Dental Assistant vs. Dental Hygienist: Understanding the Difference

The general public, including dental patients, typically do not quite understand the difference between a dental assistant vs. 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.

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 for children’s dental care. 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 to offer snacks that have a positive impact on children’s dental, 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!!

4 Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

Do you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night? What about during the day? Do you feel exhausted and like you need a nap on the daily? Most people think of only old, overweight men that develop sleep apnea. You would be surprised how many people we see that are fit, skinny, young and females that have mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. This condition is not something you want to ignore, as it lowers your quality of life and you may not realize how good our bodies are designed to feel. Read up on some signs that could point towards sleep apnea that you may never have thought to blink twice about.

1. Morning Headaches and Jaw Pain/Tension

Since we are only listing 4 signs today, we figured we would combine these together since they kind of go hand in hand. If you find yourself waking up with headaches in the morning, this could mean you are clenching and grinding at night. This is a result of not getting enough oxygen when you sleep. Your body is fighting for air because your airway is blocked, causing the clenching and grinding. This leads to morning headaches, tooth and jaw pain, and tension, including tooth sensitivity.

2. Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux at night when you lay down to sleep is another sign of sleep apnea. It is very common to see a patient in the dental chair that complains of acid reflux and it is evident in their teeth as well. The acid breaks down the enamel, exposing the underlying tooth structure- dentin which leads to tooth sensitivity and excessive wear on the teeth. This can also cause issues with the lining of the esophagus and severe stomach issues if left untreated.

3. Depression

If you feel depressed on the daily and have other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, that may be the explanation for it. When your body is not getting enough oxygen at night while you sleep, the result is depression. This is due to the stress and your body not being able to compensate for the lack of oxygen. It is common to see patients with untreated sleep apnea taking depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure medications. It is also common for these patients to come off of these meds after treating their sleep apnea.

4. You Snore or Gasp for Air

Have you ever noticed yourself waking up from a loud snore? What about your heart racing and feeling short of breath? Maybe your bed partner is tapping you to change positions due to keeping them up at night. Sleep apnea is typically at its peak when lying on your back. When you turn to your side, it allows your tongue to be at a more relaxed state, not blocking your airway and able to take in more oxygen. If you find yourself gasping for air in the middle of the night, or snoring loudly on a nightly basis, it is time to address it.

Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we offer comprehensive treatment, assessing the patient as a whole, to be able to recognize signs of sleep apnea. We offer an at-home sleep study and alternative treatment options to a CPAP for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Call us today for a consultation at 614.799.5576.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: To Keep or Not to Keep?

Everyone always dreads the recommendation wisdom teeth removal. But why? Well let’s face it, no one likes to have surgery or be put under. The only part of that the general public enjoys is watching videos of people coming out of their anesthesia. The real question is: why do some people get to keep their wisdom teeth, and others don’t? What happens if my dentist tells me to get them out and I don’t? Believe it or not, we recommend things for a reason. We are all about PREVENTATIVE dental care which means prevent something wrong before it happens. Here’s the scoop on those “extra teeth” we don’t really need.

What happens if I don’t get them out?

If your dentist is recommending the wisdom teeth come out, you really should get them out. We typically address the wisdom teeth around junior/senior year of high school, or age 17-18. This is when we have a good idea of whether or not a person has room for them or not. We take a panoramic x-ray that circles around your head and shows us all your teeth, including the roots and surrounding bone. This shows us how many wisdom teeth there are and if the roots are developed enough to have them extracted and if the patient does, in fact, have enough room to keep them. Some patients only have one wisdom tooth or none (lucky!!). We have seen some with 8. That’s right, and they grew two sets.

What Age Should You Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

The younger the wisdom teeth come out, the better. The bone is more flexible, and the healing time is faster. Delaying having them out can cause cysts to develop around the teeth, leading to infections and more invasive surgeries. We have seen it: 25-year-old male presents with pain on the lower left. We had recommended the wisdom teeth come out at age 18 due to shortage of space.

A Patient Who Didn’t Get Their Wisdom Teeth Removed

All four teeth were impacted (under the gums). The patient developed a cyst on the lower left wisdom tooth and was referred to the oral surgeon immediately. The bone had to be scraped out under the tooth and sent in for a biopsy. The extra scraping or debriding, along with the biopsy bill, led to the patient having a much longer recovery and more out of pocket costs. Thankfully the cyst was benign, and no further action had to be taken. Thank goodness this was caught early because if left untreated, could have caused a hold in the jaw. The risks of surgery highly outweigh, keeping them, and not being able to predict what the future holds. If they do happen to come in the mouth, we typically see gum problems and cavities develop due to hard to access areas.

