Why Aren’t My Kid’s Teeth Coming In? 

2022-04-21T14:45:48+00:00April 21st, 2022|Kids Teeth|

Kids Teeth Not Coming In

For a kid, the strange feeling of losing that first tooth means everything. The slight pain it causes as it slowly detaches from the gums, and the pleasure felt of sticking your tongue through its absence serves as a right of passage, a moment in time that distinguishes that transfer of child to kid, and eventually to young adult. But what to do when the new, adult tooth doesn’t seem to be breaking through? What if it doesn’t come in at all?! At Adam Brown DDS, we’ve had plenty of experience with this phenomenon and we are happy to share our insight with you.

Children begin losing their teeth around the age of six, but it’s not unheard of for a few teeth to loosen and fall out as early as the age of four—the process of losing teeth can last until the age of thirteen or so. Losing the teeth is usually not a problem, however, new teeth coming in can cause some issues: sometimes they come in crooked, sometimes they are too big for the space left, and sometimes they take their sweet time in breaking through the gums. 

Crooked teeth and too many teeth for such a crowded space can be fixed, but when the tooth itself is not growing things can get a bit complicated. But don’t panic! We have seen and worked with it all before. 

When a child loses a tooth, typically, it can take anywhere from a week to six months for the new tooth to fully erupt.

One thing to note: if the tooth has erupted but is taking a long time to grow, worry not. This is normal. The tooth will catch up and fully grow. It takes some teeth longer than others to get up there. On the other side of this, if six months have passed after losing a tooth and the new one has not yet broken through, it is a good idea to make an appointment with us to check it out. This way, we can evaluate the jaw, teeth, and gums to see where the problem is and make a plan for resolving it. 

 

Common Reasons for Slow (or Non) Growth

Here are the most common culprits for lack of growth, but before diagnosing your child, be sure to schedule a quick visit with us just to be sure:

  • Not Enough Room in the Jaw. Sometimes the reason a tooth won’t erupt is due to the jawbone simply not being big enough. When the baby teeth are lost, the room is made for new teeth—however—those new, adult teeth are not the same size, they are actually bigger and take up more space. This is the reason why dentists tell parents not to worry if they notice gaps between their children’s baby teeth. These spaces will be filled with adult teeth. A problem arises when the child’s jaw can’t accommodate the new growth, which can cause the new teeth to halt their progress because if they do try and squeeze in, they can become impacted and malformed. Luckily, since the jawbone is still growing at this age, interceptive orthodontics can be used to help encourage the jaw to expand. Worst-case scenario, surgery can be performed to make room in the mouth for new teeth—but this is extremely rare. 
  • Directional Issues. Teeth can have a mind of their own and sometimes they don’t want to break through because they are moving in the wrong direction. This problem can occur whether there is enough room in the gums or not, and this is easy to spot since once the tooth starts to erupt it is obvious it is not coming in straight. At Adam Brown DDS, we have found that tooth extraction is one way to fix this issue, but we try and save tooth removal as a last resort. Instead, we first try and coax the tooth into its proper place through orthodontic treatments. We have seen a lot of success with this process, especially if we are able to catch the tooth as it is still early in the eruption process.
  • Naturally Missing Teeth (from birth). Congenitally missing teeth are, surprisingly, pretty common. Usually, we see this phenomenon with the wisdom teeth: it’s normal for adults to be missing one or both of the upper lateral incisors or second premolars, and we have found that this happens due to genetics so if you are missing one or a few teeth because they never erupted, chances are you are not the only one within your family. With congenitally missing teeth though, the permanent teeth actually never develop at all, and since they are not developed, they never push the baby teeth out. If the baby teeth do eventually come out, due to decay or trauma, no tooth will grow in the absence. What to do in this situation? Typically, we create a bridge or partial denture to fill the gap (one tooth or multiple teeth), but we can also perform dental implant surgery that will work as a permanent fix that looks the most natural. One side note, this type of surgery should not be performed while the jawbone is still growing.
  • Extra Teeth. Conditions such as a cleft palate, Gardner’s syndrome, and cleidocranial dysostosis can cause supernumerary teeth to develop, but these extra teeth can come in on their own as well, though this is uncommon. When the dental arch inside the mouth can serve as a wall, blocking the permanent teeth from erupting or developing at all. Thankfully, there are orthodontic treatments to fix this issue, the most common of them involve extracting the tooth or teeth. 
  • Primary Failure of Eruption (PFE). In some of the rarest cases, permanent teeth are present beneath the gums and have a clear path for growth, but they fail to erupt or they begin to erupt and then mysteriously stop growing. It turns out that PFE is actually genetic, and when found there are multiple methods of treatment. The most common is oral surgery and specified treatment to encourage the teeth to come out or commence growing. Sometimes extractions are needed then braces are used to pull the teeth in to fill the empty space—dental implants can also be used to fill space. 

Another similar issue that can arise is when the tooth or teeth are fused to the jawbone and are unable to break loose and erupt the gums. Luckily, there is a surgical procedure that can loosen the tooth from the bone. After the surgery and a few treatments, the problem area should grow. 

 

We Can Help

Remember, if your child’s teeth are not coming in, or they started growing then stopped, don’t panic! The need for major cosmetic surgery is extremely rare. In our experience, we have found that spending time to diagnose the issue and using precise, proven treatments will work in coaxing those stubborn teeth to full growth. Make an appointment with us today so we can help you and your child maintain proper oral health.

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How To Help Your Child Face Dental Anxiety

2022-03-09T17:40:31+00:00March 9th, 2022|Children's Health, Dental Anxiety|

Tips for Dental Anxiety

If you remember the anxiety you had in your youth on the way to your dental appointment, you’re not alone. 

A good percentage of kids deal with dental phobia, with studies showing somewhere around a quarter of children will experience that fear at some point.

Still, getting your kids to their dental check-ups is a necessity for maintaining great adolescent health. Thankfully, Adam Brown DDS understands both the importance of check-ups and the need for a comfortable experience for their younger patients. 

 

Tackling Dental Anxiety In Your Child

Addressing any deeply rooted fear your child has can feel like an uphill battle. Whether it’s convincing them that, no, there isn’t a monster under their bed, that the dark hallway won’t be a problem, or that the bug in their room won’t hurt them, you’ll find it hard to convey why there’s no reason for fear. Dental check-ups are not too different.

Here are some creative ways you can tackle that anxiety in preparation for your appointment:

 

Find A Smile That They Already Love

If their grandparent’s smile lights up a room, or maybe a beloved family friend’s grin, your child likely already can identify just how important a beautiful smile is.

Pointing out a role model’s smile is a way to show the importance of dental health in action, a move that can make that dental checkup seem really worth it.

 

Ease Them Into Meeting Their Dentist

Letting them know what they’re about to get into is a key way to ease your child’s concerns. 

You can do this in a few ways: Showing a video of the office space, pictures of the staff, or the more comprehensive option, scheduling an in-person introduction before their appointment. You can contact Adam Brown’s DDS to schedule an early tour prior to your appointment, as a way to ease them into their dental appointment. 

 

Arrive Early

While this may seem like the most simple of the options, it’s an extremely useful one. Getting there early can keep the stress of a rush from showing in your mood, preventing it from rubbing off on your child. That coupled with some time to adjust to the space can prove an effective tool in a stressful situation. 

 

Take An Active Role

As a parent, you can really influence your child’s attitude towards their upcoming dental appointment. Changing the way you talk about dentistry can have a noticeable impact. Avoiding language like pain, needles, blood, or other potentially alarming aspects of dental language can lessen their stress.

In the same vein, altering your language to be something accessible and understandable for your children can help dispel some of the mystery around their appointment. While medical terms may be accurate, the unknowns associated with them can also do more harm than good. 

Role-playing at home can also help mold expectations, a way to make the dental talk fun and involved, for both parent and child. Oftentimes the perception of what the dental appointment will be is the most troubling. Having a quick, pretend run-through is never a bad thing.

 

Reward Them

If your child has some concerns about their dental appointment, completing it can feel like a real achievement. It’s important to find ways to incentivize them to face their fears. A promise to visit their favorite restaurant, park, or another fun spot after the visit is one way to make the appointment seem more promising.

Adam Brown DDS understands the necessity of rewarding good dental habits. Hosting the “Cavity Free Club” as a way to let your kid pick out a fun toy after winning their battle against those pesky early cavities. 

 

Validate but Move On

Validating fears around a necessary medical appointment may seem counterintuitive, but it can help more than just your child’s anxiety.

Your child’s fears are valid and instead of shutting them down, you can take a moment to reassure them. The fear they’re facing is real. Saying something like, “I know a lot of kids are scared of that too,” can make them feel heard.

But after that reassurance, it’s important to move on. Dwelling on comforting against the scary thing can actually make it a bigger cause of concern. Instead, talk about how you’ll work to make them brave and ready to take their dental appointment on.

 

Let Your Dentist Know

Your dentist is the most important partner throughout the whole process. Letting them know about dental anxiety, medical reactions (like fainting or gagging) allows them to provide the most comforting experience possible.

Adam Brown DDS has the necessary knowledge, experience, and professionalism to address dental anxiety and show just how positive an appointment can be.

 

Appointment Times Are Key

Last but not least, the way you schedule your child’s appointment can help tremendously. 

Limiting the time between appointments can help bridge the gap in dental anxiety. Keeping your child out of a dentist’s office for a year or so can do some serious damage to the comfort you’ve built at a dentist’s office.

That time also allows for cavities and other dental problems to crop up, creating a more negative reason for an appointment, which can always create stress. 

 

Why Your Child’s Check-Ups Are Vital

While tackling dental anxiety is one battle, you may be wondering, why are check-ups so important?

Early checkups and a diligent dental routine can not only prevent problems in the immediate future but also create a foundation of healthy hygiene for the rest of their lives.

After all, tooth decay is the most common disease present in children across the United States, with the CDC reporting that more than 40% of children will experience some degree of tooth decay before kindergarten. 

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that every child should visit a dentist by age 1, or as soon as their first tooth shows.

Baby teeth are extremely important, allowing for proper speech development, teeth spacing, and chewing. Having a professional examine their growth can ensure those processes are happening in a healthy and sustainable way.

There are a few other vital benefits too. 

This early head start can make the regular dental appointment more of a part of their life, addressing some of the root causes of dental anxiety. 

It gives ample opportunities to check for systemic health issues. Many diseases can be identified by conditions of the mouth, which can give you some comfort knowing your child is healthy after their checkup.

All of this also creates a smile that your child can have confidence in, a reward that truly extends a lifetime. 

 

Why Adam Brown DDS?

Adam Brown DDS is the perfect dental practice for your children’s dentistry needs. With a practice that looks at patients like family above all else, patients can come to Adam Brown DDS knowing they’ll receive not just a regular appointment but instead comprehensive generational dentistry.

