Posts for: November, 2016
Braces can change a person's life — not just their appearance but their dental health as well. To be honest, though, wearing braces are, well, kind of a drag — especially for teenagers.
Braces can be restrictive and confining; you'll also have to give up certain favorite foods for a while. But more than any of that, they're just plain unattractive. Even being able to choose colors for the brackets and elastic bands can't fully ease a teenager's embarrassment when they smile.
There is, however, an alternative to braces: clear aligners. And they could make orthodontic treatment during this difficult phase of their life much easier to handle.
Clear aligners are a set of clear plastic trays that can be taken in and out of the mouth. Each of the custom-designed trays is slightly smaller than the previous one in the series. After wearing the first tray for a couple of weeks (at least 20 to 22 hours a day), the patient switches to the next tray in the series. They repeat this process until they've worn all the trays. The gradual change from tray to tray moves the teeth to the desired position.
Clear aligners have some distinct advantages over braces, especially for younger patients. They can be removed for cleaning or for a rare special event. They don't limit movement as much as braces. And, they're nearly invisible — other people may not even notice them. And newer aligners are now designed with tiny “power ridges” that increase their movement capabilities. This has made them more useful for teenagers with complicated bite problems and other issues.
There are cases, though, where braces may be the better choice: where you need more control over tooth movement or the patient needs jaw surgery to achieve proper tooth alignment. And their removability could be an issue if the patient won't leave them in their mouth for the necessary time each day.
To find out if clear aligners might be a viable option for your teenager, visit us for a complete orthodontic examination. We can then discuss your best option — clear aligners or braces — to achieve the most desirable outcome for your teenager.
If you would like more information on treating bite problems in teenagers with clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for teens.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
By flossing your teeth every day, you lower your odds of developing gum problems and increase the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime. Sikka Dental is located in San Jose, CA. Our dentists, Dr. Nidhi Sikka and Dr. Mona Chattha, recommend daily flossing as one part of a regular oral hygiene routine. Here are four reasons why you should floss on a daily basis.
1. Flossing prevents tartar buildup- Tartar, or dental calculus, is a hard buildup of plaque that forms on the teeth. The only way to remove tartar is to see a San Jose dentist for a cleaning. Flossing on a daily basis will keep tartar buildup from happening. It allows you to remove the dental plaque that causes tartar while it is in its early form: pliable and soft.
2. Flossing protects your gums, too- Tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth can lead to inflammation called gingivitis. If left unchecked, the plaque and tartar can spread deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis: severe gum disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
3. Flossing makes brushing more effective- A toothbrush's bristles can't adequately clean under the gums and between the teeth. Dental floss is designed to remove plaque from the tight spaces under the gums and between the teeth. Think of a dental floss and a toothbrush as a paint roller and paintbrush, respectively. You could paint your bedroom walls with just a paint roller or paintbrush, but using them together will provide a a better result.
The benefits of flossing are almost endless. Anyone who isn't flossing their teeth on a regular basis is missing out. It's also important to see your San Jose, CA dentist regularly to maintain good oral health. Don't take risks with your health. Call Sikka Dental at (408) 259-1280 right now to schedule your next dental appointment.