Posts for category: Dental Procedures
How can you avoid cavities? Of course, a low-sugar diet reduces the presence of bacteria-filled plaque, which can destroy tooth enamel. Daily flossing and brushing are critical, too, as is attending six-month check-ups at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry's Anderson, SC, office. For children, Anderson Pediatric's Dr. Nietzer and Dr. Monn also recommend sealants—easily applied tooth-colored coatings which protect deeply fissured molars. Learn more about sealants and how they can keep your child cavity-free!
What are sealants?
Sealants are ultra-thin coatings "painted" on children's back teeth to protect from decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) touts sealants as a safe and effective barrier against the corrosive acids secreted by oral bacteria.
Why are sealants applied to the back teeth? Well, it's because molars are not smooth and flat as the front teeth, making them harder to clean. This difficulty stems from how the surfaces are grooved, with some of the enamel variations being so tiny, you cannot see them.
Due to this, molars are highly prone to decay and benefit from the extra barrier sealants provide. In fact, the ADA states that sealants decrease tooth decay in young molars by about 80 percent.
What treatment is like at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry
First, a hygienist will clean your child's teeth. Next, the selected teeth are dried and prepped with a mild etching solution. Then, the sealant is applied; this material is liquid, and the dentist ensures that it penetrates the fine fissures and pits completely. Finally, with a special blue light, the sealant is "cured," or hardened.
The results are totally unnoticeable to the eye, however, the sealants go on to protect young teeth for years. Even adults with healthy molars may benefit from sealant applications!
Sealants are nothing new
They've been around for decades, but unfortunately, many families skip this important preventive dental service. This is a shame, for sealants, along with fluoride treatments, provide children with inexpensive and easy insurance against more expensive and complicated procedures such as fillings, or worse yet, extractions.
Find out more
At your child's next exam and cleaning appointment, ask Dr. Nietzer or Dr. Monn about sealants. We'll be happy to explain the process and its advantages. If it's time for a routine visit to Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, call us today for an appointment: (864) 760-1440.
The internet and social media are buzzing with ads and promotions about the latest miracle ingredient- activated charcoal. This black substance can be used on everything from your hair to your skin to your teeth. With so much hype, we figured it’s time to take a look and give an honest opinion on whether using activated charcoal to whiten your teeth is actually a good idea.
When my wife first asked me if she should try it on her teeth, my gut reaction was that it was way too abrasive. Luckily she listened to me. At the time, I hadn’t researched it much and there hadn’t been too many studies on its effectiveness. Looking at the data now, it seems that activated charcoal may very well be the trendy way to whiten teeth, but it’s certainly not the safest for your teeth.
First, let’s look at what it is and what it does. Activated charcoal is not new. It’s been used for medicinal purposes, such as the emergency treatment of poisoning, for years. Activated charcoal works on your teeth in the same manner it works internally in the body. Activated charcoal’s pores bind with rough parts on teeth, usually surface stains and plaque, making it easier to remove the yellowing substances. The idea is that once it has been given enough time to stick to the rough spots (stains) on your teeth, it can be removed and will take the plaque, food particles and surface stains with it. This is how the activated charcoal succeeds in whitening teeth – by getting rid of surface stains in one brushing.
At first, this sounds great, almost like the miracle product it claims to be. However, because it latches onto grittiness found on the surface of teeth, activated charcoal only works on surface stains and does not change the color of teeth that are deeply stained or naturally yellowing. Furthermore, and most important, the abrasiveness of the charcoal, combined with the brushing against the teeth’s enamel, can cause thinning and erosion of the enamel. Because enamel does not replenish itself, damage is permanent. Once enamel becomes eroded, teeth will actually begin to look more yellow as the darker inner layer, the dentin, begins to show through the tooth. So, the immediate whitening you may achieve could cause your teeth to look more discolored in time. Unfortunately, the discoloration due to eroded enamel cannot be reversed.
The ADA has published multiple articles citing that the effectiveness of activated charcoal has not been substantiated. (See links below) Given the potential long-term damage to your teeth, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry stands by the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA) in recommending that our patients steer clear of activated charcoal on their teeth and instead, seek products that have been endorsed with the ADA Seal of Approval, which guarantees that these products have been evaluated by the ADA for safety and effectiveness.
