Children's Dentistry

  • By Website Team Technicians
  • 09 Dec, 2016

Q What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
A   “Baby bottle tooth decay” refers to cavities caused by drinking liquids containing sugar from a baby bottle. The teeth most likely to be damaged by this are the upper front teeth, but other teeth can also be affected. To avoid baby bottle tooth decay, don't put your child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water. Other liquids contain varying amounts of sugar ranging from very high amounts (juice drinks) to lower amounts (cow's milk). Children are also at risk of developing “Baby bottle tooth decay” if they use a bottle or sippy cup for prolonged periods during the day.

Q Are dental x-rays really necessary for my child?
A   X-rays (radiographs) are a vital and necessary part of your child's dental visit. Without them certain dental conditions can and will be missed. They detect much more than cavities. X-rays may be needed to learn more about erupting teeth, diagnose bone disease, evaluate an injury or plan orthodontic treatment. Missing or extra teeth are commonly found on X-rays. Many times if dental problems are found and treated early, dental care can be more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

Q My teenaged son drinks too much soft drinks. Is sugar free pop safe for teeth?
A   It is not only the sugar in the soft drink that contributes to cavities, but just the acidity (even in diet soft drinks) eats away enamel. We know that sugar + acidity + frequency + plaque bacteria = tooth decay. Drinking diet soft drink only addresses one factor. High acidity can be found in many canned and bottled beverages including water or tea with fruit flavoring and many energy drinks. Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking soft drink will not help. Brushing after acid exposure will erode even more enamel. The safest and healthiest beverage is water.

Q Should I be flossing my 4 year old son's teeth?
A   Yes, flossing once a day before brushing removes plaque and food particles that can't be removed by brushing alone. The dental floss cleans between the teeth and below the gumline. To floss properly, wrap an 45cm strand of floss around your middle fingers leaving a 3 or 4 cm section of floss to work with. Holding the floss tightly between your thumb and index finger, gently ease the floss between the teeth. Curve the floss around the tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Slide the floss up and down several times to clean the tooth. Always remember to floss behind the last tooth.

Q How do dental sealants work?
A   Dental Sealants are a plastic coating placed on the biting surface of the teeth. They are very effective in preventing tooth decay. Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Q My 10 year old daughter wants to bleach her teeth. At what age is it safe to bleach?
A   Enamel discoloration can lead to negative self-image and is a valid reason for bleaching, but you are right to be concerned with safety and the appropriate age to bleach. There are a wide variety of over- the counter or professionally applied products. It is wise to have professional advice before using these in children. There are many reasons for discoloration such as stain, trauma, enamel defects, or tooth complexion.’ The dentist can determine the best method for each situation or possibly spot bleach single teeth. Full arch bleaching is not recommended until after eruption of all permanent teeth and is best done after orthodontics.

Q How much radiation does my child get from dental x-rays?
A   Paediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the radiation exposure that their young patients receive during dental examinations that involve x-rays. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in dental x-rays is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead aprons and shields will help protect your child. Modern equipment and the newest technology like digital x-rays, high speed films, and filters are designed to help in minimizing even the small amount of radiation that your child will receive.

Q I heard somewhere that if my child has a tooth knocked out in an accident I should put it in milk. Is that true?
A   When a child has a permanent tooth knocked out, the most important thing is to put the tooth back in the socket as soon as possible. This should be done immediately if possible by someone at the scene of the accident. The tooth should be picked up by the crown (don't touch the root) and if dirty it should be quickly rinsed off. Then the tooth should be placed back in the socket and the child should be transported to a dentist who will splint the tooth in place. If it is impossible to get the tooth back into the socket, it is important to store the tooth in a liquid that will keep the cells on the root surface alive. Cold milk is one of the best storage media for this.

Q My child is 10 months old and still doesn't have any baby teeth. Should I be concerned?
A   Children's teeth begin forming before birth, and begin appearing in the mouth around six months of age. There is a lot of variation in this timing however, with some children getting teeth as early as four months of age, and others not getting their first tooth until after their first birthday. This wide variation is normal. We recommend that your child's first visit to the dentist be at age one or within six months of the first tooth coming in. At this visit, you can discuss any concerns you have about your child's teeth, including the delayed emergence.

