Is Accelerated Orthodontics Right for You?

Would you like to straighten your smile, but aren’t willing to commit to the time needed for traditional orthodontics.  If so, you may be interested to learn about a new concept in orthodontic treatment, known as accelerated orthodontics.  With accelerated orthodontics, you can accomplish the same smile enhancement goals in far less time than is needed for traditional orthodontics.

These days, roughly one in five orthodontic patients is an adult, and adult ortho patients have unique needs.  Accelerated orthodontics is especially appealing to adult patients, as treatment time can be shortened from two to four years to less than one year.

Accelerated orthodontics still uses braces to straighten a patient’s teeth.  Roughly a week after braces are applied, however, the patient will undergo a minor dental surgery procedure performed by a periodontist.  During this procedure, under local anesthesia, the gums and bones of the mouth are slightly altered to help the teeth to assume their proper places more quickly.  Patients who have undergone this procedure say it is no more uncomfortable than a regular dental cleaning.  One sensation that accelerated orthodontics patients experience that is different from traditional orthodontics is an itching sensation that occurs when the teeth move much more quickly than they do with traditional braces.

Apart from the initial surgical procedure, accelerated orthodontics uses the same methods as traditional orthodontics.  Patients may be fitted with any type of braces: metal , lingual, or ceramic.  Many adult patients prefer ceramic braces because they blend with the appearance of teeth and don’t stand out as much as metal braces do. Some patients may even be able to use lingual braces, which are applied to the backs of teeth so that they don’t show at all.  After accelerated orthodontics treatment, the patient will still need to wear a retainer to ensure that the teeth don’t shift positions once the braces are removed.

Accelerated orthodontics is appropriate in almost any case where traditional orthodontics may be used.  Even though treatment is shorter with accelerated orthodontics, the cost is roughly the same as traditional braces because several doctors are involved in the treatment.  The average accelerated orthodontics patient pays between $2,000 to $6,000 for treatment, and many orthodontics practices allow patients to use a payment plan.

If you have been bothered by the appearance of your teeth but hesitant to put the time into traditional orthodontic treatment, accelerated orthodontics may be the solution for you.  To get more information, speak with your dentist and ask for a referral to a trusted orthodontist, or visit the American Academy of Orthodontics website.

Sources:
American Academy of Orthodontics
Everyday Health

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If you have been bothered by the appearance of your teeth but hesitant to put the time into traditional orthodontic treatment, accelerated orthodontics may be the solution for you. 

Learn about Tooth Reshaping and Dental Contouring

Many people who have slight imperfections in the appearance of their teeth feel that they are out of luck unless they are able to invest the time and money required for porcelain veneers.  This is not the case: tooth reshaping, also known as dental contouring, is an effective, quick, and cost-effective way to make subtle changes in the appearance of a person’s smile.

During tooth reshaping, a cosmetic dentist removes small amounts of tooth enamel to change the shape, surface, or length of one or more teeth.  This is a great technique to remedy the appearance of teeth that are slightly overlapped, cuspids that are overly pointy, or teeth that have tiny chips or irregular shapes.  Dental contouring is often combined with dental bonding to further sculpt and shape teeth.

Before beginning the tooth reshaping process, your dentist may take some X-rays to ensure that your teeth and underlying structures are healthy.  He or she will then mark your teeth to show the areas that need adjustment and use a sanding tool to or small strips of special sandpaper to contour sides of teeth and/or eliminate any imperfections in the surface or shape of teeth.  To complete the process, the teeth are smoothed and polished for a healthy glow.

Tooth reshaping has a number of advantages.  It is a very cost-effective way to change the appearance of your teeth, as it generally costs between $50 and $300 per tooth depending on the amount of work needed.  If the damage to your tooth or teeth is the result of an accident, your insurance may even cover the cost of the procedure.  Dental contouring is also painless, and can improve dental health by removing overlaps or imperfections where tartar and plaque tend to build up.  Since tooth reshaping can make teeth look a bit straighter and mend minor overlaps, in some cases this treatment can replace the need for minor orthodontics.

