[Editor’s Note: This article is part three of a three part series on dental care products. Don’t miss part one and part two!]
Some age-old dental care products attain the status of classics: the toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash, for instance. Others, your dentist has to beg you to use. Dental floss gets top mention there.
And then there are specialty dental care products. Teeth whitening products, products for denture wearers, and those for emergencies all fall into this final, catchall group.
Most folks want white, vibrant teeth. However, expert teeth whitening can be costly. Having your teeth whitened by a dentist is always the safe way to go. For a more affordable choice, home teeth whitening products can help.
Along with whitening toothpastes, mouthwashes, and rinses, home teeth whitening products that use trays or strips, or that you paint-on, are available. Unlike the toothpastes and rinses, trays and strips keep their key ingredients in contact with teeth longer, so the results can be far more dramatic.
- What these products do: Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the key ingredients used in most tooth whitening products. In each case, the peroxide gently bubbles away on tooth surfaces to scrub away the stains.
- Why they’re important: If getting whiter teeth at home is your goal, dentists generally agree using trays or strips delivers the most dazzling results.
- Who should use them: Using these products is generally a personal decision. Be sure to make it, if possible, with the advice of your dentist.
Just like people with real teeth, denture wearers must brush their dentures every day. Brushing dentures should be a daily part of denture care because it helps to remove food debris and stop plaque buildup on the surface. It also prevents dentures from getting permanent stains and helps the wearer’s mouth stay healthy.
Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dish washing liquid to clean their dentures. Both are acceptable. However, you should avoid using powdered household cleansers as they may be too abrasive. Also, do not use bleach, as this could whiten the pink parts of dentures.
- What denture care products do: Special toothbrushes, toothpastes, and other products are available for cleaning dentures.
- Why they’re important: Denture care products are milder than the products used on natural teeth in order to avoid damage to dentures.
- Who should use them: Only denture wearers or their caregivers should use these products. Do not use denture care products to clean natural teeth.
Emergency Dental Care Products
Those of us who work in the insurance industry love Benjamin Franklin. After all, he was one of the early proponents of insurance. And when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” we think he hit the nail right on the head.
There are a number of specialty emergency dental care products available. Several retailers even offer a dental emergency first-aid kit. These generally contain most of what you’re likely to need for a dental emergency when there’s no dentist available.
- What they’re for: Depending on the type of dental emergency you have, several retailers offer dental repair kits with items to relieve tooth pain, hold loose fillings and crowns in place, or transport a knocked out tooth. The contents typically include things like tweezers, cotton, antimicrobial wipes, ibuprofen, and gauze.
- Why they’re important: These items will come in handy in the case of lost fillings, loose caps or crowns, teeth that have become dislodged, or a persistent toothache due to a cavity
- Who should use them: Everyone wants to be prepared, but it’s not always necessary to buy a specialty kit.
If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying a dedicated dental emergency first-aid kit, perhaps check your regular first aid kit and see what types of additions would make it work for dental emergencies as well. To get an idea of the types of things to include, read our blog about loose teeth and other dental emergencies.
To learn more about dental care products, read part one and part two of our dental care products overview.
Read next: 5 Reasons Why You Need Dental Insurance
Every year, Remote Area Medical holds a free medical clinic in Wise County, Virginia that serves about 2,000 patients over the course of three days. Among the many services available is dentistry, thanks to the approximately 450 volunteers who make up the Mission of Mercy dental team.
The team performs root canals, fills cavities, extracts teeth and even fits patients with dentures. At previous clinics, there was only enough time to supply around eight sets of dentures during the event, according to the Washington Post.
“When I started, we were doing dentures in the conventional way,” said Mission of Mercy dentist Dr. Scott Miller.
This process involved several complex steps including fittings, re-linings, and finally assembling the dentures by hand in a separate location.
Tools of the Future
However, just a few years ago, the team developed a new way to make dentures that can serve almost ten times as many people as the clinics of years past.
“We just had a need for something that instead of doing maybe just twelve patients in a weekend we could do a hundred,” Dr. Stephen Alouf told local news outlet KSNB.
instead of doing maybe just twelve patients in a weekend we could do a hundred
The new method can fit someone with plastic dentures in as little as one hour. This allows dentists to create 50 full and about 30 partial sets at the annual clinic. An acrylic material gives the team the ability take impressions one day and the dentures are ready the next.
The team’s desire to satisfy as many people on the clinic’s waiting list as possible sparked the development of the new method, Dr. Miller said.
“It’s the only way we can put a dent in that list of 800 people,” he said.
New Method for Creating Dentures
One attendee of the clinic in July 2017 was 71-year-old Larry Bays. Bays shattered his teeth in a workplace accident that also broke his pelvis and sternum.
The traditional method of creating dentures required patients to register ahead of time. However, at this year’s clinic, the new method was so efficient that the team actually had time to fit in patients without appointments, like Bays.
“Wow,” Bays told dental assistant Diana Fuller after seeing his new teeth in the mirror for the first time. “That looks great.”
The Power of a Healthy Smile — A friendly, beaming and healthy smile generally puts people at ease and makes others feel welcome in your presence.
Bays was among the many patients who drove several hours and camped out in their cars to be treated. The dentures were surely worth it, however, since they clearly help to reignite a person’s self-esteem.
“Well, you know, dentistry has been pretty good to me,” Dr. Alouf said. “I feel that it’s our role and our responsibility to give back.”
Read next: Domestic Abuse Survivor Is Reborn After Dentist Repairs Smile