Posts for: October, 2017

By Douglas M. Hope, DMD, MAGD
October 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   halloween  

Halloween means loads of fun for kids everywhere: a chance to put on fanciful costumes and have some safe, spooky enjoyment. But the reward for all that trick-or-treating — bags full of sugary candy — can create monstrous problems for young smiles, in the form of tooth decay. Short of taking all those treats away, are there any ways to lessen the impact on your children’s teeth?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the answer is: Yes!

As long as kids are brushing twice and flossing once a day, it’s okay for them to enjoy a few sweet treats on Halloween. But starting that same night, or the next day, you can help protect them from cavities. Here’s how:

Sort It Out:
Some treats are potentially more damaging to teeth than others. For example, candy that’s sticky and clings to teeth — like gummy bears and taffy — takes longer to get cleared away by saliva. Lengthier contact with the teeth increases the risk of tooth decay. The same is true for sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time, like hard candy. Sour candy is often acidic, and that acid can weaken the hard enamel coating of teeth, making them more prone to decay. But there’s some good news: Chocolate, a favorite treat, washes off the teeth relatively quickly — and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.

Give It Away:
You can always give away some or all of your candy stash to people who will appreciate it: first responders or troops serving overseas, for example. Some organizations sponsor donation (or even buyback) programs. Try searching the web for programs like “Operation Gratitude,” among others.

Timing Is Everything:
If you do allow candy, limit it to mealtimes. That’s when saliva production is at its peak — and saliva helps neutralize acids and wash away food residue that can cause cavities. Whatever you do, don’t let kids snack on sweet treats from the candy dish throughout the day: This never gives your mouth a chance to bounce back from the sugary saturation.

Get Healthy Hydration:
For quenching thirst, water is the best choice. It helps your body stay properly hydrated and is needed for healthful saliva production. Sugary or acidic beverages like sodas (regular or diet), so-called “sports” or “energy” drinks, and even fruit juices can harm teeth. Fluoridated water (like most municipal tap water) has been shown to help prevent tooth decay. If you drink bottled water, look for a fluoridated variety.

Following these tips — and making sure your kids maintain good oral health with brushing, flossing, and routine dental office visits — will help keep them safe from cavities, not only at Halloween but all year long. If you have questions about cavity prevention or oral hygiene, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Decay — How to Assess Your Risk” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Douglas M. Hope, DMD, MAGD
October 23, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out exactly what to do if your dental implant restoration is crowns

Even though a dental implant is designed to last a lifetime (with the proper care, of course), the dental crown that is placed over the implant may not last forever. While crowns are made from durable materials they can still be damaged over time. Our Simsbury, CT, family dentist, Dr. Douglas Hope, is here to provide you with a little information about how he repairs a dental implant crown that has been cracked or damaged.

When you finally get your dental implant, our Simsbury dentist will provide you with all the information you need to keep your implant healthy. While we know the goal of every patient is to keep this artificial tooth replacement from getting damaged, we also know that accidents happen.

While a broken dental implant crown is not typically a true dental emergency (isn’t that a relief?) it’s still a good idea to give us a call if you have cracked or damaged the crown in any way so we can get you into our office within the next couple of days.

How is a dental implant crown repaired?

We will need to see the extent of the damage before we determine how to handle the problem. If the crack or chip is minimal sometimes all we will need to do is buff out the area to even it out and to prevent jagged edges from cutting your tongue or other soft tissue. In this case, this simple buffing process can be done without anesthesia and will only take a couple of minutes.

Of course, if you have a more serious crack or break that affects how the crown functions then this restoration is no longer viable and will need to be replaced with a brand new crown. Luckily, you’ve already gone through the process of getting a dental crown placed over the implant so you’ll know exactly what to expect the second time around (the process is no different).

For us to replace the crown we will need to take impressions of your teeth to send to a dental lab so they can create your new crown. A temporary crown will then be placed over the implant to protect it in the meantime. Once the permanent crown has been made (this typically takes about one week) you will come in for your final implant crown fitting.

Whether you have questions about getting dental implants in Simsbury, CT, or you want to talk to us about ways to maintain a healthy implant for life, our dental team is ready to meet your smile needs. Call us today to schedule a consultation or to have your dental implant questions answered.

By Douglas M. Hope, DMD, MAGD
October 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: thumb sucking  

Although distressing to many parents, infants and toddlers sucking their thumb is a common if not universal habit. Most children phase out of it by around age 4, usually with no ill effects. But thumb-sucking continuing into late childhood could prove problematic for a child’s bite.

Thumb sucking is related to how young children swallow. All babies are born with what is called an infantile swallowing pattern, in which they thrust their tongues forward while swallowing to ensure their lips seal around a breast or bottle nipple when they nurse. Thumb-sucking mimics this action, which most experts believe serves as a source of comfort when they’re not nursing.

Around 3 or 4, their swallowing transitions to a permanent adult swallowing pattern: the tip of the tongue now positions itself against the back of the top front teeth (you can notice it yourself when you swallow). This is also when thumb sucking normally fades.

If a child, however, has problems transitioning to an adult pattern, they may continue to thrust their tongue forward and/or prolong their thumb-sucking habit. Either can put undue pressure on the front teeth causing them to move and develop too far forward. This can create what’s known as an open bite: a slight gap still remains between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are shut rather than the normal overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower.

While we can orthodontically treat an open bite, we can minimize the extent of any treatments if we detect the problem early and intervene with therapies to correct an abnormal swallowing pattern or prolonged thumb sucking. For the former we can assist a child in performing certain exercises that help retrain oral and facial muscles to encourage a proper swallowing pattern. This may also help diminish thumb sucking, but we may in addition need to use positive reinforcement techniques to further discourage the habit.

To stay ahead of possible problems with thumb sucking or the swallowing pattern you should begin regularly taking them to the dentist around their first birthday. It’s also a good idea to have an orthodontic evaluation around age 6 for any emerging bite problems. Taking these positive steps could help you avoid undue concern over this common habit.

If you would like more information on managing your child’s thumb-sucking habit, 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 “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”

Contact Us

Douglas M. Hope, DMD, MAGD

(860) 651-4915
8 Plank Hill Rd. Simsbury, CT 06070