Great Candidates For Gum Lift Procedures

Great Candidates For Gum Lift Procedures

For those who have excess gum tissue, or what is more commonly referred to as a “gummy” smile, gum lift procedures have become an excellent cosmetic option. Our dental team is well-trained on this procedure and we love being able to offer this life-changing solution to our patients.

In a gum lift, we use a dental laser to remove excess gum tissue. In more extreme cases, we also remove and/or shave down bone tissue as part of the gum lift.

Traditionally scalpels have been used to perform the procedure, but today lasers have since become the highest standard of care. Not only are lasers less painful, they are also more precise. When we are dealing with small measurements like a millimeter of gum tissue, the more precise we can be the better! They also cauterize the gum tissue as we go.

As excess gum tissue is removed and more tooth is exposed, your smile will become more proportional. The results are incredible, but there are some things to consider before receiving a gum lift. Are you a good candidate? Read about some of the requirements necessary to be a candidate for a gum lift.

1. You need to have healthy teeth.

Before we do any type of procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, we like to make sure your teeth are as healthy as possible. We want to take care of any oral health problems you might have. There is no sense in fixing a cosmetic issue when a functional issue exists.

2. You need to have sufficient tooth root material.

As excess gum tissue is removed, more of your tooth root is revealed — which is why it is important that we establish that you have enough tooth root to expose without compromising the root. This is determined by an extensive examination by one of our dentists during your initial consultation and with x-rays.

If we take away too much gum tissue and too much of your tooth root is exposed, it can lead to complications including like sensitivity to hot/cold, developing an infection or loosening the tooth due to lack of a stabilizing foundation.

3. You must be able to receive a local anesthetic.

Before the procedure, we administer a local anesthetic (most commonly lidocaine) so that you are comfortable throughout the process. If you are unable to receive the anesthetic due to an allergy, medical condition or an anatomical variation, this may preclude you from receiving a gum lift. Typically you will know if you are allergic to an anesthetic by the classic signs like hives, rash, itching and/or difficulty breathing.

Certain medications can also cause an interaction. Please be sure to let us know of any and all medications and conditions you may have in the initial consultation. If you meet this criteria, then you will be an excellent candidate for a gum lift. Contact us to set up your appointment and start enjoying your new and improved smile!

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The History of Dental Floss

The History of Dental Floss

When you reach for your dental floss each day (hopefully you are reaching for it every day!), you probably don’t think twice about its origins. You likely have no idea how it came to be, but you are about to find out. Dental floss has an interesting history and has had many revisions and improvements since its inception.

CHEW ON THIS: ANCIENT “CHEW STICKS”

Babylonians dating back 3500 BC are believed to have used “chew sticks” to clean in and around their teeth. These small handheld sticks had frayed ends that were inserted in between teeth to remove debri. These sticks have also been found in Egyptian tombs from 3000 BC.

Sassafras, dogwood, olive, walnut, apple, pear, bamboo, fig, hazelnut, orange, lime, and birch trees are some of the more commonly known trees that are believed to have been used for chew sticks. In Africa and India, the Salvadora Persica tree was and is still currently being used to clean teeth with. In fact, in 1986, the World Health Organization actually recommended using these chewing sticks, also known as miswaks, for those in developing areas who may be without a modern toothbrush.

According to the Huffington Post, later in 1600 BC, the Chinese began selecting twigs from aromatic trees for their chewing sticks in order to freshen their breath as they cleaned their teeth.

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: HORSE HAIR FLOSS

The next material we see being used for flossing is horse hair. Historically, horse hair has had many household uses throughout the decades, from violin bows to textiles to fishing line. So it is makes sense that our predecessors used horsehair to clean their teeth as well.

Horsehair also makes an appearance in the history of the toothbrush. Documentation from 1223 describes how monks used a horsetail hair brush to clean their teeth. Boar hairs were also used during this time.

SILK ENTERS THE SCENE

Using silk as dental floss is the first place where we start to see more substantial documentation of the practice. One of the most prolific pioneers of dental care history, Levi Spear Parmly, is believed to be the first person to suggest using waxed silk thread to clean in between teeth.

