Why Your Kid Might Need Dental Sealants

As you might know, dental sealants offer a quick and easy solution to prevent cavities. Due to the increasing trend of cavities in children, the use of dental sealants has also increased. Whether a child needs dental sealants or not depends on the way you help your child take care of his/her dental health. There are some reasons listed below which ensure that your child needs dental sealants.

Children who need sealants are usually bad brushers. This means they do not regularly brush and clean their teeth, which leads to tooth problems. They also ignore the problems in the mouth, leading to cavities and tooth decay. There are some situations where there are gaps between the teeth and dental sealants are used to fill those gaps.

It is recommended that children should get sealants as soon as they grow adult teeth as they are of no use when applied on milk teeth. Studies have shown that sealants are the best way to overcome cavities and can reduce the impact caused by cavities by up to 80%. Some children may need sealants at a young age as some are prone to cavities and don’t have good dental habits. However, it is better to apply sealants on the permanent premolars and molars so it keeps them away from the cavities between the ages of 6 and 14.

The bottom line is that it is the duty of parents to take proper care of their child’s teeth. This can be done by inculcating good habits in their children at a young age. You should force them to brush their teeth twice a day and floss regularly. The main reason for cavities is food is stuck between the child’s teeth and this leads to tooth decay. You should talk to your dentist about the dental problems faced by your kid and then find the ideal course of treatment.

Reasons Why Your Jaw May Be Shrinking

Over the last 10,000 years, the shape, length and width of the human jaw have witnessed a considerable decline and change. The aforementioned period also coincides with the popularity and growth of agricultural farming. Wonder what is happening? There is no denying that genetics play a role in this phenomenon, the dominant factor, which has contributed to the poor jaw development, is the environment. Apparently, three significant factors have an influence on the shape and size of a person’s jaw.

Decline in Nutrient-Dense Meals

After the advent of agriculture farming, there has been a decline in food that is rich in nutrients. This has led to a significant increase in the ratio of processed food in our diets. There is a deficiency of requisite nutrients in these sugar and grain products, which has compromised our bone metabolism.

Greater Percentage of Soft Foods

Soft foods reduce the physical stimulus on various muscles that are linked with the jaw and jawbones. The popularity of soft foods grew after agricultural farming. Foods that are rich in starch and contain processed grains are a source of soft diet. Recent research in this area has revealed that the intake of relatively softer diet produces little mechanical stimulus for the bones and muscles which constitute the jaw. This results in the decline in the physical dimension and density of a person’s jaw over a period of time.

Tooth Loss

When a person loses multiple teeth and they are not replaced via dental implants, the body makes an implicit decision that the person has no need for the jawbone. Consequently, it initiates the process of reabsorbing the bone and breaking it down. Gradually the jawbone starts collapsing and loses its stability. This process may take up to twenty years. This is one good reason for the timely replacement of any missing teeth.

If you are facing any dental problems, particularly tooth loss, you should consult your doctor without delay.

Overcoming Dental Phobia with Sedation Dentistry

If you have had a bad dental experience, which has made you scared of dentists and their tools, or if you are one of the many individuals who would rather leave their teeth to rot instead of going to the dentist, don’t worry as with sedation dentistry, you can overcome your fear of getting your teeth scraped and drilled, while getting a perfect and comfortable dental treatment.

But what is sedation dentistry and how does it help patients with dental phobia get their treatment done? Well, sedation dentistry is a wise and easy way of carrying out dental surgeries and operations without causing any pain.

Also known as ‘sleep dentistry’, this method involves a set of medications which enables the patients to feel relaxed throughout the procedure. The medication is used to numb the mouth while the rest of the body functions normally. You will be able to watch the dentists perform a surgery or pluck out a tooth from your mouth while you feel no pain at all. All thanks to Anesthesia.

Depending on the patients’ level of dental anxiety, dentists use different ways of giving them the anesthesia. Patients with a comparatively lower level of dental anxiety often get their treatment started with nitrous oxide or what many call it the laughing gas. This helps the patients calm their nerves which also helps the dentists do their job with ease.

Patients with a high level of dental phobia are given a pill, which helps them feel like they are going to sleep while they stay awake during most part of the procedure. The area to be operated upon is made fully numb while the rest of your body functions normally.

For patients who are afraid of dental surgeries, anesthesia injections are the perfect solution, which once injected into the bloodstream makes the patient fall asleep. Patients do not remember most of the procedure as they have slept through the whole treatment.

It is crucial that you talk to your dentist about your dental phobia so he/she can advise you accordingly.

Understanding Frenectomy and Why it is Important

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure involving the removal of one or two frena from the mouth. The frenum is a connective tissue that connects one tissue with the other found inside the lip and cheeks, inside the gums and mouth. There are two types of frenum present in the mouth: lingual frenum and labial frenum.

In children, a longer lingual frenum may make it difficult for them to feed properly from a bottle. Anyone who has this condition is referred to being “tongue-tied.” If left untreated, infants may find it difficult to communicate with their peers. In severe cases, a child may also experience discomfort and difficulty when swallowing. This is where a frenectomy comes in handy as it can be performed quickly and with minimal pain, if it is carried out in the first few weeks following birth.

