Tooth bleaching is recommended for patients with all of their adult teeth who would like for their teeth to look whiter. Bleaching is accomplished by applying a chemical gel to the tooth surface to lighten it. This gel is held in place by a custom bleaching tray that can be worn at home. Numerous studies have shown this procedure to be safe and effective but it is not always equally effective for all teeth. Results are often individualized and some teeth show no noticeable change.
A common side effect of bleaching is sensitivity to hot and/or cold stimuli. If this occurs, we recommend discontinuing bleaching. The teeth should return to normal after a few days. If you are interested in bleaching, we will be happy to discuss this with you.
Microabrasion is a conservative treatment option for discolored tooth enamel that is not responsive to polishing or bleaching. This process involves applying a chemical agent to the tooth surface followed by polishing with a mildly abrasive paste to remove a microscopic layer of enamel. This "in office" procedure is often recommended for teeth with significant color defects. Many of these color defects are uneven which can make it difficult to obtain completely uniform tooth color. However, the color change is often dramatic and beneficial. When recommending microabrasion we will do our best to predict the level of success that is attainable.
Nightguards for Grinding
Of all the conversations that take place in our office, tooth grinding is near the top of the list. It is very common in children although not necessarily desirable. It is usually harmless and in many cases will be out grown. Grinding usually occurs during sleep and can be very annoying to others. Children rarely experience pain and are not aware they are grinding. The causes can range from a growing face with jaws that are changing alignment, irregular bites, to children with higher levels of intensity, creativity or anxiety. Grinding may be very transient or may occur on a regular basis. We sometimes see a wearing down of enamel on baby teeth but this is rarely detrimental. If a child has had extensive fillings this "wearing down" can affect the longterm success of the filings. Night guards are not usually tolerated by young children and are often unsuccessful. We are certainly monitoring for any obvious signs of wear on the permanent teeth and will be more aggressive in our treatment recommendations.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are present in the maturing jaws of most children. Evolving tooth buds can often be detected on x-rays as early as age ten. These teeth often have insufficient space to be functional and can be impacted, or unable to erupt into the mouth. The use of a panoramic growth x-ray allows us to evaluate these teeth and discuss with you about the potential for removal, or extraction. We are very conservative in our approach and do not want to create extra dental experiences for your child.
When necessary, these extractions are usually performed by an oral surgeon.
They will advise you as to whether your child should/can be asleep or awake during the procedure. We will refer your child at the appropriate time based on jaw size, tooth position and rate of growth.
Injuries can occur when a child participates in recreational activities and organized sports. A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.
Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.
Ask us about custom and store-bought mouth protectors.
Graduating from Our Practice
Of all the issues that we face, this is sometimes the most tricky. By this time we have gained your child's confidence and trust, and hopefully have instilled in them a positive and comfortable dental attitude. Some children go through adolescence in a slow and timely manner. Others cannot wait to be adults. The appropriate age that children leave our practice varies and can be qutie individualized. Often the conversation comes down to whether your child now finds our office too juvenile (remember, we love treating your teenager but our office design has to be geared to our little ones who are beginning their dental experience) or whether certain needed dental procedures are now beyond our scope of expertise. We try to open the dialogue when we sense it is appropriate, but many times your child will inform you that they are ready to move on. This is often a very special moment. The last visit frequently ends with kind words, sometimes tears, a hug or handshake, and often remembrances of those first visit photographs that hung on your refrigerator years ago. We usually suggest that your child's next dental home be your adult dentist. In those cases where a referral is needed we will try to match you with a well trained adult dentist. As always, we truly appreciate your loyalty and dedication through the years. Your kind words, both written and spoken, are so valued.
Tobacco - Bad News In Any Form
Tobacco in any form can jeopardize your child’s health and cause incurable damage. Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco. Smokeless tobacco, also called spit, chew or snuff, is often used by teens who believe that it is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. This is an unfortunate misconception. Studies show that spit tobacco may be more addictive than smoking cigarettes and may be more difficult to quit. Teens who use it may be interested to know that one can of snuff per day delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. In as little as three to four months, smokeless tobacco use can cause periodontal disease and produce pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakias.