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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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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Mouthguards 101: When Do Kids (and Adults) Need Them?

2020-12-21T19:02:51+00:00December 21st, 2020|Mouthguards|

If your kid is active in any way, you probably know about the importance of wearing a helmet, knee pads, and goggles. But one protective device that doesn’t get quite as much attention as it should is the mouthguard. 

In some kids’ sports, mouthguards are required. However, many sports don’t require them, which makes it easy to underestimate their function or simply forget to have your child wear one. Nonetheless, if your kid is participating in a sport that involves any kind of potential contact—with other individuals, the ground, or objects—then wearing a mouthguard should be part of their daily routine. 

Still not convinced? Well, the American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that mouthguards help prevent more than 200,000 dental injuries each year. Moreover, about three-million teeth are knocked out in kids’ sports in any given year! And mouthguards not only help prevent teeth from being knocked out, chipped, or fractured, they can even protect your tongue, lips, and face from injury, as well as help to lessen the impact from blows to the head. 

Below, we’ll cover the basics of mouthguards—including the different types, the sports that necessitate them, how both kids and adults can benefit from them, and more. 

 

WHAT ARE MOUTHGUARDS? 

Also referred to as a sports guard or mouth protector, a mouthguard is a device worn over the teeth to protect them from blows to the head or face. Along with helping prevent injuries to your teeth, a mouthguard can help protect your face and jaw, as well as the soft tissues of your tongue, lips, and cheek lining. If your kid plays any kind of sport that involves body contact, falls, or moving equipment, they should be wearing a mouthguard at all times while participating. 

In most cases, a mouthguard covers only the upper teeth. This is because your upper teeth stick out more, which means they receive the brunt of impact during an incident. The bottom teeth are a little further back, so they are typically safer from harm. 

Mouthguards are not only useful for kids playing sports. Adults can also benefit from them, whether they play contact sports or suffer from sleep disorders (which we’ll cover later). 

 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOUTHGUARDS 

Not all mouthguards are created equally. There are three main types, each of which works well in specific instances:

 

Stock Mouthguards 

This is the most accessible and cost-effective type of mouthguard, as almost any drugstore or sporting goods store carries them. Typically, stock mouthguards come in small, medium, and large sizes, and they simply fit over the upper teeth. 

Stock mouthguards work well if your kid plays contact sports only occasionally. However, whatever you open in the package is what you get. And since they’re not moldable, they usually don’t fit very well, are uncomfortable, and can make speaking difficult. 

 

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards

Going a step up, a boil-and-bite mouthguard is similar to a stock mouthguard, except you can mold it to your teeth. This makes a big difference. A boil-and-bite mouthguard comes in one size; you mold it by boiling it until it softens, placing it over your upper teeth, and biting down. The mouthguard then dries and hardens to the shape of your teeth. Considering that boil-and-bite mouthguards are just as widely available and almost as inexpensive, they are clearly the better option over stock mouthguards. 

 

Custom Mouthguards

Then there are custom mouthguards. These are more expensive, but they are ideal when it comes to comfort and fit. In short, a dentist will take a mold of your teeth and fabricate a mouthguard to the exact specifications of your teeth and mouth structures. Kids who play sports regularly can greatly benefit from custom mouthguards, as can adults who deal with snoring or sleep apnea. 

 

SPORTS THAT CALL FOR MOUTHGUARDS 

As previously mentioned, your child will likely be required to wear mouthguards while playing certain sports. However, even if the league does not require it, that doesn’t mean your child should not wear a mouthguard. Here is a list of sports for which a mouthguard is necessary:

  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Indoor Soccer
  • Wrestling
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Outdoor Soccer
  • Lacrosse
  • Volleyball
  • Skateboarding
  • Raquetball
  • Martial Arts
  • Baseball
  • Softball

It’s worth noting that, along with competitions, mouthguards should be worn in all practices. 

