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Taking Care of Oral Health in Children

Ad Min - Monday, May 24, 2021

It is every parent’s worry when it comes to taking care of oral health in children. Some questions that crop up are - Are they taking the correct measures to protect their child’s oral health? Is anything lacking in the child’s diet that can lead to dental issues? Mostly the focus of parents will be on protecting the child from getting dental cavities.

Caring for dental health in children and making sure that a good foundation in oral health and hygiene is given to children is the goal every parent wishes for. Some of the major aspects of maintaining and protecting oral health in children are discussed here.

Cleaning

For good clean teeth, brushing comes top in the list, followed by flossing and mouthwashes. Dental care ideally should begin before even the first tooth makes its appearance. The focus is on maintaining a good healthy gum line. If the gums are not strong, then they will not be able to provide good support to the emerging baby teeth.

Another reason is that the baby teeth are already formed and they are present just below the jaw line. Cleaning the gums of babies with a moist soft cloth will help to remove harmful bacteria. Baby food is mostly sugary and this will attract bacteria to the areas where food debris is seen. If the baby’s mouth is not cleaned after each drink of milk or juice, then it becomes a favourite site for bacterial action.

After the baby tooth erupts it can be cleaned using a baby brush which is soft and suited for your child. Using toothpaste is also recommended, there is a wide range of toothpaste available for children. Some dentists even suggest using toothpaste that have fluoride in them to offer extra support to the teeth. After more teeth erupt, care should be taken to clean between the teeth as food particles can get stuck between them.

When children grow older, they should be taught how to brush and floss. Depending on how capable the child is more free hand should be given to them but under the supervision of parents. This way parents can guide children to the right way of brushing and flossing. Making it a fun activity will help in making it enjoyable and something the kids look forward to.

Food habits

As with general health, oral health is also dependent on food and food habits. The majority of the food that is given to babies and toddlers has sugar content in them. Sugar is one major factor that aids the formation of dental cavities. It is also seen in children and not just in adults. Sugar attracts bacterial action. The food that is acted upon by bacteria releases harmful acids that harm the teeth. Because the baby food is loaded with sugar, the chances of bacterial action are more.

So it is important to clean the baby’s mouth after each meal or drink. It also helps to start children to drink water when they go for their naps. If it is milk or juice drink before they go to sleep, then there are higher chances of bacterial action as food will stay in the mouth as it is not cleaned before the baby goes to sleep. Changing from bottles to cups will also help to prevent food from staying around the child’s teeth. As children grow up also, it is important to introduce healthy food options to the child. Including more fruits and cutting down on food that has high sugar content will help in promoting good oral health.

Professional help

Most people see dentists when they have dental problems that they are unable to take care of at home. Toothache is one of the common symptoms seen and because of this very reason it is brushed aside with the thought that it will go away in a few days. Since babies do not have teeth yet or there are only a few many feels that help from a dentist is not needed.

Consulting a dentist when the child is around one year old is recommended. The first visit to the dentist is helpful for most parents as experts will guide them on how to brush their child’s teeth, how to take care of gums, what are the possible dental/gum issues crop up if proper care is not given – all these will be discussed.

All these are very important as this helps to lay a base to good and healthy dental care for the child. During these consultations, dentists will also be able to diagnose if the child is at risk for cavities. They will even recommend toothpaste with fluoride to help ward off this issue. Fluorides offer extra support to the dental enamel and protect the teeth.

Common dental problems

Genetics plays a major role in oral health. So, if parents have dental issues, then there are high chances of this being passed on to children. When going for a dental consultation with your children it will be good to discuss these aspects with the dentists so more proactive measures can be taken to preserve the oral health of your children.

When the child grows older, another dental concern that can come up is bite and alignment of teeth. Overcrowding teeth can cause teeth to overlap, or they might be problems of overbite and under bite. This will require corrective action – by using braces or by surgery if the problem is a bit more complex.

Now unlike the earlier times, it is not just metal braces available, there are coloured ones and invisible braces if your child is feeling embarrassed about using them. Making sure to make dentist’s consultation every six months and seeking dental care if there is pain and bleeding in the gums will all help to fix dental problems before they develop into compound issues.

What Is Dental Emergency And What Is Not?