Tooth reshaping is not for everyone, however.  While this procedure is a great way to make small changes to the appearance of a person’s smile, it cannot be used to make a dramatic change or to make teeth look any whiter.  If patients are looking for a more extreme smile makeover, porcelain veneers may be the way to go.  Also, if enough enamel is removed during the dental contouring process, it can cause a person’s teeth to become more sensitive.

Dental contouring is a fantastic way to make minor adjustments to the look of a person’s smile, and in some cases it may be the first step in a more thorough smile makeover.  To learn more about tooth reshaping and whether it may be right with you, have a conversation with your cosmetic dentist.

Source:
Everyday Health

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

Tooth reshaping, also known as dental contouring, is an effective, quick, and cost-effective way to make subtle changes in the appearance of a person’s smile.

Smile Stainers: Foods and Beverages that Can Stain your Teeth

A smile that is stained, yellow, or dingy-looking can make a person look much older than they are and can negatively affect his or her self-esteem.  What many people aren’t aware of is that some of the foods or beverages they regularly consume may be leading to a less-than-brilliant smile.  While a tooth whitening treatment is a great way to brighten your grin, it’s a good idea to avoid these smile-staining foods in the first place.

Coffee
This is a very common culprit when it comes to stained teeth, and it’s also one of the worst offenders on this list of foods and drinks.  Teeth are porous, and liquids can be easily absorbed into their surface.  Dark or black coffee can really do a number on the appearance of your smile.  Don’t despair, though: you may not need to give up coffee entirely.  Try lightening up your morning cup of joe with a little bit of milk, and this should help diminish the potential for stains.

Tea
Just like coffee, dark-colored teas can stain the teeth.  Tea contains tannins, which can make a person’s smile appear dull and stained.  To diminish the stain factor when it comes to tea, try drinking lighter-colored teas that have fewer tannins and a lower potential for discoloring your grin.

Red Wine
While red wine may reduce gum inflammation and thus diminish the potential for gum disease, it can also stain the teeth.  Try opting for white wine instead, or swishing some water in your mouth after drinking red.

Dark Sodas
Even diet sodas can stain the teeth if they are dark in color.  Furthermore, cold or very hot temperatures can cause the teeth to contract and become more porous, so cold soda and hot coffee are even more likely to contribute to tooth stains.  Stains aren’t the only negative side effect of drinking soda: the acids in these beverages can also wear away at enamel and the sugars in them can lead to tooth decay.  If you love soda, try shifting to a lighter colored or clear soda, and always sip sodas through a straw to minimize the beverage’s contact with your teeth.

Fruit Juices
The acids in fruit juices may lead to yellow teeth, and dark juices like cranberry juice have even more staining potential.  If you drink juice for nutrition, try shifting to solid fruit instead.  If you still want to drink juice, try doing it through a straw.

Soy Sauce
Just like dark beverages, dark sauces can also stain your teeth.  In fact, some dentists recommend that patients remember that a food that can stain their clothes can also stain their teeth.  Other sauces to watch out for include tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar.
Blueberries
Blueberries are an antioxidant-rich super food, but their dark blue skins can easily stain the teeth.  Don’t give up on blueberries, though: just swish some water in your mouth after you eat them.

Beets
Beets are used to dye fabric and other materials, so it stands to reason that they can stain your teeth.  Beet juice, which is concentrated, is especially dangerous in this light.  If you eat beets, try to brush your teeth within an hour to reduce their potential to stain your teeth.

Curry
Curry is yellow, so it makes sense that it can stain your teeth yellow, too.  Just like with other foods or liquids that may stain your teeth, either brush or swish with water after enjoying foods with curry in them.

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

Certain foods and beverages can cause a smile to appear stained, yellowed, or dingy.  Learn about which foods to avoid to keep your smile bright.

Change the Appearance of your Teeth with Dental Bonding

If you have teeth that are chipped, cracked, broken, or stained, you may not need to invest in porcelain veneers to fix the appearance of your smile.  These days, more and more cosmetic dentistry patients are turning to cosmetic dental bonding as a budget-friendly way to perfect their smiles.

Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves the application of a tooth-colored composite material to the tooth.  This material is then sculpted into shape, hardened, and polished for a natural-looking finish.  Bonding is a great way to mend minor dental flaws, fix broken teeth, or close small gaps in a patient’s smile.

