All posts by Flawless Dental

Caring for Cleft Lip & Palate

cleft lip and cleft palate patient dental care blog image flawless dental newton massachusetts

Patients who have a cleft lip or palate will face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in in malformed or malpositioned. Adults with cleft palate typically do not have a normally formed teeth and roots which requires the additional work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.

An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look natural and function normally for the patient.

Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. Typically, many procedures and trips to both the dentist and doctor will go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.

Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.

If you or someone in your family has cleft lip or palate, don’t hesitate to give Flawless Dental a call or to schedule an appointment to see what we can do to help achieve the smile you deserve.

Source.

Saliva: The Original Mouth Guard

Saliva is a surprisingly big deal, especially when it comes to oral health. Saliva serves as a neutralizing agent in your mouth, it quiets enamel-eroding acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. It is your best line of defense against acids, sugars, and bacteria that aim to wear away your enamel.

What you might not have known about saliva is that there are two types. The first type of saliva is stimulated saliva. This is the kind that appears in your mouth when you smell French fries, or when you bite into a delicious cheeseburger. It makes up 70-90 percent of the two to three pints (!!!) of saliva that we each generate daily. It looks like water, helps to break down starches and balances the pH in your mouth.

The second type of saliva is unstimulated saliva. It is the saliva that is always in your mouth, keeping it from drying out and wrapping itself protectively around the surfaces of teeth. It is necessary for our mouths, and while it may be less glamorous that the saliva that arrives when our favorite dinner is headed our way, it is just as important.

Saliva is vital to keeping teeth and gums happy and healthy. Lack of saliva could result in tooth decay and loss of taste. Talk to your dentist about a treatment plan if you experience dry mouth.

Source

Veganism and Oral Health

Going vegan has become an increasingly popular lifestyle choice in the past decade. While people have a variety of different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet, many vegans tend to have one thing in common: weaker teeth than carnivores. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or newly considering making the switch, read on to learn what you can do to keep your teeth strong and cavity-free.

Although many healthy diets include eating lots of fruit, vegans may find themselves eating even more than their non-vegan peers. While your body will thank you for all the vitamins and minerals you’re giving it, your teeth may not. Sugary foods, even natural ones like fruit, can wear away at enamel and cause cavities. Your best bet? Swish a little water around your mouth after eating that juicy peach to flush away the excess sugar.

Another factor that can cause vegans to have weaker chompers than their meat-eating counterparts is an important amino acid called arginine. Typically found in meat, fish, and dairy, a 2015 study of salivary bacteria in petri dishes showed that in the dish where arginine was added, the growth of cavity-causing biofilms was inhibited. Great news for carnivores, but how can vegans get the same benefits? Happily, there are some vegan-friendly foods rich in arginine, such as black and soy beans, as well as toothpastes and mouthwashes enriched with powerful decay-fighter.

Whatever your reasoning, if you recently have, or are considering drastically changing your diet, contact your dentist for tips on how best to keep your teeth healthy and strong!
Source.

5 Vitamin C Rich Foods to Improve Your Dental Health

We all know that vitamin C is useful for our overall health. From beating the common cold to promoting good eyesight, it’s known as something of a cure-all vitamin. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that increasing your vitamin C intake can be beneficial for your oral health as well. Vitamin C helps to strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, both of which are key ingredients in the recipe for healthy gums. Furthermore, vitamin C increases collagen production, which keeps gums strong, elastic, and less susceptible to periodontal disease. So, which foods should you be eating more of to gain the full benefits? Here are 5 to get you started.

Bell peppers

Many people believe that when it comes to bell peppers, all colors are created equal. In terms of their flavor this might be true, but if you’re looking for the highest vitamin C content, pick red bell peppers over their green or yellow counterparts. Feel free to eat as many as you like, too. A full cup of bell peppers is only worth about 45 calories, so you can snack guilt-free!

Kiwi

Did you know that in addition to being significantly less acidic (and therefore better for your teeth) kiwi fruit has about twice the vitamin C content of lemons and oranges? Kiwi is also high in fiber and an enzyme called actinidain which helps to break down protein, easing digestion and overall intestinal function.

Strawberries

In addition to being a delicious summer treat, strawberries are loaded with vitamin C. But that’s not all! Strawberries are also rich in flavonoids, which can counteract bad (or LDL) cholesterol in the blood and help unclog plaque from the arteries. Sweet!

Broccoli

Turns out your mother was telling you to eat your broccoli for a reason! Besides their high concentration of vitamin C, they could also help you fend off cancer due to a high sulfur content found in most cruciferous vegetables.

