2016-10-05 by Mark Harrington
Flossing has been a major topic of discussion in the dental health industry for quite some time. With opinions ranging from it being unnecessary to completely necessary, dental experts still agree flossing is worth the extra time and effort. The Associated Press released a report citing 25 different studies that investigated flossing and its effects, and the report concluded flossing is not necessary; however Canada’s top dental association is speaking out and declaring it is not changing its stance on the matter—flossing is absolutely necessary for healthy gums and mouth.
If you’re planning to pursue dental assistant training, read on to learn why you’ll definitely be advising future patients to floss their teeth.
Dental Experts Still Believe Flossing is Beneficial
As dental assistant students will learn during their studies, the Canadian Dental Association has an official stance on flossing and its usefulness, believing it is an effective way to remove plaque and bacteria from in-between one’s teeth. In response to the investigation that concluded flossing is obsolete, Edmonton-based periodontist Dr. Doug Pattigrew said he believes the findings were interpreted wrongly, he states “They say there is weak evidence that flossing helps, but there is no good evidence that it doesn’t help. And people are just jumping on this.”
Damien Walmsley, dentist and scientific advisor to the British Dental Association, a well-known supporter of not flossing, says flossing is only critical when there are large portions of food stuck in your teeth, it is not necessary to floss daily. Pattigrew disagrees with Walmsley, saying “Floss is cheap and easy” and “I do a lot of surgery for gum disease. Would you rather spend five minutes flossing your teeth, or would you rather come into my office and have two hours of surgery in six different areas over six visits at $2,500 a pop?” Once you’ve completed your dental assistant training and have started your career, you might consider borrowing Pattigrew’s argument to help motivate patients to floss their teeth regularly, ensuring their mouths stay healthy.
Dental professionals urge patients to floss at home to maintain their oral health
Future Influencers are Students in Dental Assistant Programs
During your career as a dental assistant, you will become an advocate for the dental community, working in dental offices, clinics, health units, and hospitals. While enrolled in dental assistant school, you will learn proper flossing techniques which you will be expected to perform on your future patients. You may also be required to teach patients how to maintain good dental hygiene on their own. Despite the outcome that flossing is no longer necessary, The Canadian Dental Association still concludes brushing and flossing are both important steps in keeping your future patient’s mouths healthy, arguing that without flossing, one-third of the surface of the teeth will remain unclean.
Dental Assistant programs provide students the foundations of dental care knowledge
Dental Assistant Programs Prepare Students to Work in Dentistry
At dental assistant schools like NAHB, students gain the theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills they need to thrive once they begin their careers. Through courses like Clinical Chairside Procedures, and Preventative Dentistry & Nutrition, Communications/Psychology, students learn about proper dental procedures and preventative care techniques (such as brushing and flossing regularly), and they master the communication skills needed to advise future patients about such procedures and preventative methods.
In as little as 26 weeks in NAHB’s Dental Chairside Assistant Diploma program, you’ll be prepared to take on your new role as a dental assistant, helping patients care for their teeth through regular brushing and flossing. You can expect to complete a wide variety of tasks throughout your work day including collecting patient information, performing teeth cleanings, preparing equipment, and much more.
Are you comparing dental assistant programs to find one that’s right for you?
Contact NAHB to learn more about our courses, or to speak with an advisor.
2016-07-27 by Mark Harrington
More than one 20 per cent of Canadians over the age of 60 have no natural teeth. Health Canada maintains that natural tooth loss can lead to changes in the way patients eat, which may result in nutrient deficiency, speech difficulty, and/or weight loss. Dentures help to prevent these issues by restoring a natural feeling in the mouth. David Jenson, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health, explains that dentures change lives, as the teeth don’t move at all and can help get people back to normal functioning. As a dental assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to be part of restoring this natural feeling to patients and improving lives.
Continue reading to discover three effective tips for treating patients with dentures.
1. Dental Assistant School Grads Know About Denture Cleaning
There is some upkeep required with dentures in order to maintain their look and prevent infection. During appointments with patients, graduates of dental assistant school may see how, or have the responsibility of, removing stains and calculus, which is a form of hardened dental plaque. Some dentists have ultrasonic cleaning capabilities for dentures. These ultrasonic instruments actually vibrate plaque and calculus off of dentures. A good tip is to advise patients that they can purchase these machines for their homes, to keep dentures ultra-clean in between appointments.
2. Grads of Dental Assistant Training Know that Denture Home Care is Important
Denture care at home often extends beyond purchasing an ultrasonic cleaning machine. Patients will need to soak and scrub dentures daily in order for their cleanliness to be maintained. The entirety of a mouth becomes covered with saliva within about 30 minutes, which then can serve as a base on which oral debris and microorganisms can start to form. Dentures are usually fabricated out of resin, meaning they don’t always have completely smooth surfaces and so plaque and calculus can build up in its nooks and crannies. In addition, after you graduate from dental assistant training and begin to work with patients with dentures, you may find out that there is a process of ‘accommodation’ that patients need to go through, during which time the mouth may not respond normally to bacteria and plaque buildup—meaning patients don’t notice it is there.
It is important to advise patients about proper cleaning methods for dentures, like soaking them
3. Students in Dental Assistant Programs Know About Denture Adhesive
How exactly do dentures stay in the mouth? Dentists and dental assistants use denture adhesives to ensure that dentures stay where they need to be; on either side of the tongue. Studies have shown numerous times that dental adhesives can be used regularly with no changes to the natural activity of the oral cavity.
Throughout your career, make sure to advise patients that they should apply denture adhesive only to clean and dry dentures, while keeping the cap dry to prevent any clogging in the bottle.
