Regular dental visits are an important part of teeth and gum health at any age, including young children. But the clinical nature of a dental office can be intimidating to children and create in them an anxiety that could carry over into adulthood and disrupt future care.
You can, though, take steps to "de-stress" your child's dental visits. Here are 3 ways to reduce your child's dental anxiety.
Start visits early. Most dentists and pediatricians recommend your child's first visit around age one. By then, many of their primary teeth have already erupted and in need of monitoring and decay prevention measures. Beginning visits early rather than later in childhood also seems to dampen the development of dental visit anxiety.
Take advantage of sedation therapy. Even with the best calming efforts, some children still experience nervousness during dental visits. Your dentist may be able to help by administering a mild sedative before and during a visit to help your child relax. These medications aren't the same as anesthesia, which numbs the body from pain—they simply take the edge off your child's anxiety while leaving them awake and alert. Coupled with positive reinforcement, sedation could help your child have a more pleasant dental visit experience.
Set the example. Children naturally follow the behavior and attitudes of their parents or caregivers. If they see you taking your own hygiene practices seriously, they're more likely to do the same. Similarly, if they notice you're uncomfortable during a dental visit, they'll interpret that as sufficient reason to feel the same way. So, treat going to the dentist as an "adventure," with a reward at the end. And stay calm—if you're calm and unafraid, they can be too.
If you would like more information on effective dental care for kids, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”
You have a cavity and require a filing. Your dentist at New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, NY, Dr. Brandon Huang places tooth-colored fillings whenever possible. Made of composite resin, these white fillings are strong, natural-looking and require less enamel reduction than old-style metal fillings. Learn the details here.
Why do teeth decay?
A hole in tooth enamel--a cavity--forms from the interaction of oral bacteria and carbohydrates. This combination produces corrosive acid, and if bacteria proliferate in plaque and tartar, teeth readily decay.
Fluoride has helped generations of dental patients combat decay. Delivered through fluoridated water, toothpaste and treatments from your dentist in Midtown Manhattan, NY, this natural mineral strengthens enamel and even counteracts the acids in your mouth. Unfortunately, though, fluoride, combined with good oral hygiene and in-office care, cannot prevent all cavities.
If you need a filling...
Dr. Huang and his team can help. He uses composite resin, an innovative blend of glass and plastic, to repair most small to moderately-sized cavities. He likes the durability of the material and how seamlessly the resin bonds to the remaining healthy tooth structure. Only you and your dentist will know that you have a composite resin filling. They are that unnoticeable.
Plus, the filling process is easy. After numbing the tooth, the dentist removes the decay with a high-speed drill and other instruments. Then, he places the properly shaded resin into the prepared site. He installs it in layers, hardening each one with a curing light to maximize strength.
When finished, he checks the shape and bite, and you're done. Your tooth is beautifully restored, and you can eat, brush and floss right away.
Caring for your white filling
As with all your teeth, care for your filling by:
- Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily with the flossing product of your choice
- Seeing Dr. Huang twice a year, or as he advises, for a cleaning and check-up
- Avoiding super-hard foods, such as peanut brittle, and wearing a bite guard at night if you clench or grind your teeth (the National Sleep Foundation says bruxism wears down your teeth and causes sleep problems)
- Eat a tooth-friendly diet which is low in sugar
Get it done
Of course, you wish to avoid fillings altogether. However, if decay happens, count on Dr. Huang and his team at New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, NY, to restore your smile to full health and aesthetics. Call (212) 588-1809 to book your filling appointment today!
The movie Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the iconic rock band Queen and its legendary lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. But when we see pictures of the flamboyant singer, many fans both old and new may wonder—what made Freddie’s toothy smile look the way it did? Here’s the answer: The singer was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, which caused his front teeth to be pushed forward, giving him a noticeable overbite.
The presence of extra teeth—more than 20 primary (baby) teeth or 32 adult teeth—is a relatively rare condition called hyperdontia. Sometimes this condition causes no trouble, and an extra tooth (or two) isn’t even recognized until the person has an oral examination. In other situations, hyperdontia can create problems in the mouth such as crowding, malocclusion (bad bite) and periodontal disease. That’s when treatment may be recommended.
Exactly what kind of treatment is needed? There’s a different answer for each individual, but in many cases the problem can be successfully resolved with tooth extraction (removal) and orthodontic treatment (such as braces). Some people may be concerned about having teeth removed, whether it’s for this problem or another issue. But in skilled hands, this procedure is routine and relatively painless.
Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone like posts in cement—they are actually held in place dynamically by a fibrous membrane called the periodontal ligament. With careful manipulation of the tooth, these fibers can be dislodged and the tooth can be easily extracted. Of course, you won’t feel this happening because extraction is done under anesthesia (often via a numbing shot). In addition, you may be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.
After extraction, some bone grafting material may be placed in the tooth socket and gauze may be applied to control bleeding; sutures (stitches) are sometimes used as well. You’ll receive instructions on medication and post-extraction care before you go home. While you will probably feel discomfort in the area right after the procedure, in a week or so the healing process will be well underway.
Sometimes, dental problems like hyperdontia need immediate treatment because they can negatively affect your overall health; at other times, the issue may be mainly cosmetic. Freddie Mercury declined treatment because he was afraid dental work might interfere with his vocal range. But the decision to change the way your smile looks is up to you; after an examination, we can help you determine what treatment options are appropriate for your own situation.
If you have questions about tooth extraction or orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Simple Tooth Extraction” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
Is your cracked tooth damaged beyond repair? At New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, your dentist, Dr. Brandon Huang can tell you if a dental crown could restore your smile. Designed specifically for your bite, tooth color and size and shape requirements, this reliable restoration can work wonders for your smile.
Just what is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap which fits over a tooth which is cracked, decayed, discolored or otherwise marred. Improving size, shape, color and resiliency, a crown replaces the damaged portions of enamel from crown (top) to gum line.
In addition, your dentist may advise crown placement to finish root canal therapy or to restore a dental implant. Dentists use crowns to anchor either side of a multi-tooth fixed bridge.
One of the best benefits of crown placement is tooth preservation. In other words, if your tooth is healthy enough for a crown, you're spared the problems associated with extraction--smile gaps, bone recession, complex tooth replacement procedures and more.
The crown treatment
Dr. Huang starts with an examination, X-rays and oral impressions. Then, he shapes the tooth to hold the crown and places a temporary cap. You'll wear that crown until the dental lab sends your new crown to Dr. Huang.
During your next appointment, Dr. Huang will remove the temporary cap and bond the new crown over your tooth. The bonding cement is very strong and creates a bond between the tooth and restoration.
Caring for a crown
Your new crown should last up to 15 years. To maximize longevity:
- Brush twice daily
- Floss once a day
- See your dentist every six months for an examination and cleaning
- Wear a bite guard if your grind or clench your teeth
- Use your teeth only to bite and chew food, not fingernails, plastic packaging or pencil tops
- Avoid extra-sticky or very hard foods such as caramels or candy apples
A healthy, complete smile
When you wear a dental crown from New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, you'll enjoy a smile that's complete, beautiful and strong. Don't delay on having that cracked tooth restored. Call Dr. Huang's office staff for an appointment, and get started on your new crown. Phone (212) 588-1809.
"Mom, my tooth hurts" isn't something you look forward to hearing your child say. But tooth pain is as common as other childhood ailments, so you may have to face it. Here are a few simple steps to make it easier.
First, ask your child where in the mouth it hurts and, if they can, tell you how long it's been hurting. Children's memories aren't always accurate, but you can still get a general idea that you can communicate with your dentist if you take them in.
Next, look in their mouth for anything out of the ordinary: gum swelling or bleeding, or dark spots on the teeth indicative of tooth decay. Look also for hard food particles like popcorn kernels caught between the teeth, which could be causing the pain. Gently floss between the teeth (even if you can't see anything) to remove any caught particles.
You'll also want to help ease their pain. You can apply an ice pack against the painful side of the jaw. Don't place ice directly on the skin, but use a container or cloth alternately against the jaw for a minute or so, and then away for a minute. You can also give them a dose of mild pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen appropriate for their age and weight—but never rub aspirin or other pain relievers on the gums, which tend to be acidic and can burn the skin.
Finally, you'll need to decide if you need to see a dentist and how soon. It might not be necessary with situations like the trapped food particles, but most of the time it's wise to have your dentist perform an examination for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. As to how soon, try to see the dentist immediately if the pain has continued from one day to the next or has kept your child up overnight. Otherwise, book an appointment for as soon as the dentist advises, even if the pain subsides.
A toothache at any age is never pleasant, but especially for children. Knowing these steps will help ease their discomfort and get them the relief and treatment they need.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Child's Toothache: Have a Dental Exam to Figure out the Real Cause.”
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