91 Main St. Port Washington, NY 11050

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waterlase laser dentistry port washington long island

Waterlase Laser Dentistry

Waterlase: Laser Dentistry For The 21st-Century in Port Washington, Long Island!

In today’s world of dentistry, technological advances are making almost anything possible. For those of you who have always dreaded going to the dentist for fear of having the menacing drill used on a cavity, those days are now numbered. Thanks to the use of laser technology, Waterlase is becoming a much more common and preferred method of working on dental patients in our local Port Washington and Long Island area. But laser dentistry is nothing new to this local dentist. In fact, we have offered laser tooth detection for years! Sounding like something from a science-fiction novel, laser dentistry offers a number of advantages over traditional dentistry methods of the past. If your curiosity is now peaked and you want to learn more, here are some fascinating facts about Waterlase.

What is Waterlase?

The Waterlase method, which combines the immense power of laser energy with water spray, is considered to be extremely safe for most patients, and is a much more gentle alternative to traditional drilling. Since teeth are composed partially of water, your dentist can use the laser to make contact with your teeth. When this occurs, the laser activates the water molecules in your teeth, allowing it to cut through. By continuously spraying out water during the process, this limits the amount of heat produced during the procedure, resulting in a dental visit that is basically pain-free.

Why Laser Dentistry at 3V Dental?

If you are wondering why this type of dentistry is gaining in popularity with more and more people each day, there are numerous reasons for its continued expansion and use by dentists everywhere. As previously stated, Waterlase results in a dental visit that is almost entirely pain-free. In fact, for most routine dental procedures, little if any anesthetic is needed, meaning you won’t have to worry about being stuck with a needle or having a puffy face once you’re finished. In addition, it is far more convenient for people who lead busy lives. By relying on Waterlase, your 3V Dental dentist can often complete your treatments in a single visit, meaning you won’t have to schedule additional appointments or spend valuable time having multiple visits with dental specialists.

Waterlase Procedures at Our Dental Clinic in Port Washington, Long Island

Since this technology is considered to be very revolutionary, it has been able to be adapted to a variety of dental procedures. Designed to be used primarily for working on cavities and for soft tissue surgeries, your dentist can use it for many different dental procedures. Some of the most common include crown and veneer removal, dental implants, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, tooth whitening, and even pain therapy. Whether it is sculpting a gum line to give a patient a much more appealing smile, ridding a patient of gum disease, or using it for the removal of wisdom teeth, your dentist can use Waterlase on almost any type of procedure for which you may need.

Is Laser Dentistry Better?

Offering its patients less pain, fewer shots, and a faster recovery time after most procedures, it is likely your dentist would agree with you that laser dentistry is much better in many ways than traditional dental techniques of years past. In fact, one of its biggest advantages is the level of safety and precision it provides. For example, when a dentist uses a traditional drill when working on a tooth, the drill can sometimes produce microscopic cracks. When this occurs, this opens the door to the possibility of infections setting in underneath the filling. But when using a laser, this cracking does not take place. In addition, since the Waterlase technique does not require direct contact with the tooth, it greatly reduces the risk of cross-contamination between patients.

Winning Over Kids

As you know, getting kids to establish good oral hygiene habits at an early age is critical to helping them avoid many problems later on. With pediatric dentistry moving more and more in the direction of using a laser rather than a drill and needle, it is becoming much easier to win over kids regarding the importance of regular dental visits.

Expected to become an even more vital part of dentistry in the years ahead, Waterlase eliminates many excuses people have given for not visiting their dentist. If you have been putting off a trip to the dentist due to fear of the drill, needle, and pain that always follows, talk to your dental professional about this innovative technique today.

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tmj dentist port washington ny

BOTOX Treatment For TMJ Disorders

Physical pain can be daunting and debilitating. Problems impacting the jaw are often particular concerning. Such maladies often limit one’s capacity to perform pertinent actions like talking and eating.

In a solid percentage of instances, discernible problems impact the jaw’s temporomandibular joint, which is sometimes simply abbreviated as the TMJ.

