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.

 

Optimizing Your Health with Optimism

By Juanita Benedict, DPT, CEAS II

I recently read an article about how optimists are both physically and psychologically healthier than their pessimistic counterparts. Apparently, there are a plethora of studies that support this claim. The science indicates that optimists have lower rates of depression and better immune systems, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and increases life span. (Bradberry, 2015)

Even though this article was not the first of its kind, it is the type of article that I like to read every few months to inspire me to become more positive. If simply being optimistic can increase not only my physical health, but my enjoyment of life, why would I choose to be otherwise?

Positive thinking affects how you interpret and react to stressful situations.

Your body’s response to stressful situations that you deem as negative is to increase the production of adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and cortisol, and reduces the protection of your immune system. Negative thinking actually places your body in physical distress.

The good news is that this physical reaction doesn’t have to be detrimental. Positive thinking and optimism has been shown to have significantly good effects on health. Learning to think positively can help your body to release oxytocin, instead of the adrenaline and cortisol. Oxytocin has been called the “love” hormone as it increases your sense of well-being. Be warned, it also may increase your desire to hug! (McGonigal, 2015)

Unfortunately, changing your thinking pattern is not as simple as just turning on a switch. Positive thinking is a habit that takes time to form. Be patient with yourself and you will be able to cultivate an entirely new perspective.

Here are a few tips to help you learn how to think positive and be optimistic:

1. Minimize negative media. That may seem like a herculean tasks with current events, but you need to make your health a priority. Watching negative news increases your anxiety levels and can lead to the physical effects described earlier, as well as increase your risk of depression. (Health Central, 2011)

2. Start your day on a positive note. Write down three things you are grateful for.

3. Practice seeing the good. There is always a silver lining, although sometimes you may need to put in some effort to find it. Even in the wake of horrific events, there are always good people and inspirational stories.

4. Accept that you are not perfect, and that is perfectly fine! The imperfections in life are what make it interesting and fun. How boring would life be if everyone was perfect?

5. Laugh. Laugh loud and laugh often. Laugh at yourself and seemingly impossible circumstances. There is nothing that will change your attitude like finding the humor in stressful situations.

6. Exercise. The benefits of exercise are too numerous to name. A person once said that if all of the benefits of exercise could be put into a pill, it would be the most sought-after medicine in the world.

Enjoy this day and every day. Remember the reason you work so hard is to live a good life. Being optimistic not only helps you stay healthy enough to do the things you want, but also helps you really savor them.

 

References:

Bradberry, T. (2015, May 4). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-positivity-makes-you-healthy-successful-dr-travis-bradberry?trk=v-feed
Health Central. (2011, August 29). Retrieved from http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/1443/143415/watching-increase
McGonigal, K. (2015). The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It. New York: Penguin .

 

Juanita Benedict is a physical therapist in Florida who works specifically with dental professionals to reduce their pain while practicing as well as extend their careers. For more information, go to www.healthydentistrysolutions.com or contact her at 407.801.3324.