Uncategorized

Children’s oral health: Starting early

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear, which is typically around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.

The good news is that tooth decay is preventable!

Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.

Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth:
•Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
•For children younger than 3 years, caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.

A_Z_PeasRice

•For children 3 to 6 years of age, caregivers should dispense no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to minimize swallowing of toothpaste.
•Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

First dental visits:
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable.
To make the visit positive:
•Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
•Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize the positive.
Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
•Never bribe your child.
•Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.

During this visit, you can expect Dr. Scopu to:
•Inspect for oral injuries, cavities or other problems.
•Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
•Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
•Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumbsucking habits.
•Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.

Smoking impacts your oral health

Its common knowledge that smoking is terrible for your overall health. When you really think about it, it’s your oral health that gets affected first. After all, it’s the first part of your body that the smoke, tar, and all those other chemicals hit first.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most serious illness caused by smoking that is directly related to dental health is oral cancer. Studies have shown that over 90% of people who have any form of oral cancer are smokers, and that people who smoke are six times more likely to contract the disease than non-smokers.

Smoking also affects the gums, and can cause periodontal disease. It starts out as gum discoloration, and the more tar particles that build up in your gum tissue, the more likely you will get periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to a whole array of dental issues such as loose teeth and extractions. 

Eventually, your gums will become inflamed, which causes the bones underneath to become infected. Tooth deterioration and loss are inevitable for heavy smokers.

Another important effect to consider is the inevitable yellowing of the teeth and the constant cigarette breath. Those two factors alone are aesthetically unpleasant, not to mention that smoking increases a build up or tartar and plaque around the teeth. 

In general, no form of tobacco is safe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chewing, smoking, or inhaling your tobacco; if your mouth is in regular contact with tobacco, it is dangerous and can cause cancer.  The most effective way to prevent oral cancer is to not smoke or use tobacco.

While it is difficult for most smokers to quit, it is a personal achievement that will reward you for a long time to come.  Not only will you live a longer, happier life, but you’ll enjoy a great white smile and fresh breath as well. You now know how smoking negatively impacts your oral health and we hope this helps you make the commitment to quit. By simply quitting smoking, smokers, can, over time, reduce their risk levels and the sooner one quits, the greater the reduction in risk levels.

Making your child’s dental visits a smooth process.

 Fear of the dentist is pretty common for kids, especially for younger ones who can get overwhelmed with all the lights, sounds, smells and tools.

Regular checkups and cleanings are as important for children as they are for adults, and it’s vital to help them feel comfortable so they don’t form dentist-avoidance habits in the future. Here are a few things you can try to help them overcome their fears and make your trips to the dentist pleasant ones.

• Talk to your child about the dentist and create excitement. Don’t say “It won’t hurt” or “Don’t be afraid” because your child many not even associate these with a visit to the dental office until you bring it up.
• Explain the importance of prevention to them. They may find teeth cleanings a little uncomfortable, but it’s by far the least invasive procedure.
• The younger your child is when they begin regular visits, the better chance that they will grow accustomed to dental visits rather than developing a fear of them. Even if at each appointment the child just sits on the chair to get familiar with the dental office, little by little they will become comfortable with dental visits and the dentist. 
• Schedule their dental appointments at the same time as yours when possible and have them in the room with you while you get your teeth cleaned. This will show them that there is nothing to fear.
• Keep dental visits consistent (about every 6 months) to avoid problems associated with long breaks, like cavities and plaque buildup. Remember, the longer the break between visits, the longer and more difficult the cleaning will be.
• Let Dr. Scopu or one of the dental assistants know if your child is a little nervous, and they’ll do everything they can to help ease their fears. At DentAlign studio, we deal with this all the time and have gotten pretty good at helping kids feel comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Paola H.

Understanding Dental Insurance

As dental professionals, we get asked all the time “what is the best insurance?” or a variation of “Why is dental coverage so lousy?”.

And our patients have a point. Dental insurance typically is pretty lousy, for the patient and the dentist. There’s not enough coverage, too many things aren’t covered at all, the co-pays are too high, and the limitations are fairly strict. But why is this so?