To begin the dental bonding process, the dentist first applies a gentle phosphoric acid to the tooth or teeth to be treated.  This makes the surface of the tooth rough so that the bonding has something to adhere to, and it is painless.  Next, the dentist applies the bonding material, which is similar in consistency to putty, to the surface of the tooth and shapes and sculpts the material until the desired look is achieved.  To complete the process, a special light is used to harden the material, which is then polished for a smooth finish and a seamless look.

Dental bonding has a number of benefits for cosmetic dentistry patients.  This procedure is less expensive than porcelain veneers, and is sometimes even covered by dental insurance.  Dental bonding is also quick: it requires only one office visit and can be completed in less than one hour per tooth.  Anesthesia is not necessary, and more of the natural tooth structure is preserved with bonding, as opposed to veneers or crowns.

Bonding isn’t for everyone, though.  The material used in dental bonding can become stained over time, unlike veneers or crowns.  Smoking is an especially strong staining agent, so smokers are most likely best suited to another cosmetic dentistry treatment.  Dental bonding is also less durable than veneers and crowns, though with proper care bonding can last up to seven years.
Source:
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

These days, more and more cosmetic dentistry patients are turning to cosmetic dental bonding as a budget-friendly way to perfect their smiles.

Managing Your Dental Anxiety

Many adults deal with dental anxiety at some point. Whether you experience minor anxiety or crippling fear before heading to the dentist – it is certainly no fun. Anxiety keeps many patients from seeing the dentist altogether, putting their health at risk. Anxiety management tips can help you overcome your fear and face the dental chair once again.

Causes of Dental Anxiety

The causes of dental anxiety range from person-to-person. If you recognize yourself in any of the following signs, you may indeed suffer from some level of dental anxiety:

  • Fear of pain: Dental patients often fear the pain they assume will come about during a dental procedure. Some patients also worry the anesthesia won’t work on them or fear the insertion of the needle used to administer anesthesia.
  • Worry over anesthetic side effects: Some people also face concerns that problems could come about due to the use of anesthesia.
  • Fear of losing control: Another reason many people fear a visit to the dentist is the perceived loss of control that goes along with a dental exam, cleaning, or procedure.

How Patients Can Overcome Dental Anxiety

Fortunately, there are several ways to swiftly begin reducing dental anxiety, starting with finding a dentist who understands dental anxiety and will work to make you comfortable throughout any visit. Ask your dentist to explain what is going on before and throughout any dental procedure if that helps calm your nerves.

Before a dental procedure begins, you can also come up with a signal – such as lifting the left hand — to be used to let the dentist know when you are feeling pain or want the dental procedure to stop. This will give you a sense of control and help ease your anxiety level.

Acquire a kind dentist with a caring staff. Patients should feel comfortable with the staff and the dentist when they go for a cleaning or other dental procedure. Also request the same hygienist each visit when getting a cleaning. This is especially helpful when anxiety stems from insecurity about being close to someone unfamiliar. Seeing the same staff members also helps you build a rapport, so you won’t have to explain your anxiety triggers all over again on each visit.

Dental anxiety can lead to debilitating fear. However, it should never prevent anyone from making regular trips to the dentist, because the negative effects of avoiding the dentist far outweigh the discomfort that is felt during the process. Work with your dentist to develop anxiety management tips so you never have to skip another appointment.

Sources:

Keating-Biltucci, Mary Therese, RDH, MA. “Fear and Anxiety in the Dental Environment.” Registered Dental Hygienist. RDH Magazine, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

McMullen, Laura. “Stop the Excuses! Go to the Dentist.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

Dental Anxiety Can Lead to More Cavities

Avoiding the dentist due to anxiety can lead to more dental and health problems in the long run. Managing your anxiety and visiting your dentist often may prevent the need for extraction and more.

  • Regular dental appointments catch diseases in their early stages. Tooth decay and gum disease are slowly developing problems, better caught early through regular care.
  • Prevention is the key to dental success. Many dental issues can be avoided all together if patients see their dentist on a routine basis. Regular dental cleanings and examinations often prevent the need for serious procedures like root canals.

Call your dentist today to schedule an appointment, and don’t let fear keep you from great dental health.