Importance of Frenectomy

Frenectomy is a simple procedure that improves a person’s quality of life by correcting the following possible problems:

  • Feeding difficulties may hamper a person’s health, especially infants. In older adults, problems may revolve around chewing and swallowing.
  • An elongated frenum may lead to speech difficulties, which may affect social life and/or harm self-esteem, especially in children.
  • Saliva management may also become difficult during eating and or speech.
  • Moving the tongue forward in the mouth may become difficult due to the presence of frenum scraping against the central lower incisors.
  • Tooth decay and cavities may become more common in individuals with an elongated frenum due to the lack of ability to clean mandibular dentition and maxillary to remove food particles.

If you are thinking about a frenectomy for your child, it is best that you consult your dentist who will weigh different factors and help you make the best decision for your child.

Are Whitening Toothpastes Effective?

Whitening toothpastes are a cheap and easily available substitute for professional teeth whitening, but are they effective? Whitening toothpastes seem to work to a small extent by removing stains from the teeth’s surface, like those caused by smoking or drinking coffee. However, these products are not capable of changing the natural color of your teeth or treating stains that have a deep impact on the teeth.

Whitening toothpastes, unlike other tooth-whitening products don’t contain hydrogen peroxide. Instead, they normally include:

  • Gentle abrasives, such as calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate and hydrate aluminum oxide that polish the teeth
  • Special chemicals that dissolve or break down stains

Some of these whitening toothpastes contain a chemical known as blue covarine that sticks to the teeth surface and creates and optical illusion, which can make the teeth appear whiter and less yellow. These whitening toothpastes may be effective in eradicating stains from the teeth’s topmost layer, but they can actually destroy your enamel in the long run. No whitening toothpaste or whitening products have been proven effective for removing discoloration on the deeper layers of your teeth.

You can see results from whitening toothpaste if you use it for brushing your teeth twice a day for up to 6 weeks. If you are thinking of buying a tooth whitening toothpaste, go for a brand that offers a seal of approval from a known dental organization, like the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This will ensure the toothpaste is effective at getting the job done and also safe for use.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your current whitening toothpaste, it is suggested you consult your dentist about other tooth whitening products, like whitening strips or good quality over-the-counter bleaching products. If the products don’t show results, you might have to opt for whitening treatment.

Understanding Your Tooth Replacement Options

If you are wondering whether you can do something about the teeth you have lost (owing to an accident, injury or disease), there are tooth replacement options available that will make your life easier. Let’s look at these tooth replacement options:

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are used for many reasons. The biggest one is to repair damaged or lost teeth. Instead of removing the entire tooth, a dentist reshapes the crown by removing decayed or damaged parts of your teeth. This way, healthy root of the root is preserved which serves as a strong foundation for a dental crown. No need to worry if you have to get a decayed tooth removed completely, because a dental crown takes care of that too. A titanium cylinder replaces the root of your tooth and the implant serves as an anchor for offering support for your dental crown.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges comprise of multiple dental crowns that are fitted together. Patients who are missing two or more teeth may have to get a bridge. There are three kinds of dental bridges:

  • Traditional Bridges: The most common type of bridge made from either ceramic or porcelain
  • Cantilever Bridges: These are used when there are adjoining teeth on only one side of the missing teeth (or tooth)
  • Maryland Bonded Bridges: These are made of plastic gums and teeth and are supported by a metal framework

Implant-Supported Dentures

Patients can be offered the most comprehensive teeth replacement option with implant supported dentures. Dentists use the 3D imaging technology for placing the dental implants more precisely. The denture is merged with an implant, unlike conventional dentures, which are supported by the gums only. As long as there is sufficient jawbone to support the denture, a patient can get this type of denture without hassle.

You can consider these options if you want to or have to replace a tooth or teeth.

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Anxious about Dental Anxiety

Many patients get scared and anxious before a dental visit. They are usually afraid of three factors: the pain, an embarrassing situation and losing a tooth. There is also an anxiety due to the loss of control, as they cannot see what dentists are doing to them.  As dentists have to work just inches away from their patients, most patients feel their personal space is invaded, while others fear their dentists would ridicule the condition of their teeth.

These are all just myths and misconceptions people have about dentist visits. Professional dentists are qualified people who are trained to fix all your dental issues without judging you. They treat all their patients with respect and care.

The Fear of Pain

One of the strongest reasons why patients experience anxiety before going to a dentist is because they fear the pain of losing a tooth might be unbearable. According to a study, patients report the biggest reason for dental anxiety is an unexpected painful outcome during or after their dental checkup. The study also concluded patients should understand pain is as much a cognitive experience as a physiological experience.

All children and adults, irrespective of their profession and education, cite ‘pain’ as the biggest reason for avoiding their dental appointment. Remind yourself that not all dental processes are painful.

