Your Child’s Baby Teeth Timeline

GROWING AND LOSING BABY TEETH are major milestones in your child’s development. If you’re a first-time parent, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect, so let’s take a look at how baby teeth develop and when you can expect to start seeing them, as well as when adult teeth will start replacing them.

Baby Teeth Develop Before We’re Even Born!

Long before a babies are even born, their teeth begin to develop in the gums, a process called odontogenesis. The tooth buds that will become baby teeth start forming by week six of pregnancy, then continue to grow until after the baby is born, ultimately pushing through the gums. Even then, the roots still have a bit of growing left to do.

They Don’t All Erupt At Once

Baby teeth tend to erupt in pairs, and these pairs tend to alternate between top and bottom teeth. The first pair, the lower central incisors, normally make their appearance after between six to ten months. The next two are the upper central incisors between eight to twelve months. The lateral incisors come next, between nine and sixteen months. The first molars come next, then the canine teeth, and finally the second molars.

Most toddlers have their full set of twenty baby teeth by the time they turn three. Talk to us if you’re worried your child’s baby teeth aren’t growing in according to schedule, but there isn’t usually cause for concern unless no teeth have arrived by eighteen months. Whenever that first tooth does arrive, be sure to schedule an appointment!

It’s Time To Call the Tooth Fairy!

Normally, children begin losing baby teeth between ages five and six. Kids who take a little longer might feel left behind, because losing a tooth is a rite of passage and symbol of maturity. If no baby teeth are loose by the time they turn seven, it’s a good idea to talk to us about it. There isn’t usually anything to worry about; late-blooming adult teeth can actually be stronger and more cavity-resistant than they would’ve been if they arrived on schedule!

Fun Trivia: Natal Teeth And Folklore

In some (rare) cases, a baby might actually be born with one or two teeth. These are called natal teeth. They aren’t actually part of the regular set of baby teeth and typically are oddly shaped and have malformed roots, which makes them very loose. Doctors often remove them before new parents take their baby home from the hospital.

Even though natal teeth are perfectly harmless anomalies, over the centuries, different cultures have had a wide range of reactions to them. In China, they were considered bad luck, but in Europe, they were a mark that the child had a wonderful future ahead of them. Some Ural-Altaic tribes even viewed them as a sign that the child was a sorcerer!

Keep On Brushing!

No matter whether your child is a six-month-old with just one tooth or is a teenager with nearly a full set of adult teeth, all teeth always need to be cleaned and taken care of. Healthy brushing habits for baby teeth lead to healthy habits for adult teeth!

 

We love our patients!

 

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.

Photo Op: Types Of Dental X-Rays

EVERYONE WHO’S BEEN TO THE DENTIST is familiar with X-rays. You put on the lead apron, you’re given a rectangular contraption and told “put this between your teeth and bite down,” and then you hear that tinny beep. Have you ever wondered what the different types of dental X-rays are and what they’re for? Let’s take a closer look at three of the most common ones.

The Big Picture: Panoramic X-Rays

Has an X-ray technician ever had you stand on a circular platform and stand still for several seconds while the machine spun around your head? Then you’ve had a panoramic X-ray, which is the most common type of extraoral dental X-ray.

With these, we can see your entire mouth in one image, because the camera travels all the way around your head while taking the picture. These X-rays show incoming adult teeth and wisdom teeth, including any that are impacted, which is how we determine if there’s enough room for these teeth to come in and if they’ll come in on their own.   They are not the most diagnostic however, when it comes to detecting cavities or tooth infection.  Panoramic X-rays also make it much easier to detect things like tumors, cysts, and abscesses, as well as viewing your joints.

Glamor Shots: Bitewing X-Rays

As you might have guessed from the name, bitewing X-rays (aka “check-up xrays”) are the ones where the patient has to bite down on a piece of dental film before the image is taken. Because the dental film is inside your mouth, bitewing X-rays are a type of intraoral X-ray that are the most diagnostic to determine bone loss and cavities between back teeth.   Since the back teeth are the hardest to clean for most people, they tend to be most prone to cavities and gum infection, hence why bitewing xrays are typically taken about once a year.

Bitewing X-rays are taken to give us a clear view of the crevices between your teeth, which are difficult to see with the naked eye. With these images, we can easily check for tooth decay and cavities in those areas.

It’s Time For Your Close-Up: Periapical X-Rays

This intraoral X-ray is the close-up of the dental world. If a specific tooth or area in your mouth is bothering you, we’ll probably take a periapical X-ray to get a clear idea of what’s going on there, but they can also be taken alongside bitewing X-rays even if you aren’t aware of an obvious tooth problem.

