More people than ever are looking for tooth whitening options to make their smile look whiter and brighter, and to improve their overall appearance. With so many whitening options, there’s bound to be one right for you.
There are two types of stains that cause discoloration. The first are intrinsic stains that develop inside the tooth enamel. Intrinsic tooth stains can be due to a mother’s antibiotic use while pregnant or childhood exposure to fluoride. Extrinsic tooth stains are the result of drinking beverages such as tea and coffee, age, the development of plaque and tartar or the use of tobacco.
Before begining a home or in-office treatment, it is a good idea to see a dentist to determine the type of stain you have and assist in deciding which option treatment would work best for you.
The options include:
1. Whitening at Home — There are several options in this category of whitening. You can choose over-the-counter toothpastes, mouthwashes, white strips or paint-on gels. Gel trays are popular, but may require a dentist to take an impression of your teeth and to help you select a whitening kit. The expense is less than an office whitening visit.
2. Whitening at the Office — This option may include one to three visits depending on the whitening procedure that you and the dentist choose. It is usually more expensive than the over-the-counter whitening products, but can be more effective. Speak with Dr. Jaleel to find out which options are available at our clinic.
Baking soda is a common household product that has many uses around the home, from eliminating smells to cleaning carpets. Now, baking soda can be found in many toothpastes and teeth-whitening products. Using it to remove stains from teeth is common practice. But does baking soda whiten teeth, really? It does an excellent job at removing surface stains, but you should proceed with caution to prevent damage to your enamel.
Home Remedies to Whiten Teeth
How can a simple mixture of equal parts baking soda and water whiten teeth? Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is composed of a chemical compound that makes it a great mild abrasive. It is this same abrasiveness that effectively removes surface stains from your teeth and make them appear whiter. However, if your goal is to remove deeper, older stains, then baking soda will not be as effective. You will need to see your dentist or use a product that was specifically created for whitening teeth.
If you’re considering using this method to help whiten your teeth, you need to be aware of possible side effects. With continual use, you could cause damage to the enamel that coats your teeth. In addition, baking soda doesn’t contain fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth and prevent dental cavities, so you will still need to use regular toothpaste. If you have braces that contain orthodontic glue or use a permanent retainer, don’t brush with baking soda. It will soften the glue.
Who doesn’t want a beautiful, bright smile free of stains? Getting that smile shouldn’t be at the expense of the health of your teeth. For a safer alternatives, you should seek teeth whitening services from your dentist. Learn more about tooth whitening, contact us today at 613.829.6868.
Trendy clothes, stylish shoes and the latest celebrity-inspired haircut all make powerful statements when it comes to taking pride in your appearance. So does a pearly white smile. But smiles sometimes need some dental repairs before you’re comfortable showcasing them. A porcelain crown is one option that can spruce up a not-so-healthy tooth and restore your confidence.
Crowns serve multiple purposes. It’s a device used to cover a tooth that’s badly formed or discolored. A crown can also be used to prevent a weakened tooth from breaking or to help repair a broken tooth. It even acts as a cover for dental implants. Crowns come in four different styles:
- Ceramic (porcelain-based)
- Porcelain fused to metal
- Gold alloys
- Base metal alloys
Preparing the Tooth
If you need a crown, you may also need endodontic or root canal treatment on the tooth. Not everyone who needs a crown will also need a root canal. Root canal treatment is required if the cavity is deep and reaches the pulp of the tooth, where the nerve of the tooth is located.
Before placing a crown, if not much of the tooth is remaining, Dr. Jaleel may need to build up a foundation to support it. A foundation is needed if large areas of the tooth are decayed, damaged or missing. If you are receiving the crown after root canal treatment, Dr. Jaleel may insert a post-and-core foundation.
To place a crown, Dr. Jaleel will file down the tooth to make room for the crown. After filing down the tooth, there are two ways to make a permanent crown. Most crowns require two visits to the dentist. You receive a temporary crown at the first visit and wear it while your permanent crown is made.
Next, Dr. Jaleel will first make an impression of your teeth. Our team will also take an impression of the teeth above or below the tooth that will receive the crown. The purpose is to make sure the crown will fit into your normal bite.
