Through the Eyes of a Dentist’s Daughter

As a dentist’s daughter, I frequently receive questions from my peers about what it means to have good oral health. I used to wonder why people believed that I would know the secrets to good maintaining healthy teeth — I’m not a dentist after all. As an elementary school student, I was the go-to dental knowledge bank. In middle and high school, the questions continued. Today, as a college student pursuing a career in dental hygiene, the questions have gotten even more abundant.

The funniest part of all of this is that, more often than not, I know the answer to people’s questions, and I love answering them!

So how do I know the answers? Often, it is because they are parts of my lifestyle; parts that began the day I was born to a dentist. While I know that sugar is not great for your teeth, eating candy is not the end-all-be-all determinant of how healthy your teeth will be. I know that flossing is one of the most important personal hygiene things you can do, despite how underestimated it may be. And trust me, I know not to bite on a lemon or open a plastic container with my teeth.

 I was never directly given a list of what to do and what not to do, but I grew up with a knowledge-bank was built by tidbits of conversations and interactions with my dad.

 I do not have the answer as to why everyone has the same set of unanswered questions about dental health, but I think that if people made maintaining good oral health a part of their lifestyle, the answers may seem more simple. Maintaining good oral health can be made into a routine that is easy to maintain. Once this routine becomes second nature, people can and will prevent so many oral health problems.

 If we create a routine, we really won’t have to sacrifice anything. We can still eat that once-in-a-while piece of candy, as long as we brush and floss every night. We can recognize that if our gums are bleeding, our bodies are telling us that we need to care for them better through flossing. And we should be aware that dentists, dental hygienists, and students love when people care enough to ask us questions.  www.joethedentist.com 

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Teeth in a day: What’s the rush?

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Having your teeth fixed with dental implants in just one day….what a great idea! Even a better marketing angle. I’ve been asked so many times why dental implants take time when they keep hearing and seeing ads for immediate teeth that I know how well the marketing works.
To be perfectly fair, the “teeth in a day” protocol does work and many patients have gone through the process successfully. However, there are several caveats that must be considered.

First of all, the “teeth” are typically denture teeth which are fixed to a series of 4 to 6 implants in a row. All of the teeth in the dental arch need to be missing or removed for this to work. The implants arranged around the curvature of the arch is what allows for the “loading” of the immediate restoration. The idea of saving any teeth in the span is not possible. In addition to removing all of the teeth, several millimeters of bone and gum tissues need to be removed to create “restorative” space.

Secondly, the bone around the teeth needs to be healthy and free of infection. Placing implants into infected areas invites a risk of implant failure. Now, some of us are already scratching our heads wondering why would anyone want to remove perfectly good teeth that are not infected.

Once again to be fair, I am a dentist and have been placing and restoring dental implants for the past fifteen years. I believe that dental implantology is one of the greatest advances in dentistry of our time. That being said, I think there is nothing better than real teeth. Saving whatever we can, within practical considerations, is our first goal. It is true that dentures are awful! Food tastes and feels foreign, speech is difficult and the feeling of physical decline is oppressive. A full arch of implants holding on to a dental bridge is a bit better. Natural teeth, even a few in the arch, if that’s all that is feasible, is the best. One reason is that teeth have ligaments that hold them into the bone. Within this ligament space lies proprioceptive nerve endings. Unlike the sensation of hot and cold, these nerves send signals to the brain regarding pressure. It is part of how we interpret what food feels like. They help us determine how hard we need to bite when we are eating. Does a hot dog feel any different a good fillet? You bet it does. Implants offer absolutely no proprioceptive feedback.

Some people have not had much luck in taking care of their natural teeth. Implants may seem like a good way to escape from the hassle. Actually, they still need attention. Each implant needs to be cleaned around the tissue where it emerges, just like teeth. When there is a bridge or denture permanently attached to them, care and time needs to be taken to get underneath and do a thorough job. Loosing a dental implant under a complicated bridge can be an expensive complication.

Dr Olson and I believe in the proper and timely replacement of hopeless teeth to maintain proper force and load distribution within the arches. We also believe in the preservation of bone and healthy teeth wherever and whenever possible. Finally, we believe in creating restorations on dental implants that look, feel and function like natural teeth in keeping with our years cosmetic dental practice.

Look to our future blogs where we will be discussing the pros and cons of immediate placement and restoration of implants for single tooth considerations.

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo

Dr. Ashley Olson

www.joethedentist.com

www.ashleythedentist.com

Keep Calm and Take Your Kids To The Dentist.

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Unlike in decades past, most kids today have fun and positive experiences at their initial and ongoing dental visits. To a large extent, the attitude and feelings of a parent have a tremendous influence on their children’s experiences.
Dr. Ashley Olson feels having the little ones see their parents visit the dentist will go a long way.
“Little kids are like little sponges; they mirror our happiness, they mirror our sadness and they mirror our uncertainty,” Olson said. “This is important to keep in mind when thinking about your own feelings about seeing the dentist. Kids pick up on subtleties in the tone of our voice and even our facial expressions. Setting our kids up for the best possible experience at the dentist starts with parent’s communication (verbal and nonverbal) about it. We do not recommend promising your child a special treat if he or she behaves at the dentist, because doing so may only introduce apprehension. They may wonder, ‘What is so bad about the dentist that I might fuss or cry?’ Keep a positive, optimistic attitude, leaving any of your own negative feelings behind when discussing an upcoming dental visit with your child, and they will have nothing to fear or worry about.”
Olson also noted that having calm parents at the first visit can help the children stay calm as well, and lessen the amount of stress and anxiety.
“Generally, the rule of thumb is that children should have their first dental visit by their first birthday,” said Olson. “Early exposure to the dental team not only helps children feel comfortable, but also gives parents the opportunity to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to limit their child’s risk for cavities.”
The goal of the first visit is for parents to learn about their child’s oral health and how to properly care for their child’s unique needs. At that initial visit, parents can discuss home care, teething and development, proper use of fluoride, oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, and factors that affect the risk of cavities.
At home, a parent can help a child’s dental health with the foods they provide. Avoiding sticky candies and even chewy raisins and dried fruit is key and sticking to fruits and vegetables, cheese, and other good sources of calcium is the way to go.
“Education and prevention are the keys to a child’s dental health,” added Olson. “Although baby teeth aren’t there forever, it is still very important to keep those teeth and gums as healthy as possible while they are holding space for future permanent teeth. Parents who start their kids early at the dentist are more likely to limit future dental problems and those kids are more likely to continue giving their oral health proper attention in their adult life.
“Forming habits early on, like regular dental visits and cleanings, brushing in the morning and at night and flossing, will set kids up for a lifetime of dental health.”
When your children see you brushing and flossing your teeth every day, establishing good habits for them will be infinitely easier. Don’t underestimate the power of setting a good example for your children.

For more information,
call Dr. D’Angelo & Dr. Olson
at 858-459-6224
1111 Torrey Pines Road
www.joethedentist.com