Floss is an important part of a daily oral hygiene program. A toothbrush will reach the sides and chewing surfaces of the teeth, it can not fit in between the teeth. This is where floss comes into play. Just imagine floss as being a bristle from a toothbrush and with it you scrub the plaque off from between the teeth. Dental plaque is a collection of sticky bacteria that is essentially invisible. It takes the sugar that you eat and produces acids which leaches the calcium from your teeth causing cavities and produces exotoxins which causes an inflammatory response leading to gum disease. This layer of plaque requires about 24 hours to organize and do its dirty work. By getting the floss cleaning between the teeth daily, cavities and gum disease can be greatly reduced. The key to flossing is to make sure that the floss is wrapped around the tooth and then the tooth is scrubbed along its side. It’s a common misperception that the floss merely needs too be placed in between the teeth to be effective, however, floss has no magical properties and must be properly manipulated in order to remove the layer of bacterial dental plaque.
Dentists deal with patients in pain every working day. It is our goal to alleviate as much suffering as possible. As part of the process, many times a pain reliever must be prescribed. Although there are some extremely effective anti-inflammatories available for mild to moderate pain, many times, a narcotic pain reliever may be the only type strong enough to relieve the dental pain. Unfortunately, overuse of narcotic pain relievers can lead to addiction. In addition to the pain relieving aspects of narcotics, they also produce euphoria. This can lead to a learned reward experience and can cause a craving to relive the same feeling even after the need for pain control is gone. As more doses are taken, a tolerance is progressively built up, meaning that higher doses are required to achieve the same effect. Dentists need to be aware of patients who experience “pain” with visible source and require heavy doses of narcotics to relieve that “pain”. With the advent of computer networks, dentists now have the ability to check online to see if a particular patient is a “drug seeker”. This allows a dentist to have the piece of mind in prescribing narcotics to provide his patients with proper and adequate pain control.