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Dental Vacation Tips for your Teeth

Whether your planning a relaxing or adventurous vacation your well-being is important while on holidays, but it’s easy to overlook some of your daily routines when you’re busy or distracted.

Your oral care never gets time off, and although a dental emergency can occur unexpectedly, a little preplanning can give you some peace of mind when travelling.

We have some easy tips on how to look after your dental wellbeing during your travels.

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DENTAL VACATION TIPS FOR YOUR TEETH

Before you Travel

  • Regular 6 month dental check up visits help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and allow you to address any oral health issues before they become bigger, more complicated problems.
  • There are pros and cons to starting any complicated dental treatment before you travel. Ensure you discuss any dental concerns with your dentist so that you can be prepared for any uncertainties. Most dental problems should be cleared up right away before they become emergencies, while many elective procedures can be postponed until your return. Understand however, that you should take care of problematic matters well ahead of time to prevent any post treatment issues that can possibly delay your vacation.
  • It is not always possible to protect yourself against accidents, so if you require medical or dental treatment while on vacation ensure that you have received your Hepatitis B vaccination before you travel.

What to Pack

  • Your routine oral care supplies – toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss.
  • A clean, ventilated toothbrush container.
  • Sugarless gum for when you may not be able to brush your teeth immediately after a meal. It helps to neutralize acids and increase saliva flow to wash away food debris.
  • If you are bringing your electric toothbrush ensure that it is compatible with the power outlets at your destination or bring the correct adaptive device.
  • Your night guard if you wear one.
  • A dental sports guard to protect against accidental dental injuries.
  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
  • Denture adhesive and dental wax for small emergencies which are sold at most pharmacies (*See below)

Emergency Treatment

Be prepared and plan ahead in case of a dental emergency!

  • Call your dental insurer to find out if your policy covers dental treatment out of province. Know what your plan’s limitations are and what dental claim forms need to be submitted. Get extra coverage if need be.
  • An internet search at home will help you find the name, telephone number, office hours and emergency contact of local dental clinics where you will be vacationing just in the need arises. Make sure you receive an itemized receipt and claim form before you leave their clinic.
  • *Denture adhesive  can be used to temporarily recement a loosened crown. Sugarless gum or dental wax can be placed over sharp tooth edges if you accidently chip or break a tooth.
  • If you do require immediate attention, perhaps the attending dentist can offer a sufficient, temporary solution until you get home.

What to Avoid

  • Do not use your teeth as tools to open packages, remove tags, uncap bottles, cracking open nuts, etc.
  • Avoid using tap water to brush your teeth in countries where the quality of local water is questionable. Use bottled water or mouthwash to rinse your teeth and clean your toothbrush.
  • Watch what you chew! Do not crunch on ice cubes. Avoid hard foods and candies. Be careful with bones, seeds, popcorn kernels and food that can easily get stuck between teeth. These are all practical suggestions, but they require your careful attention.

Layovers

20140915_103602_resizedRemember to prepare if you have a long layover at an airport or other travel stops. Keep a small oral care travel case with you at all times. Each of our patients at Your Smile Dental Care receive one of these kits after their routine check-up visits. They often tell us just how handy they are when traveling, away at school or for when company visits.

We hope that with a little forethought your time spent away from the hustle and bustle of your daily routines will be full of happy smiles and great memories.

Safe travels,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533


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Top Unrealistic Expectations of Dentistry

As the drill turns…

It’s a well-known dental phrase. In restaurants it may be, “As the grill turns” and in retail, “As the till turns” etc…

20-04-2015 9-21-03 AMThere can be a lot of drama in our spit and polish world. The sugar enemy is everywhere and we are always wrestling with our patients to blush and floss better. We get to have really cool high tech gadgets with blue laser beams and fight off cavities, and it’s assumed that we are all miracle workers possessing such Superhuman powers as x-ray vision, bilocation and the ability to tell the future.

Where a surgeon may get to ply his workmanship in an spacious operatory aided by an assistant surgeon and a team of nurses, on a sleep-induced patient –  the modern dentist still works the front lines of the miracle business performing their highly technical procedures in the confined spaces of the dark, saliva-drenched mouth where an attention-seeking tongue, who tries to thwart our efforts, lives.

Sometimes, it’s one adventure after another which makes our profession an exciting world and a source for endless blogging!

Armed with over 30 years of experience, we have gathered what we believe to be the “Top 10 Unrealistic Expectations of Dentistry.”  In this series, we would like to share some of the valuable insight we have gathered concerning the patient experience and their expectations.

In a perfect world, the outcome of every patient experience would, ideally, be a positive one. An experience where we could maximize patient expectations and minimize their disappointments and risks. Given that they often have little or no control over what their patients do to their teeth and body outside of the office, dentists are often held up to very high expectations.

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8. X-rays aren’t necessary

Most times they are

Ah, to have x-ray vision – another of the Superpowers we mentioned earlier in this series. Expecting a medical practitioner to diagnosis and perform surgery without the aid of diagnostic tools is so impractical. The portion of the tooth that you see in your mouth is just one part of a much larger picture. X-rays are used as a diagnostic tool to help the dentist see what the naked eye cannot. The root of the tooth, it’s inside tissues, ligaments, bone socket, jaw bone, nerves, blood vessels, and extent of health can only be seen on an x-ray.
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What may look to you as a straight forward filling may actually be a situation that involves an infection within the tooth. The bone level of a tooth may not support the new tooth that you wish to have placed in an area. That small broken tooth may actually have a fracture line that runs far beyond the crown of the tooth and into the root/foundation of the tooth.

