Thursday, 18 April 2013

Dr. Guirguis vs. his 14 month old son, Max

Even for a pair of dentists, brushing a child's teeth can be difficult.  Adapting your approach to your child and maintaining patience are key to developing strong hygiene habits with your child.

Na├»ve advice | When parents used to ask about brushing their children’s teeth, I would show them how to brush in a circular motion with a soft toothbrush and demonstrate different techniques to help educate and take care of their child’s oral hygiene. But when I had a child of my own, I realized just how hard it is to actually brush your child’s teeth.

I’ve saved teeth that appeared hopeless, replaced every tooth in a mouth, and extracted teeth that had roots longer than my fingers, but the hardest thing I do on a daily basis is brush my son’s teeth.

Max is 14 months old now, and has 8 beautiful white baby teeth. He won’t let me brush any of them! It’s a two-person job and in our household, those two people happen to be dentists. I can only imagine how difficult it is for parents who don’t have the benefit of 8 years of dental school.

A New Approach  | Amber and I figured out that the most important things are to be patient, be flexible, and work at it everyday. Just like our patients who struggle to floss or wear their night guard, the best thing you can do is get your child into the habit of taking care of their teeth. Let them hold the toothbrush. Show them how to do it and give them the chance to try. Make it a game. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but just do it.

Lately we have been placing our finger in the back of Max’s mouth, where he doesn’t have teeth, so we can keep his mouth open while we brush the eight teeth in the front. That’s our technique right now, but we’ll see what happens when there’s nowhere to put that finger. I am confident that as Max grows older, brushing his teeth won’t be such a struggle and we’ll be able to teach him about those mean sugar bugs on his teeth!

Just Make it Happen  | Cavities can start forming on teeth as soon as they erupt and therefore taking proper care of them is important. Do your best to brush their teeth. If they will not let you, wipe them with a wet gauze or washcloth. Try not to send your child to bed with a bottle and avoid sugary drinks, including juice. Fruit juice is very acidic and high in sugar and can harm those little teeth. Water and milk only. 

As a Dentist and a parent, I understand both the importance and the challenge of developing good teeth brushing habits with a child. What I’ve learned in dentistry is that you have to adapt and nothing is ever as easy as it seems…especially brushing your 14 month olds teeth! 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

How does plaque cause a cavity?

The hard, outside covering of your teeth is called enamel. Enamel is very hard, mainly because it contains durable mineral salts, like calcium. Mineral salts in your saliva help add to the hardness of your teeth. Mineral salts, however, are prone to attack by acids. Acid causes them to break down.

For an experiment about the power of acid, check out the Healthy Teeth Dental Experiments page!

The plaque that forms on your teeth and doesn't get washed away by saliva or brushed away by your toothbrush produces acid as it eats up sugar. This acid is produced inside the plaque and can't be easily washed away by your saliva. The acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous - tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.

It's important to see your dentist before a cavity forms so that the plaque you can't reach with your toothbrush or floss can be removed.

Above article written by:

Richardson Dentistry
1231 East Belt Line Road, Suite 103
Richardson, TX 75081
Phone: (972) 690-8617

Thursday, 4 April 2013

What causes a cavity?

Your mouth is a busy place. Bacteria - tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue.

Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. While some of the bacteria can be harmful, most are not and some are even helpful.

Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the enamel that covers your teeth. If they're not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms. More bacteria of different types attach to the colony already growing on the tooth enamel. Proteins that are present in your saliva (spit) also mix in and the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth. This film is called plaque, and it's what causes cavities.

Above article written by:

1231 East Belt Line Road, Suite 103
Richardson Dentistry
Richardson, TX 75081
Phone: (972) 690-8617

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Parts of a Tooth

A tooth is basically made up of two parts: the crown and the root.

The crown is what you see when you smile or open your mouth. It's the part that sits above your gumline.

The root is below the gumline. It makes up about 2/3rds of the tooth's total length.

Four different tissues make up each tooth. The enamel is the durable, white covering. Enamel protects the tooth from the wear and tear of chewing.

Dental Fact: did you know that the enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body?

Dentin supports the enamel on your teeth. It's a yellow bone-like material that's softer than enamel and carries some of the nerve fibres that tell you when something is going wrong inside your tooth.

