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Dental Assistant School Grads: Here Are the 4 Best Brushes Available

2016-12-21 by Mark Harrington

Tooth brushes in glass


A proper brushing and flossing routine is essential in order to maintain good oral health. There are so many products on the market, though, that it can sometimes be hard to know which options are the best. From dental floss, floss sticks, mouth wash, electric toothbrushes, and manual toothbrushes, the options are seemingly endless.

As a dental assistant, you’ll be able to help dentists educate their patients on how to maintain good oral hygiene. And while a top-of-the-line toothbrush might not always be necessary, many do provide helpful features that could help your future patients take better care of their teeth.

Which toothbrushes stand out from the rest? Read on to discover four top toothbrushes you can recommend to your patients.

1. Recommend the Oral-B Pro 1000 After Dental School

The Oral-B Pro 1000 is a great electric toothbrush which offers plenty of features you might love once you become a dental assistant. The first is a two-minute timer that helps your patients know how long to brush for. Most people brush their teeth for a much shorter period than they should. Fortunately, this toothbrush serves as a friendly reminder to keep going until the full two minutes are up.

dental school

Electric toothbrushes with timers can help your patients brush for the necessary amount of time

In addition to a helpful timer, the Oral-B Pro 1000 comes with a wide variety of replacement brush heads, making it easy for patients to choose the best one for their needs.

2. Grads of Dental School Will Love the Colgate 360 Toothbrush

There are limited studies available about the efficacy of electric toothbrushes compared to manual toothbrushes. In fact, most dental experts will agree that if a patient has good brushing technique, a manual toothbrush can be just as effective as an electric one. For your patients who are opposed to electric brushes or who don’t want to make a large investment, the manual Colgate 360 Degree Adult Full Head Toothbrush could be a great option.

dental assistant training

With proper technique, manual brushes can be just as effective as electric ones

As professionals who attend dental school know, most of the bacteria in the mouth lives on the cheeks, gums, and tongue. That’s why the Colgate 360 is such a great option. With a tongue and cheek cleaner on the back side of the toothbrush, your patients will be able to thoroughly clean all areas of their mouth.

3. Recommend the Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush After Dental Assistant School

Another great manual toothbrush your patients could consider is the Colgate Extra Clean Toothbrush. Its circular bristles are specifically designed to work with the proper circular brushing motion that professionals with dental assistant training advise their patients to practice. The bristles also have cleaning tips, which helps reach into the crevasses between teeth and brush out germs and debris. In addition, it comes with an easy-to-grip handle that provides precision while brushing.

4. Grads of Dental School Might Want to Try the Philips Sonicare 2 Series

The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is an electric toothbrush that is a top favourite among dental professionals. Like the Oral-B Pro 1000, it also features a two-minute timer to help patients brush for the proper amount of time. The Sonicare also offers a convenient rechargeable battery so that patients won’t have to replace the battery pack once the power is used up. One perk the Sonicare has over the Oral-B Pro 1000 is that it operates much more quietly. However, it is a little more expensive and has less replacement brush head options available. Fortunately, whichever option your patients choose, their teeth will be in good hands.

Are you interested in enrolling in dental assistant school?

Contact the National Academy of Health and Business to learn more!

Students In Dental Assistant School Should Know Experts Still Agree Flossing Works

2016-10-05 by Mark Harrington

dental assistant training

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

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 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.

Treating Patients with Dentures: 3 Tips for Dental Assistant School Grads

2016-07-27 by Mark Harrington

dental assistant programs

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.

Dental Assistant Training

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.

3 Common Causes of Jaw Pain: A Guide for Students in Dental Assistant Training

2016-05-04 by Mark Harrington

patient complains of toothache

When talking, eating, swallowing, or even touching the jaw area causes pain, patient’s know: it’s time to book an appointment with their local dentist’s office. If you’re considering a career in the dental field, it’s wise to prepare for the jaw problems your future patients will experience. After all, the jaw is one of the most frequently used joints in the body! It often needs expert attention.

Jaw pain is any kind of discomfort felt in the jaw area, made up of the lower jaw (mandible or ‘jaw bone’), temporomandibular joint (connecting the mandible to the temporal bone of the skull) and surrounding soft tissues.  Whether occurring suddenly or building up over time, jaw discomfort can feel like a dull ache, a sharp pain, or even restrict the mobility of the lower face.

