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How We Transition Pediatric Patients To Adult Treatment

For many pediatric dentists, helping children grow up with good dental care is one of the biggest accomplishments. Through the years of reinforcing good hygiene habits, many dentists watch their patients grow into adults and often share those experiences with their parents. However, all children eventually grow up, and part of being a pediatric dentist means helping parents and their adolescent children transition into adult dental care. For us, it is just as important for them to learn about what their dental health care will look like from now on, and through us, we can ease this transition into adulthood in many ways.

How We Help Prepare Adolescents For Adult Care

Transitioning into adult care is a pivotal moment for them. However, one of the problems in dental care is the lack of communication and preparation they have when they transition. Only about half of patients coming into this stage were properly communicated about their new expectations and changes to their dental care. This change can be startling for adolescents, especially when they eventually learn that their parent’s dental insurance won’t cover them, will have to schedule appointments on their own, and instill the habits they’ve learned over the years into their adult life.

However, pediatric dentists focusing on these transition stages will often have plans and measures in place to work with their patients and their parents about their treatments. For parents, this means considering many questions about what this transition entails. Parents wishing to take advantage of the time they have can work with their pediatric dentist, asking questions about topics such as:

  • Transition Policies: Almost all clinics will have their transition policies, and many of them will differ depending on the practice. Some policies will state that children can stay within their care until their parent’s insurance no longer covers them. Others will require an immediate transition until they reach a certain age. By inquiring about their policy, parents can get the necessary information to prepare their children for adulthood.
  • Patient Monitoring: Many pediatric practices will have their patient’s files on hand and can alert parents about their policies. This means that parents and their adolescents can learn about their medical information and work with their pediatric dentist to transition their records to their new dentist.
  • Readiness Assessments: Lastly, readiness assessments are used to help patients transition from pediatric care into adult care. As the main way to work with their patients, patients as young as fourteen will work with their dentists to learn the basics of dental care to encourage growth and independence and take better control over their dental care by the time they reach adulthood.

Communicate With Your Pediatric Dentist To Learn More

All of these topics are essential for both parents and their children, especially for children reaching the point of adolescence. Understanding their oral health, speaking with your dentist about their treatments, and helping patients achieve independence and autonomy are some of the best ways to accomplish these goals. Speaking with your dentist can help prepare your child for adult treatment and give them the advantage they need for good oral health.

Mail-in braces have been an ongoing trend, but it’s also become one of the most harmful trends out there for children and teenagers looking to straighten their smiles. For those looking into online options for dental care, mail-in braces may seem like the perfect solution at first, but they come with many underlying risks that can be permanent and harmful to your child’s oral health. These types of braces can be especially dangerous for children with misaligned teeth, and we’re here to explain why they should be avoided at all costs.

Mail-In Orthodontics: Is It Too Good To Be True?

When pediatric dentists and orthodontists work to align your child’s smile, they work with research-backed techniques and safety measures that protect your child’s teeth from any potential damage during the alignment process. During alignment, your child’s teeth will move gradually due to the shift and pressure placed along the bones and tissues within their mouths. Because of how intricate this system is, it’s often considered easier for children to straighten their teeth due to the changes their bodies go through as they get older.

However, problems come in when treatments such as mail-in braces. Mail-in braces attempt to offer unique advantages over other orthodontic treatments, such as better financial costs, faster straightening capabilities, and ease of use. But these devices, in reality, cause more problems. This is because they don’t provide the safety measures necessary for proper tooth movement, and because of this present a higher risk to your child’s teeth. These problems include:

  • No Oversight: When you work closely with your dentist, they can ensure that your child’s oral health is in good hands. They can offer you multiple treatment options for your child that online retailers can’t provide, and when providing these procedures can offer safety and assurance that the procedures are performed correctly.
  • High Risk of Damage: Mail-in orthodontics tend to pose a higher risk of damage to the teeth, gums, and jawline due to this lack of oversight. When placed, they can move the teeth too quickly or place too much pressure along the jawline, increasing the risk of traumatic tooth damage and jaw pain.
  • More Costs Overtime: Because of this lack of oversight and high risk of damage, the costs of repairing that damage to your child’s oral health can be more costly than the initial treatment. Despite their advertised low costs and fast solutions, these devices pose more costs because they can be used incorrectly by patients.

