Getting one's teeth cleaned regularly is critical to avoid gum disease and maintain good oral health. But many people put off having their teeth cleaned because it can be painful, or they don't like the needles used to numb the gums with Novacain. Now a needle-free anesthesia is available for teeth cleaning in Dr. Jonathan Richter's Great Neck dental office. Dr. Richter and his staff are trying to get the word out about the importance of regular visits to the dentist and good oral hygiene during National Dental Hygiene Month in October.
Needle-free numbing is making trips to the dentist more palatable for many patients. Oraqix is an FDA-approved anesthetic delivered with a blunt-tipped applicator for deep cleaning procedures. "We deliver the anesthesia below the gum line, and it takes about 30 seconds to work," according to Lauren Kilmeade, a dental hygienist in Dr. Richter's office. "Patients are pleased that they can experience pain-free scaling and root planing, in which we clean the pockets formed when people have early periodontal disease." Unlike Novacain, which can leave patients numb for hours, Oraqix wears off in about 20 minutes.
An estimated 50 million Americans are affected by some form of gum disease, and when advanced, it can lead to tooth loss. Studies have also shown a link between periodontal disease and other serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Bleeding gums are usually the first sign of periodontal disease, and anyone who has this problem should waste no time in making a dental appointment, Ms. Kilmeade says. Other signs of gum disease include gums that bleed when you brush; red, swollen and tender gums; a bad taste in the mouth; bad breath; loose or sensitive teeth; pain when chewing; and a change in the way teeth fit together when you bite. The earlier gum disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat it, preserve one's teeth and avoid other health problems. The earlier gum disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat it, preserve one's teeth and avoid other health problems.
"These days, it's almost tragic to see people lose their teeth, because gum disease is both preventable and treatable," Dr. Richter says. Regular dental check-ups, cleanings and good oral health habits are the best way to preserve one's teeth - and one's overall health.
Anyone who would like more information can call Dr. Richter's office: 516-282-0310.
Dr. Jonathan Richter is a practicing dentist in Great Neck, with additional specialty training and certificates in both periodontics and prosthodontics. He belongs to a number of professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Periodontology, the Northeastern Academy of Periodontology and the American Academy of General Dentistry. His phone number is 516-282-0310.