While this blog can convey some of that, the testimonials and before-and-after photos from Adam Brown DDS patients will show the genuine quality you’ll receive. 

And for the potential new customers reading this, they’re offering a New Patient Special for $65, which includes:

– Comprehensive Exam

– Full Dental Assessment

– Oral Cancer Screening

– Perio Evaluation (Gums)

– Evaluation of Jaw & Chewing Muscles

– Recording of Dental History

– X-Ray

– Digital Photos

So if you’re near Monroe and looking for a dentist that can do it all, from conquering dental anxiety, taking care of your child’s needs, or giving you a quality dental experience, Adam Brown DDS is the place for you.

J. Dalton George

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Is It Time for an Upgrade? Choosing Between Invisalign, Dental Implants, and Dentures

2022-02-14T15:42:40+00:00February 10th, 2022|Dental Implants, Dental Trends, Dentures, Invisalign|

Invisalign, Dentures, and Implants Monroe NC

If you feel this is the year to upgrade your smile, you have options. Adam Brown DDS offers several dental treatments that can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Three of the most popular treatments include Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures.

The solution that works best for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, and our office can help you make the right decision. But for now, let’s break down these three types of dental treatments and discuss how they can take your smile design to the next level!

 

What Is Invisalign?       

Invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal braces. These clear aligners are used for teeth straightening, and they gradually shift teeth into their optimal positions. 

When using Invisalign, you don’t have to worry about metal brackets, wires, and other inconveniences of traditional braces. Most teenagers and adults who wear their aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day can correct their orthodontic problems. 

 

The Benefits of Invisalign     

When wearing metal braces, there are many foods that you must avoid, including corn-on-the-cob, popcorn, caramel, chewing gum, and chewy candies. Carrots, hard fruits and vegetables, nuts, and steak are also off-limits.

Because you can remove your aligner trays before meals and snacks, you can eat (and drink) whatever you wish, as long as you brush or rinse your teeth with water before re-applying the aligners.

The most obvious benefit of using clear aligners is that they are virtually invisible. Everyone knows you are undergoing orthodontic treatment when wearing traditional braces, but the average onlooker would not be able to tell when you are wearing Invisalign; the thin clear plastic is almost invisible.

Furthermore, it is easier to maintain oral hygiene when taking Invisalign treatment. It is common to notice stains on your teeth after wearing metal braces, if not gingivitis or cavities. Essentially, it is pretty challenging to brush and floss around metal wires and brackets, and even if you dedicate the extra time and effort, you may not be able to get into all the places you need to. 

All you have to do with Invisalign is remove the aligners, then brush and floss as you usually would. You can even clean your trays by soaking them in a cleaning solution or brushing them with a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Invisalign proves as effective as traditional braces for many patients, and they are much more comfortable. The smooth plastic fits snuggly to teeth, and you don’t have to worry about any brackets or wires poking your gums or cheeks. 

Even if you pay more for Invisalign, understand that emergency dental visits are less likely to occur because clear aligners are remarkably strong. There are no brackets or wires to break off. Moreover, more dental insurance plans are covering Invisalign.

 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are primarily used to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can impact chewing and speaking, lead to severe teeth misalignment, and cause gradual bone loss. While there are several ways to replace one or more missing teeth (e.g., dental bridges, partial dentures, complete dentures, etc.), dental implants have become one of the most popular choices because they offer many benefits. 

The patient undergoes a minor procedure to replace the missing tooth’s root with a post; then, the dentist puts a permanent dental crown onto the implant. 

 

Benefits of Dental Implants   

Getting dental implants is not the cheapest treatment, but it is often the most effective way to replace missing teeth. It can help you maintain clear speech, make chewing food more manageable, and provide superior comfort. Implants also look entirely natural, are easy to maintain, and are durable enough to last for many years.

 

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are another way to treat lost or removed teeth. A dentist (or laboratory) fabricates these sets of artificial teeth and gums to fit each patient’s mouth. You can get full or partial dentures. In other words, you can either replace a few missing teeth or all teeth on the top or bottom gum line. No matter what type of dentures you receive, you will have them custom-designed to match surrounding teeth and fit your mouth visually.

 

Benefits of Dentures   

Dentures are typically a less expensive solution for improving a smile and avoiding various oral health issues. They can support the structures around the lips and cheeks, plus they allow you to eat foods as you usually would and speak clearly. Your dentist will recommend whether dental implants or dentures are the best treatment for your situation.

 

Dental Implants vs. Dentures   

As we’ve discussed, both dental implants and dentures are viable solutions for replacing one or more missing teeth. The best treatment for you will depend on preference, price, jawbone health, and other factors. Let’s talk about these two treatments in more detail:

 

Dental Implants Procedure

When getting dental implants, the dentist will replace the missing tooth’s root with an implant that they will cap with a crown. This involves extracting the damaged root and inserting a metal prosthetic root (called a “post”) deep into the bone. Once the bone has grown around the post to secure it, the dentist will place an abutment onto it before applying the crown.

Sometimes, the abutment can be placed during the same procedure as the implant, while other times, it can take a couple of months for the bone to bond to the post.  

 

Dentures Procedure

Dentures are prosthetic, removable teeth for replacing one or many missing teeth. The dentist takes an impression of your mouth (upper gums, lower gums, or both), depending on which teeth need to be replaced. The dentist will also observe your jaw alignment and bite to ensure the dentures can improve your speech and ability to chew. 

Then, a lab will fabricate preliminary dentures for the dentist to fit in your mouth and make any necessary adjustments to the set’s alignment and length. The dentist will then order your final set of dentures so that your teeth and gums look as natural as possible.

