Posts for category: Dental Procedures
If your child has developed a cavity, you may be wondering why it needs treatment. It might seem unnecessary to treat a cavity on a tooth that will soon be replaced with a permanent one, but it's important to keep these primary teeth healthy in order to avoid premature loss or gum disease. At the Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney see many young patients with cavities, also known as tooth decay, and they've answered some of the important questions they hear from concerned parents.
How does tooth decay happen?
At any time, our mouths contain millions of bacterial agents. While these won't necessarily make you sick, they can cause problems for your teeth. When the carbohydrates, or sugars, in the food you eat interacts with this bacteria, it creates an acid that can break down the structure of the enamel on the outside of the teeth. While brushing and flossing breaks this cycle and keeps decay from setting in, it doesn't take long for the acid to do damage if oral hygiene isn't a habit or certain areas are overlooked. Children are at particular risk for cavities since they are drawn to sugary foods and aren't always diligent about their oral health.
How is tooth decay treated?
Most cavities will need a filling in order to remove the decay and replace the enamel with a strong, safe material like metal or porcelain. Not all fillings require anesthesia to numb the area, especially if the cavity is minor; your Amherst pediatric dentist will determine how severe the decay is and the best way to treat it. In some cases, where the decay cannot be effectively a crown will be need be fitted over the visible part of tooth until it's ready to come out on its own.
How can I prevent tooth decay?
Even after your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, monitor your child's brushing and flossing techniques to make sure they're doing them correctly. Your Amherst pediatric dentist can show you the best practices for keeping your child's teeth healthy. Make sure they're using a soft-bristled toothbrush that is approved by the American Dental Association and non-abrasive toothpaste.
If you have any questions about the health of your child's teeth, Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney want to hear from you. Contact the Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH, today!
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Have you heard about dental sealants? These preventive treatments have been available for many decades, and more and more children are taking advantage of them. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that around 30% of kids from 6 to 11 years of age have had sealants applied to their molars (back teeth). Sealants are designed to reduce the incidence of cavities by filling in or eliminating the pits or crevices found in all molars, where decay-causing bacteria can hide and your brush can't reach. But do they really work?
Now, the research is in, and the answer is clear — YES!
Two major studies, each of which reviewed the results of thousands of patients over several years, recently came to the same conclusion: Dental sealants are effective at reducing cavities, and their benefits can last for four years (or more) after application. In general, the studies showed that kids who didn't get sealants were twice, three times, or even more likely to get cavities, compared to kids treated with sealants.
Sealants themselves are protective coatings made of plastic resins or glass-like materials. They are applied in liquid form, and then hardened by a special light. When “painted on” to the chewing surface of a molar, sealants fill in the tiny crevices, or “pits and fissures,” that are found there. Uneven tooth surfaces form a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause tooth decay; worse yet, the bristles of a tooth brush can't usually reach them. That's what makes these areas highly susceptible to tooth decay.
Applying sealants is a quick and painless procedure that doesn't require any numbing shots or drilling. Many kids start getting sealants when the first permanent molars come in, around age 5 to 7; they may have more sealant treatments when additional molars emerge, between the ages of 11 and 14.
Sealants are recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and have only a modest cost per tooth. On the other hand, having a cavity filled generally costs substantially more, and may result in more trouble (and expense) down the line — so sealants can make sense economically, as well as preventively. This is especially true for those at high risk for tooth decay.
If you have questions about dental sealants, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children,” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Is a chipped tooth big news? It is if you’re Justin Bieber. When the pop singer recently posted a picture from the dental office to his instagram account, it got over 2.6 million “likes.” The snapshot shows him reclining in the chair, making peace signs with his hands as he opens wide; meanwhile, his dentist is busy working on his smile. The caption reads: “I chipped my tooth.”
Bieber may have a few more social media followers than the average person, but his dental problem is not unique. Sports injuries, mishaps at home, playground accidents and auto collisions are among the more common causes of dental trauma.
Some dental problems need to be treated as soon as possible, while others can wait a few days. Do you know which is which? Here are some basic guidelines:
A tooth that’s knocked out needs attention right away. First, try and locate the missing tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid holding the tooth’s roots. Next, grasp the crown of the tooth and place it back in the socket facing the correct way. If that isn’t possible, place it between the cheek and gum, in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva or a special tooth preservative, or in a glass of cold milk. Then rush to the dental office or emergency room right away. For the best chance of saving the tooth, it should be treated within five minutes.
If a tooth is loosened or displaced (pushed sideways, deeper into or out of its socket), it’s best to seek dental treatment within 6 hours. A complete examination will be needed to find out exactly what’s wrong and how best to treat it. Loosened or displaced teeth may be splinted to give them stability while they heal. In some situations, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
Broken or fractured (cracked) teeth should receive treatment within 12 hours. If the injury extends into the tooth’s inner pulp tissue, root canal treatment will be needed. Depending on the severity of the injury, the tooth may need a crown (cap) to restore its function and appearance. If pieces of the tooth have been recovered, bring them with you to the office.
Chipped teeth are among the most common dental injuries, and can generally be restored successfully. Minor chips or rough edges can be polished off with a dental instrument. Teeth with slightly larger chips can often be restored via cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. When more of the tooth structure is missing, the best solution may be porcelain veneers or crowns. These procedures can generally be accomplished at a scheduled office visit. However, if the tooth is painful, sensitive to heat or cold or producing other symptoms, don’t wait for an appointment — seek help right away.
Justin Bieber earned lots of “likes” by sharing a picture from the dental office. But maybe the take-home from his post is this: If you have a dental injury, be sure to get treatment when it’s needed. The ability to restore a damaged smile is one of the best things about modern dentistry.
If you have questions about dental injury, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
Your child's dental healthcare is important. Taking care of your kid's teeth and teaching children to care for their teeth is vital. Here at Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire, your Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. James McAveeney and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz can help you.
If bacteria settles in, cavities begin to eat away at your child's teeth. That's why it's important that you help your child maintain a consistent oral regiment of brushing and flossing, as well as visiting the dentist twice a year.
Your child's first dental appointment can be nerve-wracking, but here's what you can do:
The American Dental Association recommends scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist when their first tooth erupts. Your dentist will examine your child's dental hygiene, growth and development.
Before the visit, make sure,
- Your child is well rested
- To keep any concerns to yourself since children can pickup on them and become anxious
- To speak positively about dental visits and avoid speaking about them in a negative context
- You talk with your child about visiting the dentist
You should expect your child's first dental appointment to include the following:
- Your doctor will assess your child's need for fluoride, and demonstrate how you should take proper dental care of your child's teeth and oral hygiene.
- Your dentist will thoroughly examine your child's teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues to help monitor growth and development.
Braces: The purpose of braces is to fix a bad bite and malocclusions, which is when teeth are crooked or crowded. These issues are noticed between the ages of 6 and 12, so orthodontic treatment usually begins around the ages of 8 to 14, while the child's bone structure is still developing.
Sealants: A sealant is a thin coat applied to the surface of teeth, preferably the chewing surfaces. They prevent bacteria, as well as other debris, into the grooves and pits of your teeth. The procedure consists of:
- Your Amherst dentist will clean and dry your child's tooth
- Then they apply an acid gel
- Your child's tooth will become rougher on the chewing surface
- Your doctor will then remove the gel, dry the tooth and apply sealant onto the grooves
- The dentist will expose the sealant to a special dental light to harden the sealant
For any questions or concerns regarding your child's hygiene, call your dentist at Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH, to learn more about protecting your child's teeth from tooth decay and cavities.