Emergency Dentistry on a Budget

Pediatric Dental Anxiety 101 For Parents

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The pain associated with a number of dental procedures is often responsible for dental anxiety in patients of all ages. However, this anxiety is considered a more serious problem with young dental patients because it often leads to the cancellation of dental appointments and the underuse of pediatric dental health services. It is important for parents and/ or caregivers to understand a few basic things about pediatric dental anxiety so that they can help their children overcome their fear of dental visits. The question and answer session below provides vital information that parents and caregivers can use to break down the barrier that is pediatric dental anxiety. How Do Pediatric Dentists Measure Dental Anxiety? There are various techniques used to determine how anxious a child is about an upcoming dental procedure. Of these techniques, the self-reporting test is among the most commonly used on young patients. When using the self-reporting technique, a dental health practitioner will ask the child a number of questions in relation to the upcoming procedure. Practitioners will then use the responses given by the child to gauge how anxious he is using a five-point scale. The higher the score on this scale, the greater the anxiety and vice-versa. In order to get the best results when using this technique, parents/caregivers should talk the child out of hiding their anxiety by giving false responses to the questions asked. A pediatric dentist may also gauge dental anxiety in a young patient by studying his/her physiological reactions before and/or during a dental procedure. Anxious children will often have their hearts beating at a rate that is significantly higher than normal, they may exhibit muscle tension, as well as abnormal skin temperature. How Is Pediatric Dental Anxiety Dealt With? Once it has been established that a child suffers from dental anxiety, several techniques can be used to get the child through a dental procedure. A pediatric dentist will strive to achieve relaxation in anxious patients by having them undertake a deep-breathing exercise prior to the procedure. Depending on how high the level of anxiety is, the dental health practitioner may take the patient through a procedure known as progressive muscle relaxation. This procedure helps to relax every muscle group within the child’s body, thereby relieving anxiety. During a dental procedure, a pediatric dentist will drive the child’s attention away from the procedure at hand so as to make him/her forget about their anxiety. For example, the child may be asked to mention all the car models he saw on the way to the dentist’s...

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Understand Dentures And Identify What Suits You Best

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Dentures are a great replacement for missing teeth. In most cases, dentures fit perfectly and are nearly as good as your natural teeth. Currently, there are different types of dentures besides the widely known teeth-in-a-glass, and they vary based on their purpose. Below is a detailed explanation of the purpose different types of dentures serve. Full Teeth Replacement A person who has a total loss of teeth in the upper and lower jaw needs a full replacement. Remember that the loss of teeth is not only for the very old, but it also occurs in young people because of dental ailments such as the periodontal disease. Full dentures can be removable or fixed. Removable complete dentures are the conventional type, and patients can remove them whenever they want to. However, fixed complete dentures are implanted into the jaw and can only be removed by a dentist. Partial Teeth Replacement Partial replacement is done for patients who have a missing tooth, a few missing teeth or teeth missing on one side of the jaw. Partial dentures are used to fill in such gaps, and they are made of acrylic, cast metal or flexible denture technology. Partial dentures can be a mix of cast metal and the flexible denture technology. Acrylic dentures are held in place by clasps, and the adjacent teeth also help in retaining them in their right place. Cast metal dentures are made from an alloy or gold and are stronger and less bulky than the acrylic type. Partial dentures made from the flexible dental technology are also referred to as the aesthetic type because they are undetectable. Some of the reasons include the fact that flexible technology dentures can be shaped and stained to mimic your natural teeth. Immediate Teeth Replacement Immediate teeth replacement is done for people who have had a tooth or teeth extracted. The replacement involves using an immediate denture to close up the gap formed after extraction. An immediate denture is prepared before extraction so that the correct size, shape and shade can be determined and so it can be placed immediately following the extraction. Immediate dentures are helpful in that they enable the patient to eat normally after teeth have been extracted. Also, it gives the affected gum area sufficient time to heal. If you have your front teeth removed, an immediate denture comes in handy in closing up the gap and hence people won’t see your gap. Visit a denture clinic where someone will advise you on the type of denture that fits you best. Remember that some denture solutions may be more costly than others, but don’t overlook the long-term benefits they...

