Help! I Swallowed My Braces Bracket

“Help! I swallowed my braces bracket.” Not something you hear everyday, but a concern that we hear from many people when they start their orthodontic treatment.

You may have even seen the recent story about a woman in Australia who had a piece of orthodontic wire removed from her intestine 10 years after having her braces removed.

That’s enough to make anyone just a little paranoid about accidentally swallowing a piece of their braces.

Fortunately, this is one of those things that’s easier said than done. The odds of accidentally swallowing a piece of your braces is rare, but it’s important to know how to handle it if you do.

How Swallowing Part of Your Braces Happens

There are several ways that braces brackets or wires can break off in the mouth. If you are trying to adjust a loose bracket on your own, you may knock it loose and swallow it before you know what happened.

Swallowing may also happen as a result of a dental trauma that occurs while you are wearing braces. In this case, you will likely need to consult your dentist and/or orthodontist for emergency services following the injury. 1st Family Dental has staff on call 24/7 to assist patients in emergency situations.

On rare occasions, brackets can be mishandled while you are in the orthodontist’s chair having your braces adjusted or replaced. If this would happen to you, the orthodontist is right there to assist in whatever way needed.

The risk for accidental swallowing doesn’t just apply to braces. Patients swallow temporary crowns, metal fillings, and other dental related objects. The same rules for whether to seek medical help apply in all cases.

Don’t Panic if You Swallow Part of Your Braces

Swallowing a braces bracket or wire might seem like a dire situation, but it’s not that serious in most cases, according to 1st Family Dental’s Dr. Budi Kusnoto.

Kusnoto said that the metal will move through the body on its own in more than 90 percent of cases. The human GI tract has enough acidity to dissolve small pieces of metal within minutes.

Anything that remains will be excreted in a day or so after swallowing. Eating foods that are high in fiber like corn and bread can help with this process.

“As long as it doesn’t get dislodged in the lung, most of the time it will pass right through,” Kusnoto said. “Especially if it’s unsharpened small metal such as one piece of orthodontic braces.”

The human GI tract has acidity of  1.5 – 4.0 on  the pH scale. This is the part of the body where “predigestion” occurs and the stomach uses hydrochloric acid and pepsin to break down food. A swallowed braces bracket or wire would become part of this process.

When to Seek Help

If you swallow a bracket, wire, or rubber band and notice that you are having difficulty breathing, it may mean the piece is caught in your lung. You should seek immediate medical attention if this is the case.

Upon receiving X-ray results, a doctor will determine the appropriate course of action for removing the object and notify your orthodontist of the situation. You may need to visit the orthodontist for a replacement once the item is safely removed.

Along the same lines, see a doctor if you experience stomach pain after swallowing your bracket. This could mean that it is caught in your digestive tract and will not pass without medical intervention.

According to a study published in Science Direct, surgery is required in less than 1 percent of these cases. Even if surgery is required to remove the bracket, it is not large enough to cause permanent damage to your body.

What is the Best Age for Braces?

One question that many people, especially parents, face is at what is the best age for braces? Get them too early and further treatment might be required later in life; get them too late and they may need to be worn for a longer period of time or cause additional problems for the already angst-ridden teenage years.

There’s no universal right answer to this question, but we can draw from our years of experience to provide some advice on factors to consider when deciding the best age for braces.

Early Intervention: Ages 7-9

for-most-kids---internal-image-version-one-400-x-400-minWe recommend having a child evaluated for braces as early as age 7. This does not mean that braces will be applied that early, but it can give you a roadmap of what future treatment might look like.

By age 7, most baby teeth have started to come out and an orthodontist can get a good sense of what the alignment of permanent teeth will look like. In some cases, braces or partial teeth aligners may be applied at this stage if a child is having difficulty talking or eating due to poor teeth alignment.

A child is also a candidate for early braces if he or she has protruding teeth, a crossbite, or tooth crowding. Catching and treating these symptoms early can prevent them from becoming worse as more permanent teeth arrive.

If your child needs braces at an early age, be prepared to help him or her take care of them. Wearing braces can provide a valuable lesson in self-care, but may require additional intervention until good habits are formed.

Prime Treatment Time: Ages 10-14

Most children who receive braces begin treatment between the ages of 10 and 14. At this age, baby teeth have completely fallen out and the jaw is stable enough to support long-term orthodontic treatment.

Braces come in several varieties from traditional metal brackets to ceramics and invisible aligners. What used to be a stigma about wearing braces has largely been eliminated due to the prevalence of braces among adolescents, but it is important to talk with your child about the changes to his or her appearance that will come as a result of wearing braces.

