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Posts for: June, 2019

By Great Meadows Dental Group
June 28, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Regular dental visits are an important part of teeth and gum health at any age, including young children. But the clinical nature of a dental office can be intimidating to children and create in them an anxiety that could carry over into adulthood and disrupt future care.

You can, though, take steps to "de-stress" your child's dental visits. Here are 3 ways to reduce your child's dental anxiety.

Start visits early. Most dentists and pediatricians recommend your child's first visit around age one. By then, many of their primary teeth have already erupted and in need of monitoring and decay prevention measures. Beginning visits early rather than later in childhood also seems to dampen the development of dental visit anxiety.

Take advantage of sedation therapy. Even with the best calming efforts, some children still experience nervousness during dental visits. Your dentist may be able to help by administering a mild sedative before and during a visit to help your child relax. These medications aren't the same as anesthesia, which numbs the body from pain—they simply take the edge off your child's anxiety while leaving them awake and alert. Coupled with positive reinforcement, sedation could help your child have a more pleasant dental visit experience.

Set the example. Children naturally follow the behavior and attitudes of their parents or caregivers. If they see you taking your own hygiene practices seriously, they're more likely to do the same. Similarly, if they notice you're uncomfortable during a dental visit, they'll interpret that as sufficient reason to feel the same way. So, treat going to the dentist as an "adventure," with a reward at the end. And stay calm—if you're calm and unafraid, they can be too.

If you would like more information on effective dental care for kids, 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 “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”

By Great Meadows Dental Group
June 25, 2019
Category: Oral Health

GumsDo you have gum disease? Ranging from curable gingivitis to advanced periodontitis which leads to tooth and bone loss, gum disease concerns your dentists in Bedford, MA. Dr. Leo Kharin, Dr. Jessica Ristuccia and Dr. Nicholas Papapetros offer gum disease prevention, detection and treatment at Great Meadows Dental Group. Gum health is key to your oral and systemic health.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by an overgrowth of oral bacteria contained in soft plaque and hard calculus, or tartar. Disciplined tooth brushing, flossing and healthy eating keep periodontitis, and its milder cousin, gingivitis, at bay, as do six-month cleanings and check-ups with your dentist in Bedford, MA.

However, poor oral hygiene, along with hereditary factors, smoking and some prescription medications, make more people prone to this destructive oral health problem. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that half of American adults have some degree of periodontal disease. That number increases to 70 percent in the elderly.

Do you have gum disease?

Some people have few to no symptoms when gum disease is in its earliest stages. However, unchecked, periodontitis produces:

  • Bleeding, swollen, tender gums
  • Tooth mobility (and eventual loss)
  • Bad breath
  • A changing dental bite
  • Mouth sores
  • Pus along the gum line and between the teeth
  • Receding gum tissue
  • Exposed tooth roots
  • Deep gum pockets

Dr. Kharin, Dr. Ristuccia and Dr. Papapetros measure the spaces between your teeth and gums (gum pockets) with a small probe. This painless check shows the dentist if your periodontal condition is changing. Pockets greater than three millimeters in depth indicate gum disease.

Treating this malady

It's important to treat this malady so that you can keep your teeth. Gum disease impacts overall health in the way of diabetes, memory issues, stroke, heart attack and more.

Most gum diseases are treatable with a deep in-office cleaning (tooth scaling and root planing) and follow-up care every six months, or as your dentist advises. However, some patients require more advanced treatments such as gum tissue grafting.

Dr. Papapetros, Dr. Kharin and Dr. Ristuccia agree that preventing periodontal disease is the most effective treatment. So, be sure to follow the at-home care and in-office regimen your dentist advises.

Find out more

At Great Meadows Dental Group in Bedford, MA, our professional team cares for all aspects of your oral health, including your gum wellness. Please Call (781) 275-7707 to arrange your routine hygienic cleaning and check-up with Dr. Papapetros, Dr. Kharin and Dr. Ristuccia! It's one of the best tools you have for a vibrant, long-lasting smile.

By Great Meadows Dental Group
June 18, 2019
Category: Oral Health

While dental diseases tend to be a greater concern as we get older, they also pose a potential threat to children. A particular type of tooth decay called early childhood caries (ECC) can severely damage children's unprotected teeth and skew their normal dental development.

Fortunately, you can protect your child's teeth from disease with a few simple practices. First and foremost: start a hygiene habit as soon as possible to remove disease-causing bacterial plaque. You don't have to wait until teeth appear, either: simply wipe the baby's gums with a clean wet cloth after nursing to minimize the growth of oral bacteria.

When their teeth do begin to erupt, you can switch to brushing (you can add flossing as more teeth erupt—but until the child shows appropriate dexterity, you'll need to do it for them). For infants, brush gently but thoroughly with a soft-bristled brush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste. When they grow older you can increase the toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. And as soon as you can, get them involved with learning to perform these vital habits on their own.

You should also limit your child's consumption of sugar. Our favorite carbohydrate is also a favorite of bacteria, who consume any remnants in dental plaque as a primary food source. So, keep sugary snacks and foods to a minimum and limit them mainly to mealtimes. And don't put a baby to sleep with a bottle filled with a liquid containing sugar (including formula and breastmilk).

Finally, begin taking your child to the dentist regularly by their first birthday for routine cleanings and checkups. Besides removing any hard to reach plaque, your dentist may also apply sealants and topical fluoride to help protect and strengthen tooth enamel. Regular visits make it more likely to detect the early signs of decay, before it does extensive damage. And beginning early makes it less likely your child will develop a fear of dental visits that could carry on into adulthood.

These and other steps will go a long way in protecting your child's teeth and gums so they develop normally. A little prevention and protection will help ensure a happy, healthy smile later in life.

If you would like more information on helping your child develop healthy teeth and gums, 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.”

By Great Meadows Dental Group
June 08, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Since the early Roman times, couples have prized the month of June as the most favorable time to exchange their marriage vows. If you and your betrothed are planning a June wedding this season, you no doubt want everything to be beautiful. That would include your smile—and with the appropriate techniques we can help you make it as bright and attractive as possible.

Here are 5 ways to a more attractive wedding day smile.

Dental Cleaning and Teeth Whitening. A routine dental cleaning right before the ceremony can remove stains and dental plaque that dull your teeth's appearance. For an added level of brightness, we can also whiten your teeth in time for your big day.

Repairing defects with bonding. Do you have a chipped tooth, or a broken or discolored filling? We may be able to repair minor defects like these in a single visit by bonding lifelike dental materials directly to the tooth. We color-match and sculpt these materials so that they blend seamlessly with your natural teeth.

Advanced enhancements. In whatever ways your teeth may be flawed, there are dental solutions to transform your smile. We can correct minor to moderate chips, stains or slight gaps with porcelain veneers that cover the teeth's visible surface. We can cap a viable but unsightly tooth with a life-like crown. Missing teeth? A fixed bridge or dental implants could restore them like new.

Plastic gum surgery. Teeth may be the stars of your smile, but your gums are the supporting cast. Smiles with too much of the gums showing can be corrected through various techniques, including periodontal plastic surgery that reshapes the gums and can help the teeth appear more prominent.

Orthodontics. The original "smile transformer," braces and other orthodontic methods move misaligned teeth to better positions. Not only can orthodontic treatment result in a more attractive appearance, it can improve overall dental health.

You have an array of options for enhancing your wedding day smile, and we're more than happy to help you develop an individualized treatment plan. One caveat, though: some of these techniques could take weeks or months to complete, so don't delay!

If you would like more information about what you can do to have the most attractive smile for your wedding day, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “Planning Your Wedding Day Smile.”