Ensuring that your children have good oral health is (or should be) the goal of every parent or caregiver. But how confident are you about this topic? The following true/false quiz will help you evaluate your expertise while learning more about keeping your child's teeth healthy.
- All children older than 6 months should receive a fluoride supplement every day.
- Parents should start cleaning their child's teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
- Parents should start brushing their child's teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride at age 3.
- Children younger than 6 years should use enough toothpaste with fluoride to cover the toothbrush.
- Parents should brush their child's teeth twice a day until the child can handle the toothbrush alone.
- Young children should always use fluoride mouthrinses after brushing.
- False. Check with your child's physician or dentist about your children's specific fluoride needs. If your drinking water does not have enough fluoride to help prevent cavities, parents of a child older than 6 months should discuss the need for a fluoride supplement with a physician or our office.
- True. Start cleaning as soon as the first tooth appears by wiping the tooth every day with a clean, damp cloth. Once more teeth erupt, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush.
- False. Parents should start using toothpaste with fluoride to brush their childrenÃ¢Â€Â™s teeth at age 2. Only use toothpaste with fluoride earlier than age 2 if the child's doctor or our office recommends it.
- False. Young children should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is important for fighting cavities, but if children younger than 6 years swallow too much fluoride, their permanent teeth may develop white spots. Using no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride can help prevent this from happening.
- True. Because children usually do not have the skill to brush their teeth well until around age 4 or 5, parents should brush their young children's teeth thoroughly twice a day. You should continue doing this until the child can demonstrate a proper brushing technique.
- False. Fluoride mouthrinses have a higher concentration of fluoride than toothpaste containing fluoride. Children younger than 6 years of age should not use fluoride mouthrinses unless your child's doctor or our office recommends it. Young children tend to swallow rather than spit it out, and swallowing too much fluoride before age 6 may cause the permanent teeth to have white spots.
If you feel you missed too many of the above questions, read the Dear Doctor article, “Oral Hygiene Behavior.”
In a recent online poll conducted by Dear Doctor, the premier oral healthcare resource for consumers, 77% of those polled planned on visiting their dentist prior to their wedding. For some, this includes a thorough cleaning to remove stains and freshen both their smile and breath. However, a growing number of brides, grooms, and parents of the couple are seeking cosmetic dentistry or more specifically, a smile makeover, to transform their smile for their special day as well as their future.
If this describes your situation, take the first step towards the smile you have always wanted. To create your ideal smile, we will first meet with you to get to know you better and hear your concerns, goals, expectations and wedding day timeline. Bringing in photos or magazine images of smiles that you consider beautiful will help to ensure that we understand what you find attractive, as beauty can vary greatly from individual to individual. During this initial consultation, you will also learn about your smile makeover treatment options and what you could expect immediately prior, during and following each option.
Some subtle improvements we may consider are teeth whitening and bonding. Both of these options can take place in just a few office visits and produce very attractive results. Porcelain veneers and crowns can provide you with longer-term results that can last from 10 to 20 years. However, because they typically require 1 to 4 months advance notice, it is important to see us as soon as possible to ensure you have enough time before your special day. Another procedure that can play a dramatic role in your smile makeover is periodontal plastic surgery to improve and alter your gum tissues and their relationship to your teeth. For example, the appearance of “short” teeth can be corrected by lengthening them during a surgical procedure that has minor discomfort yet results in a life-long change.
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Worldwide it is generally accepted that the best method for permanently replacing a missing tooth is with a dental implant. However, one fact that can affect the timing of placement of dental implants is that the person should be fully mature. In this case, it means that growth is complete, in particular the jawbones have completed growing. And while we are sensitive to teens who may beg for a dental implant to replace a missing, damaged or traumatized tooth, parents or caregivers should know that research and experience have shown that it is better to wait.
The main reason it is best to wait is because natural teeth grow and move with the jaws as they mature whereas implants don't. Natural teeth change positions and move with the jaws as the jaws grow, implants don't. They are fused to the bone in one position and as the jawbone grows, they get left behind and appear to sink as the adjacent teeth and jawbone grow in harmony.