Jaw pain is generally caused by a few key factors. To get you started on a successful dental assisting career of your own, here are three common causes of jaw pain to know.

1. Teeth Grinding: Learn About this Common Condition During Dental Assistant Training

Jaw pain is occasionally an indicator of serious diseases, disorders, and dental conditions—but most often, the relatively mild condition of teeth grinding is to blame for a patient’s discomfort.

Many people grind their teeth when they feel stressed, or unconsciously while they sleep. If left untreated, grinding can lead to tooth damage and lasting jaw pain. In your dental assistant training you will learn how to recognize teeth grinders while you perform routine cleanings. During your studies, you’ll also come to understand effective treatment methods for teeth grinders, including stress-relieving exercises and the nightly use of a custom mouth guard that protects teeth and the jaw from damage.

Teeth-grinding can be easily treated with a mouth guard

Teeth-grinding can be easily treated with a mouth guard

2. TMD: A Common, Complex Jaw Issue Studied in Dental Assistant Schools

When patients complain to skilled dental assistants about jaw pain, dental assistants often ask whether the patient experiences ‘clicking’ just in front of their ears when chewing or opening their mouths wide. A clicking jaw is a telltale sign of trouble in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), known to dental professionals as temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

TMD can be caused by wear and tear, injury, or infection in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues surrounding the joint. In severe cases, TMD can even cause the jaw to become permanently stuck in an open or closed position. When patients have regular dental appointments, dental assistants can recognize problematic TMD symptoms before the disorder becomes too serious.

3. An Abscessed Tooth: Deep Discomfort Dental Assistants Can Help Resolve

If you’re considering a dental assistant career, you likely already understand the value and importance of keeping teeth healthy. Students in dental assistant schools know that a clean and healthy smile comes from regular dental exams, treatments, and professional cleanings.

Jaw pain can often come as a result of neglecting oral health. For example, if cavities aren’t treated promptly and left for an extended period of time, infections can drive deeper into a patient’s teeth and make a home within patients’ jaws. When bacteria from cavities spread from the root of the tooth to surrounding bone tissue, a patient is left with an abscessed tooth and sore jaw.

With the right training, you’ll learn how to properly identify an abscessed tooth and assist a dentist performing the invasive oral surgeries necessary for healing its surrounding area—helping patients find relief from this painful problem.

Would you like to enroll in a top dental assistant program?

Visit NAHB to get started!

Taking Dental Assistant Training? Here’s a Brief Guide to Laser Dentistry

2016-02-03 by Mark Harrington

dental assistant school

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.

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.

 

 

 

A Quick Guide to Fluoride for Dental Assistants

2015-09-02 by Mark Harrington

dental assistant trainingFluoride 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.

A Dental Assistant’s Guide to Helping Patients Choose the Right Toothbrush

2015-08-05 by Mark Harrington

Toothbrushes

Given the sheer number of options out there (sometimes spanning a whole aisle at the pharmacy), choosing the right toothbrush can be a confusing task. When it comes to modern dental care, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution.

In fact, toothbrushes are now available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Additionally, every toothbrush features different types of bristles as well as bristle patterns.

Some patients might even feel like selecting the perfect toothbrush requires a dental college diploma, or at least some expert guidance from a certified dental assistant!

If you are planning to enroll in dental assistant courses, or you have already started your program, read on to learn more about the surprisingly complex world of toothbrushes—and how you can break it all down for your future patients.

Dental Assistants Know that Size Matters

While toothbrushes come in many sizes, dental assistant school graduates know that the head of a toothbrush should offer the user easy access to the surface of his or her teeth. Children generally have very small mouths and teeth; therefore, a toothbrush with a head size between 1.5cm and 2cm would be most effective. Most adults require a toothbrush that is at least an inch tall, as their teeth and mouths are much larger than those of children.

It’s important to note that if a toothbrush is not the right size, it can become very difficult to maneuver while brushing. Remember that effective brushing consists of reaching every area of the mouth, including the backs and sides of the molars.

Understanding Bristle Varieties as a Dental Assistant

Toothbrushes are available with soft, medium or hard nylon bristles. During your dental assistant training, you will learn that soft bristles are the safest and most comfortable choice for the majority of people, especially children. Dental pros generally warn vigorous brushers to steer clear of medium- and hard-bristled brushes, since these could damage the gums, root surface and tooth enamel. Medium and hard bristles work well for individuals with poor manual dexterity, or those who tend to brush very gently.