 

Costs of Dental Implants and Dentures

Dental implants cost more than dentures. Each dentist’s office varies on price, but the American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that an implant runs from $1,600 to $2,200 per tooth. In comparison, the ADA reports that a patient can receive a complete set of upper or lower dentures for about $1,600. 

 

Maintenance of Dental Implants and Dentures

Caring for dental implants is as simple as caring for natural teeth. All you have to do is brush twice a day, floss once a day, and go to your regular checkups at Adam Brown DDS.

Dentures require more maintenance to remain effective. For instance, you must soak them overnight in water or a cleaning solution. You must also remove your dentures and brush them after each meal or snack, and you will need to ensure that you brush any adhesive revenue from your gums.

Another thing to consider is that you will need to have your dentures refitted now and then as your bite changes. Conversely, dental implants are permanent, though you might need to replace a cracked or broken crown. 

 

Choosing Between Dental Implants and Dentures

Your dentist can help you make the right decision concerning dental implants or dentures. But here are a few factors to consider when thinking about your dental future:

Age

Dental implants can last for decades, meaning that people in their sixties or younger might get the most out of these permanent prosthetic teeth. Many older adults prefer to get dentures because they don’t require a time-consuming or invasive procedure.

Jawbone Density

Before you get dental implants, your dentist must ensure there is enough jawbone material to support the posts. If there isn’t, implants might not be a viable solution. 

Age, gum disease, tooth loss, and injury are the most common culprits of jawbone loss. With that said, some dental practices perform bone grafting to support jawbone density, which could be a good option if you can afford the additional time and costs. 

Comfort and Effectiveness

In most cases, dental implants feel more comfortable than dentures, and they also make chewing and speaking feel more natural. There are implant-supported overdentures; however, they can provide better comfort and chewing efficacy than conventional dentures. 

Oral Hygiene

You also need to consider daily hygiene when choosing between dental implants and dentures. Dentures require more time and effort to keep viable, while implants are lower maintenance. Keep an honest assessment of how willing and able you are to care for your dentures each day. 

 

Can I Choose More Than One Dental Treatment?

Yes, it’s possible to get more than one dental treatment at a time. Let’s discuss your options:

Can I Wear Invisalign with Dental Implants?

Some patients receive a dental implant and wish to correct their crooked teeth somewhere down the road. Implants are permanent fixtures, meaning they will not move from their original position. But your dentist can use clear aligners to reposition all the surrounding teeth. Typically, you can still get Invisalign in this situation.

With that said, if you only have a few remaining natural teeth, Invisalign may not be the ideal option. Adam Brown DDS can thoroughly evaluate your situation and help you find the best solution. 

Which Treatment Should I Get First?

If you have not received dental implants or Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering which you should get first. Understand that Invisalign holds your natural teeth in their sockets and gradually moves them into proper alignment. 

On the other hand, dental implants attach directly to the jawbone, which bonds directly to the implant over time. Thus, implants are permanently fixed, and it is typically best to straighten your teeth with aligners before having implants inserted.

When your teeth are aligned before implant placement, it ensures that all your teeth are in their optimal positions. Then, you can replace missing teeth with implants and crowns that look natural and aesthetically pleasing with surrounding teeth. Furthermore, your dentist can ensure that the gap remains healthy during the Invisalign treatment.

Are Dental Bridges a Viable Alternative?

Dental bridges are another type of treatment for missing teeth. Dentists can use a dental bridge, sometimes called a fixed partial denture, to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Essentially, the bridge attaches to the surrounding teeth to support the mouth’s structure. 

Dental bridges are less expensive than implants, and most patients who receive them are satisfied with the result. However, some people are confused about the appropriate care and maintenance responsibilities, leading to bridges becoming ineffective or unsanitary. 

If you choose to get a bridge, ask your dentist for comprehensive care instructions to ensure your device works well and allows you to maintain oral hygiene. 

 

Conclusion

It’s 2022, and it could be the ideal time to upgrade your smile! While there are many available dental treatments, Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures are some of the most popular options among patients. 

Along with considering the information and advice above, contact Adam Brown DDS to schedule a consultation. We would love to speak with you, go over your options, and help you make the best decision for your future smile and dental health!

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The Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth

2021-12-28T15:33:17+00:00December 28th, 2021|Teeth Grinding|

Teeth Grinding Monroe NC

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a slight headache and a stiff or sore jaw? If so, these symptoms could be the result of grinding your teeth during sleep. Teeth grinding is a common problem with a myriad of causes, and if you think you may be grinding away on those teeth every night, Adam Brown DDS can help you to stop.

Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw—known as “Bruxism” in the dentistry world—usually happens unconsciously while you are asleep or awake, and it can lead to all sorts of sleeping disorders such as snoring, even sleep apnea.

How do you know if you are grinding your teeth at night? Here are a few signs that could indicate bruxism:
1. Flattened teeth.
2. Loose, chipped, or cracked teeth.
3. Tight or sore jaw muscles, especially when you wake from sleep.
4. Regular toothaches and/or increased sensitivity.
5. A dull ache surrounding your ears and temples.
6. Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), which is clicking or grinding when you move your jaw.

Though having any of these signs could mean you are grinding your teeth, but the best way to be sure is to pop in for a visit. A trained eye can see the side effects of teeth grinding pretty quickly and diagnose the issue and begin working towards a solution.

