Monthly Archives: June 2015

My child’s sippy cup

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As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. However, with the many commercial products available in the market, it’s easy for us to make bad choices especially regarding  children’s toys and feeding products. The sippy cup is a perfect example of a misused baby product. Did you know that it has a lot of damaging effects on children’s teeth?

What Sippy Cups Do to Children’s Teeth

Parents love using sippy cups because of their non-spill feature, which is quite handy, especially for toddlers who just love to throw things. The real purpose of a sippy cup is to help a child transition from a bottle to a real cup, which means that these sippy cups are meant for temporary use only. However, because of their great features and handy design and because kids also like to use them, sippy cups are used for a prolonged period, often spanning several years.

In the home, a child may hold onto a sippy cup as form of comfort, just like holding a favorite toy. If the sippy cup is filled with the toddler’s favorite juice, it’s common for the child to suck on it for a long time to enjoy the beverage. But these are the perfect examples of how sippy cups wreak havoc in the child’s mouth.

When children use sippy cups for a prolonged period, the negative effects that can happen to their teeth are as follows.

  1. Prolonged exposure to sugar. If the beverage inside the sippy cup is fruit juice or milk, the sugar in these drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay in kids.
  2. Accumulation of bacteria. Some kids don’t let their parents wash their sippy cups, while some parents forget to wash them. Once the cup has come in contact with a child’s mouth, it becomes a conducive breeding ground for bacteria, especially if it has a straw. This can promote bacterial infection in the gums and teeth.
  3. Pressure on teeth. The continuous sucking motion on sippy cups and baby bottles can push teeth backward and result in malalignment.

How Can You Avoid Sippy Cup Teeth Damage?

If you don’t want your child to have sippy cup teeth, here are the things you should do:

  1. Don’t let kids drink on the sippy cup for extended hours. Once the beverage inside the cup is all gone, take it away and wash it.
  2. Only put water in the sippy cup. To keep kids from getting overexposed to sugar, only let them drink water from a sippy cup. If you’re giving fruit juice, use another kind of bottle like a sports drinking bottle or regular cup.
  3. Don’t use sippy cups for night time milk. Some kids need a bottle of milk at night to fall asleep, but this is exactly the reason why they have bad teeth. If you let a child suck at a sugary beverage all night, what can you expect?

7 reasons why a Dental Implant may be a good option for you

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. What are the advantages of dental implants over dentures and bridges?

  1. A dental implant is pretty much the next best thing to replace a missing tooth – Once dental implants are fully integrated into your jaw, they function just as well as your own natural teeth: you can eat the foods you want and speak with complete confidence. With dentures, eating hard foods such as an apple can be a problem: either the dentures come loose or patients cannot withstand the hard biting forces as this pressure causes pain as the denture pushes into the gum. Irritation and inflammation of the gums is a common problem among denture patients.
  2. Dental implants protect and keep your jaw bone healthy and as a result keep your face looking younger – Normally, the bone tissue surrounding the root of your tooth is maintained by your body’s natural renewal process. However, if you lose a tooth, you will be left with a hole where your tooth root used to be and the bone around this area will slowly begin to disappear which may change the shape of your jaw. A dental implant placed in this space is the only restorative option that can actually stimulate bone growth and production, preventing loss of valuable bone structure. In some patients where bone loss has already occurred over time, bone augmentation may be required before placing a dental implant. Bone loss is a problem for people who have dentures, and as the shape of the jaw slowly changes, the dentures need to be adjusted or re-made to fit the new shape of the jaw. This bone loss can also make a person look older, as the mouth can sag in this area.
  3. Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong – in your mouth. Unlike dentures that should be left out of your mouth for eight hours a day and might slip or fall out, Dental Implants are firmly and permanently attached in your mouth. Think about a picture hanging on a picture hook or flip flops being the equivalent of dentures  versus a picture that is bolted to the wall or laced up boots being equivalent to dental implants.
  4. Improved dental hygiene – Unlike dental bridges and dentures, which require special cleaning instructions and extra attention, dental implants just need regular brushing, flossing and hygiene appointments, just like your natural teeth.
  5. No need to drill or remove any healthy tooth structure – When replacing missing teeth with dental bridges, the teeth adjacent to the gap need to be prepared and healthy tooth structure is removed to accommodate a crown or bridge abutment to fit over the top of the tooth. In the future, if one of the supporting teeth is damaged, the entire bridge restoration will also be compromised, whereas with an implant, the restoration is independent of any of your other teeth. By replacing lost teeth with dental implants, no support is required of the adjacent teeth, and your natural teeth do not need to be prepared or altered in any way.
  6. Dental implants just look better – If placed correctly, a dental implant should blend beautifully with your surrounding natural teeth.
  7. Dental implants are a very predictable way of replacing missing teeth. Dental implants have a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes. They are often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to replace missing teeth, compared to dentures or dental bridges.

