All Posts tagged Ottawa dentist

Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

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

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.

Caution

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.

 

More

Getting a Crown: What to Expect

Getting a Crown: What to Expect

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.

CROWN TYPES

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.

After a Crown

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.

Header picture designed by Freepik

More

How To Improve Your Gum Health

How To Improve Your Gum Health

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.

Stages-of-Gum-DIsease

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!

Header Designed by Freepik

More

What are Wisdom Teeth and How are they Extracted?

What are Wisdom Teeth and How are they Extracted?

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last molars on each side of the jaws. They are also the last teeth to emerge, or erupt, usually when a person is between 16 and 20.

Since wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, or erupt, there is often not enough room left in your mouth to accommodate them. This can lead to wisdom teeth that are impacted, teeth that are trapped beneath the gum tissue by other teeth or bone. If teeth are impacted, swelling and tenderness may occur.

Wisdom teeth that only partially emerge or come in crooked can also lead to painful crowding and disease. Since teeth removed before age 20 have less developed roots and fewer complications. Dr. Jaleel recommends that people between 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed. Wisdom teeth are the last four of your 32 teeth to erupt. These teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 to 25. When one of these teeth doesn’t have enough room to come in normally, it is considered impacted. Teeth may become twisted, tilted, or displaced as they try to emerge.

Impacted wisdom teeth do not always show symptoms, meaning you could have impacted teeth and not even realize it. If symptoms do arise, it is usually the result of the gum on top of the tooth becoming infected or swollen. Symptoms may include pain, swollen and bleeding gums, swelling around the jaw, bad breath, headache or jaw ache, and an unpleasant taste when eating. Some people experience stiffness of the jaw or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Annual dental appointments and x-rays can catch impacted teeth early before they start to show symptoms. Dr. Jaleel will most likely recommend surgery to remove the impacted teeth.

How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

During the procedure
Your doctor or oral surgeon may use one of three types of anesthesia (Local anesthesia, Sedation anesthesia, General anesthesia). The appropriate anesthesia for you depends on the expected complexity of the wisdom tooth extraction and your own comfort level. Your options include:

During wisdom tooth extraction, Dr. Jaleel will:

  • Makes an incision in the gum, creating flaps to expose the tooth and bone
  • Removes any bone that blocks access to the tooth
  • Divides the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces
  • Removes the tooth
  • Cleans the site of the removed tooth of any debris from the tooth or bone
  • Stitches the wound closed to promote healing, though this isn’t always necessary
  • Places gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form

After the procedure
If you receive sedation anesthesia or general anesthesia, you’re taken to a recovery room after the procedure. If you have local anesthesia, your brief recovery time is likely in the dental chair.

As you heal from your surgery, follow our instructions on:

  • Activity. After your surgery, plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Resume normal activities the next day, but for at least a week, avoid strenuous activity that might result in dislodging the blood clot from the socket.
  • Beverages. Drink lots of water after the surgery. Don’t drink alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages in the first 24 hours. Don’t drink with a straw for at least a week because the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
  • Food. Eat only soft foods, such as yogurt or applesauce, for the first 24 hours. Start eating semisoft foods when you can tolerate them. Avoid hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods that might get stuck in the socket or irritate the wound.
  • Pain management. You may be able to manage pain with a prescription pain medication — given by your doctor or oral surgeon — or an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Holding a cold pack against your jaw also may relieve pain.
  • Bleeding. Some oozing of blood may occur the first day after wisdom tooth removal. Try to avoid excessive spitting so that you don’t dislodge the blood clot from the socket. Replace gauze over the extraction site as directed by your dentist or oral surgeon.
  • Swelling and bruising. Swelling and bruising of your cheeks usually improves in two or three days. Use an ice pack as directed by your dentist or surgeon.
  • Cleaning your mouth. Don’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, spit or use a mouthwash during the first 24 hours after the surgery. After that time, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours and after meals for a week after your surgery. Mix 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) of table salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of water. After the first 24 hours, resume brushing your teeth, being particularly gentle near the surgical wound to avoid disrupting any stitches.
  • Tobacco use. If you smoke, don’t do so for at least 24 hours after surgery — and wait longer than that if possible. If you chew tobacco, don’t use it for at least a week. Using tobacco products after oral surgery can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Stitches. You may have stitches that dissolve within a few weeks or no stitches at all. If your stitches need to be removed, schedule an appointment to have them taken out.
More

