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2016-01-18 16:22:30

One question we often hear from anxious parents is, “How do I know my child’s permanent teeth are coming in properly?” For all parents, that is an emotionally loaded question. The arrival of your child’s first permanent teeth is a symbolic signpost marking the beginning of the end of your baby’s adorable grin … and the first glimmer of what you hope will be an attractive adult smile.

 

In our experience, if the primary teeth and bite have been problem-free or if early problems have been addressed, you can reasonably expect that with regular maintenance the permanent teeth will come along nicely. That’s because those baby teeth have been maintaining the spaces where the permanent teeth will erupt beginning around age 5 or 6. By about age 14, children have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth, and the remaining four wisdom teeth will appear behind the permanent ones in late adolescence.

 

Over this length of time, things can change, so it’s important to stay on top of this process to avoid crowding and misalignment of the permanent teeth. Often the earliest solution is a simple one. For example, if a baby tooth is lost too soon, we might recommend a space maintainer so that the surrounding teeth don’t start to tilt or rotate to fill in the space. When that happens, it shifts the angle of the permanent teeth below as well, which can result in speech issues and more complicated and expensive treatment later on.

 

When the primary tooth loosens appropriately because a permanent tooth is coming through, you can have your child gently wiggle it or eat a hard fruit or vegetable to speed up the process, but you can usually let these loose teeth come out on their own.

 

Once room is made for them, the permanent teeth usually just do what comes naturally and emerge cleanly with no significant tenderness. It isn’t always smooth sailing, though. When the first four permanent molars appear, usually around age 6, it can sometimes be difficult and painful. As the tooth erupts, it slowly pushes through the child’s gum, often leaving a flap hanging over the exposed new tooth. If food gets stuck underneath, it can cause an infection and fever. I urge you to call me at the first sign of this kind of trouble. If necessary, the excess gum can be removed and the area cleaned to allow the new tooth to come in normally.

 

Rest assured … the arrival of permanent teeth that will blossom into an attractive adult smile is a natural and beautiful thing. The best way to keep it that way, and to keep your child smiling through it, is to come in for regular dental checkups and keep them cavity free.




2015-12-22 13:57:23

One of the most prevalent problems patient’s present with is gum disease. Gum disease is preventable and treatable. The rule of thumb is to brush your teeth twice daily and floss once – bedtime is a good time. If you’re lacking confidence in your technique or noticing some bleeding during your home care routines, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for an exam and some assistance with improving your skills and selecting the type of toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste that is most suited for your needs.

 

The fact that we are living longer also increases the likelihood of encountering problems that challenge our one and only set of permanent adult teeth. In addition to gum disease and root cavities, these include chips, cracks, and fractures in addition to general wear and tear and staining.

 

Staining is normal and you can stay ahead of it by limiting food and beverages that you know are problematic like coffee, tea, juices, wine and cigarettes and with regular thorough professional cleaning in addition to your home care routines. You can also opt for home or professional whitening procedures that are both fast and cost effective.

 

A combination of today’s more active lifestyle combined with thinning enamel and ageing fillings and restorations also make your teeth very susceptible to chipping or cracking as you get older. Corrective options include crowns which can be used in numerous ways. The damaged tooth can be prepared to receive a new ceramic or porcelain restoration that looks, feels, and behaves like a real tooth, a bridge can be created by combining multiple crowns, and a crown can be attached to an artificial root or implant.

 

For restoring moderately damaged teeth, veneers can be created from the same enamel-coloured bonding material we use to create white fillings. Porcelain veneers are another option. These ultra-durable restorations can be adhered directly to existing teeth with minimal alteration to the original surface. Veneers are natural looking, colour-matched to existing teeth, and they can strengthen and brighten your smile by disguising stains for up to fifteen years with care.

 

Young or old, as you can see, maintaining a healthy mouth and a healthy body for your lifetime is really about paying attention – to home care, regular dental visits, and even something as simple as wearing a protective sports mouthguard.