Ad Min - Monday, May 17, 2021

Anyone who has experienced sudden toothache during middle of a night, or a holiday or while travelling, would be well aware about the misery one has to go through when dentist is not available and you have to deal with the pain yourself.

When you encounter anything to do with teeth, suddenly, outside of office hours, which involves severe pain of severe bleeding, then it is considered as a dental emergency.

Dental emergencies are common. One fifth of the population feel severe pain in the teeth at least once in their lifetime. But all the dental pains cannot be considered as emergencies. It is important to know if the situation you find yourself in can be counted as an emergency or not.

What is NOT a dental emergency?

Any dental problem that can wait till you see your dentist in a day or two or which you can take care of on your own is not an emergency.

Toothache
Toothaches are common. When you have toothache which is not unbearable, and which does not indicate deeper problem of dental infection, or fever, or any swelling in the mouth, then it can wait till you see your dentist can wait for treatment till you see your dentist.

Lost crown or dental filling
If you find that your tooth has lost its filling, it can wait till you see your dentist. You can fill the cavity temporarily with a sugar free chewed chewing gum. Even with a lost crown, try to put it in place with dental adhesives or dental cement which are available over the counter. Do not use common super glue.

What IS a dental emergency? How to deal with it?

Any situation where immediate medical attention is required to save the life is an emergency. In addition to severe pain and bleeding, a lost tooth which can be saved, or severe infection which threatens life is also considered dental emergencies. In these emergencies you must call your dentist or seek treatments in any nearby hospital in their outpatient department.

The conditions that are considered as dental emergencies include severe pain, severe bleeding in the mouth, gums, or teeth, sudden loss of tooth, adults having loose teeth, infection or abscess in the mouth.

Cracked OR chipped tooth
Cracked and chipped teeth are emergency because cracked tooth can develop into a fracture where there is a possibility to lose a tooth and if not treated properly it may develop infection. As quickly as possible you should try and get an appointment with your dentist when you find you have a cracked tooth. A chipped tooth can an emergency if the chipped end is sharp and injures the inside of your mouth or tongue. It will soothe your mouth if you can wash your mouth with warm water. Apply cold compress to relieve pain and stop swelling.

A knocked-out tooth
A tooth that has come lose because of an impact on the face because of collision with a hard surface like tiled or cemented floor or a wall, or due to an accident, needs to be reinstalled immediately. It is considered an emergency because each minute lapsed between the accident and start of the treatment reduces the chance of getting the tooth reinstated in its socket. When you find that your tooth has been knocked out, first thing you do is pick up the tooth gently, by the crown not the root- because roots have delicate nerves attached to it- and put it in a small container or if possible in a cup of milk. If you can see your dentist immediately, the dentist can put the tooth back in its socket and there are fair chances that your tooth get reattached in its socket with roots. If your tooth has been dirtied the surrounding area, then wash it gently with cold water taking care not to drop it in the sink. Put a towel in the sink so that it doesn’t get into the drainage hole.

Infected tooth
A dental abscess is life threating situation if not treated immediately. The infection in the root of the tooth or gums, can spread into the jaw and create unbearable pain. This abscess is very painful and has the potential to erupt in other part of the face and body. Because of its potential for severe pain, and further damage to the tooth and gums, an abscessed tooth is considered an dental emergency. While you are waiting for the appointment with the dentist, you can rinse your mouth with saltwater many times. This will reduce the pain the abscess inflicts, and also draws the pus to the surface so that it will be easier to take it out.

Severe bleeding in the mouth: When you have had an accident and find yourself bleeding from the mouth, you must call your dentist immediately. Bleeding in the mouth can have many causes. A loose tooth if uprooted from the gums cause profuse bleeding because of the severed blood vessels which are feeding oxygen to the tooth. Sometimes the inside of the mouth or tongue get cut causing high bleeding. If your tongue seems to be cut, draw it out and press a soft towel onto it till the bleeding stops. A sharp edge of a broken tooth also may hurt your cheeks and make them bleed. Cold compress on the cheeks can help in clotting the blood till you reach your dentist.

All the dentists normally keep some time in their daily timetable for unscheduled emergencies. Keep the numbers of your dental workers handy in your wallet or phone all the time. It is advisable to ask the dentist for the calling numbers when not in office. Out of office hour numbers can help you find the dentist when an emergency strikes at odd hour.

Considering Dental Implant Options?

