Summertime Dental Health

The kids are almost out of school and summer is here. When you think of summer, the beach, cookouts, and warm weather probably come to mind. Oral health is likely one of the last things you think of when you think about summer, but it shouldn’t be! With the kids home all day and not on a routine schedule, it is often easy to forget about oral hygiene. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to keep you and your kids on track.

1. Keep up your routine.

With summer often comes camps, vacations, and days by the pool, but don’t let this distract your kids from keeping the same oral hygiene routine they did during the school year. Be sure to remind them that brushing twice a day and flossing is just as important now as it was during school. You may have to stay on top of them more about brushing and flossing since they aren’t on a regular schedule.

2. Buy healthy snacks.

Now that the kids are home all day, you can’t rely on the school to have healthy options available. That’s your job! Be sure to have washed fruits and vegetables ready to grab and encourage the kids to stay away from cookies and candy. Limit the sodas and replace those with bottled water for hot summer days.

3. Spring cleaning

The term “spring cleaning” doesn’t only refer to cleaning the house, but your toothbrushes as well! The beginning of summer is a great time to say out with the old and in with the new. Throwing out the old toothbrushes and buying new ones can help keep your oral health on track. It would also be a great time to buy travel-sized toothbrushes and toothpaste since summer means vacation and traveling for many.

4. Pool time

Did you know swimming pools can effect your teeth? Studies have shown that people who spend more than 6 hours each week in a pool are more likely to have discolored front teeth. This is because the chemicals in the pool breakdown proteins and saliva, which leaves a brownish stain on your teeth. Fortunately, going to the dentist for regular cleanings can prevent this.

5. Be prepared

Summer is often a very active time for children. Be prepared for dental emergencies, and take preventative measures. Follow all rules of the pool to prevent slipping and falling, wear a mouth guard when participating in contact sports, and carry a first aid kit when traveling.

All of these tips will help you and your family have a safe, healthy summer. For any questions or comments, feel free to contact us today.

Oral Health

TMD 101

What is TMJ?

TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint, connects your jawbone on the right and left side to your skull. This joint lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, laugh, etc.

What is TMD? 

TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders, and occurs when you have problems with your jaw and certain face muscles.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

TMD causes pain and tenderness in the jaw, neck, face, and sometimes ears and shoulders. It can also limit your jaw mobility. TMD can also cause your jaw to lock, swelling, and popping of the jaw when you chew. Your face may feel tired and you may feel as if your upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly when you bite. Other common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and toothaches.

What causes TMD?

Although the exact cause of TMD is unknown, several factors can contribute to the pain you may experience. TMD may be caused by injury such as whiplash, problems within your jaw or muscles, arthritis, or teeth clenching or grinding.

Who develops TMD?

TMD affects 12% of the population. Although anyone can experience TMD, it is most common in women aged 20-40.

How is TMD diagnosed?

Because TMD’s symptoms can also be signs of other problems, it is often hard to diagnose. If your pain is severe and persistent you need to consult with your doctor or dentist. Your doctor can help rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as sinus or ear infections. Your dentist will likely ask about your history and conduct a physical exam and/or take X-rays.

How is TMD treated?

TMD can be treated a variety of ways depending on the severity. For many people, pain medications will provide relief and the problem will fix itself. If your pain is severe, your dentist may prescribe a stronger medication. Some people will have to wear a splint, which fits over the upper and lower teeth to keep your teeth from clenching. Other treatments include steroid injections, grinding down the teeth, and orthodontic work. Surgery is a last-resort option and should only be done when necessary.

If you have any other questions ab about TMD, please feel free to contact us today.


Why Dental X-Rays Are Important

You may have noticed the term “digital radiography” under the services tab on our website. This is just a fancy term for dental X-rays. Getting X-rays at the dentist isn’t most people’s favorite thing. Getting an X-ray at the dentist may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it is crucial to your dental health.

There are several types of X-rays, each used to show a different part of the mouth.

  • Bitewing: These X-rays show the upper and lower back teeth and how they come together when you bite down. They can be used to check for tooth decay, bite problems, and bone loss caused by gum disease or infection. These are most often taken during checkups.
  • Periapical: These X-rays show the entire tooth, including the end of the root and supporting bones. They are used to find problems in the gums or jaw, such as impacted teeth, bone changes, abscesses, tumors, and cysts. Your dentist may take a full mouth of these if you are a new patient.
  • Occlusal: These X-rays give the dentist a view of the roof or floor of your mouth. This enables him to find extra teeth, jaw fractures, cleft palates, cysts, growths, and abscesses.
  • Panoramic: These X rays show a full view of the inside of the mouth in one X-ray. They are taken from outside of your mouth and can find bone abnormalities, cysts, fractures, tumors, etc. You’ve probably had this type of X-ray taken if you’ve ever had braces.

How often you have a dental X-ray taken will depend on your oral health, age, risk, and symptoms for disease. X-rays don’t always mean something bad! They are periodically taken during checkups just to monitor the condition of your health.

You don’t need to worry about radiation exposure while having your X-ray taken. Your exposure is minimal because X-ray machines are currently designed to reduce radiation as much as possible. In addition, many practices require you to wear a leaded apron that will protect you from radiation exposure. Many also try to make any exposure as brief as possible by using digital X-rays that are almost instantaneous. Always let your dentist know if you a pregnant or breastfeeding when having X-rays taken.

As you can see, dental X-rays are a great tool to help your dentist detect damage and disease that is not visible during a regular dental exam. The benefit of dental X-rays is that they can detect a problem before it truly develops. Once detected, your dentist will discuss a treatment plan for you. Make sure you are regularly going to you dentist checkups so your dentist can use digital radiography to ensure you are as healthy as possible.