We hear this all the time from the new parents in our social circles, “She just got her first tooth, so it’ll be awhile before we need to bring her in to see you.” But, did you know that the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry actually recommend that your baby see a pediatric dentist within six months of his or her first tooth coming in? If your little tyke is close to his first birthday, don’t bother waiting the six months and bring him in for a birthday check-up. By having your child’s first visit at the family dentist sooner rather than later, you can help set him up for good dental health.
Avoid Tooth Decay
If you have even one tooth, you can get tooth decay. We don’t like to see decay ever, but it’s especially tough on little kids because they’re forming their dental habits. We want to avoid tooth decay in baby teeth (also called primary teeth), because it can sometimes lead to a higher risk of tooth decay in adult teeth.
By bringing your baby in early (within six months of his first tooth erupting, but before his first birthday) we can help set up a future with good dental health. For example, we can help you learn how to brush their teeth properly as well as discuss overall best health practices. Did you know that you shouldn’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth? The milk can pool around their teeth and start causing problems even at such a young age. Limiting sugary drinks and snacks can also help set up your baby’s great dental health.
A Few Tips To Make Your Visit Even Better
- Try to schedule a morning appointment, or when you know your child will be well-rested and cooperative.
- Never use a trip to the dentist as a punishment for behavior.
- Avoid bribing your child to go to the dentist.
Keep your child’s dental health top-notch by encouraging a positive association with the dentist and set them up for a healthy dental future!
Haven’t set up your baby’s first dental appointment? Give us a call today at 208-322-1112.
- Published in Pediatric Dentistry
If you have kids worrying is one of the daily duties that seem to come with the job of parenting. And if your child isn’t still in the crib, you may be wondering/worrying about thumb sucking. Is he or she sucking their thumb too much? Should they have stopped by now? Are they damaging their teeth?
In the Idaho Statesman, “Peanuts” and Linus may have a place, but he’s no role model. Still, you don’t have to worry too much; thumb sucking usually passes before children hit preschool age.
Here’s the deal on thumb sucking and its affect on the teeth from Dr. Wright.
What is normal thumb sucking?
Thumb sucking is a natural comfort behavior of a child. Sometimes during an ultrasound, you can see a fetus in the womb sucking his or her thumb. Thumb sucking can help a child feel secure and happy, and it can be soothing when there is anxiety such as when the child is separated from his or her parents. Thumb sucking or pacifier use can also help a child fall asleep.
How long can it go on?
Parents wonder about thumb sucking and when it should end. This is no time to be like Linus van Pelt, carrying around a blanket and thumb sucking well into elementary school. The American Dental Association recommends discouraging thumb sucking by the age of four. By this time, prolonged sucking can begin to affect the proper development of your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth. Continued thumb sucking can cause the permanent teeth to be misaligned, and that only spells the need for orthodontics later on.
If it continues into the five or six-year-old age the pressure from sucking will lead to changes in the mouth and teeth. The ADA says that the front teeth may begin to jut forward and the child’s bite will begin to open, meaning the upper and lower teeth won’t be able to touch. As the permanent teeth descend, they will start to become misaligned.
So, how do I break the habit?
OK, so maybe it’s time to help break the habit. There’s no need to put a couple drops of hot sauce on the thumb, as your neighbor may have touted as the perfect thumb-sucking breaker. Usually the best way to get your kid to stop sucking their thumb is to ignore the behavior. In most cases, kids just stop sucking their thumb one day. They usually start to understand that there is a point where sucking their thumb isn’t cool in certain social situations or when they compare to other kids.
Still, if it endures, try these tricks:
- Offer a pacifier to infants. They are easier to take away, obviously.
- Establish a chart and reward system, plotting progress on quitting.
- Encourage and praise all attempts to stop thumb sucking in your child.
Still have questions about thumb sucking and your child? Call us at Centennial, (208) 322-1112, and ask away.
- Published in Pediatric Dentistry
May is Older Americans Month, and this is a great opportunity to discuss dental problems that often occur in men and women who are 65 or older. Routine dental exams and cleanings are the best way to keep your smile healthy at any age, but you may be surprised about some of the things that can affect your teeth and gums.
The Return of Cavities
Like acne, cavities are perceived as being a problem that only occurs in younger patients as they learn good oral hygiene habits, but cavities are a common problem amongst older patients. After age 60, we enter what is considered the second stage of cavity development in our lifetimes.
