Biofilm–What Is It and Why you should care

It was the end of a long day and I was deeply immersed in my nightly bedtime ritual of brushing, flossing, and getting ready for some badly needed sleep. My Troop of Chore Police (my doggies) came in and informed me that I had forgotten something very important–I had forgotten to check their water.  As I grabbed the water bowl, my thumb noticed a film on the inside of the bowl.

“Ewww! Gross! And there are floaters in the water too!” I said to the Chore Police.

At that moment, my thought bubble popped out of my head.  thoughtbubble1

What is the slime? It is known as a biofilm.  I will quote the definition given by Colgate at www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-eduction/articles/whati-is-biofilm:

Biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in some form of watery environment and begin to excrete a slimy, gluelike substance that can stick to all kinds of materials–metals, plastics, soil particles, medical implant materials, biological tissues. Biofilms can be formed by a single bacterial species, but biofilms more often consist of many species of bacteria, as well as fungi, algae, protozoa, debris, and corrosion products. Essentially, a biofilm may form on any surface exposed to bacteria and some amount of water.1

So that is the long definition of biofilm. How does this affect you, the person reading a dental blog? I want you to think in terms of this–biofilm=plaque.  Plaque is our nemesis in the dental office.  We know that plaque (biofilms) do bad things when they are allowed to hang out in your mouth. When you see your dentist or dental hygienist for your evaluations, you probably have been nagged, excuse me-I mean instructed, by your dental professional to use a toothbrush and floss at least once a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy.  Is that verbal instruction from a professional enough to keep you motivated? Probably not, since most people do not floss on a daily basis or even on an every other day basis.

For those of you that require a little more motivation let me introduce to you a video. This video is especially good for those visual learners. There is no distraction from sound or color-just the facts. It is about 2 minutes long and shows the bacterial growth in 24 hours. These bacteria are not actors, they are the same types of bacteria growing and flourishing in your mouth right now. If you want to skip to the last 15 seconds, that’s fine. The end shows how much the bacteria colony has grown in 23-24 hours. Yuck!!

Okay, so I hope I have moved you to want to take action. What can you do?

  • Brush daily. I suggest brushing at least twice a day using an ultrasonic toothbrush. The action of brushing mechanically breaks up the protective slime barrier and helps to obliterate the colony. An ultrasonic toothbrush, such as Sonicare or Oral-B, utilizes ultrasonic vibration and mechanical means to disrupt the bacteria.
  • Floss at least once a day. Flossing is an important tool used to reach areas between the teeth and below the gumline. Brushing alone is inadequate in these areas to break up the bacteria. Flossing is another mechanical means of breaking up the bacterial colony.
  • Brush your removable dental appliance. If you are wearing some sort of removable dental appliance such as a full denture, a partial denture, a mouthguard or nightguard, you will want to use a soft toothbrush on a daily basis to clean the surfaces. These appliances build up the same biofilm and can cause problems if left to multiply.
  • Check your denture or partial dentures for wear and report to your dentist. Cracks, rough areas, and peeling of your dental appliance will give the bacteria a place to hide and multiply.

The decision is yours.

Are you willing to let the biofilm have a place to live and thrive in your mouth by giving them a safe place to stay, allowing them to eat what you eat, and possibly taking over your dental and all-over health by their increasing numbers and by-products? Or do you become your own Chore Police and train yourself to spend a few extra minutes per day to brush and floss so that bacteria isn’t allowed to run rampant in your mouth and become a sticky, slimy biofilm?

Be your own Super Hero!!

Have a great week and remember that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Your comments are appreciated and read by the author. Your idea could be our next blog topic.

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With CEREC technology, a crown in one day is possible! Tell me more!

Gone are the days when it takes weeks to get a single crown, or cap, as some of you may call them, done at the dental office. Your fear of having “real work” done can now be taken care of with one visit. Surely you can stand to be with us for a couple of hours, right? And I think that one visit is better than two for most people. Let me explain how we are able to do that for you in our office.
During this short time together, I will introduce you to the heavyweight in our office. This machine works with great determination to help our team fight decay and provides protection for fractured and weaken teeth. Today we will get to see how CEREC works for you.
The simple way CEREC technology works is this: CAD/CAM technology
1. Scan the teeth
2. Dentist prepares and shapes the tooth for the crown
3. Scan again
4. Design the crown
5. Make the crown
6. Fit the crown
7. Finish the crown
Easy breezy!

For those of you looking for an in-depth, informative video I will share a link, http://

. This video is technical in nature and if you’re into that I want to provide the information. If you can handle five minutes or so, the video is very explanatory.

I think the process is AWESOME!! You don’t need to have impressions taken which is great because I don’t think I have ever heard anyone request an impression. You know, the goopy stuff that can be  messy and well, goopy.  Plus the impression material doesn’t really have a taste, unless you call ABC (Already Been Chewed) Gum  a flavor. And no temporary crown to deal with. I especially like that part. Why wouldn’t you want to save yourself some time and money, by missing less work, by having your crowns completed in one visit.

 

This is where the pictures are transformed into crowns for your teeth.
Scans of the teeth will be transformed into crowns.
This part of the unit will produce the crown.
This part of the unit will produce the crown.
The lavender tinted block is a stronger material. It can be shaded and will be baked in an oven to emerge more tooth-like in appearance.
From these blocks, beautiful crowns for your teeth will be produced.

I have been really satisfied with these types of crowns and the technology. I must admit that I was a skeptic when the whole CEREC “fad” began. But I have had a chance to witness the technology improve over time as well as the strength of the material improve. I have a couple of these types of restorations in my mouth, and my biggest worry has been for them to fracture-because I grind and clench my teeth. The material has proven to be strong enough to withstand my chewing forces and I have given them a workout, believe me!   They also are very life-like, wouldn’t you agree?

Onlay on bicuspid to preserve tooth structure.

 

I encourage you to get to know this technology and all it has to offer in dentistry. Questions are encouraged and if I don’t know the answer, I will seek and find because

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!

Keep Brushing and we’ll talk again soon!