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Most of us have had the occasional headache or neck ache. It comes with the stresses of the world we live in. We often overlook our teeth as a possible cause of headaches, but it should not be ruled out. The forces we each use, all day long, day after day, when eating, chewing, and talking can wreak havoc on us for many reasons. The alignment of teeth, the anatomy of the TMJ, tooth decay, bad habits such as clenching and grinding, etc. can all be causes of dental related headaches. Millions of people suffer from head and neck pain, and migraines due to issues with their teeth.

Where Does The Dentist Come In?

Your teeth, joints, muscles, and nerves all work together in the proper alignment and functioning of your jaw. When any part of this delicate balance is abused or neglected, painful conditions such as TMD, occlusal problems, and other serious dental health issues can develop. When our muscles are overworked or overstretched due to bite issues the muscles become sore and irritated. Studies have shown that about 3/4′s of all headaches are due to our bite. The pain and discomfort will vary from person to person but in many it can be life changing. Not only do the teeth need to be properly aligned but so do the surrounding muscles of the head and neck.

Head and Neck pain (as well as migraine headaches) can lead to the following symptoms:

-Poor sleep.

-Depression.

-Fatigue.

-Pain and discomfort.

-Sleep Apnea and Snoring.

Many of these issues can be avoided with a proper diagnosis of dental issues. In many cases, your dentist can make simple adjustments to dramatically improve your situation. In others, more extensive treatment may be needed.

Common Dental Treatment For Headaches

-Adjustment Of Teeth. Changing the direction, size, and position of slopes in the teeth will help correct and balance the bite. This is the simplest way to relieve the pressure on our muscles and can be achieved in a short dental visit.

-Replacing Lost Teeth. Missing teeth may be one reason for causing imbalances in the muscles and teeth. If this happens, dental crowns, dental implants, and removable dentures will help maintain proper balance.

-Opening the Bite. Loss of vertical height due to grinding, can cause TMJ misalignment and painful headaches. Restoring teeth to their proper height with crowns can give the relief needed.

-Occlusal guards. These can be fabricated out of many combinations of materials to relieve many different dental issues. Grinding, clenching, TMJ decompression, etc. These can remove and dissipate painful forces which result in chronic headaches.

-Medication. While certain drugs can be prescribed to bring about temporary relief, it is necessary to discover and address the root cause of the headaches. Muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications can help break the cycle of pain, hormone replacement therapy also provides relief in some women. Unfortunately, use of pharmaceuticals is a temporary measure and will not be a long term cure.

-Alternative Therapy. This can include acupuncture, chiropractics, change in diet, meditation, and exercise. Putting less strain on the TMJ can help relieve joint pain, just like with any other joint. Adopting a soft diet for a short time may be helpful for some patients. Corrective exercises and applying external heat can also bring relief from the pain.

Headaches Conclusion

The dental component of headaches is often overlooked. Many people often ignore dental issues when having headache issues but it can be a big mistake. If your dental condition is assessed and treated early enough, it can prevent further issues from developing. TMJ disorders, tooth damage, and even bone and gum recession need to be addressed early to avoid pain and headaches. Be smart about your health and do not ignore the warning signs. A simple problem can develop into a far more complex one over time.

Why do most dentists want you to come in for a cleaning at least every 6 months?? While it might not seem like it is necessary, these regular and routine dental visits are

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS

Regular Dental Visits Are The Key To Good Dental Health

an essential requirement for monitoring and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Early changes can be detected, and they can be addressed in a timely manner. Recent scientific research has also shown how important it is to maintain a healthy mouth for our general health as well. There are many disease states related to poor dental health. These systemic diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even, alzheimer’s disease.

The Six Month Dental Visit

What goes on in the dental office is only a small portion of oral health maintenance. Most of the work is done at home through maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen to keep our teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible. A six month dental visit will include a professional cleaning as well as a thorough dental examination. There are many facets to this appointment. Most people would be surprised at how many different items the dentist and hygienist are actually checking.

What Does The Dental Examination Include?

Your teeth are just one part of a routine, thorough dental examination. Your dentist will evaluate the health of your teeth, your gums, TMJ, and entire inner tissues of the mouth and upper throat. They will also examine your mouth, tongue, lips, and skin for any signs of  disease, like oral cancer or diabetes.

The Head And Neck Examination

Your dentist will start off by looking for symmetry, irregularities, swellings, etc. by:

-Examining your face

-Examining your neck

-Checking your lymph nodes. They are specifically looking for any abnormal swellings or changes to one side and not the other. Also noting the presence of any tenderness.

-Checking your Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) for any clicking, popping, or irregularities. As we age, the TMJ, like any joint can begin to deteriorate and give us issues. A good dentist will be able to note the presence of TMJ disorder even without symptoms developing.