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Dealing With Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy

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Sore, swollen gums are a common side effect of pregnancy. Hormonal imbalances make gums more vulnerable to plaque, which can lead to inflammations and bleeding – a form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. While your dentist will be able to help you manage gingivitis if it develops, there are various precautions you can take to reduce your chance of incurring problems. Keeping Your Teeth and Gums Healthy When you’re pregnant, your body is especially fragile. Taking extra special care over your teeth and gums will make your mouth less susceptible to problems. Clean your teeth twice per day for two minutes with a small-headed toothbrush, and floss once per day. Even if you have pregnancy cravings, avoid drinking fizzy drinks, sweat tea and acidic foods. Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol and stop smoking. Common Pregnancy Gingivitis Side Effects When you suffer from pregnancy gingivitis you could develop growths – pyogenic granuloma – on or under the inflamed gum tissue. They usually develop on the upper gum line and could cause discomfort and pain when you eat and speak. Although they can occur at any point during pregnancy, in most cases they will develop during the second trimester. Pregnancy gum growths will usually disappear on their own after the baby is born. If they don’t, your dentist can remove them with a simple procedure performed under local anaesthesia. If you are suffering from morning sickness, it’s best to rinse your mouth with plain water. This will reduce the acid in your mouth and help stop it from eroding your teeth. Do not brush your teeth straight afterwards, otherwise you could work the acid into the surface. Wait for at least an hour. To protect your teeth further, you could make your own mouthwash by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with one cup of water. This will neutralize the acids. Speaking To Your Dentist Although most dental treatments are safe during all trimesters of pregnancy, you should still inform your dentist if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. While you shouldn’t be afraid of x-rays, fillings, root canals or any other basic dental procedures, your dentist may make specific treatment decisions or oral hygiene recommendations based on your condition. For example, your dentist may recommend laser dentistry when performing surgery in order to reduce the need for anesthesia. In addition, make sure you don’t miss any scheduled dental appointments. Having your teeth professionally cleaned while you’re going through a pregnancy is extremely...

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Getting Familiar with Dental Bridges

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If it is your first time dealing with missing teeth, you may not be familiar with what a dental bridge is. A dental bridge works toward eliminating the gap that has been formed by either one or multiple missing teeth. The dental bridge in itself will typically comprise of a crown on each end. Between these crowns, there will be one or more false teeth attached to make up the bridge, depending on how many teeth you need replaced. The crowns on the dental bridge are commonly referred to as abutment teeth. They work toward anchoring the dental bridge and can be attached to natural teeth or dental implants. The prosthetic teeth that are attached to the bridge are referred to as pontics. What are the different types of dental bridges? Traditional bridges: These are the conventional types of bridges and comprise of two abutments that support pontics. Typically, traditional bridges tend to cause some harm to natural teeth, as the supporting teeth need to be reshaped for the crowns to be able to attach onto them. In the event that the supportive teeth have acquired some damage, the patient may have to undergo root canal therapy before the abutments are affixed to the teeth. Cantilever bridge: This type of dental bridge is only fitted on one side of the gap rather than having two crowns on opposite ends of each other. However, it should be noted that the abutments are not necessarily limited to one, despite the fact that they are all located on one side of the missing tooth or teeth. Bonded bridge: A bonded bridge comprises of a metal framework that has a wing-like feature at its ends. This wing-like feature is what is attached to the back of your natural teeth. The prosthetic teeth are also attached onto the metal framework and thus will naturally fit into the gap that has been left by the missing teeth. This type of dental bridge is also referred to as an acid-etched dental bridge. What are the advantages of getting dental bridges? There are numerous advantages of opting for dental bridges rather than simply having to deal with gaps in your mouth from missing teeth. Some of the benefits of this type of treatment include: Restoring your natural smile Restoring your speech patterns Restoring your chewing capabilities Ensuring that the shape of your face is maintained by avoiding sagging Restoring your bite Preventing the chances of adjacent teeth moving out of position due to lack of support For more information about bridges and other dental procedures, consider contacting a local dentist, such as  Bruce Stevens...

