Posts for: March, 2018
Your baby will grow into an adult so rapidly it will seem like they're changing right before your eyes. And some of the biggest changes will happen with their teeth, gums and jaw structure.
Unfortunately, disease or a traumatic accident could short-circuit this natural process and potentially create future dental problems. Here are 4 things you should be doing now to protect your baby's long-term dental health.
Start oral hygiene now. Even if your baby has no visible teeth, there may still be something else in their mouth—bacteria, which could trigger future tooth decay. To reduce bacteria clean their gums with a clean, wet cloth after each feeding. When teeth begin to appear switch to brushing with just a smear of toothpaste on the brush to minimize what they swallow.
Make your baby's first dental appointment. Beginning dental visits around your baby's first birthday will not only give us a head start on preventing or treating tooth decay, but could also give us a better chance of detecting other developing issues like a poor bite (malocclusion). Early dental visits also help get your child used to them as routine and increase the likelihood they'll continue the habit as adults.
Watch their sugar. Bacteria love sugar. So much so, they'll multiply—and more bacteria mean an increase in one of their by-products, mouth acid. Increased mouth acid can erode tooth enamel and open the way for decay. So, limit sugary snacks to only meal time and don't give them sugary drinks (including juices, breast milk or formula) in a bottle immediately before or while they sleep.
Childproof your home. A number of studies have shown that half of all accidents to teeth in children younger than 7 happen from falling on home furniture. So, take precautions by covering sharp edges or hard surfaces on chairs, tables or sofas, or situate your child's play areas away from furniture. And when they get older and wish to participate in sports activities purchase a custom mouthguard to protect their teeth from hard knocks—an investment well worth the cost.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, 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 “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
If you're ready to put the "pizzazz" back into your smile, your dentist may be able to help. It's possible your dull, dingy smile could be transformed with teeth whitening.
Teeth whitening or bleaching is a technique that applies a solution with a bleaching agent (usually up to 35% hydrogen peroxide in an office setting) to the teeth to whiten them. Although there are Do-It-Yourself home whitening kits you can use, there are a few good reasons why you should first consider a whitening procedure in a dental office setting.
To begin with, you should first have your teeth examined by a dentist to determine why they're discolored. Certain foods and beverages we consume or tobacco habits are the usual culprits causing stains on the enamel, the outermost tooth layer. These are the kinds of stains targeted by most whitening solutions.
But the interior of a tooth can also become discolored for reasons like trauma, past dental work or tetracycline use at an early age. If your staining is internal (intrinsic) rather than external (extrinsic) reducing that discoloration will require an invasive procedure only a dentist can perform—a home kit won't be able to do the job.
Another reason for having your teeth whitened by your dentist (even extrinsic staining) involves your time and the degree of brightness you'd like. Because dentists use stronger bleaching solutions (home kits usually use a weaker solution of 10% carbamide peroxide) it takes fewer sessions than home kits to achieve results—and they may last longer. In addition, dentists have more control over the level of brightness to match your expectations of a more subdued, natural look or a dazzling "Hollywood" smile.
A dentist can also help you navigate special circumstances like matching and managing natural teeth whiteness with dental restorations (which don't bleach) or special whitening situations like a single discolored tooth.
Even if you eventually decide to go the home kit route, consulting with a dentist first can still prove helpful. You'll get expert advice on products, tips on how to apply them and how to prolong the whitening effect. Whichever way you go, home kit or dentist, you can gain a brighter, more confident smile with teeth whitening.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 “Important Teeth Whitening Questions…Answered!”
Are you prepared for a dental emergency? Our Norwich, CT, dentist, Dr. Edward Yates, discusses the steps you should take if you or a friend or family member experiences an emergency.
A dental emergency, particularly if it involves bleeding, may make you feel a little flustered. When you know what to do in case of an emergency, you may find that it's easier to remain calm.
Assess the situation
Identify the type of emergency. Most dental emergencies fall into one of these categories:
- Broken tooth
- Loose tooth
- Knocked out tooth
- Facial lacerations
- Dental abscess (Symptoms include tooth pain, swollen lymph glands, fever, red gums, pus around your tooth and facial swelling.)
Perform emergency first aid
Performing dental first aid can stabilize your condition until you can make an emergency visit to our Norwich office. If your tooth has shifted out of its normal position, try to gently move it back into place. If it won't move, don't force it. Whether your tooth is loose or has changed position, don't chew on it or apply any pressure to it.
Broken teeth can be painful and may cut your lips or mouth if the broken edges are rough or sharp. Applying dental cement, which you'll find at local drugstores, will dull the pain and smooth the edges.
It may be possible to reimplant a knocked out tooth if you act quickly. After you locate the tooth, rinse it, then try to put in back in the socket. If it won't fit, put it between your cheek and gum or wrap it in gauze and put in a container filled with milk, saline solution or your saliva. Call our office immediately, as implantation is most successful if it's done in the first hour or two after your accident.
Bleeding may be an issue if you experience a fall or blow to your mouth. Control it by applying gentle pressure with a clean cloth.
Control your pain
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help relieve pain caused by injuries or dental abscesses. Applying an ice pack may also be helpful.
Call our office
Prompt treatment will help you recover from these dental emergencies. Call our office right away if you experience any of these issues.
Don't let a dental emergency ruin your smile. Call our Norwich, CT, dentist, Dr. Yates, at (860) 889-6445 to schedule an emergency appointment.