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Preparing Yourself for Oral Surgery

July 17th, 2024

Preparing for oral surgery is much like preparing for any other outpatient procedure. The steps you take leading up to the operation play a significant role in the safety of your procedure and your recovery experience. It is important that you speak with Dr. Theodotou prior to an oral surgery to find out what you should expect and the ways you can facilitate a quick and complication-free recovery.

Food and Drink

If you will be under anesthesia or IV sedation during your surgery, you will be asked to fast from food and drink in the hours leading up to your procedure. If your surgery is scheduled in the morning, Dr. Theodotou may ask you to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before. Otherwise, a fasting period of at least eight to 12 hours must be observed. However, there may be exceptions for people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes. Talk to our team if you have questions about pre-operative fasting.

Clothing and Hygiene

You should arrive at your appointment dressed comfortably in short-sleeved, loose-fitting shirt. Avoid wearing valuable clothing, and leave all jewelry at home. If you wear a removable dental prosthetic, such as dentures or a bridge, bring a case to store it in during the procedure. You should also avoid wearing contacts or makeup, though you may wish to bring apply lip moisturizer or balm to prevent chapping during the procedure.

Transportation

You will need to arrange transportation to and from your oral surgery at our Pooler office, as you will not be allowed to drive yourself home after the procedure. The person you choose should be a responsible adult who will remain in the office for the duration of your surgical appointment. Depending on the type of anesthetic used during your procedure, you may need someone to stay with you at home in the hours immediately following your appointment.

Recovery

Take steps now to prepare for the days following your procedure. It can take weeks for your mouth to fully heal after surgery, although most swelling subsides within a few days. If you have young children, arrange for someone to care for them during the days immediately following your appointment. Purchase soft foods that are safe to eat after oral surgery, such as yogurt or soup, and freeze an ice pack to help minimize swelling.

Brushing: Before or after breakfast?

July 10th, 2024

In a perfect world, we would all jump out of bed ready to greet the day with a big smile and a toothbrush close at hand to clean our teeth immediately. But if you can’t even find your toothbrush before you’ve had your first cup of coffee, does it really make a difference if you brush and floss after breakfast? Perhaps! Let’s talk biology.

Normal saliva production during the day benefits our teeth and mouths in surprising ways. Saliva washes away food particles to keep our teeth cleaner. It contains cells which combat bacteria and infection. It even provides proteins and minerals to help protect our teeth from decay. But saliva production slows dramatically as we sleep, and the amount of bacteria in our mouths increases. While one of the nasty—and obvious—side effects of bacterial growth is morning breath, there is an invisible effect, which is more harmful. Bacteria in plaque convert sugar and carbohydrates into acids which attack our gums and enamel and can lead to both gingivitis and cavities.

  • If You Brush Before Breakfast

Brushing and flossing first thing in the morning removes the plaque that has built up during the night and takes care of many of the bacteria who are ready to enjoy the sugar and carbs in that breakfast with you. If you brush before eating breakfast, rinse your mouth with water after your meal, floss if needed, and you are good to go.

  • If You Choose to Brush After Breakfast

But if you decide that doughnut simply can’t wait, you should ideally postpone brushing for 20-30 minutes after your meal. Of course, these are minutes in which bacteria can make use of those new sugars and carbohydrates. So why shouldn’t you brush immediately after eating? Many foods and beverages, especially acidic ones such as grapefruit and orange juice, can weaken the surface of your teeth. If you rinse with water after eating and wait at least 20-30 minutes before brushing, your enamel will be “remineralized” (another benefit of saliva) and ready for cleaning.

No matter if you take a “seize the day” approach and brush first thing in the morning, or a “seize the doughnut” approach and brush soon after eating, the important word here is “brushing.” Dr. Theodotou and our Pooler team are happy to make suggestions as to the best morning routine for you. One thing is certain: if you give your teeth and gums two minutes of careful brushing and flossing in the morning, you can’t help but start your day off right!

How do I know if I have dry mouth?

July 3rd, 2024

Dry mouth, also medically known as xerostomia, is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. There are many ways to keep dry mouth at bay, including:

  • Brushing your teeth after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing every day after a meal
  • Avoiding tobacco, as well as drinks containing alcohol or caffeine
  • Avoiding dry foods, as well as foods containing high salt, acid, spice, or sugar levels
  • Drinking water frequently or sucking on ice chips
  • Using a humidifier at night

Please call our convenient Pooler dental office to learn more about dry mouth, or ask us during your next visit!

Taking Care of Your Toothbrush

June 26th, 2024

Did you know your toothbrush could be covered with almost ten million germs? We know … it’s gross! That’s why you should know how to store your toothbrush properly, and when it’s time to replace it.

If you need to brush up on your toothbrush care knowledge, we’ve got you covered so brushing will always leave you feeling squeaky clean.

Keeping a Clean Toothbrush

Your mouth is home to hundreds of types of microorganisms, so it’s normal for some of them to hang onto your toothbrush after you’ve used it. Rinsing your brush thoroughly with water after each use can get rid of leftover toothpaste and food particles that cling to the bristles. Some dentists suggest soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash every now and then can help reduce the amount of bacteria further.

Store your toothbrush in a cool, open environment away from the toilet or trash bin to avoid airborne germs. Closed containers should be avoided because they provide a warm, wet habitat that bacteria love to grow in.

If you have multiple people sharing one sink, an upright holder with different sections will keep everyone’s brushes separated and avoid cross contamination. In addition, we would hope this is a no-brainer, but please don’t share toothbrushes!

Microwaves and dishwashers are not suitable tools for cleaning a toothbrush, because brushes aren’t built to last through this kind of treatment. If you want a really clean toothbrush, your best option is simply to buy a new one.

Replacing Your Toothbrush

The American Dental Association recommends you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner depending on individual circumstances. Dr. Theodotou and our team agree. If you have braces, tend to brush too strongly, or the bristles become frayed, it’s time for a new brush.

Children will also need replacement brushes more frequently than adults. If you or your child has been sick, you should replace the toothbrush immediately to avoid re-exposing yourself to illness.

Worn-out brushes are not only unsanitary, they don’t do a good job cleaning teeth. Bristles that are worn out and dull won’t scrape away plaque and bacteria as well as a fresh toothbrush can.

 

Though the idea of ten million germs can be worrisome, if you take a few small precautions, you may ensure your toothbrush stays in good shape. And the cleaner the toothbrush, the cleaner the smile!