Sunday, November 12, 2017

Is Your Tooth Still Sensitive After A Filling?

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These days, a trip to the dentist is a fairly uneventful affair. Patients report comfort levels far exceeding those in the recent past; pain relief medications are more effective and take effect more rapidly; and materials used in treating patients are more adaptive to tooth structures than ever before. Each of these improvements is designed to provide patients with the best clinical outcome and a degree of comfort previously unheard of. However, for a small percentage of patients, post-appointment pain can still crop up and linger for days or weeks on end. Why?

It’s Good To Be You – Sometimes.

Excluding rare instances of product malfunction or dentist error, the main reason a tooth is likely to hurt after a filling has to do with many highly individual factors in your mouth. The structure of your teeth, past dentistry, personal habits (like clenching and grinding), and even the durability of the blood vessels, tissues, and nerves within your teeth, play a part in whether you remain pain-free after your anesthetic wears off.

What Can Bring About the Pain?
  • Heightened sensitivity: If you consider yourself to have sensitive teeth, a trip to the dentist is probably going to make them feel worse for a while. That’s mostly because prior to your visit, your teeth have, in a way, been “hiding out” underneath a bunch of plaque and tartar. No good for the health of your teeth, for sure, but that gunk can mask sensitivity when it covers recessed areas. Once your hygienist removes that barrier, you’re going to experience more sensitivity as a result. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help – so please ask your dentist for recommendations.
  • Material used: When filling teeth today, many dentists tend to gravitate toward the use of composite materials. They’re flexible and durable, insulate the tooth from extremes in temperature, and bond so efficiently that less of the tooth needs to be removed to place the filling. That said, despite their proficiency in dealing with temperature, composite fillings can cause increased sensitivity when the filling is deep, or if it’s placed on an area of the tooth that experiences greater “flex.” For example, a filling completed along the cheek or tongue side of the mouth may hurt for longer than one completed on the biting surface, because of the unique stresses the tooth experiences at that location.
  • Pulpitis: Just as any surgeon will tell you “all surgery is risky,” all restorative work is traumatic to teeth. When a tooth requires a filling, the extended vibration and heat from the drill can cause the pulpal tissue within the tooth to swell. This can result in a condition known as pulpitis. In most cases, the swelling that results from this overstimulation is transitory, and fades as the tooth heals itself. Occasionally, though, the tooth fails to deal with the trauma, and the result is irreversible pulpitis. When this happens, the unfortunate remedy is often a root canal procedure.
  • Uneven Bite: The most common cause of pain after the placement of a filling is a “high” or uneven bite. This occurs when a filling placed on the biting surface of your tooth is uneven with the opposing tooth. When this happens, your bite might feel a bit “off.” The good news is, it’s not really anything to worry about. All you’ll have to do is revisit the dentist and they’ll smooth out the filling so it fits more naturally with its opposing tooth.

How Long Will the Pain Last?

This is the $64,000 question – and the most difficult to answer. The short answer is, it depends. It depends on your overall health, the health of your teeth, and the exact reason for the pain you are experiencing. In the vast majority of cases, pain that exists after a restoration tends to dissipate within a few days.

However, if pain persists beyond a week, you should call your dentist to inform them of your symptoms. Depending on the type of work you had done, your dentist may decide to perform additional X-rays, or suggest you wait a bit to see if things settle down with the passage of time.

Believe it or not, it’s not unheard of for some patients to experience discomfort for months after a filling is placed. The key is to be in communication with your dentist so you can monitor the situation correctly. While certainly not ideal, maybe you can find some comfort in the idea that you are as unique as you’ve always thought you were!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cold Sore Treatments That Actually Work

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Cold Sore Treatments That Actually Work

If your children are among the more than 40% of Americans who get cold sores, they’ll be the first to tell you that having one is far from a pleasant experience. So, when your kids start to notice that familiar tingling sensation that signals an outbreak, what can you do to help? What actually works?