Trust a Professional Dentist

Dentists understand all fears and worries their patients might have. By combining expertise with gentleness, dentists make all treatment procedures, from deep cleaning to dental implants, stress free and painless. It is important to find a dentist you feel comfortable with. Do not feel embarrassed to show your nervousness during a routine dental checkup. A good dentist will make you feel comfortable and give you time to relax before proceeding to a dental procedure.

So, as you can see, there is no tangible reason why you should feel anxious about dental anxiety.

Understanding Dental Sedation: Is It Safe?

Also known as “sleep dentistry”, dental sedation involves using medication that helps patients calm down during dental procedures. Unlike patients who undergo general anesthesia, patients remain awake under dental sedation. Oral sedation is usually safe, provided it is kept within the recommended dose in accordance with the patient’s weight and age.

The most common form of dental sedation remains local anesthesia where the part that needs to be operated is sedated during the procedure, but the sedation does not put the patient under. The other form is general anesthesia, which involves a drug that causes temporary unconsciousness. General anesthesia may be best for certain procedures, for instance wisdom teeth extraction. A typical dental sedation process involves:

  • Preparation: In case of local anesthesia, your dentist will use air or cotton to dry your mouth then rub gel to sedate the skin.
  • Injection: The next step involves injection of local anesthesia into the tissue of the gum. During this part, most people don’t even feel the pain of the needle, and the stinging sensation that is usually experienced as the anesthetic travels into the tissue.
  • After Effects: The effect of local anesthesia lasts for a few hours. After leaving your dentist’s office, you might find it difficult to eat, drink or speak clearly. Be sure not to bite on the sedated area, as you will hurt yourself.
  • Safety Checks: Dentists thoroughly consider the safety of their patients during oral sedation. When under the influence of anesthesia, the patient’s blood pressure, oxygen level, heart rate and temperature are properly examined. A patient requiring general anesthesia will usually be referred to a dental hospital.

In conclusion, dental sedation is practiced commonly and does not pose major threats to your health if administered in recommended doses. Hence, it is advised that you visit an experienced dentist for checkups and treatment.

Should You Use Activated Charcoal?

One of the most popular teeth whitening options today is activated charcoal. Easily available, inexpensive and a natural substitute to commercial teeth whitening toothpastes that may contain damaging chemicals, activated charcoal is overall a win-win.

Also known as activated carbon, activated charcoal is a powerful treatment used for trapping chemicals and toxins in the body in its million tiny pores, and flushes them out. This type of coal is not what you see in your regular fireplace or use for grilling barbeque. It is “activated” by chemical or steam at high temperatures to separate the atoms and eliminate volatile compounds.

When using activate charcoal for teeth whitening, empty a little charcoal capsule on the toothbrush with a little water and brush as you would normally. Many people have experimented with this teeth-whitening method and achieved noticeable results. When applied, the charcoal will (obviously) stain your teeth in a scary black color, but the staining is temporary. The outcome, however, is clean and smooth teeth that are also a shade whiter. There is almost zero evidence through researching suggesting activated charcoal is damaging or abrasive for teeth and is a rather harmless method.

If you are a heavy tea or coffee drinker, you should definitely try activated charcoal pills since it removes discoloration caused by the stains. They are ineffective on the teeth that have yellowed from internal system problems or through the use of antibiotics. Furthermore, research also suggests activated charcoal mostly binds to organic compounds rather than minerals which means there remains no concern of it pulling out the teeth’s calcium. All in all, you should use activated charcoal for quick and inexpensive teeth whitening.

However, it is best to check with your dentist prior to using activated charcoal. There is no doubt that it is effective and can benefit the health and appearance of your teeth.

Tongue Cleaning Tips:

You may brush after every meal, but until you make sure your tongue is clean, you may not be able to ward off halitosis, or bad breath. First, it is important to look out for signs. A white or abnormally colored tongue with fissures and grooves indicates a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria. A dry, cracked yellowish or black tongue is also a bad sign and calls for immediate and thorough cleaning. The following tips will help you achieve a better cleaned tongue to prevent such symptoms.

  • Scrape the tongue thoroughly to make sure the whole surface is covered without any gaps. To do this properly, take the two ends of the tongue scraper on both hands and then stick out your tongue wide. Now take the tongue scraper’s arch to the back of your tongue and scrape forward for more than a few times while simultaneously washing the white mucous buildup on the scraper in between the scrapings.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrape off any white gunk left on the tongue.
  • Using a mouthwash also helps clean the tongue off of any bacterial buildup. Although not the most effective tongue cleaning method, the use of mouthwash should be combined with a tongue scraper or toothbrush.
  • A professional and complex tongue cleaning gizmo can be used for a white or highly dirtied tongue.
  • You should clean your tongue every time you brush or floss to keep it moisturized and bacteria free at most times. At a minimum, clean your tongue twice daily, once in the morning and once before going to bed. If you happen to experience dry mouth, adding an extra tongue cleaning session during midday or after lunch will greatly help in remedying the situation.

These are some of the most effective tips you can follow to clean your tongue.