And the reason is a fairly simple one, dental insurance is simply not profitable to insurance companies. Now, why isn’t it profitable … well, there are lots of reasons and speculation for that. I wish I could say “well, it’s because of XYZ, and if that gets fixed, it’s all sunshine and rainbows” (or fillings and root canals if you prefer). But that’s just not so.

dental-insurance

But when you change your perspective about dental coverage, you will begin to understand that dental care should not be limited to accommodate what insurance companies will cover. For instance, many dental policies have very strict guideliness that (unfortunately) determine the treatment plan for the patient. These guideliness are a broad “one size fits all” approach to dental care, which really hinders the treatment that a dentist can offer on a case per case basis. If your dentist is only giving you the options that your insurance will cover, chances are you are not getting the whole story about what treatment might be better.

For example, some policies that do not cover endodontic treatment for certain teeth would instead cover an extraction.

The best way to take full advantage of your insurance coverage is by understanding how it works. It may seem daunting at first and each insurance plan is designed differently, however there are some basics that can help you get a better idea of how you’re covered.

If you have the benefit of dental insurance provided by your employer, consider yourself lucky. Think of this benefit as a valuable “coupon” that can greatly reduce the cost of dental care. Almost all dental plans are the result of a contract between your employer and an insurance company. Your dental coverage is not based on what you need or what your dentist recommends. Employers generally choose to cover some, but not all, of employees’ dental costs.

For the most part, insurance coverage is broken down into three or four categories: preventive care, basic, major and orthodontic.

Preventive care is usually covered by the insurance by 100%. Routine cleanings, exams dental xrays, flouride treatment and children’s sealants are usually covered as preventive. However, most insurances limit the frequency of each of these services. Some patients may require to upkeep with more frequent dental cleanings due to active orthodontic treatment or periodontal issues, but insurances will limit the number of times a cleaning can be performed.

Basic care is usually covered at a percentage, leaving the patient with copayments to cover the portions that the insurance will not pay. Additionally, most policies have a yearly deductible that applies for basic work. This deductible can vary for each plan. Usual services under basic care are fillings, deep cleanings, root canals, and some simple extractions among other services.

Major work usually requires a pre approval from the insurance company. If the proposed treatment is approved, the insurance will notify the patient what percentage is their financial responsibility. Most major work consists of prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, partial and complete dentures and occasionally some oral surgery or surgical extractions.

Additionally, some policies may cover braces. Orthodontic treatment is also covered at a percentage of the fees and it needs to be pre approved by the dental insurance. The guideliness they follow to determine eligibility for this service, may not always benefit the patient.

To provide “full coverage,” an insurance company would have to charge more for premiums than a consumer would deem worth spending. So we get this hybrid “this is covered up to that amount/waiting periods/low maximums/no coverage at all” scenario that we’re in. Which really helps nobody — insurance companies don’t like it, as dental profesionals, we don’t like it and patients don’t like it.

There are no easy answers. But at least now you sort of have an inkling as to how dental insurance works.

What do you think about this subject?

Until next time, keep smiling.

by: Paola H

What is periodontal disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not be aware that you have it, but if left untreated it can gradually become a worsening condition that deteriorates the tissue and bone that support teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss.

However, tooth loss is not the only possible problem posed by periodontal disease. Research has shown that there is a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. (Heart disease and stroke). High stress may also be linked to periodontal disease. Not to mention increased sensitivity and unsightly tartar around inflamed, puffy gums.

thC1FBP15Z

What causes periodontal disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that irritate and inflame the gums. Thorough and consistent oral hygiene removes plaque that accumulates around the teeth and gums, However, if plaque says on teeth it can harden and build up in and around the gums. Once plaque hardens, only a dental professional can remove the tartar that accumulates in the gums.