 

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
Truthfully, we are not entirely sure what causes bruxism. Whether physical, psychological, even genetic, there are a host of reasons people might grind their teeth while sleeping. Often when people are under a lot of stress and anxiety, they begin to subconsciously bite abnormally or aggressively, which can then lead to bruxism. Teeth grinding can also be a side effect of some medications like antidepressants.

If you think or know, you are grinding your teeth at night, begin narrowing down the possible reasons: does your family have a history of teeth grinders? Are you on medication? Are you under more stress than usual?

 

Getting Help
Rather than trying to live with bruxism until your teeth are whittled down to nothing, consider visiting us at Adam Brown DDS. Even if you are unsure if you are suffering from bruxism, it’s worth a quick appointment to find out and get help if needed. During your dental exam, we will look for any excessive wear on your teeth, any cracks or chips, even loose teeth.

Depending on what we find, we will then discuss a plan to stop you from grinding those teeth every night. Here are some possible solutions:
Wearing a Mandibular Advancement Device. This is a method for the more serious grinders where a mouthpiece is attached to your head that keeps your jaw fixed in one position. It’s not the most comfortable solution, but it works!
Wearing a basic mouth guard to protect the teeth while asleep. The mouth guard is perfectly molded to your teeth, and though this is a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, you will quickly get used to it.
Wearing a splint that keeps the teeth separated. If the mouth guard is too bulky or awkward, consider the low-profile splint instead.
Abstain from alcohol for a while. It has been proven that drinking alcohol does, at times, intensify bruxism while sleeping.
Cut back, or cut out completely, anything with caffeine in it. The energy gained from caffeine can cause nerves and muscles to work overtime while sleeping.
Begin using stress-management techniques. Maybe even begin some behavioral therapy, such as training yourself to hold your jaw and mouth in a single position for long periods of time.

The good news is that teeth grinding is treatable. If you suffer from bruxism, we will find a way to stop it. This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist as soon as you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night. We can assess and apply the appropriate method of treatment, and make any adjustments along the way. The key thing to note is the sooner you get treatment, the healthier your teeth and mouth will be—and remain to be.

 

Healthy Teeth, Happy Living
While we are on the subject of maintaining those teeth, let’s not forget the basics when it comes to keeping them clean and healthy. In order to maintain a pleasant smile, it’s important to set a regime of brushing twice a day. Brush your teeth in the morning and at night with fluoride toothpaste. In the morning it’s a good idea, to begin with, mouth wash, which breaks down plaque and food particles. Then thoroughly floss between each tooth to get those spots your toothbrush won’t reach. When brushing, hold the toothbrush at an angle pointing the bristles towards the gums. Brush, using back-and-forth motions on both the inside and outside of the teeth, making sure not to scrub too vigorously.

Brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede and expose sensitive areas of the teeth. It is strongly advised to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for two minutes a side and repeat the same process at night. People tend to see the dentist once a year, but it’s much better for you if you go every six months. Here are four reasons why:

1. Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. You see, though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of it from your teeth, little bits of plaque can remain and harden. Over time, plaque will discolor your teeth and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.

2. Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth. And like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.

3. Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.

4. Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Maintaining your oral health is so important, as cavities and gum disease if left alone, could lead to serious medical problems—even heart disease. Poor oral health can even affect other diseases, like diabetes, making them more difficult to control. This is why it’s so important to be sure you are caring for your teeth and gums correctly. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, even if you have general questions about keeping up on your oral health, please call or visit us at Adam Brown DDS.

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How to Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy and Enjoy Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

2021-10-14T12:40:47+00:00October 14th, 2021|Oral Health|

Healthy Teeth and Halloween Candy Monroe

We’re approaching the spookiest (and sweetest) time of year, and families across the country are making their plans for fun and excitement. Will you try a haunted maze in the area or go to a local pumpkin festival? Will you participate in a nearby trunk-or-treat or stick to trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood?

Whatever plans your family has for this Halloween, chances are they involve a lot of candy! And while we at Adam Brown, DDS don’t want to keep you from enjoying your sweets, we do want to provide some practical advice on how you can keep your family’s teeth healthy during the Halloween season and stay safe while trick-or-treating. But first, it will help to understand exactly how candy can impact your child’s teeth:

How Candy Affects Teeth

Though teeth are the strongest substance in the human body, plaque and tooth decay can do some serious damage to our teeth over time. Adults are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities, but children are the most vulnerable. So, it’s no surprise that the Halloween season is a time to take extra precautions. Dentists see cavities and tooth decay in kids all the time in the weeks following Halloween, with the culprit being sugary candy and other treats.

No one can deny the flavor of Halloween treats, but it’s essential to keep your child’s oral health in mind. Most tooth decay occurs when oral bacteria in our mouths produce acids by feeding off sugar. This acid begins to deteriorate tooth enamel, which is the tooth’s outer layer that protects it from decay. Tooth enamel cannot grow back once it wears off. Therefore, since children are more prone to tooth decay, be extra mindful of how much sugary food they eat.

When tooth decay progresses enough, cavities can form in your tooth, which can lead to severe discomfort and pain. And if cavities are allowed to keep growing, they can damage deeper layers of the tooth and eventually cause tooth loss. Halloween is a time for enjoying sweets, but your family must do it wisely and in moderation; otherwise, all of the candy, sweet treats, and sugary drinks can put each of you (especially your child) at risk for tooth decay and cavities, which are neither good for your oral health nor your wallet!

