Tag Archive for: dental care

Our gums are the foundation of our mouth and teeth. We only get one set, and they need to last our whole life– but do you know the signs of potential problems with your gums? Gum disease affects a large portion of the population in the USA alone. It is also a top dental issue among many patients.

It’s time to take gum disease seriously. So what’s the solution?

Acting first by identifying the problem and receiving the right care can help prevent and treat existing conditions before they become worse.

So, what are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?

1. Bleeding gums

This is probably one of the most common and obvious signs of gum disease. It’s important not to scrub your teeth too hard while brushing, but to still be effective while caring for your gums. However, if your gums are still bleeding despite being gentle then it’s important to mention this to your dental health care professional.

2. Tender or sore gums

Your gums being tender or sore can be a sign that your gums are in need of care and attention. Gums in general should not feel bruised, or hurt while you are chewing.

3. Swollen and inflamed gums

This can often be a symptom of infection or even some trauma to the gum tissue.

4. Receding gums

This happens when the gum tissue begins to pull away from around the teeth and expose the root structure. As a result, this can make your teeth appear larger due to the loss of gum tissue.

5. Loss of teeth or loose teeth

Teeth falling out or becoming loose can be the result of gum disease. If gums are not strong enough to hold your teeth, then teeth will begin to become loose and may come out on their own. This can affect the overall structure of your mouth once you start to lose teeth.

6. Painful chewing

When it’s painful to chew and there has been no trauma to your mouth, it can be an indicator of underlying gum issues.

If any of these signs or symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to see your dental health care professional and find out if you have gum disease.

Gums must be vulnerable then?

Your gums, like many other parts of your body, can be subject to illness. Periodontitis, the formal name for gum disease, if left untreated, will affect the structure and stability of your teeth. Without gums, what supports the teeth in the mouth?

As mentioned your gum tissue can be subject to illness, but it can also link to other illnesses in your body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to chronic and life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. These all have the potential to impact a person if left untreated, just like gum disease does. While this list of overall health conditions seems intense, the list does not end there. In fact, periodontal/gum health is even linked to the health of your skin.

Ultimately the goal is to have a whole health outlook. The entire body benefits from a healthy oral cavity and gum tissue.

So what can a patient do to prevent gum disease?

Being aware is key, and looking at your gum tissue to monitor it at home. Healthy gums are pink and fit tightly and firmly around the tooth. Look at where the gum tissue surrounds the tooth, and see if it looks like your tooth is longer in appearance.

Good oral hygiene care at home is a key component to maintaining healthy gum tissue but also to reduce the risk of gum disease. Brushing twice daily for two minutes each time with a soft or extra soft toothbrush (electric or manual) helps to condition the gum tissue to a healthy status. Flossing daily (with string floss, floss picks, or water flossers) can help to reduce bacteria under and between the gum tissue and the tooth.

These two activities are like exercise for your gum tissue and will help to maintain things long term.

Visit Dentists for Extra Help

Regular dental visits can help to monitor the condition of your teeth and gum health. X-rays that are taken routinely to help to monitor bone levels surrounding the tooth structure and in turn can help monitor gum tissue levels.

In addition to x-rays, your dental hygienist and dentist will measure your gum levels to ensure they are supporting your teeth properly. These measurements can also assist in evaluating how successful you are with your oral hygiene home care routine.

Being mindful of your overall health is important as we mentioned because if other health conditions are not well-maintained or under the control of a physician, these things can directly correlate to unhealthy gum tissue.

Your dentist and dental hygienist are experts in caring for gum health, and in caring for YOU. The first step is to talk to your dental health care professionals about any observations or questions you have about your gum health.

Learn more about what Dr. Wilmer can do for your continued dental health, make an appointment today to prevent gum disease, and enjoy a healthy smile forever!

Let’s talk about teeth, in particular the ones of the non-perfect variety.

Orthodontic work has come a long way, and still offers tried and true methods for straightening teeth.

But time moves on, and with it so does our motivation to explore other options. 

