College is often the first time a young adult will have been away from home, and away from their parents. Routines change, and the ultimate responsibility for oral health shifts (namely, no one is around to remind the student they should be brushing!) During college, your child will grow as an adult, and learn many new things—about life—about themselves—and the world. And often in the distraction of these busy years, combined with the autonomy to make their own decisions, we see dental health significantly decline in our patients.

In CDC (2014b) research, the 17.5% of 5- 19-year-old children have untreated dental caries/tooth decay and 27.4% of adults between ages 20-44 years old have tooth decay.

As you prepare your son or daughter to move into their dorm or apartment and start the next phase of life, here are some tips for oral health “dos”… and “don’ts”.

Oral Hygiene Missteps

Here are some tips for helping college students maintain their healthy smile.

1. Regular cleanings. As a parent, you can assist your son or daughter, by making or encouraging their 6-month check-ups during summer and winter breaks.

2. Check your insurance. Different types of insurance cover students for different things for different periods of time. Know what your insurance covers, and if you have questions, just let us know. We may be able to help.

3. Stock up. Toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and toothbrushes are the tools that will help keep the student’s mouth healthy. But many students will find other things to spend their money on. Try providing your son/daughter a little “oral-care-package” with everything they might need.

College students who are informed and take responsible have an excellent chance of getting through their college years, and through the transition to adult-hood with great oral health and a healthy smile.

If you or your son or daughter needs a checkup—give us a call today. We’d love to hear from you.

Baby Teeth

Our patients often ask us when they should start bringing their children to the dentist. Many parents are surprised when we tell them that we want to see their kids as soon as they sprout their very first tooth!

While baby teeth do (usually) only last a few years (5-12 depending on the child and the tooth), having your child start their routine 6 month visits early is particularly important—not just to those baby teeth, but for their long-term dental health!

Here are a few reasons it is important to start dental care early.

Don’t be scared! Many of our adult patients are scared of dental visits, or have anxiety, and some delay important treatment just for that reason. Seeing children early and on a regular schedule, helps them become acclimated to the process, the staff, and the sounds andsmells of a dental office.

Cavities are never good. Cavities in baby teeth are very hard to fill and uncomfortable for the patients. However, leaving them unfilled could cause problems that lead to broken teeth, gum disease, trouble talking, and eating. Routine dental care helps monitor and check the teeth for signs of plaque build-up before cavities are a problem.

Identify problems early. Routine dental care can help identify problems in the mouth early. If a patient does not have room for incoming teeth, or if a tooth is missing, the dentist can put together a plan for to properly align teeth from the start.

Routine Wins. One cause of bad teeth is that proper oral hygiene is part of the patient’sr routine. Brushing at least twice a day works when it’s a regular part of someone’s day, becoming habit. Routine dental checkups are the same way. Set your child’s routine now, and they will develop the health habit of getting their check-ups twice a year.

Technique. Sometimes parents and small children (and teens too) need help learning proper brushing. Our dental staff can help teach the parents and the children how to carefully and thoroughly brush and floss even the smallest teeth.

Baby teeth do matter. As soon as the first tooth erupts, make an appointment. It will just take a few moments, but it will make a difference in your child’s entire life to put a priority on their dental care. Baby appointments are done with the infant or toddler sitting on the parent’s lap, and our hygienists are trained to provide gentle care and take cues from the children, while giving them the exam and cleaning the teeth and gums.

Caring for Crowns

Dental crowns are carefully crafted to cover a damaged tooth. Crowns can be metal or tooth-colored to blend in with natural tooth color. We recommend crowns to our patients when there is significant damage or a large area of decay that cannot be repaired with a regular filling. A crown help us save a tooth by protecting it from fracturing and rebuilding the structure for a badly injured or broken tooth.

Dental crowns can last up to 30 years or longer with proper fit and care. The best way to ensure your crown lasts as long as possible is to maintain your routine check-up visits with your dentist.

Here are some ways to continue at-home crown care:

Brush and floss twice daily. Regular at-home dental care is key to good oral health, with or without crowns.

Avoid very sticky food and desserts. Chewing sticky foods and desserts could cause the crown to pull away from the natural tooth and damage the crown.

Don’t chew hard candies, gum, or ice. Just like sticky foods, candy, gum or ice could cause damage to the crown, or dislodge it from its tooth.

Avoid hard foods, like carrots and nuts. Hard food can be eaten, but avoid using the teeth on the side of the mouth with the crown.

Your dental crown may initially cause you a bit of sensitivity. Eventually after a short period of wearing your new crown, you’ll become acclimated to the crown and it won’t be noticeable. Your new crown will seem like your natural tooth. However, the first week after placing your crown, you will want to avoid hot foods (such as soup and coffee) and cold foods (ice cream and ice-cold drinks). Also, it is always smart to limit sugary foods and drinks.

With these tips and the advice of your dentist, you will able to maintain your new crown for decades to come!

Are you interested in learning more about crown care? We would love to see you in the office for a consultation to discuss your options. Make an appointment today!

High-Quality Invisalign To Help Straighten TeetH in Tempe, AZ

One of the primary concerns people often have about dental braces is the aesthetic impact of the metal on their smile. The prospect of wearing unattractive metal braces for long periods of time can be very discouraging, especially for adult patients.  Invisalign® offers an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal.

Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of custom-made aligning trays.  These trays are changed every several weeks to fit the new tooth configuration. In addition to the reduced visual impact, Invisalign® aligning trays can be temporarily removed for important occasions – meaning that treatment duration is patient-controlled.  A great number of people report complete satisfaction with both the Invisalign® treatment and the stunning results.

What Kind of Bite Problems can Invisalign® Correct?

Invisalign® corrects the same dental problems as traditional metal braces; the only difference is that Invisalign® trays are almost invisible to the naked eye, and can be removed at will.

Here are some problems that are commonly corrected with Invisalign®:

  • Overcrowding: This occurs when there is too little space for the teeth to align normally in the mouth.  Overcrowding can cause tooth decay and increase the likelihood of gum disease.
  • Large gaps between teeth: This can sometimes occur because teeth are missing or because the jaw continues to grow abnormally.
  • Crossbite: This common dental problem occurs when one or multiple upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth.  As a consequence, uneven wear can lead to bone erosion and gum disease.
  • Overbite: This problem occurs when the upper teeth project further than, or completely cover, the lower teeth.  Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ may occur.
  • Underbite:  This is the inverse of the overbite; the lower teeth project further than, or completely cover, the upper teeth.  Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ can occur.

What Advantages Does Invisalign® Offer Over Traditional Braces and Veneers?

Traditional dental braces, Invisalign® aligning trays, and dental veneers are three different ways to perfect the alignment of the teeth.  There are many different considerations to make when deciding which treatment will be best, and each of these options works better in certain situations.

Invisalign® differs from traditional braces in that the aligning trays are fully removable.  This means that more discipline and commitment is required from the patient. This is not usually a problem since the trays are comfortable and nearly invisible. Almost identical results can be obtained by using either treatment.

Invisalign® is preferable to veneers in many cases because unlike veneers, Invisalign® actually straightens the teeth. Veneers are thin covers that the dentist permanently affixes to the teeth. Teeth must be etched beforehand, meaning that to remove dental veneers, an alternative covering must be constructed.  In addition to being somewhat expensive, veneers can break and often last for less than 20 years.

What Does Invisalign® Treatment Involve?

First, our dentists will consult with you to devise an initial treatment plan before creating the special aligning trays. Three-dimensional digital images are taken of the entire jaw. These images allow the dentist to move specific teeth on the screen, view the jaw from different angles, and also foresee what the face might look like in years to come. In essence, this technology can show how Invisalign® trays will change the facial aesthetics.

Once planning is complete, a unique set of aligners is made. The total amount of aligners required varies with each individual case, but 20-29 sets per arch is typical.

What Are Some Considerations When Wearing Invisalign® Trays?

Life with Invisalign® aligning trays may take several weeks to get used to. The trays should be worn constantly, except when eating and drinking. It is important to remove the trays when consuming food or drink because food can become trapped between the tray and the teeth, causing tooth decay.

Usually, new trays are necessary every two weeks, and progress between appointments can be seen with the naked eye. There is no doubt that Invisalign® aligning trays have revolutionized orthodontics.  Invisalign® is renowned for being both comfortable and effective.

If you have questions about Invisalign®, please contact our office.

Halitosis can be embarrassing and cause anxiety

Medically speaking, bad breath is known as halitosis, and can be caused by a variety of reasons. Most frequently, bad breath is a sign of poor dental health, the result of other health problems, or even recently consumed foods. Bad breath can even be made worse by certain foods and lifestyle habits.

As we chew, foods are broken down in our mouths. Foods
with strong odors, such as garlic or onions can cause very bad smells and will
not go away until the food passes through the body. Brushing and mouthwash only
covers the smell (such as garlic or onions) of the odor temporarily. Bad breath
caused by food has the possibility to return until that food is out of the body,
even after brushing and mouthwash.

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, the
food particles will remain in the mouth and bacterial growth will begin between
the teeth at the gums and on the tongue. Mouthwash could help reduce bacteria,
but brushing and flossing is imperative to keep breath at its best.

Bad breath can also be the cause of food particles getting
stuck in dental appliances. If you have dentures or other dental work, proper
care while in (or out) of your mouth will aid in eliminating bad breath. One of
the biggest complaints of bad breath is from patients dental appliances who
report that they seem to always have bad breath. We can show you how to clean
your mouth, teeth, and appliances during your next visit to avoid bad breath,
but in the meantime, we have a few tips:

Regularity Counts
– Brush, rinse, and clean frequently. The cleaner your mouth, the less likely
you are to have bad breath crop up.

Choices – Certain
foods are going to cause more bad breath problems. Avoiding garlic, onion,
canned tuna, dairy products, and horseradish can help.

Soak – If you
have dentures,  brush your removable
dentures or appliance and soak in the wash solution overnight. Brush and rinse
your mouth before and after wearing the appliance.

Mouthwash – Mouthwash can make a big difference. There are several different kinds. We recommend using both an ADA approved alcohol-based rinse (look for the seal) such as Listerine, followed by a rinse with fluoride to protect the teeth. (The alcohol-based rinse is great for killing bad bacteria, but it can also damage your teeth, so always rinse off the rinse!)

Halitosis can be controlled with some small changes! If you have any specific questions about your situation, we are always happy to provide our medical advice and assessment on any dental or oral issue.