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5 Questions to Ask at Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Visit

August 13th, 2018

School will be back in session before you know it. Send your child off to class with a new bookbag, fresh pencils and a healthy smile.

Some schools require a back-to-school dental exam. Still, it’s always a good time of year to schedule one of your child’s regular visits. “We can help spot and take care of any issues so your child doesn’t have to miss class once school starts,” says ADA pediatric dentist Dr. Mary Hayes. “It’s also a great time to help get back on track if some of your child’s dental habits fell away during summer, when normal routines can go out the window and there are a lot more treats around.”

Here are a few questions to ask at your child’s appointment:

How Is My Child’s Overall Dental Health?

The dentist will be looking at the big picture of your child’s mouth, including teeth and gums. “We will check to make sure teeth are lining up correctly, your child’s bite is in good shape and to keep an eye out for any [orthodontic] issues that may show up later,” Dr. Hayes says. “We’re also making sure baby teeth are going to the Tooth Fairy like they should.”

Will My Child Get a Cleaning Today?

This is a must, no matter how well your child brushes. “Even if your child—or you, for that matter—brushes twice a day, it’s not possible to get rid of all the bacteria that can lead to cavities,” Dr. Hayes says. “And on the other hand, you may have a child who goes off to camp and never opens their toothbrush.”

That’s why a professional cleaning goes a long way. “It removes more of the cavity-causing bacteria and helps to keep gum tissue healthy,” she says. “It can also remove most or many stains from teeth.”

Does My Child Need an X-Ray?

X-rays help your dentist see how your child’s teeth are developing and make sure the tooth roots are healthy. They also are used to see if there is any tooth decay between your child’s teeth. “The decay process can move very, very fast, so the earlier we can catch it, the better,” Dr. Hayes says.

Your child won’t need an x-ray at every visit. “We do them only when necessary,” she says.

Can You Check My Child’s Mouthguard?

If your child plays sports year-round, make sure you bring his or her mouthguard along so your dentist can check for wear, tear and fit. “If your child is having a growth spurt, losing teeth and getting new ones, the mouthguard might need to be redone,” she says.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants can be another way to keep your child from getting cavities, but they’re no substitute for brushing and flossing. A sealant is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that your dentist can place on the chewing surfaces of your child’s permanent back teeth (called molars). Once they’re on, sealants work to keep cavity-causing bacteria and bits of food from settling into the nooks and crannies your child’s toothbrush can’t reach. This helps keep cavities from forming and tiny existing spots of decay from getting worse.

In fact, having sealants on your permanent molars reduces the risk of cavities by 80%. It’s best to get sealants as soon as your child’s permanent molars come through their gums (usually at age 6, then again at age 12). “It doesn’t hurt to put on or apply a sealant,” Dr. Hayes says. “When permanent molars start coming in, parents should ask if sealants are recommended.” Most last for years, and your child’s dentist will make sure they’re holding strong at every regular visit.

Source: www.mouthhealthy.org

 

Am I Too Old for Orthodontic Treatment?

August 8th, 2018

Did you ever look in a mirror and think to yourself, “Sure wish I could have had braces when I was a kid”? You can’t go back in time, but you can still get the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wished was yours. It’s not too late. Orthodontic treatment can be as successful for adults as it is for adolescents. Don’t let your age keep you from consulting an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) member orthodontist.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s the same physiological process that moves teeth through bone. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.

Adults can have complicated cases, though, for a variety of reasons. They may have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen or worn teeth, or other dental disease. These are conditions well within your orthodontist’s realm of treatment experience. This is just one reason it’s so important to make sure you are being treated by orthodontist. Your orthodontist has years of formal education in orthodontics after graduating from dental school. As an AAO orthodontic specialist, your doctor has the education and expertise you need to manage your orthodontic care and reach your best possible result.

To move your teeth in their ideal positions, your orthodontist will use an “appliance,” braces or aligners, for example, to deliver controlled forces that gently and predictably reposition teeth. There has been a revolution in orthodontic appliances – much of it driven by adults who want straight teeth, but want to be inconspicuous about their treatment. Today’s options include tooth-colored braces, tiny but more traditional metal braces, gold-colored braces, braces that go behind the teeth, and braces that aren’t braces at all, but are a series of plastic-like trays (“aligners”) that move teeth a little at a time. Not every type of appliance is suitable for correction of every kind of orthodontic problem. This is another reason to make sure you are being treated by orthodontist – selecting the right appliance to correct your problem. Orthodontists have access to the full range of appliances, and more than anyone else in the dental profession, orthodontists know which appliance is right for an individual patient’s care.