Well, quite honestly what "works" when it comes to cold sores, is management.  Specifically: preventing, treating, and eliminating the transmission of this most annoying of viruses. Here’s how to do it:

Cold Sore Prevention

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is certainly true when it comes to cold sores, so knowing what causes them to surface is key. The number one and number two reasons are a weakened immune system and exposure to rapidly changing weather. To tackle the weather, encourage your children to have lip moisturizer with sunscreen on hand to protect their lips from the sun, wind, and cold. To boost the immune system, be sure your children are getting enough sleep, and share with them any sage advice you may possess regarding dealing with stress.

Also, as with most things in life, what's good for the waistline is good for our immune system. Here are a few dietary suggestions that can help boost the immune system, and keep cold sores from cropping up:

  1. Eat Raw, Alkalizing Foods: Fruits and vegetables are super-good for us. Have your kids consume as many of them as they enjoy. 
  2. Top-up On Cruciferous Vegetables: Clinical studies are beginning to suggest that veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale are of great benefit to cold-sore sufferers.
  3. Avoid Arginine: Cold sores need the amino acid arginine to grow, so if you can limit the excess intake of this amino acid, it may be possible to keep frequent outbreaks at bay. Nuts, chocolate, oats, and some protein shakes are high in arginine, and can be major cold sore triggers. 
By merely eating well and getting regular rest, it is possible to avoid several outbreaks a year.

Cold Sore Treatment and Remedies

Preventing a cold sore from appearing is indeed the best medicine. When a cold sore does make an appearance, though, here are a few things you can suggest your children do to minimize its pain, size, and duration.
  1. Ice It! At the first sign of tingling, grab an ice cube, wrap it in a paper towel, and have your child place it on their lip where they feel the cold sore coming on. Often two back-to-back applications of an ice cube until it melts can dramatically reduce the pain and swelling that accompanies the sore.  
  2. Slather It? Not Now, But Later. Cold sores love warm, moist environments, and this is precisely the environment presented to a cold sore when it is slathered in cream for days on end. Experiment with this, but it’s often best to let it dry out to the point where it is no longer painful, and then begin applying cream or lip balm to minimize splitting. As the cold sore resolves itself, it's best to keep lips moist to prevent bleeding, which also aids in the healing at this stage.

Eliminate Transmission of Cold Sores 

Be sure to let your kids know they should avoid sharing food, utensils, towels, toothbrushes, or any other item that could come in contact with their mouth. Doing so will help avoid spreading the virus to others. Kissing and other aspects of intimacy that involve the mouth should be avoided entirely. Also, be sure they know to avoid touching the cold sore and then later touching their eyes or genital area. In fact, the best course of action is to suggest they avoid touching their mouth at all during an outbreak, and not again until after the scab has dropped off completely, AND healed over. This can take some weeks. As always, thorough hand-washing habits are a must as well.

Having a cold sore is not the end of the world, and your kids will get used to having them. Nine out of ten people get at least one cold sore in their life, so there is no need to hide in the closet. Help your children to understand triggers, find solutions that work, and keep others healthy by avoiding spreading the virus. Stay healthy!

Visit our dental blog page for more fun an informative articles.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Magic of Reversing Tooth Decay. Fun Science!

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The Magic of Reversing Tooth Decay. Fun Science!

Okay, so here’s a neat idea. Did you know that even though a cavity may start to form in your mouth, there are ways to reverse that decay? Pretty cool, huh?! It’s possible. And, it’s neat as heck. We’ll tell you about it. There are also these little cells called odontoblasts (doesn’t that sound like it’s something from Star Wars!?) … yeah, and they lay down this layer of protection against approaching cavities like it’s a battle, and … Wait! Grab the kids so they can learn too!

Your teeth are pretty amazing. They’re also exceedingly good at “recognizing” their importance in your life. Teeth allow are critical for sustenance, to the structure of your face, and in the ability to interact with others with a smile. It’s no wonder then, your pearly whites like to take care of themselves – all the way to the cellular level … to the Odontoblasts!

A Look at Odontoblasts

Odontoblasts are columnar cells that live in our teeth along the border between the pulp and the dentin. One of their main roles is to continually secrete fresh dentin to allow our teeth remain strong and healthy. Remember, your teeth are living sensory organs, so these little cells are at it all the time. They’re also very proactive when a cavity begins to encroaching on its territory.

