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!!

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!

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!!

Symptoms of Common Dental Problems

Often, when we feel something sensitive or painful in our mouth, we tend to panic. I mean, we all want to keep our teeth, right? Some symptoms may be able to wait until your next dental visit. Others may require a limited exam between your professional dental cleanings to get the problem addressed right away. Dentistry is all about preventive dental care, so the sooner an issue is addressed, the less invasive a procedure recommendation would be.

Temperature Sensitive Teeth

This is one of the most common common dental problems we hear from our patients, temperature sensitivity. When you can’t eat your favorite ice cream or drink your favorite ice-cold drinks, you start to get annoyed. This is typically caused by some type of enamel wear or root exposure. The enamel, or the most outer layer of your tooth, is what protects it from acid in our diets and normal wear and tear. When the enamel suffers too much trauma, like sipping soda all day, or clenching and grinding, it’s inevitable – it starts to wear away or develop a hole or cavity from the harmful bacteria of the byproduct of the soda or snacks you eat all day.

Enter: temperature sensitivity. The underlying layer of the enamel is dentin. Dentin contains tons of tubules that lead to the nerve and causes sensitivity. The only way to help this is to use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate. This ingredient helps fill in and block the tubules from sending information to the nerve. If it’s a cavity, the only solution is for us to remove it and put a filling in its place. If gum recession is causing the sensitivity, toothpaste can also help. However, we need to determine the cause of the gum recession and come up with a solution. This usually means a nightguard recommendation to prevent the recession from progressing any further.

Toothache

If you are experiencing one of the common dental problems, a toothache, like an actual ache that will not go away, its best to get in for an exam. What typically happens is there is something underlying causing this pain. Once a tooth starts to hurt constantly, there is a good chance. There is a large cavity in the tooth that has reached the nerve. The result of this is usually a root canal or extraction of the tooth that is needed, depending on the severity of it.

We will determine the cause of the problem by taking a limited x-ray of the problem area to see if there is pathology at the tip of the root of the tooth. We also use an x-ray to see how far progressed a cavity is in the crown of the tooth if that is indeed what is going on. Another sign is a recurring bump on the gum near the tooth. This is a sign of an infection that usually comes with pain and cannot be cured without a root canal or extraction.

Pain with Chewing or Biting

Our last common dental problem patients experience is pain with biting or chewing. While this can mean a fractured tooth, it is more common to occur after a dental procedure. When a tooth is drilled on, and a cavity is removed, it is experiencing trauma. Therefore, it will take time to heal. If it is not resolving and it truly gives you a “zing” every time you bite down, your bite may be a little high. This means after putting a filling in the tooth to replace the cavity that was taken out. The filling may not be completely even with your bite. This is very common since you are numb during the procedure. Thankfully, it is a quick fix and involves a follow-up appointment to even out the filling, and chances are, the zing will resolve. If it does not, it requires further attention.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you are concerned about, do not hesitate to call us at Dental Reflections Dublin to come in for a limited exam so we can get you feeling better. 614.799.5576

Is it safe to go to the dentist during COVID-19?

Our New Normal

Since the shutdown, it’s been so nice to be back to see all of our patients. Things may look a little different now, but we are happy to be serving people and creating healthy smiles. If you’ve been wondering “is it safe to go to the dentist” —the answer is yes! We have made some changes in the office to ensure our all of our patient’s safety. If you have not been into the office lately, here is what you may notice that has changed since you have been here last.

NEW PPE GUIDELINES

With the new guidelines for PPE, we had to make a few changes on what we wear to protect ourselves and our patients. You will notice we will be wearing a scrub cap to cover our hair to keep any bacteria out. We will also be wearing 2 masks with higher filtration levels. One mask we will wear all day and the other we will change after each patient. We will also have a face shield on. This wraps around our head and covers our entire face to prevent any aerosols or splatter from touching our face. Lastly, before we leave each day, we change our clothes to launder our scrubs at the office so that we keep our families safe when we go home. Each employee also has their temperature checked each morning upon entering the building.

NEW PATIENT GUIDELINES

Prior to each visit, we screen all of our patients over the phone. We ask if they have had any symptoms including loss of taste, fever, cough, etc. and if they have been in contact with anyone that has tested positive. When a patient arrives at our office, they call us to let us know they are here. We then go out to their car with a whiteboard with the patients first name written on it. Masks are mandatory for all patients to come in our office until they are seated in the dental chair. We do a temperature check and give hand sanitizer to each patient before they enter the building. Once the patient is seated, we have them rinse with an antibacterial rinse to help decrease the bacterial load in the mouth. We then suction it out vs. spitting it back in the cup.

