Expecting moms have so much to plan – and so much to take care of during their pregnancy. It goes without saying that regular obstetric visits are paramount. But how should women deal with proper oral care during pregnancy?
We all know it’s common for expectant moms to experience sensitive and/or bleeding gums. These symptoms usually resolve themselves after the baby is born. But many expectant moms wonder if they should postpone regular oral care appointments while pregnant. Are standard dental procedures - including X-rays or having local anesthesia - safe for pregnant women? What if a pregnant mom gets a toothache? Must she just suffer through it?
Let’s take this worry away from pregnant moms right now. Regular oral care is safe throughout pregnancy – and extremely important. Delaying the treatment of any dental problem during pregnancy can be dangerous. For example, the bacteria from an infected tooth could spread throughout the bloodstream – putting mom and baby at risk. The American Dental Association confirms that dental treatments involving local anesthetics are safe for pregnant women. Root canals, a tooth extraction and filling cavities can all be performed during this time. Even X-rays are safe. The radiation level in an X-ray is quite low, and you’ll be covered by a lead apron, which protects the abdomen. Regular dental cleanings are also extremely important. Our hygienists deal with plaque not removed by your regular brushing and flossing, thus lowering the possibility of tooth decay and gum disease developing. A healthy mouth decreases the risk of delivering prematurely or having a baby with low birth weight.
Make sure to let our office know you are pregnant – and your due date - when you schedule your appointment. This helps us provide the best possible care, and gives us the notice we need to make your visit more comfortable. For regular non-emergency dental visits, (remember to schedule one every six months) the second trimester or early in the third trimester is ideal. We’ll also need to be updated on any medications you may be taking during pregnancy. Consider us part of your team for a healthy pregnancy. We’re here for you, Mom!
A healthy and beautiful smile can communicate happiness, radiate warmth, and make a lasting impression on others. What’s more, it helps to cultivate a positive self-image and is an essential element of your overall well being. Enjoying the benefits of a vibrant smile in tip-top condition is not something you can take for granted. To maintain optimal oral health requires putting some effort into an oral hygiene program at home along with making periodic visits to your dentist for a program of preventive care.
Did you know that your oral health and systemic health are very closely connected? The fact of the matter is that harmful conditions affecting your teeth, gums, jaws as well as structures in and around the oral cavity can have an impact on your overall well being. Dental problems can contribute to a range of health issues such as digestive disorders, heart disease, stroke or diabetes. The reverse has also been found to be true. According to statistics, more than 90% of all systemic diseases (diseases affecting organs and systems in the body) can manifest signs and symptoms in the oral cavity. Experiencing dry mouth, bad breath, gum problems, ulcerations or other oral lesions may be indicative of a serious underlying systemic condition, which your dentist may be the first healthcare professional to detect.
It’s important not to hold off seeing the dentist until you’re in terrible pain or think there is something wrong. By scheduling a periodic appointment for a checkup and professional dental cleaning, your dentist can help to keep your smile looking and functioning at its best. At the beginning of your checkup up visit, the dentist will review your medical and dental histories and then perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth, jaws, and surrounding areas of the head and neck. While checking for the development of harmful dental conditions such as tooth decay gum disease and oral cancer, your dentist will also look for any oral indications of problematic health issues that may have originated elsewhere in the body. The function of your temporomandibular joints, the relationship between the upper and lower jaws, plus your occlusion (your bite) will be evaluated for any impairment or misalignment. During a comprehensive exam, the dentist is also able to spot the dental health consequences of dietary choices, eating disorders, harmful habits, certain medications and inadequate oral hygiene practices.
The best way to avert the development of cavities and gum disease is with good oral hygiene, a nutritious diet, healthy lifestyle and a program of preventive dental care. When you go for your periodic checkup visit, you will also be scheduled that day or shortly after that for a professional dental cleaning. During your hygiene visit, you’ll be given detailed instructions and tips on the best methods of brushing and flossing to maintain an effective regimen of oral care at home.
Whether your dental needs are simply for preventive services or if they involve more complex care, your dentist will formulate a treatment plan tailored to your individual dental needs and concerns. Working in partnership with your dentist is the best way to ensure your smile is beautiful and healthy for many years to come.
A smile is a universal expression. It communicates happiness, radiates warmth, and makes a positive impression on others. An attractive sparkling white smile is not just associated with dental health; it is also viewed as an important asset in terms of an individual’s self-esteem, social interaction, and career success. Not everyone is lucky enough to have naturally beautiful pearly whites. However, thanks to developments in the area of cosmetic dentistry over the past few decades, less than perfect smiles can be dramatically improved. Among the most sought after and popular dental cosmetic treatments available today is teeth whitening.
An in-office teeth whitening procedure by your dentist is the best and safest way to get the maximum results immediately. In as little as one hour a professional strength in-office whitening system can give you a more pleasing smile with teeth that are several shades whiter than their original shade. Under the careful supervision of your dentist the surrounding soft tissues, gums, as well as any sensitive areas of the teeth are carefully isolated and protected from the effects of the bleaching agents.