Visit Your Pediatric Dentist First For Treatment Options

Because of these risks, it’s important for parents seeking out solutions to visit their dentists first before moving forward with any treatments. By visiting your pediatric dentist or orthodontist, they can provide you with safe, effective solutions for tooth alignment and protect your child’s teeth from traumatic injury, decay, and other oral diseases. When you work with your dentist, they can help monitor your child’s progress in safe steps and provide your children with the tools they need to continue their oral care into adulthood.

During those precious nine months, while your child grows within your womb, you’ll be making plenty of sacrifices. Most of these sacrifices will come in the form of carrying extra weight, needing to make frequent trips to the bathroom, and having strange cravings. However, taking care of yourself throughout the infant’s development is essential. Taking care of your dental health may fall to the wayside of all the things you’re worried about during pregnancy. Unfortunately, doing so may put your and your child’s future dental health at risk.

Your Dental Health While Pregnant

It’s understandable that little pieces of self-care, such as those associated with oral health, may fall by the wayside during this busy time. It can be easy to let your weariness make you skip flossing and brushing “just for the night.” However, breaking this habit can make your dental hygiene practices infrequent. As a result, your oral health may suffer.  

While this is troubling enough when you aren’t pregnant, pregnancy can make the impact more severe. Throughout your pregnancy, you will go through numerous hormonal changes. These changes can produce symptoms very similar to those associated with gum disease. This produces a type of gum disease known as gestational gingivitis.

When these symptoms appear, the complications of gingivitis can come with them. This includes tender and red gums that are subject to bleeding when brushed. They can also open the gateway to periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. 

Other concerns mothers may face during pregnancy include:

  • Weakened enamel caused by stomach acid expelled during morning sickness
  • Unhealthy dietary habits promoted by pregnancy cravings, including excess snacking
  • Gingivitis-like symptoms resulting from fluctuating hormones
  • Demineralization of the enamel caused by additional nutritional strain from the baby

There are many ways to address these concerns and limit your pregnancy’s impact on oral health. It starts with maintaining a consistent dental hygiene routine. Brushing in the morning and night, flossing frequently, and rinsing with mouthwash is essential. You may also take an additional step and brush or rinse after every incident of morning sickness.

Your dentist may also direct you to take a supplement known as a prenatal vitamin. These vitamins contain the necessary folic acid, iron, and other minerals you’ll need during your pregnancy. It’s important to avoid vitamins that are gummy or chewy. These vitamins can stick to your teeth and promote tooth decay rather than prevent it.

Oral Health Concerns For Your Growing Baby

Research has shown that your oral health and growing child are connected unexpectedly. The link seems to be the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, streptococcus mutans. When oral health concerns become significantly advanced, these bacteria can find their way into the bloodstream. Once there, they can promote the creation of a chemical known as prostaglandins. These chemicals have been linked to triggering premature labor. Reach out to your oral health provider for more information about dental health while pregnant.

It’s common for young children to feel a little nervous when the prospect of a dental visit is mentioned. Children who have been to the dentist before may have had a poor experience prior. Those who have never been may be responding to teasing from their classmates. It’s also possible that they’re merely worried over a procedure they’ve never had before. In some cases, however, the child may suffer from a phobia known as dental anxiety. This phobia can cause them significant anxiety and even fear when they realize they may need to go to the dentist.

Nitrous Oxide And How It Helps Children With Dental Care

The first introduction of nitrous oxide occurred in the late 1800s. At this time, it was discovered that this gas was capable of relaxing patients and reducing some of the discomforts they experienced during treatments. As the years went by, the methods of administering this gas improved, and it became ever more effective and safe. The current method involves using a nasal mask with a control valve that allows the dentist to precisely control the amount of gas delivered.

