Category Archives: General Dentistry

Caring for Cleft Lip & Palate

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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.

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What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Child’s Oral Health

It’s no secret that kids don’t always have what’s best for their teeth at the forefront of their minds – which can lead to a toothache for them and a headache for parents. Between eating too much sugar, not brushing and flossing enough, and skipping brushings, kids run a high risk of cavities and oral health issues. But have no fear! Here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.

1.Letting kids brush alone.
While it might feel easier to send them to the bathroom alone to brush their teeth before bed, a little parental supervision can save time and money in the long run. Kids are brushing their teeth, especially those new to the habit, need pointers, and kids younger than 8 actually lack the motor skills necessary to brush effectively.
Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before a group activity like story time. This is a great way to watch your kids brush while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time so that they can pick up tips from you.

2.Not taking regular trips to the dentist.
Kids need to visit the dentist regularly just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, they are more likely to have a myriad of unaddressed oral health issues, potentially making the visit more difficult for both you and your child.
Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health issues. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist, they may already have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, your child is more likely to have ongoing fear and anxiety around dental visits. By starting early, you’re encouraging a positive and happy association with the dentist’s office for your child.

3.Not using fluoride.
Not only does the American Dental Association recommend fluoride – studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so take advantage of it! However, families who drink a lot of bottled water or don’t use a fluoride toothpaste may be missing out on the benefits.
Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity-free and which toothpastes may be right for them.

The best thing parents can do for their children’s oral health to start healthy habits early. Just like healthy eating or exercise, good oral hygiene can become second nature with a little practice!

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Beware of Brushing?

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Too much brushing can’t hurt, right? Not exactly.

The American Dental Association recommends that everyone brush their teeth at least twice per day. If you’re especially keen about taking perfect care of your teeth, maybe you brush after meals too. But be warned: there is a right way to do this.

Researchers have discovered that brushing too soon after a meal, especially when you’ve had something acidic to eat or drink, can damage your teeth. Acid breaks down your enamel and can damage the next layer, dentin. Dentin is the bony tissue that forms your tooth. Dr. Howard Gamble, president of the Academy of General Dentistry, notes that “with brushing, you could actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin.”

So when is safe to brush? According to current research, if you brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after a meal, you’re good to go. And if you want to be extra careful about acid damage, Dr. Gamble recommends rinsing your mouth with water after a meal. You can also use a mix of one part baking soda with eight parts water to really balance out any acidic residue.

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What Challenges Do Adults With Braces Face?

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It used to be pretty rare for anyone other than teenagers to have braces, but in today’s society everyone with a crooked tooth or an overbite has the option to get it corrected with adult braces. Adults have a wider array of orthodontic appliances available to them that make the process more streamlined and less obvious. Whether it is clear aligners, like Invisalign®, porcelain-colored braces, or back-of-the-teeth aligners, there are many options for adults to receive orthodontic treatment while keeping it hidden from public.

Although straightening teeth is a pretty straightforward process, adults should be aware of some complications that they may face that teens do not.

1. Previous dental work

If you are getting orthodontic devices as an adult, then you have already lived through a lifetime of dental procedures. Your cavities have been filled and your root canals have been drilled, but these previous treatments might make it difficult for orthodontists to straighten teeth.

2. Jaw growth

It is harder to get the desired effect because your jaw has finished growing which means that oral surgery may be needed to reach your desired smile. When teens get braces their jaws are still growing which makes it easier to align teeth in the way that they want. As an adult you may require oral surgery to get the straight teeth that you have dreamed of.

Talk to your dentist and your orthodontist about the best orthodontic treatment for you and what treatment will entail.

3 Budget Friendly Options for Treating Sensitive Teeth

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Having sensitive teeth can be a real bummer. It can prevent you from eating the foods you love and cause you pain. While it may sound pricey to treat sensitive teeth, there are a few simple things you can do to help relieve any pain and discomfort you may be having.

1. Change Your Toothpaste

Some toothpaste can be tough on those of us with sensitive teeth. Try switching to a tooth-sensitive toothpaste which will be a lot gentler on the teeth. These specially designed, less abrasive toothpastes can help to relieve your pain and prevent further sensitivity.

