Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Autism -  a developmental disability that significantly affects communication (both verbal and non verbal) and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autistic people are, engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

-1 percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.

-Prevalence is estimated at 1 in 88 births.

-1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder.

Autistic patients, as well as patients with similar behavioral and possibly intellectual challenges,  present a unique challenge for dentists as well as parents. Most dental procedures  involve the use of bright lights, loud noises, and touching of a very sensitive part of the body.  Most people in general are uneasy, and apprehensive about dental treatment, imagine what it is like for an autistic child or adult.

Hypersensitivity to one’s environment is usually a hallmark trait for most autistic patients. This makes dental care even more challenging, as they may react adversely to the sensory overload. Autistic patients do not like change in their daily schedules, new noises, new people, or new activities. In the past, these challenges would lead to most dentists turning away such patients, but in modern dentistry this is no longer the case.  There are many dentists who have training to help them with the special challenges that come with autism.

Dental Issues For Autistic Patients

-Poor Dental Hygiene. While this is not isolated just to Autistic patients, the autistic population has an increased risk of poor maintenance.

-Increased Tooth Decay. Poor dental hygiene and tooth decay go hand in hand but for these patients there is increased risk due to many parents and caregivers use of candy as a reward for good behavior, and a common habit of pocketing of food in the cheek. The increased exposure to sugars, and leaving carbohydrates in direct contact with the tooth surface over prolonged periods an will lead to increase in tooth decay.

-Teeth Grinding or Bruxism. While many people suffer from this, we have seen a higher rate of autistic patients vs the general population exhibiting this behavior.

-Self Injury. Many autistic patients will bite or pick at their gums creating an issue dentally. A mouth guard might be recommended as long as the autistic patient can tolerate it.

-Medication related issues. Many autistic patients suffer from seizures and therefore take medication for it. These medications can lead to decreased saliva production which can lead to dry mouth and subsequent bad breath and tooth decay.

Techniques for Handling Autistic Patients in Dental Chair

1) Set up a Pre-Appointment Tour and Introduction. Parents should talk to the dentist ahead of time to let him/her know a bit about the child, including what helps to soothe and what is an easy set off for behaviors. Let the patient come to the office to tour the facilities and get a feel for the surroundings and the people there. Let them see the trays as well as touch everything that is safe for them to touch. This should include the x ray machine so they are familiar with it when they arrive for the actual appointment. Meeting the entire staff is very important as well.

2) Keep Initial Visit as short as possible. Make the first visit quick and as noninvasive as possible.

3) Always keep Communicating. The dentist and Hygienist needs to explain what is going to happen to the child directly, what instruments are going to be used, what it might feel like, and about how long it is going to take to finish. The child should feel free to ask questions, and be taught hand signals to let the dentist know if they need a break, or if they cannot tolerate any more.

4) Have Parents in Room if Needed. This one becomes a personal choice between parent or caregiver and dentist. Some patients do well with them in room and some do not. It is totally a case by case decision. Never be afraid of insisting that you be present during the dental appointment –  your child may require you to be there anyway. Make sure the dental staff is comfortable with this.

5) Possible use of General Anesthesia, Sedatives, restraints. More involved dental procedures like tooth extractions, dental fillings and even radiographs can be done under sedation or general anesthesia if the patient’s behavior is likely to create difficulty for the dentist or patient in providing safe dental care. Restraints sound scary to most, but autistic children, especially those with Aspergers are calmed by a tight pediwrap. Aspergers children often squeeze themselves in a hug or wear tight clothing to self soothe in an intense situation.

Conclusion For Autistic Patients Dental Care

Autistic patients are presented with challenges everyday of their lives so it is up to those around them to come up with solutions to make it as seamless as possible for them. The challenge is there, but it can be overcome with patience between dentist, patient, and parent/caregiver. With proper planning, dental care is possible to maintain autistic patients teeth and gums for a lifetime.

Bad breath or halitosis, results from poor maintenance of dental hygiene, chemical breakdown of food, and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by  unhealthy lifestyle habits. We all know how bad our breath is after eating onions or garlic for lunch, but did you know that your tongue can be a major cause of your bad breath?

Importance of Regularly Cleaning Your Tongue

Did you know that your tongue’s surface is the main breeding ground for harmful bacteria? These are the same bacteria that attack your teeth and gums causing tooth cavities and periodontal disease.  Bacteria  give off toxins in your mouth that in turn produce foul smelling gases.

Most people are aware of the importance of brushing and flossing but a simple “scraping” of your tongue twice a day can reduce bad breath odors. Studies have shown this can reach as high as a 75% reduction in odors emanating from the mouth.

A dental myth widely believed is that the stomach is the root cause of bad breath. Bad breath directly caused from the stomach is so rare that of a thousand people treated for bad breath not a single case was caused by underlying stomach issues.

Tooth brushing and most mouthwashes do nothing to remove oral debris and dead cells on the tongue, the root cause of bad breath. The most you can hope for from them, is to mask the bad breath for a short while. A combination of methods works best and this should include brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning. Tongue cleaning can show a huge improvement in one’s breath almost immediately.

Orabrush Marielaina Perrone DDS

Orabrush for a Cleaner Tongue

Tongue Cleaning: Did You Know?

