What Are Dental Sealants and Why Should My Child Get Them?

You may have taken your young child to the dentist office where the dentist suggests your son or daughter get sealants. Sealants are great ways to protect your child’s teeth, in addition to daily, proper oral hygiene.

Dental sealants are usually recommended for young children who are in the early stages of learning to properly brush their teeth. They can, however, be placed on adult’s teeth. Seniors who have arthritis and other issues that keep them from properly brushing and flossing their teeth can also benefit from sealants.

Brushing their teeth can be challenging for small children. Comfortably gripping the toothbrush, learning the right toothbrush motions and resisting the urge to swallow the toothpaste can make teeth brushing very difficult. As a result, children can get frustrated and not brush as well as they should.

Sealants won’t make teeth brushing fun, though it is important for your child to enjoy brushing his or her teeth, but they can provide a safety buffer to make up for their inadequate, less-than-ideal teeth cleaning.

When children are first learning to brush their teeth, there are many areas where they may miss, such as brushing the back molars or the backside of their front teeth. When those hard to reach places aren’t cleaned, the trapped food particles can breakdown and form cavity-causing plaque.

Sealants help protect a child’s teeth by covering the teeth with a thin, plastic covering. Sealants can’t be felt and their transparent nature makes them unnoticeable. Usually, sealants are placed over the molars as those teeth get a lot of chewing action and they are hard to reach when brushing and flossing.

Sealants are most effective when they are placed over the molars shortly after they erupt, or come up from the gumline, which is typically at ages 6 and 12. The process of placing sealants is quick, easy and pain-free.

Sealants are often made from clear plastic that fits snuggly around individual teeth, making them virtually unnoticeable to the child and others.

Why Sealants?

As mentioned previously, dental sealants block out cavity-causing debris, germs and bacteria. While your child should learn daily, proper oral hygiene, sealants help protect their teeth from decay by complimenting their established teeth cleaning routine.

Cavities are one of the most widespread and preventable childhood diseases. The over-indulgence of unhealthy, sugary snacks as well as inadequate oral hygiene are the two major causes.

Sealants prevent food particles, especially sugar, from getting embedded onto the surface and crevices of teeth. With the teeth (mainly molars) being protected from cavity-causing plaque and food debris build-up, your child will have a significantly lower chance of tooth decay.

Tooth decay in children is often overlooked. It isn’t uncommon for the health of a child’s primary (or baby) teeth to be neglected. Many parents think that the baby teeth are unimportant because they will all eventually fall out. However, cavities in the baby teeth can filter down into the up-and-coming permanent adult teeth. Children who start off with cavities risk other oral health issues such as crooked or misshapen teeth and misaligned bites. The psychological block a child may develop from early cavities may make him or her apathetic towards proper, daily oral hygiene and he or she may even dislike and resist properly caring for their teeth and gums later in life.

Sealants not only help protect children’s teeth from cavities, but it also gives them added self-confidence and has a greater joy of properly caring for their oral health.

Why Should a Toothache Be Taken Seriously?

Chances are you’ve experienced a toothache. These dental conditions are common and have a variety of causes. Sometimes they are no more than tooth sensitivity. Other times they may cause debilitating pain.

If you have an aching tooth, you can either shake it off as tooth sensitivity if it isn’t too severe or you think something is terribly wrong when the pain is excruciating. Sometimes you may be tempted to stick it out as long as you can, bearing with the pain and thinking it will go away on its own. However, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes toothaches may be the result of a chronic condition that has hasn’t been properly dealt with. Instead of clearing up on its own, it spreads, causing further damage to your teeth and gums.

As much as you may dislike the dentist, there are some circumstances whereby immediate attention by a dental professional is important. If your tooth, for instance is causing constant, unbearable pain, will likely cause you to break down and seek immediate professional dental care.

A broken, cracked or chipped tooth can create a toothache that suddenly starts. When a tooth experiences trauma, such as being broken or chipped, the enamel of the tooth becomes weakened and compromised. The tooth enamel is the hard, translucent outer layer. It protects the inside of the tooth from infection and decay and it gives the tooth the stability and hardness to function properly. When the tooth enamel becomes compromised, the nerves inside the tooth and the roots of the tooth become exposed, leading to pain and sensitivity. In many cases, a broken, cracked or chipped tooth can be repaired.

