Posts for tag: tooth decay
It’s important that decay is detected and treated right away to prevent complications.
Tooth decay, the cause of cavities, is one of the most common dental disorders around, and it affects people of all ages, from children to senior citizens; fortunately, tooth decay is preventable with the proper oral care. From our office in Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. James McAveeney and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz are experts in treating dental decay—read below to learn about the warning signs of decay and how to prevent it from happening to your child.
How do I know that my child has tooth decay?
Decay can present differently for each child; however, there are some pretty reliable signs and symptoms that indicate your child should be checked out by the dentists at our Amherst office. One sign is a white spot or spots on a tooth. This is usually the beginning stage of decay.
As the decay progresses, the white spot will turn brown, and it will continue to get darker until a hole develops. Along with this warning sign, your child may also complain of tooth sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold foods and drinks, as well as general dental pain. If your child is experiencing any of these issues, you should schedule an immediate appointment with us.
Who is at risk for developing tooth decay?
Anyone can develop tooth decay since we all have bacteria in our mouths that can cause cavities. Of course, there are certain risk factors that can increase your child’s likelihood of developing decay. These risk factors include,
- A diet that is high in sugar and starches
- No fluoride treatment
- Poor oral hygiene
- Dry mouth
All children, no matter their risk factors, should come in every six months for routine checkups. This is the best way for us to detect problems early on. After all, a child may have a cavity and not even know it. Since warning signs aren’t always present it’s important for the health of your child’s smile to visit your pediatric dentist twice a year.
If you suspect that your child might be dealing with tooth decay it’s better to play it safe and to schedule a consultation with our dental team here at Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire. Call our Amherst office today at 603-673-1000!
Nothing grabs your attention like a sharp tooth pain, seemingly hitting you out of nowhere while you’re eating or drinking. But there is a reason for your sudden agony and the sooner you find it out, the better the outcome for your oral health.
To understand tooth sensitivity, we need to first look at the three layers of tooth anatomy. In the center is the pulp filled with blood vessels and nerve bundles: it’s completely covered by the next layer dentin, a soft tissue filled with microscopic tubules that transmit sensations like pressure or temperature to the pulp nerves.
The third layer is enamel, which completely covers the crown, the visible part of a tooth. Enamel protects the two innermost tooth layers from disease and also helps muffle sensations so the tooth’s nerves aren’t overwhelmed. The enamel stops at about the gum line; below it the gums provide similar protection and sensation shielding to the dentin of the tooth roots.
Problems occur, though, when the dentin below the gums becomes exposed, most commonly because of periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection caused by dental plaque triggers inflammation, which over time can weaken gum tissues and cause them to detach and shrink back (or recede) from the teeth. This can leave the root area vulnerable to disease and the full brunt of environmental sensations that then travel to the nerves in the pulp.
Tooth decay can also create conditions that cause sensitivity. Decay begins when certain oral bacteria multiply and produce higher than normal levels of acid. The acid in turn dissolves the enamel’s mineral content to create holes (cavities) that expose the dentin. Not treated, the infection can eventually invade the pulp, putting the tooth in danger of being lost unless a root canal treatment is performed to remove the infection and seal the tooth from further infection.
So, if you begin experiencing a jolt of pain while eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, see your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. And protect your teeth from dental disease by practicing daily brushing and flossing, as well as seeing your dentist for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Don’t ignore those sharp pains—your teeth may be trying to tell you something.
If you would like more information on tooth sensitivity, 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 “Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity.”
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.
When your baby’s first teeth come in, you might not think it necessary yet to worry about tooth decay. But even infants can develop this common dental disease. In fact, it has a specific name in children 6 and under: early childhood caries (ECC).
About one-fourth of U.S. children have ECC, and poor or minority children are at highest risk. Because of primary (“baby”) teeth’s thin enamel layer, ECC can spread to healthier teeth with unnerving speed, causing extensive damage.
While such damage immediately affects a child’s nutrition, speech development and self-esteem, it could also impact their future oral health. Permanent teeth often erupt out of position because of missing primary teeth lost prematurely, creating a poor bite. And children with ECC are more likely to have cavities in their future permanent teeth.
While there are a number of effective treatments for repairing ECC-caused damage, it’s best to try to prevent it before damage occurs. A large part of prevention depends on you. You should, for example, begin oral hygiene even before teeth come in by wiping their gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding. After teeth appear, switch to daily brushing with just a smear of toothpaste.
Because refined sugar is a primary food source for decay-causing bacteria, you should limit it in their diet. In the same vein, avoid sleep-time bottles with fluids like juices, milk or formula. As they grow older, make sure snacks are also low in sugar.
You should also avoid spreading your own oral bacteria to your baby. In this regard, don’t put their eating utensils or pacifier in your mouth and don’t drink from the same cup. Avoid kissing your baby on the lips. And above all, take care of your own oral health to prevent your own encounter with dental disease.
Finally, start regular dental visits on or before your baby’s first birthday. Regular cleanings and checkups increase the chances for early decay detection, as well as provide for treatments and prevention measures that can reduce the disease’s spread and destruction.
ECC can be devastating to both your baby’s current and future dental health. But with vigilance and good dental practices, you may be able to help them avoid this serious disease.
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods. Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”