The Culprit? Dry Mouth
Hundreds of medications result in dry mouth as a side effect. Without proper saliva levels, your teeth and gums are more vulnerable to bacteria, food particles, plaque and tartar. Some medical conditions also cause dry mouth, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. If you are taking care of a parent or grandparent who has been diagnosed with one of these conditions, pay special attention to their oral hygiene. Because of how dry mouth affects your smile, you should tell your dental hygienist about any changes to your medications and health, even if those changes seem minor.
Tips for Treating Dry Mouth in Older Patients
The medications that you take for cholesterol, anxiety, blood pressure and other conditions are important for your health and quality of life, so you can follow some tips to keep your mouth hydrated.
- Drink more water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Always keep a bottle with you.
- Ask your dentist about dental varnish or fluoride gel to protect your teeth from cavities.
- Keep a supply of sugar-free lozenges or gum handy to stimulate saliva production.
- Change your diet to reduce the amount of fruit juices, coffee, alcohol and sodas. Replace these with water. You can add some flavored electrolyte powders to give it flavor.
- Use a humidifier at home. This will keep your sinuses moist as well.
Learn More About Oral Hygiene for Older Patients. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
To learn more about dental services for older patients, dental implants, TMJ treatment and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule an appointment. You can contact our office in Boise directly at (208) 322-1112.
The mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies, and finding something unusual is the reason for concern. A dental exam is the best way to find out more about your bump, and you should take some steps to ensure that the problem does not get worse.
What Causes Bumps in the Mouth?
The cheeks and gums are prone to small injuries while your teeth are chewing foods, so finding a sore or tender area is fairly common. Some of the more surprisingly reasons that people develop bumps in the oral cavity are:
- Injured saliva ducts
- Sore caused by biting your cheek
- Digestive issues
- Trauma to the mouth
What are Types of Bumps Require Treatment?
- Oral thrush that develops when a certain type of fungus grows inside the mouth. The sores typically appear as whitish spots or bumps on the tonsils, upper palate, cheeks, and gums. The spots or bumps may increase in size. Infants, older patients and those with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for oral thrush.
- Fever blisters, also known as cold sores, look like little blisters on the edge of the mouth, inside the cheeks or on the lips. Fever blisters cause a great deal of discomfort, especially when chewing or talking.
- Canker sores are found on the gums along the bottom of the teeth, on the inside of the cheeks and the upper palate. The sores have a red border that surrounds a white center. As the condition progresses, the sore may grow larger, or you may develop several sores that are clustered.
- Abscessed teeth can cause small red bumps on the gums near the infected tooth. The condition requires immediate attention by an oral healthcare provider to stop the infection from spreading and causing damage to the bone.
- Leukoplakia appears as white bumps at the entry of the throat. Patients who smoke and have digestive problems typically develop these types of bumps.
- Oral cancer causes bumps on several areas of the mouth, such as under the tongue, upper palate and on the inside of the cheeks.
Do You Have an Unusual Bump in Your Mouth? Contact Centennial Dental Center.
If you have a bump in your mouth or would like to learn more about dental cleanings, same day crowns, and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule an appointment. You can contact our Boise office directly at (208) 322-1112.
- Published in Dental Exam
We spend a great deal of time interacting with other people. Social situations and business environments put us within other people’s personal spaces, so having bad breath can be uncomfortable for all involved. Understanding what is causing your bad breath helps you find a remedy and know when it is time for a dental exam.
The Breath Test
One of the most common techniques that is used for checking for breath odor is exhaling into a cupped hand and smelling the results. Does this really work? Not necessarily. Your mouth and nasal cavity are connected, and your brain is trained to ignore less obvious aromas, such as what might be found briefly after exhaling into your hand. A better technique is to follow a few steps:
- Test your saliva by licking your wrist and letting it dry.
- Use a spoon to collect saliva from your tongue. Pull the spoon gently from back to front and examine what appears on the spoon. If you notice a whitish substance, you may have halitosis. Sterile gauze can be used instead of a spoon.
Why Your Breath Smells
Before you panic about having bad breath, first ask yourself if you have eaten any foods that may cause the offensive odor. You should also consider your oral hygiene habits. Food particles and bacteria in the mouth can cause bad breath. A good brushing and flossing followed by an antiseptic mouth rinse may eliminate the problem. Dehydration may also give you stinky breath, so try increasing your water intake for a few days.
Dental Problems that Cause Bad Breath
If home remedies do not give you fresher breath, you may have a dental condition that requires treatment.
- Periodontal disease
- Yeast infections
- Dentures and other appliances that do not fit properly and allow bacteria to grow
- Dry mouth
Having your teeth and gums evaluated by a dentist is the best way to diagnose conditions that contribute to bad breath.