Unlike young children, teens and pre-teens should be mature and responsible enough to manage braces on their own with little parental intervention. The average time for wearing braces at this age is one and a half to two years.

Once braces come off, a retainer will likely be needed to keep teeth in their correct alignment and prevent additional treatment later on.

Older Options: Ages 14+

for-most-kids---internal-image-version-two-400-x-400-minContrary to what you might think, you are never too old for braces! Many adults do not have access to orthodontics as kids or delay getting braces for other reasons.

Think of teeth the way you would any other bone on your body. They do stop growing at the end of adolescence, but it’s still possible to correct them throughout your life. If your arm breaks, it can heal and be put back into place with a cast. Teeth are no different.

As an adult, you likely already have an established routine that will need to modified to account for braces. You may need to alter your diet, your morning and evening schedules, or even some of the activities you do.

No matter what changes you need to make, keep in mind that they are short-term sacrifices for long-term gains in confidence and dental health. Wearing braces for a few years can save you from more serious dental issues down the road.

Dentures vs Implants: Pros and Cons

Dentures vs Implants. When you are missing one, some, or all of your teeth, these are two main options that dentists typically recommend.

Each of these treatments has its own list of pros and cons that may make it a better option for your situation. Your dentist can make a recommendation, but the decision is ultimately yours. Consider these dentures vs implants: pros and cons to make an informed decision that will benefit your long-term health.

All About Dentures

Dentures vs Implants internal one-minFor many decades, dentures were the only option for replacing missing teeth. You probably know at least one person in your life who has had a set of removable teeth, often a parent or grandparent.

Dentures are molded to fit your mouth and are held in place by an adhesive. They are typically removed each day before bedtime and soaked overnight for cleaning. No matter how good dentures are, they are never going to feel 100 percent like your real teeth.

However, some people enjoy the flexibility of taking their teeth in and out as needed. Be aware, though, that the longer your dentures are out of your mouth, the weaker your jaw becomes without the pressure of teeth to support.

You might be a good candidate for dentures if your jaw is too weak to support more dental implants. However, be aware that even the best denture adhesive does not work all the time and your dentures might fall out from time to time.

Like many things, there’s  a range of options when it comes to choosing dentures. Quality should be a top concern as you want braces to look great, feel good, and last as long as possible. Dentures will be essential for daily activities like eating and smiling, and it’s not a place to cut corners.

A set of dentures will last around five years, so most people will need to replace at least one set over the course of their time wearing them.

All About Implants

Dentures vs Implants internal two-minImplants consist of a titanium post covered by a crown or denture (called overdentures). Implants actually look and feel like real teeth! The implant post integrates with your jawbone and mimics the roots of your natural teeth, which is much better for your jawbone than traditional dentures.

When implants and dentures are used together they are called overdentures. Overdentures utilize the latest in dental technology to make dentures feel as close to natural teeth as possible because they clip on to your implants.

While traditional dentures are held in place using temporary adhesives which often results in slipping, overdentures never slip or slide since they are affixed to a permanent implant. Implants, by themselves or when used with dentures, make chewing, talking, and other activities easier and more comfortable than traditional dentures.

Dental implants should last a lifetime. In fact, some dental offices, like all of our offices in the Chicagoland area, provide a lifetime warranty on the implant. However, the crown often needs to be replace which makes implants a much more permanent solution than dentures.

Overall, implants are more expensive than dentures but it will last longer and create a more natural feeling in your mouth.

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Defining Dental Implant Key Terms

If you’re in need of a dental implant, you may not know exactly what to expect during the procedure. Your dentist or oral surgeon might throw around terms that sound like they’re speaking another language. This guide can help you decode dental speak and understand exactly what happens during a dental implant procedure.

Abutment

An abutment is a connector that your dentist will build into or attach to the top of your dental implant. This serves as the attachment for the replacement tooth, crown, or bridge, keeping it firmly in place.

Abutment Teeth

This term refers to the teeth that support a bridge or partial denture. The bridge is attached to the abutment tooth during a full crown prep or inlay/onlay preps. For a partial denture, clasps or rests are used to support the denture on the abutment tooth.

Ceramic

Ceramic is a material used to make dental implants. This material is made of clay and hardened by heat before it’s placed in your mouth. Some people prefer the aesthetic appeal of ceramic to titanium since it offers a more natural look. It’s available in ivory so it looks similar to existing teeth and roots. Some ceramic implants have conical threading at the base for easier attachment to the bone in your jaw. You might also get a ceramic implant if you have an allergy to metal.

