Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stories from the Skaret Family Dinner Table...

As a kid, the kitchen was always the center of our house.  The dinner table served not only as a place for us to gather each night as a family, but also as a stage for story telling.   My sisters and I learned the art of building to a punch line, proper amounts of sarcasm and just enough drama to hold everyone’s attention.  As we grew up, my sister and I found ourselves following in Mom’s footsteps and working in the dental field.  My Dad patiently listened to “all things dental” and as a carpenter, would attempt to fit in by saying he too spent all day working on teeth, aka: crown molding.

One of my favorite stories was about a ski trip my parents took with some of their friends when they were younger.  My Dad was an avid skier and loved to visit new and challenging places to ski.  One day, on a particularly steep hill, my Dad took quite a nasty fall in the trees.  My Mom, looking on from above, saw my Dad flipping and spinning and when he finally came to a rest, ever the faithful hygienist, she yelled down to him “DAVID!  Are your teeth ok?”

In the thirteen years I have been working in the dental field, I have heard many scary dental stories.  Everything from teeth sticking into a basketball court after a hard fall, to breaking a front tooth in half with an ice pick, to being kicked in the face by a horse.  I too had quite the dental emergency a few months ago, when I awoke in the middle of the night with a severe throbbing coming from a front tooth.  Four Advil later and the pain still had not improved.  I have never been more thankful to not only work at, but also be a patient of Granby Dental, because I knew someone would see me that day and my pain would be relieved.  Our dentists are on call 24-7 to help you with all of your dental emergencies.  In addition, we have the only certified endodontist in the area.  Dr Abedi performed my root canal and I can honestly say it was pain free and much quicker than expected.  Best of all, it made for a great story at the next family dinner!

-Lindsay Skaret
Granby Dental

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Your Child's First Dental Visit

As parents, we want to insure that our children are receiving the best health care possible.  Their first dental visit is an important step to life long oral health.

When should my child first see a dentist, and why?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child's first visit to the dentist take place within six months of the eruption of their first tooth.  By catching potential problems early (tooth decay, gum issues, irritations from teething or prolonged thumb/pacifier sucking) we can provide or recommend preventive treatment.

How do I prepare my child and myself for their first visit?

One of the best things parents can do is prepare their child by explaining what will happen at their first visit.  There are many children's books that can be very helpful to lessen any potential anxiety.  As a parent it is essential that you do not convey any anxieties of your own, but  rather make the visit something your child looks forward to. Prepare for any number of reactions.  Some children may fuss, complain, not want to sit still, or even cry in fear.  However, many kids enjoy their visit and do not have a negative reaction. Please bring a complete medical history record for your child for their dental file including any a list of any medications they may be taking.

What will happen during their first visit?

We want our office to be a place where your child feels comfortable.  Dr Nghiem and her assistant, Valerie, will do their best to make your child feel welcomed, comfortable, and excited about their first visit.  As a parent, reassure your child that the dental office is not scary and that they do not need to be afraid.  We highly recommend scheduling their first visit earlier in the morning, when they are more alert and refreshed. Typically the first visit lasts about 30 minutes. Dr Nghiem welcomes parents to accompany their child into the exam room during their first visit.  Dr Nghiem will be happy to answer any questions you or your child may have.

Depending on a child's age the following will be done:

  • An examination of their teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues.
  • A gentle cleaning including removing any plaque, tartar build-up or stains and polishing of their teeth.
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration of proper home care
  • Nutritional counseling
  • An assessment of the need for fluoride

When should a child be seen after their first visit?

Children, like adults, should have their teeth cleaned and examined every six months.  Regular visits prevent the build up of tartar, plaque and stains; will help us catch any potential problems early; and will help familiarize your child to the dental setting to make future appointment even more fun.

Have more questions for Dr Nghiem?  Feel free to post them here or call the office!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Five Great Reasons to LOVE Flossing

People who floss every day are taking a significant step in keeping their teeth clean and healthy!  Flossing was invented by Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist in New Orleans, in 1815!  However, for as long as humans have been chewing food, they have been looking for ways to remove food caught between their teeth.  Toothpick grooves have even been found in prehistoric teeth.  Historians believe they used toothpicks fashioned from bird claws, bones, ivory, shells, quills or even walrus whiskers.  Luckily today we have a much better option, Flossing!

Five Great Reasons to LOVE Flossing

1.)    Dental floss can be very handy!
    • Floss can be used for quieting a drippy faucet, tying your Thanksgiving turkey, or fixing a loose button in a jam.  Dental floss is often included in emergency kits because it is lightweight and strong and can be used for a variety of purposes.

2.)    Dental floss fights bad breath!
    • Flossing reaches more tooth surface and food debris than brushing alone.

3.)    Dental floss can save you money in the long run.
    • For only a few dollars, you can prevent costly procedures down the road.

