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How to Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

How to Keep Baby Teeth Healthy

Although it can be difficult when your baby starts to teethe, it is exceptional and memorable as they get their first teeth. Teething will begin with the lower front teeth around 5-10 months old. After the lower front teeth erupt, you can expect to see the upper front teeth, the canines, and the molars. On average, lower teeth will come in a little before upper teeth, and girls may get their teeth before boys. You should expect your toddler to have a complete set of baby teeth by 2.5 years old, give or take a few months.

Why are baby teeth important? 

“They’re just going to fall out!” We’ve all heard this saying before, but baby teeth play a significant role in the formation and development of adult teeth and in keeping your child healthy and happy throughout their toddler years. Healthy baby teeth help your child bite, chew, speak and smile and ultimately lead a more comfortable life free of pain. Baby teeth act as the space holders for adult teeth, meaning that if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the future adult tooth has a higher chance of erupting in the wrong position, causing crowding and misaligned teeth. Cavities on baby teeth can also lead to infection, which can transfer to adult teeth.  

How to keep your child’s teeth healthy 

  1. Begin brushing your child’s teeth at the first sign of erupting using an infant toothbrush with soft bristles and water 
  2. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, only water. 
  3. Brush your child’s teeth after nursing snack and before bed 
  4. Try to eliminate the soother and thumb-sucking habit around the age of 2.5 to prevent problems with their jaw and bite formation. 
  5. Begin with fluoride toothpaste around the age of 3 with just a small size, about a grain of rice, and try to make sure they spit the toothpaste out 
  6. Reduce your child’s sugar consumption. Try to rarely give them sweet drinks, candies, cookies and even crackers – any sticky, sugary foods will get stuck in their molars and cause cavities. 
  7. Take your child to the dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings. 

 If you have any questions about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, we encourage you to book an appointment; we’d love to meet your little one! 

What You Should Know About Dental Crowns

What You Should Know About Dental Crowns

What are dental crowns?

Dental crowns, more commonly referred to as dental caps, are a type of dental restoration involving placing a cap that covers the tooth or a dental implant to change its size and shape back to its original anatomy. Dental crowns help strengthen the tooth. A crown will be permanently cemented after it is placed on the tooth and fully covers the tooth above the gum line. Dental crowns can last 10-30 years, depending on the wear and tear, dental hygiene habits, and certain habits like clenching or grinding your teeth or biting your nails. 

When do you need a dental crown?

Dental crowns are usually used to restore the appearance and function of teeth that have been fractured, worn out or broken unless more straightforward methods of dental restorations have proven more effective.

Dental crowns also serve aesthetic purposes for patients who are dissatisfied with the appearance of their teeth and can’t rely on simpler restorative or cosmetic procedures for their teeth or dental implants.

Lastly, patients who underwent endodontic treatment may benefit from crowns, which have been found to be very effective in stabilizing teeth and preventing the fracturing of fragile teeth. Since the cap encases the whole tooth, it will prevent it from further decay. Relying on crowns has also proven to be an excellent way to promote the normal development of the jawbone and jaw muscles. 

Which crown is the best for you?

Crowns are available in various materials, such as gold, stainless steel, all resin, and all ceramic or porcelain fused to metal (also known as PFM crowns or veneered steel crowns).

The most commonly used crowns, especially for children, are stainless steel crowns, which are easily customized metal shells that can encase any tooth. Given their strength, durability and resistance to moisture, they are the crowns of choice for molars. Stainless crowns are the least expensive type of caps on the market.

A wide array of alloys can also be used for crowns, including silver, nickel and even titanium. But they are more challenging to adjust, may cause opposing teeth to wear and may not be suitable for patients with specific allergies.

Strip crowns are commonly used for front teeth and are more expensive than stainless steel crowns. Strip crowns made of resin or composite are transparent shells filled with tooth-coloured filling and then fitted over the tooth. Once the filling is set, the case is removed, leaving behind a material that looks exactly like a natural tooth. 

How many visits to the dental clinic are required?

If you require a crown, you should expect two trips to your dental clinic. During the first visit, the dentist will examine and prepare your tooth for the procedure and will likely take a few x-rays to get a better view of the roots of your tooth and the bone around it. If significant decay or risk of infection is identified, the dentist may want to recommend a root canal treatment before placing a dental crown.

During the first visit, the tooth and its surrounding gum tissue will be numbed before the tooth can be reshaped to make enough room for the crown. The dentist will then make impressions of the tooth that will receive the crown and the teeth above and below that tooth to ensure that the procedure does not impact your bite. The impressions are then sent to a dental lab for production, and the crown will typically be ready within two to three weeks. The dentist may need to apply filling material if there is too much decay or damage in the area that requires dental restoration.