When a cavity progresses to the degree that it threatens the integrity of the pulpal chamber (which would require root canal treatment), Odonotoblasts feverishly get to work laying down additional layers of dentin to protect the pulpal chamber. To get a feel for what this might look like, imagine a cavity driving down straight from the top of your tooth, aiming straight for the pulpal chamber in the middle of your tooth. The Odontoblasts (along with nearby stem cells), recognizing this impending attack essentially throw up their “shields” (dentin), in an effort to stay safe. This reduces the overall height of the pulpal chamber ever so minimally, but enough to protect the chamber. This is one good reason why you don’t want to ignore tooth pain … jeez, those little Odontoblasts are trying to protect you for all their worth … help them out and see the dentist!

What about Reversing Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is progressive. It can also be reversed, IF you catch it early enough. And, in this scenario your two best allies are your dentist, and fluoride.
Let’s take a quick look at fluoride. This mineral’s role when it comes to your teeth, is teaming up with calcium and phosphate to strengthen the enamel through the process of remineralization. When fluoride is added to the calcium and phosphate ions that exist in our saliva, and that we also get from food, the three combine to form a mineral known as fluorapitite. This mineral is then transported by our saliva into the “pores” of our teeth, effectively making our enamel harder than it would be by nature. Why is this important? Because tooth decay happens slowly, and in its first stage, the damage it’s beginning to inflict can be stopped or reversed with the assistance of fluorapitite.

In this first stage of a cavity’s development, a cavity appear on the surface of the enamel as a white spot. They’re often visible to a dentist, and will show up on an X-ray. Again, they don’t show up overnight, so two visits a year to the dentist is your best course of action to catch these things early. After all, you don’t want those poor Ondontoblasts to have to go through all that stress just to save you from yourself, do ya’?

Odontoblasts and Fluorapitite. Your secret weapons in dental health. Oh, and your dentist as well! How could we forget?!

Learn more about this and other cool stuff on our Preventative Services page

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August 6th is National Fresh Breath Day!

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August 6th is National Fresh Breath Day!

Going to a lot of social events this summer? They can be tough work. First, you have to have a few interesting topics outside of the weather to chat about. Then, if there's food involved, you've got to do that whole David Copperfield balancing act with your food plate to ensure you don't spill it all over yourself or your new friends while having that great conversation. And, of course, we all want to put our best foot forward for first impressions by looking our best. Yet there's one aspect to socializing many never really think about, and if ignored can be the surest way to guarantee your next invite will end up “lost in the mail.” 

Getting the cold shoulder?

So what is this social faux-pas that can ruin just about any good party? Well, it's no more than the quality of your breath. Rest assured, though, as quickly as bad breath can ruin a good night out, correcting it can be just as simple. So, aside from your regularly scheduled cleaning, which keeps tartar, gum disease, and bad breath in check, try a few of these measures to make sure you're the center of conversation at the party, instead of your breath:
  1. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months: If you're not replacing your toothbrush every few months you're robbing your oral care routine of the best tool in its arsenal. An old toothbrush is an ineffective toothbrush, and it will hamper your efforts to remove plaque and food debris from your teeth. Both attract and generate bacteria that cause bad breath, so toss the old and bring in the new.
  2. Flossing: This one is simple, and everyone knows it's important. Still, its the first thing we stop doing after a thorough cleaning at the dentist's office. The only real way to stick with flossing is to make it easy. You can do this simply by having your floss in plain sight, so each time you visit the bathroom, it will register in your mind that you've got to floss. Don't place it in the cabinet – stick it right on the countertop. Believe it or not, our subconscious mind is more convincing than we think and is phenomenal at convincing us when we need to create a good habit, or end a bad one. Want to test the theory? Fill a container with the ten teaspoons of sugar that are in the average can of soda, and place it where you normally enjoy your beverage of choice – you'll quit pretty fast staring at that container every day and allowing your mind to register what you're doing to your waistline.
  3. Try a tongue scraper: There are many versions of scrapers on the market, and they're super cheap. Find one you like and use it once a night. Even after what you think is a thorough home cleaning, you'll be amazed how much debris a tongue scraper removes from your tongue. Less debris and bacteria means fresher breath. Try it!
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day promotes saliva production, and is your mouth's natural defense against the germs that cause bad breath. If you ignored each of our other tips, just drinking water would at least help a little bit, not to mention the multitude of other great things being well-hydrated does for your body.
  5. Cover it up in a pinch: If your mom ever tried to get you to eat the parsley on your plate when dining out, maybe she was actually trying to tell you your breath needed some freshening! Parsley appears to have antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help keep your mouth clean. Yogurt and celery also work in a similar fashion, and sugar free gum with Xylitol can also help to promote salivation without adding sugar into the mix.
So, that's it. A few simple things that can help you maintain fresh breath and remain welcome at every gathering you would like to attend. And, if you find yourself having forgotten about the status of your breath, you've got back up in the built-in reminder of National Fresh Breath Day on August 6th to help you ensure that next invite always makes it to your door on time!