4.)    Dental floss could save your teeth.
    • Periodontal disease and many cavities start between the teeth where the bristles of your toothbrush simply cannot reach.  Flossing helps keep your gums healthy and your teeth where they belong.

5.)    Dental floss could save your life
    • Many health professionals believe that unhealthy gums can increase your risk for lung disorders, heart disease and early term labor.

Three Week Challenge

We are challenging all of our patients who are not currently flossing to floss every day for three weeks.  We guarantee that you will see healthier gums and a cleaner mouth.  Find a system that works for you so you can make it a habit that lasts.  Add it to your nighttime routine if you are rushed in the morning, try floss picks if they are easier for you to hold, or try a new flavor or type.  And remember… “Only floss the teeth you want to keep!”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Commonly Asked Questions about Thumbsucking

Should parents worry about toddler sucking?

Toddlers commonly suck on fingers and thumbs.  This sucking is essentially harmless and generally socially acceptable.  Actually, sucking can help the 1 to 3-year old adjust to his rapidly expanding world, in turn easing his parent’s responsibility.  For example, a young child who copes with the challenge of getting himself to sleep by slipping his thumb into his mouth does not need a parent to sit with him to ease the transition from wakefulness.

Although toddler sucking tends not to cause direct dental or social harm, it may establish habitual sucking patterns.   Therefore, setting thoughtful limits on how often and where sucking occurs can be worthwhile.

Does a preschooler harm his teeth by thumbsucking?

Occasional sucking is unlikely to harm teeth or mouth shape.  A child who does not suck strongly, but rather just hangs his fingers or thumb in his mouth, is also unlikely to suffer dental damage.  Many children do habitually suck in this casual manner.  By contrast, vigorous, frequent sucking on thumbs or fingers can profoundly alter the growth of the face, the shape of the mouth, and the angles of teeth.

When a child puts his finger or thumb in his mouth, the digit usually presses against the roof of the mouth.  This pressure is intensified by strong sucking.  Together, the suction and the pressure can create an opening between the top and bottom teeth molded to the shape of the fingers and thumbs.  Dentists call this opening either “over jet” or “overbite” depending on a particular way the teeth are moved.

Because vigorous sucking puts pressure on the roof of the mouth it can also change the shape of the soft bone structure inside the mouth.  The roof of the mouth may be pushed upward and the sides of the roof narrowed.  Dentists call this condition “crossbite” because it causes the upper side teeth to cross over and sit inside, rather than directly above the lower side teeth.

Movement of baby teeth from thumbs can cause problems with permanent teeth, because baby teeth forge the path permanent teeth take into their positions.  If upper front baby teeth have pushed forward and lower front baby teeth pushed backwards, adult teeth are likely to grow similarly.  Continuation of sucking after arrival of permanent teeth makes these conditions worse.

Is sucking a sign of emotional disturbance in preschoolers?

No.  Sucking becomes a comfortable habit.  The habit may be socially inappropriate by age four or five, but generally is not a sign of emotional disturbance.  Studies clearly indicate that sucking children are not more likely to be disturbed or emotionally needy than non-suckers.

Thumbsucking children are certainly not exempt from emotional difficulties and in certain instances, unusual sucking patterns can indicate a child in distress.  A child who sucks his thumb in isolation for long periods each day or who frequently runs to find his blanket and slips his thumb into his mouth may be signaling that he is unhappy.  A child who suddenly intensifies his sucking also may be undergoing difficulties.  If a child sucks pervasively during the day and the sucking seems to be one of several signs of emotional problems, parents might consider consultation with a psychological professional.  Situations requiring such intervention are the exception among sucking preschoolers, most of whom suck basically out of simple habit.

Do many school age children still suck thumbs and fingers?

A child six or older who sucks at school or with friends looks strange.  Peers will view him with surprise and are likely to comment.  Adults may mention the sucking to the child’s parents.  Consequently, past 1st grade, children rarely continue sucking in public view.

What they do in the privacy of their own home, particularly at bedtime, is another matter.  A surprising number of school age children continue sucking habits.  A small but significant percentage continue through their teenage years, particularly at bedtime and throughout the night. 

Older children and teenagers know that sucking is considered childish, and consequently usually feel embarrassed about the habit.  They often try to keep it secret.  At this age sucking lowers self-esteem and invites social humiliation.  These costs and self-respect generally outweigh the minor emotional comfort of sucking, but the habit may seem to them to be too difficult to break. 

What are the dental consequences of sucking for an older child?

Past age six and the arrival of permanent teeth, serious dental consequences from habitual sucking are almost inevitable.  Unattractive teeth and bite positions will no longer improve spontaneously once permanent teeth have erupted.  The only remaining remedy is orthodontic treatment.  Furthermore, children who continue to suck past age six can develop dental malformations that orthodontic treatment cannot reverse.  In these extreme cases surgical techniques can sometimes reform the mouth structure to pre-sucking appearance, but prevention is clearly preferable. 