Do You Have Congenitally Missing Teeth?

Individuals who have always had an inexplicable gap where a tooth should be may have a condition known as congenitally missing teeth. Depending on which teeth are missing, the condition can prove embarrassing and may affect the proper positioning of surrounding teeth, making dental consultations and treatment a good idea for sufferers.

Unlike teeth lost to disease or injury, congenitally missing teeth simply never develop within the jawbone. A national association of prosthodontists note that certain genetic defects may cause the condition. The problems associated with congenitally missing teeth are more than merely cosmetic. You may have trouble chewing or talking well, and without the stabilizing effect of the missing teeth, your other teeth may begin to drift out of place, creating an even more gap-toothed appearance as well as possible bite misalignments.

Fortunately, several functional and cosmetic dentistry options can provide removable or permanent replacements for congenitally missing teeth. The most beneficial method of tooth replacement is through permanent implants. The “roots” of these prosthetic teeth are surgically implanted into the jawbone, where they fuse with the bone to create a strong bond. A porcelain crown then fills the gap.

Implants have the advantage of requiring no special care beyond normal dental hygiene, while also helping to preserve jawbone density. Less costly alternatives include being fitted for removable partial dentures or bridges. Braces may also be able to help close the gap left by congenitally missing teeth.

Dental advances in the near future may even allow patients with congenitally missing teeth to grow their own replacements. According to dental research, the possibility of using stem cells to create permanent teeth may be possible in the near future. Since having one’s own natural teeth is obviously the ideal scenario, this method of tooth replacement may someday take the place of artificial implants as the state of the dental art. But whatever technique you choose, rest assured that modern dentistry can help you achieve a gap-free smile.

Sources:

“Missing Tooth/Teeth.” American College of Prosthodontists.

“Dental Implants.” American College of Cosmetic Dentistry.

“Stem Cells May Be Used to Grow Teeth.” Dentistry Today.

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Congenitally Missing Teeth in Children

If your child has lost a baby tooth with no sign of the expected permanent replacement, this does not necessarily mean that he has congenitally missing teeth. Many children experience a condition known as delayed eruption in which the permanent tooth simply takes an unusually long time to appear.

Parents cannot be certain teeth are permanently missing based on purely visual evidence. The best course of action is to schedule dental evaluations for your child, beginning around age one, so a missing tooth can be verified. Contact your dentist for additional information and to schedule an evaluation.

What Is Edentulism?

Tooth loss, or edentulism, can affect your ability to eat and speak clearly. Dentists use the term “edentulism” to describe total tooth loss and “partial edentulism” to describe the loss of one or more teeth.

What Causes Edentulism?

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of edentulism. Fillings can help repair teeth, but if you do not see a dentist promptly, decay can spread. Although root canals can often help save badly decayed teeth, sometimes the damage is so extensive that removal of the tooth is the only option.

Periodontal, or gum, disease is another common cause of edentulism. Gum disease occurs when plaque forms on your teeth at the gum line and turns into a hard deposit called tartar, which can only be removed in your dentist’s office. When your gums are exposed to the bacteria in plaque and tartar, an infection can occur. The infection starts to break down the tissue and bone supporting your teeth and can cause tooth loss.

Tooth loss can also occur if you experience a blow to your mouth. If you seek prompt treatment, your dentist may be able to save the tooth. Unfortunately, in some cases, the tooth cannot be saved, even with emergency treatment.

Risk Factors for Edentulism

Smoking is not only bad for your overall health, but it can also lead to tooth loss. Smokers tend to have weakened immune systems, which makes it harder to fight off bacterial gum infections. Once gum disease occurs, healing takes longer if you smoke. Several other factors can increase your risk of developing complete or partial edentulism, including:

  • Dry mouth (Saliva helps wash away food particles and sugar.)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Failure to receive regular dental care
  • Drug use
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or HIV
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • Some medications, including drugs that suppress the immune system
  • Fear of visiting the dentist

Why Is Edentulism a Problem?

Dentures were once an unavoidable fact of life for older people. However, thanks to fluoride in water and toothpastes, increased awareness about the importance of good oral hygiene and innovative dental treatments, losing all of your teeth is no longer considered a normal part of aging. In fact, dentists know that the loss of even one tooth can lead to serious problems.