In 1819, the revered dentist published a book titled “A Practical Guide To The Management of Teeth” that explained the origins of dental caries along with how to cure and prevent them.

In the book, Parmly is the first person to state that if teeth and gums are regularly cleaned, no decay can take place. While he may have been oversimplifying things, as many factors contribute to decay, he was definitely onto something. He also explained that every person needs three things to take care of their teeth: a toothbrush, a paste/powder for cleaning their teeth and some sort of flossing tool. These tools are still crucial today.

Parmly’s book was before it’s time. In the time period it was released, people just accepted the fact that their teeth were going to get cavities and fall out — it was a fact of life. It wasn’t until later with more research and advancements in dentistry did the public started to realize they had the power to preserve their teeth.

According to American Heritage’s Innovation & Technology magazine, one of the things that is so neat about Dr. Parmly was that while he was born into a family of wealthy dentists in New York, he moved to New Orleans and spent his time helping educating and helping lower-income individuals take care of their teeth.

FLOSS HITS THE MASSES

While the informed and wealthier members of society were beginning to floss regularly in the 1800s, it wasn’t until the end of the century that it became a widespread practice.

One of the things that helped this come about was the mass-production of unwaxed silk floss. In 1874 a patent was issued to Asahel M. Shurtleff. In 1882, Shurtleff’s Massachusetts-based company, Codman & Shurtleff, took the product to the market.

Later, Johnson & Johnson bought Codman and Shurtleff and continued selling floss.

When silk became harder to come by due to World War II, the use of nylon in floss begins. Nylon was a great material for floss because it was inexpensive and much stronger than silk. It is still widely used today!

In the early 1900s, another important figure in the history of flossing emerges, Dr. Charles Bass. He studied the microbiological flora in the mouth and how it plays into overall oral health. He found evidence that supported some of his predecessor Levi Parmly’s original ideas about the connection between flossing and tooth decay. He also helped pioneer the use of nylon floss and taught practitioners and patients how to properly floss.

MODERN FLOSSING: ENDLESS OPTIONS

Now that dental floss is a household staple, the dental supply industry has given us an endless amount of floss options to choose from.

For example, you can opt for waxed or unwaxed. Waxed varieties tend to slide over teeth more smoothly, while unwaxed can be better for those with dexterity issues.

You can also have a special flavor in your floss, from peppermint to cinnamon. Extra wide floss called dental tape is also available for those with larger gaps or spaces between their teeth.

There are also updated versions of ancient chew sticks. Today’s chew stick is a flossing pick and they make flossing super convenient. Different iterations of floss picks appear as early as 1888 and continued to improve through 1970s when single-handled and disposable floss picks appear.

No matter what type of floss you prefer, it is important to keep up on the habit to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

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Cosmetic Dentistry Can Fix Crooked Teeth

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Fix Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth no longer have to be a permanent condition thanks to modern dentistry. As the field continues to advance, fixing crooked teeth has become more painless and sophisticated

WHAT CAUSES CROOKED TEETH?

What causes crooked teeth in the first place? Crowded, misaligned, twisted or overlapping teeth can develop due to many factors.

  • For some, a small mouth with larger teeth is the culprit. Some people’s teeth literally don’t have enough room to fit in their mouth. Sometimes a child’s crooked teeth are caused by inheriting the father’s larger teeth and the mother’s small jaw or vice versa.
  • Having an upper and lower jaw of slightly different shapes and sizes can also be a catalyst for crooked teeth or an overbite or underbite.
  • For some, crooked teeth are simply just a genetic trait. While the health of your teeth (whether or not you have cavities and/or gum disease) is a direct result of your hygiene, crooked teeth aren’t necessarily something you can control.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FIXING CROOKED TEETH

Many people straighten their teeth for cosmetic reasons, but there are actually several health benefits as well. For example, crooked teeth are harder to clean which can lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. And tooth decay and gum disease can increase your risk of developing more serious issues like heart disease. Crooked teeth can also inhibit your ability to chew food and speak. Misaligned teeth or a jaw discrepancy can cause tension headaches.

