Knowing what to do—and what not to do—when your child is sick can greatly affect their health and well-being. That's especially true with dental problems.
Here then are some Dos and Don'ts for 3 common problems children experience with their teeth and gums.
Teething. An infant's first teeth breaking through the gums is a normal but often unpleasant experience. Fortunately, teething episodes only last a few days. And, there's usually no need to see the dentist unless they have a fever or diarrhea while teething. In the meantime:
- Do: provide them chilled (not frozen) cloth or plastic items to bite and gnaw, and massage their gums to relieve painful pressure. You can also give them an age-appropriate dose of a mild pain reliever.
- Don't: rub any medication on their gums, which can irritate them and other soft tissues. Never use alcohol or aspirin to alleviate teething discomfort. And avoid using anything with benzocaine, a numbing agent which can be hazardous to young children.
Toothache. Whether a momentary sensitivity to hot or cold or a sharp, throbbing pain, a child's toothache often signals tooth decay, a bacterial disease which could eventually lead to tooth loss.
- Do: make a dental appointment at your child's first complaint of a toothache. Ease the pain with a warm-water rinse, a cold compress to the outside of the jaw, or a mild pain reliever.
- Don't: rub medication on the teeth or gums (for similar reasons as with teething). Don't apply ice or heat directly to the affected tooth or gums, which can burn them.
Bleeding gums. Gum bleeding from normal brushing or flossing, along with red or swollen gums, may indicate periodontal (gum) disease. Although rare in children, it can still happen—and it can put an affected tooth in danger.
- Do: see your dentist if bleeding continues for a few days. Continue to brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush around the gums to remove plaque, a thin-biofilm most responsible for gum infection.
- Don't: brush aggressively or more than twice a day, which could unnecessarily irritate and damage the gums. And don't stop brushing—it's important to remove plaque buildup daily to lessen the gum infection.
Dorit Kemsley isn't shy. Best known to fans as an outspoken and sometimes outrageous cast member of the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kemsley is never reticent about “mixing it up” with fellow castmates or their significant others. Recently, though, she confessed to something that left her less than confident: her smile.
Kemsley has been self-conscious about her smile because her teeth looked noticeably short, worn down from an unconscious habit of grinding her teeth. Although teeth grinding is more common among children (who normally grow out of it by adolescence), it can persist into adulthood, usually from difficulties managing high stress (a likely component in the fashion designer/reality show star's busy life).
Stress-induced teeth grinding can occur during waking hours or, more likely, during deep sleep. The accumulating, long-term effects from the habit can lead not only to worn teeth but to weakened gum support, a high risk of tooth fracture or jaw pain and dysfunction.
So, how do you know if you grind your teeth, especially if it's only happening at night? Typical signs include sore jaws after awaking from sleep, increased tooth pain or sensitivity or, like Kemsley, a noticeable difference in your tooth length. Your family or sleeping partner may also complain about the “skin-crawling” noise you make during the night.
There are ways to lessen the effects of teeth grinding. The first step is to have us verify the underlying cause for the habit. If it's tension from stress, then you might reduce the habit's occurrences by learning better stress management or relaxation techniques through individual counseling, group support or biofeedback therapy. We can also fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night or through the day that reduces the force generated during teeth grinding.
And if you've already experienced accelerated tooth wear like Kemsley with a resultant “small teeth” smile, you might pursue the same solution as the RHOBH star: dental veneers. These thin, life-like wafers of porcelain are custom-made to mask imperfections like chips, staining, slight tooth gaps and, yes, worn teeth.
Veneers are often less expensive and invasive than other cosmetic techniques, yet they can have a transformative effect, as Kemsley's Instagram followers have seen. In conjunction with other dental treatments needed to repair any underlying damage caused by a grinding habit, veneers are an effective fix for the smile you present to the world.
If you suspect you may have a grinding habit, see us for a complete examination. From there, we'll help you protect your teeth and your smile.
Here are some things you should know about getting dental implants.
Are you on the hunt to learn more about dental implants? If so, our Rockville, MD, dentist Dr. Mehr Tucker can certainly answer any of your questions and provide you with the information you need to decide whether this is truly the best option for treating your tooth loss. Before taking the plunge, here’s some things you should know about dental implants,
Dental Implants Can Last for Life
Once your dental implant is complete you won’t have to worry about needing to replace it anytime soon...or perhaps, at all. A dental implant fuses together with the jawbone, making a permanent home within the bone and tissue. This means that you don’t have to worry about your implant moving around. As long as you maintain good oral hygiene your implant could last the rest of your life.
They Act Just Like Real Teeth
Looking for an artificial tooth that is as close to the real thing as possible? This is typically why so many people turn to our Rockville, MD, restorative dentist for dental implants. We understand that nothing is more important than a tooth or teeth that look and feel similar to natural teeth. You won’t find a better option than dental implants.