Why do some people have a room and get to keep them?

Like we said earlier, every single patient is different. Some people have large mouths, and the gum tissue is healthy around the wisdom teeth, and they can keep them super clean. We also see a lot of cases where a patient had 4 teeth out for braces due to crowding, but later grew and had room for the wisdom teeth to come in and stay. Trust us when we say this: If we truly believe you have room to keep the teeth and keep them healthy and predict they will not cause issues down the road; we will absolutely recommend keeping them. The thing is, the average person, unfortunately, does not have room and needs to get them out.

At Dental Reflections Dublin, we typically refer all of our wisdom teeth extractions to an oral surgeon, who specializes in removing these types of teeth. Wisdom teeth can be unpredictable and come in different sizes and shapes, so we feel most comfortable with our patients in the hands of a surgeon, who extract teeth all day long. Recovery is the same whether having one or four removed at the same time, so we recommend all 4 to keep it to one procedure. An oral surgeon can address any questions or concerns you may have about recovery, sedation options, and the procedure itself.

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month which means we are talking about all things preventative care. This includes your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, floss picks, tongue scraper, mouthwash and more. Dental Hygienists pride themselves on oral hygiene instruction so we want to share with you what they share with their patients on a daily basis.

Oral Health Care Routine

Did you know spending just about 5 minutes a day can save you hundreds upon thousands of dollars over the years? That’s right – if you set aside 2 minutes, twice a day to brush and about a minute for some floss and mouthwash – you will be doing yourself a huge favor. This routine ensures the best preventive dental care you can give your teeth and gums, keeping them healthy and preventing the need for fillings, crowns and gum treatments. Did you know more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than cavities? Yes, it’s true, you can lose all of your teeth without ever having a cavity in your life.

Why Do I Need to Brush and Floss?

Most people don’t realize the importance of flossing. It’s actually just as important if not MORE important than brushing. Foods we eat can help remove the plaque from our teeth as we chew and mash our food up. There is no physical way to clean out the plaque, bacteria and food particles that settle UNDER the gumline other than flossing. We aren’t talking about a Waterpik or toothpicks. We are talking about that good ol’ fashioned piece of string you wrap around your fingers and use in the mouth. Here are some tips on proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Brushing 101

You can brush for 10 minutes and miss the gumline. Keeping the teeth clean is all about technique, not the brand of toothbrush or flavor of toothpaste you are using. It is critical to use the proper technique to remove plaque most effectively. It’s like getting the most bang for your buck. Make those 2 minutes count and angle that toothbrush at a 45-degree angle near the gum line. Look in the mirror and see your bristles getting up by your gums where your teeth touch them. This is where the plaque settles. Go in a circular motion while using overlapping strokes. Go over the same areas more than once. Plaque forms on the teeth in layers so one swipe doesn’t do the trick. You need to go over the same areas multiple times to get all the layers.

Flossing

Flossing is a whole other challenge. We get it, it’s a pain. The key is – get a piece from about your fingertips to shoulder when your arm is straight out. Then wrap the floss around your middle fingers, evenly on each side until you have about 6 inches remaining in between the 2 fingers. Now use your thumbs and index fingers to actually slide the floss in between the teeth. You should only have about an inch when you place your thumbs together to insert the floss between the teeth. Once you are in between, angle side to side in a “C” shape motion hugging each side of the teeth to ensure plaque removal. Get down to the base of the gumline. This takes practice, but practice makes perfect!

No matter what other additional aids you are using from a daily mouthwash, tongue scraper, soft picks for in between meals or a Waterpik, you will make your hygienist proud and your teeth will thank you. Remember, just 5 minutes a day, to keep the cavity bugs away. For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact us today!

Brushing Your Little One’s Teeth

We all know you are supposed to start brushing your kid’s teeth upon first tooth eruption. But how on earth do you brush their teeth and get them to open and cooperate? Especially once they get all 20 teeth in and you have to get wayyyy in the back??? We know, it’s a challenge. It can be stressful and frustrating. The last thing you want is to say forget it, I can’t do it, and then they have 10 cavities at their first check-up visit. I know, I know, 10 sounds extreme but we have seen it and it’s not uncommon when parents give up on brushing their child’s teeth. In this article, our team at Dental Reflections Dublin discusses a few tips and tricks to brushing your little one’s teeth.