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How Cosmetic Dental Surgery Can Help Smoke-Damaged Teeth

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Regularly smoking or chewing tobacco can damage your teeth and gums. While breaking the habit can be mentally and physically challenging, you could bypass some serious aesthetic and possibly life-threatening consequences. If you already have damaged teeth, cosmetic dentistry could be the most viable solution. Problem: Stained Teeth When you chew tobacco or smoke, you will significantly increase the risk of discolouring your teeth. In most circumstances, the staining will be a result of concentrated exposure; therefore, the stain will likely reside where you hold the cigarette or chewing tobacco in your mouth. This often gives the teeth a blotchy appearance. Solution: Whitening or Veneers In the event of light or moderate staining, time will most likely heal the problem. Switch to a whitening toothpaste and give the effected area a little more attention than usual. If the problem persists or you have extensive staining, porcelain veeners can be placed over the surface. Problem: Tooth Decay According to Gordon Dental, smokers are four times more likely to suffer from tooth decay than non-smokers. Smoking restricts the veins and arteries around the teeth and jaw, making it harder for oxygen-rich blood to reach the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth decay and possibly even the loss of teeth. Solution: Dental Implants If you still have a healthy jaw and gum tissue, you could get dental implants. This process involves placing a titanium rod into the jaw and affixing a crown to the post. Dental implants look and function exactly like real teeth. Problem: Acute Tissue Inflammation When you have dental surgery, be it medical or cosmetic, and smoke or chew tobacco, you could suffer from acute tissue inflammation (peri implantitis) where the procedure took place. Peri implantitis occurs when bacteria penetrates the oral cavities. The infection can eventually cause bone degradation and early loss of implants. Solution: Cleaning and Surgical Therapy Peri implantitis does not respond well to professional cleaning when it has taken form. However, depending on the level of bone loss, antibiotics may be effective. In most cases, spotting the warning signs – redness, swelling and bleeding gums – and switching to an antiseptic mouthwash should keep the infection at bay. In severe circumstances, surgical therapy may be the only solution. Porcelain veeners, bleaching and dental implants will eventually discolour and erode if you continue smoking or chewing tobacco. You may need further treatment or more procedures later on down the road. If you have any questions, consider contacting a local dentist to discuss your...

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How Old Should Your Kid Be Before Getting Braces?

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If you look at photographs of high schoolers from the 50s and 60s you’ll see that many of the teenagers have smiles that are framed with braces. This sight is much less common these days. This is because these days kids tend to get their braces at an early age, with some beginning treatment at the age of just 6 or 7. So is there a best age for your kid to get braces? To answer that question we need to look at the two approaches used when it comes to orthodontic treatment for children. Interceptive Orthodontics  The interceptive approach treats children at younger ages, typically between 7 and 10. It is argued that interceptive orthodontics results in fewer teeth being extracted and leads to a better end result. The interceptive approach is split into two phases. Phase one begins with treatment to extract teeth and the use of braces for one or two years. This is followed by a retention phase, in which the child wears a retainer for up to two years, while the rest of the baby teeth fall out.  Phase two begins around the age of 11 onwards. One drawback of the interceptive approach is that, with treatment lasting for up to five or six years in total, it can be expensive and can mean your child has to deal with wearing braces for a longer time. Orthodontic Screening The American Association of Orthodontics has published a recommendation that children are screened to see if they require orthodontic treatment between the age of 8 and 10, as this is when permanent teeth begin to arrive in the mouth and any problems with crooked teeth become apparent.  At the same time, your dentist will also assess your child for any problems with the jaw bones, crossbones and overcrowding. If the problem is severe, it is likely that it will be recommended that treatment be started sooner rather than later. With less acute problems, it is often down to the parent to decide when to begin treatment, taking into account the individual needs of the child. Traditional Orthodontics The traditional approach to orthodontics is to wait until all the adult teeth have arrived. This process begins at the age of 6 and is normally complete by the age of 12. One of the benefits of this approach is the dentist knows exactly what they are dealing with, and doesn’t have to attempt to predict how teeth will arrive and develop. The traditional approach also means your child spends less time in braces, normally around 2 years. In truth, the best age at which your child should be treated with braces will depend on the type and severity of the dental problem. You should also seek the advice of at least one dental professional if you suspect your child needs braces. It isn’t unusual for different orthodontist and dentist who specialise in paediatric treatments to disagree because they have different philosophies about when it is best to commence treatment. You shouldn’t be surprised if you ask for a second opinion and receive a slightly different answer. For more information, talk to a dental clinic like Absolute...