During your second visit, you will receive a local anesthetic before the crown can be placed over your tooth and cemented in place.

We would be happy to see you if you have any questions about dental crowns. Please call us today to schedule an appointment

 

Tips For Dental Anxiety

Tips For Dental Anxiety

You’re not alone if you experience anxiety when you think about going to the dentist. It is reported that 22% of patients experience some form of dental anxiety, whether fear of procedures, fear of the unknown, fear of dental sounds, etc.

People may have many different aversions when it comes to the dentist. In addition, your mouth is a personal area, and it may make some patients uncomfortable to have it checked and cleaned. Some people may be so panicked by the thought of a trip to the dentist that they avoid going for long periods, which may worsen things, allowing small problems to become severe. If this happens, more significant problems may arise that require more invasive treatment, such as infections, tooth extractions, and root canal treatments. Avoiding the dentist can also lead to self-esteem issues.

Oral health has been shown to have a link with overall health. It is connected to heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and premature babies. A person could be more at risk of these health concerns if skipping the dentist. 

Symptoms of Dental Anxiety 

The main symptoms of dental anxiety are: hot flashes, palpitations, feeling of uneasiness, sweating, faint, upset stomach, withdrawal, shaking, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, difficulty sleeping the night before and crying.

When you come for your dental appointment, your dentist monitors you for these symptoms. Let your dentist know if you have dental anxiety so they can take it slow and help you through the appointment. 

Causes of Dental Anxiety 

Anxiety is a very personal experience, and the cause may differ from person to person. At the dentist, we don’t judge the reason behind your anxiety. The most common causes of dental anxiety are past negative experiences, feelings of loss of control, fear of needles, trust issues, pain, dental office noises, and fear of the unknown. If you know what triggers your dental anxiety, share it with your dentist, so they are better equipped to help you through it. 

Tips for Your Dental Anxiety 

  1. Be sure to take proper care of your oral health. If you let your oral health slip, chances are minimal work will be required when you make it in to see your dentist. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily using a toothpaste containing fluoride. 
  2. Talk to, and learn to trust your dentist. They are there to help you, and if they are aware of your dental anxiety, they can make the appointment that much easier for you. 
  3. Ask about in-office tools to help you relax. Your dental office may have blankets, noise cancelling headphones, music or aromatherapy to help relieve your dental anxiety in the chair. 
  4. Anti-anxiety medications are available if needed that your dentist can prescribe before you come in for your dental appointment. 

The most important thing is getting in for the dental appointment and ensuring that your dentist is aware of any anxiety you may be experiencing. If you have any questions about tips for your dental anxiety, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a visit

How Can Dental Implants Benefit Your Smile?

How Can Dental Implants Benefit Your Smile?

Do you have a missing tooth? Multiple missing teeth? Do you have a partial or even complete denture? Dental implants are the new gold standard for tooth replacement and the best way to get your smile back to tip-top shape. Tooth loss occurs for various reasons, including large cavities, gum disease, trauma, fractures, and even sometimes, a tooth may not erupt.

Gone are the days when a flipper, partial or complete denture is needed to replace missing teeth. Dental implants are all around a better option for function and aesthetics.   

What is a Dental Implant? 

A dental implant is an artificial structure which is screw-like that is placed into the bone to function as a tooth root. A dental crown is later attached to the top of the dental implant to form a fully functioning tooth once the dental crown has fully fused to the bone. The screw is typically made out of titanium, and the crown is made out of porcelain. Dental implants can be used for one tooth or multiple missing teeth. In the case of an entire arch of missing teeth, dental implants can be used to support a fixed denture or implant-supported denture, which means that the denture always stays in place and doesn’t require daily removal. 

For a dental implant to work for you, it is essential to maintain a healthy mouth and healthy body. Dental implants are at risk of failing if there is active gum disease, bone loss, or if they aren’t being taken care of with proper brushing and flossing. In addition, an implant is at a higher risk of failure if there are underlying health conditions that aren’t being maintained, such as diabetes with an uncontrolled blood sugar level. Smoking is also a factor in dental implant failures.

Dental Implant Procedure 

When a tooth has been missing for a long time, a bone graft will likely need to be placed before the implant to allow enough bone support. Bone grafting strengthens and solidifies the bone, and the graft can be taken from another site, synthetic tissue or even donor tissue. After a bone graft is placed, it will take a few months to heal and integrate into place.