Visit our Dental Preventative Services for more useful information and have a wonderful August!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why Are Primary Teeth So Important (Won't They Fall Out Anyway?)

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There's hardly anything better than a smile from a child. Even the gummy toothless smile of a toddler brings a certain joy to one's heart! What you might not know about the teeth hiding below that toothless smile, though, is that they play a far greater role in the health and development of your child than you'd possibly imagine.

After all, those little baby teeth, which begin forming in the womb, do much more than just help your child eat. They also aid in the development of your child's facial features, and even play a role in the character of their voice. Baby teeth are special - and that's why we need to take care of them. Maybe that's why baby teeth have acquired so many different names over the years. Some call them primary teeth, or milk teeth, or even reborner teeth. Their proper name, however is deciduous teeth - which means, "to fall away" - just like the name given to deciduous trees which lose their leaves each season. Yet, unlike the leaves on trees, they only fall out once, and they actually live in your child's mouth for a good number of years before moving on to the tooth fairy's collection.

Baby Teeth Are Place Holders for Permanent Teeth

The most important reason to care for your child's deciduous teeth is real estate. The main job of these teeth as a child ages becomes to save a specific spot in the mouth for the adult teeth that begin to arrive around age six. If teeth fall out too early due to decay or injury, and are not bridged by a space maintainer, there is nothing to prevent the teeth behind from moving forward. This sets up all sorts of later complications which can, of course, lead to a need for braces, increased cavities due to overcrowding, and crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.

Your dentist can suggest a sealant to protect your child's teeth as they age, and may also recommend regular fluoride treatments or supplements to strengthen the enamel and resist decay. Whenever possible, drink fluoridated water and always use fluoridated toothpaste. Also be sure to protect your child from any oral injuries that might result from sports activities, and if toddlers stay with a pacifier or finger sucking beyond the age of two, ask your dentist for advice on curbing these habits as well.

Your child's early teeth set up their entire mouth for its later look and feel, and they keep those teeth for many years before they're fully equipped with a full adult set. Take care of them, and your child - as well as your wallet - will thank you for it.

Visit our pediatric page for more information

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dental Advice for the Weekend Warrior In Your Family

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Dental Advice for the Weekend Warrior In Your Family

Have you ever wondered what you'd look like without your two front teeth? Probably not since you were six years old we'd imagine. Well, if you're active in sports, and you'd rather *not* envision yourself with a 1970's era hockey-star smile, you might wish to make friends with a sports dentist. A sports dentist specializes in the protection and treatment of orofacial injuries, and is your best ally when it comes to protecting you from having your teeth knocked out of your head. Gone are the days when a toothless smile was a badge of honor for sports heroes, so don't go joining the ranks of the old hall-of-famers this year, and take a look at some of the cool things a sports dentist can do for you.

The Best Gear

First in the arsenal of the sports dentist is the mouth guard. If you're involved in any sort of sport activity where contact with another player - or the ground - is possible, you'll want to ask your dentist about obtaining a custom-made mouth guard. Such mouth guards are affordable and last several years with good care. They're your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your teeth during sporting events.