Bristle Patterns Play an Important Role

The way the bristles are arranged on a toothbrush is referred to as the bristle pattern. You may have noticed that the bristle pattern is sometimes different on select toothbrushes. Industry experts understand that different patterns affect the way that plaque and debris is removed from the teeth. Here is a quick guide to the some of the most popular options:

Block pattern: bristles are all the same height and length and arranged neatly.

Wavy pattern: bristles are arranged in a wavy (or v-shaped) pattern, allowing for better contact with areas around tooth surfaces.

Crisscross pattern: bristles are arranged in a crisscross pattern to lift plaque effectively.

Dental assistants typically help patients select their ideal toothbrush after considering their specific needs, brushing behavior, and general oral health. They may even perform a quick demonstration to show patients how they can fully maximize their toothbrush’s unique features.

Are you considering enrolling in a dental assistant program? Visit NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.

Dental Care for Diabetics: A Quick Guide for Dental Assistant Students

2015-06-17 by Mark Harrington

Most people know that diabetes mellitus (commonly known as diabetes) refers to the metabolic condition of having above average blood sugar levels. This disease is generally a result of the body’s failure to utilize ingested glucose properly.

Most individuals suffering from diabetes are aware that the disease can actually cause harm to multiple areas of the body including the eyes, nerves, kidneys, the heart and more. However, what many people do not know is that diabetes can cause serious oral health problems as well. In fact, dental assistant professionals know that those with diabetes actually have a high risk of developing periodontal disease. Read on to learn more about periodontal disease and how dental assistants advise patients with diabetes to care for their teeth.

Understanding Periodontal Disease as a Dental Assistant

Industry experts know that periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. At its worst stages, this infection can result in tooth loss as well as an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.

While those with diabetes have a higher risk of getting periodontal disease than those without diabetes, periodontal disease can be caused by a combination of issues, like hormonal changes, smoking, poor oral hygiene and a family history of dental disease.

Dental Assistants Know That Constant Brushing and Flossing is Essential

Professionals with dental assistant training know that while everyone should be thoroughly cleaning their teeth regularly, doing so is absolutely crucial for diabetics. In fact, dental pros recommend that anyone with diabetes brush and floss their teeth after every meal or snack. However, if this is not possible (due to commitments like work or school), then twice each day will suffice. Cleaning the teeth will protect them from acid as well as the formation of plaque.

Students enrolled in dental assistant courses know that the beginning stages of gum disease rarely have any signs or symptoms. The disease can actually reach a very advanced stage before a patient begins to feel pain or notice any bleeding. That’s why preventative measures are a patient’s safest bet against any dental health issues.

Treating a Diabetic as a Dental Professional

Graduates of dental assistant college know that people living with diabetes can be treated using the same cleaning and treatment methods as those who do not have the disease. Of course, there are a few precautions that should be taken. During a cleaning, certified dental assistants typically remove all deposits that have formed between the teeth and under the gums. Since a diabetic patient’s gums may be sensitive, dental experts might be required to freeze the patient’s mouth to eliminate pain.

If a diabetic patient is required to take insulin, both dental assistants and dentists should confirm with the patient that he or she has in fact taken it before having any dental procedures done. During the appointment, dental professionals should watch the patient closely to ensure that there are no signs of an insulin reaction.

Are you interested in learning more about the dental industry? Find out more about the Dental Assistant Program offered at NAHB.

The Fundamentals of Preventative Dentistry

2015-06-10 by Mark Harrington

Dental assistant training

Dental health professionals know that preventative dentistry refers to the practice of caring for one’s teeth and gums in order to maintain good oral health. Experts recognize tooth decay and gum disease as the two main causes of tooth loss, and preventative measures are the best way to ensure their patients maintain a mouthful of healthy teeth for life. Preventative dentistry can be practiced in a wide range of ways including regular brushing and annual visits to the dentist.

If you are pursuing a dental assistant career, you will soon learn all about preventative dentistry. Read on for a quick guide to how it works, why it is recommended by dentists and what it encompasses.

Dental Assistants Recognize the Benefits of Preventative Dentistry

Dental assistants know that patients who practice preventative dentistry will benefit by reducing their risk of getting cavities, gingivitis and a wide range of other dental problems. Preventative dentistry goes far beyond simply protecting the teeth, also working to prevent oral diseases like mouth cancer and denture stomatitis. Professionals who have had dental assistant training know that it is never too late to practice preventative dentistry.