Crown

A crown, also referred to as a cap, replaces a single tooth. If you have lost or broken a tooth due to infection, decay, injury, or other health problem, a dentist can fit your mouth with a crown to replace the missing or damaged tooth. Crowns typically fit over the top of existing teeth, although they must be ground down to fit, or attach to the abutment of a dental implant.

Dentures

Dentures are a traditional option that can replace missing teeth, but many patients don’t have the same success with dentures as they do with implants. Some dentures can be removed daily for cleaning and storage while others are attached permanently to the mouth, such as implant-supported dentures. Partial dentures replace at least one tooth but not the arch, and these can shift in your mouth and cause discomfort or make it more difficult to eat, talk, and smile.

Endosteal Implant

The endosteal implant is the most commonly used type of implant exercised in modern dentistry, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. In order to fit this style of implant, a dentist will place small screws, plates, blades, or cylinders directly into the jawbone through a surgical procedure. Each implant can hold at least one prosthetic tooth.

Eposteal Implant

An eposteal implant receives support by resting directly on the jawbone. This is not used as commonly by dentists today and is often seen as an outdated way of placing an implant. However, when the risk of advanced bone resorption is high in a patient, the dentist may opt for an eposteal implant.

Implant

A dental implant, also called a fixture, is a medical device that interfaces with your jawbone to support a dental prosthesis, such as a bridge, crown, denture, or other facial prostheses. Through osseointegration, the implant will fuse securely to your bone, providing a strong and durable result that will last for years. Many dental implants last for patients’ entire lives, making them better options than bridges, which may require replacement, and dentures, which can be uncomfortable and difficult to wear.

Osseointegration

Osseointegration comes from Greek and Latin words meaning “bone” and “to make whole.” This biologic process allows a dental implant to fuse with your existing bone, improving the strength between the living bone and the load-bearing implant.

Subperiosteal Implant

A subperiosteal implant sits on top of the jaw with the posts of the metal framework protruding through the gum to hold the prosthetic tooth (or teeth) in place. If a patient has minimal bone height or is unable to wear conventional dentures, a dentist might use this method for attaching an implant.

Titanium

Most modern dental implants are made of titanium. This metal comes with a number of advantages. Few people are allergic to titanium, so it’s rare for a patient to have a reaction to this material. It’s also lightweight but very strong, reducing the weight on your bone or within your mouth. It has a high oxygen affinity, which means that it will form a thin oxide layer when placed in the body. Titanium can also ossify with bone, producing a stronger result that can last for many years.

Zirconia

A small percentage of people do experience allergies to titanium, so zirconia is another option for the implant material. Zirconia implants have no prosthetic connections, so the risk of bacteria growth is lower. Patients may experience better gum health when they have this type of implant. It’s also white in color so it looks more like a natural tooth.

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What is a Periodontist?

A periodontist is one of the least understood types of dentists. This professional deals in gum diseases, working to give patients healthier mouths. Whenever you feel like your gums are sensitive or you notice bleeding, you need a periodontist. Otherwise, you risk gum disease or the pain experienced with every bite, and other extreme mouth conditions. Here’s our guide on periodontists, what they do, and why patients sometimes need one.

The Basics of Periodontology

Periodontology isn’t a word that you hear very often. As such, you may not understand its meaning. In simplest terms, you want pink gums. They’re the sign of a healthy mouth. A periodontist is a person who helps you in situations when your gums aren’t in optimal condition.

Of course, gums aren’t the only focus for periodontists. These professionals also work on other parts of the mouth, ones you don’t think about often – but use regularly. For example, the part of the jawbone that supports your teeth is the alveolar process. Any issues with this part of the jaw could lead to tooth loss, especially in women. That’s because it’s the bone portion that hosts tooth sockets. When your alveolar process deteriorates or breaks, you need a periodontist to reset it and secure your teeth.

Similarly, the cementum is the tissue that connects your teeth and gums. It’s a calcified substance with a simple purpose. Cementum protects the roots of your teeth. To do this, it connects the alveolar bone with the teeth via the periodontal ligament. Commonly known as the PDL, this ligament is supportive in nature and 70 percent water in composition. The rest of it is cells and fibers. When your PDL is unhealthy, the attached tooth doesn’t erupt correctly, which means it doesn’t grow right.

All about Periodontists

A periodontist is a master of many trades. This type of dentist must anticipate future gum and tooth issues, treat current ones, and repair prior ones. The job of a periodontist is to protect all the support structures of your teeth. These professionals train to make sure that your gums, jawbone, and connective gum tissue are operating at optimal capacity. When a periodontist notices a problem with any of these elements, the need for action is immediate.

