How to make visiting the dentist easy for kids

Your child should have their first trip to the dentist by the time they are 18 months old and it’s good to make the process as easy as possible for them from the start.
Dental staff are used to dealing with young children and they will know how to make them feel comfortable.
Sometimes, children under three may be treated on the parent’s lap. In this case, the parent sits in the dental chair facing the dentist, and the child is on their lap.
The dentist will tell the child what he or she is going to do in terms they can understand. They will usually have fun dental toys they can use to help.
They will start with an oral examination checking the teeth present and looking at the development of the jaw, gums and soft tissues.
Naturally, as in any new situation, some children are initially unsettled but this is usually short-lived as they get used to it.
Parents can help by ensuring they are calm and relaxed as any anxiety will transfer to the child.
With older children, the parents may stay in the background though sometimes children behave better when the parent is not in the room!
Work with your children and your dentist to find the best way of ensuring they get the treatment they need with minimum worries for everyone.

The risks of oral piercing

Young people today choose to make a variety of fashion statements affecting not just the clothes they wear but also their bodies through tattoos and piercing, for example.
Oral piercing may be something they feel looks good but it can lead to problems where they end up needing medical or dental treatment.
Oral piercing can often lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow and injuries to the gum tissue.
There can be severe bleeding if a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing.
Swelling of the tongue is also a common side effect and, in extreme cases, this can block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties.
Other possible problems include chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning or even blood clots.
Infection is a very common complication of oral piercing because of the millions of bacteria in your mouth.
Of course, the jewelry itself also causes risk. It can be swallowed or cause damage to your teeth.
So, while young people may feel piercings in the mouth look cool, a great smile will look a lot better in the years to come.

Periodontal disease: what it is and how to avoid it

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.
There is a very slight gap (called a sulcus) between the tooth and the gum.
Periodontal diseases attack this gap and cause a breakdown in the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues.
When the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket and, as the disease gets more severe, the pocket usually gets deeper.
The two major stages of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease.
There are several factors that have been shown to increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
– Systemic diseases such as diabetes
– Some types of medication
– Crooked teeth
– Bridges that no longer fit properly
– Fillings that have become defective
– Smoking
– Pregnancy
And there are a number of warning signs that can suggest a possible problem:
– Gums that bleed easily
– Red, swollen, tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Persistent bad breath or taste
– Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
– Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Any change in the fit of partial dentures
However, its also possible to have periodontal disease with no warning signs.
Its therefore important to have regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations.
If you have developed periodontal disease, the treatment will depend on how far it has progressed.
You can take steps to prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.
Good dental hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth, eating a healthy diet and having regular visits to the dentist will make a huge difference.

Common questions about dental insurance

Understanding what’s covered by your dental insurance is an important part of making sure you get the best oral care possible.
Here are some common questions that arise when people want to understand their cover better.
– If treatment my dentist recommends is not covered by my insurance, does that mean it’s not necessary?
Some plans make exclusions such as sealants, pre-existing conditions, adult orthodontics, and specialist referrals.
This depends on your dental plan and you should not let the level of cover determine whether you need treatment.
– My dental benefit will only pay for a large filling but my dentist recommends I get a crown. Which should I choose?
Some plans will only cover the least expensive solution but it may not be the best option for your needs. You should decide based on your health needs and not on your insurance cover.
– My dental plan says it will pay 100 percent for checkups and cleanings but the insurance company says I owe for part of the dentist’s charge. How can this be?
Some plans provide cover based on a “customary fee” for each procedure. So, if your dentist’s fee is higher, your benefit will be based on a percentage of the customary fee instead of your dentist’s fee. Although these limits are called “customary,” they may not accurately reflect the fees that dentists charge in your area.
– Will my plan cover the care my family will need?
If your employer offers more than one plan, check the exclusions and limitations of the coverage as well as looking at the general benefits. It’s a good idea to discuss your family’s likely needs with your dentist before choosing a plan.
The plan document should specify who is eligible for coverage under the plan.
Plans offered by the same provider or employer can vary according to the contracts involved so your dentist will not be able to answer specific questions about your benefit or predict what the coverage for a particular procedure will be.
If you have specific questions about coverage, talk to your plan provider.

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.
So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.
But what does it have to do with your dental care?
Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates.
Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.
The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.
The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.
Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.
If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.
In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.

How scaling and planing can help clean your teeth properly

Dental plaque is a film that builds up on your teeth and, if it is not removed through good oral hygiene, it can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
Over time it can ultimately form a hard, rough sediment known as dental tartar or calculus, which attracts further plaque buildup.
Calculus has to be removed by a trained professional such as a hygienist or dentist.
They may do this by manual tooth scaling or using an ultrasonic device.
If the buildup is light or moderate, the dentist or hygienist may use manual scaling instruments of various shapes and sizes.
If the buildup of tartar and stains is heavy, an ultrasonic cleaner may be used. This may be followed by hand scaling.
Build up of plaque can cause inflammation of the gums leading to breakdown of the connection between the teeth and the supporting structures.
Root planing is a procedure to treat gum disease by thoroughly scaling the roots of teeth to establish a smooth, calculus-free surface.
This treatment may require local anesthesia to prevent pain. Thorough periodontal scaling customarily involves several dental visits
If conditions are more advanced, surgery may be needed for complete debridement of the roots to arrest the disease process.
Some people tend to have more buildup of calculus than others and some may be more prone to periodontal inflammation or the development of tooth decay.
It’s therefore important to follow your hygienist’s advivce on how often to return for regular cleanings – even if your insurance only covers two a year.

What to expect when having a tooth extracted

The process of having a tooth extracted may seem worrying but you’ll find it much easier if you know what to expect on the day and afterwards.
Your dentist will make the process as comfortable as possible for you by numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.
In most cases, a small amount of bleeding is quite normal and your dentist will advise you what process to follow to allow healing as quickly as possible.
Generally, you should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
For example, it’s best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours afterwards as these could delay healing.
For the first few days, if you need to rinse your mouth, do it gently. If you are suffering pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag.
If necessary, your dentist will recommend something for any pain.
At the beginning, don’t clean around the socket where the tooth has been removed but you should brush and floss the other teeth as usual.
Modern procedures make having an extraction and the follow-up more comfortable than ever before.

How removable partial dentures can help you

Removable partial dentures usually involve replacement teeth attached to plastic bases, connected by metal framework.
They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments. Precision attachments generally look better than metal clasps and are nearly invisible.
Crowns may be required on your natural teeth to improve the fit of a removable partial denture.
When you first get a partial denture, it may feel awkward or bulky. But you will gradually get used to wearing it.
It will also take a bit of practice to get used to inserting and removing the denture. It should fit into place easily and you should never force it.
Your dentist may suggest that you wear your partial denture all the time at first. While it will be uncomfortable for a while, it will help you identify if any parts of the denture need adjustment.
After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
With a denture, eating should become a more pleasant experience compared to having missing teeth.
But, initially, youll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. And avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard.
Some people with missing teeth find it hard to speak clearly so wearing a partial denture may help. However, youll probably need to practice certain words at first to get completely comfortable.
While it can take a little geting used to initially, a partial denture can help you enjoy your food with less worries.