Another source of toothache pain can come from a tooth that is abscessed. Tooth abscesses are the result of an untreated oral health condition that creates an infection. A tooth abscess is usually the result of an untreated cavity whereby the germs and bacteria from the tooth decay spread down (or up) into the root of the tooth. Abscessed teeth can be saved with a root canal. In instances where the tooth abscess is too great, the tooth will need to be extracted. You’ll know whether you have an abscessed tooth or not. These often cause excruciating pain and can be accompanied by a host of other unpleasant symptoms including: fever, swollen, red gums, sore, swollen glands in the neck, unusual tastes in the mouth, bad breath, a stiff and swollen jaw and open sores on the gums that may drain. Abscessed teeth can lead to lost teeth and destruction of the gum tissue and jaw bone. The germs and bacteria that is in the pus that is excreted from the open sores of the gum can get into the bloodstream causing life-threatening health conditions such as a blood infection.

One’s tooth sensitivity is often the result of an underlying oral health issue. It may stay at a temporary tooth sensitivity such as when a tooth is broken or chipped. In other instances, the pain can become worse, to the point where the pain is nearly unbearable. Regardless of how severe or not your tooth sensitivity is, it is worth it to have it looked at a dental professional. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity and apply the appropriate treatment.

Why Preventative Dentistry Is Better Than Restorative Dentistry

Going to the dentist may be the last thing you’d want to do. The dentist office is the last place you’d ever want to be. Maybe you’ve had a traumatic past experience at the dentist office. Maybe you’re scared of pain or something going wrong at your appointment. Maybe you’re too ashamed to step into the dentist office fearing what the dentist will find after not having seen a dentist in many years. Maybe you’re just starting out on your own and don’t want to deal with the hassle of shopping around for dental insurance, so you avoid the dentist.

You may think that your mouth is healthy. After all you have a stellar at-home oral hygiene routine and you avoid those taboo foods and drinks such as candy, bread, soda and coffee. You eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. You may think that the dental office visit is optional or unnecessary. You only see the dentist only in those times something isn’t right.

There are many fears and reasoning that keep people from regularly going to the dentist and getting the preventative dental care they need. Many patients treat the dentist like they do their doctor. They forego the routine, preventative appointments and instead only go when they notice something abnormal or are experiencing pain or discomfort.

This way of going about one’s overall and oral health is not the best. In fact, it can be putting your overall and oral health at risk.

Specifically, here are some reasons why preventative dentistry is better than restorative dentistry:

Save Money

The most noticeable advantage preventative dentistry has over restorative dentistry is the money one will save on dental procedures. A routine, six-month professional teeth cleaning and dental examination will cost less than a filling or a crown. In fact, many dental insurance plans cover two semi-annual dental check-ups and cleaning, but they won’t give you “free” crowns or fillings.

Save Time

When you go in for a dental check-up, you’re in and out within minutes and you won’t leave the dentist office with pain or discomfort. There is no complicated procedure, no ordering or dental appliances and no recovery time needed. On the flip side, while most restorative dental procedures have become routine and easy and quick to perform, they may entail a follow-up appointment, entail a longer dental appointment and involve a waiting period for a needed dental device.

If you’re busy, chances are you want to get back on your regular routine and schedule as soon as possible.

Become Comfortable With Your Fear

Patients who make it a point to come and see their dentist for a preventative check-up to stem the possible occurrence of future dental health issues, will more likely have more pleasant, quick and hassle-free appointments. Associating the dental office with these pleasant experiences will initiate a change of attitude towards the dental office and may even start breaking down those negative past dental office experiences. In addition, the more frequently you come into the dentist office, the quicker you’ll get use to the unpleasant smells and noises.

The dentist may not ever become your favorite place to visit, but if you make it a goal to regularly visit for a check-up and cleaning, you’ll better insure a healthy mouth which in turn lowers your risk of expensive, more intensive and time-consuming restorative dental work.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in many years for any reason, and have not kept up with preventative dentistry, it is still important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Sometimes restorative dental work is necessary to ensure the best dental health for the patient.

Why Cavities in Children Are a Big Deal

When it comes to caring for your child, you probably focus on their overall health, their safety, their well-being and improving their intellect and social skills. How much thought do you put into their oral health? It’s okay if you reluctantly said, “not much.” If you did, you’re not alone. Many parents, especially those with babies and toddlers don’t think twice about the gum and soon-to-be teeth health of their new little bundles of joy.

Being a new parent is challenging and it is understandable that your little one’s oral health isn’t a priority. After all, how could you think about scheduling your baby’s first dental appointment when he or she doesn’t have any teeth in yet?

Unless you’re a dental professional, you likely don’t have an accurate view of a child’s teeth development. You may know that at some point your child will grow all his or her baby teeth and at some point, all those teeth will fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth. Knowing this, you may think it is okay if your child gets a cavity or two on their baby teeth. After all, the teeth will fall out anyway. Your child will have well-established oral hygiene routines down by the time the adult, permanent teeth come in.