Mouth guards are ubiquitous in sport, and for good reason - they save teeth. Some dentists and researchers also suggest that mouth guards might protect against concussion by absorbing the shock of a blow to the lower jaw. Another good reason to don a guard. Custom-made guards are far superior to the "boil and bite" guards you've probably seen in your local sporting goods store, and are made using a process similar to that used when making an orthodontic retainer. Essentially, a custom mold is made of your teeth, and the resulting product is a guard that fits your mouth and teeth as well as a tailored suit would fit on your body. Variations in the preparation and specifications of custom guards are dependent on the type of sports you're involved in, as well as your age and overall dental health. Consultation with a sports dentist can provide you with the insight you need to decide which kind of appliance is the best for your needs.

Taking It to the Field

Of course, sports dentistry doesn't solely revolve around the creation of mouth guards. If you happen to manage a team, or are involved in the operation of a large club, you may be interested in actually hiring a sports dentist to work on the field of competition as well. This is where a sports dentist can really be an asset, because in this role they act as a full member of the squad, proactively protecting athletes well before pre-season begins and until the very last game is played. On-field dentists are skilled in diagnosing injury on-site without the aid of x-rays, can execute tooth re-implantation during that very crucial five-minute window, and are the best person to have on-hand should someone experience a concussion or other injury that requires referral to a medical professional.

Protecting athletes - even the weekend warriors among us - is the job of the sports dentist. Get to know one if you're active in sports. This way, when you're finally featured on the cover of your favorite sporting magazine, you'll still be sporting a full mouth of your own healthy teeth!

Visit our children dental services page for more information

Friday, April 21, 2017

What Are Canker Sores And How To Get Rid Of Them

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What Are Canker Sores And How To Get Rid Of Them

There’s hardly anything more irritating than a canker sore. Sure, they’re tiny, and only last a few days, but wow, when you’ve got one, just about every word spoken and every bite taken hurts like “all get-out.” You know that feeling, right? So, what exactly are those little buggers, and how in the world can you ease the pain fast? We’ll fill you in, and share our “canker-sore-be-gone” grocery list that’ll help save the day.

A Canker, Defined.

To know the medically proper name for a canker sore is to understand why the heck it hurts so much.  A canker sore is actually an ulcer. An “Aphthous Ulcer,” to be exact. These mighty painful ulcers come in two forms, minor and major, and are surprisingly experienced by only about 20% of the U.S. population. Aren’t we lucky?!

Minor cankers (common in people between the ages of 10 and 20), are the smaller of the two, as the name would suggest, and last about 7-10 days. Major cankers can last from two to six weeks, have noticeable depth, and often have irregular borders. This type of sore is more common after the age of 20, and is essentially a recurrent canker, returning to a site previously impacted by a minor canker.

Why You Get Canker Sores

While cankers affect both genders, women do tend to get them more often, likely because of hormonal fluctuations, and the vast majority of people in general are believed to get cankers due to genetic tendencies. Some people notice they have certain triggers that result in these little ulcers, with items that are spicy, salty, or abrasive topping the list. So, if you’re prone to getting canker sores, you might wish to limit your intake of spicy potato chips.

If you’re among the unlucky 20% of people gifted with canker sore genetics, there is hope! You can arrest the pain and speed up the healing process with a short shopping list:

Defeating Canker Sores 

  • Rinses (use one of the below rinses four times a day)
    Hydrogen Peroxide – Equal parts peroxide and water
    Salt and baking soda – Add a half teaspoon of both to 4oz. of water
  • Numbing Agents
    Brands like Orajel® and Kank-A® can provide relief
  • Protective Pastes
    Milk of Magnesia – dab on a cotton swab and use four times daily after the hydrogen peroxide rinse.
    Baking Soda and Water Paste
  • Antimicrobial Mouthwashes
If you have a sore lasting beyond the two-week mark, make an appointment to see your doctor to evaluate your case. Prescription medications might be necessary, and can help bring the relief you’d no doubt be seeking should one last that long.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Break out the Helmets and Mouthguards, April is Here!

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Break out the Helmets and Mouthguards, April is Here!

