Big Red Tooth – Dr Candice Schwartz

Where teeth and health meet

What is a dental microscope ?

The use of a dental microscope in routine dental treatment has truly revolutionized the way dentist operate and the level of care that is provided. With a dental microscope, procedures can be carried out more accurately and more reliably using up to 24 X magnification of the teeth and surrounding structures. The dental microscope is the single most significant acquisition to enhance an operator’s clinical skill set. All dentists can do better work with the operating microscope. Margins that might inadvertently be left open can be closed. Cracks can be more accurately diagnosed, and treated. Caries that, in the past, needed to progress until seen with the naked eye can be treated earlier. Most dental needs can be treated more conservatively, with less loss of healthy tissue.

Never before has the dentist been so well equipped. A dentist using a microscope is better able to diagnose pathologies. The dual advantages of increased illumination and magnification provided by the surgical microscope make the delivery
of dental care easier. The initial rewards of vision enhancement are improved visualization, greater accuracy in eye-hand movements, and improved ergonomics.

Improved lighting, coupled with magnification, provide a clear distinction between surfaces that may look similar in color or texture under traditional working conditions, but look very different under the microscope. Decay, dentin, enamel, composite and porcelain are easily distinguishable from one another and can be viewed with unprecedented detail under the scrutiny of a microscope.

Dental microscopes can play a fundamental role in the daily comings and goings of an experienced dental practitioner. It is now widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of equipment in a dentist’s room. Dental microscopes are also beneficial for patients, as the microscope enables the patient to see inside their mouth, giving them a better understanding of what is going on and enabling them to participate in the treatment process. The microscope may be particularly beneficial for patients who are a little anxious about having treatment, as the dentist can explain what is going to happen more clearly.

Through the use of dental microscopes general dentistry has been allowed to advance and modernize, giving both dentists and patients a level of care and treatment that is second to none.

I am extremely proud and excited to be introducing the Seiler Evolution XR6 dental microscope to my practice. This is a huge step and will elevate the level of care I give my patients to even greater excellence. Read more on the Seiler website…


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Gum Recession


What causes gum recession and can it be prevented?


Gum recession occurs gradually, over months or years and gets worse with age. The gumline rises with time which results in the root surface of the tooth being exposed to the oral environment.The tooth crown is covered by a hard layer of enamel which protects it against decay and toothbrush wear. The tooth root does not have this protective enamel covering and is a lot more vulnerable. One of the most common signs of gum recession is teeth that are highly sensitive to cold and touch at the gumline. Gum recession is a common problem I see in my practice, and if left untreated over time it can leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and continued discomfort and sensitivity.

When gum recession occurs on the front teeth it is quickly noticed by patients because it is esthetically displeasing. However it is less commonly diagnosed early on the back teeth.

Some factors that contribute to increase gum recession are poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, and a genetic predisposition to thin bones and gums. Sometimes when teeth have been moved outwards during orthodontic treatment (braces) recession can be seen later in life as the gums are thinner in these areas. Clenching and grinding the teeth at night can exacerbate the problem, and wearing a bite plate at night may help. Gum recession resulting from a bacterial infection is also coupled with bone loss around the teeth. This is severe and leads to loosening and eventually loss of the teeth. Newer research is pointing towards “abfractions” as the cause of gingival recession. These are “wear” points at the neck of the tooth , where the enamel has disappeared and dentin is exposed.

The most common cause of the gum recession is aggressive brushing techniques with a toothbrush that is too hard. Incorrect brushing causes daily insult to the thin gum tissue around the tooth neck and in response to this the gum recedes. The best way to prevent gum recession is regular visits to the oral hygienist and dentist. Early treatment is the best way to avoid tooth decay, tooth loss, and infection.

Dental Erosion is the acidic dissolution of the teeth-starting with the softening (demineralization) of the enamel and underlying dentin and subsequent structural tooth loss. It’s caused by acids in food and beverages as well as by regurgitated stomach acid resulting from reflux disease (in contrast, cavities are caused by acid-producing bacteria on the teeth, which feed on sugars). Overbrushing, abrasive toothpaste, tooth grinding, and other excessive mechanical wear and tear can dramatically worsen the damage caused by dental erosion.

Gum grafting surgery is a treatment option for gum recession and often involves taking tissue from the roof of the mouth and attaching it to remaining gum tissue. However the success rate is low.

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