This is just one of the benefits that this sedative brings to the table. It also lacks any meaningful side effects. The worst reported incidents of nitrous gas are mild headaches and nausea in certain sensitive individuals. When the gas is administered, recovery is also quite rapid. Recovering from nitrous oxide sedation happens at a rate far faster than other sedatives. This means they are back to “normal” within minutes of removing the gas. The actual effect of the gas is to render the patient relaxed, calm, and even perhaps a bit giddy. This is the property that gives it its nickname “laughing gas.” Other benefits of the gas include:

  • Ongoing Communication – Nitrous oxide does not impair the ability of children to respond to the dentist during the procedure. They’ll be able to cooperate while remaining calm and relaxed. They’ll also be able to communicate with the dentist if they have concerns or questions.
  • Short Recovery Times – The recovery times from nitrous oxide are particularly rapid. Those who receive nitrous oxide recover from the sedative within a few moments of the gas is removed.
  • Minimal Side Effects – Minimal side effects occur when nitrous oxide is used. Some patients may respond by sweating or shivering, or even becoming nauseous. However, these side effects are rare, and most patients tolerate the sedative quite well.

These qualities make nitrous oxide continue to be one of the most popular sedative approaches when mild sedation is needed.

Share Your Concerns With Your Dental Provider

Contact your dental professional if you have more questions about using nitrous oxide as a sedative for your child. It has been utilized successfully for over a century to help patients undergo dental care in a safe and calm state of mind. Call and schedule your next bi-annual appointment with them today!

As we age, our bodies tend to come with an ever-growing set of health concerns. Aging impacts our dental health in numerous ways, but the idea that tooth loss is simply a natural part of aging comes with a lot of bad misconceptions attached to it. While we can’t avoid many problems as we age, some problems can be avoided, especially if we help reinforce preventative measures beforehand. But for those with already progressing health problems, getting cosmetic dental treatment can help you retain your health for years to come. With the help of your dentist, you have many options available to you with the help of cosmetic dental treatments. 

How Age-Related Oral Health Problems Can Be Prevented

Many studies go into the nature of how our oral health problems increase as we age. Within these studies, they often refer to the impact that decreasing hormones have on the immune system, how nutritional deficiencies can lead to bone deficiencies, and how oral bacteria can increase in the elderly due to aspects related to memory, cognition, and poor oral care. To combat these issues, many dentists work to provide resources for their patients to help prevent the onset of these problems from either arriving or becoming worse in the future. 

As simple as the solution may sound, poor oral health often also occurs to a lack of access to those vital resources, as there are many financial, environmental, and biological factors that affect the aging process and, in turn, our oral health. These factors include genetics determining health concerns such as enamel strength and root development, environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, poor diets, and lack of exercise, and most of all, financial concerns that determine the development of these conditions, such as dental insurance costs, treatment costs, and lower incomes. 

However, without addressing your oral health now, the conditions you face can become worse, leading to problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and eventual tooth loss. Cosmetic treatments can help place a priority on those aging about their dental health and help prevent those problems from becoming worse. 

Types of Cosmetic Dental Treatments For Seniors

Cosmetic dental treatments can help tackle these issues early on before they become worse and can improve one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Some treatments seniors can use to improve their oral health include: 

  • Cosmetic Bonding: Cosmetic bonding help reshape the tooth back to health and help protect weakened enamel from decay.
  • Porcelain Veneers: Porcelain veneers offer a protective cover for the front teeth, improving the tooth’s shape and color tooth while also filling in gaps, creating a fuller smile,
  • Dental Bridges: Dental bridges can be used to fill up the missing space and is especially useful for those who don’t want extensive, invasive work done. 
  • Dental Implants: Seniors with healthy bone health can use implants to replace missing teeth and maintain their jawbone health. 

Better access to oral health care must be possible for seniors. If you or a loved one needs oral care, make sure to schedule an appointment with your local dentist to learn more.

Our primary teeth may be temporary visitors during our developmental ages. Even so, they’re an integral part of growing up. Dentists take great pains to ensure they remain strong and healthy until they fall out independently. When necessary, they’ll even go so far as to use pediatric crowns to ensure they remain in place for the duration. Many parents are surprised that this degree of dental work will be invested in a temporary tooth. However, our jaws may not develop appropriately without preserving their position and health. This underdevelopment can result in inadequate space for the adult teeth or their coming in improperly aligned. These malocclusions can be the cause of expensive orthodontic treatments later in life.