After reviewing the limited choices available for straighter teeth, the welcomed introduction of Invisalign gave patients a new way forward.

It is the least invasive way to go about the correction of your smile.

While a lot has been said and even more read about this innovative way of teeth straightening, there are a few things you might not know.

Invisalign Facts You May Not Know

1. History of Invisalign

In their day, metal braces were created to straighten the un-straightenable, and there was a great deal of applause for the technology.

Though as time went on and technology became better, we decided not to submit people to what was essentially an exercise in patience and discomfort. The search was on for something better.

A young Stanford University student and a few of his colleagues invented a new design, then a product that evolved into a series of what are essentially clear retainers, known as aligners.

Tada! Invisalign was born and ready to take on the metal wire-weary world.

2. A Faster Way to Straighten Teeth

Some things take time…and some don’t. One of the key areas of appeal is it generally takes less time to straighten teeth using Invisalign than through traditional metal braces.

Depending on your treatment, these clear aligners can take around six months. 

The complexity of your needs will be the ultimate decider for the length of your treatment.

3. I Can Eat That?

Eating certain foods can create problems for traditional brackets and wires. Hard or chewy foods usually cause metal brackets to break, and sticky foods make brackets and wires harder to clean. This can lead to diseases like cavities and periodontal disease.

These problems are non-existent with Invisalign. It makes enjoying your favorite foods so much easier…and you can eat anything! 

Simply take out the aligners, eat, brush, floss, and place them back in!

4. Treat Aligners with Respect

Cleaning and taking care of the aligners is just as important as brushing your teeth!

It’s simple. Rinse the aligner every time you take them out. This will help prevent any build-up of bacteria. Make sure to also clean the aligners daily by brushing them with anti-bacterial soft soap and a toothbrush.

You can even use denture cleaning tablets for an easier way to clean them.

5. You Still Need to See a Dentist

This is not a set-and-forget undertaking.

Just like with metal braces, your dentist is here to guide you and see how your Invisalign progress is tracking. The good news is that Invisalign check-ups tend to take less time than traditional orthodontic appointments.

Digital scans allow your provider to see exactly how each tooth is progressing, so you are more likely to finish your treatment on time.

Regular cleaning and care of your teeth are still important to ensure continued mouth health.

Remember that your mouth is the gateway to your body and the keeper of your health. Don’t forget to keep it clean and cared for! 

Schedule an Apointment With a Dentist in Richmond, VA to Get Started With Invisalign 

With Invisalign, a new smile can help you on the road to happiness and well-being. Better dental health means your entire body has a chance to stay mentally and physically healthier for longer.

Contact us today to learn more about how Invisalign can help you get the smile you want to last a lifetime.

Over the years I have had numerous questions regarding dental care for babies, infants, and young children from families in our practice. My goal for every patient is to provide comprehensive dental care at all stages in life. So when I can start addressing questions and concerns at a very young age, I am able to educate both children and parents on how important dental hygiene is and start the entire family on a path to perfect dental health for the rest of their lives!

Common Questions About Dental Hygiene for Children

“When should I bring my child in for their first visit?”

First visits for children are such a crucial time to provide a positive experience and start the habit of good dental hygiene. We support the recommendation from the American Association for Pediatric Dentistry that a baby should come to the dentist for their first visit when the first tooth erupts or when they reach age 1 — whichever comes first. At your child’s first dental visit, we try to keep it easy and fun! A dental visit for a little one should be positive and all smiles (from you too, parents)! Typically, what we will discuss includes current homecare habits regarding toothbrushing, gum stimulation, bottle habits, and pacifier habits, and our recommendations if any habit needs an adjustment. My hygienist and I will examine the outside of your child’s face and inside of their mouth to ensure there is nothing abnormal with their anatomy. We both will also check on the health of the existing gum tissue and teeth (if present). When looking at these areas, we want to see pink healthy gum tissue without any red irritation or bleeding. For teeth, we hope to see shiny, smooth, and clean teeth with good spacing. Every mouth develops differently, so I monitor the growth and development of your child’s mouth at each visit.