Given that TMD, temporomandibular disorders, or the illnesses manifesting from TMJ concerns, could hinder one’s capacity to effectively communicate, ingest adequate nutrition, and, in certain instances, even open one’s mouth, the medical community continually seeks different forms of treatment.

One such remediation technique is known as BOTOX administration.

Read on for TMJ treatment info using BOTOX. If you have additional questions regarding TMJ treatment, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

BOTOX Treatment For Jaw Tension And TMD

BOTOX is therapeutic version of the botulism toxin, which when eaten or inhaled in sufficient quantities, could cause serious muscle paralysis. In recent times, researchers have found that small concentrations of the substance might prove effective in addressing symptoms associated with TMD.

How Does BOTOX Treat Jaw Tension And TMD?

In a controlled, medically-supervised environment, healthcare providers carefully inject BOTOX into an afflicted person’s TMJ or surrounding jaw muscles. The numbing effects of the therapeutic protocol are believed to alleviate pain and other associated TMD manifestations.

Typically, the treatment is administered inside the performing physician’s office. Though still in the experimental stages, this is quickly becoming a preferred TMD therapy because said undertaking requires no hospital stay, is minimally-invasive, and can often be administered within 15 to 30 minutes.

How Long Does It Take For BOTOX To Treat Jaw Tension And TMD?

In many cases, those administered injections witness conditional improvements soon thereafter. For some people, said benefits may occur in as little as a couple of days. That said, therapeutic impact might not occur for up to a week.

Risks, Limitations And Possible Complications of Botox® Injections

Usually, the associated risks are few. That said, manifestations could vary from person to person and are often impacted by the specific facial region where injection occurred.

Recipients could encounter side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, pain, swelling around the injection site, and muscle weakness. However, these occurrences are not often severe and typically dissipate within a week or so following treatment.

The most potentially untoward side effects often occur in subjects receiving treatment near the mouth. Bruising or relaxation of surrounding muscles might precipitate short-lived issues, including problems eating, kissing, and speaking, in addition to incidents of drooling.

The process should not be performed on pregnant subjects. Furthermore, persons with underlying illnesses are encouraged to disclose such concerns with their doctors before undergoing this therapy.

Is BOTOX Treatment For Jaw Tension and TMJ Disorders Painful?

Typically, the most notable pain associated with the procedure is caused by the needle used at the injection site. Though often fast and temporary, the associated broken skin might cause discomfort. Fortunately, administering physicians might minimize this problem by numbing injection sites with ice or anesthetic preparations.

What to Expect After the Botulinum Toxin TMD Treatment?

In an appreciable percentage of cases, pain and other TMD-related symptoms improve within several days following administration.

What Is The Recovery Period?

In most instances, recipients can return to their daily routine within a day or two following treatment. That said, in an effort to prevent the toxin from traveling to adjacent muscles or bodily regions, healthcare providers recommend limiting physical activity in the procedure’s immediate aftermath.

TMJ Overview: What is TMJ?

TMD is technically a collection of conditions impacting an individual possessing a problematic TMJ. From an anatomical standpoint, the temporomandibular component is considered the jaw joint.

This structure attaches the mandible, which is the jaw’s lower region, to the skull’s temporal bone. The temporal bone is situated adjacent to the ears on each side of the face.

When the joint is healthy and functioning optimally, it opens and closes with relative ease enabling subjects to chew, speak, yawn, kiss, and open their mouths with little, if any, difficulty. TMD occurs when the TMJ or the jaw’s surrounding muscles encounter injury or some other problematic circumstances.

Common causes of the condition include acute jaw trauma, tension placed on the joint by poor habits like teeth grinding or jaw clenching, joint dislocation, arthritis impacting the jaw, and physical or emotional tension.

Signs And Symptoms of TMJ

The most common physical manifestation is pain. Naturally, this discomfort is most prominently seen in the jaw area. However, said discomfort has been known to spread to other bodily regions, including the neck, shoulders, and ears. In addition, this pain might render basic activities challenging.