Q Can you recommend some healthy snacks for my children that won't cause tooth decay?
A   One of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth is cheese. Research has shown that Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella stimulate saliva production which protects teeth from acids. Because of this, cheese actually disrupts the development of cavities especially when eaten between meals or immediately following a meal. Other “teeth healthy” snacks include fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and yogurt. For beverages, water and low-fat milk are the healthiest for teeth. Snacks to avoid include sticky candy and sugar-containing drinks such as soft drinks and cordials. If your child is going to eat sweets, it is best to have them eat them with a meal rather than between meals.

Q What are things I should know about teething?
A   “Teething” refers to the process when new teeth break through a child’s gums. Many children do not experience difficulties with teething, but some children experience discomfort, irritability, and increased drooling. Home remedies that can help with discomfort include giving your child something to chew, such as a teething ring or a cool damp washcloth, and massaging your child’s gums with your finger. Over-the-counter teething gels can be helpful but they should not be over-used. Follow package instructions carefully. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be used for children experiencing significant discomfort. It is important to understand that high fevers and diarrhoea are not normally associated with teething and could be an indication of a systemic problem or an ear infection. You should contact your doctor if your child exhibits these symptoms.

Q When will my child start losing her baby teeth?
A   Children usually lose their first baby tooth around age 5 or 6 years, although the timing can vary widely from one child to the next. As baby teeth get ready to fall out, the developing permanent teeth cause the roots of the baby teeth to dissolve. Children usually wiggle the baby teeth loose with their tongues and fingers. By the time the permanent tooth is ready to come in, there is often little holding the baby tooth in place besides a small amount of tissue. If your child wants you to pull out a loose baby tooth, grasp it firmly with a clean tissue or gauze and remove it with a quick twist. Apply gentle pressure to the site with a clean washcloth or gauze to stop any bleeding.

Q When should my child first visit a dentist?
A We recommend that a child have an oral exam within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth but no later than 1 year of age. Although this may seem too early, many children already have dental decay by age 3.

By Tonya Davis 28 Mar, 2017
By Tonya Davis 23 Jan, 2017
By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.

To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.

Schedule the First Visit Early

Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.

However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.

Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist

What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.

Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.

Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.

Explain Why You Go to the Dentist

Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.  

Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.

Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.

Show Your Kids Positive Media

Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.

Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.

Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To

Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.

With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.  

By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

From the moment you wake up to the last few minutes before you go to sleep, you're constantly on the move. You have to rush to work. You must drive your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. And you can't forget to shop for groceries, pick up the dry cleaning and stop by the bank.

When you're on the go, you don't have the chance to prepare and pack healthy foods. In between tasks, you may only have a few minutes to grab a granola bar or stop by a nearby coffee shop for a doughnut or two.

But these sweet treats and snacks can wreak havoc on your dental health, especially when you don't have time to brush afterward. The more sugary foods you eat, the greater your risk for cavities and decay.

If you're in a rush, try grabbing these simple snacks before you step foot out the door. They only take you a minute or so to prepare, and they can keep your teeth in great shape.

1. Cheese Cubes

Although cheese tends to last best when refrigerated, string cheese, cheese cubes and cheese curds all travel well if packaged appropriately. Simply throw a stick or package in your purse or backpack, and you have a flavourful way to feed yourself (or your kids) while on the go.

Cheese is one of the best foods you can eat when you want to maintain a healthy smile. Cheese supplies plenty of vitamin D and calcium for building strong bones, and it temporarily increases your mouth's pH levels to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay.

To read more about the benefits of cheese for your oral health, feel free to check out   our previous blog .

2. Raw Almonds

Cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios make for the ultimate last-minute snack, as they don't require any refrigeration or preparation. You can eat them directly out of the box, bag or can, or you can set aside a reasonable portion in a travel-friendly plastic container.

Almonds offer lots of calcium for supporting teeth and nourishing healthy gum tissue. Additionally, almonds supply a hefty amount of vitamin E and can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, almonds can effectively reduce your risk for periodontal disease.

As you snack, eat nuts with care. If you try to chomp through a harder nut or de-shell the nut with your teeth, you may chip a tooth. If you worry about accidentally damaging your teeth, opt for de-shelled and chopped nuts rather than whole.