Ensure Proper Development With Pediatric Crowns

If your child has tooth decay, your dentist may approach you about protecting your child’s teeth with pediatric crowns. A crown is a form of dental prosthetic used to restore form and function. This can be necessary if tooth decay has caused the tooth to begin to break down. Your dentist may also suggest them to help address injury to the tooth from trauma. The need for these restorations is rooted in the fundamental interconnectedness of our oral health. Each component contributes to every other component. Our primary teeth ensure that our jawbones develop with sufficient space for our adult teeth. Our gums ensure that the jawbone and teeth get sufficient nutrients and serve to protect the delicate roots. 

The process is straightforward when it comes time for your child to get dental crowns. The following steps are involved in the placement of dental crowns.

  • Preparation – Before your child can receive a pediatric crown, the target tooth needs to be prepared to receive it. This means removing all the existing decay, cleaning the surface, and pitting it so it can easily accept the restoration. The dental laser remains the preferred tool for this stage of the process.
  • Impressions – After removing all the decay and the site being sanitized, your dentist will take an impression of your child’s teeth. The most common method involves a special tray that is placed over the target area. It’s filled with a gel that will take the form of your child’s teeth and harden once removed. The result is a precise recreation of the treatment site.
  • Temporary Crown – Many modern dental clinics have a milling machine they can use to produce permanent restoration. When this tool isn’t available, the impression will be sent to a dental lab. Until it is returned to the clinic, your dentist will fit a temporary crown in place to protect the tooth.
  • Permanent Crown – When a temporary crown has been placed, it will need to be removed at this stage. The permanent crown is then placed, restoring your child’s smile.

Once this treatment process is completed, your dentist will have thoroughly restored your child’s tooth. This restoration ensures that your child’s oral cavity will continue to develop in a normal and healthy way.

Ask Your Dental Provider For More Guidance

Our dental providers make patient education a cornerstone of their practice. Speaking with them provides a significant opportunity for them to share helpful information about your oral health care. They’ll help you understand the potential long-term consequences of damage or decay to your child’s dental health. They’ll also help you take steps to preserve it.

During our developmental years, we must maintain good dental health. The state of our oral cavity at this time can have far-reaching implications for our adult smile. Our primary teeth serve critical roles in our future teeth’ straight and healthy development. Preventing tooth decay is probably the most important thing we can do to ensure they remain healthy. Tooth decay starts when streptococcus mutans begin affixing to our teeth with plaque and tartar. This layer of biofilm serves as a place for these bacteria to live and attack the enamel of our teeth. Knowing how to watch for the early stages of decay is an important part of knowing when it’s time to take action to stop it.

The First Warning Signs Of Pediatric Tooth Decay

Too much sugar is a problem for oral health regardless of age. In our younger years, however, the enamel on our teeth is more susceptible to decay. Avoiding these elements isn’t possible all the time, but we can limit the more abundant sources. Sugar, high-carb foods such as bread, chips, and acidic foods can all impact the health of our teeth. These substances all serve as an abundant food source for streptococcus mutans. After consuming this food, it produces acids that can weaken our enamel. Other problems that can lead to tooth decay include:

  • Diets high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Poor access to fluoridated water
  • Insufficient oral hygiene practices
  • Dry mouth caused by health or medical conditions

When tooth decay begins, it will make its presence known by white spots forming on the teeth’ surface. These spots are the result of minerals being leached out of the teeth by the action of acids in the mouth. These areas are less dense than the surrounding enamel, making it easier for them to be worn away. You may not immediately notice these spots, but your children will likely give you hints. They’ll mention that their teeth are more sensitive to hot or cold foods or those high in acid or sugar. Left untreated, these white spots will begin to slowly darken as decay increases.

Knowing these symptoms will not always occur with lesions or even full-on cavities is important. Some children may go through the whole process without reporting any discomfort at all. Thankfully there are treatments that your dentist can use to help strengthen the weakened enamel and prevent the advance of decay. Be aware that it’s impossible to restore enamel that has broken down and eroded, so acting fast is essential.