SOLUTIONS FOR FIXING CROOKED TEETH

While our office provides general dental services, we are specialized in cosmetic dentistry. When it comes to straightening crooked teeth, there are a wide range of options to customize to your specific needs. From traditional braces to Invisalign — each of which have their unique benefits — we have options that will suit your lifestyle.

Invisalign is great option for adults who want to discreetly fix gaps and crowding. The clear aligners are worn daily for several months. Traditional braces are the way to go if you have a more corrective issues to fix. The results are dramatic and long lasting. They are typically worn for 1+ years.

Veneers, bonding, crowns, tooth reshaping, etc. are all more options to consider when enhancing your smile and correcting unwanted characteristics of your smile. If you have questions about which method is right for you, schedule a consultation today.

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The Guide To Sensitive Brushing: Helping With Heightened Sensitivity

The Guide To Sensitive Brushing Helping With Heightened Sensitivity

While many people brush, floss and eat with no discomfort whatsoever, many Americans struggle with pain caused by sensitive teeth. According to Colgate, as many as 45 million US adults have sensitive teeth. Research conducted the Journal of the American Dental Association estimates that 1 in 8 people have a sensitivity issue and women are 1.8 times more likely to have heightened sensitivity.

Not only can sensitivity inhibit daily activities like eating lunch, it can diminish your dental hygiene habits and compromise your smile. If it hurts to brush your teeth, you are less likely to do it consistently.

Some cases of heightened are so severe that even breathing in cold air can cause a pang of pain. Let’s explore causes, solutions and tips for taking care of highly sensitive teeth.

PAIN TRIGGERS

Those with sensitive teeth find that pain is activated by certain activities and foods. Thermal variation (hot or cold air, water or food) can stimulate a response as well as chemical variation (significantly acidic or sweet foods and drinks). This means that avoiding certain trigger foods and drinks can help you avoid pain.

Trigger Foods To Avoid:

  • Hot cocoa
  • Iced coffee
  • Hot soup
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Vinegar based dressings
  • Hard candy
  • Sugary sodas

You can also counteract the effects of these trigger foods by eating them in conjunction with dairy as it can provides a protective protein or casein layer.

One of the most vexing pain triggers for those with sensitive teeth is the act of brushing your teeth. The pressure stimulates a painful response, but you can’t go without brushing your teeth!

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF SENSITIVITY

Exposed dentin is the major source of discomfort for those with sensitive teeth. Dentin is the tissue below your enamel that has tiny tubules and nerve endings. There are many different ways that dentin can become exposed or compromised. Here are a few possible causes.

  • Gum recession due to aging, over-aggressive brushing or gum disease.
  • Sometimes those who suffer from bruxism can develop heightened sensitivity because of the way their teeth have been worn down to expose dentin.
  • Cavities, chips and fractures in your teeth can also cause sensitivity in the form of intense zings of pain.
  • Enamel erosion caused by acid reflux, bulimia or excessive consumption of acidic foods like citrus fruits, apples, pickles, vinegar, wine, etc.
  • Excessive bleaching can cause your teeth to become extra sensitive.
  • Fluorosis (condition caused by excessive fluoride use). Those with fluorosis have hypermineralized enamel on their teeth that can results in white flecks or dark pits.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOTHBRUSH FOR SENSITIVE TEETH

Sensitive teeth are best brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Aggressive brushing can wear away your enamel and exacerbate your sensitive teeth. It can also contribute to gum recession which is another common culprit behind sensitive teeth.

Amazon has an amazing selection to choose from. Some of our favorites here at Bridge Creek Dental include:

  • The Colgate 360 Enamel Health Extra Soft Toothbrush. This brush has extra soft bristles and a built-in tongue and cheek cleaner.
  • Electric toothbrushes are good for sensitive teeth because they do the work for you. The swiftly rotating heads clean your teeth at an appropriate pressure. Sometimes when we brush our teeth with a manual toothbrush we can apply too much pressure without realizing it. In fact, Registered Dental Hygienist magazine reports that one of the advantages of power toothbrushes is that less force is needed to remove plaque. Less force equals less pain for sensitive teeth sufferers. Choosing a special extra-soft head will make your brushing even better. The Philips Sonicare Sensitive is a great option.

