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Posts for: February, 2016

By Pender Dental Care
February 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavi­ties. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Pender Dental Care
February 22, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Before the development of dental implants, the options for replacing missing teeth were fairly limited to removable dentures, and dental crowns and bridges. While all are effective and reliable methods for patients suffering from gum disease or trauma related tooth loss, dental implantsimplants go a step further by also replacing the root of the missing tooth. This is an important element in preserving the health and stability of the bone tissue in the jaw, as well as the remaining teeth. From Dr. Jennifer Kim's office at Pender Dental Care in Fairfax, VA, learn more about this restorative dental procedure.

Dental implants in Fairfax

The first step in the process involves implanting a screw shaped, biocompatible titanium post in the jaw to replace the root. This will serve as an anchor to which the crown that replaces the tooth portion will be attached. Once it is placed in the jaw, the implant fuses with the surrounding bone tissue, which helps to permanently lock the implant in place. For this reason, patients must have sufficient healthy bone tissue remaining in the jaw in order to be a candidate for dental implants.

Your Fairfax dentist can use implants to replace a single missing tooth or several. Because the implants are designed to function like a natural tooth attached to a root, additional bridges are not necessary to hold the tooth restoration in place. Unlike dentures, which can become loose and require removal for cleaning and the use of adhesives to remain in place, dental implants are designed to be permanent.

Once the implant has healed, a natural looking crown designed to match the color and texture of the surrounding teeth is attached. For patients who are already using dentures and would like a more natural, secure fit, implants can be used to attach dentures and keep them in place.

Contact a dentist in Fairfax

For more information on how dental implants work, contact Dr. Jennifer Kim at Pender Dental Care in Fairfax, VA. Schedule a comprehensive dental exam and consultation today!

By Pender Dental Care
February 09, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   gum disease  

Your smile may look healthy, but something quite unhealthy may be going on behind it. Unbeknownst to you, periodontal (gum) disease could even now be damaging tissues and bone that could lead to tooth loss. Caused by plaque, a thin film of food remnant and bacteria built up on the teeth due to poor oral hygiene, gum disease can aggressively spread deep into gum tissues without you even realizing it.

If you pay close attention to your gums, however, it’s still possible to pick up signs of the disease, even during its early “silent” stage. As the infection progresses, the signs will become more frequent — and consequential.

Here are 4 signs of gum disease you should definitely keep on your radar.

Bleeding. Unless you’re doing it too hard, healthy gums won’t normally bleed when you’re brushing or flossing. If they do bleed with just light to moderate pressure, it’s a sign the tissues have been inflamed and weakened by the infection.

Inflammation and redness. If you notice your gums seem swollen or reddened, it could mean they’re inflamed. Inflammation is the body’s response for fighting infection — however, if the inflammation becomes chronic it can actually damage the tissue it’s trying to protect.

Abscesses. These are localized areas in the gums where the infection has become isolated. They’ll typically be more swollen than surrounding gum tissues and are often filled with pus. They can also be sensitive to the touch and painful. Any sore spot like this that lasts for more than a few days should be examined.

Loose or moving teeth. Teeth that can move in the socket or appear to have shifted their position are signs of an advanced stage of gum disease. It’s an indication the gum and bone tissue that hold teeth in place have been weakened and are losing their attachment. Without immediate treatment, it’s just a matter of time before the teeth are lost altogether.

If you notice any of these signs, you should see us as soon as possible for a complete exam. The sooner we’re able to diagnose gum disease and begin treatment, the less likely it will permanently harm your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on treating gum disease, 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 “When to See a Periodontist.”