Stricken subjects might also experience facial swelling, popping or clicking sounds when opening or closing one’s mouth, tooth pain, oral cavity tension, earaches, dizziness and possibly even tinnitus, which is a loud, persistent ringing inside the ears.

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How Men’s Oral Health Is Different

How Men’s Oral Health Is Different

MEN AND WOMEN have a lot in common, but they face significantly different challenges when it comes to keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Women are more prone to certain oral health conditions than men, but men have their own disadvantages to overcome, and we’re here to offer them a few tips.

Brush and Floss Like a Manly Man

Women tend to be pretty good at daily brushing and flossing habits, whereas men struggle more with this on average: men are up to 20% less likely to brush twice a day and even less likely to replace their old toothbrushes on a regular basis. Luckily, it’s a simple problem to fix: make brushing for two full minutes a regular part of your morning and nighttime routines! And don’t forget to floss once a day as well.

What Oral Diseases Are Men More Vulnerable To?

Because men are more likely to drink, smoke, and chew tobacco than women are, they put themselves at higher risk of serious oral health problems like periodontitis (advanced gum disease), tooth loss, and oral cancerBy avoiding harmful habits, men can do a lot to protect their oral health, which is why we recommend minimal alcohol consumption and complete avoidance of tobacco products.

Dry Mouth Is Also a Problem for Men

Dry mouth is a common side effect of high blood pressure and heart disease medications, and because men are more susceptible to those conditions, they are also more likely to get dry mouth. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against bacteria, acid, and leftover food particles. When it runs dry, the risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and chronic bad breath becomes much higher.

Be a Real Man and Go to the Dentist

Just as men are less likely to follow a good brushing and flossing regimen than women, they’re also less likely to keep up with their regular dental exams — and they’re more likely to try to tough it out if they’re experiencing toothaches or other symptoms! This strategy is neither safe nor effective for addressing dental health problems. It is not unmanly to go to the dentist, even if it’s just for a regular checkup and you’re confident you have no cavities!

Let’s Work Together for Those Handsome Smiles

The most important piece of advice we have for our male patients is this: don’t try to be a tough guy when it comes to your dental health. Minty fresh breath and regular dental appointments are not weak, they’re signs that your teeth and gums are important to you. Where you should be a tough guy is in the battle against oral bacteria, by keeping up with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing!

We’re here to help our patients keep their smiles healthy!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions
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The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Dentistry

SLEEP APNEA AFFECTS over 18 million adults in the United States alone, as well as one of every five children who habitually snore. Our Port Washington dental team are often the first ones to notice the signs of this disorder, because it can be very harmful to oral health.

How Does Sleep Apnea Work?

Sleep apnea can work in different ways, depending on the cause. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the respiratory muscles to keep breathing during sleep. Much more common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is caused by the airway becoming physically blocked. Typically, the tongue collapses against the soft palate, which in turn collapses against the throat, sealing off the airway. Complex sleep apnea combines OSA and central sleep apnea.

Whatever the cause of the interrupted breathing, the outcome is the same. Not breathing sets off all the brain’s alarm bells, waking the person up to take a breath. It happens so quickly that most people with sleep apnea never remember waking up, even if they’re waking up hundreds of times in a single night. They still feel the effects of not getting a full night’s sleep, however, through symptoms like exhaustion, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating.

What Does Sleep Apnea Have to Do with Teeth?

In addition to the short-term and long-term effects of sleep deprivation, people with OSA tend to be more vulnerable to developing moderate to severe periodontitis, and they’re also more likely to have trouble with their jaw joints.

Studies have shown that the jaw tends to reflexively clench during a sleep apnea episode to try to keep the airway open. All that strain can result in temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), which have symptoms like pain when chewing, chronic headaches, damage to the teeth, and neck and shoulder pain.