 

BENEFITS OF CUSTOM MOUTHGUARDS 

The benefits of getting a custom mouthguard are many, which is why we’ve dedicated a section to explain why you should consider getting your child (or yourself) fitted for a custom mouthguard. Here are a few advantages of investing in a custom mouthguard from your dentist:

 

Perfect Fit 

Even at its best, a stock mouthguard will only fit well enough to stay on your teeth when your mouth is closed. A boil-and-bite mouthguard will fit better than that, but it will still be prone to coming loose, especially if you wear it regularly. That problem is fixed with a custom mouthguard. 

A qualified dentist like Adam Brown can have a mouthguard perfectly fitted to your teeth. You’ll simply come in to have an impression taken of your teeth, the cast will be sent to a dental lab, and you’ll come back to the dental office to test its fit. Chances are you’ll leave with a reliable mouthguard that fits snuggly and comfortably.

 

Optimal Comfort

When a custom mouthguard is fabricated for your teeth and mouth, it’s simply going to be more comfortable than a generic mouthguard. This is especially critical for children. After all, if your child’s mouthguard hurts or irritates them, they will be less likely to wear it of their own volition. 

 

Better Protection

Along with optimal fit and comfort, a custom mouthguard will provide you with more protection than other types. And protection is the whole point when it comes to mouthguards. The reason for this is that a custom impression will account for all the unique shapes and features of your teeth and mouth. For example, if your child has braces, a custom mouthguard will be shaped to accommodate the wires; that way, the wires won’t hurt your child or break during impact. 

 

The Right Thickness

One overlooked attribute of mouthguards is the thickness. How thick your mouthguard should be will depend on what you need it for. For example, if your child is participating in a sport that involves frequent significant impact, such as martial arts, they will need a thicker mouthguard than someone who plays racquetball. Your dentist will discuss with you the activities for which your mouthguard is needed and help you determine the appropriate thickness. 

 

Cost-Effectiveness

Yes, it will set you back more than a stock or boil-and-bite mouthguard, but a custom mouthguard can still prove to be cost-effective. In fact, it can end up being cheaper in the long run. This is for two reasons. First, generic mouthguards found at drugstores and sporting goods stores wear out rather quickly, meaning you have to replace them often. Second, because custom mouthguards are perfectly tailored to your specific teeth and mouth structures, chances of severe injuries and costly procedures are less likely. 

 

OTHER REASONS TO GET A MOUTHGUARD 

Mouthguards are essential for kids (and adults) who play sports. But they can also benefit the health and well-being of adults when it comes to snoring and sleep apnea. Let’s discuss how the right mouthguard can help with each of these conditions:

 

Snoring 

Almost everyone snores from time to time. But for some people, it’s a chronic problem that can lead to a wide range of health issues (in addition to being annoying to your partner). For example, snoring can disrupt sleep, which can lead to daytime sleepiness. This, in turn, can lead to difficulty concentrating, hindered productivity, frequent irritability or anger, and/or impaired driving. Snoring can also put you at a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and many other health issues. 

In the most basic sense, snoring occurs when the soft tissue in your upper airway vibrates. A custom mouthguard can fix this problem. The right mouthguard—one that fits over both the upper and lower teeth—will help to pull your lower jaw forward, which will keep your airway open throughout the night. There are numerous over-the-counter mouthguards that supposedly prevent or reduce snoring. But these types of mouthguards have yet to be proven to work as effectively as custom mouthguards. 

 

Sleep Apnea

Often associated with snoring but much more serious, sleep apnea is a condition that calls for immediate action. In essence, sleep apnea means that your breathing pauses repeatedly throughout the night. Each time you stop breathing, your body wakes up in order to start breathing again. Obviously, such frequent interruptions make it virtually impossible to get restful sleep. 

There’s more. Along with making you chronically sleepy, sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Acid reflux
  • A weakened immune system 
  • Asthma
  • Liver problems
  • Low blood oxygen 
  • High cholesterol

Much like with snoring, a custom mouthguard can benefit those with mild sleep apnea. By pulling your lower jaw and tongue forward, your airway is better able to remain open during sleep. You can even get a mouthguard that has a strap, which helps to re-adjust your lower jaw. It’s important to note, however, that if you suffer from a more severe case of sleep apnea, then you should ask your doctor about using a CPAP machine in lieu of a mouthguard. 