No matter what you use, be sure you are brushing at least twice a day. Brushing will remove any traces of substances that incite sensitivity while also preventing your from developing an even greater sensitivity.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOTHPASTE FOR SENSITIVE TEETH

These days, there is a toothpaste for everything. From bubble-gum flavored kid’s toothpaste to whitening formulas and more. And lucky for you, there is a great sector of the market devoted specifically for those with heightened sensitivity.

While brands vary, the one ingredient you want to check the label for is potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate, approved by the American Dental Association and Food & Drug Administration for up to 5 percent in toothpaste, is effective because it calms the nerve endings in your teeth while blocking the tubules to relieve the pain. Think of it as a shield protecting your teeth from potential aggravators like an icy cold soda or an acidic piece of fruit.

AT-HOME REMEDIES

  • Test the effectiveness of your particular brand of special toothpaste by applying it directly on the sensitive areas and then spitting but not rinsing. After a few weeks of this remedy, you should be feeling less pain.
  • Provided that your sensitivity isn’t caused by fluorosis, try a fluoride rinse. For some people, using a rinse can actually decrease sensitivity, especially if decay is the issue fueling your pain. Talk one of our dental specialists about getting a high-strength rinse or gel prescribed.
  • Try to neutralize the acid level in your mouth after eating offending foods. Chewing gum and drinking water until you have an opportunity to brush your teeth can be helpful.

IN-OFFICE PROCEDURES

  • Fluoride varnishes are one great way to defend your teeth against sensitivity. This treatment is done at our office and we apply a thin coating of protective varnish that strengthens your enamel and can ease discomfort.
  • Bonding. We can applying bonding material to your teeth to provide a more substantial barrier between your dentin and the substances that aggravate your teeth.
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How To Pick Out Great Dental Floss

How To Pick Out Great Dental Floss

Flossing is crucial for a healthy beautiful smile! But are you using the right floss? There are no clear advantages of one type over another. Which means that the most important factor in selecting a dental floss product is finding one that you will consistently use! This means that whatever product you find more comfortable is the “best.”

Here are 5 tips to help you pick out the perfect floss for YOU.

1. Pay attention to waxed vs unwaxed.

Floss can be made from several different materials. Floss is most commonly made from nylon, but it can also be created from rubber, plastic or polytetrafluoroethylene. Floss can also be waxed or unwaxed. Floss that is wax coated tends to slide between teeth more easily and fray less. Waxed flosses also come in different flavors like cinnamon and mint. The downside to waxed floss is that it is slightly more expensive and might be harder to grip for those with dexterity issues.

2. Pick the perfect pick.

Floss picks are a great option is you have a difficult time maneuvering regular floss — which is why picks are so popular among elderly and children. You can even buy special picks with fun colors and designs to encourage an enthusiasm for hygiene in your little one.

If you are someone who struggles to floss as it is, a floss pick might be your best friend because of the added convenience is provides. They are easily stashed in your car or desk, and can be used with one hand at a time. The disadvantage of flossing picks is that some people find they can’t clean certain teeth as well as they can with regular floss.

3. Consider dental tape.

You probably have seen dental tape before without realizing it is different from normal floss. But it is much wider and flatter than regular floss, it resembles a ribbon. It is great for teeth with larger gaps and some people just prefer the touch and feel of it. If you find regular floss painful and uncomfortable, it’s worth giving dental tape a try!

4. Spend some time scanning the reviews.

Even if you buy your floss at the grocery store, it’s worth spending a little time on Amazon looking at the bestsellers in each floss category. Not only can you see how many stars a particular item gets, you can read about specific user experiences. Look for those who describe dental issues similar to yours. For example, if you have very crooked, tight teeth, pay special attention to a review that praises easy use and comfort.