 

And please remember that you can always feel free to ask us about preserving your smile. Your calls are always welcome!

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones!

 




2015-11-10 14:43:05

It has become more clear to us that in light of growing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers (all of which may be linked to poor oral health, by the way), good nutrition is becoming a top priority in our society, particularly in the formative years. Yet, in our experience, those are the same years in which your children are likely to be toothbrushing-challenged and also the most finicky and fast-food crazed.

Quite a prospect! But from what parents tell us and from what we see in the dental chair, it’s not impossible. Mostly, it’s creating a common-sense plan and then sticking to it. A lot of this you know…

  • Choose a variety of nutritious foods from the major food groups
  • Some snacks are obviously healthier than others. Fresh veggies, yogurts, and cheese or dairy substitutes are better than those with high sugar content like candy or mints. A snack that is swallowed quickly, such as a drink, is better than one that sticks to the teeth. It seems obvious to avoid soft, sticky, sweet foods like caramels and jelly beans and beverages like soda, sweet teas, and juices.
  • You have to get into the habit of reading food labels if you want to choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars which aren’t only found in pastries, cookies, candies, and soft drinks, but in just about everything these days.

As for advice about eating out and tips on how to get your child to eat healthier meals and snacks, there are many excellent and helpful books and magazines that provide child-friendly recipes, and of course, an abundance of information online.In fact, the sheer volume of information that’s published, even when it’s legitimate and scientific, can be confusing.

It helps to understand that tooth decay occurs when foods containing sugars and starches are frequently left on the teeth to form plaque, the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth that you can feel with your tongue. This can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum disease unless it is removed by regular brushing and flossing.

So the common sense solution is to…

  • Limit the amount of decay-causing foods mentioned earlier.
  • Encourage your family to drink water instead of sugary drinks, sodas, or sports drinks, especially after a sweet or sticky snack. Keeping the mouth hydrated also promotes saliva which protects oral tissues.
  • Encourage tooth brushing using toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Visit us twice a year (unless an individual treatment plan indicates a higher frequency) to monitor oral health.If it’s been a while since you have had your family’s oral health assessed or if you feel you need some instruction on the best home routines for your children, I encourage you to call my office and depend on my team to help you out.

© Patient News




2015-09-08 20:51:27

This blog is a bit of a departure from our usual topics, but a patient recently reminded me of an often neglected, yet very important subject – our pets’ health. We know that our animals need exercise and that obesity is just as harmful to cats and dogs as it is to men and women. What we often fail to realize is that our pets have oral health issues too, and that many of their problems are the same as ours.

When foods we eat contain too much sugar and carbohydrate, the small percentage of harmful bacteria contained in the oral cavity begin to thrive and grow in number. These are bacteria “with a sweet tooth,” and as they break down sugary substances, they produce corrosive by-products that erode enamel and accumulate plaque along the gumline. The plaque gradually builds making a perfect environment for corrosive bacteria to colonize. Eventually pockets of infection form under the gums causing them to become red and puffy looking. Infected gums tend to bleed easily and cause persistent bad breath.

Left unchecked, these pockets begin to damage not only enamel, but underlying cartilage and bone. Teeth can even loosen and fall out, but not before months, even years, of destructive bacteria have entered the bloodstream. These inflammatory microbes are connected with many chronic health issues like heart disease and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, and late-life dementia.

We bet you’ve forgotten we are talking about pets! We are not vets but we do understand that your cat and dog can fall prey to the same cycle of painful and sometimes debilitating periodontal disease as you, but they can’t raise a paw and say, “My teeth hurt!” In fact, they are descended from animals that would be at a disadvantage if they made vulnerabilities like pain or illness known. Like us, animals are subject to cavities, broken teeth, and orthodontic issues. Each can affect more than your pet’s mouth – they can affect other parts of the body and make your pet sick.

