Fear of the dentist is quite common for many people. Main Street Dental Clinics is well aware of the prevalence of dental anxiety and we are properly trained to work with you in helping you to overcome these fears. You will find we are eager to work with you to make your visits comfortable and pleasant. Asking questions about your mouth and proposed treatment will help to remove fear of the unknown and give you an opportunity to become involved in your dental health. Most importantly, remember that your Main Street Dental Clinics team is eager to work with you, not just on you, in order to achieve a mutual goal - maintaining the health of your smile.
Your child's first teeth erupt around 6 months old. For the prevention of dental problems, Main Street Dental Clinics recommend your child should be seen at 1 year of age. This first visit will help your child to become acquainted with our office and develop a relationship with the doctor and staff, as well as a chance to help educate parents to properly care for their child's teeth.
The first primary tooth, or baby tooth, erupts between 6 months to one year of age. The timing is different for each individual, but all 20 baby teeth are usually in by 3 years of age. Baby teeth are extremely important for a variety of reasons.
- Help children chew food easily and properly to maintain healthy nutrition
- Help children develop proper speech, and speak more quickly and clearly
- Help jaw formation by maintaining space and eruption paths for permanent teeth
- Help develop self -esteem, and set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles
Baby teeth are also just as prone to cavities as adult teeth. In fact, more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before the age five, so you want to keep those cavities away to avoid an early loss of a tooth. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when it’s their turn to erupt. Proper oral hygiene is important as soon as your baby is born. Establishing good oral habits early will go a long way, even beyond impressing the tooth fairy!
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth -- usually the back teeth (the premolars, and molars) -- to prevent tooth decay. The painted on liquid sealant quickly bonds into the depressions and groves of the teeth, forming a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. In this way, the dental sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.
Sealants can protect the teeth from decay for many years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wear at regular dental check-ups
Several different options are available to change the shape of teeth, make teeth look longer, close spaces between teeth or repair chipped or cracked teeth. Among the options are bonding, crowns, veneers, and re-contouring.
- Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied to the tooth surface and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth.
- Dental crowns are tooth-shaped "caps" that are placed over teeth. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
- Veneers (also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth.
- Recontouring or reshaping of the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth's length, shape or surface.
Each of these options differ with regard to cost, durability, "chair time" necessary to complete the procedure, stain resistant qualities, and best cosmetic approach to resolving a specific problem. Talk to your dentist to see if one is right for you.
First, when purchasing toothpaste for you or your child, select one that contains fluoride. Fluoride-containing toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities. However, one word of caution: Use only a very small amount for children under age 6 (the size of their fingernail). This is because young children swallow toothpaste, and swallowing too much fluoride can lead to tooth discoloration in permanent teeth.
It is also wise to select a product approved by the American Dental Association. The ADA's Seal of Acceptance means that the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness and that packaging and advertising claims are scientifically supported. Some manufacturers choose not to seek the ADA's Seal of Acceptance. Although these products may be safe and effective, these products' performance have not been evaluated or endorsed by the ADA.
Next, when considering other properties of toothpaste -- such as whitening toothpastes, tartar-control, gum care, desensitizing, etc. -- the best advice for selecting among these products may be to simply ask your dental hygienist or dentist what the greatest concerns are for your mouth at this time. After consulting with your dentist or hygienist about your oral health's greatest needs, look for products within that category (for example, within the tartar control brands or within the desensitizing toothpaste brands) that have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Finally, some degree of personal preference comes into play. Choose the toothpaste that tastes and feels best. Gel or paste, wintergreen or spearmint all work alike. If you find that certain ingredients are irritating to your teeth, cheeks or lips, or if your teeth have become more sensitive, or if your mouth is irritated after brushing, try changing toothpastes. If the problem continues, see your dentist.
Research shows that both powered and manual toothbrushes are equally effective when used properly. The best way to be sure you are caring for your teeth properly is to discuss your homecare and needs with your dentist or hygienist.
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.
When refined carbohydrates or sugars are ingested, these bacteria present in the mouth use the sugar and convert it to acid that dissolves tooth enamel. The acid attacks start immediately after consuming sugars and last for 20-30 minutes.
It is a goal of the Doctors and Staff of Main Street Dental Clinics that students seek careers in the dental profession. Dentistry offers an individual the opportunity to help improve the dental health and overall well-being of the American population.
Careers available in dentistry include:
- Dental Laboratory Technician
- Dental Hygienist
- Dental Assistant
Main Street Dental Clinics offers qualified students $500 towards education for a future career in dentistry. The requirements for the scholarship can be found here.
A multitude of teeth are knocked out every year in the United States. The main causes in the permanent dentition are fights and sports injuries. Researchers have developed methods of saving most of these teeth. These knocked out teeth can often be re-implanted under favorable conditions. If the tooth can be replanted within minutes after the accident, there is a greater chance the tooth will be retained for life.
After the accident, the tooth should be located and picked up by the crown or enamel portion and NOT the root. If the tooth is dirty or contaminated, it should gently be rinsed with milk or water. Do not store the tooth in water.