5. Ask the expert.

The next time you are at our office, ask us which floss we recommend for your teeth. As dental professionals we can accurately assess the spacing of your teeth and help you choose a product best suited for your mouth. We have tried so many different products are we are passionate about our favorites. And if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment such as braces or invisalign, we can give you special instructions about flossing under these unique circumstances.

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Considerations Before Looking Into A Gum Lift Procedure

A gum lift is an incredible new advancement in cosmetic dentistry. The procedure, also known as crown lengthening, raises, sculpts and reshapes the gum line. Most people do it to achieve the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth. If you’ve ever thought you have a “gummy” smile or an uneven gum line, this procedure is definitely something to look into and speak to one of our dentists about.

Historically, gum lifts were first used to treat gum disease. Dentists started using them in the 1980s and around year 2000 is when they started to use them for cosmetic purposes.

ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR A GUM LIFT?

To receive a gum lift, the condition of your tooth root must be substantial enough that exposing more of the tooth will not compromise the structure.

Many people in search of a gum lift were simply born with a large gums to teeth ratio. Others might seek it due to gum recession. Not only is gum recession unsightly, but it can also lead to serious dental problems like sensitivity, decay, and tooth loss.

Those who suffer from bruxism can also develop the appearance of a gummy smile because their teeth have been worn down, making their gums appear larger.

Having a small or thin upper lip can also contribute to the aesthetics of your gums. Women are more likely to have excess gum tissue — cosmetic dentists estimate 14 percent of women and 7 percent of men have excessive gingival exposure. Often, those with approximately 3 to 4 millimeters of visible gum tissue consider themselves to have a gummy smile.

A gum lift procedure is often done in conjunction with porcelain veneers and on the front teeth which are most visible.

THE GUM LIFT PROCEDURE

Before the procedure, we will have a consultation with you to determine your smile goals and any limitations we might have. In this appointment we can use a pen to mark up your gums and show you where your new gum line will be.

The gum lift procedure, typically done in one appointment, begins with some local numbing of the soft tissue. Then when you are unable to feel the pain, we will begin to trim and reshape your gum tissue. This can be done with a laser or a surgical knife. We encourage the use of the laser as this procedure has a much faster recovery time.

In some cases, we will go even further and actually separate the gums from the bone, trim or shave down the bone and then stitch back your gums at a higher lever.

Unlike some other dental procedures, you don’t need to take several days off work or take heavy pain medications. Your gums may be tender, swollen, and sore immediately after but you should be able to eat and drink in no time. For most people, a mild pain reliever like ibuprofen is usually all that is needed.

It’s also wise to stick to soft, non-sticky and non-spicy foods for a few days just to be safe and allow your gums to heal without further irritation. We recommend gentle brushing and flossing for a couple weeks after the procedure. Using an antibacterial mouthwash can also be very helpful during this time period to fight infection.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE UNDERGOING A GUM LIFT

  • Before you schedule a gum lift, take some time to speak to us about any concerns or fears you might have. While the risk of complications is low, problems can happen. If you tend to bleed heavily in other dental procedures or if your gums are prone to swelling, be sure to let us know so we can discuss the causes and minimization of those issues should you receive the lift. Allergies to medications and/or anesthesia can also causes complications in a gum lift.
  • Just as important as it is to consider the risks, it’s also important to explore the benefits and advantages of choosing to utilize this cosmetic procedure. Many people feel embarrassed about their smile and as the standards for a beautiful smile continue to rise, that discontent grows. Investing time and money in a great smile can improve your confidence. A well-done gum lift will make your teeth appear proportional and symmetrical. You don’t have to smile with closed lips or feel self conscious about your teeth!
  • Consider the financial investment. The price of a gum lift can vary drastically. If you only need to address a small area of the gums around one or two teeth, it will cost much The typical cost is estimated to be anywhere from $50 to $350 per tooth with a whole-mouth price of $1,000 to $3,000. Because it is a primarily cosmetic procedure, your insurance company is unlikely to cover the cost but it is still wise to submit prior authorization for the procedure to your insurance provider.
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How You Can Help Your Loved One With Special Needs Manage Their Dental Care

How You Can Help Your Loved One With Special Needs Manage Their Dental Care

No one particularly enjoys going to the dentist. It’s even a point of anxiety for a lot of dental patients. The smell, the vulnerability, the sharp and shiny tools in your mouth… even the bravest of manly men cower in the reclining chair. It can be hard to convince your loved ones to go to the dentist, especially when they really need it. Imagine the challenge when you need dental work for your loved ones with special needs.