The impressions are sent to the lab, where the crown is made. During that time, you will have a temporary crown placed. These crowns are not meant to last for a long time. In some cases, however, a temporary crown can stay in place for a year or longer. If it needs to last longer, a lab-made plastic crown is best.
At a second visit, Dr. Jaleel will remove the temporary crown and test the permanent one. Sometimes crowns need more polishing or glazing or some other adjustment before they are placed. Once the crown is ready, it is permanently cemented on your tooth.
You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or sensitivity after a crown is placed. However, if your tooth has not had a root canal, it will still contain the nerve. You may therefore have some temporary sensitivity to cold. If you notice pain or sensitivity when you bite down, contact Dr. Jaleel. Usually this means that the crown is too high. When you bite, you are hitting the crown first. The crown needs to be adjusted. This can be done easily.
If the crown does not fit well over the prepared tooth, it’s possible that the cement will wash out from under the crown. However, the crown may not fall out right away. Under these conditions, bacteria will leak in and cause decay. If your crown seems loose when you chew, or if you have an unusual odor around the tooth, discuss this with Dr. Jaleel, and our dental team will check your crowns at your regular visits.
If you are in no discomfort and your appearance is not affected, don’t try to put the crown back in place yourself. If you do need to put it back in your mouth, clean it well on the inside. Use a toothpick to loosen and remove any cement or debris that is stuck to the crown. A wet cotton swab can finish the cleaning. You can replace the crown temporarily using denture adhesive or temporary cement. This is sold in many pharmacies. Contact Dr. Jaleel right away and try to schedule a visit for the next day.
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You take the time to brush and floss your teeth because you want a brighter smile. But how often do you think about ways to improve the health of your gums? Most people don’t realize that their gums play a vital role in the beauty of their smile.
If you don’t take care of your gums, several conditions could cause problems that will affect the look and feel of your entire mouth. Learn why gum health is so important and how to make your gums healthier in 5 minutes or less.
Why Do Gums Matter?
You’ve probably heard of gum disease, but do you really know what it is? This annoying infection can affect your teeth and all the surrounding tissues in your mouth. Because the disease doesn’t cause pain, many people don’t know they have it. So why does it matter? Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease occurs when plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing. You won’t feel any pain when you have gum disease so make sure you recognize the warning signs and get help if needed. The most common and well known form of gum disease is gingivitis. The condition involves the inflammation of the gingiva or gums surrounding the necks of the teeth, and is caused by plaque developing along the gumline. Symptoms include red and swollen gums, as well as gum bleeding, which can be seen on your toothbrush or at a dental exam.
The second-most common periodontal disease is “periodontitis.” Like gingivitis, it is caused by bacterial plaque, but it can cause loss of bone support within the teeth. It can be treated or prevented, but rarely can the damage be reversed. Periodontitis can occur if gingivitis is left untreated. Signs of periodontitis, like gingivitis, include red and swollen gums, and bleeding. The formation of gum pockets around the teeth may also occur, which is defined by an opening around the gum tissue of the teeth. This allows bacteria and the formation of tartar to get deeper under the gum line. This deepening of the pocket is associated with bone loss, and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
Talk to Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean dentist or one of our fantastic dental hygienists during you visit about the presence of:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums (gums that are pulling away from your teeth)
When gum disease becomes more advanced, it is called periodontitis. This condition can result in the development of periodontal pockets, swollen gum tissue, lose of bone that could lead to tooth loss.
Improve Gum Health
You can prevent gum disease with simple steps that take just a few minutes. Proper brushing and flossing techniques are essential. After you floss, follow these steps to brush both your teeth and your gums:
- Proper angle – Make sure you hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline.
- Short strokes – Move the brush back and forth in short gentle strokes brushing both the front and back of your teeth and gums.
- Use the tip – To get behind your front teeth, use the tip of the brush on the top and on the bottom teeth.
- Brush your tongue – Keep your mouth fresh by brushing your tongue.
And lastly, improve gum health and prevent tooth decay with regular visits to Dr. Jaleel!
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What’s the most common reason for bad breath?
Bad dental care is a major factor.
The condition stems from having a concentration of bacteria-producing malodorous chemicals coming from the lack of oral hygiene. The source of the odor is often particles of food stuck in between the teeth and an accumulation of bacteria in the back of the throat.