After you lose a tooth, the bone underneath the gap begins to recede and shrink, which can eventually threaten the health of your remaining teeth. Those remaining teeth try to fill the gap left by the missing tooth or teeth. As they drift toward the opening, they may overlap adjacent teeth, making it difficult to remove plaque from every surface of those teeth.

Tooth loss can also affect your bite and make it difficult to eat a balanced diet. Without teeth to tear and chew food, many foods are off limits. Fortunately, tooth replacement options provide a simple solution to the problem.

Concerned about a missing tooth or teeth? Call us today to find out how we can help you find a replacement option that works for you.

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

3 Reconstructive Treatment Options for Edentulism 

Unfortunately, natural teeth do not grow back, but tooth replacement options will improve your smile and restore your ability to chew and speak normally. Consider one of the following treatment options if you have lost one or more teeth:

  • Dental Bridge. Bridges are a good choice if you only need to replace one or two teeth. A bridge consists of two crowns attached to teeth on either side of the gap. In between the two crowns are artificial teeth called pontics. Bridges are custom-made to fit your mouth and are bonded to your anchor teeth.
  • Dentures. Full dentures consist of an entire row of artificial teeth that is attached to a gum-colored base that rests on your gums. If you only have a few missing teeth, partial dentures may be a good solution. These removable dentures hook over your existing teeth and provide a stable surface for chewing.
  • Dental Implants. Dental implants permanently replace lost teeth. Tiny titanium screws replace your teeth roots. The implant is placed in a small hole made in your jawbone. Over a few months, your jawbone grows around the screw, making it just as strong as your natural roots. A crown is added to the implant in the final stage of the process. Once healed, dental implants look and function like natural teeth.

When you choose a dental implant, you do not have to worry about bone loss because the implant will continue to stimulate the jaw bone just as your natural root did. You will also be able to eat anything you want without worry. You should care for dental implants and other dental reconstruction devices as you would your natural teeth: Brush them twice daily; floss once a day; and see your dentist for routine checkups and cleanings.

What Happens When You Have a Cavity?

Cavities start as tiny holes in your teeth. Initially, they are so small that you may not even know that they exist. Unfortunately, over time, cavities tend to increase in size and cause pain. Understanding the cause of cavities can help you avoid this common dental problem.

Plaque Is the Enemy

The enamel, the outer hard covering of your teeth, helps protect your teeth from damage. Although enamel is very tough, it’s no match for cavity-causing plaque. Plaque is a transparent, sticky bacterial film that forms on teeth. When you eat or drink, plaque combines with sugars in foods and beverages to produce acids that attack and destroy tooth enamel. If tooth decay is not detected immediately, it can eventually eat away at the dentin and pulp under the enamel.

What Are the Symptoms?

Cavity symptoms include toothaches, sensitivity and small holes or pits in tooth enamel. You may not experience any of these symptoms if the cavity is detected when it is small. If the decay reaches the dentin or pulp, symptoms will worsen and may be impossible to ignore.

Cavities can occur on any tooth surface, including in between teeth, but commonly appear on your molars, or back teeth. Because molars contain lots of little nooks and crannies, it is impossible to remove all of the plaque by brushing alone. A thorough cleaning at your dentist’s office can help you protect your teeth from the effects of plaque.

What Types of Foods and Beverages Increase My Cavity Risk?

Any sugary food or beverage can increase your risk, but some are worse than others. Tiny pieces of sticky candies, like caramels and gummy treats, tend to linger on the teeth long after you have finished eating the candy. Sour gummy treats are particularly damaging. Not only are these treats sticky, but they also contain acids that can destroy tooth enamel. The following foods and beverages either contain high amounts of sugar or tend to stick to the teeth:

  • Crackers
  • Dry cereal
  • Potato chips
  • Honey
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins
  • Hard candy
  • Breath mints
  • Soda
  • Milk
  • Cake
  • Cookies

How Are Cavities Treated?

