Oral Health and Pacifier use for Kids

Pacifiers can be great for children, especially early in their infant years. They provide a calming effect, and in addition to that, they can help decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrom (SIDS). Pacifier use is generally a healthy habit within the first couple of years of life, however continued and improper use may ultimately have a negative impact on your child’s oral health.

Tips for Correct Pacifier use:

  • Clean them regularly (atleast once a day). This will prevent colonization by bacterial organisms which can cause infections. Pacifiers that are dishwasher safe can be cleaned easiliy in the dishwasher as well.
  • Check for cracks, discoloration, or tears in the rubber. Discard appropriately if necessary.
  • DO NOT tie pacifiers around the child’s neck
  • Offer pacifiers after and between meals, before naps and before bedtime.
  • Replace old pacifiers and wash prior to first use

Potential Pacifier problems:

Research shows that continued pacifier use after age 2 can be associated with the following:

  • Increased risk of middle ear infection
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Dental crossbite and/or open bite
  • Develpment of a thumb sucking or a tongue thrusting habit

Pacifier use is typically acceptable after the infant is about 1 month old and has had sufficient time to develp a healthy breast-feeding habit. Experts still recommend that children stop using pacifier after age 2, since that’s when it becomes a habit rather than a developmental need.

Saying Good-Bye to the pacifier:

For some infants, giving up pacifier use may be difficult especially if they’re emotionally attached which is why it’s important to start the weaning off process soon after they turn 1 so they can let go before they turn 2. Parents looking to wean their kids off pacifier use can begin by using alternative techniques including:

  • Rocking motions, singing or music before naps or at bedtime
  • Activities and games
  • Toys
  • Limit pacifier use slowly over time
  • Try to dip the pacifier into safe but undesirable tasting flavor such as white vinegar

As always, contact your dental care provider with any questions or concerns. Here at Round Lake Family Dentistry, we offer a complimentary oral evaluation for kids under the age of 2 as we believe stronly in establishing a dental home for kids at an early age. Call us with any questions or concerns at (847)740-0217 . And don’t forget to Keep Smililng…….. pacifier

Are X-rays safe? Understanding Dental Radiation…

We have all heard of the alarming radiation study results reported by our national news coverage recently, and thankfully most of these have been updated with relevant facts to put our worries at ease. But many reports fail to mention that these reported cases of brain damage were many years old when all x-ray procedures delivered much higher radiation exposure compared to today. X-rays should never be taken without need, but proper findings from OSHA and other regulatory commitees will help put things in prespective.

FACTS:

  • A full series of 18 dental X-rays has 27 times less radiation than a lower gastrointestinal (GI) series and 20 times less radiation than one year of normal background radiation from the environment.
  • The 4 bitewing X-rays taken during dental check ups have 79 times less radiation than a year of normal background radiation.
  • Further, as more and more dentists are using special high-speed film, thyroid collars and digital X-rays machines, dental X-rays are becoming even safer.

Declining dental X-rays based on unfounded an unuspported fears regarding radiation exposure removes an important diagnostic tool from a dentist’s repertoire. X-rays are an essential diagnostic tool with dentists relying on them for:

  • exposing hidden dental decay and/or gum disease
  • revealing dental abscesses, cysts and tumors
  • showing impacted or extra teeth
  • determining the condition of fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals
  • locating tarter build-up,finding foreign bodies within the gum or bone
  • identifying bone loss from periodontal (gum) disease and whether enough bone for dental implant placements, etc..

Again, it is worth noting that ONLY the necessary dental x-rays should be taken and it is imperative to discuss your concers about dental radiation with your dentist.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Keep Smiling….

Ahhhh…..My Jaw hurts!! Could I be Grinding??

clentch Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unconciously. Teeth Grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm if it’s occasional, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be worn down, significantly damaged and at a higher risk of fracture. Constant pressure on the teeth and constant jaw muscle activity can also result in headaches and pain in the jaw joint, commonly known as the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint). Often times, patients with TMJ disorders are screened for parafunctional habits of clenching or grinding as their symptoms can be attributed to constant, irregular bite forces created by clenching or grinding.

So why do people grind or clench their teeth????

No specific correlation has been linked to anything in particular but grinding/clenching is usually broughtby stress and anxiety. It can occur while awake, but often occurs during sleep. Although not proven with any solid research, theory suggests that uneven bite and crooked teeth can shift the bite forces on one side of the mouth more than the other causing jaw muscles to fire actively.

How can you find out if you’re grinding/clenching????

Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw is usually a good sign. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night. Wear patterns on the teeth when examined by dentists is also able to distinguish possibility of grinding.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and wear patterns in your teeth including signs of craze lines, fractures or secondary periodontal disease caused by traumatic grinding/clenching.

Risks of Grinding

Constant teeth grinding can result in a generalized sensitivity in teeth, fracturing, loosening, or even loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear their teeth down significantly exposing the more sensitive tooth structure of dentin. When these events happen, more invasive restorations such as root canals, crowns, bridges and sometime even a tooth removal may be required.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, resulting in the TMJ problems as mentioned earlier. Worn down teeth can cause the facial profile to look much older due to inadequate tooth support for the lips and cheek muscles that surround the mouth.

Lack of adequate tooth height, inappropriate shape and dark color of teeth can cause aesthetic compromises and may cause social awkwardness in individuals.

How can I Stop Grinding?

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep or even when you’re awake.

If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program like yoga, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered depending on signs and symptoms once examined by your dentist.

Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

  • Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain acidic content such as colas, sport beverages, excessive juice.
  • Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
  • Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid biting your nails. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching, making them stronger and making you more likely to grind your teeth.
  • Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, stretch your jaw muscles by finger pressure massage and opening and closing in a normal range five-ten times within a few minutes. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
  • Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe and again stretching your jaw muscles after finger pressure massage.

As always, consult your dental care provider for a proper examination and evaluation. Please call Round Lake Family Dentistry at (847) 740-0217 to schedule your appointment today.

When do you need to get your wisdom teeth removed??

teeth chart

When is it recommended to remove the wisdom teeth?

It is generally recommended to remove the wisdom teeth when:

1. They are partially erupted, as this can leave an open communication for bacteria to enter and cause an infection

2. They are growing in such a way that they can damage adjacent teeth or bite into your cheek

3. If a cyst (fluid filled sac) forms, destroying surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.

Fully erupted 3rd molars in proper bite, without decay or gum disease have no clinical reasons for a full removal. Although, certain dental providers argue that taking the 3rd molars out early in their developments may prevent future nerve damage especially on bottom teeth. The theory is that once the 3rd molars fully develop, their roots may involve the nerve canal which may be damaged during tooth removal.

Be sure to report any signs or symptoms of wisdom tooth related pain to your dentist. A thorough examination and evaluation of gums and teeth on a regular basis can avoid any possible complications in future.

As always, call Round Lake Family Dentistry at (847) 740-0217 with any questions/concerns. and Keep Smilling…….