Several other factors can also contribute to bad breath, also known as halitosis:
- Certain foods, like garlic and onions, add to objectionable breath odor.
- Dry mouth, which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases, can cause bad breath. Saliva is needed to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor.
- Tobacco products cause bad breath, too. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for help kicking the habit.
Bad breath may also signal a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, or a liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.
If bad breath is a chronic condition, ask your dentist for help in identifying the cause and developing a treatment plan to get rid of it.
The best way to prevent bad breath is simple: maintain good oral health. See your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep track of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take.
Brush twice a day to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.
5 Quick Fixes For Constant Bad Breath
Worried your coworkers will notice your bad breath at your next meeting? In an interview, will your bad breath make a poor first impression on your potential new boss? Could your bad breath alter the course of your career? Here are five quick fixes for your constant bad breath.
1. Pop a Sugar-Free Mint
Sugar-free mints can be used to quickly freshen your breath before important business meetings. They don’t cure your bad breath, but they will mask the odor and make your breath temporarily smell minty fresh. Plus, since mints are compact, it’s easy to fit them in your pocket.
You can use mints frequently as long as you choose a sugar-free variety. Mints that contain sugar can contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems.
2. Drink Water
Constant bad breath can be caused by dry mouth, which means that your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva. Your saliva washes away food particles that can make your breath smell, and without enough saliva, these particles will stay put and lead to bad breath.
Drinking water before a meeting or interview is a quick fix for this problem. For longer meetings, bring a water bottle with you so that can continue to sip water and keep your bad breath at bay.
3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum is another easy, fast way to get rid of your bad breath. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary flow, and this can help to freshen your breath if the odor is caused by dry mouth. The scent of the gum will help to mask underlying odors, especially if you choose strong-smelling flavors like peppermint or cinnamon.
4. Use Breath Spray
Breath sprays are flavored products that can be sprayed into the mouth to quickly freshen breath. These sprays come in flavors like cinnamon and peppermint, and they’re a good choice for times when you’re in too much of a rush to chew gum or drink a glass of water. Choose a sugar-free breath spray to avoid putting yourself at risk of tooth decay.
5. Use Mouthwash
Mouthwash can help you quickly freshen your breath. This quick fix works by killing the microorganisms inside your mouth that contribute to bad breath. The minty aroma also helps to temporarily cover up any underlying odors, like tobacco.
It’s a good idea to keep a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash in your briefcase, purse or desk drawer to ensure that you’re ready for last-minute meetings at work. Simply swish your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash and enjoy fresher breath.
Keep these five tips in mind to maintain your fresh breath all day long. Whether you’re shaking hands with a client or chatting with your coworkers around the office, be memorable for your talents and not for your bad breath. However, gums, mints and other quick fixes are just temporary solutions. If you suffer from constant bad breath, make sure to see your dentist to find out what’s causing the problem. Your bad breath could be caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth or other issues that require attention. Once the cause has been identified, your dentist can offer treatments that will get rid of your bad breath for good.
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Have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? Each part of a tooth has unique functions and properties. DO you know about enamel, dentin, cementum, roots and the root canal chambers inside the tooth? Damaged teeth, especially teeth with cracked or eroded enamel, are very susceptible to cavities. Advanced gum disease, another oral health condition that threatens tooth health, attacks the bone of the teeth and may cause tooth loss. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean Dentist is big on patient education. Helping you understand the function of each part of a tooth is an important component of oral health education for you and your family. So let’s get started!
Tooth enamel is a protective barrier that surrounds the visible part of the tooth. It is composed of strong minerals, including calcium phosphate. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and healthy enamel is resistant to cavity-causing bacteria. Because of its mineral composition, tooth enamel is translucent. Fortunately, enamel can be strengthened. Fluoride, a common mineral, helps replenish deficits in tooth enamel. Parents can help replenish enamel at home with Colgate®toothpastes that contain fluoride. Dentists also offer special fluoride treatments. These are commonly administered to children to help keep their teeth strong and free from cavities.
Dentin is found underneath the enamel surface of the tooth and underneath the cementum that forms along a tooth’s roots. Made of living cellular material and tissue, dentin is what makes up the majority of a tooth’s structure. Dentin is a bone-like substance that contains microscopic tubules. Unlike enamel, exposed dentin is highly susceptible to the bacteria that cause dental cavities and can cause tooth sensitivity.