Don't Forget to Brush When You Can

These snacks are a tooth-friendly way to satisfy your hunger pangs when you're too busy to cook. But remember that even the healthiest foods still have the potential to damage teeth.

Ideally, you should brush within 30 to 60 minutes after snacking. But if you don't have the opportunity to brush, at least take a few moments to rinse your mouth with water. Water will clear away some of the lingering food particles and restore your mouth's pH balance.

And though you may be busy, don't forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist. A single appointment every six months could save you multiple dental surgeries in the future.

By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

Chances are, you don't think about your teeth much except while practicing your daily oral hygiene routine. And even then, your mind will be busy planning your day or trying to remember last night's dream.

However, a toothache is a painful reminder of the fragility of your teeth, one which can cause disruption in your life. Even fairly mild localised pain can become distracting quickly. More major toothaches change the way you eat, speak and smile almost immediately.

Unfortunately, there're no guaranteed answers to most questions about your toothache. But in this blog, we guide you through common causes, telltale symptoms and sure signs you should see your dentist.

What Causes Toothaches?

Though your teeth have a strong outer layer of enamel, they connect to a network of sensitive oral nerves. These nerves exist inside each tooth as well as in the soft tissues of your mouth. Toothaches indicate irritation of or damage to these nerves.

Common causes of toothaches include the following:

Abscess or other oral infection

Bruxism, also called tooth grinding

Chipping or fracturing of a tooth

Lost or damaged filling, bridge or crown Untreated cavities and tooth decay

You are more likely to experience tooth-related discomfort if you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), frequent headaches and certain chronic diseases. Always discuss your medical history with your healthcare providers to rule out non-dental causes of tooth discomfort.

How Do Toothaches Manifest?

Toothaches can appear at any time, in patients of any age. Most patients describe a combination of one or more of the following symptoms:

Change in taste -If you have an infected tooth or section of gum tissue, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth that doesn't disappear when you eat or drink. The change usually results from wound discharge.

Headache -Your teeth, jaw and facial bones can easily be affected by each other. You may experience headaches before, during or after a toothache.

Tooth pain -Tooth pain can come in many forms, from sharp to achy and from throbbing to constant. Additionally, your tooth pain may only appear when you eat sugary or acidic foods, put pressure on your teeth or expose your teeth to heat or cold. All these pain types qualify as a toothache.

Because toothaches can result from a number of different causes, their symptoms vary. Some patients experience dull pain that comes and goes, while others report intense, focused pain over extended time periods. Take note of your symptoms before you have your appointment as these effects can help your dentist identify the cause.

When Should You See Your Dentist?

If you have brief, mild discomfort, you may get away without a trip to the dentist. However, most toothaches require professional evaluation and treatment for them to disappear.

You should see your dentist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:

Difficulty opening your mouth, chewing or speaking

Discomfort lasting for two or more days

Earaches or localised discomfort around the ears

Extreme pain, even if you only feel it intermittently

Inability to properly care for your teeth due to the pain

Visible changes to your teeth, gums or oral tissues

If you develop fever, lightheadedness or other sudden and serious symptoms, seek medical attention from your general practitioner or from an emergency dentist. These symptoms may indicate infection or a different pain source, such as an advanced sinus infection.

If you have a history of tooth sensitivity, decay or aches, bring up your concerns during your next appointment at Dental Smile Clinic. Your dentist can develop a hygiene, appointment and procedure plan based on your specific circumstances. With some simple proactive measures, you should be able to avoid most future toothaches.

By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

Most people have been advised many times to visit the dentist every six months. However, some people still don't visit the dentist regularly. Even if you practice excellent oral hygiene care at home, you should still see a dentist on a regular basis.

Missing only a couple of dental check-ups likely won't cause permanent damage to your teeth. However, if you frequently skip these oral exams, here are some reasons to break the habit.  Disease Prevention

Dental check-ups usually involve cleaning and polishing your teeth. Without this regular cleaning, bacteria and tartar may build up in your mouth. Over time, this tartar build-up can irritate gum tissue and result in gum disease.

When you visit the dentist, your dental hygienist will mostly likely use an ultrasonic dental instrument or hand scaler to remove tartar from your teeth. This process is one of the only ways to remove tartar. You simply cannot remove it by only flossing or brushing.

