loader

Dental Sealants 101

by on April 27, 2016 | Posted in Blog

The majority of children who regularly visit the dentist will have dental sealants placed on their back teeth while they are still very young. If your dentist has made mention of dental sealants, you may have some questions about what they are and whether or nor they’re right for your little one. In an effort to provide you with information on the subject, we’ve assembled this list of frequently asked questions.

Q: What are Dental Sealants?

A: Dental sealants are crafted from  a special type of plastic that is either white or clear. The sealants are then molded to the tops of the teeth, which feature deep grooves or pits (generally back teeth). This is done as a means of protecting the teeth against the development of cavities. The idea is that children (and adults) may struggle to adequately remove sugars, acids, and bacteria from these deeper grooves, so the sealants act as a physical barrier against these threats.Q: Who Needs Dental Sealants?

A: Most dental professionals agree that dental sealants should be applied as soon as a child’s permanent molars have grown in. By quickly sealing the molars, there is less of a chance that problems will arise or decay will have the opportunity to set in. The earlier the back teeth are protected, the less likely it is that your child will experience cavities or other dental issues down the road.Q: How are Dental Sealants Applied?

A: Dental sealants are only applied after the tooth has undergone a thorough cleaning process by a professional dentist or dental assistant. The cleaning process involves the use of polish and a rotating brush, followed by a deep rinse and the application of an acidic solution. The acidic solution is intended to create a rougher tooth surface which will make it easier for the sealant to grip securely to the tooth. Once the solution has dried, the sealant is applied in liquid form on top of the tooth’s fissures. The sealant then cures and hardens on its own.Q: How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?

A: Once dental sealants have been applied, it’s very unlikely that the process will need to be repeated. This is because dental sealants are designed to last for the entire life of the tooth. Unless the sealant is damaged as the result of an accident or injury, you can expect it to continue protecting your child’s molars for a lifetime. In the event that the sealant is damaged, a replacement sealer can be applied.Q: Is Any Special Care Needed?

A: Once a dental sealant has been applied and has set on the tooth, it will require absolutely no additional care or special treatment. With a regular twice-a-day tooth brushing and flossing regimen, your child’s sealants will hold up beautifully.Q: Does My Child Really Need Dental Sealants?

A: The short answer to this question is ‘Yes!’ Those who don’t have dental sealants installed are far more likely to suffer the effects of tooth decay, including discoloration, cavities, and gum disease. It’s a lot easier to care for molars that have been sealed, thus making your child’s life simpler and healthier. Make sure to talk to your dentist for his or her professional opinion and to keep an eye on the development of your child’s permanent molars so that you know when to move forward with the process.

Don’t let a lack of education on dental sealants prevent you from making a decision that could protect your child’s teeth and livelihood. Learn more about dental sealants by giving Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today.

No Comment
Read More

You may think of your child’s orthodontist as someone who has the ability to reposition crooked teeth, but did you know that they can also expand an individual’s upper jaw? Through the usage of palatal expanders, orthodontists have the ability to manipulate jaw development in such a way that it establishes a more visually appealing and functional bite.

If your dental professional has mentioned the possibility of palatal expanders for your child, you are likely interested in learning as much as possible. This post will tell you everything you need to know about palatal expanders so that you can make the best decision for your child’s oral care.

A Breakdown of Palatal Expanders

The palatal expander is an appliance that is used to widen the upper jaw and the circumference of the palate (roof of the mouth). This allows the perimeter of an individual’s dental arch to increase, thus allowing for more space for the growth of teeth. In this way, the expander is able to prevent, correct, and reduce the severity of any number of problems that are associated with an upper jaw that may have otherwise been too narrow. Some of these issues may include:

Crossbite — In a normal mouth, the upper teeth close around the outside of the lower teeth. If your child has a narrow palate, though, this may actually be reversed, with the upper teeth biting inside of the teeth beneath. If this problem isn’t corrected in a timely manner, your child could experience asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, leading to dental complications and the possibility of facial asymmetry. Palatal expanders can be used to correct a crossbite early in a child’s life.

Overcrowding — When your child’s palate is too narrow, it may not have the space to accommodate his or her upper teeth in their correct positions as they erupt through the gum tissue. By expanding the upper jaw through palatal expanders, issues related to overcrowding can be overcome.

Difficulty in Breathing — In many cases, a narrow or deep upper jaw can create difficulties for a child as he or she tries to breathe through their nose. To compensate for this, the child may continuously breathe through the mouth. This can lead to the inhalation of unfiltered bacteria, cause dry mouth, and even be the culprit behind halitosis. Palatal expanders widen and open the palate, making it easier for children to inhale and exhale through the nose.