Fluoride Toothpaste

Step one: use fluoride toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends a rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste upon first tooth eruption. Yes, we know your 6-month-old can’t swish and spit out the toothpaste, which is why a rice size smeared into the toothbrush is recommended. Tom’s natural strawberry toothpaste with fluoride is a great option. Even if a child swallows a meniscal amount of fluoride, it will not harm them and is very safe.

Swaddle

Having trouble controlling your child’s hands, arms and legs? One of our favorite tips is to have the child’s toothbrush ready on the counter with toothpaste. After bath time, grab them out of the bath and wrap/swaddle them up in a towel while their arms are down. Sit down on the toilet seat lid and place the child on their back across your lap and grab the toothbrush. Tilt their head down a bit and boom – you have control and can get the toothbrush in the mouth to brush. It is a bonus if they are mad and scream and cries so that they open big and you can see what you are doing. Sing a fun song while you are brushing and tell them how good of a job they are doing even if they are screaming. After every night of the same routine, they will start to listen to the song and learn it, knowing you will brush their teeth whether they like it or not. It’s just like anything else they have to do that’s mandatory – it’s not an option. It’s truly all about what you make it. It gets really fun when the child hears your song every night and starts to sing it when they learn to talk. Would you rather take a minute to brush your child’s teeth while they are mad or spend hours with your child at the dentist getting their cavities filled?

Stand, Chin up, and Head Back

Once a child is old enough to listen and follow directions, have them stand in front of you on a stool in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Have them tilt their chin up high and rest their head back on your chest. Cup their chin with one hand while brushing with the other while the child opens wide. This gives full sight of brushing all surfaces of the teeth including outsides by the cheeks, the grooves where they chew and the insides down by the tongue and near the roof of the mouth. This position also allows you to see to floss a child’s teeth which is important once the floss clicks in and the teeth start to touch. Once most children reach toddler age, they want to take a turn too. Great! Let them practice and take a turn but be sure to follow up after even if it looks like they are doing a good job. It’s a good idea to pull the cheeks up/down to see the toothbrush brushing the gumlines where the plaque tends to settle. It is important to help a child brush until they can tie their own shoes. This is when they have better dexterity and can be trusted with good technique. Most importantly, don’t forget the song you started singing when your toddler was a little baby.

For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact Dental Reflections today. Questions? Just give us a call. Our team is happy to help!

Sip All Day, Get Decay

You may have already heard of this little saying, but it truly means a lot in dentistry. We preach it and we try to practice it daily. We’re not going to lie, the busier we are, the more we may find ourselves trying to sip on that morning coffee we didn’t get to finish because our day started out full speed. It’s all about planning ahead and setting yourself, well your teeth, up for success. In this article, we discuss the meaning behind, “Sip All Day, Get Decay” saying.

Choices

Each day when we wake up, we have so many choices to make. What outfit are we going to wear? How will we style our hair? What’s for breakfast? What will we drink with breakfast? Keywords: drink WITH breakfast. Drinking acidic or more sugary beverages isn’t as bad when you actually have them with meals. Food we consume actually helps to buffer the acids from the drinks we have. For example, if you are eating scrambled eggs with cheese but drinking coffee, the eggs and cheese will help neutralize the acidity in your mouth to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. Now, if you are having a granola bar and coffee on the way to work, it is going to be best to drink lots of water when you are done and even brush or use a fluoride rinse if possible.

Frequency is Key

It’s not about the amount consumed but more about frequency. For example, you can drink a 16-ounce energy drink in 5 minutes and it is better for your teeth than sipping it over an hour-long period. After each sip of a sugary drink, it takes the mouth 20 minutes to buffer the acids which means if you take a drink every 5-10 minutes for an hour, there is no way for your mouth to catch up on buffering those acids which in turn, highly increases your risk of getting cavities. These are the type of cavities we see in between the teeth (flossing cavities where the sugars settle) or along the sides of the teeth. It is best to drink water between sips of these types of beverages to act as a cleansing agent to the teeth. Sugary, acidic drinks include basically anything except water, white milk and some hot teas which are more neutral. Even diet or flavored waters with zero sugar are very acidic to drink throughout the day. It is best to drink water between meals and limit sugary drinks to mealtimes.

Prevent Tooth Decay

We know everyone is not going to be perfect when it comes to sipping non-water drinks throughout the day. Again, it comes down to how often are you doing it? Every day or once or twice a week for a couple of hours a day vs. all day. At Dental Reflections Dublin, we just want to give our patients the proper tools and knowledge they need to keep the cavity bugs at bay and prevent tooth decay. For more tips on dentistry or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Benefits?