Break out the bike, the skateboard and the rollerblades … Spring is here … just don’t allow your kids to break their face while they’re at it. No doubt, they’re looking forward to dusting off their sports equipment and getting active outside again. And since April is facial protection month, we want to be sure they hit the pavement (so to speak!) safely. Let’s explore!


Sure, they can be clunky and in the heat of summer, a little on the warm side. But they can also save your child’s life.  In recreational sports where research has been conducted for years to determine safety rates, helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 85 percent. With those kinds of numbers, you’d have to be silly not make sure your child never leaves the house without one.

The type of helmet your kids should wear depends on the type of sport they’re involved in. Here’s a great guide from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that covers the exact type of helmet that should be worn for a host of sports, along with general instructions on obtaining proper fit. It’s also important to note there are special recommendations for children’s helmets, so be sure to inquire about recommendations specific to your little ones


The American Dental Association estimates “a full third of all dental injuries are sports related… and that, the use of a mouthguard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year.” And, the risks of playing sports without the necessary protection aren’t just related to teeth loss: a harsh impact to the jaw can even wreak havoc on your little one’s jaw, or cause a concussion that could have otherwise been avoided.

If your kids are involved in any sort of sport activity where contact with another player - or the ground - is possible, you'll want to ask your dentist about obtaining a custom-made mouth guard. Such mouth guards are affordable, and last several years with good care. They're your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your children’s teeth during sporting events.

Custom-made guards are far superior to the "boil and bite" guards you've probably seen in your local sporting goods store, and are made using a process similar to that used when making an orthodontic retainer. Essentially, a custom mold is made of the teeth, and the resulting product is a guard that fits the mouth and teeth like a  tailored suit would fit your little one’s body. Variations in the preparation and specifications of custom guards are dependent on the type of sports they're involved in, as well as their age and overall dental health. A consultation with your dentist can provide you with the insight you need to decide which kind of appliance is the best for your child’s needs.

So, have fun out there this spring, and be safe. We all love you and your whole family with your teeth in place, and your head on straight!

Visit our Pediatric Services Page for more information and videos.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spring Cleaning - For Your Smile!

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Spring Cleaning - For Your Smile!

Spring is on its way! For many of you, this is the time to thoroughly clean your homes of dust and cobwebs, get rid of clutter and let a breath of fresh air into your life. But what about your smile? Even with regular daily brushing and flossing, routine cleanings, or “prophylaxis” (literally “preventive treatment of disease”) at the dentist should be an important part of your spring routine. A twice-annual examination, check-up, and cleaning are highly recommended. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, getting a professional cleaning at least twice a year has a significant impact on the quality of a person’s long-term oral health. In the case of professional teeth cleaning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It Makes a Difference!

Regular cleanings, including scaling and polishing by your dentist or hygienist, will remove plaque and tartar (mineralized plaque) which builds up over time and is nearly impossible to remove with regular brushing or flossing. Dentists use special tools or ultrasonic sound waves to help remove plaque or tartar. Without a regularly scheduled cleaning, plaque and tartar can attack the gums, which can lead to gingivitis and a number of other complications.
Professional cleanings and routine exams can also bolster your at-home dental hygiene routine and give your dentist a chance to take a close look at your mouth to ensure that you don’t have any problems that have gone undetected.
On top of keeping your smile squeaky clean and making sure your oral health is in check, a professional cleaning appointment gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with your dentist about your daily dental routine or any concerns you may have. Regular exams and cleanings can give your dentist a good idea of what your habits are, allowing them to suggest changes you can make to improve your oral health. Take time for yourself and your teeth – schedule your spring cleaning appointment and keep your smile bright!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dental Sealants: What They Are and How They Work

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Dental Sealants: What They Are and How They Work

Every dentist wants to ensure children’s teeth are as healthy as possible, and one of the first preventive measures they will usually recommend is dental sealants.  In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends placing dental sealants on the first and second set of permanent molars, which generally come in at 6 and 12 years of age. But what are dental sealants, how do they work, and why should you choose them for your child?