3V Dental Can Help

The reason dentists are often the first health providers to recognize the signs of sleep apnea and diagnose it is that dental health effects are a common complication. (Just one of many reasons why regular dental appointments are so important, not just for oral health but overall health.) Treatment for sleep apnea typically involves continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines or nighttime dental devices that push the lower jaw or the tongue forward.

Healthier Sleep Leads to Healthier Smiles!

Getting a full and restful night’s sleep is critical if we want to feel great and have the energy we need to go about our days. If you suspect you or someone you love might be missing out on good sleep due to sleep apnea (snoring is a major sign), your next appointment with us could be life-changing.

We wish all our 3V Dental Associates patients a good night’s sleep every night!

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women smiling

What’s Different About Women’s Oral Health?

HEALTH CONCERNS CAN BE a lot different for women than for men, and that even includes dental health! Women face a different set of challenges than men do in caring for their teeth and gums, as well as having different advantages.

Which Oral Health Conditions Are More Common for Women?

Did you know that 90% of people diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) are women? TMD is chronic pain or soreness in the joints of the jaw. It’s typically caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), but joint structure, stress, arthritis, vitamin deficiency, or hormones could also be responsible.

Another condition women are more likely to be affected by than men is Sjörgen’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body, particularly salivary glands and tear ducts, causing both dry mouth and dry eye. In addition to making chewing and swallowing difficult and uncomfortable and interfering with the sense of taste, dry mouth is dangerous to oral health.

Hormonal Changes Can Affect Teeth

Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all come with major hormonal changes that can impact oral health. Gingivitis and gum inflammation are more common during puberty and pregnancy, which makes good daily dental health habits like brushing and flossing even more important under these conditions.

Menopause is associated with a higher incidence of dry mouth and bone loss in the jaw. This bone loss can compromise the gum tissue and the roots of teeth, which is why it’s important to discuss it with the dentist (preferably before any symptoms have even begun).

Eating Disorders Are a Serious Oral Health Problem

Women aren’t the only ones who struggle with eating disorders, but they are certainly twice as common among teenage girls as teenage boys. Eating disorders are incredibly dangerous and damage every system in the body, including teeth and gums. It’s a two-pronged attack on oral health: malnutrition weakens the oral tissues and the immune system while acid erosion (in the case of bulimia) destroys tooth enamel.

We encourage anyone struggling with an eating disorder to seek psychiatric help so that they can begin the mental recovery process. The dental health recovery process will likely require help in the form of a rigorous dental hygiene routine and professional attention from the dentist.

The Dentist Is the Expert on Women’s Oral Health

With all these risk factors women face in keeping their teeth and gums healthy, are there really any up-sides? Yes, actually, and it’s a big one. Women tend to be better than men at taking care of their teeth! Women are more likely to maintain good oral health habits, and they’re also better at keeping up with their regular dental exams and getting the dentist’s help when they experience tooth pain (as opposed to trying to tough it out), so even if they are more susceptible to certain problems, the impact is reduced!

We love working with our female patients!

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Don’t Let a Toothache Ruin Your Day

WHAT CAUSES TOOTHACHES? There are a few different causes, and we want our patients to be familiar with them as well as what they can do about them if a toothache strikes at a time when it’s not so easy to make a quick visit to the dentist.

Toothache Causes: The Usual Suspects

Tooth decay is the most common cause of toothaches, but it’s not the only one. Others include gum disease, pulp inflammation, and dental abscess. An injury to the face can also result in a toothache even if the tooth and surrounding gum tissue were perfectly healthy beforehand! Teeth impacted in the jaw can be painful too. There’s also tooth sensitivity, and sometimes simple congestion or a sinus infection can feel a lot like a toothache.

Can’t Get an Appointment Immediately? Here’s What to Do.

We encourage anyone with a toothache to schedule an emergency dental appointment, but sometimes toothaches aren’t polite enough to pop up during the dentist’s normal hours. What then? Fortunately, there are a few things patients can do to manage their pain level until the dentist can see them:

  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Apply topical pain relievers
  • Apply a cold compress to the sore area
  • Rinse and spit warm salt water to reduce the inflammation (don’t swallow it!)

