Posts for: June, 2017
A child with a chronic illness or condition often requires a lot of focus on care for their special needs. Other aspects of their health can often take a back seat — too often including dental care.
Proper dental care can be a challenge for special needs children if they have diminished physical, intellectual or behavioral capacities. Children with autism or attention deficit disorders may not be able or willing to perform tasks like brushing and flossing. Other conditions could make them intolerant to toothpaste in the mouth, or create an inability to keep their mouths open or to spit.
Some chronic conditions also seem predisposed to dental defects. For example, enamel hypoplasia, a lack of sufficient tooth enamel, is common with Down, Treacher-Collins or Turner Syndromes, and can greatly increase the risk of tooth decay.
But even though difficult, effective dental care isn't impossible. It begins with your dental provider.
Pediatric dentists are often excellent in this regard: they often have the training and experience to treat children with chronic conditions. Whoever you choose must be able to partner with you in caring for your child's dental needs.
Daily hygiene is also a critical factor. Your goal should be the same as with any child — to teach them to brush and floss for themselves. Depending on their condition, however, you may need to assist them for a longer term, perhaps permanently. But it is imperative — daily hygiene is their best defense against oral diseases.
You should also consider their medication and how it may impact their dental health. Antidepressants, antihistamines or drugs that assist with breathing function can cause mouth dryness. This, as well as drugs with sugar or acid compounds, can increase risk for dental disease. If they must take these types of medications, try to give them at mealtime to reduce their effect in the mouth.
Above all, pursue the same professional dental care as you would for any other child. Keep up regular dental visits beginning around their first birthday for cleanings and preventive measures like topical fluoride or sealants. By taking these measures you'll help ensure their dental health won't suffer.
If you would like more information on dental care for special needs 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 “Managing Tooth Decay in Children with Chronic Diseases.”
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Find out if professional teeth whitening might be the best cosmetic option for you.
While you might love that morning cup o’ Joe, it certainly isn’t too kind on your teeth. If you have started to notice a dull, yellow smile as a result, then it might be time to consider talking to our Burlington and Jericho, VT, dentists, Dr. Paul Dunkling and Dr. Greg Penney, about whether teeth whitening is the best option for improving the brightness of your smile.
While teeth whitening isn’t designed to make teeth healthier, it can make your smile more radiant. Professional teeth whitening is a great option for someone who consumes a lot of stain-causing foods and drinks (e.g. red wine; black tea or coffee; tomato sauce).
As we get older, our teeth may also become darker. If this has happened to you, then professional teeth whitening may also be a great way to turn your smile around.
Here are two different whitening options from which to choose in Burlington and Jericho:
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Are you looking for a whiter smile without the wait? Then in-office whitening is the ideal option for you. This is the strongest and most effective way to get a whiter smile in less than one hour. The bleaching agent is applied to the teeth and, in many cases, a laser is directed over the teeth to activate the whitening gel and to speed up the process. Many people will get a smile that is several shades whiter in just one session.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
When we talk about at-home whitening, we certainly don’t mean the whitening toothpastes or at-home kits that you can snag from your local oral care aisle. Our at-home kit offers a strong bleaching agent coupled with custom-made whitening trays, which ensure that the bleaching gel reaches as many surfaces of your teeth as possible. While the results aren’t as fast as they are with our in-office whitening system, you will start to notice a whiter smile in a couple of weeks.
Do you have questions about professional in-office teeth whitening? Want to find out if you are the perfect candidate for this cosmetic treatment? Then it’s time you called Dunkling & Penney Dentistry in Burlington and Jericho, VT, to learn more.