Dental sealants are hardened plastic shields, placed on the chewing, or occlusal, surface of molars and pre-molars, which seal the surface of the tooth. Sealants work by keeping food and other bacteria-causing material from getting trapped in the tooth and causing decay -- which can ultimately lead to cavities. In one study, kids who got sealant treatment had half the tooth decay of children who brushed regularly but didn’t get sealants. 

The cost for dental sealants is modest, roughly $30 to $40 per tooth, which is usually covered by dental insurance, and the sealants can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Dental sealants were first given approval by the ADA in 1976, and while in the past there had been questions about the use of sealants and if they can be used safely, a new study concludes that sealants are safe if dentists make sure to rinse or wipe away residue after treatment. The journal Pediatrics states that the benefits sealants provide in preventing cavities outweigh any possible risks.  

Sealants can help prevent food from getting into the places where a child might have difficulty brushing. Without a sealant, it is more likely that your child could develop a cavity in an otherwise unprotected tooth. Cavities require fillings, which run the risk of failure over time.  If you want to give your child’s molars the best protection against potential cavities, dental sealants are a great place to start. Ask your child’s dentist about the possibility of sealants for your child. 

Please visit our Pediatric page for more information and videos on Sealants and other dental services for children.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Should Your Child Do More Than Just Brush and Floss?

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Should Your Child Do More Than Just Brush and Floss?

As an adult, your oral care routine tends to remain fairly static for a large part of your life. Brush and floss. Rinse, perhaps, if you’re fond of it. And, unless you need prosthetics, that’s about all you’ll ever do. But, what about your kids? Toddlers? Adolescents? What sort of routine should they follow? Is it the same as yours? And, should it change from time to time? Since it’s February, and Children’s Dental Health month is upon us, let’s take a quick dive into “what’s-what” from toddlers to teens when it comes to oral care.


  • Use a warm washcloth or gauze pad to wipe your child’s gums after feedings. While most infants don’t begin sprouting teeth until around month six, you’ll still want to keep their gums free of oral bacteria that can develop from normal feeding.
  • Before your child’s first birthday, visit the dentist for an initial check-up
  • Around month six, and with the arrival of a child’s first teeth, ask your dentist if it’s the right time to start tooth brushing. For tips on how to take this not-so-fun first step in oral care, check out our article on toddler tooth-brushing training tips!
  • By this age, your children will be brushing like a mad person. Be sure they learn not to brush too hard. Teach by example, and they’ll keep this good habit their entire lives.
  • Once a child starts to have teeth that touch, you can introduce flossing. This is extremely variable, and not really related to age, so work with your dentist on this one.
  • Begin experimenting with disclosing tablets so your child can see how effective their brushing is as they learn to wield a brush on their own.
  • Brushing and flossing should be the norm by this time in a child’s life. Experiment with a variety of floss options to find one that works for your child. Rotate between floss picks as well, to what works for your kids.
  • Once a child learns to spit (this time varies widely) an alcohol mouth rinse could be used if warranted. Ask your dentist, but at this age, there isn’t often a need.
  • Everything changes when kids become teenagers. Orthodontic appliances of all sorts come into play, and oral care can start to seem like a burden. Kids also start consuming high carbohydrate and acidic beverages, and some experiment with tobacco products, so brushing and flossing are obviously required, and mouthwashes can be used particularly for kids with braces.
  • Proper prosthetic care is important to keep one’s mouth smelling and feeling fresh, so, yes … brushing the retainer becomes part of the routine.
  • Once again disclosing tablets are a good thing to play around with, because with orthodontics it’s difficult to clean everywhere.
  • Aggressive brushing at this time can contribute to early gum loss because of the physical interference of braces, and lesser area to maneuver in small mouths, so be sure your kids are getting up-to-date lessons on brushing technique from their dentist.
So, as you can see, setting an oral care routine for your little ones is mostly about prepping them for brushing, the middle years are about getting them into the habit of doing things on their own, and (to a degree) the teenage years are, at least a little bit a fallback to having to be a bit of a watchdog on your kids behalf. They’ll gladly, and sometimes vehemently disagree with you as to how to take care of their teeth … your fun is in learning how to encourage, support and provide foresight without being too much of a parent while doing it! And, we all know how easy that is, right?!

See our dental care for children page for more.