Posts for: February, 2021
If your child has seen the dentist regularly, and brushed and flossed daily, there's a good chance they've avoided advanced tooth decay. But another problem might already be growing right under your nose—a poor dental bite (malocclusion).
A dental bite refers to the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. In a normal bite the teeth are in straight alignment, and the upper teeth slightly extend in front of and over the lower when the jaws are shut. But permanent teeth erupting out of position or a jaw developing abnormally can set the stage for a malocclusion.
Although the full effects of a malocclusion may not manifest until later, there may be signs of its development as early as age 6. If so, it may be possible to identify a budding bite problem and “intercept” it before it goes too far, correcting it or reducing its severity.
Here are 6 signs your school-age child could be developing a malocclusion.
Excessive spacing. If the spacing between teeth seems too wide, it could mean the size of your child's teeth are out of proportion with their jaw.
Underbite. Rather than the normal upper front teeth covering the lower, the lower teeth extend out and over the upper teeth.
Open bite. There's a space or gap between the upper and lower teeth even when the jaws are shut.
Crowding. Due to a lack of space on the jaw, incoming teeth don't have enough room to erupt and may come in misaligned or “crooked.”
Crossbites. Some of the lower teeth, either in front or back of the jaw, overlap the upper teeth, while the rest of the upper teeth overlap normally.
Protrusion or retrusion. This occurs if the upper front teeth or jaw appear too far forward (protrusion) or the lower teeth or jaw are positioned too far back (retrusion).
Besides watching out for the preceding signs yourself, it's also a good idea to have your child undergo a comprehensive bite evaluation with an orthodontist around age 6. If that does reveal something amiss with their bite, intervention now could correct or lessen the problem and future treatment efforts later.
Be on the lookout for these telltale signs that you need a root canal.
While it often gets a bad rap, root canal treatment is an incredibly important dental procedure that is designed to repair and preserve a natural tooth. The goal of our Portage, MI, dentists Dr. Jennifer Sarantos and Dr. Keith Wester is to always preserve natural teeth whenever possible, and root canals are a tooth-saving procedure. So, how do you know if you need a root canal? Here are some of the classic warning signs.
A Persistent Toothache
This is one of the classic signs that you need a root canal. When bacteria are free to enter the inside of the tooth, it infects the dental pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerves. This is the “feeling” part of the tooth, which is why you are dealing with persistent and perhaps even excruciating pain. Even if the pain is minor you shouldn’t ignore it. The problem will not go away on its own, and it will require treatment from our Portage, MI, general dentist.
Your teeth have never been sensitive before but suddenly you notice one of your teeth is particularly sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. You may notice this when sipping a glass of ice-cold water or a hot cup of coffee. The pain or sensitivity will linger even after you’re no longer drinking or eating anything hot or cold. This is another sign of an inflamed or infected dental pulp.
Discoloration of the Tooth
If an infection occurs inside the tooth this can also cause the tooth to darken or turn gray. This is typically a sign that the tissue inside the tooth has begun to deteriorate. While there are many reasons why you may be dealing with a discolored tooth, it’s still a good idea to turn to our dentist to find out why your tooth is suddenly discolored.
If you are dealing with any of the signs above, it’s a good idea to call our Portage, MI, family dentists right away. For emergency dental needs, we provide same-day appointments for our patients. To schedule an immediate appointment, call Wester Dental Care at (269) 327-1119.
You're more apt to lose teeth because of periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay than any other cause. But neither of these bacterial diseases have to happen: You can prevent them through daily brushing and flossing and twice-a-year dental cleanings.
But that's not all: You can also boost your dental care practices by eating foods that strengthen and protect teeth. On the other hand, a poor diet could reduce the effectiveness of your oral hygiene practices in preventing tooth decay or gum disease.
A diet that might lead to the latter is often high in refined sugar (sucrose), often added to processed foods and snacks to improve taste. But sucrose is also a top food source for oral bacteria, increasing their numbers when it's readily available. A higher bacterial population greatly increases your risk for tooth decay or gum disease.
On the other hand, certain foods benefit your overall dental health. Fresh fruits and vegetables, for example, are filled with nutrients and minerals like vitamin D or calcium that strengthen teeth against disease. And although they can also contain natural sugars, these don't pose the same problems as added sucrose due to the plant fiber you consume with them.
Dairy foods can also help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. Milk and cheese contain minerals like calcium and phosphorus, and a protein called casein, all of which strengthen teeth against decay. The enzymes in cheese stimulate saliva, which in turn neutralizes mouth acid and prevent it from harming enamel.
Some foods are also natural sources of fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel. One example is black tea, which also, along with green tea, contains antioxidants that protect against cancer.
The best strategy for “tooth-friendly” nutrition is to pursue a diet that's high in fiber-rich natural foods and low in sugar-added processed foods. In practice, you'll want most of your diet to consist of fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy food, while minimizing foods with added sugar.
Following this kind of diet will certainly benefit your overall health. But it will also make it easier for you to prevent dental disease and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If you would like more information on how nutrition can boost your dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition & Oral Health.”