Posts for: April, 2016
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
We’ve all had physical ailments that were more irritating than serious. The problem of skin cracking at the corners of the mouth fits into that category.
Both dentists and dermatologists encounter this condition often and have a name for it: perleche, derived from the French word lecher, meaning “to lick.” The term arises from patients’ tendency to excessively lick the broken skin to soothe the itching or burning.
Perleche most often arises from certain mouth conditions, although systemic problems like anemia or diabetes may also cause it. Children or younger adults, especially those with orthodontic braces or a tendency to drool as they sleep, often develop perleche; older adults with wrinkling around the mouth are also susceptible. Mouth dryness caused by reduced saliva flow may also irritate the skin and cause discomfort.
As the skin becomes irritated, the person may begin to lick the corners of the mouth to soothe them. This sets up conditions for an infection, most often caused by yeast known as candida albicans. The infection may become more acute and begin to affect the entire inside of the mouth or throat.
If you’ve developed perleche, our primary treatment goal is to reduce any infection with the aid of oral or topical antifungal drugs. One drug, Nystatin, is often taken as a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth and works its way from there through the rest of the body. You can also apply antifungal ointments several times a day to the corners of the mouth, often in combination with steroid ointments that reduce redness and swelling. You can also apply antifungal zinc oxide paste to the cracked skin, which also serves as a barrier between the skin and outer contaminants.
To reduce the chance of future outbreaks, we may recommend you rinse with Chlorhexidine, as well as replace missing teeth or refit loose dentures — these too are contributing factors to erupting yeast infections. You might also need to undergo dermatologic treatment for wrinkles if they’ve proven to be a factor in developing perleche.
Although not a major problem, perleche can be exceedingly uncomfortable and embarrassing. Thanks to a number of treatment options, you don’t have to put up with that discomfort for long.
If you would like more information on perleche (angular cheilitis), please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Corners of the Mouth.”
Why you should think about porcelain veneers
You hardly recognize yourself. Your smile has become old, faded and dull. You have small chips in your front teeth, making your smile look uneven and unsightly. Porcelain veneers are the perfect choice to give you a bright celebrity-perfect smile quickly. Your new smile is just a phone call away from Dr. Neil Blavin of Briar Pointe Dentistry in Novi, Michigan.
You will love your new smile with porcelain veneers. They are the high-tech, versatile way to fix many cosmetic issues with your front teeth. Dr. Blavin wants you to know porcelain veneers are right for you if have teeth that are:
- Excessively worn down from a bad bite
- Cracked or chipped from aging
- Traumatically injured or broken
- Gapped or spaced apart from genetics
- Crowded or slightly overlapped
- Deeply discolored from medications like tetracycline
Porcelain veneers are thin laminates of beautiful porcelain, which is color-matched by Dr. Blavin to blend into your smile perfectly. They have many benefits including stain resistance, making them the perfect choice for coffee drinkers and smokers. They are also a strong and conservative treatment option because Dr. Blavin doesn’t remove much tooth structure, just enough to compensate for the thickness of the veneers.
Your porcelain veneer treatment will take between two and three appointments. The first appointment is typically a planning appointment when Dr. Blavin will tell you what to expect and you agree on the treatment plan. He begins your veneer treatment by lightly preparing your teeth for the veneers and then making molds of your teeth. Dental laboratory technicians take the molds and custom-make your new veneers. At your next appointment, Dr. Blavin will place and permanently cement your sparkling porcelain veneers in place.
With proper care, your porcelain veneers will last many years. Imagine years of beautiful smiles! Don’t you deserve it? Of course you do! Don’t settle for an aging, dull smile when you can have a dazzling new look. Call Dr. Neil Blavin of Briar Pointe Dentistry in Novi, Michigan and find out why dental veneers are right for you!