 The Teeth And Gums Examination

Next, your dentist examine the state of your teeth and gums by:

-Taking x-rays ( radiographs) as needed. Radiographs are generally taken once per year. These radiographs allow the dentist to see some areas that are not visible to the naked eye and are not felt by an instrument. This allows for early detection of tooth decay, as well as determination of infection, or bone loss. Unfortunately, fillings and crowns, depending upon location of breakdown,  still hide many areas of decay or fracturing., Such areas are generally found later due to discomfort, discoloration, or other changes.

-Examining the gum tissue for the presence of periodontal disease, infection, systemic disease. The symptoms can include bleeding, inflammation, recession, redness and irritation, swelling, sloughing tissue, and bone loss around the teeth.

Marielaina Perrone DDS Velscope-Checking if any teeth are becoming loose or show any sense of movement.

-Looking at the tissues inside of your mouth. This will include all sides of the tongue, the tonsils, the hard and soft palate, and inside your cheeks and lips. The dentist will look for tissue abnormalities that could be suspected to be oral cancer. Many dentists use the VELscope to detect oral cancer as early as possible. The VELscope is a special light that allows the dentist to see changes in tissue that occur when oral changes, such as cancer, are present.

-Checking the way your teeth fit together, how well you bite, if you clench or grind, signs of sleep apnea.

-Looking for the presence of tooth decay. This is achieved through the use of radiographs and by checking each tooth individually to see if there is any decay visibly, tactilely, or radiographically, present or beginning to form.

-Checking for broken teeth, fracture lines, chipping, wear.

-Checking for older dental restorations that need to be replaced. Generally when an older dental restoration begins to fail there is staining present around the margins where food and bacteria are leaking inside the restoration. Also, the dentist will examine any dental crowns present to check for decay and to see that the fit is still acceptable.

-Evaluating any previous dental appliances you might have. This can include retainers, nightguards, sport guards, dentures or snore/apnea appliances. The dentist will ensure they are still fitting properly and that they are in good condition.

The Dental Cleaning

The dental cleaning is generally completed by the hygienist but some dentists do clean teeth as well. This part includes the following:

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS

6 Month Dental Visits For The Whole Family

-Checking the state of your teeth and gums.

-The use of an ultrasonic device to remove the pellicle, plaque, and tartar. The pellicle is a protein layer, much like a cuticle, that allows plaque and bacteria to more easily wick up and under the gum. The hygienist uses both an ultrasonic cleaning tool (called a cavitron) as well as using hand instruments. These tools allow the hygienist to remove substantial plaque and bacteria, and all of the pellicle, from above and below the gumline.

-Polishing your teeth with prophylaxis paste. This paste is slightly abrasive to remove any extrinsic stains that might be present. Polishing also helps to smooth surface roughness so that plaque will not stick as easily.

-Fluoride treatment. This is not just for kids! There are many types of fluoride with many different applications. Some of us are more susceptible to cavities, some of us have white spots, sensitive spots, or stubborn periodontal pockets. Different types of fluorides can help with all of these.

-Reviewing oral hygiene instructions for you to practice at home away, and from the office. This includes recommended brushing and flossing techniques as well as what products might work best for you.

Conclusion

Upon completion of the examination and cleaning, your dentist will be able to advise you of any further treatment needed. If nothing abnormal is found, you will set up your next appointment in 3- 6 month,s knowing you have been doing a great job at home with your dental care. If something is found, you should have it taken care of as soon as possible. You should try not to put off  dental work, as it will get worse over time. Remember, by seeing your dentist every 6 months and following daily oral hygiene practices at home, you have a better chance of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Being healthy will  save you time, discomfort, and money in the long run. Prevention is always the goal!

A first dental visit for your child may cause you anxiety, but your child does not know what to expect, and will generally follow your lead. Starting a child off with enjoyable,

Pediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS

Pediatric Dentistry Can Be Fun!

comfortable dental visits can make it easier for both of you, and lead to a lifetime of worry free, healthy dental care. So what can be done to make the dental visits and treatment go as smooth as possible?

Tips For A Fun Dental Visit

-Start With Good Oral Hygiene, and a Healthy Diet at Home. Good nutrition, and proper brushing should help keep your child cavity free. Dental visits are much easier to cope with, and feel at ease with, when there is little work to be done. Stay away from , soda, sticky sweets, and fruit gummies. Drink lots of milk and water, keep juice to a bare minimum. Teach and help with brushing and flossing everyday. Your child’s first dental visit should hopefully not be due to dental decay causing a toothache.

-Choose The Right Dentist – Not all dentists are comfortable treating children. In my opinion, a family dentist is the perfect choice for the ease of scheduling and the fact that the dentist you choose can treat your child into adulthood. Plus, children feel like grown ups to go to the same dentist as their parents and older siblings.

-Have Older Siblings Act as Role Models. A younger child usually will try harder to do something that they see big brother or sister do. If there are no siblings, have your child sit in the office with you, and at the end, have them sit in your lap for a quick peek, and a ride in the chair.

