Mentioning the word “radiation” can sometimes can conjure up unpleasant thoughts or concerns for many people. Some may associate the term with nuclear accidents; cancer, etc. But, did you realize radiation use, under certain monitored and protected conditions, is beneficial in the dental profession? One such type of beneficial use is in conjunction with obtaining dental X-Rays. Extremely low doses of radiation are used to obtain this very important diagnostic tool.

Sunrise’s patients may be concerned they are getting overexposed to radiation. “How much radiation am I exposed to and what harmful effects are anticipated, if any?” The short answers are very little and none, respectively. To understand how safe the X-rays really are, one must first understand how radiation is measured. “Rem” is radiation’s standard unit of measure. A single rem of radiation is an extremely large unit, much like using “miles” in describing distances. Typically, since dental patients are exposed to such low doses of radiation during the X-ray process, the doses are measured in “millirems”(mrem). What this means is if someone is exposed to 1 Rem, they are exposed to 1000 millirems of radiation. Typically, when obtaining dental x-rays, patients can expect to be exposed to 1/1000TH or 3/1000TH of a Rem or 1 -3 mrem. (VERY LOW DOSE)

A study by The National Council on Radiation states an average citizen will be exposed to approximately 360 mrems of radiation, YEARLY, from commonly occurring background sources. That’s over 300 TIMES MORE than what you receive from getting dental X-rays!!!! Some of these sources are: smoke detectors; TV watching; airline travel; smoking, etc. One would not necessarily choose not to watch TV, fly on a plane or use smoke detectors due to the inconsequential amount of radiation exposure from these activities.

As your Sunrise dentist gains valuable information from your X-rays, Sunrise believes getting X-rays on a regular basis (1-2 times per year) is in everyone’s best interest to insure your continued dental health and overall well-being. In light of the daily exposures we all encounter, the risk to benefit ratio favors getting X-rays. Let us know if you have any concerns at your next visit.

February is Dental Health Month!!!

That’s right!! It’s time again to make that visit to your dentist’s office to see your dentist; hygienist or BOTH!

Did you know that February has been deemed the National Dental Health Month for Children? The American Dental Association sponsors this annual awareness month throughout the United States to educate and raise interest among families about the importance of maintaining good oral health for children.

Studies and research has revealed a strong connection between a child’s (and adult’s) overall health with the quality of oral health in that individual. Unfortunately, this health issue is sometimes easily overlooked by parents and/or guardians of children. Sunrise recommends to establishing regimen of healthy dental habits, children should be introduced to the dentist and oral care as early as 2-1/2 to 3 years of age. Our teeth were meant to last a lifetime. With proper guidance, a healthy diet, and regular dental visits, your children (and you) can flash a happy and healthy smile

Don’t wait!! Call your nearest Sunrise office and show your children you care about their overall health. Don’t forget to lead by example and make an appointment for yourself as well!!



Tooth Decay and Your Health

Taking proper care of your teeth is a huge step toward your overall health and well-being. Neglecting dental care at home and failing to attend regular dental visits most likely can and will lead to dental disease. Dental disease(s) has/have recently been found to have a correlation to some unfavorable medical conditions.

Additionally, failing to properly care for one’s teeth may lead to the development of caries, more commonly referred to as decay. Dental decay can occur early on during teeth development, even in infants. Sunrise recommends children should be seen initially around the age of three (3), unless there is some immediate concern about their child’s teeth (trauma to mouth, etc.)

Decay is typically detected or becomes evident to the hygienist and/or dentist during the clinical exam at the initial and/or recare appointment and possibly in conjunction with the examination of radiographs (commonly referred to as X-rays). Depending upon the extent of the decay, you may or may not experience pain in the area of the decay. As some decay may be undetectable to the naked eye; e.g interproximal decay (between the teeth), Sunrise strongly recommends X-rays be taken at least once yearlyX-rays are an invaluable tool in diagnosing dental diseases and should always be part of your annual dental routine.

Regular dental recare appointments and clinical exams at Sunrise, at least twice yearly, will keep your dental health on track. Since your oral health is a good indicator of your overall physical health, take care of your body by staring at the top…. with your teeth!

Do I Need to Wear a Night and/or Bite Guard?

Do you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep? Do you have head or neck aches? Clicking or popping your jaw? A lot of stress going on? You might suffer from TMJ disorder.

Early detection is important to prevent TMJ (your jaw joint) problems. Your dental professional will assess for signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder at your dental check-up. He/she will look for worn teeth or fillings, clicking or popping of the jaw and will check your bite. Also, they will be asking you about symptoms that you experience when sleeping, when eating or if you experience headaches or neck aches. The dental care provider will examine how wide you can open your mouth and if it is painful or have the tendency to lock when opening.

To restore the function of your TM joint, the dentist will prescribe a series of recommendations: Make sure you keep your teeth apart when not talking or eating. Eat softer foods, smaller bites and avoid chewing gum. Sometime, during flare-ups, the dentist or physician will prescribe pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxers.

Last but not least the dentist will recommend a night splint or occlusal guard. A night splint is a custom made clear appliance that will keep your teeth apart and therefore will help relaxing your muscles. Most of the time it is recommended over your top teeth. An impression will be taken by your dental professional and the lab will fabricate the appliance. After the guard was fitted you will wear it for a couple of weeks and return for adjustments. It takes a little bit of time and effort to get used to wearing the night guard. When coming for regular check-ups, bring your guard with you to have it cleaned and adjusted if needed.

Preventive Dental Care

Family Dental Care Professionals Recommend Fluoride Varnish:

Fluoride Varnish (5% Sodium Fluoride) is a highly concentrated form of fluoride which is applied to the tooth surface by your family dentist or dental professional. Fluoride treatments have been used for years to prevent tooth decay; to re-mineralize tooth surface(s) and in treatment of “sensitive teeth”. Topical fluoride varnish is well-tolerated by infants, toddlers, young children, and individuals with special needs. It is easy to use and fast to apply. The varnish is applied directly to the tooth surface in less than three minutes. Alternatively, conventional gel and foam fluoride require suction, air drying, and may cause patients to gag. Fluoride varnish is a very safe and low risk type of fluoride treatment. Varnishing uses only small amounts and less is swallowed compared to other methods of fluoridation. Additionally, the varnish stays in contact with the tooth surface for several hours longer than other methods. Our dental offices highly recommend this procedure for all children as well as any adults who are at high risk of tooth decay, who have exposed roots, are orthodontic patients, and for those who live in non-fluoridated water areas; i.e. well water. For minimal cost, you or your family members can receive a substantial dental health benefit. Ask how you or your children can benefit from a fluoride treatment at your next visit.

By: Jessica G. Smith, Registered Dental Hygienist

Today the etiology (causes of a disease or abnormal condition) of periodontal disease is understood. Dentists and dental hygienists have developed and now utilize efficient methods of prevention, treatment, and control of periodontal disease. The keys to successfully combat the onset of periodontal problems involves “preventive” dentistry regimen including but not limited to regular cleanings, exams, and necessary dental x-rays to detect these potential problems early on.

Additionally, routine home care such as proper brushing and flossing correctly; attending regular dental appointments; and following the prescribed preventive instruction(s) will assist in avoiding the need for more invasive and extensive dental treatment by your hygienist and/or dentist. Please call us for more information or to make your appointment.