Tips for Preventing Future Toothaches

Toothaches aren’t 100% preventable, particularly when sinus infections or injuries are the cause, but keeping up with dental health habits will certainly help your teeth stay in good shape. Most important among these are daily brushing and flossing. Make sure to brush twice a day for two full minutes, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

We can also make toothaches less likely by cutting down on sugary foods and drinks (which are what harmful oral bacteria love to eat), and by drinking water afterwards when we do have something sugary.

Regular Dentist Appointments Help Prevent Toothaches

Another important way to prevent toothaches before they happen is by keeping up with a regular dental exam schedule. For most patients, this means coming in twice a year. These appointments matter because even the most diligent brushing and flossing won’t always get all the plaque and tartar. It’s also better to catch a problem before it gets bad enough that you actually feel symptoms like a toothache, because then it’s easier (and cheaper!) to treat.

Let’s Keep That Smile Toothache-Free!

Never forget that pain is the body’s natural alarm system to let us know when something’s wrong. That’s why we should never ignore a toothache. It won’t go away on its own, and whatever’s causing it will likely get worse, so if you have a toothache, make sure to schedule an appointment. The dentist will get to the bottom of it and recommend the right steps to take next.

It’s never too soon for preventative dentistry!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Oral Health in Cold and Flu Season

WHAT DOES A TOOTHBRUSH have to do with cold and flu season? More than you’d think! It’s never fun to battle a cold or a bout of flu, but that’s no reason to slack off on taking care of our teeth and gums.

Feel Better Through Dental Hygiene

It can feel like a lot of work to keep up with brushing and flossing when we’re not feeling well, but it’s worth it. Maintaining these simple daily habits is still important. They help us feel more normal, refreshed, and rejuvenated, and when we feel unwell, they can give us a small sense of accomplishment that does a lot for our overall sense of wellbeing. And getting rid of more oral bacteria can only help by giving your immune system less work to do!

Stuffy Noses Can Lead to Cavities?

Indirectly, not being able to breathe through our noses does make us more vulnerable to tooth decay. When we’re forced to breathe through our mouths, it dries up our saliva. This can be a major problem because saliva is the first line of defense against harmful oral bacteria. It washes away leftover food particles and keeps our oral pH neutral so that our enamel can stay strong.

Sometimes it’s the medicine we take that dries out our mouths (antihistamines, pain relievers, and decongestants are all big offenders), so make sure to drink plenty of water and breathe through your nose whenever possible.

Why Does Our Breath Smell When We’re Sick?

Have you ever gotten that snotty taste in your mouth when you have a cold? If you can taste it, then it’s probably what your breath smells like, and it comes from post-nasal drip (the excess mucus that leaks down the back of the throat during a runny nose). Bacteria can easily multiply in this situation, resulting in unpleasant smells. There’s one more reason to keep up with brushing and flossing while we’re sick!

Starve Bacteria by Cutting Back on Sugar

Harmful bacteria likes to live in our mouths because it can get plenty of access to its favorite food there: sugar. When we eat sugary cough drops, it might help with the cough, but it’s as bad for our teeth as hard candy. In addition to generally cutting back on sugary foods and drinks, we recommend choosing a sugar-free cough drop for combating a cough.

Likewise, use water or other sugar-free drinks to rehydrate when an illness is using up all your body’s fluids. When we do consume sugar, we should rinse with water after to wash away the leftovers. Drinking plenty of water is particularly important when we have a stomach bug, because it helps protect our teeth from the damage stomach acid can do to them if we’re vomiting frequently.

Bring Us Your Oral Health Questions

If we haven’t answered all your questions about how common illnesses and oral health interact with each other, just let us know! We want to make sure all our patients have the information they need to keep their teeth and gums in good shape, even when they’re not feeling well!

Take care this flu season!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Dental Bridge or Implant? Which is Right for You?