10 Tips for Healthy Teeth

Now that you have an idea of how sugary foods can impact your family’s teeth, let’s discuss some practical tips you can take to maintain your oral health in the weeks ahead:

1. Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with candy

The best way to ensure that your child keeps their teeth healthy is to help them understand the difference between moderation and overindulgence. They need to know that candy and other sweet treats should be limited and that eating too many of them can lead to serious consequences.

For a younger child, you will need to pay special attention to setting a good example. Since younger kids are more difficult to reason with, make sure you are modeling the behavior you are teaching them by consuming sugary foods in moderation yourself.

2. Pick the right candies

Eating any sugary candy or treats can negatively impact your teeth, but some are worse than others. For example, chocolate is generally less detrimental to teeth than sticky candy like Skittles and gummy bears. This is because it is quite easy to clean chocolate from your teeth, and fruity candies can get stuck onto and between teeth. Perhaps the best sweet treat of all is dark chocolate; not only does it carry health benefits, but it also easily washes off of your teeth.

3. Opt for sweet over sour

While sweet, sticky candies can be particularly damaging to teeth, sour candy is even worse. Most sour candies are sticky, which poses the same problem as other sticky candies. However, sour candy also contains a higher pH, which means more acid for your child’s teeth and gums! Limit the sour treats your child consumes so that you can keep their enamel healthy and strong.

4. Strategize when you eat candy

When candy abounds during the Halloween season, it is easy to graze and snack on sweets at random moments throughout the day. But if you plan out when your child is allowed to have their treats, you can help reduce the sugar’s impact on their teeth. Think of the times when your child will be brushing their teeth, and plan their snacks accordingly.

For instance, maybe they can have a sweet after they finish their lunch and then another one after dinner. That means that you will have more control of how much sugar sticks to their teeth on any given day. Plus, the saliva that kids produce during meals can help wash away food particles and bacteria, which means that eating candy immediately following meals can reduce the number of little pieces that cling to their teeth.

5. Set limits

Along with planning out what times of the day your child gets to eat sweets during the Halloween season, you will also want to limit how much they can have per sitting as the season phases out. For example, maybe a day or two after Halloween, give them a little less candy than they had the day before. Gradually give them fewer and fewer treats over the next several days until life is back to normal. In most cases, this is fairly easy and straightforward because kids have short attention spans! In no time, your child will likely forget about their Halloween sweets!

6. Prioritize regular oral hygiene

Helping your child maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine is always critical. And you want to make sure that they don’t take any shortcuts during the Halloween season when they are eating more candy than normal. Make sure your child brushes their teeth thoroughly before bed, in the morning, and after each snack. Rather than flossing once a day, consider helping them floss twice a day until they finish their Halloween treats.

7. Drink lots of water

Any dentist is likely to recommend that your child drinks as much water as they can each day. This is primarily because water is a much healthier alternative to sodas, juices, and other sugary beverages that tend to be terrible for little teeth. But there is another reason why you should make sure your child drinks a lot of water in the days surrounding Halloween— it can go a long way in keeping their mouth clean and washing the sugar and bacteria away, which means they will have lower risks of tooth decay and other problems.

8. Use sugarless gum

It might be ideal for your child to brush after every time they eat candies or other sweets. But this might not always be practical, especially when your family is enjoying Halloween activities together.

That’s where sugarless gum comes into play! Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes after meals and snacks can increase saliva production, which helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth and wash out the food and bacteria. In other words, it is yet another simple step you can take to prevent tooth decay and keep your mouths healthy.

9. Strike a balance

Eating more sweets means that you should be eating more healthy foods as well. For example, eating candy bars, sour worms, and Jolly Ranchers should be balanced out by milk and low-sugar dairy foods that give your teeth calcium and help them stay strong and healthy. Cheese, in particular, can lower the pH in the mouth, and any natural, crunchy foods (e.g. carrots, cucumbers, and apples) are great for cleaning teeth as you’re eating. To take it a step further, these types of foods can even loosen plaque from teeth and wash away bacteria.

10. Don’t brush right away

Lastly, consider waiting about one hour for your child to brush their teeth after consuming any candies or sweets that are highly acidic. Brushing too soon after eating such candies can increase the harmful effects of the acid in their mouth.

Which Candies Are OK for Braces?

If your child has braces, there are some special considerations you will want to make when Halloween arrives. Certain candies and treats will be harder than others to clean from braces, not to mention that some will also pose a higher risk of damaging the brackets and wires themselves.

For instance, be wary of any hard or sticky treats, such as Starbursts, Skittles, jawbreakers, caramel apples, and gummy bears. Also, steer clear of popcorn, popcorn balls, and any other foods that tend to get stuck in braces. Believe it or not, there are plenty of treats your child can enjoy that won’t pose any serious risks. Reese’s cups, regular M&Ms, cotton candy, brownies, cupcakes, Pixy Stix, and Mounds are some examples of sweets that shouldn’t impact their braces if eaten in moderation.

8 Tips for a Safe, Fun Trick-or-Treat

Okay, so we’ve discussed some steps you can take to keep your family’s teeth healthy during the candy-heavy Halloween season. Let’s get to some quick tips for how you can plan for an awesome and safe trick-or-treat experience.

1. Plan your path

Make sure the route you take on Halloween night is safe and not too long. If you have younger children, you probably shouldn’t expect to stay out for five hours, though you might be able to get away with a long night if you have teenagers. Consider doing a test run before you go trick-or-treating to figure out how long the route is and which paths you should take. Along with keeping everyone safe, this will help prevent arguments on Halloween night and ensure that no one gets lost if they are separated from the family.