The Pulp is the centre of the tooth. It's a soft tissue that contains blood and lymph vessels, and nerves. The pulp is how the tooth receives nourishment and transmits signals to your brain.

Cementum is what covers most of the root of the tooth. It helps to attach the tooth to the bones in your jaw. A cushioning layer called the Periodontal Ligament sits between the cementum and the jawbone. It helps to connect the two.

Above article written by:

Richardson Dentistry
1231 East Belt Line Road, Suite 103
Richardson, TX 75081
Phone: (972) 690-8617

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Life of a Tooth

Most of our organs and body parts are formed before birth and simply develop and grow as we age. In many cases their physical form remains fairly consistent as it begins to fully develop. The tooth, however, has a life cycle of its own—completely unique from any other body part. From 20 primary teeth to 32 permanent teeth, the evolution of the tooth is quite fascinating.

The Beginning

Our teeth actually begin to form about two months after conception. Tiny buds from the mouth lining grow into the jaw and are the beginning phases of what is known as primary teeth. The incisors tend to erupt first anywhere from 8-14 weeks of age, but the timing and the order varies from kid to kid. Regardless of the timing and order, however, it’s important to start an oral hygiene routine even before the teeth come in as gum and teeth issues can still occur in babies.

Permanent Teeth

The primary teeth remain steadily in place until it’s time for the permanent teeth to make their debut. Children are usually around six years old when their primary teeth start to loosen in preparation for the permanent teeth. Again, this process could be different from child to child and some may not even develop some of their adult teeth altogether. In a time frame of about 7 years, 20 primary teeth are replaced by 28 permanent teeth. Wisdom teeth usually form by the age of 21, rounding out the total number of teeth to 32.

Aging Teeth

Daily chewing and aging of the teeth can seriously affect the life cycle of the tooth. Not to mention there are other age related issues that can bring the life of a tooth to an end. Older teeth are also vulnerable to periodontal disease, which means that even if the tooth itself is healthy, the bone and gum that anchor the tooth can become seriously infected and the tooth can fall out.

Evolution of the Tooth

Dentists say that there is not an evolutionary dead end for the elderly tooth. They point out that people are more aware of the importance of dental health and faithfully brush after meals and floss every day. Some dentists predict that dentures will become as obsolete as wooden false teeth in the tooth life story.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wisdom Teeth

Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Extraction of third molars can protect the overall health of the mouth. It is generally recommended when the following conditions occur:

Wisdom teeth only partially erupt. This leaves an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection. Pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness can result.
Impacted wisdom teeth may continue growing without enough room, damaging adjacent teeth.

A fluid-filled sac (cyst) or tumor forms, destroying surrounding structures such as bone or tooth roots.

When to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

People between the ages of 16 and 19 should have their wisdom teeth evaluated. If they need to be removed, it should be considered before age 20 when generally fewer complications occur. At a younger age, tooth roots are not fully developed, the surrounding bone is softer, and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves or other structures. There is also less surgical risk and healing is generally faster.

Extractions of wisdom teeth may be performed by a general dentist. If your dentist anticipates any special care will be needed, he or she may refer you to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. An oral or maxillofacial surgeon is a dentist who specializes in surgery and the removal of wisdom teeth.

What to Expect?
Before surgery, your dentist will explain what to expect, have you sign a consent form and give you personalized instructions to follow. Keep in mind these general items in order to help your surgery go smoothly.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and arrange to have someone be with you after surgery. Extraction can be performed under local conscious sedation or general anesthesia. Following surgery, you may experience some swelling and mild discomfort, which is part of the normal healing process. Cold compresses can help decrease the swelling and medication prescribed by your dentist can help decrease the pain. You may be instructed to drink only clear liquids following surgery and later progress to soft foods.

Some patients experience numbness or tingling following surgery. Normal sensation usually returns in a short period of time. Occasionally, a dry socket occurs when the blood clot breaks down earlier than normal. A dressing placed in the socket protects it until the socket heals.

Talk with your dentist about any questions that you have. It is especially important to let your dentist know, before surgery, of any illness that you have and medications that you are taking. If your general dentist has referred you to a specialist, they will both work together to provide you with the best and most efficient care. Keeping your teeth healthy – to a wise old age – is your dentist’s primary concern.
Above article written by:

Richardson Dentistry
1231 East Belt Line Road, Suite 103
Richardson, TX 75081
Phone: (972) 690-8617