When the implant is ready to be placed, the gum will be opened to expose the bone. A small diameter hole will be drilled into the bone to allow the implant to thread through. The implant is placed somewhat deep into the bone where there will be the most support. Usually, dental implants will take several months to heal and integrate into the bone before the crown can be placed on top to allow for chewing pressure. A temporary crown will be placed in the meantime. The length of the procedure from start to finish can range from a few months to almost a year, depending if bone grafting is necessary and how many implants are being done. 

Post Care for Dental Implants 

Just like any other dental surgery, you may have some pain, swelling, bruising and minor bleeding after the procedure. You may be given a prescription for pain medication and an antibiotic. Post-care symptoms will gradually improve within the next week.

If you have any questions about dental implants or believe you may benefit from them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What is Gingivitis? What is Periodontitis?

What is Gingivitis? What is Periodontitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that has a variety of causes but is most often a response to plaque accumulation on the teeth at the gum line. The inflammation occurs because the body sends blood (which contains white blood cells) to the gums to fight off the bacteria. If the bacteria are not removed with brushing and flossing, the inflammation will not subside. Gingivitis can range from mild to severe, localized to a certain spot, or generalized throughout the mouth. It can also be chronic (meaning long-lasting) or acute (meaning short-term.)

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis 

  • Red gums 
  • Sore, irritated gums 
  • Gums that bleed while brushing or flossing 
  • Bad breath 
  • Puffy gums 

Risk Factors for Inflamed Gums 

  • Not enough brushing and flossing 
  • Infrequent visits to the dentist for cleanings 
  • Braces or retainers 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Certain medical conditions 
  • Certain medications 
  • Hormonal changes 

Ways to Help Improve Gingivitis 

  • Regular brushing and flossing 
  • Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings 
  • Daily mouthwash 

If gingivitis is left untreated, it may escalate into periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs from plaque and tartar left on the teeth causing damage over time. Periodontitis affects the health of the surrounding bone and connective tissue. Periodontitis eventually leads to tooth loss when left untreated for a long time. Gingivitis is reversible, but periodontitis is sometimes not, depending on the severity. 

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontitis 

  • Bone loss surrounding the teeth 
  • Pockets between the teeth and the gums 
  • Gum recession 
  • Tooth mobility 
  • Red, puffy gums 
  • Bad breath 

Be sure to see your dentist and dental hygienist at least every six months to assess the health of your teeth and gums, and thoroughly clean your teeth to remove plaque, tartar and staining. At your regular dental visits, your oral hygiene will be assessed, and tips can be given for ways to improve your home care. 

If you believe you may have gingivitis, have any questions about it, or are due for a dental cleaning, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Should Your Child Get Dental Sealants?

Should Your Child Get Dental Sealants?

Children may be at a much higher risk of cavities in the deep grooves of the biting surfaces of their molars. Anatomically speaking, some children will have deeper grooves that are more prone to cavities, and some will have shallower grooves that are less prone to cavities. Unfortunately, sometimes brushing and flossing aren’t enough to prevent cavities in teeth with deeper grooves. These teeth benefit from further cavity prevention in the form of dental sealants. 

What Are Dental Sealants? 

You can think of dental sealants as similar to fillings, but no tooth structure is removed to place the sealant. They are plastic coatings placed on top of the tooth structure to prevent bacteria from entering and causing a cavity. They are most frequently placed on molars and premolars where deep grooves are difficult to clean. These grooves can be so narrow that even a single toothbrush bristles cannot enter. The ultimate goal of sealants is to prevent the formation of cavities. 

When Are Dental Sealants Recommended?

Dental sealants will look like a tooth, either clear or white. Dental sealants can be placed at any point throughout life on baby and adult teeth. It is best to set them as soon as the adult teeth erupt when they are clean. In addition to the biting surfaces of teeth, sealants can be placed on the main pit on molars’ front or back surfaces and even on front teeth. Dental sealants can be used on any surface that may be more susceptible to decay.  

How Are Dental Sealants Placed?

Dental sealants are easy because no tooth structure needs to be removed before they are placed. Multiple sealants can be placed at the same time. The teeth are cleaned and polished, and then dried. Next, an acidic solution called “etch” is placed to allow the sealants to adequately bond to the tooth structure. Once etch is washed off and the tooth is dried again, the dental sealants can be placed and then hardened using a curing light. The bite will be checked to ensure there is no sealant material interfering with natural biting, and then the tooth/teeth are ready to be used for biting and chewing just like usual! 

If you have any questions about dental sealants and if your child might benefit from them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.