“It’s just a baby tooth! He’s going to lose it anyway, can we just pull it out? It would cost less.”

dental hygiene for kids I hear this weekly! In fact, baby teeth are crucial to the development of the bone structure in the mouth for children as they develop physically, not to mention they hold the place in the bone for adult teeth to develop and erupt. In fact, many don’t know that baby teeth are actually softer and more susceptible to cavities than adult teeth and have been identified as one of the top causes of children missing school, due to dental pain. Children should never have to experience this kind of pain, so regular visits at least every 6 months can help to prevent this with baby teeth!

As your child ages, we hone in on good habits for their growing bodies and mouths. The best habits always start at a young age and, as I have learned as a mom of two, children see everything we do! They will watch you for guidance on their dental homecare habits and mimic them without you even knowing. Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time helps to remove any bacteria, sugars, and acids from the tooth surface. This prevents long term damage like tooth pain or loss for baby AND adult teeth! And children actually need you to brush their teeth (or at least double check them) until the age of 10, when their dexterity is capable of doing so themselves. My favorite website resource for parents and kids, with tips, tricks, and fun activities is http://www.2min2x.org/

“Well, I can definitely help them brush well—but do I really need to floss their baby teeth?”

dental hygiene for kids The answer is YES! Especially when teeth touch, but in general you want to get children used to cleaning the space between the teeth. This is the most common area for cavities to form, and the easiest way to avoid this is to floss regularly. The wonderful thing about toothbrushes, floss and other dental products is that there are so many options now! Between electric toothbrushes that play music, flavored floss picks shaped like dinosaurs, and waterpiks—there are so many options out there to help your child to become comfortable with something that works for their dental homecare. For many small children, it’s so hard for them to wrap floss around their fingers, which makes the floss picks an AWESOME option for them to use! It’s also great for parents to use so your fingers don’t get bitten (ask me how I know!). There are so many fun colors, flavorings, and animals/shapes; I guarantee you will have fun picking them out together!

From toothbrush to toothpaste, you have probably noticed that there are so many products to choose from! For toothbrushes, we recommend a soft or extra soft toothbrush with a small, oval-shaped toothbrush head; soft will not hurt the gums and a small head can reach all the little places in those tiny mouths. There are even some really neat and fun electric children’s toothbrushes that have stickers and music to make them interactive. With toothpaste, it’s hard to pick something that you feel will clean little teeth well but that they won’t just eat right off of the toothbrush. For toddlers, it is often best to use fluoride-free toothpaste until the child understands and demonstrates the difference between spitting and swallowing. Once this has happened, it’s a good time to transition them to a toothpaste containing fluoride. When looking at how much toothpaste to put on the brush, I recommend a dab of toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice. Once they have reached the age of understanding the difference between spitting and swallowing, you can transition to a pea-size of toothpaste. Goodness knows if you aren’t careful, there will be toothpaste coating the sink and the bathroom mirror (again, ask me how I know)!

When it comes to food for kids, it can be so hard to balance good nutritious meals with what the kids will actually eat. Every parent has that frustration of getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies! However, my general rule is to have juice and sugary treats with a meal. If your baby or child goes to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, make sure it contains only water. Milk, juice, or soda will coat the teeth in sugar and acid and can cause cavities to form. Regular water drinking, in general, can help to keep moisture in a child’s mouth and rinse off cavity-causing bacteria. Sports and energy drinks are often consumed during sporting events and activities, however they contain high sugar and acid levels. These will coat the teeth and leave them susceptible to bacteria and cavities. It’s good to limit these and encourage water intake instead!

Schedule an Appointment for Your Child With a Kid-Friendly Dentist in Richmond, VA

Needless to say, there is so much to consider when it comes to our children and their dental health. Our primary jobs as parents are to protect them and keep them healthy, and the more you understand about their dental health, the easier it is to do! At the Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond, we pride ourselves in maintaining a comfortable and kid-friendly environment for your child. Book an appointment with us today or contact us for more information.