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Beware of hidden abscessed teeth

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Earlier today, we saw a patient with a broken tooth. This tooth was very broken with only about a quarter of the crown of the tooth remaining, but there was no history of any pain or any other symptoms. In fact, apart from being broken, this tooth looked in pretty good condition, no decay and no other visually detectable problems. We were discussing the possible options for this tooth and as part of the investigations, took an x-ray.

That’s when the whole picture became clear. The x-ray showed a MASSIVE abscess associated with the broken tooth and this changed the options for this tooth. It was also obvious that this abscess had been present for years without the patient being aware at all that they were harbouring a huge infection.

The point of the case story above is to establish that not all abscessed teeth cause pain and that in turn, absence of pain is not a definitive indicator of health. It also serves to illustrate the important role x-rays have in determining possible indications of disease. Here are some things which may indicate that there may be a problem

A person may be suffering from an abscessed tooth if:

  • There is a pimple or swelling on the gum that is also filled with pus. The pimple is referred to as a draining fistula and this can usually be ruptured to release the pus. Evidently, this is a very noticeable indication of infection. Further, other tooth abscess signs are unpleasant odour in the mouth or bad taste.
  • there is discomfort or pain in pressing on the tooth or when eating. The abscess that has disseminated in the area of the tip of the root causes the surrounding bone and gum to be affected. At times, the pulsating or throbbing pain is so serious that it can no longer be relieved with pain medications. Moreover, this is commonly linked with the spread of the infection and eventually causes more pressure on the nearby structures of bones and gums.
  • The fall-out of the dead pulp tissue which flows into the permeable layer of the tooth causes discolouration which turns the tooth dark in colour compared to the neighbouring teeth.
  • There are cases when an abscessed tooth does not produce any symptoms at all. Since the tooth has lost its capability to feel stimuli or has lost its vitality, there may be no discomfort or pain linked to it. But, the abscess is still present and may still disperse the infection. Occasionally, an abscessed tooth is diagnosed during X-ray examination where the patient has not encountered any symptoms of this condition.

How is an Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of an abscessed tooth is generally identified by:

  • Signs and symptoms as reported by the patient
  • What is observed or visualized with X-rays
  • Tests and examinations which are performed by the dentist

The Treatment for an Abscessed Tooth

The common treatment for an abscessed adult tooth starts with carefully and thoroughly removing the infection. Hinging on how much infection has proliferated, the course of action typically comprises of draining the tooth and its surrounding structures of the infection and also through the help of oral antibiotics.

In some cases, the infection can disseminate rapidly and necessitate urgent attention. Likewise, if the dentist is unavailable and there is already swelling in the face and in the jaw as well as fever, then, it is advisable to go to the Emergency department in hospital and have it checked out. It is also important to go to the Emergency department immediately if the patient is suffering from difficulty in swallowing and breathing as some dental abscesses may result in very serious systemic or life-threatening infections.

Patients’ often ask us why treating these infections using antibiotics alone does not work. This is explained by thinking about the structure of the tooth. The dead pulp which has caused the initial infection still remains inside the tooth following a course of antibiotics. It will therefore remain as a constant source of new infection unless the dead and infected pulp tissue is physically removed either by performing a root canal treatment on the tooth or extracting the tooth if it cannot be effectively and predictably restored.


Child’s first dental visit

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When To Start Going To The Dentist

Did you know that children’s teeth begin forming before birth? As early as four months, the first primary, or baby, teeth, erupt through the gums. Knowing that, when is the best time to get the dentist involved? The answer is as soon as the first tooth appears. At this time, begin brushing your child’s teeth daily and schedule a dental appointment. In most cases, children should visit the dentist by their first birthday.

The worst scenario is that your child’s first dental experience is one which has resulted from them already having a toothache. At this stage, the child is already in pain and anxious and the experience is already set up to be more difficult for everyone involved.

How Can I Prepare My Child For The First Dental Visit?

You can make your child’s first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Tell your child in advance that someone will look at their teeth and clean them. Try showing them pictures of a dentist or have fun role-playing, acting like you or your child are the dentist. Most dentists prefer that a parent be present for the examination of any child under the age of three. Some ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold the young patient in their lap during the first few examinations. It can also be helpful to take your younger children along for an older sibling’s dental visit so that they can get accustomed to the Practice and the people. As children get older, they’re usually happy to be “grown up” and are willing to sit in the chair alone while they send their parents back to the waiting room. At the first visit, our dentists will examine your child’s mouth for early signs of decay and other problems. He or she will also tell you many of the things you’ll need to know about helping your child grow up cavity-free. After the first visit, be sure your child sees the dentist regularly