A Guide for Proper Dental Care: From Infant to Teen

A Guide for Proper Dental Care: From Infant to Teen

We all wish kids came with a user manual; it would take out much of the improvisation that comes with parenting. But your kids are individuals, and as such, have their own needs. Luckily, when it comes to oral health, there are a few guidelines that simplify the process of teaching your little ones about tooth care. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa-Nepean Dentist, has been practicing children dentistry for over 20 years. Through these years, she has learned a lot about helping children keep their teeth in the best condition.

You might wonder if your disciplinary methods are working, or how to instill common manners, but good oral hygiene can actually consist in this handy parent guide to children’s teeth:

BABIES AND TODDLERS

Most babies start teething around six months of age, which is when oral health should be a priority. Dr. Jaleel suggests parents should start brushing their children’s teeth as soon as those first pearly whites emerge. You can use a little toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, but keep the amount to about the size of a grain of rice. Don’t forget that your child should have his first dentist appointment by his or first birthday.

PRESCHOOLERS

“I can do it myself!” might as well be the motto for preschoolers everywhere. As your once-toddler grows into a curious preschooler, it’s the ideal time to encourage healthy oral habits. He or she may even look forward to brushing, so build on that enthusiasm: Let your child pick out a new toothbrush and a great-tasting toothpaste. Kids that take the lead are more likely to make daily brushing a personal habit.

Even though your preschooler might want to fly solo when it comes to brushing and flossing, you’ll still need to supervise his technique and help ensure that the teeth are cleaned at least twice daily.

ELEMENTARY-AGED

Between catching the school bus, homework and soccer practice, your elementary-aged child might have a tight schedule. Two things can result in poor oral health during these crucial years: forgetting to brush and indulging in sugary treats. Help out by setting a timer or alarm to keep your child on top of these things.

Kids at this age also start losing their primary teeth – usually between the ages of five and seven. But just because these teeth are on their way out doesn’t mean kids can eat with impunity. Dr. Jaleel suggests making a habit of offering healthier options and limiting sugary sodas, juices and candy as well. A reusable water bottle can help remind kids to stay hydrated – encouraging saliva production – whereas treats like trail mix or sliced veggies make for a nice lunch side dish or after-school snack. The occasional sweet won’t hurt, but they should be balanced with healthy foods to ensure the adult teeth develop properly.

Slip a dollar under their pillow from the Tooth Fairy, but don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist to detect any complications during this process.

TEENAGERS

Smart, moody and fun, your teenager might raise an eyebrow to your oral health advocacy. Instead, approach it from a self-image angle: It’s important to brush and floss to look your best. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if your teen sleeps in and then races out the door without even looking at his or her toothbrush. You can help, of course: Arranging for regular dental checkups can help remind your teen to keep brushing.

The teenage years are also a great time to discuss orthodontia for a straighter and more confident smile entering adulthood. From traditional brackets to plastic liners, an orthodontist can design a treatment plan that puts your teen on a path to aligned teeth by graduation. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.

Naturally, your kids’ needs depend on their personal health and age, but a parent guide to children’s teeth can keep you informed on what to expect over time.

Other Articles You May Be Interested:

How to get your children to brush their teeth.

 

 

 

 

Stop Procrastinating: Young Children Need Dental Visits Too.

 

 

 

Cover Photo Designed by Freepik

More

Getting Braces as an Adult: Why It Is Never Too Late

Getting Braces as an Adult: Why It Is Never Too Late

Braces aren’t just for awkward teens with brightly colored spacers anymore. Many patients at Dr. Jaleel’s Ottawa clinic are over the age of 18. As more adults turn to braces to straighten their teeth, they’re proving that it’s never too late to fine-tune your smile. Dr. Jaleel has been practicing dentistry and orthodontics for over 20 years now. Over the years, she has seen many people smile brighten after getting braces. Here are just a few great reasons why dental braces for adults are a wise choice.