Speak To Your Dentist About Identifying And Addressing Decay

There is no one as knowledgeable about the advance of tooth decay as your dentist. They spend every moment of their working lives looking at teeth in various states of health. They can catch the start of decay quite early, making them essential to preserving lasting dental health. Speak to your dentist about precautions you can take to prevent decay and how to identify it early in its development.

All over the world, countless people suffer from one degree of dental anxiety or another. Dental anxiety, also known as dental phobia, does not respect age, gender, or class. The degree to which this anxiety impacts their lives varies from patient to patient. In some cases, it’s a mild feeling of unease as it comes time to see the dentist. Others can become panicked at the mere mention of dental matters, let alone a visit to the office itself. The traditional rotary drill and its high-pitched whine are one of the most commonly cited triggers of dental anxiety by sufferers.

How Dental Lasers Are Changing The Dental Experience

Let’s be honest; no one considers the piercing whine of a rotary drill a siren song that calls them to the dental office. It’s probably cited as the least favorite part of visiting a clinic. This is true for both dental anxiety sufferers and other patients. The introduction of the dental laser has gone a long way towards reducing the racket during oral health care visits. Unlike the high-pitched sound of the rotary drill, the dental laser produces a soft pulsing that many patients have reported being soothing.  

Even those with dental anxiety report a calmer experience, thanks to dental lasers. This is just one of the ways that dental lasers benefit your dental experience. They also facilitate the following elements:

  • Precision Dentistry – Rotary drills can certainly complete a broad range of dental jobs. However, they aren’t really a precision tool. With the introduction of the dental laser, your dentist can perform dentistry with a new level of precision and control. Eliminating areas of decay and necrotic tissue requires the removal of less healthy tissue.
  • Fast Recovery Times – The imprecise nature of rotary drills made damaging adjacent healthy tissue difficult to avoid. This destruction, in turn, made recovery times from procedures longer than necessary. Dental laser drills reduce recovery times by being more precise and cauterizing the site, speeding recovery.
  • Reduced Discomfort – The dental experience becomes more pleasant with the removal of the whining drill. Further, there’s no vibration with a dental laser. The procedure is completed nearly painlessly and without aggravating nearby areas. Most patients are able to undergo treatment without the need for an anesthetic.
  • Shortened Procedure Times – Another critical benefit of dental lasers is the reduction in time needed to perform a procedure. There’s rarely a need for stitches when a dental laser is used, and reduced need for anesthetic and the associated recovery times. Even the procedure itself is completed quicker and cleaner. This all amounts to less time between the appointment and the rest of the patient’s day.

Talk To Your Dentist About Laser Dentistry

Ask your dentist if laser dentistry is available at their clinic and how they make use of it. You may discover that it’s finally time for that procedure you’ve been putting off. Reach out to your dentist today and learn how laser dentistry can help you!

Throughout the last few years, there have been close to 400 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide. While the most apparent signs of Covid-19 are loss of taste, among other symptoms, some studies have reported additional oral health concerns associated with Covid-19 infection before, during illness, and during recovery. As pediatric dentists, we’re here to explain some of the potential oral health side effects of Covid-19 and help provide you with the information you need to keep your children healthy.

The Symptoms To Look Out For During Recovery

There are many studies over the last few years that have tracked the progression and symptoms associated with Covid-19 and its ever-evolving variants, and while we are no longer in a pandemic, Covid-19 continues to remain a global threat according to the chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. It’s essential during these times to be mindful of the disease and keep an eye out for symptoms. With that in mind, we’re here to go over some of the latest symptoms to be associated with Covid-19:

