“Do-It-Yourself Dentistry” Becoming Disturbing Trend Among Children

A warning has come down from the American Dental Association about a disturbing new trend making the rounds. Click here to see the video.

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ADA Strongly Discourages DIY Dentistry

DIY dental treatments can affect the gums, bone, ligaments that support the teeth, or the teeth themselves. Depending on the oral health issue being addressed and the nature of the treatment, there may be risks for long-term issues including jaw problems, abnormal bite, tooth decay and loss, as well as gum disease. If teeth are improperly aligned, gum tissue may be impinged or stripped, and cause irreparable damage.

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An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: “Doc, Just Give Me a Reline”

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

If you are a dentist, and you practice in Florida, you are more than likely to have a patient walk into your office and ask to have their dentures relined. Many are convinced that this is a simple procedure handled entirely by a technician, and the dentist is just a toll collector on their highway to better eating and speaking. “I’m paying you good money, just put the stuff in my teeth so I can be happy.”

I focus on the “make me happy” part. I want you to have comfortable, functional dentures that allow you to speak and eat with confidence. You know they “don’t fit.” I want to know why you aren’t comfortable. That requires an examination and evaluation. I will definitely want to look at your mouth and touch the parts that support your dentures. I may want to take an X-ray to determine the quality of your bones.

More often than you might guess, the patient’s dentures fit their jaws fine, but do not stay in under function. The teeth don’t mesh together properly and that is why they seem “loose.” No need for a reline, just adjust the bite. There are times when the bones have changed shape and the denture no longer fits. That’s when we take an X-ray to determine if the bones are healthy but a different shape, or if the reason for the change is disease in the bones, like cancer. We need the X-ray to make that diagnosis, and the treatment plan may be something much different than “just a reline.”

Without a proper examination, evaluation and treatment plan, it isn’t possible to provide appropriate treatment. What makes for a proper examination and evaluation is specific to each patient and is something you should discuss with your dentist. I can’t make my diagnosis based solely on information provided over the internet, and you shouldn’t rely only on what you read on the internet to make your decision.

Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at jpaul@bot.floridadental.org.

What You May Not Know About Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth: A Q&A Guide for Parents

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, which aims to educate and engage parents, guardians and kids on keeping kids’ teeth healthy and building good oral health habits for life. To help with this effort, we asked real parents what questions they have or what questions they wished they’d asked sooner as a new parent. With the help of our pediatric member dentists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we’ve provided some of the most frequent questions and answers from the experts.

Q: My baby’s teeth haven’t come in yet. What should I be doing to help keep my baby’s mouth healthy?

A: You may be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to keep your baby’s mouth healthy is to make sure that your own mouth is healthy. Untreated dental cavities in your mouth are easily transmissible to your baby via saliva. Yes, cavities are contagious! Keeping your own mouth healthy through good oral health care and regular dental visits will help keep your baby’s mouth healthy.

Also, while your baby’s teeth may not have made their way in yet, it’s a good idea to wipe your baby’s gums and tongue with a wet facecloth daily.

Q: At what age should I start taking my child to see a dentist?

A: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth comes in.

Q: What kind of toothbrushes and toothpastes should I be using for my child at different ages?

A: You should be using a soft child-size toothbrush for your child. Picking a toothbrush with their favorite color, superhero or animal also can help get them excited for brushing!

For toothpaste, you should consult with your child’s dentist regarding the type to use and when to begin brushing with toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Q: My child is teething. How can I help with discomfort or pain during tooth brushing?

A: While many children don’t have noticeable difficulties, teething can lead to periods of discomfort, irritability and excess saliva. To help with these symptoms, you can use oral pain relief medication (such as Tylenol ®) and chilled teething rings. Using topical anesthetics, including over-the-counter teething gels, should be avoided due to potential toxicity in infants and very young children.

Q: How well do I need to be brushing my 2-year-old’s teeth?

A: It may be a struggle, but it’s important to be thorough with brushing and ensure that you are reaching all the surfaces of each tooth. This is especially important for bedtime tooth brushing, as it is the most critical brush time of the day.

Q: At what age should flossing start?

A: Every child develops differently. A good rule of thumb is to begin flossing for your child when his or her teeth begin to touch one another, as the bristles of the toothbrush can no longer clean in between the teeth effectively. If you are unsure, it is always best to consult your child’s dentist.

Q: How can I help build healthy teeth habits with my child and make tooth brushing more fun?

A: The following are links to great videos and resources from the American Dental Association (ADA) that can help make tooth brushing a better experience for you and your child.

Q: How should I choose the most appropriate dentist for my child?

A: When you choose an FDA member dentist, you can be assured that your dentist has pledged to uphold the ADA’s highest ethical principles and practice standards.

To learn more about this commitment and find an FDA dentist near you, you can visit http://learn.floridadental.org/find-your-dentist/.

Also, dentists are individuals with their own personalities and styles, so when choosing a dentist, you may want to call or visit more than one dentist to determine if that person is the right match for your family.

Q: What can I expect at my child’s first visit to the dentist, and what do I need to bring?

A: Your first visit is an opportunity to build a relationship with your dentist and establish a dental home for your child. This visit will include a thorough medical and dental history, an oral examination, an age-appropriate tooth and gum cleaning demonstration, and if indicated, a professional fluoride treatment.

This also is a great opportunity to ask questions and encourage a positive relationship with your child and dental visits.

Q: What are some questions I should ask my child’s new dentist or a potential dentist?

A: First and foremost, you are encouraged to ask questions! If you are unsure of or concerned about any issue related to your child’s oral health, you should not hesitate to ask your child’s dentist.

Here are some example questions you may want to ask:

  • When should I start using fluoride toothpaste?
  • Is my child on track in terms of dental growth and development?
  • What insurance do you accept?
  • Do you accept cash/self-pay? If so, is there a discount for doing so?

To find an FDA member dentist near you, visit http://learn.floridadental.org/find-your-dentist/.
For more information on children’s oral health, visit www.mouthhealthy.org.