Other Types of Treatment

Early Dental Care | Dental Flouride | Snoring Therapy | Endodontics

Early Dental Care

Teething

Normally the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.

While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant's mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child's teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.

Infant's New Teeth

The primary, or "baby," teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.

Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems—hence, the need for regular care and dental check-ups.

A Child's First Dental Visit

A child's first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with a doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow the child to sit in a parent's lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel.

Why Primary Teeth Are Important

Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.

Good Diet and Healthy Teeth

The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.

Infant Tooth Eruption

A child's teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or "baby" teeth push through the gums—the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.

Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth—32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child's mouth.

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Dental Fluoride

Rest assured at Zumbro View Dental that we acknowledge and honor individual parent and patient preferences regarding the use of fluoride in their individual oral care routines. Some patients prefer not to include such. We enjoy all dialogue and honor those preferences. The following contains general information that summarizes options for those that do prefer to consider and receive fluoride in their oral hygiene care.

Zumbro View Dental continues to receive continuing education in the area of preventive dentistry. One longstanding topic that is still modern is dental fluoride. This extremely effective preventive tool is safe, cost effective and practical when used in delicate and controlled doses for your child or yourself. We look forward to discussing this more with you on a case-by-case basis.

Two main strategies are used with dental fluoride to help the tooth’s enamel for a child or adult:

  • “Embedding” it within the enamel while the child’s baby and permanent teeth are forming (birth to 16 years of age).
  • “Surface soaks” of any baby or adult erupted tooth with varying options below.

 

Embedding Fluoride

Between birth and 16 years old, you usually have the chance to embed fluoride into the developing enamel two ways:

  1. Drinking city water enriched with fluoride. Most cities accomplish this with cautions for some kitchen filters at risk for taking out such fluoride discussed below.
  2. Oral prescription daily supplements – most applications for well water families discussed below.
    • Prescription fluoride daily oral supplements: One key element to some children’s routines is a prescription fluoride supplement. This typically applies to children whose dominant diet and water intake comes from well water and not fluoride-treated city water systems. Sometimes this comes from a stronger-style kitchen water filtration system on the main kitchen water sourced-faucet or refrigerator filter system.
    • Parents are encouraged to clarify any risk of fluoride being filtered from your cooking and drinking water. Parents can  provide a well-water or kitchen filtered water sample to a local utility agency for fluoride testing to be accurate of fluoride content prior to any prescription. Most filter manufacturers are also able to answer this question with a customer service department contact.
    • Most parents in our practice with home well water in Southeastern Minnesota elect this daily fluoride prescription-dosed supplement for their children. Some children take varying doses from 6 months of life to 16 years old. All doses are well studied, small and safe. This form of dosing enriches the enamel of the tooth actually during development and is quite effective in helping strengthen enamel for a lifetime once the tooth is erupted in the mouth. Carefully consider this supplement if you have well water at your home.

Surface Soaks

After any tooth has erupted into the mouth, whether or not you experienced embedding fluoride into your enamel, all patients can pursue “surface soaks”.

  • Home over-the-counter toothpaste: Home fluoride exposure within your child’s “regular” toothpaste can only be introduced when the child can predictably spit out the foam at the end of any brushing session. This dosing is effective and safe. Please ensure “pea-sized” amounts – especially in younger years.
  • Home fluoride rinse: Over-the-counter products can be used to supplement fluoride when certain children are more prone to cavities. Recommendations are made occasionally.
  • Prescription fluoride at any child or adult’s cleaning appointment: Most parents elect at least once per year for their children to receive a “topical” application of a unique fluoride immediately at the end of their appointment with the hygienist. This time-honored application is quite effective in enriching the enamel after the tooth has erupted. The fluoridated paste used is highly concentrated and contains a much higher dosage than over-the-counter toothpastes.
  • Prescription toothpastes: High strength (prescription strength) toothpastes are available usually for adult teeth with special needs. These products are specifically not for children. Many adults find themselves prone to cavities for varying reasons. Weaker enamel can occur from excessive soda pop sipping, sports drink sipping or creamed and/or sugared coffee or tea sipping in the past. Also, many medications can also result in reduced saliva content in the mouth which heightens cavity risks. Some adults have gum recession which exposed softer roots of teeth which can be more prone to decay. While simplified for discussion here – using a high concentration fluoride toothpaste and intentionally NOT rinsing it away (just spitting out excess foam and residue) is an excellent means to reduce cavity risk on otherwise frail, vulnerable and delicate areas of your mouth.

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Snoring Therapy

Snoring affects millions of people of all ages, both male and female. At Zumbro View Dental, we acknowledge that many patients are unaware if they snore and/or if it is considered a problem. Any concerns shared by you would initiate our team to pursue the cause of your snoring. If a problem is suspected, understanding why is foundational. Common causes of snoring described below would be assessed either uniquely by our team or in concert with your medical physician and their team.

Common Causes of Snoring

Snoring is caused by the vibrations of your soft and/or hard tissue palates; these vibrations occur because of increasingly narrow air passages. When air passes through these passages, a “flapping” sound occurs because the tissue is soft in nature. Surgery (to alleviate the snoring) is not always successful, however, because the sound may not originate from the soft palate; the snoring sometimes originates from tissues in the upper airway.

Common causes:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Health problems
  • Obesity
  • Obstructed nasal passages – deviated septum
  • Poor muscle tone of the tongue
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies

Sleep Apnea

Loud snorers may have a more serious case of blocked air passages, known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). In these cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea can contribute or lead to many other conditions, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and depression, so it is important to be diagnosed by a medical professional if you experience any sleep-related symptoms.

Therapy

Therapy options continue to evolve, especially for sleep apnea. One common medically provided therapy is the “CPAP” device. Regretfully, even after diagnosis and CPAP education, encouragement and instructions, a significant percentage of patients do not use their CPAP aides because they are not able to adapt to it. At Zumbro View Dental, we highly encourage all such patients to stay in close communication with their physician and respective teams and keep an open mind to all hints and encouraging suggestions to maximize comfort and adaptation.

However, where we can help is that whether you cannot adapt to a CPAP aide or if you suffer from another reason for severe snoring, you may be a candidate for oral appliance therapy. Careful and detailed care may minimize snoring, enhance comfort and alleviate some symptoms described above.

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Endodontics

We are proud to offer our patients the latest in root canal therapy for front and back teeth. A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthened filler.

A common misconception is that a root canal is a painful procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled and can be provided with high levels of comfort. We utilize the most state-of-the-art anesthesia for optimum comfort and care.  The most important element of your care is to seek our services early on if you have suspicious findings in your mouth or unusual symptoms.  Early care is important to maximize your comfort and provides you the best results.

There are a number of reasons a root canal may be necessary, including:

  • Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
  • Severe sensitivity to hot and cold elements
  • Tooth decay
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Blow to the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
  • Repeated dental procedures on a tooth

When left untreated, these problems can lead to severe tooth decay reaching the root of the tooth, causing extensive damage to the tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, we can perform a root canal to preserve the tooth and retain its original integrity.

The root canal procedure involves the following steps:

  • The patient undergoes anesthesia.
  • A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
  • The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
  • The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
  • With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
  • The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
  • A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening
  • Following a recovery period, the patient will return for the placement of a permanent restoration.

We will work with each patient individually to discuss the details of your treatment and any possible alternatives. Our top priority is to provide you with the highest standard of care.

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