Understanding Dental Isolation

Hello, Dr. Jeff Johnston here coming to you from Denver, Colorado. I wanted to talk to you about the industry progresses we’ve seen when it comes to the age of bonding. Meaning, most everything we do is held by a chemical bond. And the importance of that is that now isolation is becoming very important. The gold standard of isolation is what you call, the rubber dam. It’s not very comfortable and it’s a little bit cumbersome to put on. Endodontist or root canal specialists are still using it as their standard of care. You have to keep the tooth away from any saliva or bacterial contamination while you are working on it. This allows us to keep the tooth dry and get a good bond, things of that nature.

For things that we do at Ascent Dental Group in Cherry Creek, CO, this new invention has come out in the last 5- 6 years and it’s called an isolite. An isolite is a little suction device made of real plastic material and has ports that can suction. It’s basically a 3 in 1 system that we’ve found to be really comfortable for patients. It has a little bite pillow that you bite on so you don’t have to worry about staying in open. It retracts your tongue and cheek so it protects that from any kind of dangers of the drill or your tongue is moving around. It also gives us a light and it provides suction so that one single dentist can complete the procedure. You’re not going to swallow water or choke or anything because all of the suction is taken care of. We’re finding patients are really finding this comfortable. We’ve done away with all of the cotton and gauze and the things we’re putting in your mouth to keep things really dry. This is allowing us to bond with real dry fields, giving us really good long-lasting results and bond strengths. The rubber dam has been around for a really long time, it is our gold standard of isolation but this new device has come along and we’re really excited. I love using this thing, it has changed how I practice dentistry and I find it really comfortable. I’ve had some work done with it and it was really nice to just there and relax and not worry about being open or having stuff shoved in my mouth.
I wanted to share that with you, we’ve been using this probably 8-9 months now, and it’s just made everybody’s life a lot better.

The Importance of Saliva

Hello, Dr. Jeff Johnston here!

I would like to talk to you about saliva, commonly known as spit. This is a very important part of the oral cavity. Your spit or saliva is composed of buffering systems, enzymes, and many good things to help you start digesting and to help you clean your teeth. It’s a very important fluid in our bodies. Our body is made up of incredible chemistry and the saliva in our mouth is the most important part of our mouth sometimes. The enzyme in Saliva, called cell amylase, helps us start breaking down our foods, and right as we’re eating, it helps dissolve foods by making it soft so that the digestion actually occurs in the mouth. 

Saliva also buffers our mouth. Our mouth has to stay at a constant pH and a pH is acidic and basic. A lot of times we eat sour candy, foods that are acidic such as cokes, and saliva can help us buffer our mouth back to a normal pH level. In the dental industry, it is called “critical pH” because once we drop below that pH in our mouth, teeth start to break down. Our saliva is there to help our mouth stay in a neutral pH. Other things, like sodium bicarbonate, is found in our saliva.  It is a buffering that helps with pH. Also, our saliva can be more liquidy or it can be thicker. Liquidy is better. The thicker it is, the less it cleans your teeth. Back in the caveman days, saliva is all we needed. Now we’re eating carbohydrates, chips, and candy which becomes real sticky on our teeth. The saliva is having a hard time washing that sticky stuff off of our teeth so that’s why we need to incorporate toothbrushes and floss and things of that sort. As a reiteration, saliva is really important. What seems to be happening is, a lot of people are taking medications and most medications have a side effect of dry mouth. It’s turning off the saliva glands, and it’s not a good thing for our dental health. Pay close attention to the effects of medications on your teeth. A dry mouth is not a good mouth. We need nice, moist, liquid, saliva covering our teeth at all times. We produce up to a liter of saliva a day. These saliva glands in our mouth are extremely important to our oral health. There are also medications that help you with increasing saliva flow and rate and production. A lot of things are going on with these tiny glands that are just so important to the overall health of our mouths. If you feel like your mouth is too dry, drink a lot of water, choose sugar-free, citric free candies and always make sure your mouth is moist and wet so the teeth are bathing in good solutions and not staying dry. This is very common with elderly patients. Their taking meds for so long, it just wipes out their salivary glands. If you have any kind of radiation in the head and neck, it can kill the salivary gland. These glands are extremely important for the health of our teeth. Give our dental office in Cherry Creek, Denver a call or come by if you have any questions about Saliva.