If your dentist spots a small cavity during an examination, he or she may be able to treat it with fluoride. Fluoride strengthens enamel and can reverse tiny cavities. Larger cavities require fillings. If you need a filling, your dentist will drill into the tooth, remove the decayed area and then fill it with an amalgam, composite resin, gold or porcelain filling.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Preventing cavities can help you avoid a variety of problems that can occur if tooth decay is significant, helping you avoid having to undergo certain dental treatments such as root canals or even tooth extractions. You can help reduce your chance of getting a cavity by flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Brushing after every meal provides extra protection. Antiseptic mouthwashes can help kill bacteria in your mouth; although they must be used in addition to flossing and brushing—not as a replacement to these daily activities.

Regular dental visits are an essential step in preventing cavities. Cleanings not only make your smile sparkle, but they also remove plaque from hard-to-reach places. During your examination, your dentist will look for signs of cavities. Prompt treatment can help you avoid more painful, and more costly, problems in the future.

Has it been more than six months since we’ve seen you? Call us today and schedule an appointment for an exam and cleaning.

Our staff of dental professionals are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. Thank you for subscribing to our dental wellness newsletter.

What Are Sealants? 

Dental sealants offer a very effective way to prevent cavities. Although sealants are applied to your teeth as a liquid, they quickly harden into a durable plastic coating that prevents plaque and acids from attacking your enamel. Sealants are typically applied to your back teeth because these teeth contain ridges and pits that can trap plaque. They are often recommended for children; although adults can also benefit from sealants. If your dentist recommends sealants, here is what you can expect:

  1. Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
  2. A solution will be applied that roughens the surface of the teeth, allowing the sealant to adhere better.
  3. The teeth will be rinsed and dried again.
  4. Your dentist will brush the sealant onto your molars. In just a few seconds, the sealants will harden and provide excellent protection from decay.

Sealants can last as long as 10 years in many cases. If you grind your teeth, you may wear away some of the coating and may need to have sealants reapplied more often.

Getting a Dental Impression? Here’s What to Expect

A dental impression serves as a mold of your mouth. Your dentist uses an impression when an exact replica of your mouth is needed to create dentures, crowns or dental appliances, such as Invisalign clear aligners (an alternative to traditional metal braces). It only takes a few minutes for your dentist to make an impression, but it is a very important step in your treatment plan.

Why Does My Dentist Need an Impression?

Impressions are used when you need:

  • Crowns
  • Dentures
  • Dental veneers
  • Braces and other types of orthodontia
  • Nightguards
  • Custom teeth-whitening trays
  • Mouthguards for sports

What Happens When I Get an Impression?

The first step of the impression process involves washing and drying the tooth or teeth. In some cases, such as if you are getting veneers on all your teeth, every single one of your teeth will be washed. If you are just getting a crown on one tooth, only that tooth will be washed; although the impression material will cover all your upper or lower teeth.

To create the material used to make an impression, your dentist will mix a special seaweed-based powder called alginate with water until it is the consistency of putty. He or she will place the putty in a u-shaped tray that follows the curve of your upper or lower teeth. If impressions of your upper and lower teeth are needed, an impression of your lower teeth is usually made first.

The tray is placed firmly against your teeth and gums, where it remains for two or three minutes. When the tray is removed, you will notice that the putty no longer looks liquid but is firm and rubbery.

Your dentist will pour plaster into the impression to create the mold that will be used to make an appliance, crown, dentures or veneers.

Worried About Gagging?

Some people worry about gagging when they get a dental impression, especially if they have a very active gag reflex. This is usually more of a problem when you receive an upper impression because it may feel as if the putty is running down your throat, even though it actually is not.

If you let your dentist know that you are concerned about gagging, he or she will help you feel more comfortable during the process. If you wish, a numbing spray can applied to the back of your throat to reduce your gag reflex. Nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas, can also be helpful if you have a particularly strong gag reflex. The gas inhibits your gag reflex and makes it much easier to tolerate the impression process.

These tips can help you avoid gagging during a dental impression:

  • Breathe slowly through your nose.
  • Resist the urge to swallow. If saliva builds up in your mouth, drool into a napkin but do not swallow. Swallowing at this point can trigger the gag reflex.
  • Sit forward. When you tilt your head forward, the impression material will not be able to slide back toward your throat.
  • Think about something pleasant. Whether you focus on your favorite vacation spot or relive the highlights of the movie you watched the night before, thinking about other things can make the process easier.
  • Ask your dentist to talk to you. Listening to someone else share a story or even explain the next step in your dental treatment is a good way to take the focus off of your temporary discomfort.