-Combination of teeth brushing and tongue cleaning can reduce bad breath by as much as 85% Vs. tooth brushing alone.

-Tongue cleaning alone can reduce mouth odor by as much as 75%.

-Brushing alone, reduces mouth odor by as much as 25%.

-Tongue cleaning reduces the amount of bacteria, plaque, and dead cells on the tongue by as much as 40%

-Tongue cleaning will cut down the bacteria stored in the mouth by Tenfold.

-Tongue cleaning reduces halitosis including smoker‘s breath by as much as 85 %

How to Clean Your Tongue Effectively

There are lots of products on the market now strictly for tongue cleaning. There are many types of apparatus available to clean your tongue, it is strictly a matter of preference. The old fashioned manual toothbrush does quite an effective job as well.

1.  Apply a pea sized amount of toothpaste to a wet toothbrush, not the same one that you use for your teeth, because the tongue holds significantly more debris and different bacteria than your tongue. The tongue cleaning toothbrush should be rinsed in antibacterial mouth rinse and stored separately so as not to contaminate your regular toothbrush.

2. Open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out at yourself in front of the mirror. Reach in with the toothbrush and gently touch the back of your tongue, near your throat. If you gag, pull the toothbrush a bit farther out of your mouth and try again. Repeat this step until you find a starting point that does not cause you to gag. Don’t worry if you can’t get very far back, your gag reflex will relax over time.

3. Press down on the toothbrush and pull it forward. Drag it across the entire length of your tongue until you reach the tip.

4. Repeat Step 2, moving the brush off to one side slightly so you drag across a new section of tongue. Spit out excess toothpaste if necessary, but don’t swallow it.

5. Continue doing this until you have scraped the entire top of your tongue. Rinse the toothbrush. Lighten the pressure, and repeat the process on the underside. If the procedure is painful, you’re pushing too hard.

6. Rinse your mouth thoroughly for at least one minute with an anti bacterial mouthwash. Spit when you’re finished.

Tongue Cleaning Conclusion

Maintaining good oral hygiene may seem like a daunting task but it is really quite simple once it becomes a part of your daily routine. Not only will you experience better breath, and less dental issues, but you will feel better and more confident about yourself as you go about your daily activities. Research has shown time and again how important a smile is to our self esteem. Give yourself peace of mind and follow your dental hygiene instructions for a happier, healthier you!

 

Summertime is all about smiling and having fun. It’s a time for family vacations, late night ice cream trips with family, and backyard BBQ’s. Summertime also includes lots of swimming for the entire family. Swimming is a great way to spend time together along with wonderful exercise for the entire family. But there are hidden dangers lurking in your pool for your teeth and health.

Did you know that poor maintenance of pool chemicals can damage your tooth enamel? A poorly controlled pool can cause permanent damge to your family’s teeth. Swimming pool water that is over chlorinated (a great example of this are community pools) can cause tooth enamel erosion and  permanently stain your teeth. Tooth enamel erosion is the wearing and loss of enamel by the effects of acid. Excessive amounts of chlorine in the swimming pool will lower the pool’s pH level. This makes the pool water acidic. That acid with continued exposure over time can cause hard, brown tartar deposits and begin to cause tooth enamel erosion. If you have ever been to a pool where your eyes begin to water or your nose burns from sniffing the pool water, the pH was very low in that pool.

When the pH in the swimming pool falls too low, the water becomes corrosive. This is when the water can stain surfaces like teeth, and cause stain irritation. Back in 1986, a survey of 747 swimmers published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that 39 % of competitive swimmers presented with tooth enamel erosion. In this study, the pH of the pool water was found to be 2.7 (very acidic), much lower than the recommended pH of 7.2 to 7.8 (in the neutral range).

Disease Risk As Well?

A second reason for concern about an improper pool pH is that it can affect the effectiveness of the chlorine. When the pH becomes too low or too high, chlorine either breaks down too fast or its ability to disinfect the water slows. As a result of this, disease causing bacteria like chriptosporidium and giardia can thrive and cause health issues for the swimmers.

How to Protect Yourself and Family?

An easy way to protect yourself and your family from these harmful effects is to monitor pool chemicals and levels on a weekly basis. You can buy fairly inexpensive pool pH test strips at local pool supply stores or even online. The optimum pH level is between 7.2 and 7.8. You can even use your test strips at both community swimming pools and splash pads. They should be in the same range as your pool at home (Ph 7.2-7.8).

Options to Restore Teeth

If you notice changes to your teeth there are options to repair them. As soon as you note any changes to your teeth or anyone in your family, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have a thorough dental examination. Once it is determined you have either tooth staining or tooth enamel erosion your dentist has a few options to restore them.

-Teeth Whitening. This would be used following completion of a thorough cleaning of your teeth. This would allow the dentist to remove the staining and build up on your teeth. You can choose to complete this porcedure in office or at home.

-Dental Bonding. In more severe cases your dentist may need to use a tooth colored filling material to restore your teeth and cover areas that have lost enamel due to erosion.

Summertime is a good time to enjoy the outdoors and have fun but we need to be smart and safe.

 

Swimming Putting Your Teeth At Risk?
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