Kids don’t always play it safe or make the best decisions when it comes to protecting their teeth. Tooth decay and mouth injuries are just a couple of things parents must worry about for their kids, whether it’s the elementary school or college years. Here are some simple ways that parents can teach their kids to protect their teeth.
Limit sports and energy drinks.
Sports and energy drinks are both heavily marketed toward today’s youth. It is true that sports drinks help replace electrolytes during exercise, but many people drink them too much or outside the exercise realm. Experts have deemed sports drinks to be unnecessary in the lunchroom or as a snack on the playground. The high acid levels in these drinks can erode tooth enamel, with energy drinks determined to cause twice as much damage. It is recommended to save sports drinks for very strenuous activities, and instead stick with water for hydration and refreshment without the negative effects.
Insist upon mouthguards.
Parents should provide mouthguards for kids in nearly any sport, even if it isn’t considered mandatory by the school or team. Mouthguards can prevent chips, fractures, or knockouts of teeth, as well as protect the soft tissues of the mouth. According to research estimates, 3 million teeth were knocked out in youth sports in 2011. Dentists suggest that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to sustain oral injury. Inexpensive basic mouthguards or the boil-and-bite variety are available at sporting goods stores, or customized mouthguards can be purchased through your dentist.
Say no to oral piercings.
Although it applies primarily to teenagers and older, the Academy of General Dentistry advises against oral piercing for active people. Those with piercings should remove them before participating in sports, because puncture wounds can lead to infections related to increased blood flow and breathing rates during exercise. If your child is considering and oral piercing, make sure you discuss the risks and need for removal during physical activity.
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Dentures have improved dramatically over the past several years. Whether it’s your first set of dentures or your fifth set, you probably have questions. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about dentures:
- Will dentures change how I look? Today’s dentures are personalized to your mouth, making their appearance more natural than ever. Dentures also support your cheeks and lips, making you look years younger.
- Will dentures change how I feel? After a period of adjustment, dentures should make you feel more confident than ever.
- Will dentures alter my speech? While speaking may be difficult initially, with practice, your speech should quickly return to normal. Practicing reading and counting out loud will help to speed up the adjustment.
- Will dentures affect how I eat? Eating may take some practice, and you should start with a soft food diet while you adjust to the differences between eating with your natural teeth and dentures. Take small bites and try to chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time. Avoid hard, crunchy or chewy foods that can damage your dentures.
- How do I care for my dentures? Clean dentures daily, brushing immediately after every meal if possible. Use a soft brush and gentle cleanser, taking care to avoid hard abrasives. Be careful when they are out of your mouth not to drop them or clean them on hard surfaces.
- Once I have dentures, will I still need to see the dentist? Regular dental examinations and professional denture cleanings are vital to maintaining your oral health. Have your dentist periodically check the fit of your dentures to ensure they are comfortable and last for as long as possible.
- When will I need to replace my dentures? With care, dentures typically last 5-10 years. Because your mouth continues to change shape as you age and denture teeth wear down, you should have them checked yearly to avoid any significant problems.
Consult with your dental professional about any additional questions or concerns you may have about your future with dentures and your potential for a bright, new smile.
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An estimated 50 million Americans have lost all their teeth, and 69 percent of adults are missing at least one tooth. Without a full set of teeth, you may deal with alignment problems, dietary restrictions, and self-esteem issues. With modern dentures, your dentist can renew your appearance and improve oral health.
Dentures are prosthetic appliances created to replace missing teeth. Full dentures are rows of false teeth that cover the upper, lower, or both arches. If you still have some of your natural teeth, your dentist may suggest a partial denture, which fits into the empty space in your smile like a puzzle piece.
How do dentures feel?
At first, your prosthesis may take some getting used to, so give your mouth time to adjust. You may have some difficulty with pronunciation, but that will pass.
Will my dentures need to be replaced?
As we age, our mouth tissues change. Over time, your dentures may need to be repositioned, realigned, or entirely remade. Never make changes to your appliance; contact your dentist if something doesn’t seem right.
How do I care for my dentures?