Cementum is a coating that surrounds the roots of teeth and is similar to enamel, but softer. Cementum assists with root stability by attaching to the fibers that anchor the tooth in the jawbone.
Much as a tree’s roots help anchor it in the ground, a tooth’s roots anchor it in the jawbone. This allows teeth to withstand the force of biting and chewing food on a daily basis. One major threat to the health of a tooth’s roots is periodontal disease. This oral care disease is caused by bacteria in the dental plaque invading the gum tissue and supporting bone, thus leading to destruction of the bone holding the tooth or teeth in place. Tooth roots are integral to maintaining dental health. Even children can develop gum disease. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene practices — including thorough flossing and brushing — is an easy way to keep mouths healthy with home care. Regular dental cleanings for you and your family will also combat tartar and, ultimately, gum disease.
Root and Pulp Canals
Located inside the tooth in a hollow chamber is the root or pulp canal. A tooth may have one root and many premolar and molar teeth may contain two or three roots. It houses cellular material including pulp and the tooth’s roots. This area of the tooth is extremely sensitive and is responsible for providing the blood flow and nutrients that are necessary to keep teeth alive. When this area is damaged or infected by extensive decay and trauma, root canal treatment is often necessary to save a tooth from extraction.
Learning about the basics of tooth anatomy will help you understand how oral health conditions form so that you can teach your children healthy dental habits. Explaining the unique biological makeup of teeth to your kids can also be a fun and productive way to introduce biological concepts in an easy-to-understand format.
Maintaining good oral care during the holidays can be tough with the bombardment of sugary sweets all season. Counting down to Christmas with an advent calendar is a fun activity for your kids, but if they are filled with chocolate and sweets, it won’t be so great for their teeth. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa-Nepean dentist has come up with these simple sugar-free ideas to fill your countdown instead.
Holiday Activity Fun
Fill your child’s countdown with special moments that they will cherish all year round. For each day of the month come up with a fun holiday activity that you can do together as a family. Some ideas include: watching a holiday movie, going ice skating, building a snowman and looking at Christmas lights. Write down the activity on a slip of paper and tuck one note into each day of your advent calendar.
A Puzzling Treat
Give your child a fun challenge with a customized puzzle. Draw a picture or write a special message on a blank puzzle. Break the pieces apart and place one puzzle piece in each day of your advent calendar. Every day your child can add the pieces together until they have a completed puzzle revealing a special holiday message or fun activity to do together.
Find some simple trinkets to fill each day on your calendar instead of candy. The dollar store is a great place to find fun items without spending a lot. Some ideas include a box of crayons, hair clips, small cars and bouncing balls. Be sure to include a new toothbrush on one day to encourage good oral care during the holidays.
Nothing beats the gift of a good story, except maybe several good stories. Pick out a holiday-themed book for every day of your countdown. Wrap each book individually and number the packages for each day of the month. Have your child open a new book each night at bedtime and read it together.
Celebrating the holidays can still be joyous even without loads of candy and sweet treats. Get creative and come up with your own sugar-free countdown treats.
But if you want to indulge your children with some treats, here is what you can do:
When the holiday season comes around, there’s no need for kids with braces to miss out on the traditional treats. Some candies can damage braces, but there are plenty of safe and tasty snacks to satisfy young taste buds without interfering with orthodontia. In fact, when preparing fun holiday treats with your child, you can include numerous healthy options that build strong teeth at the same time.
Treats to Avoid
Candy canes are an extremely popular treat during the holidays. Used as Christmas tree ornaments, stocking stuffers or stirrers in a cup of hot chocolate on a snowy day, candy canes seem like they’re everywhere. Unfortunately, since candy canes are 100 percent sugar, they should be near the top of any list of the worst candy for teeth around the holidays. Dr. Jaleel also advises that children should avoid caramel, licorice, lollipops, bubblegum, popcorn, taffy, jelly beans and hard pretzels. Hard candies have their own way of damaging teeth. Although chewy candy nests on teeth, hard candy dissolves in your mouth over a slow period, allowing the bacteria access to more sugar. Another concern with hard candies is for those who can’t resist biting them: doing so can result in chipped or broken teeth.