Those with special needs often have issues with sensory processing – they are easily frightened, overwhelmed, pained, and anxious. Doing strange things is often difficult, so the dentist can be terrifying. Sitting still while a stranger sticks sharp objects in your mouth, while you can’t see or talk, seems impossible. Yet dental care is critical, especially for children. So what can you do?

Parents of children with special needs can consider the following options to help their child have a calm and successful trip to the dentist:

  • Talk with your child beforehand. Start early and begin sharing with your child exactly what will happen when they go to the dentist, and why it’s important that they go. Give your child a chance to express fears and ask questions.
  • Play Dentist! Show your child what might happen at the dentist by playing pretend – then let them pretend to be the dentist on YOU as a patient.
  • Shop around. Not all dental offices are prepared to help a child with special needs. Ask friends or parents of other special needs kids where they prefer to receive dental care. You may even be interested in taking a tour of a dental office beforehand.
  • Prep the Dentist. Once you’ve found an office and dentist that will meet the needs of your special needs child – prepare them. If your child has certain triggers or needs certain routines you should run them by the dentist beforehand. You can also make requests for the dental office like dim lighting, music, or a code word for when your child might need a break.
  • Bring Calming Tools. If your child needs a blanket, toy, pillow, or anything else for comfort – bring it! Consider headphones or even an iPad with their favorite TV show or movie.
  • Stay Close, Keep Talking. Often all a child needs is to know their parent is nearby and involved to help them feel safe. Remain close by, even holding their hand or rubbing their leg if necessary. Talk to them and the dentist frequently so your child knows everything is ok.

If going to the dentist has you stressing out, take a deep breath for you and your child. There are dentist offices out there that are willing to meet the needs of those with sensory disorders or special needs. All it takes is some preparation and compassion to make a dental trip successful.

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5 Major Differences Between Traditional Braces And Invisalign

5 Major Differences Between Traditional Braces And Invisalign

Everyone wants beautiful, straight teeth! Orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry are rapidly growing fields that allow men and women to dramatically change their smiles. When it comes to straightening teeth, traditional braces and Invisalign are two of the most popular options we offer here at Bridge Creek Dental. What are the differences between these two methods? Read on and find out.

1. Braces are visible, while Invisalign is discreet.

If you’ve ever heard the terms “brace face” or “metal mouth” in adolescence, you know that braces are known for being particularly attractive. Braces involve brackets, wires and sometimes rubber bands that all work together to put your teeth in the correct position. While they are very effective at this, it isn’t the most glamorous process. Invisalign straightens teeth with clear plastic aligners that are very discreet.

2. Braces are better suited for making functional improvements than Invisalign.

Invisalign is great at making more minor aesthetic adjustments, while braces can help patients with more complex cases of crowded and crooked teeth. They can close large gaps, align teeth that are twisted and help with bite issues. Fixing these issues will make your smile look better but they can also improve the overall health and function of your teeth.

3. Invisalign is more comfortable than traditional braces.

While it may taking a little getting used to, wearing clear plastic aligners is much more comfortable than dealing with metal brackets and wires. Plus, with traditional braces you will be getting your braces adjusted and tightened regularly. Oral B estimates that these adjustments usually happen every 4 to 6 weeks. Patients with traditional braces often suffer from some soreness and tenderness after an adjustment.

4. There is more room for patient error with Invisalign.

Invisalign users are instructed to wear their aligners for 22 to 24 hours a day and to only take them out for eating, drinking or other special occasions. But the truth is that many patients do not keep their aligners in that much and as a result the treatment does not work as well as intended. With braces, taking them off at home is not really an option, which means there is little chance you can derail the process.

5. Certain foods are restricted with traditional braces.

Popcorn, caramels, gum, nuts and corn on the cob are just a few of the foods that are no-no’s with traditional braces. Eating anything overly sticky or hard can hurt your braces. With Invisalign you can simply take out your tray and enjoy anything you would like!

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Sensory Processing Disorder – Dental Care Techniques For Children Sensitive To Touch

Sensory Processing Disorder - Dental Care Techniques For Children Sensitive To Touch

There are many ways that dental visits have to be adapted to cater to specific patients and their individual needs. One of the biggest challenges for many working within the dental field is working on children with Autism. In particular, sensory processing disorder.

A study done by the University of Southern California found that children who experienced stimulation sensitivities were far calmer and more relaxed during visits to dental offices that had been remade to address those sensitivities. Some of those features included lower lighting, soothing music, projected images moving slowly across the ceiling, and chairs with butterfly wings that were cushioned to feel more like the chair was hugging the child.

Another issue that might need to be addressed is tooth sensitivity. This is a difficult enough problem to handle in adults. But children, especially those on the Autism spectrum who may struggle with touch in the first place, could end up totally resistant to any dental procedure if there is pain or discomfort involved.

Why Children With Sensory Processing Disorder Dislike The Dentist

There could be a number of reasons why a child who has sensory processing disorder may dread going to a dentist. Some of them will be the same as any other child’s anxieties:

  • Fear of pain
  • The look of instruments like drills
  • Past bad experiences
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Stories they have seen in cartoons
  • Stories they have heard from classmates

But a child with sensory issues will have other triggers to take into consideration:

  • Difficulty coping with bright lights
  • Fear or pain caused by loud sounds
  • Discomfort in unfamiliar places
  • Discomfort over textures, such as the chair beneath them
  • Inability to relax around strangers
  • Difficulty coping with breaks in routine

All of these will be compounded when they walk into a dentist’s office. It doesn’t even account for other annoyances that most of us take for granted every day, such as traffic, loud noises in the street, or the long wait before an appointment. A child on the Autism spectrum could experience these as major triggers before they ever get into the dentist’s chair.

What Parents Can Do

Parents reading this can use some tricks to help their child get through the stresses of a dental exam or procedure. Some of them happen long before they leave the home.

  • Find a dentist ahead of time that understands the needs of your child, and is willing/able to accommodate them.
  • Begin explaining the process of the dental visit days ahead of the appointment, if possible. Show them videos, books, or drawings that go through everything step by step.
  • Put on a fake dental visit where you play the dentist, so they can get a feel for the procedures and exams.
  • Make sure you follow their routine through the day in every way other than the visit, to lessen anxiety.
  • Remain communicative and present before, during and after the examination.
  • Lessen sensory triggers; bring sunglasses or a sleep mask for lights, earplugs or headphones with soothing music for sound, and a special toy, blanket or other comfort object.
  • Don’t be afraid to direct the dentist. They will not know your signs of your child’s distress, but you do. You can let them know when breaks are needed, or if there is something they can do to make the process go more smoothly.
  • Consider sedation. Though a last resort, for long, painful or frightening procedures, you may wish to consent to your child being put under for the duration. Keep in mind that this has to be planned in advance, so speak to your child’s dentist before finalizing an appointment. You may also wish to speak to your child’s primary care doctor about anti-anxiety medication for appointments.
  • Start good habits as soon as possible. One of the most important things you can do for your child is to make sure they take good care of their teeth. This won’t mitigate the need for annual exams, but it will lessen the chances of serious dental procedures later on. The best treatment is often prevention, especially when your child has difficulty managing appointments.

