Toddlers’ Teeth

No matter what age you are, it’s important to take care of your teeth. Just because your toddler’s teeth will be replaced later by permanent teeth, that’s no excuse not to practice good dental hygiene.

Parents should begin caring for their children’s teeth and gums from infancy, at first just by rubbing the gums with a clean soft cloth. When your child’s first tooth erupts, it’s time to begin carefully brushing with an infant toothbrush. Use water and just a dab of toothpaste until about age two. After age two, children can usually understand how to spit while brushing. Parents should perform brushing tasks until your child is old enough to brush on their own, although with supervision to ensure it is done correctly.

Oral care is important in toddlers as well as adults because tooth decay can happen at any age. Decay occurs with both primary teeth and permanent teeth, and can cause pain and cavities. When bacteria in the mouth combine with sugar from the diet, it develops acid which attacks the teeth. Teeth are covered by a hard protective surface called enamel. The more time acid has to attack tooth enamel, the more likely it is that decay and cavities will develop.

Decay can occur in your child’s mouth even faster than in an adult’s mouth. This is because children’s tooth enamel is thinner and less strong than adult enamel. Parents should be cautious about allowing toddlers to snack on sugary foods and drinks, which will promote bacteria and acid development.

Once tooth decay occurs, the result is usually pain as well as sensitivity to hot and cold foods. These symptoms result in a trip to the dentist so that X-rays may be taken to diagnose decay. If a cavity has formed, a filling will likely be necessary to repair the tooth. Although children should begin visiting the dentist around age one, most parents would like to avoid the anxiety and difficulties associated with performing dental procedures on toddlers. It is better to avoid decay in the first place by practicing regular oral hygiene.

 

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Making Smiles with Dental Veneers

If you are unhappy with your smile, it’s time to turn it into one that you can be proud of instead of hiding it all the time. One way that many people accomplish this is by getting dental veneers. These thin shells are cemented directly to the front surfaces of your teeth to give you a whole new look.

What can veneers do for me?
There are many reasons that veneers are a good choice for restoring a smile. They hide stained or discolored teeth, repair chips or advanced decay, and fill in gaps between teeth. Veneers also can be applied to cover crooked teeth and align your smile. Basically, veneers are a great way to improve the appearance of your smile!

Are there different types?
Veneers are most often made from porcelain or composite material. Porcelain is the most popular choice because it is very durable, looks natural, and resists stains. Although usually less expensive, composite veneers do not last as long. They stain more easily and require replacement more often, possibly making the initial cost benefit less appealing when you end up paying for replacements more frequently.

What is the process for getting veneers?
The first step is seeing your dentist to determine if veneers will meet your goals. Once you’ve decided that they are right for you, the dentist will prepare your teeth for veneers. While using topical anesthetic as needed so that you do not feel any discomfort, your dentist will gently alter the surface and shape of your teeth to make them ideal for veneers. After the preparation is complete, a mold of your teeth will be made using dental putty to create a model so that your veneers will fit exactly. Temporary veneers are usually placed while permanent ones are made, which takes several weeks. When your veneers are ready, your dentist will use special glue to permanently adhere them to your teeth. After trimming the edges, your new smile will be complete!

 

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What’s the Deal with Cavities?

Most people know that taking care of your teeth is important in order to maintain a healthy and attractive smile. Common problems that occur when you don’t practice good oral hygiene include tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities. The dreaded cavity is something that most people want to avoid, so it’s helpful to know what causes cavities and how to prevent them.

Description
A cavity is a hole in your tooth resulting from decay. Bacteria are present in your mouth almost constantly, which combines with acids in your mouth to attack your gums and tooth enamel. When the outer protective layer of your teeth starts to break down and get eaten away, it leads to further decay and eventually forms cavities.

Causes
Acids and sugars from eating and drinking speed up the process of cavity formation. These items remain on your teeth long after you’ve finished consuming them, and they begin to attack your enamel. Some people are prone to cavities even more than others, such as those with weak tooth enamel.

Outcomes
The inner portions of your teeth are exposed by cavities, sometimes including your nerves. That’s one reason why cavities can cause toothache pain. In severe cases, procedures like root canals may be needed or even sometimes tooth extraction. More often, however, a simple filling can treat a cavity. A special material is placed into the hole to repair the damage to your tooth. The procedure requires basic anesthesia and can usually be completed in a single trip to the dentist.

Prevention
Instead of having to deal the pain and hassles of repairing a cavity, you can avoid these issues by maintaining good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing every day, limiting sugary snacks and drinks, and cleaning your mouth after indulging in those foods. It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly to keep watch for cavities and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent them.

 

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Learning about Tooth Extractions

Sometimes it is necessary to have a tooth removed. Common reasons for dental extractions include infection, disease, teeth crowding, or injury. Your dentist will usually refer you to an oral surgeon who specializes in mouth surgeries to extract your tooth. If there is an infection present, the extraction should be scheduled as soon as possible so that it doesn’t spread or cause more serious problems. It is helpful to know what to expect during and after a tooth extraction so you will be prepared.

What is the procedure like?
You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the extraction area, or a stronger general anesthetic if several teeth are being removed or the procedure is complex. General anesthesia will put you to sleep and prevent pain in your entire body. After the extraction is complete, you may need stitches which will either have to be removed later or will dissolve on their own. You might be instructed to bite down on gauze initially after the procedure to help stop any bleeding, which is a normal part of the tooth extraction procedure.

What about recovery?
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully for the best recovery results. You can usually expect recover to take at least a few days. Here are some guidelines to help with healing:
•    Take pain medications as prescribed.
•    Change gauze pads before they are saturated with blood.
•    Do not drink through a straw for the first 24 hours.
•    Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day after the first 24 hours following surgery. This will help reduce pain and swelling.
•    Avoid smoking.
•    Limit physical activity because it can promote bleeding.
•    Eat soft foods like thin soup, gelatin, and pudding. As you heal, you can increase your intake of solid foods.
•    Try not to rub the extraction area with your tongue.
•    Carefully brush your teeth and tongue as directed by your doctor.

 

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Caring for your Dental Implants

Restoring a missing tooth with dental implants can be a very successful way to improve both the appearance and function of your mouth. This treatment is most effective, however, if you follow the correct steps for caring for them afterwards.

What does the procedure involve?
Surgery is necessary to place the dental implant into your jaw. It is secured with an anchor into your jawbone, and then a dental crown is attached to the top of the implant. Eventually, it will attach to your jaw and look and feel like one of your natural teeth.

What should I expect after surgery?
You may experience some swelling, bruising, slight bleeding, and minor discomfort after implant surgery. Follow the care instructions from your oral surgeon, and take any prescriptions as directed to avoid infection and manage pain as needed. Make sure you adhere to the diet recommended by your doctor, because you may need to eat soft foods initially after receiving implants. This will likely be more comfortable for your tender mouth, as well as not risk damage to your newly placed implants.

What about long-term care?
Once your implants have healed, follow the same dental care routine as you did before. Brush your teeth twice daily, and floss every day. Some patients prefer to use a special toothbrush called an interdental brush, which promotes access to every angle of your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.

 

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