When left untreated, gum damage can cause you to lose a tooth or, in extreme situations, suffer a gum or jaw disease that could require the removal of a part of your jawline. That’s why periodontists have a reputation as the plastic surgeons of dentistry. These professionals often work to correct soft tissue issues in your mouth before they become a larger problem. Prevention is a key part of this job, but surgery is also needed in many instances.

The worst cases of periodontitis require this surgery. The advanced stages of gum disease are worrisome. They are sometimes early warning signs of cancer, especially in adult males. A periodontist protects a person’s well-being by diagnosing and treating these early issues. The dentist will also test for cancerous cells. Should the patient lose one or more teeth, the periodontist will also suggest a course of action to hide the situation. Replacement implants are usually the best option, and this process is generally quick and painless.

To become a periodontist, a person receives regular dental school training. After the person completes this process, they must receive three years of specialized training. The specialization focuses on gum and tooth health. During this time, the periodontist will learn how to add implants, perform jaw and gum surgery, and treat cancerous gums. So, a periodontist is a dentist who receives multiple years of additional training to do more specialized types of mouth healthcare.

How Does a Periodontist Appointment Work?

The start of your first periodontist appointment is just like any other dental visit. You’ll check in at the front desk and then wait for your turn. When you get called back to the exam room, the dentist will review your medical charts. You should alert your caregiver if you have any allergies to medicines. You should also inform the periodontist if you have heart problems, diabetes, or any other condition like pregnancy that could impact treatment options.

You may need to get x-rays during your appointment. The periodontist wants to have the most current medical information before making any decisions. The dentist will check the records and x-rays and then do a routine check of your mouth, jaw and gums. Afterward, you’ll receive an update the state of your mouth. The periodontist will tell you if you need any procedures done. If not, the professional will suggest some dental practices you should do daily to improve your situation.

A periodontist is one of the most important kinds of dentists. You may never need to visit one, but if you do, you’ll know that this person has the specialized training needed to treat your gums and mouth.

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What is a Prosthodontist?

If you’ve never lost a tooth or needed a crown, then you’ve probably never visited a prosthodontist. Prosthodontistry is a dentistry specialty focusing on missing teeth. These trained medical professionals treat a variety of oral issues, and provide specialized care that suits each patient’s particular dental needs. Read on to learn what Prosthodontists do.

Prosthodontistry: An Overview

Prosthodontistry is a field of dental care that specializes in restoration. Specifically, a prosthodontist works with fixing issues that have to do with tooth loss or jaw problems. You would see a prosthodontist if you needed dentures or were having a prosthetic tooth inserted into a spot where you lost a tooth.

Prosthodontists deal with both the appearance and the function of your teeth and gums. Along with fixing dental problems so that you have a functional bite, prosthodontists also work to ensure that your teeth look natural and attractive. If you have any extensive dental surgery, a prosthodontist is probably going to be involved.

How Prosthodontists Differ From Dentists

Prosthodontists focus on highly specific areas of dentistry and restoration, while dentists do all the basics associated with keeping your teeth functional and healthy. A dentist will often refer you to a prosthodontist for work that’s outside general dentistry. Think of the distinction the way you imagine the difference between your family doctor and an orthopaedist.

Prosthodontistry Education

A prosthodontist attends four years of dental school to become a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). After acquiring one of these degrees, a dentist goes to an additional three years of schoolaccredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) for prosthodontistry. This is similar to the medical residency that a doctor goes through to achieve a specialization.

What a Prosthodontist Treats

Prosthodontists treat a variety of issues, most of which revolve around missing teeth. Prosthodontists also help with cleft palates, snoring disorders, and sleep apnea, in addition to oral injury treatment. In severe cases, prosthodontists work with other dental professionals as part of a treatment team.

Tooth Reconstruction

When you’ve had damage to your teeth because of trauma, decay, or other factors, a prosthodontist works to restore the appearance and function of those teeth. When you’ve had a root canal and needed a crown, a prosthodontist is the one who put that crown on your teeth. When you hear about celebrities getting porcelain veneers, they visited a prosthodontist for those thin ceramic cosmetic teeth caps.

Prosthodontists also use bonding agents to change the shape of your teeth. You might get this procedure to close a small gap between your teeth, to reshape a misshapen tooth, or to change the appearance of your smile in some other way.

Bridges and Implants

If you’ve lost one or more teeth, a prosthodontist might choose a bridge as the best tooth replacement method for your case. A bridge is one or more crowns linked together to create a single unit. This bridge then gets fixed to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap. The appearance is that of healthy teeth with no gaps or missing teeth. Keep in mind that with bridges, you need to follow special care instructions and have them cleaned regularly.

