Posts for: January, 2018
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods. Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
For whatever reason, you’ve put off replacing a missing tooth for awhile. Now you want to fill that empty gap in your smile with a dental implant restoration.
But if your tooth’s been missing for a long time, there could be a problem with space. This is because the teeth on either side of the space may have gradually drifted into it, leaving no room for the implant. You could need orthodontic work first to return these teeth to their proper position.
We could use braces, metal orthodontic devices with wires threaded through brackets bonded to the teeth that are then anchored, usually to back teeth. The orthodontist uses elastics or springs as well as possibly incrementally tightening of the wire against the anchors. These techniques create pressure or tension on the teeth for the desired direction of movement. The teeth’s natural mechanism for movement does the rest.
But while effective, braces can be quite noticeable, an embarrassing thought for many adults having to wear them over several months of treatment. But there may be an alternative: clear aligners, a succession of slightly different plastic trays usually worn in two-week intervals. Sequentially wearing each tray gradually moves the teeth to their desired positions.
Though not appropriate for all bite situations, clear aligners have a number of benefits when they can be used. They’re nearly invisible to others and can be removed for hygiene tasks or rare special occasions. What’s more, the orthodontist may attach a temporary prosthetic (false) tooth to the trays to camouflage the missing space during treatment.
There’s one other issue you may have to deal with: if your tooth loss was related to periodontal (gum) disease, the gums and underlying bone may be in poor condition. In fact, substantial bone loss could rule out an implant altogether. But we may be able to remedy both gum and bone deficiencies through grafting or plastic surgery. It may be possible to regenerate enough bone to support the implant; and surgically repairing your gums will help ensure the implant appears natural.
If you have problems like these, don’t give up on your restoration goal just yet. With some orthodontic and dental work ahead of time, we may still be able to make implants a reality for you.
Find out if the dental symptoms you are experiencing could spell root canal therapy for your smile.
Did you wake up with a sudden toothache? Does something just not feel right with your teeth but you just can’t seem to put your finger on it? Our Lakewood, CO, dentist Dr. Thomas Nyvold sees countless patients who present with symptoms that need to be treated right away with root canal treatment. Find out if this endodontic treatment is necessary for you.
In some cases, people may require root canal treatment but not know it because they never experience symptoms. So it can come as quite a surprise when they go in for a routine cleaning and our Lakewood, CO, general dentist tells them that they require this treatment. This is just one reason we recommend that everyone comes in for routine cleanings and exams twice a year so that if there are any issues we are able to detect them.
Of course, there are some classic symptoms and signs that you might need root canal therapy. These symptoms include,
- A severe toothache
- Dental pain that gets worse when putting pressure on the tooth or chewing
- Redness, swelling and tenderness of the gums surrounding the tooth
- Tooth discoloration or darkening
- A pimple-like bump on the gums (known as an abscess)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s important that you call us right away so that we can examine and treat the issue at hand. While these symptoms can also be indicative of other problems it’s important that your teeth and gums get the care they need to remain healthy.
What does root canal treatment entail anyway?
The reason your tooth is giving you trouble is that the structure inside the tooth, known as the dental pulp, is either diseased or inflamed. This happens when decay, infection or trauma to the tooth has set it and has been able to penetrate the hard enamel layers and affect the health of the pulp. When this occurs, the only option we have is to go in and remove the pulp and clean out the tooth to get rid of bacteria and prevent another infection in the future.
While root canal treatment does get a bad rap, it’s the only way to treat the problem tooth and it will preserve the overall structure of the tooth so that you won’t need to have the tooth extracted and then replaced. Plus, this procedure will also eliminate the source of your dental pain, which we know is a major relief for any toothache sufferer.
At the first sign of any dental changes, it’s important that you turn to the dental experts at T.E.N. Family Dentistry in Lakewood, CO, to fix any issues that could cause more serious complications for your smile. Whether it’s an emergency or not, we can get you the appointment that you need right away.