Whether it’s advising patients about when and how they should apply dental adhesive, knowing how to clean dentures, or advising patients about home-care methods for dentures, these tips will put you on track to succeed in a dental office.
Want to find out how dental assistant programs can teach you more about how to care for patients?
Contact an advisor today to find out more.
2016-02-03 by Mark Harrington
The word laser is an acronym, which stands for ‘Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.’ Over the past few years, laser technology has found its way into dentistry. Lasers have proven to be a very safe and effective tool in treating a wide range of oral health issues. In fact, lasers are generally used in conjunction with a wide range of other dental instruments.
Many dental offices in Canada use laser technology to treat patients. If you’re interested in pursuing dental assistant training, you might find work in a dental office that uses laser technology. Read on to learn more about the history of laser dentistry, what it’s used for, and some of the benefits it provides to patients.
Laser Dentistry: A History for Students Pursuing Dental Assistant Training
The first laser system used in dentistry was developed by a dentist named Dr. Terry Meyers and his brother William in the late 1980′s. Shortly after this development, the “dental laser revolution” began. After developing their product, the D-Lase 300, the Meyers brothers founded the American Dental Laser company. And, within a short period of time, several other dental laser associations were created, giving the dental industry a lot of exposure to laser technology.
In 1991, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted American Dental Laser clearance that allowed the company to bring its product to the market for use on soft tissues. Professionals with dental assistant training know that today, dental laser technology has evolved, as it can also be used on hard surfaces like enamel and dentin.
Dental Assistant School Grads Know Lasers are Used for Many Dental Procedures
Lasers cannot be used for all types of dental procedures. However, after years of testing, dental experts have deemed lasers safe for some common practices. These include:
- Reducing the size, pain and discomfort of canker sores and cold sores
- Exposing wisdom teeth that have only partially poked through the gums
- Removing muscle attachments that limit proper jaw or tongue movement
- Performing biopsies
- Reshaping or removing gum and bone tissue for crown lengthening procedures
Although dental lasers aren’t capable of doing all the work for procedures like root canals, they can be very helpful in treating infections. Recent grads of dental assistant programs know that tooth whitening is among the most popular reasons dental lasers are used. Laser tooth whitening is so popular, in fact, that there are entire dental practices devoted only to performing that procedure.
Lasers have become a popular tool for teeth whitening procedures.
Understanding the Benefits of Laser Dentistry
One of the major benefits of laser dentistry is that for some procedures, dentists can use a laser instead of a drill. Dental experts know that the sound and feeling of drills can be the cause of many people’s anxiety when visiting the dentist’s office, so lasers offer patients a much more relaxing experience.
Dental laser technology is precise, and when it is used to perform certain procedures, patients may not even require anesthesia or stitches. Lasers can also reduce bacteria in gum tissue and cavities, and patients who receive laser treatments report less symptoms and shorter healing times than with traditional methods.
Choose a dental assistant school that offers relevant training for today’s dental practices.
Visit NAHB to learn more about our dental assistant program or to speak with an advisor.
2015-09-02 by Mark Harrington
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring ion of the element fluorine and it can be found in food, water, and even soil. It is one of the most abundant elements on the planet’s crust, and, curiously, it has also become entangled in one of the most controversial public health debates in history.
If you are planning to enroll in dental assistant courses, read on to learn why fluoride has become the subject of intensive study, heated debate, and public education programs.
The Benefits of Fluoride are Discovered by Dental Experts
Because fluoride is so abundant, it sometimes occurs naturally in water sources. In the 1930s, dental experts conducted ground-breaking research on communities that drank naturally fluoridated water and found that they were up to two-thirds less likely to suffer from tooth decay.
This was a major breakthrough at the time. During the first half of the 20th century, dental health was not as critical as it is today and many people suffered from cavities and had to have their teeth extracted.
The problem was so bad that some official records noted that; “Failure to meet the minimum standard of having six opposing teeth was a leading cause of rejection from military service in both world wars.”
It’s no surprise, then, that when dental industry experts discovered the benefits of fluoride, they quickly began to extensively study which doses were safest and how to help as much of the population as possible.
How Fluoride Protects Teeth
Students completing dental assistant training are familiar with the oral health benefits of fluoride. In fact, dental assistants are sometimes required to apply fluoride varnishes, gels, and foams to patients’ teeth.
Fluoride benefits the teeth in two ways. First, it encourages remineralisation of the tooth enamel. This strengthens teeth and can even partially fix damaged enamel (but not once a cavity has already formed).
Secondly, fluoride prevents new damage known as demineralization. Demineralization happens when harmful bacteria turns sugar into acid that eats away at tooth enamel. Because fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel through remineralisation, it makes it less susceptible to future acid damage.
Controversy About Fluoride in Water
Because of the benefits of fluoride and the great public need for better oral health, many leading organizations in Canada and around the world recommend adding it to public drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canadian Dental Association (CDA), World Health Organization (WHO) as well as many others recommend fluoride as an effective preventative public health initiative.
As a result, many communities in Canada, and the rest of the world add fluoride to public drinking water.
However, some critics have pointed out that adding fluoride to water takes away a citizen’s right to choose whether they receive the treatment or not. They state that while they might opt for the professional application of fluoride from a dental school graduate, the lack of choice that comes with a sweeping public policy feels like an infringement on their rights.
In response, professionals who have completed dental assistant programs state that adding fluoride to drinking water benefits those who may not be able to afford regular dental care. They also state that adding fluoride to water saves money for both governments and individuals who might otherwise have to pay for more expensive treatments later in life.
Do you think fluoride should be kept or removed from public drinking water?
Are you interested in becoming a dental assistant? Visit NAHB to learn more about our 26-week diploma program, or to speak with an advisor.