Implants have replaced bridges as the popular and preferred method for dealing with missing teeth. A prosthodontist will create a dental implant for you which consists of a titanium post and a false tooth. The prosthodontist might hand off the actual surgical procedure to another specialist, but the prosthodontist is the one who designs the implant for you. The titanium post is fused with your jaw bone, which creates a stable and lifelike false tooth that’s difficult to tell apart from your other teeth.

Dentures

When you’re missing all or a significant portion of your teeth, a prosthodontist will likely recommend dentures to you. False teeth fit your mouth in a variety of ways, including clipping to implants or your existing teeth. You work with a prosthodontist to find a denture solution that’s comfortable for you. The best dentures are designed to appear real and fit comfortably. Some patients find wearing dentures difficult; many people adjust well to their dentures and wear them daily.

TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ disorders, are extremely painful and happen when your jaw joint’s nerves become inflamed. Patients with severe TMJ issues often see prosthodontists for solutions to reduce or eliminate the pain. Many prosthodontists recommend bite guards (also called stabilizing splints) for TMJ to lessen the pressure on the joint. Your prosthodontist might also recommend a physical therapy regimen, or prescribe you medication to help with the pain.

If you need this kind of dental work, always seek out the services of a licensed prosthodontist. Someone with the proper training will give you the best results, creating better dental health and preventing more serious problems at a later time.

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What is an Orthodontist?

Many people use the terms dentist and orthodontist interchangeably. That’s not quite right. The two professions certainly have similarities, but orthodontia is a specific type of dental care. These specialists treat certain types of dental problems. You may never need to see an orthodontist. If you do, however, you need to understand exactly what’s in store for you. Here’s a guide on orthodontists.

Defining an Orthodontist

A dentist is a doctor who works with several parts of the body. Areas of focus include the mouth, jaw, teeth, gums, and nerves. Orthodontists work in a more specialized section of the field. Their priority is the straightening of teeth. In simplest terms, all orthodontists are dentists but few dentists are orthodontists.

An orthodontist diagnoses overbites, occlusions, misaligned teeth and jaws, and overcrowded mouths. After the diagnosis, the orthodontist tries to solve any issues they discover. If left untreated, overbites, underbites, open bites, and cross bites are all problems that will grow worse over time. An orthodontist is an expert who repairs these conditions.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist receives special training to fix misaligned teeth. If a dentist refers you to an orthodontist, the inference is that your teeth aren’t quite right. It’s not a big deal at all. You’ll likely receive a recommendation for bracesor some other method of straightening your teeth. The orthodontist is the person who does this job.

The most important job for an orthodontist is identifying issues with your teeth and mouth. A gap in your teeth, called a diastema, will grow larger over time. Your teeth will suffer, as the structure of the mouth and gums needs a tight alignment. The orthodontist will try to pull your teeth closer together to correct the issue. Conversely, having too many teeth is equally bad, especially for children. An orthodontist is likely to extract the excess teeth to create better spacing.

An orthodontist has several tools to solve these alignment problems. Braces are the most famous solution. These appliances are bands that encircle the teeth. The orthodontist then bonds brackets on the front of the teeth, and the bands connect to them via wires. In combination, the structures pull teeth into an upright alignment, straightening them over time. The process isn’t immediate, but it’s extremely effective.

If braces aren’t a great option, an orthodontist may use an aligner instead. The best-known example is Invisalign. By design, it’s not visible from a distance, making your smile more attractive. That’s because an aligner doesn’t use metal wires or brackets. Patients like them since they’re removable.

In extreme cases, an orthodontist may treat patients with a palate expander. It widens the arch of the upper jaw, giving the area more space. Another possibility is headgear, a more dramatic solution for misaligned teeth. This device connects the back of the head to a wire in the front of the mouth. Its purpose is to pull back front teeth while slowing an upper jaw in danger of growing too fast.

How Much Training Does an Orthodontist Need?

An orthodontist must first complete regular dental training. A dental school generally requires four years of classes to graduate. Most dentists stop at this point and begin practicing their trade. Orthodontists can’t do that yet.

To earn a license to practice as an orthodontist, the person must take more classes. Most dental schools require another two to three years of training before a student qualifies as an orthodontist. Effectively, an orthodontist is a dentist with almost double the training, most of it specialized in the field of straightening teeth.

How Does an Appointment with an Orthodontist Work?

