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Tips on Teaching Your Kids Good Dental Habits

Teaching your kids healthy dental habits is an important part of parenting. You want to put your children on the right path to good oral health, and instilling daily dental habits is one of the best ways to do this. At West Meade Dental, we are often asked by parents for tips on how to teach their kids these essential habits as some parents find this task to be challenging. We would like to share some of these tips that we found from the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) to help you teach your kids good dental habits.

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Do Not Make Brushing Your Teeth Seem Like a Chore.

The last thing you want to do is make your children feel like they are being forced to brush their teeth. A good way to get your children in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day is to lead by example. Let your kids see you brush your teeth every morning and night, and get them to brush along with you. Until your kids reach the age of six or seven, they will need your assistance with brushing. You can make this even more fun for your kids by letting them help you brush your teeth as well.

Buy Fun Toothbrushes and Flavored Toothpaste.

Get your kids toothbrushes in their favorite colors or ones that feature their favorite cartoon characters. Present these brushes as a gift to create excitement for your children. Also, when buying kids’ toothpaste, bring your children to the store with you and allow them to pick out their favorite flavors. Always try to involve your kids in decision-making process when buying dental supplies.

Get Creative with a Song or a Story About Good Dental Habits.

Making these dental habits a fun thing to do is essential when teaching your kids these habits. If your kids like to sing, make up a song about brushing their teeth with them to sing whenever they brush. If they have a favorite song, let them listen to this song as they brush. You can even tell them they need to brush during the chorus of the song. Creating a story time during teeth brushing is another fun way to instill this habit. Try telling a story that incorporates mythical characters. For example, the knight can be the toothbrush who battles goblins (plaque) in the dragon’s cave, or your child’s mouth. If you do not feel that creative, you can always tell your kids their favorite stories as they are brushing their teeth as well.

Set Specific Times for Brushing Teeth.

Of course, you should have your kids brush your teeth in the morning and at night before going to bed, but you should also get them in the habit of brushing their teeth immediately after eating candy and other sugary foods and drinking sodas and other sugar-filled drinks.

If you would like to know more tips on teaching your kids healthy dental habits, contact West Meade Dental. Our staff is happy to help you with this important task.

How to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Are you afraid of going to the dentist? If so, you are not alone. Many people fear the dentist, and this fear can cause serious dental problems as neglecting to visit the dentist can lead to losing teeth, developing gum disease, and other issues. Reducing dental anxiety is something we at West Meade Dental promote to our patients who fear the dentist. Talking with our staff about your worries can take away some of the nervousness you may feel. As this is a common issue with many people, we would like to share some ways to reduce dental anxiety. We hope this information from Colgate about treatment options will alleviate your dental fears.

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DISTRACTION

Sometimes all you need to reduce the anxiety you feel at the dentist is some sort of distraction during your exam or procedure. Listening to music through headphones and watching television are great ways to distract yourself during your dental appointment.

PAIN MANAGEMENT

The biggest reason people fear the dentist is pain. Telling our staff about your issues with pain allows us to give you proper pain management during your visit. We have a wide variety of handling pain with different medicines and techniques so that you will never be in pain during your visit. These pain management tools include topical anesthetics, laser drills, electronic anesthesia, and nitrous oxide.

RELAXATION METHODS

At West Meade Dental, our staff is very experienced with assisting patients in relaxing. We use several relaxation techniques including deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive relaxation. Our patients generally have success with one of these ways to relax and to reduce their dental fears, which makes their appointments go much smoother.

SEDATION

For some patients, sedation is a necessity during dental visits. Whether they have experienced a painful dental visit in the past or they simply fear the dentist, these patients need sedatives such as Valium to feel calm and relaxed during their appointments. Valium relaxes the central nervous system and can be necessary to reduce certain patients’ dental anxiety.

HYPNOSIS

A technique that can create a state of relaxation, hypnosis is very similar to meditation. If you have serious dental fears, seeing a therapist to learn self-hypnosis methods can be extremely beneficial. If you have problems with being able to use these techniques yourself, some therapists will come with you to your dental visits to assist you with this method of relaxation until you can master these skills on your own.

SUPPORT GROUPS

Since dental anxiety is such a common issue, it is easy to find support groups in your community for those who suffer these anxieties. Of course, support groups will provide you with emotional support, but you generally will also learn coping skills as well as practical tips for reducing your dental fears. To find a dental anxiety support group, ask our staff to refer you to a group that will best help you conquer these fears.

Want to learn more about how to reduce dental anxiety? Contact West Meade Dental to speak with our staff about how we can relieve your fears.

