Posts for: September, 2016
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Do you avoid smiling because of small chips and cracks in your teeth? Dental bonding offers an easy way to repair these minor flaws. Dr. Carl J. Horchos, your Downingtown, PA general dentist at Chestnut Dental Associates, explains how you can benefit from bonding.
What is bonding?
Cosmetic bonding is used to treat minor dental flaws. Your dentist uses composite resin, a flexible, plastic-based material that is very similar to putty. Composite resin can be manipulated into any shape, making it a good choice to conceal or repair several types of dental issues. Resin also looks very much like your natural tooth enamel, which allows the treated areas to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth.
Who can benefit from bonding?
Cosmetic bonding from your Downingtown general dentist is a very versatile cosmetic dentistry treatment that can be used alone or in conjunction with other dental treatments. It's often used to:
- Fill in and cover chips or cracks in teeth
- Lengthen teeth that are naturally short or have become short due to grinding or wear and tear
- Fill gaps between teeth
- Color discolorations caused by tetracycline use, large fillings or other dental treatments that can dull or darken teeth
- Change the appearance of oddly shaped or crooked teeth
- Fill teeth (Since composite resin is available in shades that match your teeth, it makes fillings unnoticeable.)
How does the bonding process work?
Before bonding your teeth, your dentist will choose a composite resin shade that most closely matches your natural tooth color. He will etch your tooth slightly and apply a pre-bonding solution that will help the bonding material adhere to your tooth. After the bonding material is applied to your tooth, your dentist will shape it and then use an ultraviolet light to harden the composite resin. Once the resin hardens, your dentist will polish it, and you'll leave his office with a brand new smile.
Small chips and cracks disappear, thanks to cosmetic bonding. If you can benefit from bonding, call Dr. Carl J. Horchos, your Downingtown, PA general dentist at Chestnut Dental Associates, at (484) 364-4292 to schedule an appointment.
Chronic jaw pain can make eating, speaking or even smiling difficult. What's more, finding the right treatment approach can be just as difficult.
This is because TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder: named for the joints on either side of the lower jaw) actually describes a wide range of possible problems with the joints and connecting muscles. Any of them can result in impaired jaw function, radiating pain or even headaches.
We'll need to conduct a full dental and facial exam to accurately diagnose your jaw pain's cause. Even then, the way may still not be clear: there's considerable debate among dentists about the best treatment approach. Two basic schools of thought prevail, one conservative and non-invasive and the other more aggressive and interventional.
The conservative approach seeks to alleviate symptoms in a variety of ways, including recommending softer foods to give muscles and joints time to relax, applying cold and heat to ease soreness, massage of the jaw joint muscles, gentle stretching and jaw exercises. We may also prescribe medications like ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and swelling relief, and sometimes muscle relaxers to reduce spasms. If your pain stems from clenching or grinding habits, we could fit you with a custom bite guard you wear while you sleep to reduce the forces on your teeth.
The more aggressive approach is much more invasive. These methods include altering the bite or teeth position with orthodontics or dental work or surgically altering the joints themselves or the shape of the jaw. If you're recommended one of these more aggressive treatments, you should know they're not commonly used to treat TMD and they're irreversible. There's also no guarantee you'll gain relief from your symptoms, so by all means get a second opinion before undergoing any procedures.
For most people the best course of treatment is to start with the least invasive techniques, which are usually very successful. If they don't relieve your pain and limited function, we may then consider escalating treatment to more irreversible procedures to help you find relief from this unwelcome condition.
If you would like more information on jaw joint pain and how to treat it, 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 “Seeking Relief from TMD.”