Dental work can be confusing. Sometimes, it’s hard to know which choice is the best one for you. Of course, your dentist is the best source of information for this, but sometimes it comes down to a decision that only you can make. This article will discuss dental bridges and dental implants in detail and serve as a basic guide to help you better understand each one.

Implanted Tooth or Dental Bridge: What’s the Difference?

A bridge is an appliance that covers the space left by a missing tooth or teeth. It bridges the gap, hence the name. It’s composed of laboratory-made teeth, constructed from an impression, that attach to the two healthy teeth on either side of the gap. They are not removable. A bridge can be completed in two or three visits, at most.

In contrast, implants are false teeth that are attached to a post surgically placed into the jawbone and can be a great option as a form of restoration.

This post is often made of titanium, a strong, inert metal unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Over a time period of at least several months, the titanium post becomes integrated into the bone tissue of the jaw. It acts very much like a natural tooth root would. Once the post is securely meshed with the bone, a permanent tooth will be attached to the post. It looks and functions very much like real one.

All on 4 Dental Implants

This is a newer procedure in which a whole upper or lower arch of missing teeth can be replaced with just four to six implants. The dentist inserts a titanium post into the jawbone, usually at an angle designed to provide the most support, in four to six places. After these posts become part of the jawbone, an arch of teeth is placed over them. This eliminates the need for individual implanted posts and is typically far less time-consuming and expensive.

Teeth in a Day is a similar procedure. This allows selected patients the ability to have their implanted post procedure and teeth in one day. Not everyone will be a candidate, but for those who are, a temporary set of teeth will be placed over the implanted posts the same day. While the implanted posts are integrating with the jawbone, the patient must follow a soft diet to avoid disrupting them. After the healing period, new impressions are taken, and the permanent teeth are attached to the posts. Implants provide both excellent cosmetic and functional results.

The guideline qualifications for implants include:

  • Healthy gums
  • Enough bone tissue for either implantation or bone grafts
  • You are a nonsmoker

The jawbone must have reached full growth. This typically occurs sometime in the late teens to the early twenties. You will also be questioned about certain chronic diseases that may interfere with healing. For example, diabetes, especially if it’s poorly controlled, may exclude you from getting implants due to concerns about proper healing. If the bone doesn’t heal correctly, the implant will likely fail.

Some thing to be aware of…

While there are no real cons of this procedure, there are possible complications:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Implant failure
  • Pain
  • Problems with the sinus cavity

Although rare, allergic reactions are always possible. The pros of this procedure include a natural look and feel, greater self-confidence and possibly better nutrition, because the implanted teeth function and chew much like natural ones. Other major pros: With proper care, they can last a lifetime, and an implanted tooth cannot decay. Your text to link….

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are an older solution to the problem of missing teeth. This is much more than just cosmetic. Missing teeth can cause the following problems:

  • Shifting of adjacent teeth
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Problems with occlusion
  • Headaches and jaw pain
  • Uneven wearing of tooth surfaces
  • Loss of adjacent and nearby teeth

Teeth are kind of like herd animals. They like to be together. They each serve as supports for the others. When one or teeth are missing, the other teeth no longer have their support and begin to shift out of place. Some may even loosen in the jawbone. The occlusion, or bite, may become abnormal. The exposed gum area is more prone to irritation and infection.

Bridges help to avoid these problems by replacing the missing teeth. However, not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. For one thing, there must be healthy teeth on either side of the gap. For example, if one is already a crown, a bridge is not an option. Another one of the major cons of bridgework is that the healthy teeth that serve as attachment points must be shaped and prepared. This preparation weakens the healthy teeth and may contribute to problems in the future. The anchoring teeth on either side of the gap are called abutting teeth. These abutting teeth will be more prone to decay. They can also fracture or crack, threatening the whole bridge. Cracked teeth typically can only be repaired with a crown. Obviously, a bridge cannot be used if one of the missing teeth is a back molar at the end of the arch.