To protect your dental appliance, handle the denture with care. When you take the device out, always store it safely in its case. Gently clean your dentures with mild soap and water to remove bacteria. Make sure to put the denture out of reach from small children or pets.
Do I still need to brush if I have dentures?
Absolutely. Your gums still need proper oral care, so brush them twice daily to keep the tissue healthy.
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Most people are not born with a perfect appearance. Some people turn to cosmetic surgery to correct or enhance the things they find unappealing about their looks. However, if cosmetic surgery is not on your agenda, cosmetic dentistry offers many procedures and treatments to quickly and successfully improve your appearance. Because your smile is usually the first impression you make on the world, fixing stains, cracks, gaps, and other imperfections can make a dramatic impact.
While many cosmetic dental procedures can be performed by your general dentist, a cosmetic dentist has a distinct advantage when you are seeking to improve your smile.
A cosmetic dentist makes it their business to have extensive knowledge and training in the treatments specific to improving the appearance of your teeth. Just a few of the procedures and treatments provided by a qualified cosmetic dentist include:
- Dental implants
- Dental crowns
- Dental bridges
- Porcelain veneers
- Teeth straightening
- Composite bonding
- Teeth whitening
In cooperation with a qualified cosmetic dentist, you can elect to have one or a combination of cosmetic dental treatments to perfect your smile. You may just need whitening to brighten and beautify your discolored teeth, or you may need whitening as well as bonding for gapped or chipped teeth. You may even need clear braces or veneers to straighten a crooked smile. A cosmetic dentist will have the knowledge to coordinate treatments to achieve the desired result with the least amount of time, discomfort, and complications. With the help of an experienced and qualified cosmetic dentist, you can improve not only your smile but the overall appearance you present to the world.
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If you are about to undergo root canal treatment to save a compromised tooth, your oral surgeon or dentist will likely provide you with a list of aftercare instructions. It is vitally important that you follow these recommendations to avoid complications and ensure the success of your endodontic treatment.
There are a few tips you can follow to speed up your recovery time, promote healing, and prevent serious dental problems and infections following root canal treatment:
- Do not chew on the treated side of your mouth until all of the numbness from the anesthetic has worn off completely.
- To manage swelling, apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the treated area for thirty minutes. Repeat once an hour for about fifteen minutes each time until swelling subsides.
- For several nights after treatment, keep your head elevated while sleeping.
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water regularly for the first few days after root canal treatment.
- Refrain from smoking for a minimum of 24 hours and try to curb tobacco usage as much as possible during the healing period.
- Avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise for 48 hours after your root canal procedure.
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any excessive swelling or pain, the appearance of a rash or hives, or a return of original symptoms. By listening to the recommendations of your dentist, and following these extra tips, you can assure yourself the best chance of a rapid and complication-free recovery from root canal treatment.
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Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties. Standard dental practice is to remove wisdom teeth prior to them being fully formed when the roots have not yet had a chance to develop and fully root into the jaw. Younger patients usually have an easier recovery from surgery and many dentists believe early removal prevents future dental problems associated with wisdom teeth.
If your wisdom teeth were not removed as they emerged, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate the need for extraction including:
- Wisdom teeth that are impacted, which means they have become trapped in the jawbone or gums.
- Wisdom teeth that are emerging at an awkward angle, causing pressure on adjacent teeth.
- Wisdom teeth that do not fit in your mouth, causing crowding of the surrounding teeth as well.
- Wisdom teeth that are suffering from decay or disease caused by the inability to keep them cleaned properly.
- Wisdom teeth that have developed fluid-filled cysts near the gumline.
- Wisdom teeth that are causing pain due to any of the above reasons.
The decision about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth should be made in consultation with your dental professional. Your dentist or oral surgeon can assess the position and health of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for treatment.
If extraction is recommended, they may choose to extract one tooth or all four molars at once. Recovery from the outpatient procedure takes just a few days, and you will quickly be back to normal. Consult with your dental professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed to determine if you should consider wisdom tooth removal to ensure your future good oral health.
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