Treatment lasts an average of 22 months. During that time, orthodontist visits are scheduled about every six weeks to eight. It’s a comparatively small investment of time that pays big dividends in improved dental health, better function (biting, chewing), the ability to more easily keep your teeth clean, and higher self-confidence.

It’s so heart-warming to witness the first time an adult patient sees his/her new smile. Sometimes there are tears through smiles, and sometimes pronouncements of outright joy. The only regret expressed is that this step was not taken sooner.

The opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile has not passed you by. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hiding your smile. Just because you didn’t have orthodontic treatment when you were a youngster doesn’t prevent you from doing something about it now. Your age doesn’t matter. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted. It starts with consulting an AAO orthodontist.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists - only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

Source: www.aaoinfo.org

8 Travel Tips for Your Teeth

July 24th, 2018

Make Time for a Checkup

Even when you’re dreaming about vacation, there’s no place like home–especially a dental home base. “Prevention isn’t only taking care of your teeth,” Dr. Messina says. “It’s establishing a relationship with a dentist.” If you can, schedule your next regular visit before your trip. “Have a thorough exam so we can spot any problems before they happen,” Dr. Messina says. You’ll have peace of mind, and your dentist will have the most up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays.

In Case of Emergency...

Have your dentist’s contact info handy in your cell phone or keep a business card in your wallet. “If you think you need to talk to somebody, you probably do,” Dr. Messina says. In fact, more dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone than you might think (especially if you keep up regular visits). “As a patient, it’s hard to know the difference between something that needs to be treated right away and something that can wait until you get home,” he says. ”That’s what we are here for.”

In Case of Emergency Overseas…

If you are out of the country and absolutely in need of a dentist, Dr. Messina recommends getting in touch with the local consulate or U.S. embassy. “While talking to the concierge at the hotel is OK, ask the consulate and their employees for a recommendation,” he says. “It’s an independent recommendation and not someone who may be driving business because of a contract or to a relative.”

Forget Your Toothbrush?

Sunscreen? Check. Phone charger? Check. Toothbrush? Oops. If you find yourself temporarily without a toothbrush, Dr. Messina says you can rinse vigorously with water to wash away some of that cavity-causing bacteria. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger in a pinch. When you finally get to the nearest drugstore, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If there aren’t any Seal products, buy the softest brush you can find.

Proper Toothbrush Transport

Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation. What’s a traveling toothbrush to do? “I’m a big fan of resealable plastic bags. Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important that making sure it’s dry on vacation,” Dr. Messina says. “A bag keeps your toothbrush separate from everything else in your luggage. When you get there, pop it open and let your brush air dry.”

Pack an ADA-Accepted Pack of Gum

Chewing sugarless gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight – and help keep cavities at bay on vacay. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities. That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. Sugarless gum with the ADA Seal is guaranteed to do the trick.

When In Doubt, Brush with Bottled Water

If you are in a country where the water supply is compromised – or you’re on a wilderness adventure but aren’t sure how clean the stream is – always use bottled water to brush. “Don’t use the local water to brush your teeth,” Dr. Messina says. What happens if you accidentally get local water on your toothbrush? “Get a new one if you can,” he says. “If that isn’t possible, rinse your brush well with bottled water to reduce the risk of getting sick.”

Get Back on Track After Your Trip

If you let brushing and flossing slide – or indulged in too many sweets while away – don’t beat yourself up. “Just get back on your normal routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing when you get home,” Dr. Messina says.

 

Source: www.mouthhealthy.org

7 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

July 17th, 2018

If you think you’re busy, try being a kid. In addition to school, activities and family time, they’re learning how to take care of themselves and others in new ways every single day.

One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.

Need to brush up on the basics of cleaning your child’s teeth? Watch the video above to find out how to brush your child’s teeth. Then, get started! Here’s how:

Have 4 Minutes of Fun

Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party. Videos or brushing apps may also make that time fly by. (Older children might enjoy the videos on 2min2x.com, and younger brushers might like these.) Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices. Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time.

Start a Routine and Stick to It

You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.

Reward Good Brushing Behavior

What motivates your child? If its stickers, make a reward chart and let him add one every time he brushes. If he’s a reader, let him pick out the bedtime story. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.

Characters Count

Who is the character your child can’t get enough of? Many children’s shows and books, including Sesame Street, have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so when it’s time to brush you can use that character as a good example.

Make Up a Story

Haven’t found a story or character to inspire your child? Make up your own. Your child just might be the only superhero who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities.

Go Shopping

Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste. (We recommend ones with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Choosing a character toothbrush might make brushing more fun, and fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors.

Make Brushing a Family Affair

Your children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.

Source: www.mouthhealthy.org

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