Even though baby teeth are not meant to last forever, they serve some very important functions for the time they are around. Healthy baby teeth allow your child to bite and chew food, articulate sounds correctly during speech, and, of course, to smile! They also help guide the permanent teeth, which will one day replace them, into proper alignment. So it’s important to take good care of them while they’re here. Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about pediatric dentistry.
Can I get my teeth cleaned while I’m pregnant?
Yes — and you should! Both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women keep up with their regular schedule of dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy. Not doing so can allow disease-causing oral bacterial to flourish, which can be a health risk for both the expectant mother and her fetus.
Do infants need their teeth brushed?
Yes, it’s important to start a daily oral hygiene routine as soon as the first baby tooth appears — usually sometime between six and nine months of age. Use a very soft-bristled child-sized toothbrush and just a smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). When your child turns 3, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to the size of a pea.
When should I take my child in for her first dental appointment?
The answer to this one may surprise you: All children should see a dentist by the age of 1. Early dental visits get children accustomed to having their mouths examined and their teeth cleaned. Establishing this healthy habit early will go a long way toward promoting a lifetime of good oral health.
Should I worry that my child sucks his thumb?
That depends on how old he is. Thumb sucking is a normal, comforting habit for babies and toddlers. Most outgrow it by the time they are 4. But kids who don’t are at increased risk for orthodontic issues later on. If your child seems unable to break the habit, let us know; we can give you more detailed recommendations at your next appointment.
What can I do to prevent my children from getting cavities?
Make sure your children have an effective daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing at least once per day. If they are too young to do a good job by themselves, help them complete these important tasks. Keep their sugar consumption as low as possible; pay particular attention to beverages — soda, sports drinks and even 100 % natural fruit juices can all promote tooth decay. We can offer individualized advice on fighting cavities, and even provide fluoride treatments and dental sealants for extra protection against cavities. So don’t forget to bring your child in to the dental office for regular exams and cleanings!
Would you like to avoid hearing the words, "You have a cavity"? A good oral hygiene routine is the simplest way to keep tooth decay from harming your teeth. Our Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist, Dr. Brandon Huang of New York Dental Studio, shares a few ways you can keep your teeth healthy.
Use toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride
Acids are produced when plaque on your teeth combines with sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods. Although your tooth enamel is tough, it's no match for the strong acids. They begin to eat away at your tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities. Fluoride, an ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes, repairs weak spots on the enamel, making it less likely that you'll develop a cavity.
Most toothpastes sold in midtown Manhattan stores contain fluoride, although natural or herbal varieties usually are fluoride-free. Luckily, it's easy to quickly identify which products contain fluoride simply by looking for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. Every product that meets ADA requirements must contain fluoride. The ADA doesn't evaluate mouthwashes. A quick look at the label or list of ingredients will let you know if the product contains fluoride.
Don't forget to brush and floss
We all know that brushing twice a day is important, but when life gets busy, it's easy to forget to brush. Brushing not only keeps your breath fresh and removes stuck-on food particles, but also gets rid of plaque. When plaque isn't removed from your teeth promptly, your cavity risk rises.
It's not always easy to convince children to brush. Most kids need supervision and a little help until they're about 7. Toothbrushes that feature favorite cartoon characters or play music can make brushing more appealing to young children.
Brushing removes a significant portion of the plaque on your teeth, but can't get rid of all of it. Flossing once day eliminates plaque that forms between teeth.
Visit the dentist every six months
Removing every speck of plaque from your teeth isn't always easy, particularly if your teeth are crooked or overlap. When you visit our office every six months, you'll receive a thorough cleaning that will get rid of plaque in hard-to-reach places. Professional cleanings also remove tartar, the hard substance that develops when plaque isn't removed soon enough. Tartar is responsible for gum disease.
Is it time for your next visit? Call our Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist, Dr. Huang of New York Dental Studio, at (212) 588-1809 to schedule an appointment.
Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?
Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?
Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.
Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.
But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?
In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.
Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.
What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.
If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”
Make sure your daily habits are benefiting your smile, and not hurting it.
Everyone wants to have a healthy smile but how many people actually put in all the work necessary to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy? While having a beautiful, healthy smile might sound ideal, just like everything else in life you still need to put in the work in order to reap the smile benefits. Our Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist Dr. Brandon Huang is here to tell you what constitutes good oral hygiene.
Brushing Your Teeth
If you want to keep teeth free from plaque and tartar buildup then it’s important to follow these steps every time you brush:
- Brush twice a day
- Brush for around 2-3 minutes each time you brush
- Brush all surfaces of your teeth
- Remember to brush at a 45-degree angle
- Don’t brush too vigorously as this can wear down enamel
- Replace your toothbrush head every three to four months
Flossing Your Teeth
Flossing is just as important as brushing for removing plaque and food particles from between teeth. Don’t expect your toothbrush to be able to do all the work. Flossing once a day is truly all you need to do in order to keep the spaces between your teeth clean.
Remember to use a generous amount of floss every time you floss. Be gentle when flossing, as your gums are sensitive. Never tug, snap or pull floss forcefully from between teeth, as this can damage the gums or tooth enamel.
Other Habits to Adopt
Besides your at-home oral care routine, our Midtown Manhattan general dentist is also here to provide you with some other tips for how to keep your smile healthy:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid sugar, starches and junk food
- Consider using a therapeutic mouthwash or rinse
- Consider getting fluoride treatment or dental sealants
- Visit our dentist every six months for routine cleanings and exams
- Quit smoking
- Come in right away for care if you notice any symptoms or changes in your oral health
Whether you have questions about your oral routine or you need to schedule your six-month cleaning, New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, NY, is here to help. Call us today!
September is National Gum Care Month. Did you know that advanced periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults? Periodontal disease refers to any disease that affects the structures that hold the teeth in place, including gums, ligaments and bone. In its earliest stage, called gingivitis, the gums become inflamed. When it progresses to periodontitis, both soft and hard tissues that hold the teeth in place are affected, threatening the integrity of the teeth. Some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. Here are some common risk factors:
Poor oral hygiene. Plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease. When life gets busy, we may be less diligent about our oral care. This allows bacteria in the mouth to form a biofilm (plaque), which causes inflammation of the gums.
Heredity: Some people are genetically more predisposed to gum disease. Look at your family history. Have any of your relatives had gum disease or lost their teeth?
Pregnancy. Gums are sensitive to hormone fluctuations, and it is not uncommon for pregnant women to experience an inflammation of the gums known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Gingivitis — characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily — is the beginning stage of gum disease.
Age: The chance of developing gum disease increases with age. Over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This may be influenced by other diseases, medications that cause dry mouth, or other causes of plaque buildup.
Diet: Eating too many simple carbohydrates (those found in sugar, white bread, white rice and mashed potatoes, for example) is linked to chronic inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of gum disease.
Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for the development and progression of gum disease. Since nicotine constricts blood vessels, smokers may not see the typical symptoms such as red, puffy, bleeding gums, so the disease may cause damage before smokers realize there is a problem with their gums.
Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes puts you at higher risk of periodontal disease. Not only can diabetes make gum disease worse, gum disease can make diabetes symptoms worse.
Our aim is not to scare you but to help you become aware of factors that can increase your risk of gum disease. Many of these factors are not under your control. However, you can do your part to prevent gum disease by staying on top of the things you can control. Let us know about any new medications you are taking, eat a balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates and other nutrients and, if relevant, manage your diabetes and explore programs that will help you quit smoking.
Fortunately, good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings can turn early gum disease around, so if you have any of the risk factors that contribute to periodontal disease, be extra diligent about your oral hygiene routine. And make sure you come in for regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you show signs of gum disease, we may recommend that you come in for more frequent cleanings.
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