Understanding How Diet Can Affect Oral Health

Dental assistant school graduates know that one of the most common causes of tooth decay is sugar consumption. This means that regularly munching on foods that have very high sugar contents will harm the teeth if the proper care is not provided afterwards. While brushing often is a clear way to prevent decay, experts know that snacking on foods like cheese, fruit, nuts and veggies naturally helps cleanse the teeth, and can also aid in preventing gum disease and mouth cancer.

Dental Pros Are Well-versed in Prevention Strategies

Experts holding a dental assistant diploma know of many preventive oral care strategies that can be practiced both at the dental office by a professional, as well as at home. Some of these include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Brushing and flossing twice a day
  • Fluoride treatments and the use of fluoride toothpaste
  • Regular visits to the dentist
  • Dental cleanings and screenings once every six months
  • Occasional x-rays to look for hidden signs of problems
  • Sealants can prevent teeth from decay
  • A mouth guard should be worn during sports and can be worn while sleeping to protect teeth from breaking or grinding

Additionally, dental pros recommend that smoking and drinking alcohol be avoided altogether, since these are sure-fire ways to negatively affect the health of your teeth and mouth. In fact, they can both cause dry mouth, tooth discoloration and plaque buildup. Smoking alone is known to cause gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.

Can you think of any other preventative dental strategies that you might suggest to patients once you have earned your dental assistant diploma?

 

A Dental Assistant’s Guide to Braces

2015-03-25 by Mark Harrington

teeth with braces

Dental professionals know that the mouth is a complicated area of the body, especially where teeth are concerned. Teeth can become crooked or crowded while growing, or become damaged in an injury. Luckily, there is an assortment of treatments that exist to correct these issues.

Braces are generally applied by orthodontists to improve the look and health of teeth, and the once-limited selection has now evolved so that there are braces to suit every patient’s needs. Here’s a quick guide to understanding the differences between the four main varieties of braces:

Traditional Metals

Traditional braces are made of stainless steel brackets and wires that are held in place with small rubber bands. Metal braces are the most common and effective type available, but they are also the most visible. One great thing about metal braces, however, is that they are the least expensive type on the market, and there have even been significant updates to improve these braces over the years. Metal braces are generally much smaller today than they once were, and as graduates know from their dental assistant training, new innovations like heat-activated arch wires allow the teeth to move much more quickly and with less pain because they respond to the body’s heat.

While there are various other options that are much more discreet, children and teenagers tend to choose traditional braces because they allow for fun individual expression through the coloured rubber bands.

Camouflage Ceramics

Ceramic braces are essentially the same as traditional braces except that they are made from ivory-coloured or clear ceramic instead of stainless steel. This allows them to blend easily into the teeth so that they are a lot less noticeable than stainless steel braces. While patients are usually given the option of having coloured rubber bands with ceramic braces, most usually opt for clear bands, as they are less visible. Dental assistant school graduates know that while the actual ceramic braces do not stain or discolour, the rubber bands or ties can become coloured through the consumption of various foods and beverages. These bands and ties are changed regularly by the orthodontist, so every month or so the patient will have new bands altogether.

Hidden Linguals

While lingual braces may appear invisible, anyone who has taken dental assistant courses knows that they are actually similar to traditional braces, but they are just hidden behind the teeth, as opposed to in front of them. Lingual braces are much more expensive than both traditional and ceramic braces, mainly because the application process is much more complex and there are very few orthodontists that know how to properly apply them. One great thing about these braces is that they are not visible from the outside; however, they are much harder to clean and can be less effective if a patient’s case is very severe. Lingual braces can also be very uncomfortable (especially to those with very small teeth) and they can also cause speech problems, as well as slight oral injuries.

Invisalign

Just as the name suggests, Invisalign braces are invisible to the casual observer. Of course, the invisibility that’s offered by these braces does come at a much higher cost than any of the other options. One ideal characteristic of these braces is that they can be removed and replaced at anytime, so they allow people to eat and drink whatever they want, without becoming stained. While these braces are less effective than traditional options—especially in very severe cases—they do work great for people who do not have significant oral problems. One downside to Invisalign braces is that they are only available for teenagers and adults, so children are not able to benefit from their discreetness.

Do you know which type of braces are most popular for patients? 

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