Q: When do children get their teeth? When should I bring my child in to see the dentist?
A: Teeth normally erupt at about 6 months of age. The front teeth come in first and eruption continues to the back of the mouth with first molars coming in at 12 months and second molars at 24 months. Watch out for milk left on the teeth and be sure to brush them early in life. We can help you with techniques to clean your child's teeth.
The American Dental Association recommends children have their first dental visit is 1 year of age. This appointment may include more of an easy exam and parent information than a full cleaning. The child is introduced to a new environment, people and experiences. Sometimes children do well after watching a cleaning appointment of an older sibling or parent. We like to use these terms: tooth counter, Mr. Thirsty, mirror and tooth cleaner. All dental experiences should be positive so we focus on a fun and friendly appointment.
Q: Why do some of my kids get more cavities than others when I give them the same foods?
A: The bacteria types and amounts in each person's mouth vary as well as the strength of the tooth. Bacteria can transfer like an infectious disease when saliva is transferred through sharing utensils, food, etc. Oral habits and hygiene may also differ.
Q: My tooth is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. What should I do? What does it mean?
A: Many teeth are just naturally sensitive while others are worn and damaged from cavities, grinding, brushing, eating acidic foods and/or medical conditions like acid reflux. Areas of worn teeth that are exposed to these problems may be calmed with fluoride and/or sensitive toothpaste (potassium nitrate) over a period of time and will vary person to person. Other areas may need to be fixed/restored in order to calm the tooth down. Do not rely on sensitive toothpaste for too long in case there is a bigger problem.
Q: I have a broken tooth; I have a toothache. What are my options?
A: When any part of the tooth breaks or chips, see your dentist as even a small piece may cause problems in the future and cause tooth pain or tooth loss. If you have pain but you can't feel a break, you may have a cracked tooth or nerve (pulp) problems. See your dentist soon as this may lead to a large infection or abscess. Sometimes a filling can help or you may need a crown. In extreme cases further treatment is necessary like a root canal treatment (RCT) or extraction (pulled). Early treatment can save a tooth! Putting ice on an infection may make it worse. Antibiotics can be used for a limited time until the tooth can have the proper treatment.
Q: How can I replace my missing tooth/teeth?
A: There are several options that you can discuss with your dentist based on the condition of your dental health.
Implants are artificial roots made of titanium that are placed in the jaw bone and attachments are set in to hold a crown (replacement tooth) or dentures.
Dentures are plastic teeth set to replace an entire arch either top and/or bottom. A removable partial denture is used to replace several teeth and can be made as a temporary or long term option. The teeth you have are used to hold it in. There are a few options for materials that offer different benefits.
A bridge is cemented in place and not removed. This is where several crowns are fused together and fill in the space(s) with a porcelain tooth. The teeth on either side of the space must be healthy to support a bridge.
Q: What is scaling and root planing?
A: Scaling and root planing is a treatment for periodontal disease. When the root collects hardened material called calculus (tartar), the gums become infected and pull away from the tooth. The soft gum tissue can't heal and get better with that hard layer on the tooth. Scaling is the calculus being removed, while root planing is the smoothing of the root surface after the calculus is removed. They are performed together for the best result. After the treatment, regular maintenance appointments will prevent more calculus build up and keep the mouth healthy.
If you have had this procedure and are still having problems you may need to see a specialist, a Periodontist. You should also consult your medical physician to be sure that you don't have any undiagnosed or uncontrolled medical conditions that are linked to periodontal disease.