Posts for category: Oral Health
Find out how to treat and prevent cavities in your little one.
We all know that the last thing a parent wants to hear from our Colorado Springs, CO, family dentist, Dr. Nolan Behr, is that your child has a cavity. Luckily, there are simple things you and your child can do to keep their teeth healthy and cavity-free.
How to Prevent Childhood Cavities
Did you know that cavities are preventable with the proper dental care? This means that taking care of your child’s smile is all that’s needed to keep cavities at bay. Of course, you have to know what goes into proper dental care in order to make sure you are doing everything possible. Here are some rules to follow:
- Make sure you are brushing your child’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning and again at night before bedtime.
- Every time you brush your child’s teeth (children over 7 years old can start brushing their teeth on their own with supervision) make sure you are brushing for at least 2 minutes each time.
- Replace the toothbrush head (or toothbrush) once you notice the bristles starting to fray and wear out.
- Talk to our Colorado Springs dentist about getting sealants to protect your child’s back teeth from cavities, as these teeth are at a higher risk for developing dental caries.
- Your child should floss once a day, ideally right before bedtime.
- Schedule routine checkups with your child’s dentist twice a year (every six months).
- Ask about fluoride treatment, which can protect teeth against cavities.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar, sodas, and refined starches (e.g. white pasta, bread, and rice).
Treating Cavities When They Happen
Unfortunately, many times, cavities can still occur. Don’t fret; while we know that you and your child would love to remain cavity-free, we are here to help treat the cavity right away. This means removing the decay with a dental drill (don’t worry; we will numb the area first so it won’t hurt!). Once the decay is removed we can place a tooth-colored dental filling to restore the tooth’s function and appearance. If your child is dealing with dental pain or sudden tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, this could mean that they have a cavity.
If you suspect that your child might have a cavity, or if it’s just time for your child’s next dental appointment, don’t hesitate to call our Colorado Springs, CO, dental team today to book your child’s next visit.
Parents are the best teachers when it comes to instilling good oral hygiene habits in their children. Dr. Nolan Behr, who offers pediatric dental treatments in his Colorado Springs, CO, office, shares a few tips that will help your child embrace healthy oral hygiene practices.
Explain why oral hygiene is important
Your children may not understand a lengthy explanation of the damaging effects of plaque and tartar, but they can grasp the importance of clean teeth. When teeth are clean, they look and feel better. Depending on the age of your child, you may explain that brushing removes germs that can cause cavities.
Make brushing a family event
When your children see you brushing your teeth, they're more likely to be interested in brushing their own teeth. When you brush your teeth, invite your kids into the bathroom, then help them brush their teeth just after you brush theirs.
Help your child brush
Young children don't always have the manual dexterity to brush thoroughly. In fact, they may need a little help or supervision up to age seven, depending on the child. Teach your child how to hold the brush and explain that it's important to spend time brushing every single tooth individually. If your child has a doll or stuffed animal with teeth, demonstrate good brushing technique on the toy. Children should brush their teeth in a circular motion using a soft bristled brush.
Make oral hygiene fun
The more enjoyable you can make brushing, the less likely your child will complain about it. Find ways to make the process fun. Buy toothbrushes that light up or play music when your child brushes, or give him or her a sticker to put on an oral hygiene chart every day.
Good oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits will help protect your child's smile. If your child needs a pediatric dental treatment, or it's time for his or her next exam, call Colorado Springs, CO, dentist Dr. Behr at (719) 591-2050.
What you need to know about pediatric dental treatments
You want your child to have great dental care, and you’re wondering what services are available to take care of your child’s smile. You should bring your child in for their first visit within 6 months of when you see a first tooth erupting, or by the time your child is one-year-old. This is because decay can happen fast, and very early. Dr. Nolan Behr, your family dentist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, offers a full range of services to care for your child’s teeth and smile.
A comfortable, relaxing first appointment is critical to your child’s health. Dr. Behr and his staff are committed to creating a positive, nurturing experience for your child. Some of the preventive dental services Dr. Behr recommends include:
- A professional dental cleaning- performed by Dr. Behr’s highly-skilled staff; your child’s teeth will be polished and cleaned of all soft and hard deposits and stains. Your child will also be taught the benefits of great self-care and given the tools to have a healthy mouth into adulthood.
- A topical fluoride treatment- usually done after the cleaning; fluoride works to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel by actually incorporating itself into the mineral matrix of your child’s teeth, increasing resistance to decay.
Dental sealants- placed on the deep crevices and grooves of the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth to prevent decay; dental sealants provide a protective shield against bacteria, plaque, and food reaching decay-prone areas.
Sometimes in spite of all preventive treatment, your child may get decay. Dr. Behr wants you to know that he offers a full range of treatments to bring your child’s teeth back to health. Pediatric dental services available include:
- Bonding- to repair small chips or cracks, using composite, a tooth-colored resin material
- Fillings- to repair decayed areas in your child’s teeth; these can be either metal (amalgam) or composite
- Root canal treatment- to remove diseased tissue from inside your child’s tooth, relieve pain, and increase the chance of saving your child’s tooth
Your child deserves the best dental care available, which is why you should call Dr. Nolan Behr, your family dentist in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Discover more about how pediatric dental services can help your child’s teeth and smile. Call today!
You may think an office cleaning is mainly cosmetic — giving your teeth that polished look and you that pleasant, “squeaky clean” feeling. But your dental hygienist is doing more than making your teeth look great during your cleaning session — they’re also providing a valuable service keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Here, then, are 3 things your dental hygienist is doing during a cleaning session that protects your health.
Removing disease-causing plaque. An office cleaning produces more than a fresh and clean smile. Your hygienist is manually removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) in hard to reach places or where it has built up despite your best efforts at brushing and flossing. This built-up plaque is a ready source of bacteria producing acids, which give rise to both tooth decay and gum disease. And for actual occurrences of the latter, plaque removal is an important part of the treatment to restore your gums to a healthy pink.
Checking for signs of dental disease. As your hygienist cleans your teeth, they’re also looking for abnormalities in the mouth’s soft tissue — lumps, bumps, sores, or swelling — that may indicate something more serious requiring further examination. They’re also assessing your overall gum health, probing any areas that might indicate gum disease. And, of course, they’re looking for cavities, softened enamel or other signs of tooth decay.
Helping you improve your oral hygiene.Â As proficient as they are, a dental hygienist can only do so much to help prevent dental disease; the rest — daily brushing and flossing — is on your shoulders. But you’re not completely on your own, because your hygienist is your best personal hygiene training partner: not only can they assess how well you’re doing in your daily regimen, but they can also give you expert advice and tips on improving your brushing and flossing performance.
If you would like more information on the role of your hygienist in your dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Hygiene Visit.”
Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.
“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.
Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.
Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.
Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.
If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.
When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.
Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.