As the end of the year approaches, we tend to think of everything that needs done before the new year comes. Our schedules tend to get busier, and things more hectic with the holidays right around the corner. Your health remains important all year long but is sometimes put on the back burner. Do you have dental benefits remaining for the year you have not used?

Why You Should Use Your Dental

Benefits

In 2017, studies show that 1 in 4 Americans who have dental insurance say they haven’t been to the dentist in the past 12 months for regular checkups or cleanings due to cost. Did you know that preventive care, which means your cleaning, exam, and x-rays are typically covered at 100% with dental insurance?! That’s right, 100%!! This means no out of pocket for you at your first visit. If you have fillings or other dental work that needs to be done, you will have to pay some out of pocket. Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we will tell you what that “something” is because we do complimentary insurance benefits check to see what your coverage is for all the services we offer. That means there are no surprises.

Get the Most Out of Your Dental Benefits!

If you are paying for dental insurance, there is no reason you should not be taking full advantage to maximize those benefits each year. In January, everything resets. That means if you do happen to need a lot of work done, we can maximize you out for this year then start over with new benefits at the start of the new year so that your out of pocket is much less. Listen, we are on your side. We don’t like delivering bad news or going over financials, but it is a necessary evil. We just don’t want you to literally flush your money down the toilet by not using a dime of your benefits you paid for all year long. Contact us today to get on the schedule in 2019 if you haven’t been to see us yet!!

Tis’ the Season

Tis’ the season of giving! Now that we have wrapped up our Halloween candy buyback, we are focusing on the holidays in November and December. We are so grateful for our Dental Reflections Dublin patients and our community, and we want to focus on giving back this holiday season. There are so many people that are not as fortunate as others that struggle this time of year or all year and can really use some extra help. We want to be able to contribute to these local charities and help those in need.

For the rest of this month and next month until Friday, December 20th, we are collecting holiday donations. These include gently used Winter clothing items and non-perishable food items. These can include canned goods, boxed goods, and anything that can hold up for us to donate to the Dublin food pantry. Winter clothing items can include hats, gloves, scarves, coats, and even light jackets. We have already seen chilling temperatures this year, and we’re sure there are plenty more to come.

For each item you bring in during our collection period, you will receive one entry into our drawing for a Glo Whitening kit. Glo whitening is currently one of the leaders in whitening. It is one of the most powerful teeth whitening options out there. It uses special heat and light technology to activate the whitening gel, speeding up the process, and making it even more effective. Our patients tend to get up to 5-8 shades whiter with Glo! An extra bonus is that patients do not report any sensitivity with Glo like some of the others out there cause.

We are also offering a $15 fluoride varnish to all our patients that participate in donating items. This normally values at $41. It’s a great way to remineralize weak areas in the mouth and help prevent cavities. It can also help with sensitivity.

We are excited about this opportunity to spread cheer this holiday season and hope you take part in donating to a great cause!!

For questions about preventative dental care, family dentistry, or Invisalign, contact our office today!

Get Straighter Teeth With Invisalign

Have you wanted straighter teeth but didn’t want all of that metal and hardware in your mouth? Invisalign, or clear aligners, may be a great option for you! Clear aligners are exactly how they sound- they are clear, retainer-like trays that you wear over a period of time that slowly straighten the teeth in a safe manner. Maybe you’ve been thinking about some type of braces for a while now but didn’t know where to start. We are here to help you navigate getting started on your journey to the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

First Steps to Getting Straighter Teeth

The first step to seeing if you are a candidate for clear aligners is scheduling a consultation at our office. This involves taking measurements, photos, and a scan of the teeth to send in to the company we choose that’s best for you. We then have you back to go over your customized treatment plan with estimated treatment time and cost. The virtual treatment plan will show how your teeth will transform over the estimated treatment time. The amount of time in the trays can vary between as little as 6 months to 18+ months. A lot of it also depends on how compliant you are in wearing the trays as well. It is recommended to wear them for a minimum of 22 hours a day and only take them out when you are eating or drinking anything besides water.

Cost of Clear Aligners

The cost can vary greatly depending on the recommended treatment time and how much correcting/straightening of the teeth that need done. The range is similar to traditional braces and starts at around $3,000 and can go up to $5,000+. The good news is if you have orthodontic coverage on your insurance plan, you can also apply it to clear aligners. Be sure to check the age limit and amount of coverage. The average that we see on dental insurance plans is $1,000 towards any treatment which is a huge help! We do payment plans for clear aligners as well.

The good news is, a consultation for clear aligners is free of charge at Dental Reflections Dublin! Call us today to get scheduled for your appointment to see if you are a candidate and can get started on your smile in 2020!