Inflamed gums can pull away from the teeth forming spaces called pockets. Once the gum recedes, the tooth’s roots may become exposed leaving the patient with increased sensitivity to temperature changes and touch. Bacteria can accumulate in these pockets and worsen the condition. When inflammation or infection of the gums is allowed to progress without treatment, the infection can spread from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth eventually leading to tooth loss.

a32_011

Symtoms
You can have periodontal disease without any clear symptoms, that’s why regular dental check ups are important. Some symptoms include:

-bad breath

-gums that appear red or shiny

-gum bleeding when brushing

-gums that are tender

-loose teeth

-swollen gums

Treatment.

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the disease. If caught early, and no damage has been done to the bone or supporting structures under the teeth, your dentist may do a simple cleaning. With a more severe periodontal disease a deep cleaning or scaling and root planing may be needed. In this treatment, the dentist will remove all tartar accumulated under the gums and smooth the tooth’s root surfaces so that the surrounding gum tissue can regenerate around it.

Your dentist may also prescribe medicines to help control infections and pain. These medicines can be orally administered, in the form of pills, moth rinse or they can be directly applied to the affected area by a dentist. A referral to a periodontist, ( a gum specialist) may be given. In very severe cases of advanced periodontal disease, surgery may be an option.

Preventing gum disease

Regular dental check ups and good oral hygiene are key to maintain healthy gum and overall dental health. Smoking can exacerbate existing conditions or it may be the cause of gingivitis. You don’t have to loose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, keep up with oral hygiene habits, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

by: Paola H.

EZLase™ Laser Whitening

Most of us start out with sparkling white teeth, thanks to their porcelain-like enamel surface. Composed of microscopic crystalline rods, tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acids caused by sugar and other foods. But over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin – the tooth’s core material – to show through.

Some foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, wine or certain vegetables, tobacco use, poor dental hygiene, illness, some medications and advancing age can all contribute to noticeable tooth discoloration.  By making some minor lifestyle changes you may be able to prevent this. For instance, If you’re a smoker or a  regular coffee drinker you may  consider cutting back on caffeine or tobacco- or quitting altogether. Getting regular dental cleanings by a trained dental professional will also remove surface staining and plaque from accumulating in your teeth and gums dulling your pearly whites.

However, for a more drastic, noticeable and quick improvement, an in-office teeth whitening procedure may give you the results you’re looking for.

ezlase

At DentAlign Studio, Dr Scopu uses the latest state of the art teeth whitening procedure with the EZlase™ System. This procedure is one of the most advanced teeth whitening systems available to dental patients.

Ezlase™ is an advanced laser technology developed by BIOLASE Technology, the leader in dental lasers for over 20 years. EZLase™ Laser Teeth Whitening is one of the most advanced teeth whitening systems available today.

Laser teeth whitening is safer, longer lasting, and can whiten teeth that are severely discolored. This treatment works for patients with difficult to whiten teeth, stained teeth and the most challenging shades to treat: grey and brown. This laser whitening procedure takes less than half the time of other in-office methods and unlike other whitening systems, it does not use UV lights.

You are only 20 minutes away from a bright beautiful smile, call our office today for an appointment.

whitening

by: Paola H.

Dentalign studio now offering Insignia braces.

Insignia is the customization of orthodontic braces, made to perfectly model the shape of your teeth and help you achieve a flawless smile. Unlike regular braces, Insignia is the most advanced orthodontic system available today. There are many pros to Insignia as an alternative to regular braces.
Instead of regular, stock braces and arch wires being used on your teeth Insignia customizes a special fit just for you. Also, digital planning and 3D visibility allows your dentist to add precise detail and customization to your teeth instead of eyeing bracket placement with regular braces and manual adjustment, thus saving a lot of time.

Insignia also uses a new digital technology that allows the patient to see what your new smile will look like after the treatment is completed.

The placement of insignia takes much less time and is much more efficient. For example regular braces take approximately two hours for placement, while Insignia takes about forty-five minutes. Thus, customization means less wearing time in braces and also a more comfortable adjustment. Insignia allows for you to achieve the perfect smile, quicker, and more comfortably than ever before.

For further information please call Dentalign Studio (718)821-7432.

By: Lillian B