Posts for: August, 2018
Your baby will grow into an adult so rapidly it will seem like they're changing right before your eyes. And some of the biggest changes will happen with their teeth, gums and jaw structure.
Unfortunately, disease or a traumatic accident could short-circuit this natural process and potentially create future dental problems. Here are 4 things you should be doing now to protect your baby's long-term dental health.
Start oral hygiene now. Even if your baby has no visible teeth, there may still be something else in their mouth—bacteria, which could trigger future tooth decay. To reduce bacteria clean their gums with a clean, wet cloth after each feeding. When teeth begin to appear switch to brushing with just a smear of toothpaste on the brush to minimize what they swallow.
Make your baby's first dental appointment. Beginning dental visits around your baby's first birthday will not only give us a head start on preventing or treating tooth decay, but could also give us a better chance of detecting other developing issues like a poor bite (malocclusion). Early dental visits also help get your child used to them as routine and increase the likelihood they'll continue the habit as adults.
Watch their sugar. Bacteria love sugar. So much so, they'll multiply—and more bacteria mean an increase in one of their by-products, mouth acid. Increased mouth acid can erode tooth enamel and open the way for decay. So, limit sugary snacks to only meal time and don't give them sugary drinks (including juices, breast milk or formula) in a bottle immediately before or while they sleep.
Childproof your home. A number of studies have shown that half of all accidents to teeth in children younger than 7 happen from falling on home furniture. So, take precautions by covering sharp edges or hard surfaces on chairs, tables or sofas, or situate your child's play areas away from furniture. And when they get older and wish to participate in sports activities purchase a custom mouthguard to protect their teeth from hard knocks—an investment well worth the cost.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Nature doesn't guarantee a perfect smile. However, cosmetic dentistry helps people with flawed teeth achieve their best personal appearance. At Willow Ridge Dental Group in Naperville, IL, Dr. Jeffrey Onik and Dr. Connie Onik reshape dental defects with realistic porcelain veneers. Also called dental laminates, these translucent, thin shells of fine ceramic camouflage a host of enamel defects. Could they help yours?
They make people cover their mouths as they laugh or smile. Chips, cracks, odd shape, uneven length, deep stains, gaps--you name it, and it can ruin how people perceive you and how you feel about yourself, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
What's the solution? For very minor defects, composite resin bonding, using a tooth-colored blend of glass particles and acrylic, works well to regularize tooth shape and fill in small pits and gaps. More substantial flaws, such as big chips or very dark stains from smoking or certain pharmaceuticals, require the frontside coverage porcelain veneers provide.
Your consultation with Dr. Onik
At Willow Ridge Dental in Naperville, your dentist consults with adults of all ages, personal tastes, and lifestyles about their smile goals. Porcelain veneers are a top choice to create a look that's natural looking, yet flawless.
And, these laminates add a measure of durability to selected healthy teeth. With diligent oral hygiene at home and at Willow Ridge Dental Group, veneers last for more than ten years.
Critical to success is the patient-dentist consultation. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to look for decay and gum disease. X-rays and other imaging, as well as oral impressions, give both dentist and dental lab the information needed to make perfect veneers. As the patient, you'll provide Dr. Onik ideas on how you'd like your smile to change.
Dr. Onik wants their patients to understand that veneers are permanent. Once you wear veneers, you always will. Why? It's because the dentist must remove a small portion of enamel so your mouth accommodates the veneers comfortably. Also, the resurfacing helps the permanent tooth-colored cement to adhere well to the teeth.
After enamel reduction, you'll wear temporary veneers, and the dental lab will fabricate your new laminates individually, shaping and coloring them just right. When Dr. Onik receives them at Willow Ridge Dental Group, you'll return to the office for installation. After a week or so, you'll be used to how your veneers feel and bite. However, you'll immediately love their spectacular look.
To care for your veneers, just brush twice daily with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Floss daily, too, as the American Dental Association advises, and limit staining and extra-hard foods.
Are you ready?
Learn more about porcelain veneers by calling Willow Ridge Dental Group in Naperville, IL. Book a consultation with our team, and anticipate a new smile. Call (630) 420-2800.
It’s been a long road back to oral health for you after periodontal (gum) disease. But after several plaque removal sessions and perhaps even surgical procedures to address deep infection, your gums have regained their healthy pink appearance.
But now you must face a hard reality: because you’ve had gum disease you’ll need to be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene to avoid another round with this destructive disease. But don’t worry—you won’t have to fight your prevention battle alone. We’ll continue to provide you care that reduces your risk of re-infection. We call that care periodontal maintenance (PM).
The heart of PM care involves regular dental visits for monitoring, cleanings and treatment when necessary. While most patients may visit their dentist at least twice a year, as a previous gum disease patient we may advise more frequent visits, especially if you’ve just finished periodontal treatment. Depending on the extent of your disease, we may begin with a visit every other week or once every two to three months. If your mouth continues to be disease-free we may suggest increasing the time between visits.
During your visit we’ll carefully examine your mouth, as well as screen you for any signs of potential oral cancer. We’re looking for both signs of re-infection or new issues with your teeth and gums. We’ll also assess the effectiveness of your oral hygiene efforts and advise you on ways you can improve.
If we find any signs of disease, we’ll then formulate a treatment plan to effectively deal with it. With frequent visits we have a better chance of discovering re-infection early—and the earlier the better to minimize any further damage. We may also need to take steps to make future PM care easier. This could include gum surgery to alter the tissues around certain teeth for easier access for examination and cleaning.
Our main focus with PM care is to look ahead: what can we do now to prevent a future bout of gum disease or at least lessen its effect? With continued monitoring and care we can drastically reduce your risk for further damage from this destructive disease.
If you would like more information on post-gum disease maintenance, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Cleanings.”