Be “Teeth Ready” for Back to School

teeth ready for back to school - dental reflections dublin

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Be “Teeth Ready” for Back to School

Back to school is approaching fast and we want to give you the best tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy. First things first – get their checkup visit in before school starts! You want to be sure they don’t have any active decay or cavities in their mouth! According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The issue seen here is studies also show that children with active decay have issues with eating, speaking, playing and learning while at school. This is why preventative dental care is so important.

Check-up Visit

At your child’s checkup visit to the dentist, we can offer services that get them back to school ready. We assess their need for sealants to prevent cavities, apply a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel, and give tips on nutrition and brushing and flossing. We emphasize the importance of brushing twice a day for two minutes. We apply a disclosing solution to highlight missed areas while brushing so they know where to focus at home to effectively remove all the plaque. We also give them the tools they need if they are in braces to properly care for their teeth while at school which is a necessity.

Healthy School Lunches

This is a big one. Fill your child’s lunchbox with foods high in fiber, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and even nuts and cheeses. These are all teeth-friendly and help promote a healthy pH in the mouth to prevent cavities. Avoid juices, sodas, sports drinks, dried fruits, fruit snacks and any other sticky, high sugar foods. Water and milk are best to drink. Pretzels and chips aren’t the best for the teeth, but other healthy choices listed above can offset and help remove the particles from the teeth better. They also dissolve more with saliva alone as compared with sticky, high sugar foods.

Vending Machines

This is another tough one. Vending machines are slowly improving but we aren’t there yet. Vending machine foods are filled with preservatives. Avoid candy bars, chips, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda. Sipping on anything but water throughout the day can significantly increase a child’s risk for decay. We see it all the time. Propel has water with electrolytes that is safe to drink with no added sugars or sweeteners. Other brands are coming out with their own versions as well.

Sports Mouthguard

Finally, it is important to protect your child’s teeth during any physical contact sport. This includes but is not limited to lacrosse, basketball, football, wrestling, and hockey. More and more schools are making this a requirement and make it a must that the guard be colored so the coach can see it in the mouth. A custom sports guard is well worth the money and protection, still allowing your child to talk and play as they normally would during a game vs. walking in our doors with a tooth in their hand. (Yes, we have seen it).

Whatever your dental needs are for your children, we can help! Call us today at Dental Reflections Dublin to schedule your child’s dental appointment and we will be sure they are back to school ready!!

Dental Hygienist vs. Dental Assistant: Understanding the Difference

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Dental Hygienist vs. Dental Assistant: Understanding the Difference

The general public, including dental patients, typically do not quite understand the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist. Sometimes we are all referred to as “dental technicians,” “nurses,” or “those girls.” Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we feel it is important for our patients to know what roles we play and to understand the key differences between the 2.

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is like the dentists “right-hand man” or woman for that matter. Programs or schooling for dental assisting is typically offered either at a vocational school- which you take part in during high school, or a career/technical program. A dental assistant can take x-rays, update a patient’s health history, obtain vitals, take dental impressions, do dental charting, place topical anesthetic, assist during dental procedures such as crowns, fillings, bridges, implants, extractions and more. They are multi-talented and fast workers. It is entirely optional for a dental assistant whether or not they become state board certified. If they choose to do so, they can advance in the profession and become licensed in additional areas of dentistry to be able to do more independently chairside. A dental assistant is a crucial aspect to a dental practice and is needed to make sure operations flow smoothly and seamlessly.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist must obtain a minimum of a 2-year degree from college, and pass all three parts of their state board exam to practice (work). A dental hygienist can also take x-rays, dental impressions, update health history, obtain vitals, dental charting, and place topically. What they don’t do is assist the dentist. What they do in addition to a dental assistant is professional dental cleanings, administer nitrous oxide, injections to numb patients (separate board exam), in-depth patient education, and nutritional counseling. They basically have their own column of patients, and the doctor does the exam at the end of each appointment to check for cavities. So, they do work more independent.

Both are great professions and are unique in different ways. The ultimate goal is to make every patient experience phenomenal by building rapport, addressing any questions or concerns, and keeping them reflecting their best.