  • Lesions or Ulcers: One of the less commonly known symptoms associated with Covid-19 are lesions or ulcers. According to a study published by the Journal of Dental Research, over 80% of patients that became hospitalized with Covid-19 had lesions or ulcers in their mouths. Our respiratory symptoms begin at the mouth and nose, making it a common targeting point for diseases like Covid-19 to be affected. Normally, ulcers should go away on their own, and if they don’t, then it’s important to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist soon. Beyond lesions and ulcers, many patients also experienced a loss of papilla (bumps on the tongue), enlarged taste buds, and burning sensations in the mouth. During your weeks of recovery, it’s important to keep an eye on your children’s symptoms to make sure they don’t get worse and speak with your pediatric dentist as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis.
  • Dry Mouth: Dry mouth isn’t a unique side effect of Covid-19, as it affects up to 65% of the population. However, dry mouth can become worse during or after an infection. When a person gets infected, the virus can cause the salivary glands to underproduce saliva. Having healthy saliva flow is important because it helps our mouths maintain moisture and reduces the risk of decay. Without enough saliva to keep our mouths moist, the mouth becomes overly dry, bad breath can come about, and these symptoms can eventually lead to gum disease. In children, this is vitally important because their mouths are still developing. If your child is suffering from dry mouth, make sure to encourage them to drink water and speak with your pediatric dentist soon for treatment.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation is considered one of the main symptoms of Covid-19 and also the most harmful. Inflammation is the typical way that the body responds to infection, but this can also lead to extreme levels of inflammation throughout certain parts of the body that are, in fact, harmful. These areas also include the mouth, and the gums can become red, swollen, and bleed heavily after recovery. It’s highly essential to keep an eye on gum inflammation in children, as this can easily lead to gum disease later on.

Finding Resource For Recovery With Your Dentist!

While the pandemic is official over, many people are still continuing to experience the long-term side effects of Covid-19. If you or your child have any lingering oral health side effects after your recovery, then don’t hesitate to contact your local pediatrist dentist to schedule an appointment for treatment. 

There are a lot of elements that determine our oral health. Like many aspects of our health, genetic factors and family history have a clear role to play. Ongoing research shows that our genetic heritage can reveal clues to our oral health future. While this was anticipated, one surprising outcome is the degree to which it can impact our oral health. The alignment, shape, and size of our teeth can all be determined by genetic factors. However, the resilience of our enamel and how it responds to acid and bacteria are also affected. We’re going to further explore the impact of family genetics on oral health.

The Genetic Influence On Our Dental Health

Deoxyribonucleic acid, most commonly known as DNA, is the storehouse for the blueprints of our body. This string of amino acids holds the patterns of genes that describe every aspect of our body. The shape of our face, the color of our eyes, and the alignment of our teeth are all defined by our DNA. We obtain half of our DNA from each of our parents, and with them, much of their appearance and health concerns. This is the underpinning reason that our oral health trends within family lines. DNA impacts our oral health concerns in the following ways:

  • Teeth having gaps from misalignment
  • Overcrowding of teeth
  • Shape and size of our jaw
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

No matter what issues we face due to our genetic heritage, there’s one part of our oral health that we can manage. One benefit we get from knowing our family heritage is which parts of our oral health we need to focus on. Regardless, maintaining a steady routine of brushing and flossing ensures that we can keep our concerns with oral health at a minimum. Knowing what troubles our ancestors faced with oral health can let us know what products and treatments can benefit us to prevent issues. Some concerns that are impacted by oral health include:

  • Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) – Even those who don’t have a predisposition to gum disease will frequently develop it. Nearly 33% of all Americans will develop gingivitis at some point in their lives. Inflammation, bleeding gums, and sensitivity can all indicate its presence.
  • Tooth Decay – Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of tooth decay, but it isn’t the only cause. Our genetic heritage can make our enamel softer than average, making it more susceptible to wear and tear. It’s even possible that only certain teeth will be more vulnerable than others due to genetic background.
  • Misaligned Teeth – It can be easy to spot teeth that aren’t situated as they should be. This ease of identification makes it one of the most commonly spotted genetic oral health concerns. If you know this runs in your family, it can be identified even before your children’s teeth erupt. This will allow planning future orthodontic care to prevent problems.

Speak With Your Dentist To Get Further Advice

Your dentist will provide you with all you need to know about how genetics can impact your oral health. Let them know what problems run in your family, and they’ll provide options for addressing them.

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