An appointment with an orthodontist is almost identical to one with a dentist. You’ll go to the medical office and remain seated until the desk clerk calls your name. At this point, you’ll head to the exam room. Since you probably received a referral to the orthodontist, you already know that you have an alignment problem with your teeth. Overbites and underbites are the most common problems. Whatever the issue, the orthodontist will inspect your mouth to decide the best course of action.

For certain treatments, you should expect several return visits. That’s particularly true if you need braces. First, you’ll receive the diagnosis followed by a preparatory session and some x-rays. Next, you’ll have the braces installed. Afterward, you’ll visit on a regularly scheduled basis to make sure that the braces are in working order. Finally, the dentist will remove the braces. The entire process usually takes one to three years. Once the orthodontist removes the braces, your teeth have been successfully straightened.

When it comes to straightening your teeth, booking an appointment with dentist first is the best course of action. If your dentist believes you can be treated with Invisalign, you may not need to see an orthodontist at all. But your dentist will know best and will refer you to an orthodontic specialist if your case requires it.

If you do visit an orthodontist, you should have confidence that you’re visiting a skilled professional. While you may have to wear braces, an aligner, or metal headgear for a while, your orthodontist has your best interests at heart and will work to deliver you the best smile possible.

If your dental insurance covers orthodontics, it might be a good idea to consider starting the treatment towards the end of a calendar year so that your treatment payments can span 2 years since most insurance plans will have an annual limit. We make it easy to see all of our network offices that provide orthodontics or offices that provide Invisalign.

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What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

Nothing’s more important to you than your children. You want them to look and feel their best from now until they’re 120-years-old. Part of your responsibility in this endeavour is taking care of your child’s teeth. You know that baby teeth don’t last forever, but you can still do long-term damage to your kid’s mouth if you’re not careful. Fortunately, dentistry has a special field for kids. These professionals can provide the dental care and hygiene your kids need. Here’s a guide on pediatric dentists.

This type of dentist is just like any other dentist, only they specialize in treating children, which qualifies them to identify themselves as a Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. That’s important because an adult acts differently at the dentist than a child. Grown-ups don’t need reassurance about dental care. Kids hate the dentist more than they hate homework. Parents know this, and it explains why 60 percent of parents believe children should receive dental care, but only 25 percent take infants to the dentist.

One of the goals of a pediatric dentist (also correctly spelled as Paediatric Dentist) is to make a visit more enjoyable for kids. This specialist will treat the same child throughout adolescence, from baby teeth through braces. Without proper dental care, the permanent teeth will suffer decay. Since the teeth are still growing, they’re more vulnerable to dental caries. Remedies exist to treat the condition, but it’s a painful disease that can cause your child to suffer for many years to come.

A pediatric dentist takes the earliest x-rays of your child’s mouth. Then, they perform an oral exam to stop any potential issues that could become problematic over time. What’s amazing about these professionals is that they provide tremendous dental care while calming your child, eliminating the negative stigma of a trip to the dentist.

A pediatric pro develops a secondary skill beyond dentistry. They have to handle the social dynamic of interactions with children, too. The ones who are best at this job are often the ones in demand. You may have a harder time getting an appointment with the best pediatric dentists, but in the end, it’s worth the effort.

It’s important to note that many dentists provide pediatric dentistry, even if they’re not certified as a specialist. This isn’t anything to be concerned about, since it simply means they have experience dealing with kids as patients and are familiar with the issues of pediatric care. So, your general dentist can provide pediatric dentistry quite capably, but to be a true specialist in the field requires certification.

What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?

The trickiest parts of pediatric dentistry involve infants. Babies cry at the first sign of aggravation. They’re also unresponsive to requests to open their mouths. Pediatric dentists must do oral exams on infants and identify potential signs of caries. In extreme instances, they have to do surgery on infants. That’s a difficult procedure that requires a great deal of skill.

Pediatric dentists also handle basic dental care for children from infancy until they’re almost adults. These dentists are experts in teaching parents about how to help kids break bad habits like thumb-sucking and pacifier dependency. Basic tasks include teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments. They also make suggestions about diet and nutrition, pointing out foods that are likeliest to strip the enamel off of teeth. That’s a dangerous practice that impairs the long-term development of permanent teeth.

In addition to these job tasks, pediatric dentists do regular dental work, too. They diagnose potential problems like overbites and uneven teeth. These conditions rarely get better without treatment. That’s why the dentist must add braces or the like to straighten the teeth. Pediatric dentists also fix cavities, remove wisdom teeth, and manage gum diseases. They even help diagnose medical conditions related to oral health problems such as diabetes, asthma, and hyperactivity. That’s why you respect a pediatric dentist’s advice as much as a regular pediatrician’s.