Timing is Key 

When it comes to palatal expanders, time is of the essence. Unlike braces, which are effective at any age, palatal expanders must be utilized before the age of 16 — and preferably by the time a child reaches puberty. The reason for this is that palatal expanders capitalize on anatomical changes to the face that occur during growth. As a child grows, the growth plate that is situated in the center of palatal bone tissue is able to expand. This isn’t possible once puberty has been reached, thus making the expanders only effective during a limited window of time. Beyond the age of 16, most oral professionals will recommend jaw surgery.

Proper Care

It’s essential that your child maintain good dental hygiene practices throughout the process of upper jaw expansion. You will need to make sure that the palatal expander is carefully cleaned each time they brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.

Taking care of your child’s dental health is a top priority. By arming yourself with the facts about palatal expanders, you can improve the quality of his or her life. Feel free to contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, with any questions or concerns you may have about palatal expanders.

No Comment
Read More

What is it that attracts you to others? If you’re like most people, you’re drawn to and captivated by a dazzling smile. People who smile big for all the world to see are happy, vibrant, and confident. Why? Because they have beautiful, healthy teeth and gums.

If your teeth are less than perfect, don’t fret — your quest for the holy grail of a fabulous smile is not over yet! Whether genetics, wear and tear, life experience, accidents, or other oral health issues have impacted your mouth, there are ways to remedy these issues. Through the power of cosmetic dentistry, you can achieve the smile of your dreams and show the world your true beauty.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

First things first. Before we proceed any further on our dental adventure, we first need to have a clear understanding of what cosmetic dentistry actually is. Cosmetic dentistry goes above and beyond the usual cleaning and inspection processes that are handled by your dental professionals during a routine, semi-annual checkup. This particular branch of dentistry zeroes in on specific dental procedures that help to improve the overall appearance of an individual’s teeth, gums, or bite. As indicated by the “cosmetic” tag, this line of dentistry puts its emphasis on the aesthetics of the dental formula as opposed to function; it’s all about making you feel confident whenever you flash your pearly whites.

Common Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

While one person may be unhappy with the color of their teeth and gums, another may feel insecure about the shape of his or her teeth. Fortunately, there are different branches of cosmetic dentistry, each of which focuses on specific problem areas. Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include:

Teeth Bleaching (Whitening) — This is, by far, the most popular procedure done in the cosmetic dentistry industry across the globe. Even though numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products are available, most people feel more comfortable and confident when leaving this process to the experts — and for good reason. Using bleach throughout the whitening process is much safer and more successful when done under the supervision of a dentist.

Laser Whitening  — Another option for restoring dingy teeth to their former white glory is to go the laser whitening route. Here, the whitening process is completed with the assistance of a laser machine. This offers even more precision and longer-lasting results than standard teeth whitening procedures.

Gum Depigmentation — Dark spots on the gums can be very distressing and cause feelings of insecurity. The depigmentation process restores gums to their natural, healthy pink color.

Teeth Straightening — No one feels attractive or confident when their teeth are crooked. Cosmetic dental procedures can bring your teeth back to alignment for comfort and beauty.

Tooth Reshaping — It’s fairly common for individuals to be less than satisfied with the appearance or shape of their teeth. Jagged edges, chipped teeth, excessively long teeth, and crooked teeth are all issues that can be remedied with this type of procedure.

Dental Bridges — Dental bridges give you your full smile back! These bridges are false teeth, or pontics, that are placed between crowns as a means of filling the gaps that have been left by missing teeth. It’s the simplest, fastest, and most common means of replacing missing teeth.

Addition of Dental Material — In some cases, an individual may need to have dental material(s) added to his or her smile so that it can reach its full potential. This might involve the introduction of gum grafts, crowns or caps, porcelain veneers, and/or bonding to teeth or gums.

Achieving the perfect smile is well within your grasp. Schedule your cosmetic consultation now! 

No Comment
Read More

We all want healthy teeth. Good oral hygiene, after all, impacts all aspects of health and longevity. But just because your mouth is free from any cavities or gum disease doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your teeth are attractive. For one reason or another, your teeth may be detracting from your self-esteem and negatively impacting your smile. Whether due to genetics, a sports-related injury, or other circumstance, you may find yourself wondering if you’ll ever be happy with the way your mouth looks. If this sounds familiar, porcelain veneers may be the answer.

Porcelain veneers are crafted from thin layers of life-like dental porcelain. The purpose of these veneers is to cover up any teeth that you may feel are unattractive or unsightly and give them a complete makeover. This is all completed with minimal tooth preparation, time, and cost. In fact, porcelain veneers offer one of the most affordable solutions for improving the appearance of your smile. Interested? Read on to learn about a few ways that porcelain veneers can change your smile for the better.

