Posts for: November, 2015
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Root canals are one of the most dreaded procedures in the dentist’s office--but do they really deserve this reputation?
Philip A. Levin, DDS is a Stamford endodontist committed to ensuring that your root canal is a straightforward and comfortable procedure. Let’s take a look at three common myths about root canals, and the truth about this routine treatment that saves over 15 million teeth every year.
Myth #1: A root canal is one of the most painful dental procedures.
Truth: Root canals are a routine procedure, and any discomfort is easily relieved by standard medications. You may have some sensitivity around the tooth for a few days, but it will fade quickly.
Your root canal should be a comfortable experience. For most people, it feels no worse than getting a standard filling. You may have existing pain from the infection, but anesthetics make the procedure itself painless.
Myth #2: Root canals cause systemic diseases.
Truth: There is no current evidence suggesting that root canals cause disease. Since the purpose of a root canal is to remove an existing infection in the tooth, it actually prevents disease from spreading to other areas of the body.
You may have heard claims that teeth treated with root canals can cause heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. These claims are based on outdated theories that have since been discredited.
The truth is that an untreated tooth can spread infection throughout the body and tax the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off a variety of illnesses. When a tooth is treated with root canal therapy, the infection is killed and the tooth is restored so it no longer creates a health risk.
Myth #3: Extraction is a safer alternative to a root canal.
Truth: Extraction is much more traumatic to the gums, jaw, and immune system. Whenever possible, saving the natural tooth with root canal therapy is preferable.
This belief is an extension of myth #2--some sources claim that the only way to prevent the spread of disease is to remove the tooth entirely. The truth is that, as with other areas of the body, the vast majority of infections can be treated without removing the affected body part.
Any time the natural teeth are missing, it creates an increased risk to your oral health. To minimize these risks, additional care and procedures are often necessary. Saving a natural tooth is preferable whenever possible to help maintain your dental health.
Stamford Dentist for Compassionate Root Canals
Root canals have a high success rate, and with proper dental care they usually last a lifetime. Many people have experienced firsthand how benign a root canal is, and have realized there was nothing to fear.
If you’ve been putting off root canal treatment, call Dr. Levin’s office at (203) 327-1613 for a friendly consultation. Dr. Levin performs root canals routinely, and will help make sure you have a comfortable and stress-free experience.
When decay spreads to the tooth’s inner pulp, a root canal treatment may be necessary to save it. It’s a common procedure: after removing all tissue from the pulp, the pulp chamber and root canals are filled with a special filling. The tooth is then sealed and a crown installed to protect the tooth from re-infection and/or fracture, possibly extending the tooth’s life for many years.
Sometimes, however, the tooth doesn’t respond and heal as expected: the number, size and shape of the patient’s root canals may have complicated the procedure; there may have been a delay before installing the final crown or restoration or the restoration didn’t seal the tooth as it should have, both occurrences giving rise to re-infection. It’s also possible for a second, separate occurrence of decay or injury to the tooth or crown to undo the effects of successful treatment.
It may be necessary in these cases to conduct a second root canal treatment, one that may be more complicated or challenging than the first one. For one thing, if the tooth has been covered by a crown or other restorative materials, these will most likely need to be removed beforehand. In cases where the root canal network and anatomy are challenging, it may require the expertise of an endodontist, a dental specialist in root canal treatments. Using advanced techniques with microscopic equipment, an endodontist can locate and fill unusually narrow or blocked root canals.
Because of these and other possible complications, a root canal retreatment may be more costly than a first-time procedure. Additionally, if you have dental insurance, your particular benefit package may or may not cover the full cost or impose limitations on repeated procedures within a certain length of time. The alternative to retreatment, though, is the removal of the tooth and replacement with a dental implant, bridge or partial denture with their own set of costs and considerations.
The complications and costs of a repeated procedure, though, may be well worth it, if it results in a longer life for the tooth. Preserving your natural tooth is in most cases the most desired outcome for maintaining a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Root Canal Treatment.”