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GLOSSARY OF DENTAL TERMS
The most frequently used material for fillings. This tried and tested, and economical, material is criticised by many professionals for its mercury content. Substitutes, e.g. ceramic, are very expensive and require complex processing.
Very unpleasant smells can be produced in the oral cavity from inadequate oral hygiene, bad teeth or inflammations. Bad breath also often originates in the gastro-intestinal tract, or as a result of bronchitis or bladder trouble.
In most cases, bleeding gums are caused by inflammation, itself brought on by plaque. By means of targeted mechanical brushing of the teeth, including the spaces between them (interdental spaces), and the use of high-quality oral hygiene products (toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum), the build-up of plaque can be prevented or rendered less aggressive.
Toothbrushes today are, of course, made almost exclusively using artificial bristles. They use very high-quality materials, which absorb very little water. In order not to damage the gums, the ends of the bristles are rounded off using very complex technical processes.
Micro-organisms live in the oral cavity. They feed on substances that are easily broken down – above all sugar. In doing so, they excrete metabolic products (acids), which attack and decalcify the enamel. As a result, there first appears, under the still intact enamel surface, a decalcified area (chalky spots/initial lesion). If the decalcification continues, the enamel surface is breached and a cavity, ‘caries’, appears.
Sugar-free chewing gums can delay the formation of caries. They cause saliva to be produced, which favours the breakdown of acid-forming bacteria. However, chewing gum in no way replaces tooth brushing, as it does nothing to remove the plaque.
Regular dental care is important from the moment the first tooth appears. To protect the milk teeth, it is important to use a suitable toothbrush and a low-fluoride toothpaste. Correct tooth brushing requires practice and patience. First, the chewing surfaces should be cleaned, then all outer surfaces and finally the inner surfaces of the teeth. Children fairly quickly learn how to handle a toothbrush by following their parents’ example. Nonetheless, it is advisable for Mummy or Daddy to finish off for small children. For thorough dental care, attention also needs to be paid to a healthy diet. Too many sweeties or a constant supply of sweet drinks lay teeth open to attack.Sugar consumption should be restricted as much as possible and be followed by tooth brushing.
Thread made of artificial fibre for cleaning interdental spaces. Approximately 50 cm of dental floss is removed from the dispenser, the ends wound round the middle finger of each hand and held against the thumbs. The taut floss is inserted carefully into each interdental space in the upper jaw and pulled up and down. To clean the lower jaw interdental spaces, take the floss round the tips of the forefingers. It is important always to clean both tooth surfaces of each interdental space.
Disease occurring as a result of long-term overuse of fluoride. Its mildest symptoms are white to brownish spots on the enamel. These appear if between the ages of six and eight excessive quantities of fluoride are regularly ingested. As small children usually swallow some of the toothpaste they are using, up to this age children’s toothpaste with a reduced fluoride content should be used.
The dental pulp is surrounded by the dentine, which forms the main bulk of the tooth. The enamel protects the dentine in the visible part of the tooth. It is softer than the enamel and contains fine tubules. These convey stimuli to the dental nerve. Where tooth necks are exposed (periodontosis), the dentine is laid bare and so is not protected. Hot and cold, sweet and sour, are perceived as pain signals. Special toothpaste, suitable mouthwash and above all an efficient toothbrush, all have a decisive effect in strengthening the gums.
If caries has eaten through the enamel, the disturbance will progress more rapidly through the dentine, aided by the tubules that go through it. Where the teeth have exposed necks, the dentine has no protective enamel layer and is therefore very prone to caries.
Unsightly food pigments can be deposited in the uppermost enamel layer, (e.g. from fruit, added food colourings, tea, coffee, red wine, etc.) and from tobacco products (tar).
An effective ally of toothpaste, but its use cannot replace tooth brushing.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused by the metabolic by-products of plaque bacteria. Visible signs of gingivitis are swelling and bleeding of the gums. Treatment or prevention requires that the bacteria-containing layer be removed as gently as possible, but nonetheless completely.
Scoop- or chisel-shaped front teeth that are used for biting. The eight milk incisors are replaced by eight permanent incisors around the age of six.
In this first stage of caries, in which there is only damage beneath the enamel surface, the condition can often be halted or cured by better oral hygiene and regular use of fluoride.
It is possible to clean the narrow spaces between the teeth individually, using dental floss, toothpicks or special interdental toothbrushes.
Because it is difficult to clean between the teeth, the bacterial coating (plaque) often remains there. Consequently, the enamel is attacked and the tooth often suffers unnoticed for a long time.
These are the first teeth, which appear at six or seven months. They are replaced between the ages of six and twelve years by the permanent teeth. Up to that point, the milk teeth serve to keep the places that the permanent teeth are going to take. They should remain intact as long as possible.
These are the permanent, big, knobbly back teeth. The first molars come through into the oral cavity behind the milk molars at about the age of six. Together with both of the incisors, they are the first permanent teeth in the oral cavity. At about the age of twelve, the second molars come through and the wisdom teeth possibly only in adulthood.
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) leads in the long run to receding gums and to loosening of the teeth. This can lead to loss of the teeth. Unlike gingivitis, periodontal damage can only be treated with great difficulty. Careful dental care and professional removal of plaque (or tartar) can prevent periodontosis or slow down any existing deterioration.
Plaque is a tough coating which settles on tooth surfaces and on the gum edges; it consists mainly of bacteria. In 1 mg of wet plaque, there are approximately 250 million bacteria. Most of these bacteria are responsible for producing tooth-damaging acids. Some bacteria excrete substances that make the plaque sticky and tough. Plaque can only be removed mechanically. Great care should be taken in choosing a toothbrush. The cleaning effect, in terms of the bristle area, and an ergonomically shaped handle are the most important selection criteria.