One way to minimize your mouth’s exposure to holiday candies is by eating healthy snacks. Fresh fruits, such as strawberries and melons, are nutritious, healthy alternatives to candy or sugary desserts. Low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, unbuttered popcorn and baked tortilla chips are excellent alternatives to fatty snacks and appetizers, along with raw veggies like carrots and celery.
Making it through the holidays without eating any type of sugary candy or treats at all is probably not a realistic expectation. The keys to maintaining proper oral health are consumption in moderation and regular brushing with a toothpaste to help strengthen enamel, reduce plaque and fight cavities.
It’s almost the holiday season, which means lots of hot holiday drinks. If you avoid eating cold foods or drinking hot beverages because your teeth are sensitive, it may be time to get to the bottom of this painful condition. So what causes sensitive teeth? Any number of underlying dental problems, and a diagnosis starts with your dentist.
When it comes to your mouth, two of the main cogs in the engine are the gums and teeth. It’s easy to take the necessary functions they perform for granted – that is, until your mouth is in pain. Whether you have sensitive gums or sensitive teeth, either is a recipe for oral discomfort. Here are the differences between the two and some ways to alleviate the pain.
Gum sensitivity is exactly what it sounds like – some form of irritation originating from the gums. If you think your gums are sensitive, look for some very specific symptoms to be sure: Gum sensitivity can result from gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease. Some of the signs of gingivitis are swollen and tender gums, those that easily bleed and elicit bad breath. As gingivitis progresses into advanced gum disease, receding gums is another condition to watch for.
Gum sensitivity resulting from gingivitis or periodontal disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene. Plaque is the main culprit of this sensitivity as it builds up along the gumline and, if left untreated, can progress to advanced gum disease. Additional causes include diabetes, tobacco use, crooked teeth and even pregnancy.
Tooth sensitivity has a few common symptoms of its own. You may find yourself wincing when brushing or flossing certain teeth, tooth pain when eating or drinking something cold or even the same feeling when consuming something hot, acidic or sweet.
Tooth sensitivity has many smaller dental causes, some of which are similar to gum pain, as observed by the ADA: cavities and tooth fractures, receding gums, worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth dentin, loose fillings and, lastly, gum disease. Grinding your teeth, or brushing them with too much force, are two additional actions that create sensitivity in your teeth. The overuse of mouthwash or even a cracked tooth may also expose nerves that yield irritation.
Preliminary Dental Treatment
Having a conversation with your dentist is the first step in finding relief from your discomfort. Describe your symptoms, tell your dentist when the pain started and let him or her know if there’s anything that normally makes it feel better, such as warm compresses.
After your dentist determines the reason for your sensitivity, he or she will treat the underlying cause. Treatment may be as simple as fixing a cavity or replacing a worn filling. However, if your discomfort comes from gum loss exposing root surfaces, your dentist may suggest a gum graft that a periodontist would conduct to protect the root surface and support of the tooth.
Even in situations where there is no obvious cause for your pain, there are numerous treatments to help you manage the sensitivity. Your dentist can apply an in-office fluoride gel to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce painful sensations, while over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes can block off the nerve endings in the exposed dentin. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth should be used on a regular basis, for best results that you can notice in as little as two weeks. Your dentist may also suggest that you rub some of the toothpaste directly on the affected areas after toothbrushing.
So if you’ve been suffering with painful sensitivity that keeps you from eating the foods you love, make an appointment with your dentist today – and you may be drinking hot chocolate tomorrow.
Dental implants are a popular and permanent way to improve the stability of your mouth. If you have missing teeth, or wear removable dentures, they can offer a way for you to maintain a stable, strong and long-lasting smile.
These alternatives to your natural tooth root are made of titanium, a metal that fuses with your jaw bone. When natural teeth are lost, your natural jaw bone can weaken, diminishing your ability to chew and change the form of you face and smile. If you are struggling to chew your favorite foods, or just plain embarrassed by your mouth’s appearance, implants may be your smile-saver.
How It Works
Dental implants are anchors that are surgically placed in your jaw. Titanium accompanies a few other materials to make up this anchor, and are safe to the body; your own bone will grow and join together to support the implant. After the proper waiting time – usually three to six months – the implant is ready for the permanent tooth replacement or prosthetic to be placed on the anchor.