Because our patient had asked about her dog’s very bad breath, we suggested that she have her vet check him for periodontal disease and suggested some easy steps she could take in the meantime. Diet is an important factor in an animal’s oral health. Dog chews and crunchy sugar-free foods, for example, can help minimize plaque buildup. You can also find instruction on how to brush your pet’s teeth online or ask your vet for advice.

As with humans, the best protection is prevention and regular maintenance. A regular checkup will help keep your pet’s teeth happy and breath fresh.




2015-08-19 16:04:31

Here’s something you might want to ponder. How did our human ancestors manage when there were no dental teams to care for damaged teeth or clean away plaque? It seems logical to assume that a lot of early humans must have been walking around with toothless grins, yet the truth is quite the contrary. Evidence shows that these people were in excellent health, and their mouths were almost free of dental disease. In other words, they never needed a dentist for a great smile.

Back in the old days, a natural diet and a few twigs and bones were all the preventive tools our ancestors needed. Today we have grown to rely on toothbrushes, toothpastes, floss, water irrigation, mouthwashes, and dentistry to keep dental disease away. Of course, we live longer than our ancestors did and have greater potential to succumb to oral health issues. And while we may no longer be able to live the simpler life they did, we can pay more attention to what we eat.

Here are some simple steps that will go a long way to keeping your mouth healthy…

  • Try to eat balanced meals every day. And if you eat sweets, have them with a meal, not as a snack.
  • Brush, floss, and rinse your mouth often. Otherwise, chew on a piece of sugarless gum or munch on fibrous fruits and vegetables like apples or celery.
  • Be smart about snacking. A healthy snack doesn’t have to be boring – just take a look at these options…Potato chips or popcorn? Switch those greasy, salty chips and pop the corn! Plain dry popcorn is best, but a little oil, butter or margarine won’t do too much harm. Just don’t chew the kernels!
  • Chocolate milk or OJ? Chocolate milk or flavored and fortified non-dairy milks have nutritional goodness and contain no more sugar than an equal serving of unsweetened orange juice. Even though they’re nutritious, foods like this shouldn’t be served too often during the day.
  • How about fruits? Fruit punch with real juice added doesn’t stack up to a drink that’s 100% juice, and a fresh pear is superior to raisins and other sugary dried fruits and fruit leathers that stick to your teeth.
  • Plain toasted oat cereal or granola? No doubt about it, plain unsweetened cereals are far better. Granola and granola bars are often high fat, and they’re sweet and sticky enough to give your teeth something to worry about.
  • Just like our ancient ancestors, savvy snacking and a nutritious and balanced diet are as important to your teeth and gums as to the rest of your body. Your teeth and your smile will thank you!

© Patient News




2015-02-12 16:38:32

Every day there is more and more evidence that proves the important connection between your oral health and your overall body health. In our own career we have seen increasing collaboration between dentistry and medicine because inflammatory diseases are common to both health management groups. That is, there are many ways in which researchers are linking gum diseases with systemic diseases and other conditions that you may have or may eventually develop including cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are not the only risk for those with poor oral health. People with diabetes, for example, are more likely to have gum disease than people who do not, and gum disease makes it more difficult for the diabetic to control blood-sugar levels. Some research has shown that when periodontal infections were treated, the management of diabetes markedly improved, and research continues in this promising area. As well, a number of studies have demonstrated that periodontal care significantly reduces the medical costs associated with diabetes, and New York University has sponsored a feasibility study to use gingival blood from periodontal patients as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying prediabetes.

There really isn’t enough time or space in one blog to address the mouth-body link in its entirety. Suffice to say that a comprehensive body of evidence from both long-term and short-term studies that are both credible and reliable has linked gum diseases with arthritis, cancers, osteoporosis, hearing loss, and complications of pregnancy in addition to the topics discussed here.

So what to do? Prevention is best, but treatment and monitoring run a close second. Gum disease begins at or below the gumline. Left untreated, these infections can lead to inflammation, which leads to bleeding. Your gums, previously an intact system, have become a wound, providing an open gateway for invading bacteria. Many scientists believe that harmful oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream through damaged gums and travel throughout your body. Your immune system can’t always fight the resulting infection.

