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Posts for: October, 2017

MonitoringYourChildsThumbSuckingCouldHelpAvoidFutureBiteProblems

Although distressing to many parents, infants and toddlers sucking their thumb is a common if not universal habit. Most children phase out of it by around age 4, usually with no ill effects. But thumb-sucking continuing into late childhood could prove problematic for a child’s bite.

Thumb sucking is related to how young children swallow. All babies are born with what is called an infantile swallowing pattern, in which they thrust their tongues forward while swallowing to ensure their lips seal around a breast or bottle nipple when they nurse. Thumb-sucking mimics this action, which most experts believe serves as a source of comfort when they’re not nursing.

Around 3 or 4, their swallowing transitions to a permanent adult swallowing pattern: the tip of the tongue now positions itself against the back of the top front teeth (you can notice it yourself when you swallow). This is also when thumb sucking normally fades.

If a child, however, has problems transitioning to an adult pattern, they may continue to thrust their tongue forward and/or prolong their thumb-sucking habit. Either can put undue pressure on the front teeth causing them to move and develop too far forward. This can create what’s known as an open bite: a slight gap still remains between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are shut rather than the normal overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower.

While we can orthodontically treat an open bite, we can minimize the extent of any treatments if we detect the problem early and intervene with therapies to correct an abnormal swallowing pattern or prolonged thumb sucking. For the former we can assist a child in performing certain exercises that help retrain oral and facial muscles to encourage a proper swallowing pattern. This may also help diminish thumb sucking, but we may in addition need to use positive reinforcement techniques to further discourage the habit.

To stay ahead of possible problems with thumb sucking or the swallowing pattern you should begin regularly taking them to the dentist around their first birthday. It’s also a good idea to have an orthodontic evaluation around age 6 for any emerging bite problems. Taking these positive steps could help you avoid undue concern over this common habit.

If you would like more information on managing your child’s thumb-sucking habit, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”


By Norwich Aesthetic Dentistry
October 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics  

Are you interested in knowing how your Norwich dentist can help you?braces, orthodontics

Dr. Edward Yates can offer you the orthodontic care you need in Norwich, CT. They can identify the problems you're suffering from, create a custom plan and execute the necessary orthodontic treatments.

What are braces?

Braces are intended to fix a bad bite and malocclusions, which is when teeth are crooked or crowded. Braces move your teeth into their proper positions and, after you no longer need to wear braces, you'll need to wear a retainer so their teeth don't shift back into their crooked positions.

How can you care for your braces?

There are several things to take into consideration when maintaining your dental health:

  • Avoid eating popcorn, corn, sticky foods...etc.
  • Wear a mouth guard if you're playing a sport.
  • Floss and brush your teeth after every meal, and make sure your child changes his or her tooth brush every 3 months.

What are the side effects of not having braces?

If you don't allow your Norwich dentist to fix your child's bad bite, they may suffer from other severe problems:

  • Tooth decay that can lead to tooth loss
  • Deterioration of tooth enamel and formation of gum disease
  • Speech, chewing and bite may be effected by crooked teeth

How can you care for your braces?

There are several things to take into consideration when maintaining your dental health:

  • Avoid eating certain foods, such as popcorn, corn, sticky foods...etc.
  • Make sure to wear a mouth guard if you're playing a sport.
  • Don't skip your dentist's appointment to ensure braces are adjusted properly and there's no hard-to-reach plaque that can cause gum disease.
  • Floss and brush your teeth after every meal, and make sure your child changes his or her tooth brush every 3 months or when the bristles are worn out or frayed.

For more information about braces and the best options for your child, call your dentist, Dr. Yates in Norwich, CT. Call their office at (860) 889-6445 to schedule an appointment today!


FindoutWhatKindofToothStainingyouHaveBeforeSeekingaSolution

Stained teeth can be embarrassing — so much so you may even hesitate to smile. Before you seek out a whitening solution, though, there are a few things you need to know about tooth staining.

Tooth staining is more complex than you might think. There are actually two types: extrinsic, staining from foods and other substances of the outer surface of the enamel; and intrinsic, discoloration deep within a tooth that affects their outward appearance. The latter staining has a number of causes, including the type of dental materials used to fill a tooth, a history of trauma or the use of the antibiotic tetracycline during early tooth development.

There are some noticeable differences between the two types, although an examination is usually necessary to determine which you have. Extrinsic staining tends to be brown, black, or gray, or occasionally green, orange or yellow. Intrinsic staining can be red, pink or, if caused by tetracycline and fluoresced under ultraviolet light, yellow. If only one tooth is discolored it’s most likely intrinsic due to decay in the tooth pulp.

What can be done also depends on which type. Extrinsic staining can be modified through whitening, with either an office application or a home kit (there are differences, so you should consult with us before you decide). It may also be essential to modify your diet by restricting foods and beverages (coffee, wine or tea) known to cause staining and by eliminating tobacco use. You should also practice daily hygiene, including brushing with a toothpaste designed to diminish staining, and regular office cleaning and polishing.

Intrinsic staining can’t be addressed by these methods. Instead, you may need to undergo a procedure where we enter the interior of the tooth and insert a bleaching agent. If this isn’t an option, you can also choose a cosmetic restoration such as a porcelain veneer or crown that will cover the tooth to better match the color of your other teeth.

Dealing with stained teeth begins with a visit to our office to determine what type of discoloration you have and to learn your options. But regardless of what type you have, there is a way to a brighter smile.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments of tooth staining, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Staining.”