Your baby will grow into an adult so rapidly it will seem like they're changing right before your eyes. And some of the biggest changes will happen with their teeth, gums and jaw structure.
Unfortunately, disease or a traumatic accident could short-circuit this natural process and potentially create future dental problems. Here are 4 things you should be doing now to protect your baby's long-term dental health.
Start oral hygiene now. Even if your baby has no visible teeth, there may still be something else in their mouth—bacteria, which could trigger future tooth decay. To reduce bacteria clean their gums with a clean, wet cloth after each feeding. When teeth begin to appear switch to brushing with just a smear of toothpaste on the brush to minimize what they swallow.
Make your baby's first dental appointment. Beginning dental visits around your baby's first birthday will not only give us a head start on preventing or treating tooth decay, but could also give us a better chance of detecting other developing issues like a poor bite (malocclusion). Early dental visits also help get your child used to them as routine and increase the likelihood they'll continue the habit as adults.
Watch their sugar. Bacteria love sugar. So much so, they'll multiply—and more bacteria mean an increase in one of their by-products, mouth acid. Increased mouth acid can erode tooth enamel and open the way for decay. So, limit sugary snacks to only meal time and don't give them sugary drinks (including juices, breast milk or formula) in a bottle immediately before or while they sleep.
Childproof your home. A number of studies have shown that half of all accidents to teeth in children younger than 7 happen from falling on home furniture. So, take precautions by covering sharp edges or hard surfaces on chairs, tables or sofas, or situate your child's play areas away from furniture. And when they get older and wish to participate in sports activities purchase a custom mouthguard to protect their teeth from hard knocks—an investment well worth the cost.
If you would like more information on dental care for your child, 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 “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Could you benefit from crowns or bridges? River Forest and Chicago, IL, dentists Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch, and Dr. Frances Lynch of Lynch Dental Center share some commonly asked questions about crowns and bridgework.
What is the difference between crowns and bridges?
Crowns are hollow restorations custom-designed to fit over teeth. They're made of durable materials, such as porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal.
Bridges consist of one or more artificial teeth, or pontics, connected to crowns, known as abutments. The crowns fit over teeth on either side of the gap in your teeth and anchor the bridge in your mouth.
Before you receive a bridge or a crown, your tooth must be prepared. This ensures that the crown or bridge will fit correctly. Both crowns and bridges are created in dental laboratories and usually take about two weeks to complete. While you wait for your new restoration, you'll wear a temporary crown or bridge.
How can a bridge help me?
Bridges improve your smile by filling the gap in your teeth, but that's not their only benefit. The little things you take for granted, such as biting into a crisp apple, can become very difficult after you've lost a tooth or two. Bridges restore your ability to chew easily and also prevent your other teeth from drifting, a problem that often occurs after tooth loss.
When are crowns recommended?
We may recommend crowns during your visit to our River Forest or Chicago office if you have:
- Imperfections: Pitted or discolored teeth, or other small flaws, disappear when crowns are added to your teeth.
- Shape or Length Issues: An unusually shaped or short tooth can affect your appearance and your bite. Crowns lengthen teeth and improve the way they look
- A Fragile Tooth: Teeth can become fragile if they're cracked, brittle or have undergone certain dental procedures, such as a root canal or a large filling. Crowns prevent fragile teeth from fracturing.
- A Fracture: Fractured teeth are often painful and impair your ability to chew comfortably. Fortunately, crowns offer an effective way to restore your tooth and eliminate pain caused by exposure of the broken ends to the air.
Crowns and bridges offer a versatile solution to many common dental problems. If you're interested in a crown or bridge, schedule an appointment with Drs. John, Sheila or Frances Lynch of Lynch Dental Center by calling (708) 366-6411 for the River Forest, IL, office or (312) 263-3325 for the Chicago office.
If you press your tongue against your teeth, unless something is badly wrong they won't budge. In fact, your teeth are subjected to a fair amount of pressure each day as you chew and eat, and yet they remain firmly in place.
But there's a deeper reality—your teeth do move! No, it's not a paradox—the gum and bone tissues that hold your teeth in place allow for slight, imperceptible changes in the teeth's position. Their natural ability to move is also the basis for orthodontics. Here are 3 more facts you may not know about your teeth's natural ability to move.
Teeth are always on the move. Teeth are held firmly within the jawbone by an elastic gum tissue called the periodontal ligament and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. In response to pressure changes, though, the bone dissolves on the side of the teeth in the direction of pressure and then rebuilds behind it, solidifying the teeth's new position, a process that happens quite slowly and incrementally. And it will happen for most of us—some studies indicate more than 70% of people will see significant changes in their bite as they age.
