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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (formerly nursing caries) - is a dental condition that occurs in children between 12 months and 3 years of age as a result of being given a

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Marielaina Perrone DDS

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Can Be Prevented

bottle at bedtime, or at will breast feeding, resulting in prolonged exposure of the teeth to milk or juice. Caries are formed because pools of milk or juice in the mouth break down to lactic acid and other decay-causing substances. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay preventive measures include elimination of the bedtime feeding or substitution of water for milk or juice in the nighttime bottle, scheduled nursing, wiping out the mouth with a wash cloth, and following feedings with water.

We all want what is best for our children and that includes making them happy. Parents hate to see their baby cry for any reason especially at bedtime. But did you know feeding a child at bedtime or even through the night can create dental havoc for them?

Even though baby teeth are temporary in nature, your children’s baby teeth are important for many years, and are still susceptible to tooth decay. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and for a cosmetically pleasing smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their future teeth for decades to come.

What Happens In Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay usually affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth can also be affected. There are a variety of reasons which can cause baby bottle tooth decay. One common cause is the frequent, continuous exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Milk contains natural sugar, called lactose, but even though it is natural it is still sugar, so staying in the mouth without cleanup will form acid which leads to decay . Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby. While milk contains some natural sugar, juice is primarily sugar. A baby requires milk, while juice is completely unnecessary. Most sugary drinks that parents give their children, are things that they think will taste good, but not what a baby needs. Milk and water to drink and fruit to eat, is the best way to incorporate the healthy attributes of nutrition without making our children prone to sugar causing tooth decay.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Marielaina Perrone DDS

Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby. However, this only puts a child at higher risk, proper hygiene and nutrition will negate those effects. The earlier you start with sugar, the more addicted to sweets your child will be. They can not make the right choices yet, you have to do it for them.

If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride in their water, they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay in their developing teeth. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable with proper oral hygiene practices.

Tips to Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

-Do not share feeding spoons with baby or lick their pacifier. After each feeding for your infant, exercise good oral hygiene by wiping your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or even a washcloth, or give them some water to drink..

-Schedule visit to dentist by age 1. This can be a purely educational visit as you learn what needs to be done to protect their teeth as they come in, and make it fun.

-When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and water or a childrens’ toothpaste without fluoride. Talk to your child’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age 2. Generally, fluoride is not recommended until a child will swish and spit, and not swallow the toothpaste.

-Brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste from the ages of 2 to 6. Most kids are not able to properly brush on their own. Parents need to brush for them, and then let them try at the end. Young children will try, but do not do a thorough job.

-Supervise brushing until your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste. By about age 7 ,most kids are able to brush properly on their own.Pediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS

-Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.

-Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed.

-If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean. DO NOT dip it in sugar or honey.

-Encourage your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday.

-Encourage healthy eating habits.

Conclusion To Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

It is important to get children started on a path to good health. This includes practicing good dental hygiene. Schedule a dental visit for your child by age 1 or when the first tooth appears. For most this first dental visit is a well check and more about education than treatment. Oral care, when started early, will be a fun time for the two of you for years to come. You are the role model, so be encouraging, and they will develop your good habits.

 

Dry socket (also called alveolar osteitis) is an extremely painful dental condition that can occur after removal (extraction) of a permanent adult tooth.

Having a tooth removed is generally not something anyone looks forward to. Most people understand there will be some level of discomfort following the procedure.  Many are given a prescription for pain medication before leaving their dentist. Most people in fact do not even need to get the prescription filled. However, when a patient experiences what is called a dry socket the pain can become quite intense and linger for days.

Very few people are affected by dry socket. The development of Dry socket after a tooth extraction occurs in only about 2-3% of patients. For those who experience dry socket it can be a very scary experience. Fortunately dry socket is treatable.

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction has never fully formed, has broken free, or has dissolved before the wound has had a chance to fully heal. The blood clot is the protective layer for the underlying bone and nerves, it begins the process of healing so that gum tissue and bone can refill the area. When the clot is gone the bone and nerves are now exposed to the outside air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth. This can lead to a dry socket with sharp, aching pain that can last for 5-6 days, and in the case of a patient taking fosamax type drugs the pain can last for weeks.

