Simple Solutions To Common Flossing Problems

Although adults and children love to skip it, flossing is a very important part of the oral hygiene routine. It removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Many people skip flossing because they find it challenging or difficult in some way. This is unwise, since skipping this important step may eventually have severe consequences such as tooth loss and severe periodontitis.  Here’s a look at a few common flossing problems and how to solve them, so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Problem: The floss does not fit between your teeth.

If your teeth are very close together, you might have a hard time wedging floss in there, or it may be painful to do so.

Solution: Use thinner floss.

Floss comes in several thicknesses. If the most common, standard floss won’t fit between your teeth because they are so close together, look for “extra thin” floss in your drugstore. If you cannot find thin floss in your area, ask your dentist to recommend a place that carries it. He or she may even have some samples to give you.

Problem: The floss frays between your teeth.

When floss frays between your teeth, it can be pretty annoying, especially if the strands of frayed floss get stuck between your teeth.

Solution: Don’t use a section of floss more than once.

Chances are, your floss is fraying because you’ve reused the same section of floss too many times. Make sure you cut yourself a very long piece of floss, and use a new section of floss for each tooth. If you still have trouble with the floss fraying, it could be that your teeth are too close together or that you have a slightly rough-surfaced filling between some of your teeth. Switching to a “comfort floss” which is made from non-fraying material should help.

Problem: You can’t reach your back teeth to floss between them.

If you have big fingers, a little mouth or both, this can be quite the conundrum. However, you need to find a way to floss between those back teeth, since they’re just as prone to decay as your other ones.

Solution: Use dental flossers.

Dental flossers are little pieces of floss attached to plastic picks. They make it easier to reach your back teeth. They’re often more expensive than a package of standard floss, but if you think of the money you’ll save by not needing fillings, they’re worth it.

There’s never a good reason to skip flossing your teeth! Get into the habit of flossing daily, and your teeth  (and dentist) will thank you for years to come.

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Should You Get An Implant Or Dental Bridge?

There are a couple of options for replacing your missing tooth. You could get an implant or a dental bridge. They both place an artificial tooth in the gap where your real tooth is missing – they just go about it in different ways. Here are some points to consider when trying to decide which method is best.

Location Of Missing Tooth

The difference between these two procedures is the way the artificial crown is anchored in your mouth. With a bridge, the tooth is anchored to the teeth on each side. With an implant, the tooth is anchored to your jaw bone. Since the implant fuses with bone, it will be more secure. If your missing tooth is one of the primary tearing teeth in the front, or a chewing molar in the back, an implant might be a better choice. However, the difference in strength may not be enough to matter, since a bridge is cemented to nearby teeth. As long as your teeth are strong and healthy, a bridge should function well enough, no matter where it is placed.

Amount Of Bone Loss

Since an implant is drilled into your bone, you need enough bone mass for the procedure to work. If you don’t have enough bone, you may need a bone graft first, which can drive up the cost and prolong the end results. If your tooth has been missing for a long time, there’s a good chance you have some bone loss in the area. When you get an implant, the bone loss stops because the bone is stimulated each time you chew, just like it would be with a normal root in place. Bone loss doesn’t matter when you opt for a dental bridge. The artificial tooth is custom fitted into the gap, no matter what its size. The only drawback is that a bridge won’t stop bone loss. It will continue to slowly progress, as normally happens when you have a missing tooth.

Financial Investment

A dental implant is more expensive than a dental bridge, so that may ultimately be the deciding factor. However, you need to consider other things too, such as lifespan. An implant will probably last the rest of your life, and the bridge will need to be replaced in 5-15 years. The cost of each procedure varies according the amount of work you need, especially when it comes to the surgery for an implant. As a general example, you can expect to pay over $4000 for an implant and one crown, and anywhere from $500-$3000 for a bridge that contains three crowns.

One of the main things that affects the price of a bridge is the type of material you choose for the crown. Porcelain looks the most like a natural tooth, but it is the most expensive. Resin is more affordable, and is a good choice for side or back teeth that are hidden from view. Another thing to consider is your out-of-pocket expense. You should check with your insurance carrier to verify whether either procedure is covered. Since an implant is often considered a cosmetic procedure, you may have to pay the full cost yourself. Talk to a local dentist, such as Dr Steve Mocrae, to discuss the best option for you. 

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