Learn More About Dental Exams and Chronic Bad Breath. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
To learn more about treatments for bad breath, dental exams, teeth whitening, dental implants and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center today to schedule an appointment. Our office is in Boise, and you can contact us directly at (208) 322-1112.
For more than 200 years, the tradition of spring cleaning has been followed by households around the world. The season was chosen as the perfect “tidy up” time of year because winter left behind layers of soot, grime, and dust. If you participate in this annual rejuvenation of all things homey, this is also the perfect time to shine up your smile with a professional dental cleaning.
Is Brushing and Flossing Enough to Keep My Smile Healthy?
Brushing and flossing are excellent oral hygiene habits to develop, yet even a perfect technique may leave behind small amounts of food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Professional dental cleanings remove any remaining build-up at the gum line and in those hard-to-reach places, such as behind your back teeth.
How Often Should I Have My Teeth Cleaned?
You should have a dental cleaning at least twice each year. If you have periodontal disease or deep pockets around your teeth, your hygienist may recommend cleanings every three months. Most insurances cover two cleanings per year.
Are Other Treatments Performed During My Dental Cleaning?
The dental cleaning is part of a comprehensive exam that helps identify any oral health problems. You may work only with the hygienist, or the dentist may also check for cavities and other concerns. X-rays may be taken during one of your cleaning appointments each year. We also take the time to provide education on ways that you can improve your at-home care.
What is Root Planing and Scaling?
Root scaling and scaling is a type of dental cleaning that goes below the gum line. The treatment is recommended for patients who have signs of periodontal diseases, such as:
- Swelling of the gums
- Bone loss
- Loose teeth
- Light-colored gums
- Exposed roots
Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, and you may need an implant to replace the tooth.
Is It Time for Your Spring Dental Cleaning? Contact Centennial Dental Center.
Contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule your spring dental exam and cleaning and to learn about cosmetic dentistry, treatment for TMJ, same day crowns and our other services. If you prefer, you can contact our office in Boise directly at (208) 322-1112.
Dental anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people avoid visiting their dentists on a regular basis. Some people are uncomfortable with the examination, and others are fearful of any discomfort. Dental anxiety ranges from a high level of stress and sleeplessness to panic attacks in the days before the appointment. At Centennial Dental Center, we want you to feel comfortable during every appointment, so we have some tips for managing your anxiety for your dental procedures.
Tip #1: Ask Questions
Dental procedures intimidate people of all ages because we have little understanding about our teeth and gums, as well as exactly why a procedure is necessary. Patient education is an important part of dental health, and we encourage you to ask questions before your procedure.
Tip #2: Understand Your Recovery
If you are having a procedure done, you may be concerned with the recovery process, such as any discomfort, how to eat and how long you need to heal. We recommend that you may have a list of questions to bring with you, and we can answer your questions before the procedure.
Tip #3: Be Patient
Feeling anxious about dental procedures is natural, so be patient with yourself. If you arrive at your appointment and feel overwhelmed, let us know. We may reschedule the appointment, or we can take steps to help you feel comfortable.
Tip #4: Try Sedation Dentistry
We offer sedation dentistry for patients who have difficulty managing their concerns about dental procedures. Talk to us about how you are feeling, and we will explain your options. We may prescribe a mild sedative that you take an hour before your appointment, or we may administer a sedative during your appointment.
Tip #5: Practice, Practice, Practice
As you experience more dental examinations and cleanings, you may find that your anxiety gradually disappears. We encourage you to work with us to keep you engaged in your treatments. As you have more positive and comfortable experiences, your anxiety may naturally subside.
Learn More About Sedation Dentistry. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
To learn more about sedation dentistry, dental exams, dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center today to schedule an appointment. We are conveniently located in Boise, Idaho, and you can call us directly at (208) 322-1112.
Having routine dental exams helps keep your smile healthy by detecting problems early and removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria that you miss with brushing and flossing. At the beginning of the appointment, your hygienist checks for signs of periodontal disease using a probe to measure the depth of pockets in your gums. A series of numbers are recorded, but what exactly do these numbers mean?
A periodontal pocket is a space where the gums do not attach to the teeth. In healthy teeth, the pocket remains at a specific depth between one and three millimeters. Your hygienist takes six measurements per tooth — three measurements on the tongue side and three measurements on the cheek side. On each side of the tooth, measurements are taken along the front, middle and back of the tooth. If probing the pocket reveals that the pocket is deeper than three millimeters, you have periodontal disease.