A dry socket is considered the most common complication following tooth extractions. It happens more frequently with extraction of impacted wisdom teeth, in patients with poor blood flow to the socket, (smokers, patients taking fosamax), delayed healing (diabetics ).  The pain begins to build and develop about 2-4 days following the procedure.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket

Signs and symptoms of dry socket may include:

-Sharp, aching pain within 2-4 days after a tooth removal.

explanation of dry socket

Graphic explanation of dry socket…image courtesy of Dental Care Matters

-Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site. You would be able to visually notice a deep hole or space where tooth used to be, that weeps fluid when pressed vs a blood clot overlaying the site.

-Bone that is visible upon visual examination in the socket

-Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction

-Abnormally bad breath or a foul odor emanating from your mouth. This will coincide with having a bad taste in your mouth as well.

-If you have swollen lymph nodes around your jaw or neck, this is a sign of infection and you need to be seen by your dentist immediately.

Over the counter medications by themselves will not control the symptoms. Your dentist or oral surgeon will need to begin treatments to lessen pain and allow for healing to take place.

Treatment of Dry Socket

Taking a nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID – aspirin or ibuprofen) can help to ease the pain but probably will not be enough to take it away completely. When the pain persists you should call your dentist immediately. The dentist may prescribe you a stronger pain medication to allow the pain to subside for you or give you anesthesia in the office to relieve some of the symptoms for a little while anyway.

paste for dry socket

Paste for Dry Socket

What will your dentist need to do for the dry socket? Your dentist will need to numb and clean the tooth socket. This will allow for  removal of any debris from the space where the tooth once was, and allow for rebleeding into the site. The dentist may then fill the socket with a medicated dressing or a special paste to promote healing and soothe the symptoms. Patients with dry socket dressings generally need to come back to be seen by the dentist every day until the pain subsides. The dressing needs to be changed daily. Warm cloth on the outside of the face also helps promote blood flow.

An antibiotic may also be prescribed at this point to prevent an infection from forming. At home care will include rinsing with salt water and being careful what you eat and how you eat it, ( avoiding the side where the dry socket is ).

The site will usually heal completely following treatment in 1-2 weeks.

Who is most likely to get a Dry Socket?

Some patients will be more likely than others to get a dry socket after a tooth extraction. These include the following:

-Smokers. Patients who smoke have twice the chance of developing dry socket over those who do not. Smoking also is believed to slow the healing process.

-Poor Oral Hygiene. Those with poor oral hygiene will have an increased risk due to the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Will be difficult to maintain a sterile field when removing tooth.

-Having wisdom teeth (3rd molars) extracted. Increased trauma to area during procedure is one of the indicators for increasing the possibility for the development of dry socket. 3rd molars tend to be more difficult to remove especially if they are fully or partially impacted.

-Previous history of dry socket. If you have had dry socket previously, you are more likely to develop it after another extraction.

-Use of birth control pills. Contraceptives which contain estrogen effect the blood clotting system of the body. So we see an increased incidence in dry socket in patients on oral contraceptives.

Rinsing and spitting a lot or smoking after having a tooth extracted also can increase your risk of getting dry socket. These activities will increase chances of the blood clot becoming dislodged.

Following the removal of a tooth it is very important to follow all instructions given to you by your dentist. If you are unsure of anything you must ask or call back. At first sign of pain or discomfort call your dentist to be sure it is not something more serious. As always, maintain a regular schedule visiting your dentist, as well as keeping an open communication with your dentist. This will make you feel comfortable asking questions and knowing you are getting the proper information to care for your oral health.

What is a Cosmetic Dentist? A cosmetic dentist performs dentistry that is focused on creating a positive, more aesthetic change to your teeth and smile. The majority think of tooth whitening or porcelain veneers when the idea of a cosmetic dentist comes to mind, but a well educated cosmetic dentist can provide much more. A skilled, well trained, experienced cosmetic dentist can make a major difference to improve your appearance, your smile, and even boost your self-esteem, and confidence. Cosmetic dentistry has evolved in such a way that cosmetic dentists can address aesthetic as well as functional concerns.