Bottom line? Regardless of the mechanism, the link between gum disease and systemic diseases is clear. If you have poor oral hygiene, or tend to delay routine examinations, you might be putting more than your teeth in jeopardy. We encourage you to call our office, make and keep your appointments, and bring your questions with you.

Drummond Dental Group

© Patient News




2014-12-18 13:59:49

The more reading we do on the topic of health, the more clear it is to us that in light of growing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers (all of which may be linked to poor oral health, by the way), good nutrition is becoming a top priority in our society, particularly in the formative years. Yet, in our experience, those are the same years in which your children are likely to be tooth brushing-challenged and also the most finicky and fast-food crazed.

Quite a prospect! But from what parents tell us and from what we see in the dental chair, it’s not impossible. Mostly, it’s creating a common-sense plan and then sticking to it. A lot of this you know…

  • Choose a variety of nutritious foods from the major food groups – the Nutrition Plate is readily available online at ChooseMyPlate.gov and in schools, libraries, and day care centers. If you have a copy of the old food pyramid and you’re used to it, it’s still a very useful tool.
  • Some snacks are obviously healthier than others. Fresh veggies, yogurts, and cheese or dairy substitutes are better than those with high sugar content like candy or mints. It seems obvious to avoid soft, sticky, sweet foods like caramels and jelly beans and beverages like soda, sweet teas, and juices. And yet, it can get tricky…

You have to get into the habit of reading food labels if you want to choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars which aren’t only found in pastries, cookies, candies, and soft drinks, but in just about everything these days. It helps to understand that tooth decay occurs when foods containing sugars and starches are frequently left on the teeth to form plaque, the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth that you can feel with your tongue. This can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum disease unless it is removed by regular brushing and flossing.So the common sense solution is to…

  • Limit the amount of decay-causing foods.
  • Encourage your family to drink water instead of sugary drinks, sodas, or sports drinks, especially after a sweet or sticky snack. Keeping the mouth hydrated also promotes saliva which protects oral tissues.
  • Encourage tooth brushing using toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Visit us twice a year (unless an individual treatment plan indicates a higher frequency) to monitor oral health.

If it’s been a while since you have had your family’s oral health assessed or if you feel you need some instruction on the best home routines for your children, we encourage you to call us and depend on the Drummond Dental team to help you out.© Patient News




2014-12-03 15:33:23

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer and has the worst five-year survival rate of all major cancers. Yet with early diagnosis it can be cured. This disease often goes unnoticed because it usually starts painlessly. But it can be observed and we at Drummond Dental are in a unique front-line position to catch it early through painless oral cancer checkups during each of your regular examinations.

You may have noticed that we routinely evaluate your mouth including lips, cheek, tongue surface, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, the area of the throat at the back of the mouth including tonsils, and the base of your tongue.

What are we looking for? Any sore in your mouth that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change of the oral tissue, a lump or thickening in the cheek, a painless white or red patch, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth. In short – any change that appears to be suspicious. The vast majority of abnormal sores are not cancerous. Still, if we do see anything irregular, we will recommend follow-up testing and that you visit your doctor, especially if you have any persistent difficulty with chewing, swallowing, numbness, and unintentional weight loss.

We should all be alert to signs of oral cancer, and check ourselves for symptoms. Here is the 1-Minute Home Protocol: every month, look at your lips and mouth for the signs I mentioned earlier: a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change, a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness.

Call us or your physician if you have any of these, and even if you don’t find anything, please keep your regular dental checkups.

How else can you help yourself? Avoid using all tobacco products, minimize alcohol, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, apply lip balm with sunscreen, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which provide anti-cancer vitamins and antioxidants.

And don’t be nervous – you needn’t rely only on yourself. We are proud that we can serve as your first line of defense.