2. Pay attention to the candies you get

Each time a piece of candy is dropped in your child’s bucket, you should inspect it before they put it into their mouth. Handmade treats are a kind gesture, but since you cannot be sure what the treats contain, you may not want to give them to your kids. If you see any candy wrappers tampered with, throw them out immediately.

3. Take a flashlight

Along with planning the route you take on Halloween night, bring along a flashlight to help reduce the likelihood that one of your children will wander off and get separated from the group. And while you should only go trick-or-treating on well-lit streets, you might want to bring some reflective tape to stick to your children’s costumes and coats, just to make sure they are clearly visible to drivers.

4. Wear comfortable shoes

Trick-or-treating requires a lot of walking, which means that each person in your family should wear a comfortable pair of tennis shoes. Even if some of your outfits call for high heels, sandals, or another type of uncomfortable footwear, wearing tennis shoes will help everyone enjoy their time and prevent injuries.

5. Stick with your group

One of the biggest fears for parents is that one of their children will get separated from the group on a dark Halloween night. Along with taking extra precautions to ensure that your younger children stay by your side, however, you should also be mindful of where your older kids are. Your older children should not be trick-or-treating without you unless they are with a group of friends who you know would adhere to all the safety rules.

6. Don’t go into a stranger’s home

Chances are you have spoken to your kids about stranger danger. And that philosophy is perhaps never more important than on Halloween night. When trick-or-treating, remind your kids about the rules regarding strangers, and never allow them to enter someone else’s home. To take it a step further, make sure they know not to approach a house for candy unless the lights are on.

7. Check your costumes

There are all kinds of creative Halloween costumes out there. While you want your kids to enjoy their costumes and make the most out of their experience, you also want to make sure they are safe. Inspect your child’s costume to ensure that it is the appropriate length so they don’t trip while trick-or-treating. And only allow them to carry accessories that are flexible and soft to prevent any unnecessary injuries.

8. Be careful around flames

Finally, even the smallest flame from a jack-o-lantern can catch a costume on fire. Be extra mindful as your family enjoys the festive decorations on your route, but make sure that you and your children steer clear of all candles, torches, and other items that contain a flame. And only wear flame-resistant costumes.

Conclusion

Halloween is meant to provoke excitement for children and adults alike. But to ensure that your family makes the most of the Halloween season, it is essential to prioritize oral health and take the appropriate safety measures when trick-or-treating. And of course, be sure to schedule check-ups at Adam Brown, DDS to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

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Cracked Teeth: What Should You Do?

2021-09-16T19:14:28+00:00September 15th, 2021|Cracked Teeth, Oral Health|

Cracked Teeth Help Charlotte NC

If you think you might have a cracked tooth, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s the most common culprit for tooth loss in developed countries. You can get a cracked tooth from grinding your teeth during sleep. You can get one from chewing hard foods like candy, ice, or nuts. You can also get one from:

  • A physically traumatic incident (e.g., a sports injury, a car accident, a fall, etc.).
  • Eating an extremely hot food and following it with an ice-cold beverage.  
  • Getting oversized fillings that weaken the tooth’s integrity. 
  • As a part of the natural aging process.

Here’s the point: Cracked teeth are common because there are many possible causes. And too many people wait too long to see a dentist after getting a cracked tooth, which can lead to a host of other problems. 

Don’t do that! Below, Adam Brown DDS has provided some essential information and advice about what to do when you get a cracked tooth (spoiler alert: it involves going to the dentist!). 

 

The Skinny on Cracked Teeth 

Cracked teeth can come in many forms. You can have a crack that extends to the gum line, a vertical root fracture, a fractured cusp, or craze lines, among others. Generally, a tooth’s crack starts at the chewing surface and eventually spreads down to the root. In some cases, the patient feels no discomfort, in which case it is still critical to seek dental care so that you can stop the damage in its tracks. 

The nature of the dental care you need will primarily depend on how far the crack has extended into the tooth. For example, if the crack hasn’t spread to the pulp, you can probably treat it with a crown. But if the crack has grown to the center of the tooth, you will likely need both a root canal and a crown. You’ll probably notice if the damage gets to that point because it usually results in significant pain.

A cracked tooth can get even more intense than that. If the crack extends through the center of the tooth and down below the gum line, the only option may be to extract the tooth. Sometimes a tooth crack can begin at the root and work its way up, which is known as a vertical root fracture. This requires extensive dental care and often goes unnoticed until the patient feels swelling around the tooth or gum, or if the area becomes infected. 

A cusp fracture occurs when only a portion of your tooth breaks off. In most cases, a cusp fracture can be treated with a new filling or a crown. And then there are craze lines, which are essentially thin lines that show through the surface of the teeth. These cracks are shallow and require no treatment. They are simply a result of the aging process and are only superficial.

You may not be able to tell if you have a cracked tooth just by looking in the mirror. But there are some symptoms to keep in mind that can indicate that you have a cracked tooth. For instance, if you have pain that comes and goes and is exacerbated when chewing food, or you experience discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages, you might have a cracked tooth. And if your tooth is extra sensitive when eating sticky, sweet, or sour foods, that too can be a sign. Furthermore, cracked teeth often reveal themselves when the edges of the teeth become sharp.

 

Why You Should Go to the Dentist 

Even if you notice symptoms of a cracked tooth, there’s really no way for you to know the extent of the damage. So, no matter the size of the crack or chip in your tooth, your first action should be to call your dentist to set up an appointment. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to slow the progress of the crack until you can get to the dentist, which we will discuss here later. 