Monitoring Pocket Depth
Oral hygiene is not the only factor that influences your periodontal pocket depth. Smokers tend to have deeper pockets, and some medical conditions may cause your gums to have pockets that are deeper than three millimeters. If you have pockets that are in the moderate range, perhaps a five or seven, your dentist may recommend monitoring the area for any signs that periodontal disease is worsening.
Treatments for Deep Periodontal Pockets
Moderately deep periodontal pockets are typically treated with a deep cleaning that cleans the visible surface of the tooth, as well as a portion of the tooth below the gum line. This procedure is known as “root planing.” We may recommend x-rays to look for signs of tooth decay and bone loss, which may require extraction or another type of treatment.
Schedule Your Dental Exam Today. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
Having your periodontal pockets evaluated is an important part of having a healthy, beautiful smile. To learn more about routine dental exams, cosmetic dentistry, same day crowns and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule a personal consultation. We are conveniently located in Boise, Idaho, and you can call us directly at (208) 322-1112.
- Published in Periodontal Disease
Brushing and flossing remove food particles, bacteria, plaque and tartar from your teeth. If you are like most people, you struggle with flossing. Your hygienist explains the proper technique during your exam, and you even practice during the appointment. When you get home, though, the routine that seemed so simple becomes a complex and impossible task. We have put together some tips to help make flossing easier and even fun. If you try some of our recommendations, your next dental cleaning will be something that you look forward to and enjoy.
Floss Where You Relax
We typically combine our flossing and brushing, but many of us are too busy to take a few extra minutes to floss. Having your floss close by when you are relaxing improves the likelihood that you will floss. Put containers of floss around your house and office, and women can keep floss in their purses. Some of our favorite places to keep floss is near the remotes, next to the coffee pot and in our makeup bags.
Floss in Sections
If flossing all of your teeth takes too much time, you can floss small sections throughout the day. As you get more comfortable with using the technique, you can floss larger sections. The goal is to reach a point where you can quickly floss all of your teeth in just a few minutes.
Rewards motivate us to take on tasks that we may not necessarily enjoy. Find a way to reward yourself each time you floss. The rewards do not have to be extravagant, and you can give yourself larger rewards for flossing all of your teeth. Our favorite rewards are healthy treats, a few minutes of relaxing and putting a penny in a jar.
Learn More About Brushing and Flossing. Contact Centennial Dental Center.
Centennial Dental Center is your oral health partner, and we are happy to help you take better care of your teeth and gums. To learn more about routine dental cleanings, dental implants, teeth whitening and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Center to schedule a personal consultation. We are conveniently located in Boise, Idaho, and you can call us directly at (208) 322-1112.
- Published in Dental Care
Periodontal disease is an infection that develops in the gums around the teeth. Left untreated, the condition may lead to bone and tooth loss. You can reduce your risk of developing periodontitis by brushing and flossing at home, as well as having routine dental exams and cleanings. But even with the best oral hygiene practices, you may have some problem areas. Recognizing the signs of periodontal disease may reduce the damage to your teeth, gums and bone.
Periodontitis occurs when bacteria in plaque infiltrates your gums. The disease progresses as the bacteria multiplies and goes deeper into the soft tissue, eventually eroding the bone. As the infection spreads, your teeth are no longer protected and held in place by the gums.
Check Your Gums
The gums around your teeth should be firm and soft pink. Periodontitis causes bleeding gums. Even the smallest amount of blood when you brush and floss may indicate the onset of periodontal disease. As the bacteria grows, your gums may develop a reddish or purple color, be swollen and be tender when you touch them. You may also notice that more of the tooth is showing at the gum line. This happens when the gums pull away from the tooth.
Changes to Your Teeth
As periodontal disease continues to damage your gums, you may see changes in your teeth. The spaces between the teeth may expand, and you may notice a clear or white pus draining from the gums. Advanced cases of periodontitis may involve painful chewing, loose teeth and even a change in your bite.
Having Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, is natural in some people. If you do not normally have bad breath, a change in the way that your breath smells may indicate the onset of periodontitis.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Regular dental cleanings can correct the earliest cases of periodontal disease. More advanced cases may require a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove tartar and plaque. If you have bone loss due to periodontitis, we may recommend a bone graft. Extractions may be needed to protect the surrounding teeth.
Learn More About Periodontitis. Contact Centennial Dental Care.
To learn more about periodontal disease, dental implants and our other services, contact Centennial Dental Care. Our office is in Boise, Idaho, and you can call us directly at (208) 322-1112.
- Published in Dental Care