Kale

Finally, this trendy superfood has received quite a bit of press in the last few years, and for good reason. It’s high in vitamins C, A, and K, as well as fiber and iron. Don’t like the taste? Stick it in a fruity smoothie and drink the benefits!

Filling your diet with these vitamin rich foods will not only help your teeth and gums, but your overall health. As with everything, however, practice moderation; there can be too much of a good thing! Consult your dentist for advice on how much vitamin C you should be getting, or for more dietary tips for a healthy smile.

Source.

5 Apps to Benefit Your Dental Hygiene

Alright all you tech savvy smart phone owners: time to put your phone to good use in helping with your oral health! We all use our phones all day everyday, but did you know that among the millions of apps out there, there are actually quite a few that aim to help improve our dental hygiene? Here are five to get you started.

First we have the Dental Expert app. This app explains dental procedures and treatment options, if ever you are curious or forget exactly what your dentist said about a certain procedure. It puts all the concepts in layman’s terms for easy readability, and is laid out in an accessible, user-friendly menu along with fun dental facts and myths as well!

Next up, a Pediatric Dental Expert app that allows first time parents to gain knowledge of anything from correct teething schedules to understanding overbites and how to fix them. Whatever the concern is for the little one, most of the information will be on here, right at your fingertips!

Speaking of children, we know that visiting the dentist for the first time can be frightening at a young age, but with the Tiny Dentist app, it doesn’t have to be! This specific app allows kids to “be the dentist” and put themselves in their shoes. They can play around fixing teeth and hopefully become less fearful of actually attending appointments. It even allows them to play-sit in the dental chair to feel more comfortable!

Hmm, did we remember to floss today? Flossing is one of the singlehanded most important things we can do for our oral health, but remembering to is sometimes difficult! With the app Flossy, keeping track of flossing and nurturing the habit becomes way easier. The app sets reminders and allows you to schedule specific times for flossing.

Lastly, we have Brush DJ. Two minutes is the suggested time for brushing but sometimes we fall short of that. With Brush DJ you can use any song and it cuts it to exactly two minutes, so when the songs ends, the brushing is complete! How clever!

Source

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease

As legalization of marijuana is becoming the next big policy push in many states, more and more research is being done about potential health benefits and detriments of the drug. We all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, but what about marijuana? Marijuana has been shown to have few adverse health effects in most areas, however, there is one part of your body that marijuana has been proven to negatively affect: your gums.

Any kind of poor oral health is likely to lead to gum disease down the line, but the findings on marijuana were surprising. Originally, researchers thought that perhaps frequent marijuana users simply were less likely to brush and floss properly, but after creating a control group for proper dental hygiene, the marijuana users were still found to have gums in worse shape than non-users.

While the correlation is still somewhat uncertain, one thing is for sure: smoking weed is still not as bad for your teeth and gums as cigarettes. So, if you must smoke something, better to stick to the green stuff as long as it’s legal in your state. But in our professional opinion, avoid smoking altogether to keep a healthy mouth for life!

Source.

Tips Dental Professionals Live By

At a dental appointment, you’re likely to receive a lot of advice. Brush and floss twice daily, cut down on coffee and soda, don’t smoke cigarettes—while these are some of the most valuable and important tips, you probably hear them all the time. There are plenty of dental tips that dentists repeat with less frequency, but it doesn’t make them any less crucial. Read on for a few lesser-known insight into your mouth that only the pros know.

1. White Teeth Aren’t Always Healthy Teeth

We all want our teeth to look beautiful. Your smile is often one of the first things others notice about you, and everybody wants to make a good impression. It’s easy to prioritize looks over health—but don’t. If your mouth is riddled with cavities, it doesn’t do you much good to get a whitening treatment, nor do white teeth mean there are no underlying health issues.

2. Dental Health Isn’t Necessarily Hereditary

When you visit your doctor, you’ll often have to discuss your family’s medical history with them in order to determine your risk for certain diseases. Luckily, dental health doesn’t work exactly the same way. If your parents and grandparents wound up with dentures later in their lives, it doesn’t mean that you’ll inevitably need them. Most of your dental health is contingent on your own habits, so keep up the brushing!

3. Do More Than Clean

While hopefully most of your visits to the dentist will only include a simple cleaning, it’s important to periodically ask for additional exams such as oral cancer screenings or x-rays. A little extra time in the dentist’s chair ahead of time can help you avoid larger problems later on.

For more helpful tips and tricks, or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us!

A Breakdown of Dental Insurance

Why doesn’t my dental insurance pay for this? This is a frequently asked question when it comes to dental coverage. It is common for patients to be unsure of what their coverage actually covers and why they have certain limitations.

Dental insurance can be very confusing, so, here are a few basics to help you better understand dental insurance.