Before you know it, it will be time to remove the impression tray from your mouth. You may just be surprised at how easy the process was, despite your fears.

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Try One of These Alternative to Metal Braces 

Would you like to straighten your teeth but do not like the look or hassle of metal braces? Try one of these alternatives.

Invisalign

The Invisalign system involves the use of a series of clear, removable aligners to gently move teeth into position. No one will know you are wearing them, and you can remove them to eat and to clean them.

Clear Correct

The Clear Correct system is similar to Invisalign. Every few weeks, you will use a new set of aligners that will move your teeth into the proper alignment. Since you will remove the aligners to eat, you can eat popcorn and other foods that are off limits to people who wear metal braces.

Six Month Smiles

If you are not concerned about your bite and only want to straighten your teeth, Six Month Smiles is a good solution. As the name implies, straightening happens in just six months. The clear braces are attached to your teeth, and low pressure is used to move them into position.

If you are interested in learning more about the alternative treatment options to traditional metal braces, contact our office today. We can answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you to learn more.

What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Your child’s first trip to the dentist should fall sometime between the ages of one and two years old. Since many children need braces or other forms of dental care throughout their young life, establishing a good relationship with your dentist sets your family up for success from an early age.

Treating or preventing dental problems in children (and in adults) is also much easier if you catch issues when they first appear. Approximately 25 percent of children will have a cavity by the age of four, so a trip to the dentist is never too early, once teeth start to appear.

Your child’s first visit to the dentist is usually short and sweet, so rest easy.

Getting to Know You

During the first part of the exam, your dentist may spend time introducing himself or herself to your child and gauging their personality. Let your child interact naturally with the dentist. It’s important not to rush right into business, so your child has time to get acclimated to the new situation and environment.

Oral Habits

Next, your dentist will talk to you and your child about your oral hygiene habits and routine. He or she might ask questions about thumb sucking, diet, brushing and any concerns you have. The dentist will examine your child’s bite and existing teeth and likely use a dental model to show your child how to properly brush his or her teeth.

Getting to Know the Dentist’s Chair

Your dentist will use this opportunity to reduce any fear or anxiety over future visits by introducing your child to the dentist’s chair and to the tools and machinery around the office. Letting your child see the suction and cleaning devices will make cleanings and maintenance less stressful because he or she will already know what to expect.

Cleaning

If necessary, the dentist may use an electric tooth polisher or manual brush to clean your child’s teeth. If there are any visible stains or decay, the doctor will take care of those at this time. Depending on your child’s teeth and habits, the dentist may prescribe a fluoride treatment to strengthen your child’s enamel and protect against decay.

Additional Treatment

At the end of your visit, the dentist will schedule your child’s next visit (usually every six months for young patients). If additional treatment is necessary, he or she may schedule a follow-up visit sooner. Traditionally, children get their first dental X-rays between the ages of five and six, so you shouldn’t expect to do that on your first visit unless there is cause for concern.

Treat Time

After your child’s first dental appointment, you may want to reward your child for the visit. Seeing the dentist can seem scary, so ending your exam with some positive reinforcement makes the experience memorable in a good way. Whether you buy your child a new toothbrush that has his or her favorite cartoon character on it, take him or her out for a healthy treat or take your child to see a new movie, celebrating a successful visit makes the next trip much easier.

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3 Ways to Make Oral Hygiene Fun for Kids

To help keep your kids’ teeth healthy, make oral hygiene fun, with the following tips.

1. Accessorize. Make brushing fun by letting your kids pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. A little sparkle or color goes a long way in making brushing feel like a special occasion.

2. All in the Family. Brush together! Your children learn good habits by watching you. Make brushing and flossing a family affair to keep your kids coming back for more.

3. Reward System. Motivate your kids to take care of their teeth and do other chores by establishing a reward system. You can use a star chart, stickers or other system to illustrate how many points your child has accumulated for each job well done. Once they have accumulated a certain number of points, the children get a reward. You might be surprised at how easy it will be to get your children to brush their teeth and floss regularly!