Set Your Teeth Straight

What don’t you like about your smile? Quite often, braces are not just for aesthetics. Crowded and crooked teeth are more difficult to brush and floss, which could cause plaque buildup and lead to other problems, such as cavities or gum disease. An underbite or overbite can even make chewing uncomfortable. Whether your teeth are misaligned or slightly less than perfect, braces can correct the issue, although dental braces for adults may need to be applied longer than for children or teenagers. The time required varies depending on the condition of your teeth, but the average patient has braces for 18–30 months. No matter your reason for needing braces, the results are well worth the wait.

You Have Options

You don’t have to get traditional metal braces, either. There are many more inconspicuous options for braces available today, such as clear braces, lingual braces and clear aligners, that will allow you to straighten your teeth undercover. Ceramic or clear braces are made from a composite that blends with the color of your teeth, while lingual braces are completely hidden because they’re attached behind the teeth. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are custom-fit to your teeth. Choose the look and type of braces that will work best for you.

Benefits of Clear Braces

The benefits of clear braces became evident as growing numbers of adult patients began to pursue care. Adults were now able to improve the appearance and function of their smile without attaching the stigma of a metal mouth. These new aligners could be removed for eating meals and dental hygiene home care; afterward, they could be placed back in the mouth to continue tooth movement. The result of this process was two-fold: First, patients gained confidence from teeth that looked better; second, oral health was improved through properly aligned teeth.

Straighter teeth are healthier in form and function. Bacteria, plaque acids and impacted food particals are the contributing factors to dental decay and gum disease. Teeth that are in alignment gather less plaque simply because they are easier to clean with proper brushing and flossing techniques. The gums fit the teeth more snugly when the teeth do not overlap, leading to a decreased risk of triggers for the inflammatory process that results in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been proven to contribute to other systemic illnesses, so straighter teeth not only contribute to a healthy mouth but can contribute to a healthier body.

Another of the benefits of clear braces is a decrease in the traumatic wear that can result from teeth that do not fit together properly. Teeth are like gears inside a machine: If the gears do not align properly, they will wear at an improper rate, resulting in a breakdown of the machine. Teeth can chip, break, or wear at the gumline (a process termed abfraction). Using clear braces to align adult teeth can prevent patients from the need to invest significant amounts of money in restorations. Properly aligned teeth can also decrease the stress placed on the jaw joint; crowded, misaligned teeth place unnatural stress on the jaw.

Clear Braces: Retaining Teeth for Life

The ultimate goal of dental care providers is to retain each patient’s dentition for life. The benefits of clear braces extend far beyond a pretty smile. Clear braces offer an opportunity to straighten teeth while raising the patient’s confidence level in daily life. Although not every patient is a candidate for invisible braces, the products do provide a large percentage of individuals with improved oral health. As companies improve orthodontic techniques used in clear braces, and as new companies emerge, dental professionals will continue to learn about aligning teeth — and that gives us all a reason to smile!

Boost Your Confidence

Many adults are unhappy with the way their teeth look and will avoid smiling or shy away from conversations as a result, which can affect how they present themselves in social and professional situations. Stick through the tooth-straightening process with your braces, and in time you’ll get the smile that you’ve always wanted.

For the healthiest mouth possible, be sure to brush twice daily with a toothpaste that fights germs and prevents gingivitis, and follow Dr. Jaleel’s instructions on proper care for your braces. Keep in mind, however, that whitening toothpastes are not recommended while you wear braces since the toothpaste cannot reach under your brackets and could result in stains in the areas where the brackets were when it’s finally time for the braces to come off.

There will soon be no need to hide your smile anymore once you have a reason and the confidence to show it off. If you’re thinking about straightening your teeth, set up an appointment to talk to Dr. Jaleel about the possibility of braces!

More

How Well Do You Know the Anatomy of a Tooth?

How Well Do You Know the Anatomy of a Tooth?

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

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

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

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.

Roots

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.

More

Holiday Treats and their Alternatives

Holiday Treats and their Alternatives

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.

Sugar-Free Trinkets

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.

Christmas-Party-Decor

Story-A-Day

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:

Holiday Treats

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.

Awesome Alternatives

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.

More

Sensitive Teeth and How to Treat It

Sensitive Teeth and How to Treat It

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

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.

girl-with-hot-chocolate

Tooth Sensitivity

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.

Desensitizing Products

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.

More

How Dental Implants Can Save Your Smile

How Dental Implants Can Save Your Smile

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.

More