 

HOW TO CARE FOR MOUTHGUARDS 

If you or your child are using a mouthguard, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to keep it clean and in good shape. Always brush and floss your teeth before wearing a mouthguard, and rinse the mouthguard with cool water before and after each use. To take it a step further, clean your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste between uses. Be sure to store your mouthguard in a hard, ventilated container so that it can stay dry while you’re not using it. Finally, always be on the lookout for signs of wear so that you will know when to replace it, and let your dentist evaluate it at each visit. 

 

WEARING MOUTHGUARDS WITH ORTHODONTIC DEVICES

Not only can you wear mouthguards when you have braces, dental implants, or dental bridges, but a custom mouthguard can go a long way in protecting both your teeth and orthodontic devices during impact. This is because the mouthguard fits around the unique shapes of your braces, implants, and/or bridges

 

INSURANCE AND MOUTHGUARDS 

Lastly, check with your dental insurance provider about their policies on custom mouthguards. Some plans will cover some or all of the costs associated with custom mouthguards, and you can also use funds from your health savings account (HSA) to pay for either custom or generic mouthguards. Moreover, some dental offices will provide you with a payment plan if your insurance will not cover the costs.  

 

In Sum 

The right mouthguard can do wonders in protecting your child from serious oral injuries when playing contact sports. The same goes for you if you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea as an adult. Be sure to consult your dentist about the type of mouthguard that will best meet the needs of you or your child. And remember, Adam Brown is just a call away if you would like an appointment to get fitted for that custom mouthguard! 

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Adam Brown, DDS: A Safe Return to Routine Dental Care 

2020-09-21T16:23:59+00:00September 9th, 2020|Adam Brown DDS|

Delaying oral care such as routine teeth cleanings can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even heart disease, and with restrictions slowly being lifted, why continue to put your oral health at risk? Schedule an appointment with us at Adam Brown, DDS today to get your mouth clean and healthy. 

As the country slowly comes down off of high alert, there arise questions of what should and should not be done, where we can go and where we can’t. But with North Carolina going from Phase 2 to Phase 2.5, we have more clarity on what activities are safe, and which ones we should get back to right away—like going to the dentist.

But is it safe to go back to the dentist? Thankfully we have clear guidance on this issue, and from a trusted source: The American Dental Association. This association of respected professionals, who are a constant help in providing accurate science and practice procedures within the dental field, recommend keeping up on routine dental procedures.

The ADA has worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure all decisions and recommendations are made concerning the health of all Americans. In March of 2020, the ADA called for practitioners to push all non-emergency care to a later date in order to limit the possible spread of Covid-19. This decision by the dental community not only limited the spread of the virus, but it also allowed hospitals access to more personal protective equipment and, in turn, saved lives.

In May, experts at the ADA—working closely with the CDC—called for the reopening of dental practices under new safety guidelines, encouraging everyone to get back on track with routine dental appointments.  

 

Is It Safe?

Nothing these days is one hundred percent safe, but with the right safety procedures in place, it is a good idea to go to the dentist. In fact, no Covid-19 cases have been traced to a dental office so far.

The dangers of forgoing regular checkups for a prolonged period can cause severe problems, especially during a pandemic since we are confined to small areas and tend to eat more tooth-decaying foods and exercising less. Throw in a few carbonated drinks and sweet snacks every day and it won’t take long for your oral health to drastically deteriorate. Even dentists have noticed dirtier mouths since the beginning of the pandemic.

If you have visited your dentist lately, you have certainly noticed the difference in your appointment—the change in procedure starts before you even enter the office.

After setting an appointment, patients complete a pre-screening questionnaire, which asks general questions about your current health status, and if you have been around anyone lately who has tested positive for Covid-19.

You may have also noticed fewer times slots for appointments. This is because dentists are seeing fewer patients each day so that each person who enters the office for a dental appointment won’t have to worry about getting too close to others.

