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Monday, June 11, 2018

The keys to keeping your mouth healthy

A healthy mouth is a good indication of your overall health and helps you to keep a great smile and continue eating what you want for many years to come.
There are a few steps you can take to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible:
– Brush your teeth twice a day using a good quality toothbrush
– Renew your toothbrush regularly. It will only keep your mouth healthy if the brush is in good condition and the bristles are strong. You should replace it at least every three or four months
– Clean between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere and bacteria can linger between the teeth so it’s important to clean between them every day using floss or an interdental cleaner
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and oral examinations
Your dentist will be able to give you tips on what other products you should consider to help improve your oral health.
For example, antimicrobial mouth rinses and toothpastes can reduce the germs in your mouth and reduce the risk of gum disease.
Also, fluoride mouth rinses can help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that using mouth rinses provides valuable protection over and above that provided by fluoride toothpaste alone.
Look out for the ADA seal when buying toothbrushes and other dental products. This is a sign that the product has met American Dental Association standards for safety and effectiveness.
Following these steps can help ensure that you continue to enjoy great oral health.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Should you be concerned about thumbsucking?

Some children suck on their thumbs and parents often wonder if it is harmful.
Sucking on something is a child’s natural reflex. It can help them feel more secure so they start to suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects.
Since thumbsucking is relaxing, it may also help them sleep.
However, after the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.
Whether or not dental problems will result depends on the intensity of the sucking.
A child who vigorously sucks their thumb is more likely to have difficulties than one who rests their thumb passively in their mouth. Young children who suck their thumbs aggressively may even cause problems with their baby teeth.
If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, consult your dentist.
Usually children will stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of about two and four. They should have ceased sucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.
If your child is continuing to suck their thumbs, here are some tips:
– Praise them for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they are
– If they are sucking because they feel insecure, focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety
– For older children, involve them in choosing the method of stopping
If necessary, your dentist can help by encouraging the child and explaining what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Your saliva and why it’s so important

You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth, but if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.
Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.
It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.
Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.
Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.
When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.
Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.
Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.
Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Common questions about dental insurance

Understanding what’s covered by your dental insurance is an important part of making sure you get the best oral care possible.
Here are some common questions that arise when people want to understand their cover better.
– If treatment my dentist recommends is not covered by my insurance, does that mean it’s not necessary?
Some plans make exclusions such as sealants, pre-existing conditions, adult orthodontics, and specialist referrals. This depends on your dental plan and you should not let the level of cover determine whether you need treatment.
– My dental benefit will only pay for a large filling but my dentist recommends I get a crown. Which should I choose?
Some plans will only cover the least expensive solution but it may not be the best option for your needs. You should decide based on your health needs and not on your insurance cover.
– My dental plan says it will pay 100 percent for checkups and cleanings but the insurance company says I owe for part of the dentist’s charge. How can this be?
Some plans provide cover based on a “customary fee” for each procedure. So, if your dentist’s fee is higher, your benefit will be based on a percentage of the customary fee instead of your dentist’s fee. Although these limits are called “customary,” they may not accurately reflect the fees that dentists charge in your area.
– Will my plan cover the care my family will need?
If your employer offers more than one plan, check the exclusions and limitations of the coverage as well as looking at the general benefits. It’s a good idea to discuss your family’s likely needs with your dentist before choosing a plan.
The plan document should specify who is eligible for coverage under the plan.
Plans offered by the same provider or employer can vary according to the contracts involved so your dentist will not be able to answer specific questions about your benefit or predict what the coverage for a particular procedure will be.
If you have specific questions about coverage, talk to your plan provider.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Periodontal disease: what it is and how to avoid it

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.
There is a very slight gap (called a sulcus) between the tooth and the gum.
Periodontal diseases attack this gap and cause a breakdown in the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues.
When the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket and, as the disease gets more severe, the pocket usually gets deeper.
The two major stages of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease.
There are several factors that have been shown to increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
– Systemic diseases such as diabetes
– Some types of medication
– Crooked teeth
– Bridges that no longer fit properly
– Fillings that have become defective
– Smoking
– Pregnancy
And there are a number of warning signs that can suggest a possible problem:
– Gums that bleed easily
– Red, swollen, tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Persistent bad breath or taste
– Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
– Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Any change in the fit of partial dentures
However, it’s also possible to have periodontal disease with no warning signs.
It’s therefore important to have regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations.
If you have developed periodontal disease, the treatment will depend on how far it has progressed.
You can take steps to prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.
Good dental hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth, eating a healthy diet and having regular visits to the dentist will make a huge difference.

Monday, May 7, 2018

How to take care of your teeth with braces

Braces are orthodontic apparatus used to help fix crooked and crowded teeth.
While modern braces can be comfortable and inconspicuous, you may have to take extra steps to care for your teeth when wearing them.
It’s important that you continue good oral hygiene practices while wearing braces.
You need to continue brushing regularly, following the approach suggested by your dentist, as well as flossing daily and making regular visits to the dentist.
People with braces should stick to a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals.
Your dentist may suggest that you avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. This can include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods such as chewing gum or caramel.
You can still continue to enjoy sports and other activities but a protective mouth guard is often recommended to reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. Your dentist will suggest an appropriate mouth guard when the braces are in place.
Braces can make a big difference to your smile and your future dental health. Modern technology and following good practices means you should be able to wear them with comfort and confidence.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and it’s important to take steps to avoid problems with infants and children.
Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth.
If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. So, when it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.
The name given to decay in infants and children is baby bottle tooth decay.
It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth – though other teeth may also be affected.
Decay can happen when sweetened liquids are given to an infant and are then left clinging to their teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice.
What happens is that bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and then produce acids that attack the teeth.
It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle that causes decay, but how often. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea.
Here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your children:
– After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2.
– Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
– If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give them a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
– Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
– If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.
Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly.
If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.