Single tooth loss is one reason to consider an implant, but even total tooth loss can be successfully restored with implants. As explained by the American Dental Association (ADA), there are three basic steps for implant placement:
- Surgical placement of the implant by a qualified dental professional.
- Healing time for “osseointegration,” allowing the bone to grow around the implant.
- Placing of the artificial tooth or teeth.
In most cases, the total integration of bone is necessary before a permanent restoration can be installed. In rare cases, an implant can be “loaded” with a restoration immediately after surgery. If more healing time is needed, your dentist will fabricate a temporary replacement until the final restoration can be placed.
Are Dental Implants Right for You?
Dental implants have been used in the U.S. for decades and have been improved and perfected over the years. Currently, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), 500,000 American adults undergo implant therapy of some form every year. The procedure has proved to have a 98-percent success rate if proper placement procedures and oral hygiene regimens are followed. Are you a candidate for an implant? The answer in most cases is yes, with some caveats.
There are many things to consider before seeking treatment, but the two at the forefront are your medical history and the costs involved. Patients who suffer from chronic illnesses like leukemia and diabetes are not good candidates, as these conditions inhibit the body’s ability to heal. Patients who have been treated with bisphosphonates (usually found in chemotherapy drugs), as well as popular bone-building drugs like Fosamax and Boniva are carefully scrutinized as well. Additionally, people who smoke have diminished mouth health and may need to be counseled in a smoking cessation program prior to an implant.
Your dental history focuses on the health and thickness of the jawbone, and the number of implants a practice would need to restore your smile. Another important factor is your oral hygiene habits. In order for the implant to be a success, proper brushing and flossing – using products such as Colgate Total Deep Clean Toothpaste– is vital for the implant to last a lifetime. Without proper care, the implant can become infected and fail. Dr. Jaleel will instruct you on proper care and the specific dental aides appropriate for use around the implant.
Dental Implant Procedure and Costs
Due to the nature of the procedure, there are a series of steps you should take. The first is to seek care from a dentist who specializes in implant placement. Your general dentist can refer you to these specialists, who usually practice oral surgery or periodontology.
Once you’ve chosen a specialist, he or she will examine you and run diagnostic tests to assess what needs to be done before placing the implant. Depending on the extent of your tooth loss, how long they’ve been out and which jaw (upper or lower) they were in will determine the tests required. They may include:
- Full mouth X-rays and computer tomography or CT scan
- Extractions of failing teeth
- Bone grafts or sinus lifts
- Temporary teeth replacements or prosthetics
A single implant placement typically costs between $1000 to $3000, but this can increase if multiple teeth are involved and other surgical procedures are needed. Keep in mind this cost does not include the final restoration crowns, bridges or dentures, which are done by a general or cosmetic dentist.
Dental implants are a sustainable replacement for missing teeth. They can also serve as anchors for partial and full dentures that have become loose or ill-fitting. In either case, they allow you to restore your smile to its natural and fully functional condition. Of course, they are not for everyone, but more and more adults are pursuing this dental procedure to restore their healthy, confident smile.
Your little one will eventually lose his baby teeth, which is a milestone in the process of growing up. Fortunately, it is not usually too painful for kids when they lose their baby teeth, but the toothless pictures may embarrass them when they get older. Once a tooth does fall out, however, you need to know how to properly take care of the gums and the new permanent tooth that will shortly pop through.
The first baby tooth to fall out is a milestone that’s just as important as the first tooth to come in. Knowing which baby teeth fall out first can help you and your child prepare for this memorable event.
Order of Tooth Loss
A baby’s teeth will typically fall out in the same order they arrived. That means the front teeth will probably be the first to go, typically followed by the next two either side, and so on. These baby teeth will fall out between the ages of six and twelve years. The pattern can be more easily seen in an eruption chart, such as this one
Source: American Dental Association
Kids usually lose their first tooth by the age of 6 or 7, and they lose the last tooth, which is the second molar, by the age of 12 or 13. A tooth can sometimes take a few days or even a few months to fall out once you or your child notices that it’s loose. The length of time that it takes to fall out depends on how quickly the tooth root will dissolve or resorb. It also depends on how much your little one wiggles it. The more he wiggles it, the sooner it will fall out, and a new tooth will begin to appear in its place soon after. It can take several months to completely grow in; but if the tooth has not grown in after six months, see your dentist since he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.