UCR (Usual, Customary, and Reasonable)

There are different dental insurance plans that you might have. One plan is the UCR plan. UCR stands for, usual, customary, and reasonable. This means a couple of different things for your coverage.

Under a UCR plan, patients get to pick which dentist they see and the plan pays for an established percentage of the dentist’s fee or they pay the plan sponsor’s “customary” or “reasonable” fee limit. These plans do not necessarily reflect the prices of dental procedures. Often times the limits in place do not take into account the price of dentistry in that area or region. Dental insurance companies do not have any regulations on reimbursement levels, which means that there is a lot of room for fluctuations.

Annual Maximums

Whoever provides your plan for you, whether it is through your job or a private company, they are the ones who set the annual maximums. Annual maximums are the final set of reimbursement that is part of your plan. That number is how much your insurance will cover.

Preferred Providers

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to dental insurance is that some insurance plans will request that you pick a dentist from their list of preferred providers. This usually means that if your previous or current dentist is not on the list, then you will have to switch to a different dentist.

Least Expensive Alternative

Dental insurance also has something called, “least expensive alternative treatment.” This phrase means that, your plan may not offer any coverage for expensive treatments or procedures, but they will cover the least expensive alternative. It may not be the best option for your oral health, but the cheaper option is what they will cover. It is best to discuss with your dentist the best option for you.

Preexisting Conditions

Some dental insurance plans may not cover any preexisting conditions that you had previous to joining that plan. This can be difficult because they may still require treatment. Try to find a plan that allows you to still receive treatment for a preexisting condition or talk to your dentist about what other options you have.

Treatment Exclusions

Your dentist might recommend a preventative treatment, like sealants, and your insurance may not cover it. While these sorts of procedures can save you money in the long run, your insurance may not cover them because they are not necessary. The same may go for certain procedures that your insurance does not deem as necessary.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit: 3 Things You Need To Know

For many adults, the dentist can be a scary experience, so we understand that you may have some reservations about bringing your baby to the dentist. We’re here to help! It probably sounds like a lot to tackle, but if you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll have no problem transitioning your child into a good oral health routine.

1. Prepare Accordingly

Your child should be making their first dental visit before their first birthday. The general rule that most dentists follow is that the child should start seeing a dentist regularly six months after the eruption of the first tooth. When your child’s first tooth comes in, make an appointment with the dentist to discuss what their first visit will be like, so that you can do your best explain to the child beforehand what will happen.

2. Plan Ahead

We all know that our kid can have those days; the ones filled with tantrums, screaming, and general grumpiness. Plan ahead for that, and be willing to reschedule if you think it may not be a great day for baby’s first visit. Alternatively, if your child is compliant, then be ready to go through the process with them. It may be easiest to schedule an appointment in the morning when your child is most alert.

3. Be Patient

If your child is under 36 months, for their first visit you will sit in the dental chair and the child will sit in your lap, as it will make the trip easier for them. If your child feels comfortable doing the exam, expect it to last between 15 to 30 minutes. The dentist will do a thorough examination of the teeth, gums, jaw, and bite as well as do a gentle cleaning, conduct x- rays, and show them how to clean properly at home. It may be a little awkward and uncomfortable for baby at first, so be sure to be patient with them and ready to provide any reassurance the child may need.

The dentist wants nothing more than to make your child’s first visit as easy and comfortable as possible, and so do you! With proper planning and cooperation, your child will be well on their way to a lifetime of good oral health.

How Stress Might Be Hurting Your Teeth

We all know that stress can take a toll on our overall health. Chronically stressed people are more likely to develop anxiety disorders and sleeping disorders, as well as more serious health concerns such as heightened blood pressure, risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. But what impact does stress have on your teeth?

When it comes to oral health, stress can manifest itself in a number of harmful ways, not the least of which is the grinding and gnashing of teeth. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is common among those who hold stress and tension in their jaws.

A 2010 study by Head & Face Medicine found that sleep bruxism is common in people who experience daily strain and problems at work. That means that the pressure you feel at your desk to get things done, impress your boss, and move up in the company could be hurting your oral health overnight.

It seems small in the short term, but grinding or clenching your teeth can lead to cracks and chips. In fact, many people don’t even realize that they are grinding at night until they break a tooth. In order to prevent having multiple dental procedures to reverse the effects of bruxism, try using a night guard, or talking to your dentist about how you can stop or minimize grinding and its negative effects on your teeth.

Most importantly, find a method to reduce stress that works for you. Spending time with friends, yoga and meditation, or simply taking a few moments a day to breathe deeply and regroup can have innumerable positive effects on your overall health and well-being.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3