The Maryland Bridge

This is a type of dental bridge that doesn’t involve shaping and preparation of abutting teeth. Instead, it uses a metal connector attached to abutting teeth with dental cement. It can last a decade or more with proper care, but the Maryland bridge is limited to the frontal teeth. Biting forces in the molar area are too strong for this kind of appliance to withstand.

Pros of Dental Bridges

  • They cost less
  • The don’t involve bone grafts
  • The overall process is faster
  • They are still much better than dentures

If you have questions or concerns about either of the dental procedures discussed in this article, consult with your dentist. He or she is the best judge of what is best for you.

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oral health toddlers dentist port washington ny

When to Take Your Toddler to the Dentist?

Determining when to take your child to the dentist can be confusing. You may have heard that you should wait until all of their teeth have come in, or that you should take them only if they have a problem. If you wait until either of these happen, then you’ll be taking your child in too late.

So, when do you take your toddler to the dentist? It is recommended that you take them in as soon as their first tooth has erupted, or at least within six months of the tooth coming in. The sooner you get them in, the better.

Why Take Toddlers to the Dentist After Getting Their First Tooth?

It may seem like taking your toddler to a pediatric dentist after their first tooth erupts will be a waste of time. After all, it’s only one tooth. However, a lot of information can be learned at this point in time, and the dentist will be able to determine if the rest of your child’s teeth will come in the way they are supposed to.

The dentist can also give you important information on how to take care of that one tooth and all of the other teeth that will soon be growing in. This information will more than likely pertain to the following:

  • Developing proper mouth cleaning habits
  • Tooth decay and bottles
  • Best feeding practices for your growing child
  • The impacts of pacifiers
  • The impacts of sucking on fingers
  • What to expect during the teething process

Having all of this information beforehand can help reduce the chances of problems occurring in your child’s mouth. It will also make it easier to create and implement dental care routines to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy.

Getting Your Child Ready for Their First Appointment

Some people get stressed when they know they have to go to the dentist. A lot of adults don’t like to make appointments, so imagine how scary it might be for your child. However, starting them early and before a problem arises will show them that dental visits aren’t always bad. In fact, going when they don’t have any issues can make them more comfortable and willing to go in the future.

To ensure that the first visit goes as smoothly as possible, you might consider scheduling the appointment in the morning. Your child should be alert and awake, which could reduce the chances of a meltdown.

Let your child know what to expect, and tell them how important it is to go to the dentist for healthy teeth. They will probably have a lot of questions, so do your best to answer them. If you don’t know the answer, tell your child that’s something they can ask the dentist.

If you happen to have fears about the dentist, do your best not to project those onto your child. Your role should be to support and comfort them, not make them fearful. Do what you can to make the first visit exciting and fun.

What You Should Do at the Dentist

In addition to preparing your child for their first dental visit, there are some things you’ll need to do as well. This includes putting together a list of questions or concerns you’ll want to discuss with the dentist. You’ll also need to have your child’s complete health history so that you can share that with the dentist. You’ll also need to bring your dental insurance card.

It’s also important that you share information about your child’s behavior with the dentist and the dental hygienist. Let them know if your child is shy or outgoing, or if they can be stubborn or defiant. Keep in mind that the professionals in dental offices have worked with many different types of kids, so they probably have some tricks up their sleeves to ensure that everyone stays calm during the visit. However, giving them a head’s up can be beneficial.

What to Expect During the First Visit

Typically, the first visit to the dentist is to help your child feel comfortable. That’s why it’s important to schedule this appointment as soon as possible after their first tooth has erupted before there is an issue.

Depending on the age of your child, the dentist may conduct a full exam that will look at the teeth, gums, bite and oral tissues. They may even check to see how your child is growing and developing. The dentist may do a gentle cleaning, just to give your child an idea of what the normal process looks like.

Your dentist may or may not recommend having X-rays done. If there is any concern about decay or issues with how your child’s teeth are coming in, X-rays may be part of the process. The dentist should let you know if they think X-rays will be beneficial on the first visit or not. If you have any concerns, this is when you need to bring them up.