Ad Min - Monday, May 03, 2021

A very effective teeth replacement option is provided by dental implants. They are different from other options as they provide replacement of a whole tooth. The tooth right from the root to the outer visible portion is replaced. This type of procedure is not seen in other teeth replacement techniques.

This complete artificial tooth replacement procedure is opted by many as it is durable and also provides extra support and strength to the nearby teeth and gum tissues. The best feature of this is that single tooth replacement or replacing many teeth is possible with this procedure.

Types of dental implants

When considering the different types of dental implant options- one will come across mainly two types – endosteal and subperiosteal. In the endosteal type of dental implant, the implant is placed in the bone and in superiosteal it is placed on the jaw bone. But after considering the stability and support provided by subperiosteal, it is not much in vogue. Endosteal is the option almost all dentists go to as this lasts almost a lifetime.

Single tooth replacement

As the name suggests, this is best suited for those who wish to replace a single tooth. Teeth are lost due to aging or decay or trauma and they can be replaced by placing the dental implant. Usually when one needs tooth replacement, then the neighbouring teeth also need to be ‘worked on’ so that the single tooth replacement can be placed. In the implant process, the health of the neighbouring teeth will not be affected at all. In single tooth replacement the structure is placed inside the jaw bone.

This will not weaken the jaw bone but will offer extra reinforcement. This single tooth dental implant offers a better aesthetic value when compared with other single tooth replacement options. This implant will blend in with the natural teeth in the mouth and there is no embarrassment to the user.

Implant - supported bridge

This replacement option is a great method to replace more than one tooth. Due to any reason, if one has lost many teeth and they are all adjacent to each other in a row, then dentists prefer to provide this dental implant option. A dental bridge typically has a bridge with supporting crowns on the ends. This will act as the replacement teeth for the ones that are lost. The teeth in between also will have dental crowns placed on them.

But in the dental implant option the crowns will be connected or fixed to the dental implants. Unlike the other replacement option, the natural teeth in between the lost teeth do not have crowns. This procedure is similar to a single tooth dental implant, only that more than one tooth is replaced. The other features like stability, support, or durability all remain the same.

Complete teeth replacement

As the name suggests, if there is a need to replace the complete set of teeth then there is an option available. Implant retained denture is the best option if a replacement is needed. One can go for this procedure, if all the teeth are missing in the lower jaw or upper jaw or both. In this treatment option, usually dentists four dental implants are placed, using which replacement teeth can be placed. In some clinics, only two strategically placed dental implants are used instead of four.

Custom-made dentures will be placed on these implants and the wearer has one again a complete set of teeth. Studies have shown that compared to dentures, this dental implant option gives complete restoration of chewing and works as effectively as natural teeth. More stability is provided to lower jaw dentures when compared to common dentures. 

Procedure and benefits

This is a dental surgery procedure and is conducted under anaesthesia. The jaw bone will receive an implant on which rests the replaced teeth. For this procedure, after the anaesthesia is injected, the jaw bone is cut open. Then the implant is placed inside and is left to heal. This will later receive an abutment on which the replacement teeth can be placed. There are different materials to choose from to make artificial teeth. They will be tailored by the dentists to suit your need and mimic even the colour of the natural teeth. Awkwardness from having to wear artificial teeth is something unknown to those who wear implants.

There are numerous benefits one obtains when dental implants are used. The foremost is of course replacing teeth in the way natural teeth are. Tooth is replaced right from the root to the tip by this method. Due to this very reason, the stability and permanence offered by dental implants is something unique. The facial structure of the person does not change by this method and there is no problem with speech or with chewing.

There is also no danger of replacement teeth slipping off when one is talking as they are anchored to the jaw bone. One does not need to do any extra care for dental implants, the usual cleaning routine followed for natural teeth needs to be done. And the best of all is one is saved from cavities as dental implants are made from a material that is safe from decay.

Before choosing dental implants are the option, one needs to go for a dental examination. This is needed to find out if this treatment option is suited after checking the oral health of the person. One of the first things that is checked are bone loss. When a tooth is lost, there is also bone loss seen in the surrounding it.

To place the implant, there needs to be a certain amount of bone. If the bone is not present in the amount needed or if it is not able to provide the essential support, then a dental implant might not be an option. The age of a person is also considered as this the best option for those who are adults. So usually children or youth are not ideal candidates for this treatment.


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