White, Bright Coloring

One of the most common complaints that people have about their teeth is that the color isn’t what they would like. White teeth have become a standard for beauty, and having anything less than vibrantly white teeth can leave you feeling unattractive and undesirable. Although you may be able to correct minor issues with the use of whitening strips and other treatments, you’ll find that after years of eating and drinking certain foods and beverages, some stains may be hard to get rid of. Here, veneers can be used to cover up the discolored areas and brighten your smile. They are designed to match your other teeth so that no one will be able to tell the difference between your porcelain veneers and the real thing.

Perfect Shaping

Teeth may be extremely tough and resilient, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become damaged. Significant oral injuries can lead to chips and cracks, while frequent tooth grinding can result in abnormal wear and tear that makes some teeth appear shorter than others. Of course, there are also those who are simply born with one or more teeth that are oddly shaped. Regardless of the reason why, it’s only natural for you to want uniform shaping and beauty across your entire smile. Customized porcelain veneers can be used to perfect the shape of your teeth.

Ideal Sizing

As a society, we tend to favor teeth size in direct proportion to both the lips and the amount of gums that show. Some people are born with teeth that are much shorter than this, while others may have worn their teeth down to a shorter size after many years of habitually grinding them together. If this has been an issue for you, you might consider using a veneer to add length to your teeth for a more appealing size. Talk to your dentist about limitations, though. Teeth that have lost too much structure may require a porcelain crown instead.

Correct Alignment and Spacing

Many people struggle with problems related to crooked teeth, poor bites, or excessive gaps between teeth. In extreme cases, orthodontic treatments such as braces may be required, but minor alignment and spacing issues can be remedied with porcelain veneers. Smaller gaps and slightly crooked teeth can be masked at a fraction of the cost and in much less time.

You deserve to smile with complete confidence in the appearance of your teeth. Feel free to reach out to Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today in order to learn more about how porcelain veneers can give your mouth a complete makeover.

No Comment
Read More

By the time your child hits the age of 12 or 13 years old, his or her adult teeth will have all settled in for a permanent stay. This means that as a parent, you only have a few years to instill your kids with solid oral hygiene practices. The habits that they start to develop at a young age will stick with them throughout their entire lives, so it’s extremely important that you take steps to start early. So how can you work to protect your child’s teeth — both before and after the adult set grows in? The following five tips are the simplest, yet most effective means of doing so.

Eat and Drink Right

Good oral hygiene starts with the food and beverages that your little ones put into their mouths. Even adults struggle to cut back on sugary snacks and beverages, so imagine how difficult it is for kids to moderate! As a parent, it’s your job to regulate your child’s diet. Take the time to explain to your children how too much of a good thing can be very bad for their teeth. Set rules limiting your child’s consumption of candy and sweets, and make sure that they brush their teeth directly after eating. And don’t forget about juice! Many parents mistakenly believe that juice is healthy. In reality, the majority of juices are packed with so much sugar that it’s not much different from drinking soda. Treat juices like a special dessert or treat.

Use Fluoride

Children who are over the age of two should be using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is able to make the outer surface of teeth much more resistant to acid attacks that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. It’s also wise to check to see if your tap water contains fluoride and talk to your dentist about fluoride supplements.

Remember the 2×2 Rule

Many parents wonder how frequently and how long their children should be brushing their teeth. As a general rule of thumb, kids should brush their teeth a minimum of two times per day (morning and evening) and should do so for two full minutes each time. It’s a good idea to set a timer or play a song that lasts two minutes so that your kids know when they can stop. Setting this standard early in your child’s life will increase the likelihood that he or she continues to follow these tooth-saving practices for a lifetime. For even better results, urge your child to incorporate flossing into his or her routine.
Consider Dental Sealant
A growing number of parents are making the decision to talk with their child’s dentist concerning dental sealant. This involves a thin, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. The coating acts as a barrier against cavities and can help prevent tooth decay.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Last, but certainly not least, always remember to stay current with your child’s dental checkups. In order to ensure that your kid’s teeth and gums are in tip-top shape and to spot any potential problem spots quickly, we recommend that you schedule a checkup every six months.
While poor dental hygiene has become somewhat of an epidemic throughout the past several years, there’s no reason for your child to join the ranks of many who have developed cavities and other issues early in life. Starting with these simple tips will help your child to develop smart oral hygiene habits that will keep them healthy and happy. And don’t forget that you can contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, anytime for more tips and ideas.
No Comment
Read More