Posts for: September, 2016
There's something universal about thumb sucking: nearly all babies do it, and nearly all parents worry about it. While most such worries are unfounded, you should be concerned if your child sucks their thumb past age of 4 — late thumb sucking could skew bite development.
Young children suck their thumb because of the way they swallow. Babies move their tongues forward into the space between the two jaws, allowing them to form a seal around a nipple as they breast or bottle feed. Around age 4, this “infantile swallowing pattern” changes to an adult pattern where the tip of the tongue contacts the front roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. At the same time their future bite is beginning to take shape.
In a normal bite the front teeth slightly overlap the bottom and leave no gap between the jaws when closed. Â But if thumb sucking continues well into school age, the constant pushing of the tongue through the opening in the jaws could alter the front teeth's position as they erupt. As a result they may not fully erupt or erupt too far forward. This could create an open bite, with a gap between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed.
Of course, the best way to avoid this outcome is to encourage your child to stop thumb sucking before they turn four. If, however, they're already developing a poor bite (malocclusion), all is not lost — it can be treated.
It's important, though, not to wait: if you suspect a problem you should see an orthodontist for a full evaluation and accurate diagnosis. There are even some measures that could discourage thumb sucking and lessen the need for braces later. These include a tongue crib, a metal appliance placed behind the upper and lower incisors, or exercises to train the tongue and facial muscles to adopt an adult swallowing pattern. Often, a reward system for not sucking their thumbs helps achieve success as well.
Thumb-sucking shouldn't be a concern if you help your child stop before age 4 and keep an eye on their bite development. Doing those things will help ensure they'll have both healthy and straight teeth.
If you would like more information on thumb sucking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Losing or damaging a tooth due to trauma can be a scary and unnerving experience. Equally as frightening is waking up to a severe toothache or a dental abscess. Knowing how to deal with these situations can help you stay calm and collected and get the treatment you and your condition require. Learn more about what to do after a dental emergency with Dr. Kern Agader at Dental Perfections in Kapolei, HI.
Repairing Your Smile After A Dental Emergency
Lost Tooth: If a tooth becomes dislodged or gets knocked out, it is important to stay calm. If possible, retrieve the lost tooth. Hold it by its crown (top) and do not touch its roots. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with water, but do not scrub any tissue remaining on the roots. Gently try to replace the tooth into its socket, stopping if this task requires any force or is painful. If this is not possible, store the tooth in a container of milk and see your dentist immediately for the necessary treatment.
Dental Abscess: A dental abscess occurs due to an infected tooth and presents itself as a pimple-like bump located on the gum. If you cannot get in to see your Kapolei dentist immediately, try rinsing your mouth with salt water and applying a cold compress to decrease pain or swelling. Do not “wait it out”. Due to its location and severity, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
Broken or Damaged Tooth: A damaged or broken tooth requires dental care as soon as possible. If your tooth is bleeding, apply gauze to the area to try and stop the bleeding. Use a cold compress to relieve pain or swelling and see your dentist as soon as you can.
Chipped Tooth: A chipped tooth is not always a dental emergency though it can be alarming. If your tooth is chipped and not bleeding or cracked, retrieve the part of the tooth which has chipped off and bring it with you to your dental appointment.
Toothache: A toothache is a sign that decay has reached the inner pulp chamber of your tooth. This usually requires a root canal to clear out the infected tissues. Receiving the proper treatment early can decrease the risk of the tooth breaking or becoming more painful.
To learn more about what to do in a dental emergency, please contact Dr. Agader at Dental Perfections in Kapolei, HI. Call (808) 674-8895 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Agader today!
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”