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Pearly Whites No More? Here Are Three Things That You Never Knew Could Stain Your Teeth

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Keeping your teeth in tip-top condition is a challenge for even the most health-conscious person.  You are probably aware of the poor dietary choices that can cause stained teeth. Smoking, fizzy drinks, and excess alcohol consumption are the worst culprits. But there are a glut of other foods and minerals that are considered bad for your teeth, and you may be surprised by some of them. You might be wondering why your teeth aren’t in sparkling condition, despite following a healthy lifestyle and limiting the prime causes of discoloured teeth. Informing yourself of the following causes of stained teeth could shed some light on why your pearly whites are not looking as good as they should: Iron. Iron deficiency is one of the most widespread deficiencies on the planet, with a mind-boggling two billion people around the world estimated to be anaemic. This means that there are millions of people right now taking supplements to improve their iron intake. If you are one of the many people supplementing with iron, be careful. Liquid iron supplements can cause staining of the teeth. To reduce your risk of further staining, be sure to mix any liquid iron supplements with fruit juice and drink through a straw. You may also be at risk of exposure if you work in an iron foundry. Berries. Berries are often categorized as superfoods, delivering a whole range of impressive health benefits to the human body, including abundant levels of antioxidants. In fact, berries are ranked first among the fruits containing the highest concentration of antioxidants. Unfortunately, as with most good things in life, berries have a potential negative side effect. They can stain teeth because they are high in chromogens, which are compounds that cling to your enamel and cause discolouration. It is not advisable to avoid eating berries because of their wonderful antioxidant benefits, but in future it might be a good idea to drink some water while you eat them and clean your teeth after if possible. Soy Sauce.  Popular Asian foods such as sushi and chow mein contain high levels of soy sauce. Despite tasting delicious, soy sauce could be contributing to your teeth not looking their sparkling best. Sauces with intense colour such as soy sauce and curry sauce contain deep levels of pigmentation that can yellow your teeth after extended use. You might want to think twice about adding a couple of extra dashes of soy sauce to your next Asian meal. Moderation is the key. What Can You Do About Existing Stains? If you consume any of the above foods or minerals, and you follow the precautions outlined, you are less likely to see future yellowing of the teeth. But what about existing stains? The best thing you can do to get rid of these unsightly marks and restore your teeth to their former glory is to book an appointment with your dentist at a place like Revesby Dental Centre for a teeth whitening treatment. There are a plethora of dentists offering teeth whitening services nowadays to suit any budget. They are a surefire way to improve the look of your teeth. A thorough teeth whitening treatment will give you the confidence to smile as wide as you...

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You Won’t Believe How Easy It Can Be to Floss When You Have Braces

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When orthodontists fit you with a new set of braces, they will certainly be able to answer any questions you might have about how to best care for them. Some of these questions might not actually occur to you until later, such as when you’re trying to floss your teeth later that evening. If you have any queries or concerns about your braces, you can certainly speak with your dentist or orthodontist, but when it comes to flossing when you have braces, there are a few tips you need to know about. Rinse It Get into the habit of rinsing thoroughly after each time you eat to prevent food becoming lodged in between your teeth and your braces. Ask your dentist or orthodontist for the best type of mouthwash to use with your braces. They might also suggest a simple salt water rinse. By washing out debris before they have a chance to become lodged in your mouth, it makes the later act of flossing much easier. Floss It Use waxed dental floss. This wax acts as a type of protective coating on the floss, so it is far less likely to snap or shred when it rubs against the metal components of your braces. Pick It Use a flossing pick. These are small pieces of plastic with a piece of floss tightly held between two plastic prongs. You use the pick by grasping it between your thumb and forefinger which (with some practice) is often easier and more precise than traditional dental floss. They are available with both waxed and unwaxed floss, and you should opt for the waxed version, as you should with traditional floss. Tape It Discard dental floss and use dental tape. It looks just the same as regular dental floss and yet this similarity disappears once you use it. While dental floss is of an unchangeable length like a piece of string, dental tape stretches like a piece of elastic. It’s easy to get into the nooks and crannies of your braces without worrying about snapping the tape. Waterblast It It’s a more expensive option, but it is certainly effective. If you opt for a water flossing device, you simply move the head of the device (which is of a similar shape and size to a toothbrush) throughout your mouth. A concentrated jet of water is pushed between the gaps in your teeth (and the gap between your braces and your teeth), dislodging any food particles that might be caught. Flossing your teeth when you have braces doesn’t have to be difficult, but it’s important to know that regular traditional dental floss probably isn’t the best option for you. For more tips, contact experienced orthodontists in  your...

