Posts for: February, 2016
If your child has a toothache, there’s good news — and not so good news. The good news is the pain rarely indicates an emergency. On the downside, though, it may definitely be something that needs our attention.
Here, then, are 4 things you should do as a parent when your child tells you their tooth hurts.
Try to find out exactly where the pain is and how long it has hurt. Ask your child which tooth or part of the mouth hurts. You should also find out, as best you can, when the pain started and if it’s constant or intermittent. Anything you learn will be useful information if you bring them to the office for an examination. And, any tooth pain that keeps your child up at night or lasts more than a day should be examined.
Look for signs of recent injury. Your child may have suffered a blow to the mouth that has damaged the teeth and gums. Besides asking if they remember getting hurt in the mouth, be sure to look for chipped teeth, cracks or other signs of trauma. Even if there aren’t any outward signs of injury, the tooth’s interior pulp may have been damaged and should be checked out.
Look for signs of dental disease. Take a close look at the tooth your child’s complaining about: do you see brown spots or obvious cavities? You should also look for swollen gums or sores on the inside of the mouth. If there’s been no apparent injury, these could be signs of infection related to tooth decay.
Try to relieve pain symptoms. If you don’t see anything unusual, there may be a piece of candy or other hard food debris between the teeth causing the pain — gently floss around the tooth to dislodge it. If the pain persists give appropriate doses of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (not aspirin). If there’s swelling, you can also apply an icepack on the outside of the jaw. In any case, you should definitely schedule a visit with us for an examination.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, 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 “A Child’s Toothache.”
As a parent, keeping track of your child's health is a top priority. While 89% of 1-year-old children have visited a physician, only 1.5% have ever seen a dentist. However, the health of a child's teeth and gum tissue is imperative to their nutrition and overall wellness. Pediatric dental disease is the most common chronic childhood condition, with an estimated 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 5 suffering with the consequences of untreated tooth decay. At Children's Dental Health Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH, we strive to change these statistics. Here are the facts on tooth decay in children and why it needs treated by Dr. James McAveeney and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz:
"Baby bottle" tooth decay
Even for babies who haven't yet cut their first teeth, your Amherst pediatric dentist recommends establishing good dental hygiene habits to avoid tooth decay. One of the most common ways that infants can be affected by tooth decay is through prolonged exposure to sugar-laden drinks - soda, juice, even milk. Many parents put these beverages in a bottle for a child to soothe themselves to sleep at naptime or bedtime. This can lead to the breakdown of enamel on the baby teeth, in particular the upper front teeth. To prevent this type of decay, your Amherst pediatric dentist recommends using a bottle only for feeding times; water may be substituted for other beverages if a child needs a bottle to fall asleep.
Tooth decay in infancy can also be caused by bacteria being passed from the parents or caregivers to the child; for example, if a father "cleans" a dropped pacifier in his mouth before giving it back to his child, or a mother taste-tests baby food and then feeds her child with the same spoon.
To keep your baby's gums clean, they should be wiped off with a clean gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding. Once your child starts cutting teeth, your Amherst dentist suggests brushing their teeth using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day.
Pediatric dentists like Dr. McAveeney and Dr. Cheifetz recommend bringing your children in for a visit as soon as possible after their first birthday. If you would like to make an appointment to start your child on a path to good dental health, contact Children's Dental Health Center of New Hampshire in Amherst today!
It might seem that supermodels have a fairly easy life — except for the fact that they are expected to look perfect whenever they’re in front of a camera. Sometimes that’s easy — but other times, it can be pretty difficult. Just ask Chrissy Teigen: Recently, she was in Bangkok, Thailand, filming a restaurant scene for the TV travel series The Getaway, when some temporary restorations (bonding) on her teeth ended up in her food.
As she recounted in an interview, “I was… like, ‘Oh my god, is my tooth going to fall out on camera?’ This is going to be horrible.” Yet despite the mishap, Teigen managed to finish the scene — and to keep looking flawless. What caused her dental dilemma? “I had chipped my front tooth so I had temporaries in,” she explained. “I’m a grinder. I grind like crazy at night time. I had temporary teeth in that I actually ground off on the flight to Thailand.”
Like stress, teeth grinding is a problem that can affect anyone, supermodel or not. In fact, the two conditions are often related. Sometimes, the habit of bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) occurs during the day, when you’re trying to cope with a stressful situation. Other times, it can occur at night — even while you’re asleep, so you retain no memory of it in the morning. Either way, it’s a behavior that can seriously damage your teeth.
When teeth are constantly subjected to the extreme forces produced by clenching and grinding, their hard outer covering (enamel) can quickly start to wear away. In time, teeth can become chipped, worn down — even loose! Any dental work on those teeth, such as fillings, bonded areas and crowns, may also be damaged, start to crumble or fall out. Your teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold because of the lack of sufficient enamel. Bruxism can also result in headaches and jaw pain, due in part to the stress placed on muscles of the jaw and face.
You may not be aware of your own teeth-grinding behavior — but if you notice these symptoms, you might have a grinding problem. Likewise, after your routine dental exam, we may alert you to the possibility that you’re a “bruxer.” So what can you do about teeth clenching and grinding?
We can suggest a number of treatments, ranging from lifestyle changes to dental appliances or procedures. Becoming aware of the behavior is a good first step; in some cases, that may be all that’s needed to start controlling the habit. Finding healthy ways to relieve stress — meditation, relaxation, a warm bath and a soothing environment — may also help. If nighttime grinding keeps occurring, an “occlusal guard” (nightguard) may be recommended. This comfortable device is worn in the mouth at night, to protect teeth from damage. If a minor bite problem exists, it can sometimes be remedied with a simple procedure; in more complex situations, orthodontic work might be recommended.
Teeth grinding at night can damage your smile — but you don’t have to take it lying down! If you have questions about bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”