Die Entzündung des Zahnfleisches (Gingivitis) führt längerfristig zur Rückbildung des Zahnfleisches und zur Lockerung der Zähne. Folge ist der Zahnverlust. Parodontitisschäden sind im Gegensatz zur Gingivitis nur sehr schwer zu behandeln. Die sorgfältige Zahnpflege und die professionelle Belagsentfernung (Zahnstein) kann Parodontose verhindern oder die bereits entstandene Schädigung verlangsamen.
RDA value (abrasiveness)
Plaque, ein zäher Belag, der sich auf den Zahnoberflächen und am Zahnfleischrand festsetzt, besteht zum grössten Teil aus Bakterien. In 1 mg nasser Plaque findet man ca. 250 Millionen Bakterien. Die meisten dieser Bakterien sind für die Produktion der zahnschädigenden Säuren verantwortlich. Einige Bakterien scheiden Substanzen aus, welche die Plaque klebrig und zäh macht. Die Plaque kann nur mechanisch entfernt werden. Der Wahl der richtigen Zahnbürste ist grosse Bedeutung zuzumessen. Die Reinigungswirkung (Borstenfeld) und ein ergonomisch geformter Griff sind die wichtigsten Auswahl-Kriterien.
The abrasiveness of a toothpaste tells you the extent to which it will rub away surfaces. It is measured on the RDA scale. The higher the RDA value of a toothpaste, the greater its rubbing effect. It is this action that removes the plaque in tooth-brushing, without the enamel being attacked. However, where tooth necks are exposed, toothpastes that are too abrasive may remove dentine, which is softer than enamel; in this case they should not be used.
Gums recede following inflammation (periodontitis) or damage to the gums around individual teeth. Most often this occurs as a result of incorrect brushing technique, e.g. horizontal or over-vigorous scrubbing.
The dentine around exposed tooth necks or roots has no protective enamel layer and so is more prone to caries. The targeted application of toothbrushes, dental floss and interdental brushes combined with an effective toothpaste can provide protection.
Saliva prevents the mucous membranes from drying out, rinses the oral cavity, neutralises acids and provides minerals to strengthen the enamel.
This occurs mostly at the edge of a filling. Cracks between the filling and the tooth are the cause of this form of caries.
Plaque that has not been sufficiently removed by tooth-brushing can make gums slightly inflamed, and gentle rubbing, say by a toothbrush or toothpick, can make them bleed. If this occurs, it is important to continue brushing the teeth thoroughly, but gently.
Where teeth have exposed necks, the dentine has no protective enamel layer and is therefore very prone to caries. The entrances to the dentine tubules are open and transmit the sensation of pain when stimulated, e.g. by food or drink that is hot, cold, sweet or sour.
Sensitive tooth necks
Teeth react sensitively when tooth necks are exposed. This occurs when an incorrect brushing technique, with too much pressure, is used, or when there is inflammation. Toothbrushes with special, soft bristles that are kind on the gums should be used for cleaning.
This calcified, hard coating of the teeth forms wherever the bacterial coating (plaque) remains long enough to absorb minerals. This is especially true at the points where the salivary glands open into the oral cavity, namely on the inside of the lower incisors (opening of the sublingual glands) and the outside of the upper front molars (opening of the parotid gland). Tartar can build up not only above the gum edge, but also below it; this is known as concretion. Concretion occurs when minerals and blood components are absorbed in plaque. Tartar cannot be removed by tooth brushing; it has to be done at the dentist’s.
Each tooth comprises a root and a crown. Where they meet is called the tooth neck. The root ends are open. Blood and nerve tracts enter the pulp cavity through the root canals and form the pulp that is surrounded by dentine. In the crown, the dentine is covered by enamel. The tooth does not grow directly from the bone, but is flexibly anchored in the gums (gingiva) and the jawbone by means of the periodontal ligament (periodontium).
Together with toothpaste, the most important tool in dental care. The key criteria for choosing a suitable toothbrush are an ergonomic, optimally formed handle, a brush head that is not too large and the setting of the bristles. Patients with exposed tooth necks should use a toothbrush with particularly soft bristles.
Tooth brushing should be systematic. Children start by cleaning the chewing surfaces, then the outer surfaces and finally the inner surfaces. Adults should hold the brush diagonally at 45° against the gum edge and move it over the teeth with small, approximately circular movements. In this way, teeth and gums will be cleaned properly.
All teeth are covered by a thin coating known as enamel cuticle (dental pellicle). It can absorb colours from outside the body, leading to discolouration. These colours mainly come from food sources, such as fruit, artificial colourings, tea, coffee, red wine and the tar in tobacco. Discolouration can be reduced or removed by using Candida White toothpaste and a White toothbrush.
Tooth neck caries
The dentine found at exposed tooth necks/roots has no protective enamel covering and so is more prone to caries. Careful cleaning with toothbrush, dental floss and interdental brushes, together with the use of a special toothpaste, are therefore very important.
Aromatic, pleasant-tasting cream-like preparation that assists the cleaning function of the toothbrush. The toothpaste should contain fluoride to act against caries. Additional active ingredients enhance its disease-fighting (prophylactic) effect. Toothpaste should be chosen according to the outcome sought or the issue at hand and the RDA value should also correspond to the particular situation.
Toothpicks, made of soft wood and usually three sided, can be used to clean interdental spaces. They should be inserted in the spaces with the flat side against the gum, in order not to damage it.
Natural teeth are never completely white, but have a specific individual colour of their own. The Candida toothpaste White can be used daily.