Once you enter the office for your appointment, the nurse will take your temperature before you wait for the dentist.

 

Keeping Your Teeth Clean During Covid-19                                                                

Clearly, it’s time to get back to the dentist, but until you can make your appointment with us at Adam Brown, DDS there are plenty of things you can do on your own, during this unprecedented time, to maintain your oral health.                                                       

In order to maintain a pleasant smile during a pandemic, set a regime of brushing twice a day. According to www.mayoclinic.org, it’s important to 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. 

 

Quick Tip: How to Enjoy Sweets Without Killing Your Teeth                                                         

There’s no denying it, it is really hard to stay away from sweets and drinks that are bad for our teeth. And, whether in fresh cocktails to be enjoyed outdoors, or in cakes, candies, and cookies, sugar seems to be one of the main ingredients. Just how do these sweets affect your teeth and gums? What happens when we eat a lot of sugary treats or sip on too many cocktails, is the sugar combines with any plaque (hard or soft) in the mouth to create an acid. This acid then eats away at your teeth. And though this is a serious matter, as no one wants her teeth to be eaten away, it can be prevented. 

If you are regularly and correctly caring for your teeth twice a day, there are ways to still enjoy sweet foods and fresh drinks without damaging your teeth. If you are eating something high in sugar, gargle with mouthwash or water after you are finished. This will not completely clean the teeth and gums, but it can clear away enough unwanted matter before you brush next. As for drinks, try and find or make ones with fruit as a substitute for sugar. And, as with sugary treats, it’s a good idea to gargle or have a glass of water after.  

It’s best to see the dentist for a cleaning at least 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. In time, that plaque will discolor 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 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.
  3. 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.
  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.

Besides have a bright smile while we wait for things to slowly become normal again, there are other reasons to keep your mouth clean. For instance, did you know cavities and gum disease, if left alone, could lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease? This is why it’s so important to be sure you are caring for your teeth and gums correctly. 

We are happy to be back to work, and we can’t wait to help you get your mouth back into shape. Visit us online today and schedule your next teeth cleaning appointment. 

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Should You Be Smooching Your Dog?

2020-06-11T13:19:15+00:00March 24th, 2020|Oral Health|

We love our pets, and as we find ourselves spending more time at home these days, an upside is being able to hang out with our little (or big) furry friends. But, if you are a dog owner could your oral health be at risk? Studies indicate those sweet doggy kisses we look forward to every day might be negatively impacting our gums and teeth.

 

Recent research shows that pets, such as dogs and cats, share the same type of bacteria as humans that causes periodontal (or gum) disease. However, despite the fact we share the same or similar oral bacteria, there is no scientific evidence showing that humans can actually develop gum disease directly from a pet. In fact, there have been certain defenses found in the mouths of humans that actually combat outside germs, such as those from dogs and cats, and prevent them from developing into gingivitis, cavities, gum disease, etc. But, simply knowing there is a chance of contracting something like gingivitis from your dog means we should look into it more.

Gingivitis is not something anyone wants, as it is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation and loose teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to keep from this uncomfortable situation, especially if you are a pet lover.

The fact is, your dog’s mouth is disgusting and teeming with germs. Simply relying on your body’s own defense systems to keep you healthy may not be wise. And it’s not just your oral health that could be at risk.

 

What You Could Catch

The odds are slim you will get sick from kissing your pet, but there is still a chance. So what could you catch?

According to the CDC, campylobacteriosis is the most common infection given to humans from their pets. Campylobacteriosis sounds like a good time, but it is actually an infection transmitted by the stool of an animal—an animal that may or may not seem or look sick. As we all know, animals tend to lick their rear-ends causing them to pick up particles of stool into their saliva, and well…there you go.

Once this is transmitted to a human, it can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.

Giardia is another infection that can be transmitted from our pets. This is a tiny, intestinal parasite that can cause the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Vomiting

Giardia is spread by the animal swallowing stool particles containing the parasite and passing it on to you; however, the risk of contracting this infection from your dog or cat is extremely low.