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The Ins And Outs Of Treating Mucoceles

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Developing an unusual bump inside your mouth is always an unnerving occurrence, and you should always visit your dentist for an inspection if you’re worried about a new growth. However, there are a number of relatively harmless conditions that cause these lumps — one of them is the mucocele, a soft, smooth lump containing a cyst filled with protein-rich gel, that forms around a damaged or blocked salivary gland. Salivary glands can become damaged by anything from a blow to the jaw to sucking on your lips too much. Mucoceles can appear on the roof of the mouth, your gums, the insides of your lips or under your tongue, and while the lumps are benign and harmless, they can still be bothersome and make talking or chewing awkward. If so, your dentist can offer a range of treatments to rid you of your nasty little lump quickly and effectively: Non-invasive treatments Don’t immediately assume that you will have to go under the scalpel to have a mucocele removed, as if a mucocele is caught early it can often be cured with simpler, non-surgical treatments: If a mucocele is very small, regularly rinsing your mouth with salt water (about 4-6 times a day) will draw fluid from within the mucocele to the surface of the skin, reducing its size and potentially reopening the blocked salivary gland. Anti-inflammatory medicines, usually administered as topical gels directly to the mucocele, can reduce mucocele size and numb discomfort. Larger mucoceles may warrant a direct injection of corticosteroids; this will reduce swelling very quickly but cannot be administered often due to the side effects of long-term corticosteroid use. Whatever you do, don’t try to burst a mucocele yourself, as the damaged salivary gland within is very vulnerable to infection. Surgical removal If a mucocele is allowed to grow too large, or if it doesn’t respond to standard treatments, one of two different surgical procedures may be required. The first procedure is salivary gland removal and is generally performed when a salivary gland is likely to become swollen again or has done so in the past. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed while you are awake under local anaesthesia, and it will involve a small incision where both the mucocele and the salivary gland beneath are removed. Don’t worry — you have plenty more where that came from. Recovery time is generally 2-4 weeks — this can be shorter if your dentist uses laser surgical tools. The second procedure is called micro-marsupialisation (but does not have anything to do with small kangaroos). In this procedure, the dentist simply places a series of sutures through the cyst and cleans out the fluid within. The sutures are then allowed to remain in the skin for a week, which allows new, clear channels to the salivary gland to form, releasing the blocked flow of saliva. This procedure is done under local anaesthetic, is simpler that salivary gland removal and only takes a couple of weeks to fully recover from if...

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What You Need to Know About Fitting Adult Braces

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There is widespread belief that dental braces work best for children and young people alone. This is totally wrong! Dental braces can be worn effectively by people of all ages! Even though you might see more children and young people today wearing braces as compared to adults, that doesn’t downplay the effectiveness of dental braces as a method of orthodontic treatment for adults. If you are still hesitant about seeing an orthodontist to provide dental braces for you, here is some essential information about adult braces you might need to know about. Why get adult braces? There are a lot of overarching reasons to explain why you should use adult braces. These dental fittings will help correct dental issues such as malocclusion of teeth, crowded teeth, jaw deformation, etc. to allow you to make major facial and dental improvements needed to face the next phase of your life with confidence, e.g. change of appearance for a new job or a special occasion like your wedding. Adult braces will not only refresh your smile, but it will help you keep your teeth looking good and staying healthy for life. How does it feel wearing adult braces? Accommodating braces in your mouth feels almost the same at all ages. When these dental appliances are fitted for the first time, you might experience some slight discomfort as your mouth adjusts to them. As your teeth start to realign, they may twinge a little bit as the gums and cheeks become somewhat painful. Using braces feels like the experience wearing a new pair of well-fitting shoes, they’ll initially cause some discomfort until you’re get used to wearing them. Every time you see an orthodontist to adjust the braces, you may also have to cope with some level of discomfort. However, the discomfort will be mostly minor and shouldn’t worry you much. Look at it this way: The slight discomfort will be a small price to pay for the great results you’ll enjoy in the future! How can you take proper care of your braces? Braces can accommodate food particles in your mouth, resulting in plaque accumulation, and thus increasing the risk for dental infections and diseases. To ensure your braces are well-taken care of, brush and floss it regularly, especially after mealtime and when going to bed. Don’t bite on hard stuffs such as coconuts or the ends of pens. Also avoid chewing sticky substances like chewing gum since they can get stuck on the braces or cause them to become loose. In case any problem arises, immediately visit your orthodontist to have the braces checked. For more information or a consultation, contact local orthodontic care clinics, such as Perfect Smiles...

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