How Much Training Does a Pediatric Dentist Need?

A pediatric dentist receives the same basic training as any other dentist. The individual must complete four years of dental school, earning satisfactory grades along the way. After that’s done, the dentist receives two years of additional training to work with children.

This education takes the form of residency training in a dental office that deals exclusively with children. While there, the pediatric dentist learns how to apply their schooling to real-world situations. The professional also learns the best ways to interact with children, especially infants and kids with special needs. After these six years, the person is ready to work professionally as a pediatric dentist.

How Does a Pediatric Dental Appointment Work?

You schedule an appointment the same way you would for any other health care checkup. When you arrive, you check in at the front desk, telling the employee your child’s age. The office needs to know this, as younger children often take more time to treat.

You can and should join a child under 10 in the dentist’s exam room. Answer any questions that the pediatric dentist has, always replying honestly. At the same time, make sure that your child feels settled and comfortable during the appointment. After a few uneventful trips to the dentist’s office, your kid won’t feel stress about the process.

 

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What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Have you ever had a serious dental emergency? We’re talking about more than just a chipped tooth or bleeding gums, however traumatic those may seem at the time. This is a discussion about true medical disasters like a hockey puck to the face or a tumour in your mouth. When you suffer something serious, you need a specialized caregiver for your mouth, head, and jaws. These professionals are Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. You need to understand what they do if you ever need their services. Here’s a guide on oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

What Is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

You can think of the oral and maxillofacial region of your body as the mouth and all its connecting regions. You obviously chew with your jawbone and your teeth. This area is part of the network with your face, head, and neck. When you have oral and maxillofacial surgery, someone operates on your face. The only question is exactly where this happens.

Now that you know where it happens, you can guess the causes for this kind of surgery. The most frequent reason is that you need to replace some teeth. Generally, this happens due to trauma or illness. A punch in the mouth or car wreck might displace your teeth. The surgery would fix or replace the impacted area.

You also might develop a disease in your mouth or its surrounding region. A tumour or cyst could jeopardize your heath, especially if any cancerous cells are a part of the infected area. When that happens, you may need part of your jaw removed or reconstructed.

Of course, you could require this sort of surgery for simpler reasons. The hinge of your jaw might not function right. If so, temporomandibular joint surgery (TJS) will correct the issue. Simple jaw alignment is another possibility. Oral and maxillofacial surgery treats numerous conditions, some of which are more serious than others.

What Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Do?

The short answer is that they do most of the treatments and surgeries listed above. A specialist in this type of dentistry has to do a lot more emergency work than others. Many times, a patient suffers a car accident or athletic injury that requires immediate attention. In those instances, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon must treat people in crisis situations.

The job has many other requirements beyond crisis support, though. This kind of specialist must know and treat a range of injuries and illnesses across four major parts of the body: the neck, face, jaw, and mouth. The most frequent surgery is tooth extraction, especially when a person suffers from impacted wisdom teeth. Sometimes, this surgery isn’t an emergency decision but a proactive one to prevent later tooth problems.

Some conditions may require this sort of surgery. People with cleft palates and lips can receive treatment to correct the problem. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will alter the facial structure to fix the physical issue. It’s considered a medical rather than cosmetic surgery, though.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons must know how to treat hard and soft tissue issues. A professional must work on sensitive areas like the gums and tough structures like the jawbone and parts of the neck. It’s a demanding job, as the surgeon must understand all dentistry, general medicine, and many forms of surgery.

How Does a Person Become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Since Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery encompasses so many areas of medical skills, it’s a difficult field to enter. A would-be surgeon must finish dental school. Otherwise, they would lack the training to diagnose and treat basic mouth and tooth issues.

After dental school, the surgeon must study for another four years at a minimum, sometimes as many as six years. The doctor needs this additional time to master surgical skills. They also must train in the treatment of head, neck, and jaw injuries. Other than actual anesthesiologists, this field is the only one whose professionals can give all types of sedation as treatment.

How Does an Appointment with an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Work?

In a perfect world, you’ll schedule an appointment and have plenty of time to weigh your options. That’s true of any minor procedures like tooth extraction. It’s also the case with many facial procedures that you’ve planned in advance.

The reality is that many oral surgeries are emergency situations, though. You may not meet under ideal circumstances. Instead, you’ve likely suffered an injury that requires immediate medical treatment, possibly even surgery. When that happens, you shouldn’t worry. After almost a decade of dental school and specialized training, these surgeons are capable of treating almost any injury related to your mouth, neck, or jaw.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are among the most skilled of all dentists and doctors. They can treat many forms of injury, capably working in either a controlled or emergency situation. You should have full confidence that you’re in great hands when you work with this kind of surgeon.

