Posts for tag: tooth decay
Tooth decay, also referred to as dental caries, is still the most common chronic disease to affect both children and adults. Even though more and more people are beginning to understand how oral hygiene, proper diet, and routine checkups are important for reducing their risk, there is still so much that people don’t understand. Our Amherst, NH, pediatric dentists Dr. Andrew Cheifetz and Dr. James McAveeney want to make sure that you understand more about childhood tooth decay.
What is decay?
Throughout the day, our teeth develop this sticky colorless film known as plaque, which contain bacteria that feed off the sugar found in foods. Whenever you consume sugars or starches the bacteria converts them into acid, which slowly erodes the enamel of your teeth. If left untreated, the decay can spread further inside the tooth until it damages the nerves. If left untreated, cavities can lead to a severe toothache, infection or tooth loss.
Can my child’s diet increase their risk for decay?
As we mentioned above, the bacteria within plaque loves sugar (maybe as much as you do). Unfortunately, if your child consumes a diet that is high in sugar or processed foods this can significantly increase their risk for decay. This includes everything from eating cakes and cookies to even eating white bread and those packaged granola bars (many packaged “healthy” products often contain more sugar than you might imagine). Replace these foods with healthier snacks and make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day.
Are there any symptoms?
Most of the time decay doesn’t cause any symptoms. Often the only time a cavity is detected is during a routine cleaning and exam performed by our Amherst, NH, children’s dentist. After all, we know what to look for when it comes to cavities. Of course, it’s also important to bring your child in if they are experiencing symptoms of decay including:
- A visible hole in their tooth
- A brown or dark spot on their tooth
- A toothache
- Increased or lingering tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Persistent and unexplained bad breath
Again, during the early stages of decay these symptoms usually aren’t present. If you don’t know the last time your child came in for a dental cleaning, it’s time to schedule one.
How is decay treated?
While decay is preventable, if we find a cavity we will need to remove it before it spreads. This involves numbing the area around the tooth and drilling away the decayed enamel then filling it with a tooth-colored material to restore the tooth.
Is it time to schedule your child’s next dental cleaning in Amherst, NH? Have questions about caring for your child’s smile? If so, turn to the dental experts at Children's Dental Center of New Hampshire today.
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!
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.