 

Keeping Your Mouth Clean

The good news is there are ways to build up your own defenses against these nasty infections, and the best way to maintain a healthy relationship with your pet is by maintaining your own oral health. Follow these procedures and keep your mouth clean!

 

  • Begin by brushing correctly. The best way is to brush in small, circular motions. This will keep the toothbrush bristles from pushing your gums away from your teeth, which causes irritations that can lead to any of the conditions previously listed.

 

  • Floss every day. Flossing is incredibly important for your oral health. This keeps food from resting between your teeth, which begins to rot and aid in gum disease. Floss every morning or at night right before bed. Be sure not to jam the floss down on your gums. Use soft, clean motions, going back and forth. Hit every area between the teeth and rinse with water or mouthwash after.

 

  • Watch your diet. Sugary drinks and foods, alcoholic beverages, even fatty meats can all have negative effects on your gums. You don’t necessarily have to cut these things out of your diet completely, but if you are the type of person who enjoys these on a regular basis, try and cut back a bit. At the very least, make sure you brush your teeth right after eating or drinking sugary or fatty substances.

 

Carolina’s Dental Choice wants you to keep up on your oral health and show your pets the attention they need.

 

*Source: https://www.self.com/story/kissing-pet-health-effects

 

 

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Teeth As Tools: How Our Teeth Have Been Used Throughout History

2018-11-05T14:35:48+00:00October 31st, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends, Teeth Cleaning|

Our teeth perform so many important functions throughout our life and on a daily basis. On a basic level, we use our teeth to talk, chew, digest food, and properly fill out our cheeks and lips to form our face shape. Without knowing it, you have probably used your teeth as tools in a multitude of ways. Whether you’re opening a bag of snacks by ripping open the seal with your teeth, cutting meat with your teeth, or holding bobby pins as you fix your hair, our teeth are one of the most important tools on our body.

While many of the ways that we use our teeth as tools aren’t particularly healthy for our teeth, and constantly put our teeth at the risk of damage, typically, a healthy tooth will not chip or break during normal function.

Now imagine a time and place where there were no electric toothbrushes, mouthwash, or even dental floss, and suddenly your teeth are one of the most important tools you possess. If teeth have less enamel, decay, or gum disease, they are more likely to chip, shift, or become loose, resulting in eventual tooth loss.

How have humans used their teeth throughout their history when they possibly weren’t as strong and healthy? What did it mean for humans to use their teeth as tools?

Early Ancestors: Teeth as Tools

Eating chocolate

Much of what we know about the life and diet of ancient humans is due to finding their teeth! Archaeologists find dozens to hundreds of teeth for every skeleton or skull. Why do our teeth survive at such high numbers? Our teeth are covered by enamel, which is 97 percent mineral, making our teeth stronger and more easily preserved than the rest of our bones. From the shape of the tooth to the thickness of the enamel, scientists can understand the evolution of humans, how our ancestors lived, what they ate, or even what diseases they had. Variations in teeth are a great way for scientists to classify early human species. As humans migrated across the globe, so did their diets; we know this because human teeth developed thicker enamel to eat other animals, seeds, nuts, and roots.

Looking back to Neanderthal teeth, scientists have hypothesized that they use their teeth as a tool, possibly gripping and clamping with their front teeth as they prepped animal hides for clothing and shelter.

What’s clear is that our teeth have evolved to serve us in similar ways as our ancestors. Like our ancestors, we use our teeth to access food or drink. Our teeth can still tell us a lot about our day-to-day life and culture as well!

Early tools to clean teeth

As far as we know, the earliest toothbrush dates back to around 3000BC, where Babylonians and Egyptians configured a toothbrush from frayed twigs. Fast forward a bit to 1600 BC, and we have the Chinese using aromatic twigs from trees as “chew sticks” to freshen their breath.
Some of the earliest tools to clean teeth were made from animal bone. For a stretch of history, and even today in certain parts of the world, coarse animal hair, such as hair from cows, was used to form the bristle on toothbrushes.