For more information on dental X-rays and why they’re so important, watch the video below:

When You Need A Little Extra:  Cone-beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

All the previously described dental x-rays are two-dimensional xrays, which for typical general dentistry, is plenty diagnostic and more than sufficient.  But there are occasions when having that 3rd dimension is paramount for proper diagnosis (i.e. implants, wisdom teeth, retreating root canals), and therefore proper treatment and treatment planning, and would require the CBCT.   The good news is that it’s easy and painless to take (much like panoramic xrays).  The downside is that there is a bit more exposure than other xrays (which is why taking them regularly for routine dentistry would be overtreatment) and often carry a higher price tag, as they are often not a covered procedure by insurance companies. That being said however, CBCTs are becoming more the standard of care.  The key is choosing a dental practitioner that knows when they are necessary.

Early Warnings For Healthier Smiles

All types of X-rays are simple, low-risk tools that help us catch dental problems early on, maybe before you’ve even noticed anything! However, in order for us to do that, it’s crucial that you come in for your regular cleanings and dental exams. Is your smile ready for its next close-up?

We’re so happy to have you as part of our practice family!

 

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.

 

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

Swimmer’s Ear? More Like Swimmer’s Tooth!

HAVE YOUR TEETH ever felt extra sensitive after a swim at the pool? That’s no coincidence, although it can take quite a lot of swimming before the effects become noticeable. What is it about the water in swimming pools that damages teeth?

Chlorine: Good For Sanitation, Bad For Teeth

That’s right: the same chemical that kills many of the germs that love swimming in fresh water as much as we do can also be pretty hard on our teeth if the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated. The proper pH for pool water is 7.2-7.8, but it can easily become acidic because of the chlorine.

Swimmer’s Calculus: A Risk For Serious Swimmers

Swimmer’s Calculus isn’t the name of an underwater math class; it’s what happens to tooth enamel after prolonged exposure to acidic chlorine ions. The pH of saliva in a healthy mouth is very close to neutral. It’s the perfect pH to keep your teeth strong (as long as we’re also brushing and flossing).

Acid, like the diluted hydrochloric acid that forms in pools with chlorine, will erode more tooth enamel the longer we swim. This can lead to “swimmer’s calculus,” or yellow and brown stains on our teeth. It can also make our teeth extra sensitive after swimming, because erosion of the enamel exposes the more vulnerable dentin underneath.

Other Underwater Tooth Problems

Maybe you’re not a huge fan of the public pool, but you love snorkeling and diving in natural bodies of water. While you probably won’t have to worry about swimmer’s calculus, those activities come with their own set of tooth-threatening problems.

Scuba Diving And Tooth Squeeze

Diving in the deep end of a pool is enough to make us feel the water pressure in our ears, but did you know that when you dive deep enough, you might feel it in your teeth? Barodontalgia, or tooth squeeze, is what happens when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure. This can cause significant tooth pain and it can even fracture teeth. The best way to prevent it is to visit the dentist before diving season begins.

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

Most divers know the inconvenience of the mouthpiece design, but you might not know all the specific ways it’s bad for your teeth. The shape has been described as “one size fits none” because it’s too small and doesn’t really fit most divers’ teeth. Despite the less-than-ideal size and shape, we still have to grip it between our teeth the entire time we dive.

Clenching our jaws for so long, especially when the pressure is mostly on the front teeth, can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing. A good solution, particularly for a frequent diver, is to get a custom-fitted molded mouthpiece.

To learn more about TMJ and the treatment options available, watch the video below:


We’ll Help You Prepare Your Teeth For The Water!

We want to make sure you have a great summer enjoying all of your favorite water activities without fear for your teeth. Schedule an appointment so that we can come up with the best plan to help you avoid these common underwater tooth problems!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

 

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.

The Daily Grind Of Bruxism

MOST PEOPLE GRIND OR CLENCH their teeth briefly when annoyed or in a tense situation. That level of teeth-grinding isn’t really something to worry about. It’s when you do it far more frequently, often without even realizing it (you might even do it in your sleep!), that it can potentially become a serious problem. The medical term for this kind of teeth-grinding is bruxism.

Bruxism: What and Why

Sleep bruxism (or nocturnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of snoring and sleep apnea, and awake bruxism (or diurnal bruxism) can happen as a side-effect of stress in your daily life. However, not everyone with a sleep disorder or a stressful life has bruxism, and not everyone with bruxism has a sleep disorder or a ton of stress. Another possible cause is improperly aligned teeth.