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The Importance of Detecting and Correcting Cavities

No one wants to hear he or she has a cavity during a routine visit to the dentist. However, detecting and correcting cavities early on can save your teeth from pain, infection, and more decay. This is why regular dental visits are so important. Of course, you can look for signs and symptoms of tooth decay and cavities at home, but you do need to turn to a professional dentist to correctly diagnose and fill the cavity to prevent further tooth deterioration. We at West Meade Dental would like to tell you more about cavities so you can understand the importance of finding and treating cavities.

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WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?

Cavities begin their lives as tooth decay. According to WebMD, tooth decay is caused by sugary and starchy food residue remaining on the teeth after you eat. Common food culprits include: soda, fruits, cake, candy, cereals, and even breads and milk. If you don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating these kinds of carbohydrates, your likelihood of developing tooth decay goes up greatly, which leads to plaque. Plaque causes the holes in your teeth, otherwise known as cavities.

ARE YOU SAFE FROM CAVITIES AS AN ADULT?

Of course not! Anyone who eats sugary and starchy foods on a regular basis is at risk for developing a cavity, no matter his or her age. Older adults can even develop cavities around old fillings, due to the lack of technology present when they received their fillings.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CAVITY?

If you experience soreness in a tooth, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold, or if you notice a hole or discoloration on a tooth, you may have a cavity. However, in the early stages of a cavity, there usually are not any signs or symptoms at all. A reason why you should never miss a regular dental exam, only your dentist can conclusively diagnose a cavity. Your dentist will check each tooth by probing for soft tissue, a sure sign of a cavity. X-rays give the best diagnosis of a cavity as they show cavities not visible to the eye, which means they have been found in the early stages.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO FIND CAVITIES EARLY?

If left untreated, a cavity will go on to cause pain and further damage to the tooth. You may even have to undergo a root canal to treat a painful, untreated cavity. Early detection of cavities helps to better preserve your teeth.

HOW ARE CAVITIES TREATED?

The cavity treatment depends on the extent of the damage to your tooth, which is another reason early cavity detection is essential for good oral health. If caught early enough so there is not extensive damage to the tooth, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth by drilling it away and then replaces the area with a filling. Fillings today are made with safe materials such as gold, porcelain, silver alloy, and composite resin. If your tooth has suffered more damage, you may need a crown, along with a root canal if the decay has caused the pulp or nerve of the tooth to die. New developments are occurring in cavity treatment everyday. Further stressing the importance of detecting cavities early, tooth decay can even now be stopped or reversed if the cavity is found soon enough.

Do you have any questions about the early detection and correction of cavities? Contact West Meade Dental to get those questions answered as well as to schedule your next dental visit.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Why Does My Tooth Hurt?

Cavities are not the only cause of a toothache. Schedule an appointment with us to know what's causing the pain.

Cavities are not the only cause of a toothache. Schedule an appointment with us to know what’s causing the pain.

Most of us have experienced some type of toothache at some point in our lifetime, and the possible causes for the discomfort are numerous. At the first sign of tooth pain, many people immediately begin to fear that they have developed a cavity. It’s an understandable first impression, however, it’s also not uncommon for these same people to learn that their pain wasn’t coming from a cavity at all. A trip to the dentist is often the only way to get to the bottom of the problem.

Basic Dental Anatomy

A basic understanding of your oral anatomy will help you to better understand the source(s) of a toothache. Your teeth are alive! They have nerves and a blood supply to keep them healthy. The outer layer of your teeth, the enamel, helps to protect everything on the inside of your tooth.

Directly underneath the enamel is the dentin, another hard layer that’s composed of microscopic tubes that communicate with the nerves inside your teeth. If these tubes become exposed, it can result in an increased sensitivity to heat, cold, sweets, and/or other stimuli. The pulp houses the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. If the nerve becomes inflamed, it can become extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

Why do I have a Toothache?

As mentioned previously, toothaches result from a number of different causes:

  • A cavity is the result of bacteria eroding holes through the enamel of a tooth, thereby exposing the dentin and/or pulp.
  • Losing an old filling also exposes your tooth’s sensitive interior, which can cause discomfort as well.
  • A dental abscess (infection) results in a build up of pressure around the root of your tooth, which can cause varying degrees of discomfort.
  • Grinding your teeth can also cause toothaches by wearing away the enamel on your teeth and/or causing gum recession that can lead to irritation of the tissues around the teeth.
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease) begins with bacterial growth in your mouth that can lead to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth if not properly treated.
  • Believe it or not, pain in your upper teeth can even be the direct result of a sinus infection.

We hope that this information serves as a jumping-off point for you if you’re experiencing any sort of oral discomfort. It’s extremely important for everyone to note, however, that it is impossible to know the absolute cause of a toothache without paying a visit to a qualified dental professional. West Meade Dental will provide you with the comprehensive dental care necessary to keep you smiling confidently for years to come. Schedule an appointment to come and see us today!

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