OTHER SAFETY ADDITIONS

We have also installed air purifiers in each operatory and our hallways to ensure the most cleanliness as possible. We are wiping down door handles and additional surfaces that patients or employees may touch throughout the day to prevent any cross contamination. We have taken the upmost precautions so that everyone feels safe while they are in our office. We look forward to seeing all of our patients and getting everyone caught up on their dental care!

Gum Care Month

September is National Gum Care Month, which means focusing on everything gums related, which is part of the foundation for keeping your teeth healthy. If your gums are not healthy, it can affect the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth, holding them in place. Did you know you can lose teeth without ever getting a cavity? Studies show that 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease or gum disease. There are many ways to prevent gum disease. You can start by using simple aids at home and keeping up with your preventative care visits.

Aids to Prevent Gum Disease

There are so many dental products out on the market these days. Just walking down the dental aisle in the grocery store can become overwhelming. There are certain dental aids that we recommend most for our patients that can help cut down on gingivitis, or even worse – gum disease.

Soft-Picks are a great tool to use to help keep the gums healthy. They look like a toothpick but have little rubber bristles that help stimulate the gum when you slide in between the teeth. They grab plaque and food debris and help disrupt the plaque bacteria that form colonies in areas your toothbrush may not reach. They are actually made by the brand GUM and can be found at your local grocery or retail store. They are typically green with a white handle. We have sample packs with coupons we can give you the next time you are in.

Dental floss is another savior when it comes to preventing gum disease. It works by sliding underneath the gum tissue to remove any plaque that has settled down between the tooth and gum that the toothbrush bristles cannot access. Dental floss is like a gum disease insurance policy. If you use it once a day, you will significantly decrease your chances of getting gingivitis or gum disease. The difference between these two is this: gingivitis is completely reversible, while gum disease is not. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can turn into gum disease that then affects the bone around the teeth, or supporting structure, as mentioned above. Once a person has gum disease, it can never go away. You can’t grow back the bone that was lost, but rather maintain what is left to prevent any further damage.

A Waterpik is also a great option for gum care if you hate flossing. With pressurized air and water, a Waterpik helps disturb the plaque bacteria below the gumline and flush it out. At Dental Reflections Dublin, we also recommend these to our patients quite often to help keep the gum tissues healthy.

Regular Dental Checkups

By maintaining your preventive care and seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you can also decrease your chances of developing gum disease. Each visit, your hygienist will use a small measuring tool called a probe that will measure the space between your tooth and gum tissue to check the overall health. This shows us if you are starting to develop early signs, which helps us recommend a special treatment plan or homework for you to prevent inflammation from turning into permanent destruction. That’s why seeing your Dublin Ohio dentist for professional cleanings is so important. Studies show there was a 31% decrease in dental costs over five years for patients who received preventive care. For all your dental care needs, contact Dental Reflections Dublin.

What to Expect If You Need a Deep Cleaning

We discussed earlier this month about ways to prevent gum disease since it’s National Gum Care Month. Let’s talk about what happens if you develop gum disease and what to expect. Gum disease is like diabetes – there is no cure, but it can be managed. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the better the long-term outcome to expect. On today’s blog, Dr. Rudi As-Sanie shares what to expect if you need a deep cleaning.

Gum Disease & Deep Cleaning

Studies show that 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Many times, life gets in the way, and our careers take off, we start having children, etc. and our dental health gets put on the back burner. It often starts with college and kids moving away from home and not keeping up with their dental appointments. Once they find an “adult” job that offers dental insurance and finally get back into the dentist, they may have a lot of catch up to do. A lot of factors can contribute to developing gum disease, but the best defense is good home care and regular visits to the dentist.

At every patient visit, we do a screening for gum disease. This involves using a small instrument with measurement markings to measure the space between the teeth and gums. The lower the number, or the less it drops down between the tooth and gum, the better. This tells us you have a firm, healthy attachment of the gums to the teeth and great support. If the measurement is deeper, this tells us the gum is inflamed and infected.

During a Deep Cleaning

A deep cleaning is where we go deeper underneath the gums to clean more thoroughly to remove tartar buildup that has settled further below the gumline. The buildup is like a splinter; the longer it sits, the more irritated it will make the gums, and the more damage it will do to the bone that holds in and supports the teeth. Our team will split the mouth in half for a deep cleaning and have the patient come back for two visits.