© Patient News




2014-06-26 13:08:53

Oral health education is vital if we want to prevent early childhood tooth decay and gum disease, both of which have been shown to affect general health for a lifetime. In fact, we encourage our patients to keep their children’s teeth healthy even before birth by looking after their own oral health. There are two reasons for this. The first is that expectant mothers with poor oral health may be at greater risk of developing toxemia or gestational diabetes, and their babies may be born prematurely and/or have a low birth weight. The second is that once babies arrive, parents can actually transmit oral bacteria to them simply by kissing, and later on by blowing on their food or sharing eating utensils.

Although a first dental visit won’t happen until about age one (approximately 6 months after the first tooth), it’s crucial to establish good home care early. While it may seem odd to clean your infant’s gums with a clean damp cloth after each feeding, it’s an excellent routine to get into. It is healthy for the gums and a clean mouth is less likely to create bacteria that could cause cavities even before first teeth come through. This is to avoid baby bottle tooth decay caused by milk, juice, or sweetened liquid at naptime or bedtime, and to avoid teeth and bite misalignment due to sucking. The same bite issues exist with pacifiers, fingers, and thumbs, common comforts which often continue after weaning.

As soon as the first teeth come in, we usually suggest brushing them with a small soft-bristled toothbrush and water. We don’t generally recommend toothpaste before age two, but during visits we can help with choosing the right time to start and the right toothpaste to use. Children can be sensitive to strong or spicy flavors like peppermint and cinnamon, so we always recommend a mild-tasting one and using only a pea-sized amount. Fluoridated pastes should be kept where kids can’t get at them without your help.

We think that one of life’s little pleasures is taking your child shopping for a fancy child-sized brush and letting them pick one out. It’s worth tossing in that extra buck for a cartoon character, just to see their faces! At home, set up a little stool so they can look in the mirror “eye to eye” and reach the faucet without stretching. What a milestone! Good brushing takes at least three minutes, which is a long time for a child to focus, so it’s okay to work up to it gradually, although you may have to follow up to ensure the job is thorough. This is especially important before sleep (naps and nighttime) when less saliva means greater risk of cavities.

Brushing can be fun! In our experience if you keep making it a high point in their day, they’ll do it with pleasure!
© Patient News




2014-06-26 12:38:38

Every chance we get, we remind our patients about the negative effects of tobacco – increased risk of cancers, high blood pressure, and heart disease – things you usually associate with age. But tooth loss should never be associated with age. If heart disease seems too far down the road to worry about, then maybe losing your teeth at such a young age, or risking the hearing loss associated with that (yes, really!), brings the problem closer to home.

 

The study used 495 healthy men, including smokers, non-smokers, and those who quit smoking during the study. By examining their teeth every three years, it was discovered that smokers lost an average of 2.9 teeth after ten years of smoking a pack a day. Those who quit smoking significantly reduced their risk, while non-smokers, on average, lost the fewest teeth. Another study of female smokers supported these findings.

 

While all the reasons for this dramatic increase in tooth loss are still to be determined, gum disease is known to be the main culprit. One theory is that smoking reduces blood flow to the gum tissues, reducing the amount of nutrients to the bone, and decreasing the amount of support the gums can provide to the teeth. Another theory is that smoking causes a chain of events beginning with a reduced flow of saliva and an increase in plaque buildup on the teeth, leading to tartar which can lead to gum disease, and eventually, loss of teeth.

 

If you smoke, be especially careful to examine your mouth for white or red patches, check for unexplainable numbness or soreness, and for sores that don’t heal within a couple of weeks. If you notice any of these, call your doctor immediately. Up to 10% of people with these patches will develop oral cancer.

 

We’ll do a thorough check for signs of oral cancer every time you come in for a checkup whether you smoke or not. There are surgical procedures for its treatment, but there is no guarantee of a cure, so in the long run, the best solution is to stop smoking.

 

And as far as tooth loss goes, in addition to avoiding tobacco, everyone needs to maintain a regular routine of flossing and brushing. Our team is ready to provide you with encouragement and resources  in all of your efforts to stay healthy!

© Patient News