Dental Implants Can Improve Your Oral Health
Since a dental implant is made from artificial material this means that it won’t deal with decay. This means that you won’t ever have to worry about your implant developing a cavity. Plus, dental implants are a standalone restoration, which means they don’t require the support of natural surrounding teeth. Since the rest of your teeth aren’t altered or required to hold or stabilize your false teeth, this will also support a healthy smile for the long run.
Implants Preserve Your Jawbone
One pitfall of untreated tooth loss is that the jawbone can also deteriorate. In fact, in just the first year alone, the jawbone can lose a significant amount of its density and shape. This also affects the overall shape and appearance of the face, leading to sagging and pre-mature wrinkles; however, placing dental implants as soon as possible after tooth loss can prevent bone loss.
Implants are Easy to Care for
Another major benefit to dental implants is that you don’t have to provide them with special treatment or care. In fact, you can care for them just like you do the rest of your teeth. No need to use special products or tools; a simple soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and floss is all you need. Make sure to brush twice a day and floss daily to promote good oral health. It’s that easy.
When it comes to getting dental implants the most important thing is to find a dentist here in Rockville, MD, who can provide you with trustworthy care from beginning to end. Dr. Tucker and her team specialize in providing cosmetic dentistry for patients of all ages at her technologically advanced but environmentally friendly office. To find out if dental implants are right for you call us at (301) 963-8900.
Now, more than ever, it’s important that you are properly caring for your smile.
With everything going on in the world it may be difficult to think about your oral care routine; however, this is actually the best time to think about it. Our Rockville, MD, dentist Dr. Mehr Tucker wants to help you and your family prevent unnecessary emergency dental situations at a moment when you have enough to worry about. Here are some simple everyday tips to follow to make sure you are keeping your smile healthy so you don’t wind up in the dentist’s chair,
Always brush and floss
As your Rockville, MD, family dentist has probably told you, how you care for your smile each and every day has the biggest impact on your smile’s long-term health. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque, as well as food and bacteria, to prevent decay and gum disease.
Make sure you are brushing at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes at a time. You should also floss daily to remove plaque and food from between teeth. These habits alone can be major contributors to a healthy, beautiful smile.
While you’re home full time it may be challenging to avoid the kitchen. After all, that’s where all the yummy treats are; however, snacking all day long can increase plaque buildup, which also increases your risk for decay. Therefore, it’s best to limit snacks (two treats a day) and be mindful of your food choices. While snacking on cookies may sound like the ultimate comfort right now, opting for healthier options like hummus and raw veggies is a much safer choice for your teeth and gums.
Replace your toothbrush head
Chances are good it’s time to replace your toothbrush. If the bristles look worn and frayed this is a telltale sign that it needs to go. After all, a toothbrush head is only meant to last about three or four months. Just got over an illness? If so, you also need to replace your toothbrush head immediately. After all, just like everything else, toothbrush bristles can also harbor bacteria, and you don’t want to get sick again.
Wear sports guards
Are your kids about to go outside in the yard and kick a soccer ball around or play hockey? While it might seem like overkill, wearing sports guards will protect them against dental-related injuries. Just as they would wear these mouthguards if they were playing sports at school, they should wear them even if they are playing around in the backyard. This can prevent everyone from having to stress out about a knocked-out tooth or other dental emergency.
Dr. Tucker has been providing dental care to patients living in Rockville, MD, for 20 years. While our offices are no open right now due to the coronavirus, if you or a family member is dealing with a true dental emergency please give us a call right away at (301) 963-8900. Even during these times, it’s important that you have a dentist you can turn to when emergencies happen.
Are your gums are healthy? This question speaks to the importance of periodontal health. At Dr. Mehr Tucker's office in Rockville, the dental team looks for signs of gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Detected early, gingivitis can be reversed. Learn more here.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an infection of the gum tissue. Also called gum disease, gingivitis stems from food residues at and below the gum line. Oral bacteria flourish in this environment, and when untreated, gingivitis progresses like an avalanche, becoming periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the US, reports the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Symptoms of periodontitis include puffy, red, and tender gums, loose teeth, and deep gum pockets.
In its earliest stages, gingivitis responds well to good brushing and flossing at home and a thorough cleaning at your dentist's office in Rockville. Your hygienist gently scrapes, or scales, your teeth, removing soft plaque and hard tartar, or calculus. In some cases, antibiotics are placed at the gum line.
For more extensive periodontal problems, Dr. Tucker may recommend a deeper cleaning and root planing. As needed, gums and even bone can be grafted to replace degraded tissue.
What should you do?
As with any dental issue, prevention is best. So, brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush for two minutes. Floss daily with the product of your choice to remove sticky plaque and prevent tartar formation.
Additionally, eat a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate diet. Consume plenty of water daily to increase saliva and its beneficial antimicrobial properties. Stop all tobacco, and limit alcohol. See Dr. Tucker every six months for a cleaning and check-up. If you are prone to gum problems, your dental team may schedule more frequent appointments.
Find out more
Arm yourself against gingivitis and its very dangerous cousin, periodontal disease. Keep your best oral hygiene habits, and come see Dr. Mehr Tucker in Rockville for your preventive care. Phone us for an appointment at (301) 963-8900.
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