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Healthy Living

Things to know

Brushing
Flossing
Rinsing
Visiting your dentist regularly
Dental specialists
A guide to some common dental terms


Brushing

1.

Aim the bristles at a 45o angle, into the gum line Use small circular motions, keeping the tips of the bristles more or less in the same place.

2.

Remove plaque from all outer surfaces of lower and upper teeth with small circular strokes.

3.

Make sure you can feel the bristles at the gumline and between the teeth applying the same circular brushing action.

4.

Use the long neck to remove plaque from behind the last molar.

5.

Use a back-and-forth stroke to brush the biting surfaces on both upper and lower molars. Make sure you extend your brush to the last of your teeth (at the very back of your mouth).

Brush your teeth twice a day and replace your brush every three or four months.





Flossing
1.

Take about 50 cm of floss and wind its ends around your middle fingers.

2.

Use your thumbs to guide floss gently and carefully between upper teeth and under the gum-line. Avoid `snapping' floss against the gums.

3.

Curve floss around each tooth and use an up-and-down motion to remove harmful plaque. Remember to clean each tooth separately and thoroughly.

4.

Use index fingers to guide floss gently between the lower teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth using an up-and-down motion.

Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth.



Rinsing

Rinse your mouth with water thoroughly after each meal. Rinse for a minute everyday with mouthwash.

Visiting your dentist regularly

To help keep your teeth and gums healthy, be sure to see your dentist and hygienist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning at least twice a year.

Dental specialists

In addition to the routine visits, your general dentist may recommend that you visit a specialist for a particular dental problem. Following is a list of dental specialists and a description of what they do.

Specialist What the specialist does?
Endodontist Specialises in root canal therapy and other treatments involving damaged tooth pulp and related tissues.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Extracts teeth and surgically treats diseases, injuries and defects of the jaw and mouth.
Orthodontist Corrects the improper position of teeth, known as malocclusion, using braces and other appliances.
Pediatric Dentist Specialises in treating the dental needs of children.
Periodontist Treats diseases of the gums and other tissues that surround the teeth.
Prosthodontist Specialises in artificial devices for the mouth such as Dentures, Bridges and Implants.



A guide to some common dental terms

Dental Terms What they mean?
Abscess A serious infection sometime caused by severe decay. Symptoms include pain and swelling. Root canal therapy is often required.
Bleaching A process of applying hydrogen peroxide solution to whiten discoloured or stained teeth.
Bonding The process of attaching tooth-coloured materials to stained or damaged teeth to restore or improve their colour or shape.
Bridge Also known as a fixed bridge. One or more artificial teeth fixed in the mouth by attachments to neighbouring teeth. Usually, joined by crowns on either side of the artificial teeth. Sometimes joined with metal extensions bonded to the backs of neighbouring teeth.
Crown Also called a Cap. An artificial cover for a decayed or damaged tooth, made of plastic, metal, porcelain or a combination of metal and porcelain.
Dentures One or more artificial teeth that are removable. Full dentures replace an entire set of upper or lower teeth. Partial dentures are attached to natural teeth with metal clasps or other devices that enable the artificial teeth (bridge) to be removed.
Filling Material used to fill a cavity. Usually composed of a mixture of metals (amalgam) plastic, porcelain or gold.
Impacted Tooth An unexposed tooth in the jaw that cannot reach its normal position and is confined beneath the gum's surface. May cause pain.
Orthodontic Treatment A method of correcting the position of teeth using braces or similar devices.
Periodontitis The advanced stage of gum disease and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Gums and tissues are inflamed, plaque gets into pockets below the gumline, tooth roots become exposed and supporting bone is destroyed causing tooth loss. Symptoms can include separation of gums from teeth; shifting or loose teeth; bad breath or a bad taste or both in your mouth.
Root Canal Therapy Also called Endodontics. The cleaning out and filling of the innermost part of the tooth, known as the pulp, that has been damaged or severely decayed.
Scaling The removal of tartar from the teeth above and below the gumlines. Must be done by a dental professional.

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