Understanding that dentists have physical limitations to their diagnostic capabilities and do not have x-ray vision will help you to appreciate why they must include further tests to help determine the best course of action before they proceed.

The great thing about today’s modern medical advances is that most dental offices are now equipped with digital imaging systems. The new digital  electronic sensors allow dental providers to take 10 x-rays for every 1 of the old, out-dated type of radiographic film. It is much more efficient in terms of time, radiation dosage, definition/clarity, and electronic sharing.

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3. All dental work should be guaranteed

Most have limitations

You can build a beautiful, solid home, but without regular maintenance and repair and a solid foundation, it will eventually begin show signs of wear and breakdown. A new knee can give you a new outlook on life, but if you do not follow doctor’s orders, gain excess weight, injure the area, develop an infection, etc, the surgeon’s beautiful work can be 20-04-2015 4-59-41 PMcompromised. A sound treatment plan takes into account everything that will work with and against it. However, in the world of medicine, there are no guarantees and not everything is foreseeable nor predictable.

The successful outcome to treatment is dependant on so many things, not the least of which is patient compliance and their overall dental health. Things like poor oral hygiene, neglecting your checkups, not following instructions, illnesses, not wearing your night guard, misusing your teeth, injury and disease to supporting tissues can and will affect the workmanship in your mouth. Temporary restorations or choosing a course of treatment that was different or less appropriate than the one recommended will also compromise any guarantees available.

A good dentist will discuss your options with you so that you can weigh the information carefully and make an informed decision about your oral health care. They will stand behind the quality of their work under normal circumstances and discuss any long term prognosis before treatment. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining your regular re-care visits and cleanings. It is during these visits that your dentist can examine any prior restorative treatment as well as the structures in your mouth that support these restorations.

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5. Pulling the tooth will fix the problem once and for all!

It creates different problems…

Wisdom Teeth RecoveryPain is a great motivator! It’s immediate impact can distract us from making clear, well thought out decisions and sometimes, for the sake of relief, we choose an easy way out. Understanding the disease process and the relationship of teeth to one another is key to appreciating why the loss of even just a single tooth will compromise the health of the surrounding teeth, gums and bone.

Every tooth is essential and plays a significant role and the consequences of tooth loss are multifaceted and complex. Because the effects of tooth loss are not always immediate and their replacement involves a financial consideration, it is easy to ignore or delay your dentist’s recommendations. It’s usually not until you begin to see and feel the problems that missing teeth create that you also begin to realize the pain of regret.

See our blog on Dental Collapse for a more detailed explanation of the effects of missing teeth.

We live in a “quick fix” world, but the short term, patchwork dentistry you choose today will have to addressed sooner or later. The irony is,  that in the long run, most people end up paying considerably more in terms of further complications and higher dental costs for earlier, short-term solutions. Choosing a dentist that will work with you to come up with a realistic, long term solution is an important consideration. Understand that neglect is expensive – not dentistry.

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6. Just Fix It

It may not  be that simple…

29-12-2014 6-30-52 PMSometimes a patient comes in with a problem and wants it solved within a specific time and money frame. Often their condition is the result of their own neglect or a series of previous patchwork jobs. I think most dentists do amazing work, but we are not miracle workers. What took years to break will take some time to restore.

How to deal with unrealistic expectations such as this can be difficult and in return, we ask that you, as a patient – be patient. Sometimes, we can provide initial care to manage your immediate needs with the understanding that you will follow-up with subsequent treatment. Unfortunately, some patients do not return and it becomes a future complication for us or another practitioner, oftentimes unfairly making the original dentist’s care look questionable.

When a patient has swelling, pain, bleeding, or infection  we can provide immediate care and attempt to relieve their pain and stabilize the condition. However, sometimes the symptoms are so severe that medication is necessary before any subsequent treatment can be started. Other times, a patient comes in with a discomfort that is not readily identifiable in the mouth or on an x-ray and intervention involves monitoring the situation.

We are an evidence based profession, and if after gathering as much information as we can, we still cannot find the source of a patient’s discomfort, we may have to refer them to a specialist or wait to re-evaluate the situation at a later date. This can be frustrating for both the patient and the dentist, but the risk of misdiagnosing is an important consideration under these circumstances.

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11. I don’t want any treatment

Non Compliance

You may wonder how does a person even walk through our doors without the intention if following through with treatment. Sometimes they are here for their regular check-up exam and cleaning and we see a problem that they were unaware of. Other times, they visit us for a particular problem and the diagnosis in not what they anticipated hearing.

While a person may have their reasons for refusing treatment, as healthcare providers, it is our duty to explain, in understandable terms, a patient’s condition, treatment options and any possible future repercussions. We must be prepared to use any number of diagnostic tools to help a patient “see” the evidence, understand fully the seriousness of a condition and the consequences of delaying treatment.

It may not always be the good news they were hoping for nor the routine checkup they were expecting, but we cannot neglect our duty to inform. A good dental provider will help guide a patient in their decision-making appreciating that oftentimes it is fear or finances that complicate the process. Nobody wants to see a patient return with regret nor claiming that they did not fully understand that they were making a risky decision that could compromise their future health.

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