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How Have Dental Veneers Changed Over Time?

Veneers have been around for almost a century, and in that time have changed drastically. From fake tooth caps that came off after a few hours to teeth that look natural, veneers have improved in manifold ways. If you’re worried about the longevity or appearance of veneers, read on to learn how impressive this cosmetic technology has truly become.

The History of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers have been around since the late 1920s, and it should be no surprise that they began in Hollywood. A California dentist came up with a way to enhance the smiles of his Hollywood star patients. His name was Dr. Charles Pincus, and he came up with an acrylic tooth cap that fit over the person’s existing teeth. The stars would wear the caps during movie scenes, then remove them. Though this is a long way from the porcelain permanent veneers we think of today, it’s the beginning of using veneers to perfect someone’s smile.

Between the 1920s and the 1950s, regular people began getting veneers to help shape their smiles, especially in the face of disease or tooth loss. By the 1950s, dentists were bonding veneers to the teeth, but were having difficulty getting them to adhere properly. Veneers were now made of either porcelain or composite, and Dr. Michael Bunocore figured out a procedure for lightly etching the tooth’s surface with mild acid. That created a surface that a bonding agent could better stick to, making the veneers much more permanent and attractive.

The veneers we think of today really began in the early 80s. Veneers became more affordable and easier to place, which made them popular solutions for people with cosmetic issues.

Today’s Porcelain Veneers

Gum reshaping and veneers were used to improve her smile.
Gum reshaping and veneers were used to improve her smile.

When you have veneers put on today, you can choose between traditional veneers and no-preparation veneers.

With traditional veneers, your dentist will remove a very small amount of enamel from the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the veneer. Then, your dentist takes an impression of your slightly shaved tooth, so a veneer can be crafted for it. It’ll take between two and four weeks to receive the veneer. If you’re worried about an unsightly smile, you can get temporary veneers during the interim.

With no-preparation veneers, there is no removal or shaving your natural teeth required, and the veneers are fitted directly over your existing natural teeth.

Before placing them permanently, your dentist checks the final veneer’s fit and appearance in your mouth. Adjustments in veneer color can be made at this point. If the veneer doesn’t fit perfectly, the dentist can trim it down. After cleaning, polishing, and etching your tooth, your dentist will bond the veneer to your tooth. Even after the veneer has been placed and cemented, your dentist can still make bite and fit adjustments. Today’s veneers last for between 10 and 30 years, which is a huge improvement over the old style that barely stayed in place.

Avoiding Chicklet Teeth With Today’s Veneers

In this example, we were able to do some instant orthodontics, and cover the discolourations at the same time
In this example, we were able to do some instant orthodontics, and cover the discolourations at the same time
Years of wear on these teeth easily reversed with 4 porcelain veneers and whitening
Years of wear on these teeth easily reversed with 4 porcelain veneers and whitening

One problem with veneers is something people have nicknamed “chicklet teeth.” This signifies teeth that are obviously fake, either because they’re too big, too white, or not a natural shape. Teeth that are exactly, perfectly straight (straighter than even braces can achieve) also look like chicklet teeth. Initially, people getting veneers ended up with this result, because the focus was on making teeth look perfect. Even if a dentist only used one or two veneers to cover a spotted or damage tooth, that veneer would stand out either because it didn’t match in shape or color with the rest of the teeth.

In fact, people have realized that subtle flaws in someone’s smile help it look more natural, and more attractive. After seeing too many chicklet smiles on Hollywood stars, patients receiving veneers began to request a more natural look. That doesn’t mean veneers that look like the same teeth that are being covered up, but veneers that are a tiny bit flawed in an aesthetically pleasing way. It’s more expensive, but very worth it. After all, the wrong set of veneers can look foreign inside your mouth. The aim is to make them look like they belong to you, and you just got lucky with almost white, almost perfect teeth.

To prevent that fake “chicklet teeth” look, today’s dentists are taking more time and effort crafting and applying veneers. The dentists work with the people responsible for creating the porcelain caps in specialized labs, achieving subtle translucency on the edges, the right shape to match your real teeth, and a perfect contour are all part of it. Creating a natural colour that matches your existing teeth while still looking attractively white is another important aspect of good veneers. When you find a dentist who puts this kind of effort into creating and applying your veneers, you’ll end up with a gorgeous smile that looks almost perfect, and totally real.