Your hygienist will numb one side of the mouth and remove all of the deposits and plaque bacteria from the teeth. We use a special instrument that sprays water and vibrates to help flush out from under the gums. Each side of the mouth takes about 1-1.5 hours to clean. We make sure the patient is comfortable the entire time during the procedure. We also take the time to be sure you have the best tips and tricks to keep your teeth and gums healthy after to avoid having to repeat the deep cleaning.

Post Deep Dental Cleaning

Two of the most important factors in the gum tissue’s healing response are a patient’s home care and keeping up with their cleanings at the dentist. Dr. As-Sanie will recommend having your teeth cleaned every 3-4 months vs. every 6, so we can disturb the bacteria more frequently under the gums to prevent any relapse and help maintain the gums and bone’s health. If you ever have any questions or concerns about a deep cleaning or need a family dentist in Dublin, OH, we are here for you at Dental Reflections Dublin. Please do not hesitate to call us at 614.799.5576.

Reasons Why You Should Love Your Dental Hygienist

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and we are here for it. Our dental hygienists are our tooth fairies of our Dublin dental office, the ones that spend the most time with our patients and build rapport and relationships to last a lifetime. Dental hygienists truly care about you and your teeth, which is why we take this month to recognize them and all of their hard work.

What it Takes to be a Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists must all have a license to practice. They take two written and one clinical board exams they must pass, along with many clinical hours and competencies they must complete. Dental hygiene is all about prevention. The goal is to educate each patient on what they can do at home to keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

There are many responsibilities that come along with the role of a dental hygienist. Most times, a new patient will see a hygienist first before meeting their Dublin dentist. The hygienist will collect all initial records, including x-rays, photos, and dental charting, to determine if a patient has healthy gums or not. A dental hygienist will know the latest and greatest products and tips and techniques to keep your smile bright and healthy. From teeth whitening to a new toothpaste or toothbrush, they are your go-to to answer any questions you may have. They attend many continuing education courses throughout the year to keep up with the ever-changing dental field.

Other Duties Hygienists Do

Dental hygienists can also administer local anesthetic to a patient. That means if someone other than the dentist comes in to get you numb before your filling, it is a hygienist. Or if you need a deep cleaning, they can also get you numb, so you are comfortable during the procedure. A deep cleaning involves using special instruments and techniques to help get the gums healthy and maintain your bone levels, so your teeth do not get loose. In addition to seeing patients, hygienists often are the ones who do the ordering for the office or take on additional roles of marketing or cleaning procedures in the office.

Next time you are in for your checkup visit with your hygienist here at Dental Reflections Dublin, be sure to thank them a little extra for all that they do and how much they truly care.

Dental Care During the Holidays

As we all know, December brings lots of cheer and also lots of sugar. We keep seeing these hot cocoa bombs everywhere and all we can think about is how much sugar is in those things. Sure, they are super festive and fun, but always keep your dental health in mind when you are munching and sipping this holiday season.

Yes, we know, that is the last thing we want to think about when enjoying extra goodies, however, if that’s the case, don’t be shocked when you have an extra cavity or two during your next checkup visit. There are ways to enjoy these festive treats and keep your teeth healthy at the same time!!

Eat junk with meals. Yep, we gave you the go ahead. Eat your sweets with your meals. The other food you are eating – cheese, mashed potatoes, meats and so on, are actually helping to buffer out those acids from the sugar. Same goes with those sugary drinks. If you are going to sip on some hot chocolate, it is best to do it at the end of a meal. The longer you sip on drinks between meals the more acid attacks your teeth get. After each sip, your mouth takes about 20 minutes to buffer out the acids, making your pH neutral again. If you take forever to finish your drink, your mouth never has a chance to catch up and neutralize. So, frequency, not amount is key.

We are not saying you must carry your floss and toothbrush with you in case you do splurge and sip your hot cocoa. What you can do is take water sips after the sugary stuff to also help cleanse the sugars from settling down at the gumline. Don’t forget to brush twice a day (nighttime is the most important!!) and floss once a day to help keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible this year.

One big fad to come out of 2020 are charcuterie boards. Thankfully, most of these foods are pretty healthy. Cheeses, meats, nuts and veggies are all great for the teeth. So next time you see a charcuterie board – don’t hold back. Throw a cookie in too and enjoy!