Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Choice dental special needs dental care

Oral health problems faced by children with special needs

Children with special needs include those with intellectual, emotional or physical disabilities, as well as those with chronic and complex medical problems. Meeting the oral health care requirements for these children can be a difficult task – not only for them but for their caregivers and dentists as well.

There are many serious oral health issues that are linked directly to certain medical conditions that affect children with disabilities.

The following oral conditions can occur in children with special needs:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) affects children with cerebral palsy and other severe or profound levels of intellectual disability. Severe tooth wear from grinding can result in teeth being worn flat or tooth abrasion – which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Dental trauma (injury) is most common in children who experience seizures, uncontrolled protective reflexes or poor muscle coordination.
  • Dental/oral anomalies are abnormal variations in the development of teeth that are linked to inherited defects or spontaneous genetic mutations. Tooth anomalies include malformed, missing or extra teeth. They can affect children with ectodermal dysplasia (a genetic disorder that affects teeth, hair, nails and sweat glands), Down syndrome or cleft lip and/or palate.
  • Early onset periodontal disease may be experienced by children with immune response and connective tissue disorders.
  • Early, late, stagnant or erratic tooth eruption may happen to children with growth disturbances in their tooth formation and development.
  • Malocclusion (misalignment of upper teeth with lower teeth) and teeth crowding create problems for oral health care because affected teeth and their interdental spaces are harder to clean. Children with developmental disorders, craniofacial anomalies, muscular dystrophy and intellectual disabilities may be affected.

Choice dental special needs dental care

In addition to the oral health conditions associated with a specific health disorder or disability, children with special needs may require assistance when going to see a dentist for their oral health care.

Children who experience physical disabilities may need help with physically accessing the dental environment, such as the dental chair. If that child experiences involuntary movements or reflexes, then safety measures need to be taken to ensure that they can receive dental treatment safely – especially when a dentist is using potentially harmful dental tools on a patient who cannot sit still.

For children with intellectual or behavioural problems (e.g. autism spectrum disorders), even the thought of visiting a dentist and entering a dental treatment room may cause them anxiety and distress.

If a child has a serious medical condition, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer, safety and preventative measures need to be in place before or during dental treatment.

It is vitally important to take into consideration all the needs of a child with a disability when planning, adapting and providing their oral health care. And don’t forget your family dentist who can support and guide you all the way.


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Browns plains dentist periotwist turbo toothpick

Periotwist – introducing the new “turbo toothpick”

The use of toothpicks to clean the interdental spaces between your teeth goes back thousands of years in history. Back then, Egyptian, African and Indian people used small twigs and the bark from trees – to clean their teeth and remove food debris.

In recent times, toothpicks have fallen out of favour as a tooth cleaning method. Poor technique can result in abrasion and damage to your teeth and gums, along the gum line.

You can safely use a toothpick by moistening and softening its tip – and by using the right technique, toothpicks can be used to dislodge large food particles trapped between your teeth quite well.

But that’s about it. The colonies of pathogenic bacteria between your teeth usually remain undisturbed.

Nowadays however, toothpicks have been replaced by far safer and effective tools to maintain oral health and hygiene, such as floss, interdental brushes and oral irrigation devices.

Despite toothpicks becoming obsolete, many people still like the feel of a toothpick and use them after a meal. One of the reasons, toothpicks have endured is because they are so easy to handle. You just pick one up and control it with just two fingers of one hand. You can even use them while watching TV.

Flossing, on the other hand, requires hours of education, constant motivation and concentration. Flossing can be unrealistically difficult to teach young children or hard for seniors to manage. It is time consuming and awkward to use. You also need to stand in front of a mirror in a bathroom, and hold the floss with two clean hands.

In a recent U.S. survey, nearly a third of patients confessed to lying to their dentist about how frequently they flossed their teeth – which was rarely.

Interdental brushes also have their own drawbacks. The surgical wire used in them can break easily, and can scratch delicate tooth surfaces and gum tissue – not to mention the set of multiple different-sized brushes that you have to carry around, and then try to remember which colour-coded brush fitted into which gap.

But what if you could combine the intuitive easy-to-use simplicity of a toothpick with the cleaning effectiveness of an interdental brush – but without all the shortcomings?

Realising that there had to be a better solution for cleaning interdental spaces easily and effectively, Canadian dentist, inventor and researcher, Dr Allan Coopersmith invented and developed the Periotwist.

The Periotwist is a single one-size-fits-all device that can apply toothpaste or medical solutions to interdental spaces – and clean them thoroughly. You hold the device with two fingers like a toothpick, and gently insert it into the interdental space. Then you simply use a push-pull action or a twisting motion to clean the entire surface area surrounding the space.

Choice Dental The Periotwist’s long flexible head has a squeegee-like cleaning action

The Periotwist’s long flexible head has a squeegee-like cleaning action. With its tapered spiral tip, it can reach and clean the entire tooth surface within each interdental space. The Periotwist is reusable and won’t break – nor will it scratch your teeth or gums. It is children-friendly and takes no special skill to learn how to use.

There are no sizes to change, and according to Dr. Coopersmith – you can use it anytime and anywhere. It is also suitable for use on braces, bridges and implants.

To find out more about a “future without flossing”, check out the Periotwist website – https://www.periotwist.com/

Images: adapted from screenshots sourced from www.periotwist.com


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