Posts for: December, 2020
In the midst of the current global pandemic, we're all focused on staying healthy and avoiding infection. For many, their first thought before resuming any regular activity is, “Will I or my family be safe?”
If you've asked that about visiting the dentist, rest assured, it is. In fact, dentists have been at the forefront in protecting patients from viral and bacterial infections for decades. Here's why you're in safe hands at the dentist's office.
Barrier control. Although we're focused at the moment on Covid-19, there are other pathogens (microorganism that cause disease) for which there has been an ongoing concern among healthcare providers. Many of these like the viruses that cause hepatitis or HIV/AIDS spread through blood-to-blood contact. That's why we routinely use gloves, face shields and other barrier devices, even during routine visits, to prevent bloodborne transmission between patients and staff, or other patients.
Disinfection. Viruses and other pathogens may continue to live on surfaces in treatment areas for various durations. To prevent their transmission to humans, we follow strict procedures for disinfecting all treatment-related surfaces after each patient visit. One-use treatment items are disposed separately from regular waste. Permanent instruments and equipment are cleaned and thoroughly sanitized to the highest standard.
Protocols. There are approximately 170,000 dentists across the U.S., yet each generally follows the same high standards for infection control. Regulating bodies at state levels have made infection control a crucial part of licensing requirements and continuing education, and every dental practice must have an infection control plan they meticulously follow. Because of these strict standards, an infection occurring in a dental office setting is extremely rare.
In addition to these regular procedures, dentists have also added extra safety measures to better address the current crisis, and will continue these until the crisis has abated. Staying knowledgeable and flexible to new challenges is also a feature of dental providers' infection control mission.
If you do have concerns, please feel free to contact us to learn more about the specific measures we have in place to keep patients safe. Protecting you and your family during dental care will always be our top priority.
If you would like more information on patient safety at the dentist's office, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Infection Control in the Dental Office.”
Undergoing dental work is for the most part a pain-free affair. But once you're home and the anesthetic begins to wear off, you may have some discomfort.
Fortunately, most post-procedure pain can be managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. And while stronger versions of these pain relievers can be prescribed, you may only need one sold over-the-counter.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen work by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, substances that stimulate inflammation in traumatized or injured tissues. It differs in this way from the two other primary pain medications: Steroids act like natural hormones that alleviate physical stress in the tissues; and narcotics like morphine or codeine suppress the brain's reaction to nerve firings.
While these stronger types are effective for stopping pain, they can have several serious side effects. Narcotics in particular can be addictive. Although they may be necessary in serious cases of acute pain, most dentists turn to non-addictive NSAIDs first, which are usually effective with the kind of discomfort associated with dental work and with fewer side effects.
That's not to say, however, that NSAIDs are risk-free—they must be taken properly or you could suffer serious health consequences. For one, NSAIDs have a blood-thinning effect that's even more pronounced when taken consistently over a period of weeks. This can lead to bleeding that is difficult to stop and erosion of the stomach lining leading to ulcers. Prolonged use can also damage the kidneys.
As a rule of thumb, adults shouldn't take more than 2400 milligrams of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs in a day, unless otherwise directed by their doctor. For most, a 400-milligram oral dose taken with food (to minimize stomach upset) is usually sufficient to relieve pain for around five hours.
You'll usually avoid unwanted health effects by keeping within your dentist's recommended doses and taking an NSAID for only a few days. Taking an NSAID properly can help keep your discomfort to a minimum after dental work without the need for stronger drugs.
If you would like more information on managing dental pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treating Pain With Ibuprofen.”
Here’s how a dental crown could improve your oral health.
If you are dealing with a cracked, broken, or infected tooth, then chances are good that our dental team has recommended getting a dental crown. A dental crown is a commonly placed restoration that can benefit smiles that have broken, damaged, or weak teeth. Fortunately, when these problems happen, our Charleston, SC, dentist Dr. Denise Stone offers state-of-the-art restorative dentistry that includes beautiful and long-lasting dental crowns to better your smile.
A dental crown is a marvelous way to restore, preserve, and even improve the appearance of one or more teeth. Here are some reasons for a dental crown,
- Cover and protect a damaged or broken tooth
- Replace a large filling or to support a severely decayed tooth
- Reinforce and reshape a weak or misshapen tooth
- Preserve teeth that are worn down and prone to breakage
- Cover badly stained or discolored teeth
- Protect a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy
- Anchor a dental bridge in place (to replace missing teeth)
- Cover a dental implant to replace a single missing tooth
What should I expect when getting a dental crown?
You will typically need to make two trips to our dental office here in Charleston, SC, for us to complete your restorative dentistry procedure. Here are the steps involved,
Step 1: First, we need to remove decay or treat any infection that might be present. After which, we will shave down parts of the tooth so that the crown can fit over it. This is all performed under local anesthesia.
Step 2: We will take impressions of your mouth to get the exact measurements needed to craft your crown. These impressions are sent to a dental lab that we trust to make your very own crown. In the meantime, we will place a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it.
Step 3: You will come in a second and final time to have the temporary crown removed so that we can check the fit and look of your permanent crown. If you are fully satisfied with your new crown, we will then cement it into place. With a final polish your new tooth is good to go!
Whether you want to learn more about dental crowns or you’re ready to sit down with our Charleston dental team to discuss your restorative dentistry options, don’t hesitate to call Stone Family Dentistry at (843) 556-6566.