-Start Young – The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. This will make a child very familiar with the surroundings of the dental office. It is best that the first visit starts at age 1 or when the first tooth is visible. The initial visit generally is an introduction visit with oral hygiene education for parents.

 -Be Honest – Never try to fool or trick a child into doing something. Kids generally have a good sense of their surroundings and will react badly if they are tricked. Kids are quite strong and should be told what is going on so they can prepare themselves for it.

-Stay Positive – Most children’s dental fears arise from hearing their parents talk about their bad experiences of the dentist. Keep positive communication regarding dental care and dental treatment and visits with your children will go much smoother for all involved.

Pediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDS-Watch Your Words – Never use the words “shot” or “pain” words with children. Always use positive phrases to keep them happy. Negative words will transfer worry to the child.

-Communicate – Constant communication is needed to make this a great experience. If you encourage your child, and explain that they are going to have pictures taken of their teeth, their teeth polished and shined, etc. They will look forward to their appointment, and want to ask questions. A good dentist will also reinforce what you said and place your child at ease, answering questions, and explaining all that they do throughout the dental visit.

-Reward Good Behavior – Promise a reward for good behavior following dental treatment. Kids will associate the dentist with the prize and look past the actual visit toward what they may receive afterward, even if it is just a shiny, new toothbrush from the dentist. A second reward by you after the visit such as going to the park or a favorite place for lunch.

-Schedule Appointment Early In The Day – Arrange a dental visit as early as possible in the morning. This allows the visit to be done early in the day while the child is not tired and before the kids get wound up from the day. Kids deal with new things better when they are not exhausted.

Pediatric Dentistry Conclusion

Dental visits can be fun experiences. Most children who start young and problem free, can build a trust and confidence in themselves and their dentist. Children who learn good oral hygiene at a young age will thank their parents later in life when they experience less tooth related issues and stay healthier longer.

Dental care for children is one of the most important events in a child’s development. Not only will good dental care and experiences set the tone for an entire life of dental Pediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDScare but also keep them healthy and happy. The first dental visit is an extremely important step in a child’s life.

Best Age For First Visit?

The ideal time for a child’s first dental visit is about 6 months after the first tooth eruption, or up to 2 years old. The reason for this timing is to give the dentist a chance to assess development of the child’s mouth as well as to dispense dental hygiene instructions, help with teething, thumb sucking, and pacifier sucking issues to the parents. Dental issues, and tooth decay can start early, so it is best to see the dentist sooner than later.

So What happens at the first visit?

The first dental visit is usually quite short and probably will not involve any treatment. This visit is usually designed as a meet and greet in a non threatening and very friendly way. Usually the child will sit in the parents lap, and experience a ” tell, show, do” visit. This is where the dentist talks to the child , shows the instruments, lets them touch things, and does a limited dental examination. Depending on the dentist and child, parents may or may not be asked to wait outside. Each child, and parent will be different in how they handle being at the dentist.

During the dental examination, your dentist will check all of your child’s existing teeth for tooth decay, examine your child’s bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. If necessary, the dentist will clean any teeth and check the need for fluoride application. The big component of the first dental visit at this age is dental hygiene education as well as answering any questions that parents might have.

Pediatric Dentistry Marielaina Perrone DDSThe early dental visit will help you and your child build trust in your dentist. As a parent, you will see, that every 6 months there is a huge change in your child’s development and maturity. So, be assured, that even if your child cannot handle very much the first visit, it will become markedly easier at the next 6 month visit. For a child, they will become used to the dental visits, and usually look forward to them.

Dental Education Can Include:

-How to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen for your child’s teeth and gums as well as cavity prevention.

-Assess the need for fluoride supplements.

-Oral habits and their effects. These include thumb sucking, pacifier habits, and tongue thrusting.

-Developmental issues like teething.

-Nutrition instructions including foods, and beverages to avoid to decrease chance of tooth decay.

-Schedule of dental examinations. Most children are seen every 6 months just like adults. This allows the child to become more and more comfortable at the dentist as well as allow the dentist to closely monitor development and promptly treat any issues.

First Dental X-Rays for Children?

In general, dental x-rays should be taken when a child has back teeth which are in tight contact with each other, when a cavity is detected, or an anomaly is noted. Back teeth x-rays, (bite wings) and a jaw x-ray,(panoramic) should be taken by age 6 to assess developing teeth. It all depends on the children and their risk levels for dental problems like tooth decay or cleft lip/palate. If the child is deemed to be at a higher risk, then x-rays will be necessary earlier. Most children will have had their first dental x-rays by age 6. Dental X-rays play an important role in allowing your dentist to see if all permanent teeth are developing properly in your child’s jaw as well as detecting tooth decay.

Conclusion

The main takeaway is that children need proper dental care and instruction to maintain their dental health. The earlier you get started with your kids the better off they will be  as children and as adults.