Helping Your Child Cope With Tooth Loss
Losing a tooth can be both exciting and scary for your child. However he feels, be sure to answer any questions he has, and follow his lead on how big a deal to make about it. Some kids prefer not to make a fuss about that first loose tooth. Others might like to celebrate the impending event and look forward to a visit from the tooth fairy. Still others may need some reassurance.
Whatever approach you take to your child’s first tooth loss, don’t ever interfere with its progress. The important thing to remember is not to force a tooth out. They will fall out when they are ready too. However, if your child is experiencing extreme discomfort, bleeding or premature breakage, see your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy
Losing baby teeth from decay or damage might not seem like a big deal, but premature tooth loss can have serious side effects in the long term. Tooth decay in babies can lead to infections in the sinuses, the ears or even the brain. Other examples of problems include the following:
- Damage to permanent teeth
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty learning to talk
Regular oral hygiene is just as important for your child as it is for you. Developing good habits early will make it more likely that your kids are able to take care of their permanent teeth when they get older.
Losing a first tooth is a big deal for your child. No matter which baby teeth fall out first, make the process fun and easy, and keep those teeth healthy by establishing good hygiene habits early.
After a Tooth Falls Out
Have your little one gargle with some warm water once the tooth falls out, especially if there’s bleeding. Your child can continue to use the same child-friendly toothpaste. Instruct your child not to brush too hard where the tooth fell out to avoid irritating the area. After losing baby teeth, you should reinforce the importance of good oral health routines, such as brushing at least twice per day, flossing at least once per day and keeping up healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding soda and other foods and beverages that can damage teeth. All these details are especially important now that your child is growing permanent teeth.
Taking your child to the dentist can be a difficult experience if he is feeling anxious about the appointment. There are varying degrees of dental anxiety and phobia. At the extreme, a person with dental phobia may never see a dentist. Others may force themselves to go, but they may not sleep the night before. It’s not uncommon for people to feel sick — or, in some cases, to actually get sick — while they’re in the waiting room.
Dental phobia, like other mental disorders, can be treated. Without treatment, dental phobia is likely to get worse over time. That’s partly because emotional stress can make dental visits more uncomfortable than they need to be.
Some of the signs of dental phobia include:
- You feel tense or have trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam.
- You get increasingly nervous while you’re in the waiting room.
- You feel like crying when you think of going to the dentist. The sight of dental instruments — or of white-coated personnel in the dentist’s office — increases your anxiety.
- The thought of a dental visit makes you feel physically ill.
- You panic or have trouble breathing when objects are placed in your mouth during a dental appointment.
So what can you do as a parent to help ease his mind? Here are a few tips that can help provide some comfort to your child and make his visit much more pleasant.
Talk to Your Child
Talking to your child about his anxiety may not only help him feel better, but it can also help you understand the root cause of his fear. Perhaps a classmate shared a scary experience or your child watched something disturbing about teeth on television. When bringing up the topic, choose a quiet time when you’re not distracted so you can give him your full attention. Also, don’t make light of his fear; let him know that you understand. You could also share a fear of yours to show him that you’ve been in that situation too. This is a great way to build trust with your child and get him to open up to you. With a better understanding of the problem, you will be able to deal with the underlying issues.
Make It a Family Affair
The presence of a parent or even a sibling can help comfort your little one. Scheduling an appointment for both your child and a family member is one way to show him that he is not alone. Children often like to copy their older siblings and want to be just like them, so having your child watch his brother or sister in the dentist’s chair can give him that extra boost of confidence he needs. And when it’s his turn to sit in the chair, you and his sibling can cheer him on from the sidelines.
Talk to Your Dr. Jaleel
It is worth mentioning your child’s anxiety to Dr. Jaleel before the appointment. We can cater the appointment to timid patients by providing some toys in the examination room or setting aside a little extra time beforehand to talk to your little one. Sometimes it takes just a little preparation ahead of time to make your child’s dentist visit a lot more enjoyable.
Your child may never be fully comfortable visiting the dentist, but hopefully with some of these suggestions you can reduce his anxiety.