Scheduling a Second Appointment

Just like adults, it is recommended that children visit the dentist every six months. This ensures that their teeth are coming in properly and allows them to discover if there are any developmental issues within their mouth. Catching these as early as possible can prevent major problems from occurring in the future.

Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth at Home

The first step in ensuring that your child has the best dental checkup possible is to take care of their teeth at home. Starting them as early as possible with a brushing schedule will keep their teeth clean and healthy. Here are some other ways to achieve that goal:

  • Before your child’s teeth have come in, you need to clean their gums with a damp cloth
  • After the first tooth has erupted, use a soft-bristled brush and a tiny amount of toothpaste to keep it clean
  • Stay away from toothpaste with fluoride until your child turns 3
  • At naptime or bedtime, don’t give your child a bottle that has juice, milk or other sweetened drinks
  • Limit the time your child has a bottle to five or six minutes

Want a fun way to keep your children actively brushing their teeth? Check out our free printable teeth brushing schedule!

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Are Oral Piercings Worth the Risks?

WHY WOULD DENTAL health professionals want to weigh in on oral piercings? There aren’t many fashion choices that impact oral health, but this one does. The unfortunate reality is that lip and tongue piercings pose serious hazards to the teeth and oral tissues. Anyone considering getting one should be aware of the risks.

The Biggest Risks With Lip and Tongue Piercings

All piercings — even the extremely common earlobe piercing — come with certain risks. They can become infected or you might discover a previously unknown allergy to the metal. These risks apply to oral piercings too, but they aren’t the only ones.

Fidgeting Can Do Permanent Damage

It’s hard enough not to fidget with a stuck piece of food between your teeth when you can’t get a toothpick or some floss, but at least poking at those with our tongues won’t result in chipped or cracked teeth, damage our fillings, or risk soft tissue injuries in the tongue, gums, or lips. Fidgeting with a piercing can easily lead to any of those outcomes, which should be a serious consideration for anyone thinking about getting a lip or tongue ring.

Risk of Nerve Damage and Gum Recession

If not properly placed, a tongue piercing can cause nerve temporary or permanent nerve damage, which could include symptoms like numbness, difficulty with speech and chewing, and can even impact the sense of taste. The gum tissue, meanwhile, can be worn away by the constant friction with a piercing, leaving the roots exposed and vulnerable to decay.

More on Piercing Infections

When you combine the normal risk of infection any piercing has with the amount and variety of bacteria that lives in the human mouth, oral piercings are much harder to keep healthy than a simple ear piercing. Symptoms of an infected piercing include pain, swelling, and inflammation, as well as chills, fever, or shaking. Good oral hygiene habits are absolutely essential for minimizing infection risk.

At Least Wait Until After Braces

The risks with piercings are serious enough that we wouldn’t recommend getting them at all, but they are an especially bad idea with braces. It’s all too easy for a piercing to get tangled in orthodontic hardware, or disrupt the Invisalign process, and a serious injury around the piercing site or damage to the orthodontic appliance can happen before you know it. Orthodontic patients should definitely wait until Braces Off Day to get a piercing (though we still advise against it even then).

Piercing Care and Maintenance

It isn’t our job to forbid patients from getting oral piercings. All we can do is give you all the information you need to make an educated decision. For those who feel the risks don’t outweigh the benefits, proper piercing care is key.

  • Clean the piercing site after meals and snacks.
  • Remove all piercings during sports and other physical activities.
  • Check that the piercing is secure so it can’t become a choking hazard.
  • Go to the dentist at the first sign of infection.
  • Don’t clack the piercing against your teeth.
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily!

Our Top Priority Is Your Oral Health

We’re your partners in lifelong dental health, which is why we aren’t huge fans of oral piercings. We’re definitely huge fans of our patients, and if you need more information about how oral piercings can impact oral health, feel free to give us a call or stop by the practice to discuss it with us.

We love seeing you and your beautiful smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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