We encourage you to come in and speak with us about your whitening options. We can recommend safe options that suit your goals and needs without compromising the long-term health of your teeth.
As always, we encourage you to make educated choices about your child’s oral health and invite you to read more about activated charcoal and its effects.
When die-hard music fans hear that their favorite performer is canceling a gig, it’s a big disappointment—especially if the excuse seems less than earth-shaking. Recently, British pop sensation Dua Lipa needed to drop two dates from her world tour with Bruno Mars. However, she had a very good reason.
“I’ve been performing with an awful pain due to my wisdom teeth,” the singer tweeted, “and as advised by my dentist and oral surgeon I have had to have them imminently removed.”
The dental problem Lipa had to deal with, impacted wisdom teeth, is not uncommon in young adults. Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums), generally making their appearance between the ages of 18-24. But their debut can cause trouble: Many times, these teeth develop in a way that makes it impossible for them to erupt without negatively affecting the healthy teeth nearby. In this situation, the teeth are called “impacted.”
A number of issues can cause impacted wisdom teeth, including a tooth in an abnormal position, a lack of sufficient space in the jaw, or an obstruction that prevents proper emergence. The most common treatment for impaction is to extract (remove) one or more of the wisdom teeth. This is a routine in-office procedure that may be performed by general dentists or dental specialists.
It’s thought that perhaps 7 out of 10 people ages 20-30 have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Some cause pain and need to be removed right away; however, this is not always the case. If a wisdom tooth is found to be impacted and is likely to result in future problems, it may be best to have it extracted before symptoms appear. Unfortunately, even with x-rays and other diagnostic tests, it isn’t always possible to predict exactly when—or if—the tooth will actually begin causing trouble. In some situations, the best option may be to carefully monitor the tooth at regular intervals and wait for a clearer sign of whether extraction is necessary.
So if you’re around the age when wisdom teeth are beginning to appear, make sure not to skip your routine dental appointments. That way, you might avoid emergency surgery when you’ve got other plans—like maybe your own world tour!
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.
In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.
For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.
Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.
It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.
That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”
We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
Cavities happen. It’s an unfortunate truth that affects approximately 40% of children by the age of 5 years old. Dental caries (cavities) in children is the most common chronic health disease in children, more common than asthma.
Many parents, upon hearing that their child has a cavity on their baby teeth, ask us, “Do we really need to treat it if the tooth is going to fall out anyway?”
The answer is, YES. Dental decay that is left untreated on baby teeth can actually cause harm for the permanent teeth below the gums. Poor dental health that begins in infancy can have longstanding effects on a child all the way through adolescence and adulthood.
However, we understand that treating especially young children, or those with special needs is not always an ideal choice, and sometimes the treatment can be better received when the child is a bit older. Silver Diamine Fluoride is a great option in these situations. While it’s not a solution for every child with dental caries, it can be a good band-aid fix for many.
What is Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)? SDF is a liquid that is brushed directly on the cavity to stop decay. It is a painless procedure and can be a good treatment option for cavities if your child is young or has special needs, as SDF can help delay more extensive procedures such as drilling or sedation. Think of it as a band-aid solution, as it will not be a permanent solution to the cavity, but can buy the patient more time and keep the decay from worsening until the child is old enough for treatment to be more successful, or the baby tooth falls out.
Keep in mind that SDF blackens the decayed part of the tooth, leaving it discolored, and that the tooth will need to be monitored by your dentist to make sure that the cavity is not growing. But, if the cavity is on a baby tooth that will eventually fall out, or if the tooth is in the back of the mouth that’s hard to see, SDF might be a good option.
If you have questions, or would like to discuss Silver Diamine Fluoride as a treatment option for your child, please contact Anderson Pediatric Dentistry.
US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, US Public Health Service. Oral Health in America: Report of the US Surgeon General. NIH publication no. 00-213. Washington, DC: DHHS, NIDCR, USPHS; 2000.