some of the common questions asked by patients. Those questions often come up during dental exams, and she shares what patients ask dentists often.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: Do you place amalgam fillings?
Hygienist: No, we don’t. Amalgam fillings can be hard on teeth. Amalgam or silver fillings are made out of metal and conduct heat. As a result, they tend to shrink and expand due to natural changes in temperature that occur inside a person’s mouth. Because of that, silver fillings tend to lead to a big number of cracked teeth. Amalgam fillings also contain 50 % of mercury, which is a risk for overall health.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: Can you have recurrent decay under a filling?
Unfortunately, dental fillings don’t last forever. Over time, fillings often break away slowly, allowing new bacteria to get inside. But we check on this every time someone visits us for an appointment. As long as a person sees a dentist regularly, decay under a filling shouldn’t be an issue. If it is, we’ll let them know and talk about what we can do.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: Are certain teeth more important than others?
H: (laughs) They’re all important! But I should say that six-year molars are the workhorse of our mouths. So they are pretty important.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: What makes six-year molars so important?
H: Six-year molars do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to chewing. They do the vast majority of the mouth’s chewing. It can be very debilitating to lose your six-year molars, and a lot of patients don’t realize that until it’s too late. Luckily we’re able to use crowns to protect them if they develop small cracks or fractures. That allows patients to keep them safe for a longer period of time.
Silver fillings often lead to having a cracked tooth syndrome, which can create tons of a toothache and sensitivity to biting.
Luckily we’re able to use crowns to protect them if they develop small cracks or fractures. That allows patients to keep them safe for a longer period of time.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: That makes sense. How can you tell if a tooth cracks?
H: Well, there are usually a few signs. Sometimes you can look at a tooth and see the crack. But in many cases the crack won’t be visible to the naked eye, so you have to pay attention to how it feels. If it feels sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, is intermittently uncomfortable, or hurts for a split second when you bite down, it might be a cracked tooth.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: A tooth can also crack from grinding and clenching, right?
H: Yeah, that’s definitely possible. Grinding and clenching is called “bruxism,” and it’s really common. Most of the time it’s subconscious. It can definitely grind down or crack your teeth. In some cases of bruxism, we’ll even recommend a night guard for a person’s teeth. While it won’t stop a person from grinding their teeth, it will prevent further wear and tear on teeth and save the investment made on any restorations.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: How about chewing hard foods or chewing ice? I imagine that can crack a person’s teeth too?
H: Oh, absolutely. We see teeth crack from chewing ice now and again. It puts a lot of extra pressure on our teeth, especially if they have fillings already. When those fillings start to break down or pull away from the tooth, bacteria finds its way inside.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: What is super-eruption, and why should patients know what it is?
H: So our teeth rely on each other for stability and structure. When we lose adjacent teeth, our upper teeth may come down to fill the space of the missing teeth, called “super-eruption.” As a result, the tooth usually becomes sensitive, and ultimately, most people lose their super-erupted teeth. Losing teeth is really dangerous because it can have this type of a chain effect.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: The diet plays a key role in our oral health. What are some other things to supplement your diet that will help your teeth?
H: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and calcium are all crucial for healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C boosts our natural defenses against bacteria by strengthening our gums and soft tissues. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium and both strengthen our bones, including our teeth. Those who take Vitamin D on a daily basis are at a much lower risk of periodontal disease.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: To switch gears a little, I wanted to talk about the major presence of chewing tobacco in Nebraska. As a hygienist in Lincoln, what can you say about chewing tobacco?
H: Chewing tobacco is a big no-no. Chew puts its victims at serious risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. As a hygienist in Lincoln, I see a lot of people whose teeth are affected by the use of chew. The same goes for e-cigarettes. Both are widely consumed in Nebraska and are associated with serious health problems and a much higher risk of developing gum disease.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: How can you find oral cancer? I wouldn’t know where to start.
H: Oral cancer is most commonly found on the underside of a person’s tongue or the back of the throat.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln answers: In dentistry, it can be tempting to talk about the negative factors on a person’s oral health. On the flip side, what are some of the more positive things you can do for your teeth?
H: Well obviously brushing and flossing should be a regular part of a person’s routine. Frequent dental visits should too. Probiotics are also an easy way to help your oral health flourish. At all times, our mouths are full of good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics increases the good bacteria in our mouths, which fight off the bad bacteria. They also decrease overall inflammation in our body Being a hygienist in Lincoln allows me to talk to tons of people about the positive and proactive side of dentistry.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: Maybe it goes without saying, but how do you feel about pop?
H: Pop is a really easy source of many things. We all know that pop is loaded with sugar and will take a toll on your teeth. Any type of pop is harsh on our teeth and overall health due to the high amounts of acid. If you have a glass of pop, it’s better to drink it quickly and to drink water after you’re finished. It’s even advisable to brush your teeth soon after drinking pop. As for overall health, it is better to stop drinking it all together.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: What’s an excellent way to treat cold sores and canker sores?
H: Cold sores and canker sores are different enough from each other. Cold sores are often caused in part by a weakened immune system. Eating a diet full of vegetables can offer your body the required vitamins and minerals. Using Vitamin C and probiotics daily can decrease the likelihood of both cold sores and canker sores.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: What is TMD and how can someone treat a TMJ issue?
H: TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, and it just means that the Temporomandibular Joint, or the jaw, isn’t functioning correctly. Treating TMJ can be relatively straight-forward. The main things are being sure to take ibuprofen, sticking to chewy foods for 3-5 days, and considering a night guard if you suffer from bruxism.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: What’s a great way to treat sensitive teeth?
H: Sensitive teeth are super common. We usually recommend simply using a soft toothbrush in conjunction with a fluoride-rich toothpaste.
Rebecca, Our Hygienist in Lincoln, answers: Last but not least, who is your favorite cartoon character?
H: Mickey Mouse. You can’t really go wrong with the classics.
Southpointe dental is a dental practice in South Lincoln, Nebraska. This is our health blog for wellness tips, dental secrets, and surprise goodies. Be sure to follow along here, or check out the Nebraska Family Dentistry Wellness Blog here. You can reach the editor with story ideas, responses, or anything else at firstname.lastname@example.org.