Although it is not really possible to determine exactly when a person has finished growing, it is generally best to wait until the jaw is fully matured and developed. However, we are the most qualified, along with our orthodontic colleagues to “guesstimate” based on family history, age and genetics. Specialized radiographs (x-rays) of the skull and jaws may also be helpful in determining the timing of jaw growth completion and when implants can be placed.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to a dental problem and thus should not be used until all growth is complete. Think about it. Your young child gets a beautifully restored smile through a dental implant...and for a year or two it looks fantastic. However, as your child's jaws continue to grow, everyone begins to notice gaps between the implant and adjacent teeth. So it makes sense to avoid this eventuality; by just waiting until late teens when beautifully restored crowns on properly positioned dental implants should last for many many years.
Getting enough sleep is necessary for good health. We all know how energetic we feel when we are sleeping well at night. Yet, many of us do not feel rested, even after seven or eight hours of sleep. Let's answer some common questions about snoring and sleep apnea, problems that are often called sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD).
What is the purpose of sleep?
Scientists know we need sleep, at a particularly deep level, to be rested, but they are not sure why we need sleep. Sleep may have evolved as a way to conserve energy in the body, to conserve food supplies, or to reduce our risk during darkness. Sleep appears to give the brain a chance to store and organize its information and the body a chance to recuperate. Sleep studies have shown that in order to get the full benefits of sleep we need to sleep long and deeply enough to enter into a series of sleep cycles including Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep.
What kinds of problems get in the way of the type of sleep we need?
There are eight main categories of sleep disorders, but the ones affecting the largest numbers of people are insomnia, SRBD, and Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders. SRBDs include snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which is a serious health problem.
How do I know if I have OSA or another SRBD?
Often, your bed-partner will tell you that you snore. Chronic loud snoring is an indicator of OSA. To make a diagnosis your physician must take a thorough sleep and medical history. The diagnosis may then be confirmed by a study in a sleep lab.
What causes sleep apnea or OSA?
Snoring and OSA happen when your tongue and other soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse backwards and block airflow through your upper airway or windpipe. You may briefly awaken as many as 50 times per night because of these breathing lapses. These brief awakenings, called micro-arousals, keep you from reaching the deep stage of sleep your body needs.
What are the treatments for sleep apnea?
Treatments include CPAP therapy, in which patients wear a mask while sleeping. The mask pushes air through the airway, keeping it open. In Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) patients wear a device that moves the lower jaw forward, allowing more room for air to move down the airway. Oral surgical procedures and orthodontic approaches also have the goal of moving the tongue away from the throat. These are all treatments that can be carried out by a dentist who has training and experience in treatment of sleep disorders.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about sleep disorders and their treatments. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Sleep Disorders and Dentistry” and “Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions.”
If you've ever looked through a magazine and viewed the perfectly aligned white smiles of celebrities and models, you may be already familiar with the look of porcelain veneers. To achieve a picture-perfect smile, many Hollywood stars choose porcelain veneers (thin-layers of porcelain) that are bonded to the front of teeth allowing for the alteration of tooth position, shape, size and color. By fixing imperfections, as well as whitening them, veneers offer celebrities a perfect smile that, when maintained properly, can last for several decades.
Evaluation: If porcelain veneers sound appealing, our office can help you decide if you're a good candidate for them. We will ensure you have sufficient tooth structure, that your teeth are in more or less a normal position, and that symmetrical gum contours are present, allowing for proper “framing” of the teeth, necessary for a beautiful smile.
The Process: Once it's been determined that you're a good candidate for veneers, our office will begin a smile analysis using computer imaging to digitally replicate your smile and then fabricate a mock-up smile made of tooth-colored wax. We will work with you to determine the right color and shade for your veneers. You can choose the brightest, whitest “Hollywood smile” or opt for a more natural color and enhanced look.
Next Steps: After your initial appointment, it typically takes the laboratory one week to fabricate your porcelain veneers. The insertion of your veneers can be done with or without a local anesthetic. We will place the veneers on your teeth with a light-sensitive resin, which sets with the use of a white light, effectively bonding them to your teeth. While you may initially experience some tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, this will disappear after a few days. Maintaining your perfect smile requires simple brushing and flossing techniques and routine check ups.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding porcelain veneers. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design, Enhanced by Porcelain Veneers.”
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