Because there isn’t one clear cause, treatment can sometimes be tricky, and the focus is often on the symptoms and minimizing the damage more than curing the underlying condition. Even if you aren’t aware that you’re grinding your teeth, any of the following symptoms could point to bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore when you wake up, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore before you go to bed)
  • Frequent headaches from all the strain
  • Hypertrophy in your jaw muscles (because you’re giving them quite the workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped/cracked/split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Your Next Steps

Depending on which type of bruxism you have, there are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes.

Behavioral Therapy

With behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques, you can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits and consciously work to stop. This one works better when you have awake bruxism than sleep bruxism, because it’s obviously much harder to control your jaw muscles in your sleep.

Relaxation

Particularly for stress-related bruxism, relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and reduce grinding.

Wearing A Guard

A custom guard or splint serves as a pillow between your upper and lower teeth. It won’t stop the grinding, but it protects your teeth from damage.  There are different designs as well as materials, thus depending on the health of your joint, your dentist can determine which one would be the best for you.

Medication As Prescribed By Your Doctor

Muscle relaxant medication, as prescribed by your general practitioner, might help you unclench while you sleep. However, medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping.

Check out this video for more information and a few other ideas on how to combat bruxism or minimize the damage:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsdM13B3PdI

 

We Can Help!

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be due to bruxism and you should schedule an appointment so we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

We love our patients!

 

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.

Love Summer? So Do We!

IT’S SUMMER AGAIN! Whether you live near a beach, a lake, a forest, or mountains, the kids are out of school and it’s time to play! We’d like to share some of our team’s favorite ways to enjoy the summer.

Our Team’s Favorite Summer Vacation Spots

From Vermelle:

Favorite summer vacation spot:  “Miami is my absolute favorite.  I’ve been there 3 times, and I just love it!  The beaches are beautiful and the nightlife is always exciting!”

Favorite summer memory: “When I was younger, I used to spend my summers at my grandmother’s house, where many of my cousins would also spend theirs.   So I have a lot of fond memories of going with them to the swimming pool, playgrounds, and ice cream trucks.  This really built a strong foundation for our relationships now as we’re all really close!”

Current summer plans: “Aside from sending my kids to summer camps, my plans are just to enjoy the sun, less traffic, and spend time with family and friends.”

From Dr. Yu :

Favorite summer vacation spot:  “It’s no surprise to many that I LOVE to travel!   Last summer I traveled to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and I really LOVED all of it!  I was extremely fortunate to make some life-long friends with some of my travel-mates, and it was truly very special.  Some highlights of that trip were visits to the baths in Baden-Baden, the Black Forest, Neuschwanstein Castle, Schilthorn, Salzburg-the birthplace of Mozart, the salt mines in Halstatt, and Vienna.  Oh discovering quite a few my favorite rieslings were also memorable!  Prost!” 

Favorite summer memory: “I remember when I was a child my parents took my siblings and I to “Chimney Rock” in North Carolina.  It’s an extremely picturesque area where there’s actually a rock formation that looks like a chimney.  We had gone there a couple times in my childhood, but one time in particular I recall a lot of areas there were closed off because they were shooting the movie, The Last of the Mohicans, which to this day is one of my favorite movies.”

Current summer plans: “My family reunion is being held in Lake Tahoe this year.  Although I’ve skied there many times over the years, this will be my first summer trip there!  I’ve heard wonderful things about Lake Tahoe in the summer, and I’m  particularly looking forward to spending time with my little nephews!”

 

SUMMER PROMOTIONS

It’s also Wedding season, and we are running our Whitening Special for $99!  This special offer includes 10 sets of disposable trays with professional-strength whitening gel that are backed by the manufacturer (Ultradent)!  These are perfect for those that aren’t quite ready to invest in custom-whitening trays, but still want the professional-strength type results.  These are also great for travel!  Given TSA’s 3-3-1 rule, minimizing what we need to fit in those small baggies can be quite the task.  With these disposable trays, you just bring a set or 2; whiten before your event, then toss and go!  Even better, you have less to bring back with you except that brighter smile!    Contact us for more information!

Need some unique vacation ideas? Check out the video below:

 

What Are Your Fun Summer Plans?

How about you? How do you like to enjoy your summer? Do you love camping? Tanning on the beach? Traveling to exotic places or to see family? Getting that adrenaline rush from amusement parks or skydiving? Tubing on a river or waterskiing on a lake? We’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments below or let us know on social media!

Thank you for being part of what makes summer so great!

 

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.