2. Change Your Brushing Habits

Brushing your teeth too hard, can damage enamel and cause sensitivity to your teeth. Try brushing gently with a soft-bristled brush to help relieve the pain you feel when you brush. By using less pressure you are saving yourself from wearing away at enamel and exposing sensitive nerves in your teeth.

3. Change Your Diet

By avoiding foods with a high acidity like citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes you could relieve sensitivity. These foods have high levels of acid that can destroy enamel and cause oral pain. Even drinks such as wine can wear away at enamel. Instead of totally cutting these foods from your diet, try to eat them with foods that will neutralize the acid and promote saliva such as cheese.

If you’d like to explore additional options or for more information on tooth sensitivity, consult your local Newton, MA dentistry professionals at Flawless Dental today!

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Therapy & Dental Anxiety

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For some people, fear of the dentist can be debilitating enough to prevent them from seeking the routine or even emergency care they need. As a result, these people are often in poorer oral health, as their lack of treatment snowballs into larger issues.

An Answer to Anxiety?

Now there may be a new answer. Used for years to treat depression, phobias and anxiety disorders of various kinds, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is gaining popularity in treating dental anxiety. CBT is generally a short-term therapy, lasting between 6 and 10 sessions.

A recent study in the British Dental Journal has shown that CBT can be a great tool in combatting dental anxiety. 130 patients were initially surveyed, out of which ¾ were determined to have a true dental phobia, as defined by the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS).

CBT Results

After all dental phobic patients completed their courses of CBT, 79% were able to have dental treatment without sedation, while 6% were able to complete treatment with sedation. The average number of therapy sessions required before receiving dental care was five.

This is big news for anyone with a crippling fear of the dentist. While overcoming your phobia may seem hopeless, there are treatment options that can change the way you view the dentist’s office. The earlier you overcome the fear, the healthier your teeth will be.

Here at Flawless Dental we strive to offer the most comfortable experience possible to each and every patient. Should you have anxiety about visiting the office, give us a call to talk over options for overcoming your fear while still addressing your oral health needs.

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The Scary Link Between Childhood Obesity and Tooth Decay

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Obesity in Children

Childhood obesity has been plaguing America’s youth for quite some time. the obesity rate in children has risen to 17% over the last two decades, it’s more important than ever to consider the link between weight and oral health.

We live in a world where everything is big. Our restaurant chains are big, our portion sizes are big, and the waists of our children are big, and they keep growing. Kids are ingesting more high-fat and high-sugar foods than ever before, and studies show it is taking a serious toll on their teeth.

The Research

According to an article in the British Dental Journal, the culprit behind tooth decay in obese children is snacking. “Snacking on treats in front of the television for several hours a day not only increases a child’s risk of becoming obese, but also of developing dental decay.”

The daily snack diet of an obese child doesn’t typically consist of teeth-healthy foods such as celery, apples, and carrots. Instead, it typically consists of snacks high in sodium and sugar like candy, cookies, and chips.

Sugary treats wreak havoc on teeth, especially when they are on the teeth for a long period of time. Due to the nature of snacking most people don’t think to brush their teeth after enjoying a snack. Unfortunately for the snacking type, snack foods tend to linger in the mouth for longer, furthering the risk for decay. Dentists recommend that we limit snacking to protect our teeth because the longer food stays on teeth, the higher risk for decay.

The scary truth is that snacking throughout the day is hurting more than just your child’s waistline. Try to feed your kids teeth-happy snacks, like crunchy fruits and veggies, and limit snacking during the day to keep their teeth healthy.

If you’re interested in how your family’s diet might be affecting your oral health, schedule an appointment with Flawless Dental for expert advice from your local Newton, MA dentist.

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Could Fillings Be a Thing of the Past?

Could fillings be a thing of the past? Scientists in London have developed a pain-free filling that doesn’t require drilling or injections.

Normally, a dentist would remove the decay by drilling and then the cavity is filled with a material such as amalgam or composite resin. The new treatment technique, developed by King’s College London requires no drilling. Instead, the new treatment called, Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), aims instead to accelerate the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals.

EAER is a two-step process that first prepares the damaged enamel and then uses a very small electric current to push minerals into the repair site. It is still in the early stages and may be available within three years.

This new treatment is gentler on patients and teeth. It may be more cost-effective as well, because patients will not need to repair their teeth over and over again as fillings fail. While this treatment is a thing of the future, it is an important thing to look forward to as modern dental health grows.