When should parents start helping children to end sucking habits?

By the time children reach age five they generally are ready to stop finger and thumb sucking.  Pacifiers can be eliminated before age three.  By age five, sucking creates more problems than it solves.  Sucking becomes an increasing social and psychological liability as a child grows older.  Furthermore, elimination of sucking before age six and eruption of permanent teeth is essential to minimize undesirable effects on facial appearance.

The five-year-old child can usually understand cause and effect.  He can comprehend that although sucking may be pleasant, it may also be harmful.  He has the maturity to understand that the consequences of sucking, although gradual, are real.  And he has the capacity for self-control to be able to choose to end the habit.

What factors indicate that a sucking habit needs to be stopped?

The presence of any of the following factors suggest sucking habits that may be detrimental to a child’s development:

·      Age five or older
·      Vigorous sucking
·      Frequent sucking during the day
·      Sucking throughout the night, rather than only at bedtime
·      Any sucking that is causing visible distortion of tooth position, mouth, or lips
·      Sucking in conjunction with tongue thrust and speech difficulties

If some or all of the above factors are present a dental examination can be helpful.  A dentist can clarify the extent to which a child’s sucking is likely to be affecting mouth formation.  Teachers also can help parents by assessing if the sucking is interfering with healthy social or verbal development.

Two other considerations are vital if the habit looks like a harmful one.  The first, is the energy state of the parents.  Parents are best off launching an anti-sucking campaign during a period when they do not feel overloaded by other obligations or worries.  Second, current stresses in the child’s life should be considered.   A time of coping with a family death or divorce, or ill health, is obviously a less appropriate time.  On the other hand, starting in a new school may be a positive movement for growing out of an old habit.

Can parents become overly concerned about their children’s sucking habits?

Absolutely.  Thoughtful evaluation of sucking patterns is helpful.  By contrast, anxious, guilty, angry or alarmist responses can further create problems.  An exaggerated sense of urgency can result in overly forceful, nagging, critical or punitive attempts at solution.  Over-involvement in the child’s struggle makes parents become too emotional.  They may then add to the child’s frustration and inhibit progress.  Good-humored patience and persistence work best.

Parents can keep sucking problems in perspective if they bear in mind that sucking habits are a relatively minor concern and do not merit panic.  Sucking is merely one of the many dimensions for parents to note as their children grow.

Why not let children suck as long as they want, and then straighten their teeth with braces?

A pleasing physical appearance helps people feel good about themselves and elicits positive responses from others.  Fortunately, orthodontics can correct most dental-skeletal deformities.  However, the process is costly, time-consuming and somewhat uncomfortable; and until the braces are taken off, the child looks less attractive.  Self esteem is formed during childhood.  If sucking can be ended young enough to prevent problems, why should any child be burdened with a less attractive facial appearance from sucking?

Many children who do not suck still require orthodontic treatment to look their best.  Sucking, however, will tend to exacerbate pre-existing malalignments.  Again, prevention is preferable.

Finally, damage to mouth structure after the arrival of the first four permanent teeth may not be correctable by traditional orthodontics.  In these cases complex bone surgery may be able to correct the changes wrought by sucking.  However, the malformations may be irreversible.  Lips stretched by protruding teeth for instance may never return to a normal position.  Reducing toddler sucking and eliminating sucking habits altogether by age five can preserve attractive facial features.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

We are starting to see the first leaves change on our trees...and we all know what that's almost back-to-school time!  We want to make sure all of our young patients kick the school year off with great oral health!  The number one thing Dr. Nghiem, our Pediatric Dentist, suggests is to make sure your child is up to date on their cleanings.  If you are unsure, feel free to call our office and either Julie, Michelle or Lindsay will be happy to check when their last appointment was.  Please call soon because our back-to-school schedule fills up quickly and we want to arrange a time that works best for you.

We also want to remind you of the importance of packing healthy snacks and meals in your child's lunch bag.  As you know, many schools offer sugary snacks or beverages for purchase in the school cafeteria or at vending machines and this easy access to sugar can lead to tooth decay.  There is a strong link between diet and dental health.  A combination of balanced nutrition and regular dental visits will help preserve your child's smile for a lifetime.

For extra credit, try these fun tips for sending them to school with a smile:

  1. Buy new toothbrushes. While they're getting new pencils, notebooks, lunch boxes, etc why not let them pick out a new toothbrush.  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
  2. To encourage your child to brush after lunch, have them make a dental care kit for school.  Fill a small zippered bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.  
  3. Pack dental-friendly lunches and snacks.  Fruit, nuts, string cheese and bottled water are all good choices.  Avoid sticky foods like fruit snacks or raisins as they can cause cavities.