Children’s cavities though, are things to take seriously. Pediatric tooth decay can lead to additional dental health issues in the future, lower a child’s quality of life and self-confidence and even potential serious overall health problems and death from infections. The most common complications from childhood cavities and therefore, reasons why parents should take their child’s cavities seriously include:

Tooth Decay of Permanent Teeth

Tooth decay of the baby teeth doesn’t always stay isolated in those teeth. If left untreated, the cavity can grow into the root of teeth and infiltrate the permanent teeth coming in underneath.

Abnormal Growth of Permanent Teeth

Permanent teeth that inherit the decay of the corresponding baby teeth may grow in crooked or misshapen. When this occurs, there is an increased risk of further, additional tooth decay and gum disease, and a misaligned bite that can lead to a low self-consciousness and self-esteem. It is likely potentially expensive, long-term orthodontic work will be needed.

Death or Serious Infection

Untreated cavities can lead to abscessed teeth. These teeth are very painful and are often surrounded by germ filled pus. When an abscessed tooth is not dealt with right away, the germs and bacteria from the infection and pus can get into the bloodstream, causing life-threatening health conditions.

Difficulty Eating and Speaking Clearly

Besides causing a misaligned bite, cavities can make a child’s teeth hurt and be uncomfortable. Both the immediate and future misalignment of teeth and bite can make it more difficult and painful for a child to bite, chew, breath and speak properly.

Potentially Serious Heath Concerns Later in Life

One’s oral health has been linked to one’s overall health. Cavities, while likely less of a health threat to children can lead to serious health conditions when they become adults. Heart disease and infections of the heart have been linked to cavities.

Cavities, like other dental health issues are best treated when caught early. In fact, prevention is the best course of action. Avoiding cavities altogether is the best and cheapest route.

To prevent cavities, or to slow the progress and reverse the damage of cavities, it is important to make your child’s oral health a priority. Parents can help their children avoid cavities by scheduling their first dental appointment by the age of one, instill proper, regular at-home oral hygiene habits, watch their child’s diet, encourage their children to drink plenty of water and have regular dental appointments scheduled every six months.

Why It’s Important to Care for Your Smile

We all want that perfect, bright, straight smile that adorns the faces of the rich and famous. Some of us go to great lengths such as undergoing multiple cosmetic dental procedures to get the best smile possible.

Why are great-looking smiles important? The first thing most people think of is how their smile affects their appearance. We are attracted to people with beautiful smiles and we want to be one of those people.

With their intrinsic beauty aside, a bright, straight smile also offers many additional benefits.

Besides helping you look your best, here are some benefits a great smile can offer:

A beautiful smile is a healthy smile and vice versa. You can’t expect to have an attractive smile if you don’t properly care for it and it’s unhealthy. When your smile is looking and feeling great, you win. A healthy mouth reduces your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, missing teeth and oral cancer. Preventative dentistry is less expensive than restorative dentistry.

Your beautiful smile improves your relationships. Want to be well liked? Want to be the person everyone wants to hang out with? I’m sure you do. Have you noticed a common characteristic of those people you enjoy being around? You’ve likely observed that they all laugh and smile. You won’t smile often if you have a smile that can use some improvement and which you think is mediocre at best.

A beautiful smile can open up job opportunities. Did you know that smiling not only makes you irresistible to friends, but also to employers and other business professionals? Why? Because people in business see individuals who smile as being more sure and confident. Successful leaders are those who have charisma, which entails smiling and showing off those pearly whites.

Your beautiful smile can make you happier. Those who laugh and smile frequently experience more happiness, peacefulness and contentment. They also experience less stress. The chemicals released from smiling and laughing have been shown to improve your mood as well as the mood of those around you.

A beautiful smile means a healthier you. Studies have linked the health of one’s mouth to one’s overall health. Heart disease and high blood pressure can be a side effect of not smiling, which can be caused by an unhealthy mouth. Diabetes can increase one’s risk of cavities. Infections of the teeth, such as teeth abscess can cause potentially severe, deadly blood infections. The happy thoughts and positive thinking that comes from smiling can also boost one’s immune system, allowing it to better fight disease.

Finally, a beautiful smile can lengthen your life. The culmination of a healthy social life, self-confidence, and happy thoughts can help you live longer.

A beautiful smile is more than skin deep. Besides enhancing your appearance, a smile can offer multiple health benefits. Because your smile is important, great care is needed. Both, proper at-home oral hygiene and regular dental office visits are necessary to maintain and improve your smile. If it has been longer than six months, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your dentist. A bright, straight, beautiful smile is possible with great, regular dental care.