A cosmetic dentist will focus on altering your existing dental condition and features to increase your appeal esthetically. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways. These include cosmetic dental implants, tooth whitening or porcelain veneers. Millions of people around the world regularly schedule appointments with a cosmetic dentist for evaluations and treatment.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentist – Teeth Whitening and Porcelain Veneers

A Cosmetic dentist will also provide restorative benefits. For example, dental fillings are a routine procedure used to treat decayed teeth. In the past, most dental fillings were composed mostly of metal and other materials that left visible dark spots on the teeth. Today, dental fillings can and do fall into the realm of cosmetic dentistry. This is because you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that can match the color of your teeth. This allows a patient to maintain the natural appearance of their teeth and smile. Many patients may choose to have their older colored fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings to cosmetically enhance their smile.

Advances in technology that have created natural looking, tooth colored dental materials allowing for more durable and predictable results than in years past.  These new materials also allow cosmetic and general dentists the ability to use more conservative techniques to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, depending upon your personal clinical condition that you present with.

Cosmetic Dentistry procedures include:

-Teeth Whitening or Tooth Bleaching. Teeth whitening is probably the most common and popularprocedure avilable thru your cosmetic dentist. Teeth often present with staining from smoking, food, drink (coffee, tea, sodas, or wine) or poor oral hygiene. Many whitening options are available, including over the counter products, dentist supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for best results .Whitening is a quick and effective way to make a dramatic difference in your smile.

cosmetic dentist

Cosmetic Dentist – Dental Bonding

-Dental Bonding. Dental bonding allows the cosmetic dentist to restore chipped, broken, discolored or decayed teeth. A dental composite material is used with the look of enamel and dentin. It is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth, where it is then sculpted into shape, contoured and cured with a high intensity light. The result is one that blends invisibly with the remainder of the surrounding tooth structure and the rest of your natural teeth to create a healthier, brighter smile. One which only you and your cosmetic dentist would know anything was done. This procedure offers very quick results and can even be a substitute for the need for limited orthodontic movement (braces).

-Inlays and Onlays. These are also referred to as indirect fillings. Inlays and onlays can be made from porcelain or composite materials. They are a long lasting yet very cosmetic way to provide a filling to teeth with tooth decay or fracture. Whereas dental bonding is molded into place while the patient is in the chair during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory by a technician before being fitted and bonded using adhesive by your cosmetic dentist. Inlays and onlays are a more conservative treatment vs a crown. A cosmetic dentist can place these where no one would know they were even there.

-Composite or Porcelain Veneers. Composite or porcelain veneers (also sometimes called laminates) are super thin, custom made shells of tooth colored materials made to cover the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. These shells are adhesively bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. Porcelain veneers are more stain resistant than composite resin veneers and better copy the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Composite resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. Veneers may also be recommended by your cosmetic dentist if you have gaps in your teeth or if you have severe tooth discoloration (i.e. from medications like tetracycline) that traditional whitening is not able to help.

Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic Dentist

-Dental Implants.  Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements that are used to replace missing teeth. Often the result is not only an enhanced smile, but also an appearance that is more youthful, since missing teeth cause the face to collapse, and sag making you look older. A cosmetic dentist can blend the final restoration with the rest of your teeth.

-Porcelain CrownsPorcelain can be shaped by your cosmetic dentist to recreate the look of natural tooth enamel, while providing strength, resilience, and proper light reflection. Porcelain crowns are the perfect choice when trying to recreate the form and function of a damaged tooth. Porcelain crowns can be designed to create an even better aesthetic appearance than before. Also, porcelain crowns do not have the dark colored line at the gumline that PFM (porcelain fused to metal) crowns do. This allows for a far more aesthetic result to be achieved by your cosmetic dentist.

Cosmetic dentistry can offer many different options for people who are unhappy with their smile. But patients need to remember there is no perfect smile. Perception is the key. Each person has a different perception of what perfection is. So it’s important that you discover what you really like and then communicate that to your cosmetic dentist. Your dentist will be able to answer all the questions you have about the techniques that may be used to improve your smile. The condition of your teeth and your desired result often will indicate the best procedure for you.

There is a story behind every smile…What do you want yours to say?