Oftentimes, your mouth injury will not require you to get emergency treatment, which means that you should be OK until your dentist is able to see you during normal work hours. So, call yourself fortunate if you have a crack or a chip in your tooth that isn’t causing you to hunch over in pain! That said, remember that calling the dentist should be a top priority no matter the intensity of the damage. Let’s discuss why in more detail:

Preventing Decay and Infection

Failure to treat your cracked tooth promptly can result in decay and/or infection. The rough edges of a cracked tooth tend to collect more food and bacteria than normal while also leaving the area harder to clean. And if the crack or chip in your tooth is sizable, it can expose the dentin underneath your enamel, which increases the risk of decay even more. Thus, cavities and even infection can quickly ensue. 

 

Minimizing Bite Problems

Your mouth works through muscle memory, and your bite contacts must be precise for your chewing to be proper. Even the smallest chip can change how your teeth come together during a bite and, ultimately, how you chew. If left unaddressed, this can cause your teeth to wear unevenly and potentially lead to bruxism. 

 

Appearance

Some people are not bothered by a chip in their tooth, but it’s impossible to ignore. So, if you want a big, perfect smile, the chip in your tooth will keep that from happening because it interrupts the symmetry of your smile, or at the very least, it highlights the black space behind the cracked tooth.

 

Increased Sensitivity

Having a cracked tooth can get really uncomfortable, really fast. Essentially, a crack in your tooth will decrease the insulation between the sensitive nerve in the tooth and any food or drinks you consume. Oftentimes, you will begin feeling sensitivity around where your tooth is cracked, in which case it’s time to call the dentist. 

 

You Don’t Know How Bad It Is

Too many people notice a small crack or chip in their tooth and assume that it is the extent of the damage. While the crack or chip itself can spread and cause a whole host of problems, consider the force behind whatever caused your tooth damage in the first place. That force could have impacted the roots, which could lead to your tooth getting infected, falling out, or at the very least becoming discolored. Only a dental care professional can assess the full extent of the damage to your tooth. 

 

Stress Relief

Being aware of the plethora of potential risks that come with a cracked tooth, chances are you won’t be able to avoid worrying about how bad the injury is. Rather than torturing yourself and constantly trying to ignore your anxiety, get evaluated by your dentist to get a professional diagnosis.

 

Diagnosing Cracked Teeth 

One common way dentists examine for cracked teeth is to take an X-ray. But sometimes an X-ray won’t reveal a cracked tooth, not to mention every patient doesn’t exhibit the same symptoms. If you go to your dentist for a diagnosis, you can expect them to inquire about your dental history, conduct an in-depth visual examination, and feel for the crack with a dental explorer. 

In many cases, a dentist will apply dental dye to see if it highlights the tooth’s crack, as well as probe your gums to identify any inflammation present. Another practical step a dentist might take is to have you bite down on something, such as a band, which might make you feel pain once you release the bite. And of course, you may get an X-ray; even if it doesn’t show the crack in your tooth, it can reveal poor pulp health, which can be a sign of a crack. 

 

Until You Can Get to the Dentist  

So, you think you may have a cracked tooth and the pain has become excruciating. If your dentist doesn’t recommend emergency treatment, you may be able to minimize the progression of the damage and the pain by taking action at home. 

 

First Aid at Home 

Most of the time, if you feel pain from a cracked or broken tooth, it is because the tooth’s dentin layer has become exposed. If you’re not able to make it to the dentist (i.e., it’s in the middle of the night or your dentist doesn’t have any openings), bite down gently on a strip of gauze; this can help ease the pain and the bleeding if there is any. And be sure to look for any broken pieces of your tooth so that you can bring them to your dentist appointment. These pieces will not be able to be reattached, but your dentist can assess whether it was tooth enamel or an old filling.

There are also some things that you should not do in the event that you get a cracked tooth and must wait for dental care. You basically want to avoid anything that can exacerbate the damage or pain. Stay away from extremely hot or cold food or drinks. Try to avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks. And don’t eat any hard candy, nuts, or other hard foods. Once your tooth is treated, you can get back to your normal routine. 

 

Mitigating the Pain

If your tooth pain becomes significant while you are waiting to see the dentist, ask your dental care provider if you can take a pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil. Don’t take aspirin, however, because it can disrupt blood clotting, which won’t be a good thing if you end up requiring a root canal. 

Oil of cloves is something else you can take. As a natural anesthetic, dentists have used oil of cloves for more than 100 years. Simply soak a cotton ball in the oil and hold it on the cracked tooth for about ten seconds, taking care not to swallow. Or, you could go with an over-the-counter dental anesthetic such as Anbesol or Orajel. 

It’s also a good idea to floss after each meal, as this will remove bacteria that could aggravate the damage done to the area around your cracked tooth. Just use the floss gently around the painful tooth. Also, keep your head more elevated than you normally would when you sleep, as it can relieve some of the pressure from the painful inflammation of the exposed nerve in your cracked tooth. Moreover, swish warm salt water in your mouth three times a day to further protect the infected area from bacteria. 

 

Conclusion

Just because cracked teeth are common doesn’t mean that they should be taken lightly. If you notice potential symptoms of a cracked tooth, you should contact your dentist’s office as soon as possible and follow the steps above for mitigating the problem until you can see the dentist. And of course, keep up with your oral hygiene routine, and make an effort to prevent cracked teeth in the future!

Patients with cracked teeth come into our office all the time, and we would love to examine you and figure out the best way to fix the problem. Contact Adam Brown DDS today with any questions or concerns you may have! (704) 289-9519

 

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