What Dental Professionals Can Do

If you are a dental professional reading this, there are things you can do to help, as well. The study mentioned in the introduction showed how offices are already adapting in ways that cater to children with sensory processing disorder. But these tactics can help other children feel more at ease when they slip into your chair, as well:

  • Install light dimmers in the waiting room and exam rooms. Most procedures require an overhead light, which means having the rooms themselves less bright won’t impact your work.
  • Provide more play options for children in the waiting room, and during longer procedures that require waiting.
  • Have music in each room that is soothing and relaxing, but is also appropriate for young children.
  • Consider butterfly chairs. These are special chairs with softer cushions. There are wings that fold up from underneath, creating a ‘cocoon’ that can hug the child while keeping them sitting still. Many children find them comforting, and even fun to sit in.
  • Speak as you go along, gently telling them each part of the process in terms they can understand.
  • Communicate openly and effectively with parents. Ask them if there is anything that can be done during an appointment to help their child feel more at ease. Take their suggestions into consideration. Remember that you are a team, and working together for the best care possible is the ultimate goal.

Making The Dentist a Peaceful Place For Everyone

The dentist’s office can be a stressful environment. Yet, when we look at it from the perspective of a child with sensory processing disorder, we can get a wider view of the environment and ways to improve it. By putting a little bit of time, effort and thought into how dental exams are conducted, we can begin to make the experience less dramatic for everyone.

Find out more about this and other dental topics at Bridge Creek Dental.

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Adhesives To Try Out For More Comfortable Dentures

Adhesives To Try Out For More Comfortable Dentures

ADHESIVE TIPS

For many people, denture adhesives are key to achieving that perfect fit. They help fill in any gaps that appear as your mouth changes over time. They also improve chewing ability, reduce slippage, prevent food from collecting under your dentures, provide added comfort and give you more confidence. Different forms of adhesives can be traced back to the late 18th century when vegetable gum was used to hold dentures in place.

Here is the low down on types of adhesives and tips for application and use.

TYPES OF ADHESIVE

Cream – Cream adhesives are the most commonly used and they are easy to apply. They key to a snug fit is creating a tight seal between your dentures and your mouth and cream adhesive helps strengthen that sealing bond. The most common way to apply a cream adhesive is to place a series of small dots of cream along curve of your denture and then press them firmly into your mouth and hold for a few seconds. You will know you are using too much adhesive if it oozes out the sides when you press it down in your mouth.

Powder – Powder denture adhesive is another great option for getting the perfect fit. To use a powder adhesive, first clean your dentures but don’t dry them, leaving them slightly wet. Then take a small amount of powder and (many people use a 1/4 of a teaspoon or so) and spoon it evenly on your denture. Then lightly tap or shake your denture and let any excess powder fall off. then press your denture firmly into place and bite down for a few seconds to secure the seal. When you first begin using powder adhesive start using a small amount and then add more if you need to. It’s always smart (and economical) to only use what you need and no more.

ADHESIVE TIPS

ONE | Consult with your dentist. If you are thinking about using a denture cream, ask your dentist his or her opinion, they can give you recommendations. They can help you know if your dentures need to be relined or reshaped or if some simple denture adhesive can do the job.

TWO | Watch for Zinc. In 2011, the FDA warned consumers about the dangers of denture adhesive containing zinc. Studies found that the level of zinc in adhesives was actually poisoning denture wearers and causing serious nerve damage. Many manufacturers have since cleaned up their products but it’s always a good idea to check your ingredient list! If your adhesive does contain zinc, be careful to use only recommended daily amount and no more.

THREE | Clean & Dry. Before you apply any adhesive, make sure your mouth and dentures are clean and dry.

FOUR | Rinse Well.This might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure to clean off tiny bits of adhesive at the end of the day. Remnants can build-up and affect your fit.

FIVE | Try different brands. There are many different brands of adhesive on the market and the only way to find the best one for you is to try them! The local drugstore and Amazon are great places to do research and read reviews of leading denture adhesive brands like Polident, Fixodent, DenTek, Poligrip, Sea Bond, Cushion Grip and more.

Denture Adhesive Reviews is another great resource that lists the pros and cons of each brand of adhesive. For instance, some adhesives require you to wait 20 minutes after application to eat while others have no waiting period. Make a list of your top priorities for your adhesive and then find the one that fits the bill.

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