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Monday, February 24, 2020

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and its important to take steps to avoid problems with infants and children.

Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth.

If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. So, when it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.

The name given to decay in infants and children is baby bottle tooth decay.

It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth – though other teeth may also be affected.

Decay can happen when sweetened liquids are given to an infant and are then left clinging to their teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice.

What happens is that bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and then produce acids that attack the teeth.

It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle that causes decay, but how often. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea.

Here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your children:
– After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2.
– Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
– If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give them a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
– Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
– If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.

Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly.

If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Should you be concerned about thumbsucking?

Some children suck on their thumbs and parents often wonder if it is harmful.

Sucking on something is a child’s natural reflex. It can help them feel more secure so they start to suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects.

Since thumbsucking is relaxing, it may also help them sleep.

However, after the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.

Whether or not dental problems will result depends on the intensity of the sucking.

A child who vigorously sucks their thumb is more likely to have difficulties than one who rests their thumb passively in their mouth. Young children who suck their thumbs aggressively may even cause problems with their baby teeth.

If you notice changes in your childs primary teeth, consult your dentist.

Usually children will stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of about two and four. They should have ceased sucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.

If your child is continuing to suck their thumbs, here are some tips:

– Praise them for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they are
– If they are sucking because they feel insecure, focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety
– For older children, involve them in choosing the method of stopping

If necessary, your dentist can help by encouraging the child and explaining what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Periodontal disease: what it is and how to avoid it

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.
There is a very slight gap (called a sulcus) between the tooth and the gum.
Periodontal diseases attack this gap and cause a breakdown in the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues.
When the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket and, as the disease gets more severe, the pocket usually gets deeper.
The two major stages of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease.
There are several factors that have been shown to increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
– Systemic diseases such as diabetes
– Some types of medication
– Crooked teeth
– Bridges that no longer fit properly
– Fillings that have become defective
– Smoking
– Pregnancy
And there are a number of warning signs that can suggest a possible problem:
– Gums that bleed easily
– Red, swollen, tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Persistent bad breath or taste
– Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
– Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Any change in the fit of partial dentures
However, its also possible to have periodontal disease with no warning signs.
Its therefore important to have regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations.
If you have developed periodontal disease, the treatment will depend on how far it has progressed.
You can take steps to prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.
Good dental hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth, eating a healthy diet and having regular visits to the dentist will make a huge difference.

Monday, February 3, 2020

How cancer treatment affects oral health

When someone is undergoing cancer treatment, its important that they involve their dentist in their program of care.
They should schedule a dental exam and cleaning before the treatment actually begins and then repeat it periodically during the course of treatment.
Its important that they tell the dentist that they are being treated for cancer and that they also discuss any dental procedures, such as extractions or insertion of dental implants, with the oncologist before starting the cancer treatment.
Its therefore a good idea to ensure that the dentist and oncologist have each others details to enable them to discuss any issues to help the patient.
And the dentist and physician should be informed about any issues such as bleeding of the gums, pain, or unusual feeling in the teeth or gums, or any dental infections.
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during cancer treatment is vital to reduce the risk of infection and to help aid the treatment process.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Treating facial pain and jaw problems

Chronic facial pain is a problem faced by millions of Americans.
Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Sometimes, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease.
But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed.
There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow.
These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJs.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
There are several ways the TMJ disorders may be treated.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment.
Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving.
Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together.
To help you deal with this pain, your dentist will recommend what type of treatment you need and may refer you to a specialist.

Monday, January 20, 2020

How sugar in your diet affects your teeth

The sugar content in the food you eat has a big effect on your teeth and gums.
When bacteria (plaque) come into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.
Thats why drinking sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks can take a toll on teeth.
This is particularly true for children as their eating patterns and food choices affect how quickly they develop tooth decay.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. However, almost all foods, including milk or vegetables, have some type of sugar. Many of them also contain important nutrients that are an important part in our diet.
To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Soft drinks,candy, cookies and pastries often contain added sugars.

Monday, January 13, 2020

How mouth protectors can save your teeth

If you take part in sports that carry a significant risk of injury, you should wear a mouth protector.
Accidents can happen during any physical activity and, if you participate in sports such as football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics and volleyball, you might be grateful for the extra protection one day.
Something as simple as a misdirected elbow in a game, or a spill off a bicycle, can leave you with chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth or even tooth loss.
Mouth protectors usually cover the upper teeth and they can cushion the effect of a blow to the face, reducing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.
In addition, if you wear dental appliances such as braces on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
A properly fitted mouth protector will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe. The three main types of mouth protectors are:
Stock: These are inexpensive and come ready to wear. But they often dont fit very well and they can be bulky making breathing and talking difficult.
Boil and bite: These can also be bought at many sport stores and may fit better than stock mouth protectors. You first soften them in water, then insert them and allow them to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
Custom-fitted: Protectors that are specially made for you by your dentist are more expensive but are likely to fit better than one you buy off the shelf.
Choosing to wear the right mouth protector can help you avoid serious long-term damage to your teeth and mouth.