Examination

After the dental hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she will examine your gums and teeth for signs of potential complications. Many dental issues won't cause pain or become apparent until they enter advanced stages. This examination helps prevent health and dental complications because your dentist is trained to catch early signs of complications.

If you visit the dentist regularly, you can take care of potential dental and health issues before they become serious.

Some possible health complications that have possible oral symptoms include:

Heart disease.  Early signs of heart disease include loose teeth and inflamed gums. In addition, bacteria near your gums may spread to other parts of the body if you have gum disease. Once bacteria enter your body, they can form clots or plaque in your arteries.   Diabetes . Though poor oral health doesn't cause diabetes, this health condition causes issues in your mouth such as bleeding gums, gum disease, and loose teeth.

Osteoporosis.  Although this disease doesn't affect your teeth, it can alter the bones that support your teeth. Your dentist may identify osteoporosis by loose teeth and receded gum lines.

Eating disorder.   Dentists may notice signs of an eating disorder if a patient has a dry mouth and bleeding gums. Poor nutrition can also cause the insides of the front teeth to erode.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  When inside tooth enamel begins to erode, it can indicate GERD. GERD causes erosion throughout the oesophagus and may lead to oesophageal cancer. If your dentist detects early signs of GERD, notify your doctor as well.

If your dentist notices signs of these health issues, he or she may recommend a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist for further treatment.

Regular cleanings can sometimes be vital in preventing major health problems. For instance, people who regularly have their teeth cleaned are at a 24% lower risk to experience a heart attack and 13% lower risk of experiencing a stroke.

How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?

Most people only need to visit the dentist twice a year to maintain proper oral hygiene. Others may need to visit the dentist more frequently. For instance, people who have a high risk for developing periodontitis may need to visit the dentist every few months.

Never go longer than 18 months without visiting the dentist. Otherwise, you could develop more serious issues that may be more difficult and costly to treat. Talk with your dentist to determine a good schedule for you.

Your dental health is an important element of your overall health. Don't neglect the importance of regularly visiting your dentist. If you're due for a check-up, call your dentist to schedule your appointment today. When you regularly visit the dentist, you keep your teeth on the path for optimal health.

By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with changes. Some changes you may expect, such as a growing tummy or sudden cravings for pickles and ice cream. Other changes, however, may catch you by surprise, such as increased risk of nose bleeds, hot flushes and constipation.

Although you feel you can handle most of these developments on your own without batting an eye, keep in mind that some physical shifts may require outside help to resolve. Your dental health, for example, may need assistance from your dentist to stay in good condition.

As your pregnancy progresses, keep a lookout for the following problems. With a few minor adjustments in your lifestyle and a little help from a professional, you can ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout each trimester.

1. Morning Sickness Eats Away at Enamel

Statistics estimate that nearly 75% of women experience morning sickness during pregnancy. Although some women merely feel queasy for a few weeks, many unlucky mothers may have to run to the toilet several times a day when the morning sickness gets the best of them.

Unfortunately, vomiting regularly wreaks havoc on your teeth in addition to inhibiting your nutrient absorption. Typically, stomach acid has a pH level of about 1.5 to 3.5, more than enough to eat away at your enamel.

Solution

Talk to your doctor about your morning sickness. He or she may recommend a combination of vitamins and dietary changes to ease the nausea and give you some relief.

If you still face regular morning sickness during your first trimester, you can minimise the damage to your teeth by rinsing with water after you vomit. Then, wait for 60 minutes before brushing your teeth. When you brush immediately after heaving, the bristles push the acids deeper into the grooves of your teeth.

2. More Frequent Meals Increase Sugar Exposure

Many doctors recommend that pregnant women eat small meals throughout the day. Regular healthy snacks not only ensure the mother receives adequate nutrition, but these foods also keep blood sugar levels in check, minimising nausea and energy crashes.

However, the more often you graze, the more sugar you put into your mouth. The sugar feeds oral bacteria, which in turn produce acids that eat away at your enamel. Furthermore, the constant food intake means your mouth doesn't have enough time to restore its natural, neutral pH levels, so your teeth sit in a constant acid bath.

Solution

As you 'eat for two', remember that some snacks are better than others for you, your baby and your smile. When you pick and choose your meals, look for foods with low sugar and high fibre content.

Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, contain folic acid which will boost your baby's neural development. Additionally, these veggies supply a healthy amount of calcium that will maintain your teeth and bones.

Cheese and yoghurt are also excellent snacks during pregnancy. These dairy items have plenty of protein for your baby's growing muscles, iron for your red blood cells and calcium for your teeth. Better still, cheese and yoghurt temporarily increase your mouth's pH levels, reducing your risk for cavities.

3. Hormone Fluctuations Trigger Gum Inflammation

During pregnancy, your hormone levels go wild. Your progesterone production skyrockets, which then stimulates the prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins regulate the female reproductive system, and they affect how your body responds to injury and illness. In some cases, prostaglandins cause inflammation of blood vessels, resulting in sensitive gum tissues and swelling.

Due to hormone fluctuations, many pregnant women have an increased risk of suffering from gingivitis and gum disease. In extreme situations, the swelling leads to a benign growth known as a pregnancy tumour, which bleeds easily.

Solution

Although you can't control your hormones, you can take steps to reduce inflammation. Take care to floss every night, and always brush with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid trigger foods that make your teeth feel more sore and sensitive, such as hot tea or cold ice cream.

Talk to Your Dentist About Your Pregnancy

While pregnancy leads to a variety of changes, these changes don't have to negatively impact your oral health. If you haven't already done so, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss your pregnancy and ways you can maintain your teeth and gums over the next few months.

By Website Team Technicians 09 Dec, 2016

Cavities form when the bacteria that naturally grow in your mouth start to eat your tooth enamel. The bacteria accomplish this task by ingesting some of the sugars that you eat, and these organisms metabolise the sugar into acid. The acid then begins to break down your tooth enamel and dissolves it until the bacteria reach the dentin, nerves and blood vessels within the tooth.

Even if you have experienced cavities or dental caries in the past, you may not notice when one starts to develop in your mouth. You might not see any evidence of cavities until you visit your dentist. You might also attribute some cavity signs to other causes, like food discolouration or bruxism.

Read below to learn how to recognise cavities so you can catch them and remedy them before they do too much damage to your teeth.

1. Discoloured Spots or Patches

As cavities delve deeper and deeper into your teeth, they create a hole, and sometimes that hole exists under the topmost dentin layer. In that situation, you do not see a hole so much as a discoloured patch that can appear black, grey, brown or even extra yellowed. You should not see any concentrated colour spots on your teeth anywhere. Even an extra-white patch could signal a cavity.

2. Sensitivity in the Enamel and Gums

You might assume, when you have a serious cavity, that you will notice pain before any other sensation. In some cases, you would be right. However, many people notice sensitivity long before they notice pain. Sensitivity occurs because the bacteria have removed some of the protective enamel and dentin layers, exposing the sensitive nerves underneath. Even a tiny bit of nerve exposure can lead to sensitivity.

Sensitivity feels like a shocking or tingling sensation, and it feels worse when you eat cold, host, sweet or acidic foods. Even hot or cold air could cause a reaction.

3. Persistently Bad Breath

Bad breath can occur because you ate something especially fragrant. It can also occur because of a large number of metabolising bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria consume leftover food, and the by-product of this reaction creates a bad smell that will not go away by itself, no matter how many times you brush your teeth. You will have to see your dentist and resolve the cavity before you can have fresh breath again.

4. Relentless Toothaches

When you experience tooth pain, you might dismiss it and assume you bit something too hard. You may also assume that you clenched your jaw while you slept. However, if that pain persists all day or even for several days, then you probably have a cavity. You may even have a cavity in its advanced stages because pain does not usually manifest before the bacteria reach beneath the enamel.

5. Hollows or Holes in Your Tooth Enamel

When you notice craters, hollows or even large holes in your tooth enamel, then you need to book treatment with your dental care provider as soon as possible. Holes indicate that your cavity has reached advanced stages. The hole could turn into an abscess, which means more pain and more expensive treatment. Act quickly to save your tooth or teeth.

The average person cannot take care of a cavity on his or her own. He or she must seek a dentist's help to overcome the bacteria and fill in the gaps the cavity left behind. So, if you notice any of the signs above in your mouth or your children's mouths, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away. The sooner your dentist remedies the cavity, the healthier your mouth will be.

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