It should be noted that if a primary (baby) tooth is knocked out, it should NOT be replanted as it could damage the permanent tooth bud in formation. Parents should NOT try to place the baby tooth back into the socket, and should immediately seek the advice and treatment of their dentist.
Modern research has developed a common thread in the success rate of the treatment of avulsed teeth. That common premise is the rate at which the teeth are reimplanted. Recent studies have shown that critical time to be in the range of five minutes to an hour. The American Association of Endodontists (2004) recommends reimplanting the fully formed tooth (closed apex) if it has been in a storage medium of milk, saline or saliva, even up to 60 minutes or less of extra-oral dry time (tooth out of bony socket).
Some people tend to have a rather strange attitude towards checkups. If the dentist does not find something wrong, their time has been wasted. As a matter of fact, a series of successful visits can discourage them from ever seeing their dentist and hygienist again. The idea that you should only see the dentist when something is wrong is not only ridiculous but can end up costing you a lot of money, comfort and time!
Your dentist is trained to detect and treat many problems before you are even aware of them. The goal is prevention - prevent disease, decay and tooth loss. Your dentist can help you but only if you make the appointment. It all comes back to teamwork. Only you, your dentist and your hygienist can determine how often to make a visit, but for most people, twice a year is sufficient. Checkups should not be a one-time event. They are necessary for regular assessments of the condition and the well being of your mouth. Check-up procedures vary with each dentist, but basically will contain: a review of dental and medical history, an overall examination of the mouth including oral cancer screening, a professional cleaning, possibly a fluoride treatment, and a general assessment of hygiene at home. Regular checkups are a MUST in the fight against gum disease.
Gum disease(gingivitis) or periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss today. The reason you lose teeth from gum disease is because this disease attacks the gums as well as the bone, which are the foundation in which your teeth rest. As the bone dissolves away from around your teeth, your teeth become loose and eventually fall out. Anyone, at any age, is susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque. If the plague is not removed on a daily basis it will form calculus, which is the breeding ground for the germs which cause periodontal disease.
Bleeding gums are the first sign that there may be a problem with the gums. Puffy, tender red gums are also a sign that there is an infection present. Bleeding gums, however, are not always present even in severe cases of gum disease. Gum disease will not go away by itself or with improved home care. This is because the plaque has become cemented to your teeth like a hard calcium deposit. The only way of removing plaque deep under the gums is with professional cleanings. Routine and regular visits to your dentist are the best way of catching gum disease in its early stages, before too much damage has been caused.
Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells and lead to the development of cancer. Fortunately, The dosage of X-ray radiation received by a dental patient is typically extremely small (around 0.150 mSv for a full mouth series, according to the American Dental Association website), equivalent to a few days' worth of background environmental radiation exposure, or similar to the dose received during a cross-country airplane flight (concentrated into one short burst aimed at a small area)
Advances in dentistry over the years have lead to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. At Main Street Dental Clinics we only take necessary dental films, and we use digital x-rays which significantly reduces radiation exposure compared to traditional x-rays.
Amalgam fillings are safe. A great deal of research has examined these fillings and found them to be an effective, long-lasting treatment for dental decay.
Amalgam, or silver, fillings are made with mercury, silver, tin and copper. In some cases, other metals may be included in amalgam fillings, too. Amalgam has been used for many years to replace decayed areas within teeth. It is an excellent material for this purpose. Amalgam is a strong, stable substance that holds up well when placed in a moist environment. It is also a good choice because it can tolerate the dramatic changes in temperature within your mouth.
We use amalgam fillings regularly at Main Street Dental Clinics. They are best suited for larger fillings, such as those in molar teeth, as amalgam is a much more durable material than the material used in composite fillings. Composite resin fillings are made from plastic mixed with powdered glass to make them stronger. Some people prefer composite resin fillings because they are white. This enables them to blend in with your teeth and have a more natural look than the silver amalgam fillings. However, composite fillings tend not to last as long as amalgam fillings, particularly in children. They also are more expensive.
Concerns have been raised over the years about the mercury in amalgam fillings. Mercury is an important component in the fillings because it effectively binds the other metals together, forming a strong bond that contributes to the filling's durability. It is important to note that there are several kinds of mercury. The mercury found in water that can build up in fish and lead to health problems if you ingest too much is not the same type of mercury used in amalgam. The mercury in amalgam is contained, or sequestered, within the filling.
A variety of research studies have shown that the levels of mercury in people who have amalgam fillings are well below the point at which mercury may cause health problems. That was found to be true even in those who had multiple amalgam fillings, some with as many as 15 fillings. No evidence exists that shows amalgam fillings increase the risk for health problems. So unless you are having trouble with your fillings or experience an allergic reaction to the material in amalgam fillings, there is no need to have them replaced.
It is possible that over long periods of time, usually several decades or more, amalgam fillings may not hold their original shape. If the fillings become deformed, then they need to be replaced. They also should be replaced if they start to break down over time.
The bottom line is that there is no need for concern about the safety of amalgam fillings. There is no evidence that shows any correlation between having amalgam fillings and increased risks for illness or developmental problems. Amalgam is an excellent, long-lasting material for fillings. If you have concerns about your fillings, or if you experience problems with them, talk to your dentist about the need for replacement.