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Is Right for You?A short write-up to help you decide which Oral Irrigator would be most helpful to you.
When you irrigate the teeth and gums, you are, essentially, flooding the area with water or some sort of antiseptic solution. By definition, irrigate simply means, "To supply (a wound, etc.) with a constant flow of some liquid."
The drawing here shows an irrigation tip forcing liquid along the neck of the tooth. In this illustration, the gap on the right, between the tooth and gums, is shown to be wider than the gum tissue on the left of the tooth. This was drawn to indicate a periodontal 'pocket' where the disease process has caused the tooth and gum to separate, weakening the tooth's hold in the jaw. Pockets are normally measured by depth in millimeters. Experienced hygienists might be able to gauge depth by simply inspecting the teeth and gums, but a more accurate measurment is made by 'periodontal probing' done while the hygienist inserts a thin, graduated probe for this purpose.
Where there are no pockets, or they are very shallow (1 -2 MM) a standard, larger opening tip is fine. Simply angle the tip to direct the flow of the fluid along the gum line in order to flush out and food debris trapped between the teeth and gum tissue. Move from tooth to tooth starting on the outside (cheek side) bottom row, moving from the right to the left. Come back doing the inside of the teeth. While doing this, 'floss' with the liquid in between the teeth as you go from tooth to tooth, angling the tip in all directions in order to make sure you are hitting all sides of the tooth, not just inside and out. When the bottom row is clean, do the top row in the same manner. When finished, do the crowns as well.
The ViaJet PRO oral irrigator comes with two additional 'SulcaSoft' tips. These are longer and pointed at the end as well as narrower, in order to allow you to reach a little deeper into an affected pocket. The SulcaSoft allows you to get from 2 - 4 MM approximately. Use this tip the same way.
Several of our irrigators either include or accommodate a Cannula tip, which is a needle-like, 24ga stainless steel tip, designed to probe into deeper pockets. Because these tips are so small, the flow of liquid is restricted and you will not find the same pressure as you will the other two types mentioned above. However, the purpose of irrigating with the cannula is to simply 'deliver' your solution to the affected area and saturate it - not blow debris from the pocket. You are just trying to kill off bacteria. With the cannula, you simply insert the tip easily into the pocket, deliver the solution and move on. Use the cannula tip on pockets deeper than 4 - 5 MM in depth.
At any time you notice any pain or bleeding while irrigating, decrease the pressure of the flow and gradually increase it in the days or weeks ahead as your gums heal and strengthen.
The entire purpose of irrigating is to clean the affected area so that bacteria cannot feed on the foods left behind. Of course, in many cases, this may already be happening where you see red, inflamed gums, loose, bleeding or painful teeth, pockets with a terrible odor emanating, etc. These symptoms are indicative of stages of periodontal disease(s), to put it simply.
When you begin irrigating, it may take a while to develop the dexterity to move through the process quickly and thoroughly, but after a while, you should be able to do your entire mouth in just 2 or 3 minutes. Where you have deeper pockets, obviously you'll need a little more time. One thing is for certain - for you first timers, you'll be impressed at the amount of rotted debris which you’re likely to flush out from between the teeth and under the gums your first couple of times through. This is a good thing, and that, along with the accompanying odor, will be a thing of the past. Done at least once a day, your mouth can begin a process of healing and healthy maintenance. Age and the strength of your immune system will certainly play a role in response time and healing, but any irrigating is better than none.
One final note: When you are away from home, irrigate by swishing water forcefully between the teeth several times after eating. If you have ever done this, you know how much food you can dislodge by doing this. Remember, acid production begins within minutes once bacterial get hold of the sugars and foods converted to sugars after you eat, so don't wait to swish. No, you can't swish with your soda or any sugared drink. You'll defeat the purpose. Use water.
Keep Your Teeth & Gums Healthy For Life!
OraMedia Home | Articles on Gum Disease | Newsletter Archive
Dr. Robert O. Nara Interview: Freedom From Dental Disease | Healthy Teeth and Gums
3 Steps to Acheiving Proper Oral Health | Let your Teeth Heal Themselves
How to Eliminate the Dentist From Your Life | Healthy Teeth in Children
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions | Q&A With a Periodontal Patient
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What Are You Brushing With? (Make your Own Toothpaste Part 2)
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