Orthodontics works with the process. Orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners apply targeted pressure in the direction the orthodontist intends the teeth to move—the natural movement process does the rest. In the case of braces, a thin metal wire is laced through brackets bonded to the front of the teeth and then anchored, typically to the back teeth. The orthodontist incrementally tightens the wire against its anchors over time, encouraging tooth movement in response to the pressure. Clear aligners are a series of removable trays worn in succession that gradually accomplish the same outcome.
Watch out for the rebound. That nice, straight smile you've gained through orthodontics might not stay that way. That's because the same mechanism for tooth movement could cause the teeth to move back to their former positions, especially right after treatment. To avoid this outcome, patients need to wear a retainer, an appliance that holds or "retains" the teeth in their new positions. Depending on their individual situations and age, patients may have to wear a retainer for a few months, years or from then on.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
Have you perfected your Mona Lisa smile due to a few cosmetic issues with your teeth? Thanks to cosmetic bonding, you can change the little things you don't like about your smile. Our River Forest and Chicago, IL, dentists, Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch, and Dr. Frances Lynch Dental Center, explain how bonding works and how it's used.
Bonding is a simple procedure
Cosmetic bonding involves adding composite resin, a flexible mixture of powdered glass and plastic to your teeth, to correct minor flaws or repair damage. Before we apply the bonding material, we'll etch your tooth lightly and apply a conditioning liquid that will help the material adhere to your teeth. After the composite resin is shaped, it's exposed to a curing light that hardens it.
Cosmetic bonding is a versatile solution
During your visit to our River Forest or Chicago office, we may recommend bonding if you're concerned about an imperfection in your tooth enamel. Chips, cracks, and uneven surfaces can all be concealed by adding a little composite resin to your tooth. In some cases, bonding can even be used to reattach small chips. If the broken part of your tooth is large, you'll probably need a crown instead.
Is one of your teeth darker or a little speckled? Discoloration can occur if you took the antibiotic tetracycline as a child, experienced a tooth injury, were exposed to too much fluoride or took certain chemotherapy medications. Because composite resin is tinted to match common tooth shades, your tooth will blend right in after bonding.
Bonding can completely transform a tooth. It's an excellent solution if a tooth is too short, pointed, crooked, or has an unusual shape. Bonding is often combined with reshaping, a procedure that changes the shape of a tooth by removing very small amounts of tooth enamel.
You may be reluctant to share your smile with the world if you have gaps between your teeth. Filling slight gaps with bonding is a simple solution that can significantly improve your smile.
Thanks to cosmetic bonding, you'll find plenty of reasons to smile. Schedule an appointment with Drs. John, Sheila, or Frances Lynch at Lynch Dental Center by calling (708) 366-6411 for the River Forest, IL, office or (312) 263-3235 for the Chicago office.
Everyone loves a concert where there's plenty of audience participation… until it starts to get out of hand.Â Recently, the platinum-selling band Fifth Harmony was playing to a packed house in Atlanta when things went awry for vocalist Camila Cabello. Fans were batting around a big plastic ball, and one unfortunate swing sent the ball hurtling toward the stage — and directly into Cabello's face. Pushing the microphone into her mouth, it left the “Worth It” singer with a chipped front tooth.
Ouch! Cabello finished the show nevertheless, and didn't seem too upset. “Atlanta… u wild… love u,” she tweeted later that night. “Gotta get it fixed now tho lol.” Fortunately, dentistry offers a number of ways to make that chipped tooth look as good as new.
A small chip at the edge of the tooth can sometimes be polished with dental instruments to remove the sharp edges. If it's a little bigger, a procedure called dental bonding may be recommended. Here, the missing part is filled in with a mixture of plastic resin and glass fillers, which are then cured (hardened) with a special light. The tooth-colored bonding material provides a tough, lifelike restoration that's hard to tell apart from your natural teeth. While bonding can be performed in just one office visit, the material can stain over time and may eventually need to be replaced.
Porcelain veneers are a more long-lasting solution. These wafer-thin coverings go over the entire front surface of the tooth, and can resolve a number of defects — including chips, discoloration, and even minor size or spacing irregularities. You can get a single veneer or have your whole smile redone, in shades ranging from a pearly luster to an ultra-bright white; that's why veneers are a favorite of Hollywood stars. Getting veneers is a procedure that takes several office visits, but the beautiful results can last for many years.
If a chip or crack extends into the inner part of a tooth, you'll probably need a crown (or cap) to restore the tooth's function and appearance. As long as the roots are healthy, the entire part of the tooth above the gum line can be replaced with a natural-looking restoration. You may also need a root canal to remove the damaged pulp material and prevent infection if the fracture went too far. While small chips or cracks aren't usually an emergency (unless accompanied by pain), damage to the tooth's pulp requires prompt attention.
If you have questions about smile restoration, please contact us and schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty As Never Before” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
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