Did people in the past constantly have rotted teeth, cavities, and gum disease? Despite a lack of teeth brushing among ancient people, most people did not suffer from dental problems. There are a few explanations:

• The food being eaten was natural, unprocessed, and pure, containing nutrients and vitamins that strengthened teeth against bacteria
• Ancient diets were filled with fibrous foods, where the fiber acted as a brush against the teeth to filter away plaque and food
• Earlier diets lack sugary foods and acidic soda, two of the main detriments of modern diets
• Before cigarettes, humans didn’t smoke, and thus didn’t experience the harmful side effects of smoking on the teeth and human health

About 10,000 years ago at the dawn of the Neolithic period, our ancestors began farming, our teeth began to experience more decay, and dentistry emerged. As recent as the last decade, archaeologists found teeth that had been scraped and even drilled to possibly remove decayed tissue. With the onset of farming came carbohydrate-rich grains and starches. Some oral bacteria actually convert carbohydrates into enamel-destroying acids. There is evidence in numerous cultures across the world at various time periods where people combated decay by hand-drilling small holes into the teeth and scraping with different tools. At this point, you’re probably extremely thankful for the profound progress dentistry has made, even in the last century!

Cosmetic dentistry throughout history

It’s hard to pinpoint when improving the appearance of teeth became more fashionable rather than undergoing treatment to improve teeth function, but we know for sure that it has taken off in the past few years. Patients can now receive whitening treatments, veneers, and dental implants, all of which are cutting-edge procedures for a brighter, whiter smile! But cosmetic dentistry isn’t anything new—it goes back ancient times, where we know people developed tools to clean their teeth as early as 3000BC.
We’ve also been fixing our teeth since prehistoric times. Around 700 BC, there is evidence that Etruscans made dentures with ivory and bone, or constructed dentures from human or animal teeth. This practice lasted all the way up until the 1800s!

In 200 AD, the Etruscans also were using gold to create dental crowns and bridges, although it’s unknown whether this was for a dental treatment or for a fashion statement. The Ancient Egyptians used pumice stone and vinegar to create a toothpaste, and they hammered seashells into their gums as replacements for their teeth.

The 1700’s led to human teeth being used more commonly as dental implants, but our bodies tend to reject other humans’ teeth. In the late 1770’s, the first porcelain dentures were made, and they became extremely popular in the 19th century. By the early 20th century, dentists had switched to plastics and acrylics for dentures.

One of the most famous representations of cosmetic dentistry that comes to mind is that of the United States of America’s first president, George Washington. The legend surrounding Washington’s teeth was that they were made entirely of wood. But, in fact, they were actually made of animal bone!

How do our teeth become damaged from using them as tools in the present day and age?

Well, consider this: when we speak, our teeth are naturally separated during normal speech, and when we eat, food separates our teeth as we chew. When we use our teeth as tools, say to rip open a package or grind into tough foods, our teeth make contact, and suffer damage.

If your tooth has a filling or crown, using your teeth as tools they’re not intended for can pull out the filling or cause the crown to fall off. To those of you constantly holding bobby pins with your teeth to fix hair, bobby pins can actually pop off porcelain veneers on your teeth!

What does this have to do with our ancestors? Well, history repeats itself! We’re prone to using our strong, capable teeth as tools. Although we use our teeth as tools on a daily basis to eat, speak, and chew, improper use can lead to cracking and fracturing your teeth.

However progressive our dental care and habits are, we can truly damage our teeth. In comparison to the pain of damaging your teeth and the price of dental work, recognizing and changing our bad habits is better for our teeth and our wallets.

What if I already damaged my teeth?

You’re not alone if you didn’t know that using your teeth in certain, commonplace ways was damaging. What you should know, is that early treatment is always less extensive and less expensive. If a tooth suffers from minor cracks or chips, your dentist can easily repair them with a filling. If left untreated, these minor chips and cracks make the tooth weaker and more likely to break further, possibly chipping away at enamel and leaving the tooth exposed to bacteria.

Basically, the sooner you act with damaged teeth, the better for your wallet, your comfort, and the overall health of your teeth! Set up an appointment with Carolina Dental Choice to be proactive with your smile.

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