A home whitening system from your dentist along with custom trays that have been fitted to your teeth is also an excellent option. The trays fabricated by your dentist help to keep the bleaching agents in maximum contact with the teeth and away from the other areas of your mouth. Performing a home teeth whitening is a more subtle and gradual process. Maximum results are less rapid than an in office procedure and are typically achieved over a longer period of time. In certain instances an at home whitening system may be recommended by your dentist as a follow up regimen to the in office procedure in order to perfect or maintain your results.
How long your teeth whitening lasts depends on your lifestyle. Your eating, drinking, and smoking habits can have a big impact on maintaining your result. Of course the best way to insure that your smile stays healthy and beautiful is a good daily oral healthcare regimen along with regular dental check ups and cleanings.
No one ever said life is fair. We have some patients who visit our office very irregularly – maybe once every two to three years. (Sadly, 34% of all Americans skip their yearly checkup.) When these procrastinators finally come in, all they require is a regular dental cleaning – which focuses on teeth surfaces and the areas between the teeth above the gum line. We have other patients who come to see us twice a year. They brush and floss regularly. Yet, these patients may need regular deep cleanings – to remove bacteria, calculus and tartar that have collected under their gum line. These conscientious patients seem to doing everything right. So, why are they the candidates for deep cleaning?
The truth is your overall oral hygiene is not only dependent on how often you brush and floss. Genetics play a part, as do the medications you take regularly. Are you a smoker? Your saliva might have too much calcium. Patients with diabetes or high blood pressure often suffer more from inflamed, bleeding gums. And, brushing technique plays an important role. Some patients think if the brush touches their teeth, their job is done. No, indeed. Brushing must be done properly to reduce plaque build-up.
Once plaque begins accumulating under the gums, it can harden and become tartar. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, is caused by the toxins released by bacteria in the plaque and tartar. Your gums become red and puffy. They may bleed easily. (Think of the discomfort of having a too-tight shirt sleeve on your arm.) When we see this condition, we recommend deep cleaning. If left untreated, the area could become inflamed, leading to infection, loose teeth, even bone loss.
Here’s how we make the assessment. Our hygienist uses a probe to check for and measure gum pockets. A pocket measuring 4 millimeters or deeper may be a sign of periodontal disease. If your pockets are greater than 5 millimeters, you’ll probably need a deep scaling and root planning appointment. X-rays also show bone loss, which makes a deep cleaning a necessity.
In the procedure, we’ll be using electric or ultrasonic instruments and manual scaling tools. Ultrasonic cleaners force plaque and tartar off your teeth through their vibrations. Any debris that may still be present is removed with the use of a water irrigation system.
Step one, of course, is to come in for your regular cleaning. At this time, we’ll discuss your specific oral hygiene program and answer any questions you may have.
Your baby’s pediatrician has just suggested it’s time for your child’s first dental appointment. How do you select the right professional? Certainly, there’s much more to consider than how many toys you’ll find in the waiting room. Let’s take a moment to focus on pediatric dentistry, and provide you with useful information sure to help you with your decision.
New parents often ask, "When should my child first see a dentist?" The quick answer – suggested by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is – first visit should be by your child’s first birthday. This may sound early, but national studies have shown that preschoolers are getting more cavities. And cavities are not the only concern. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss the proper care for an infant’s mouth, the use of fluoride, oral habits like thumb sucking, teething and developmental milestones, and the link between diet and oral health.
Parents may also wonder why they should seek out a pediatric dentist. The answer is simple: pediatric dentists are specially trained to care for children’s oral health – teeth, gum and mouth - from infancy through the teen years. A pediatric dentist continues their studies for two additional years after the four years of dental school. They complete a dental residency for infants, children, teens and special needs kids. They are qualified to do early assessment for straightening teeth. They are also experts on diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect and asthma, to list a few.
Remember, kids are not just small adults. They need professionals familiar with examining and treating them in ways that make them comfortable. In addition, pediatric dentists have specially designed equipment, and their offices are arranged and decorated with kids in mind.
After the one year exam, the dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. Now, the schedule may vary according to each child's needs and risks. As your child grows, the dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems. Our office team is standing by to answer all your questions.
We all know what a crazy month December can be. Holiday prep takes so much time: shopping, wrapping, cooking, getting ready for a full schedule of holiday parties - the list goes on. In all the rush, make sure you set aside the necessary time to make the most of your dental benefits. If there are some procedures you've been putting off, schedule them ASAP so we can get your work done before you lose your 2017 benefits. Ignoring simple dental issues can create bigger problems for you down the road. Here's a quick example:
Let's say during your last visit to our office, we discovered you had a cavity. You said you'd schedule a follow-up appointment, but never actually got around to doing it. Now it's December, and you're incredibly busy. Imagine how awful you'd feel if you developed a toothache over the holidays. Worse yet, what could have been fixed by a simple filling (usually handled in our office in one visit) - if ignored - could evolve into the need for a root canal or even an extraction.
Don't derail a happy holiday season. Carve out some time to keep your smile at its healthiest and holiday brightest. And, it's a very bright idea to use all your dental benefits before year end
Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved days of the year. Family and friends gather to share a sumptuous meal and quality time. If you’re like most of us, you may even go around the table, asking everyone to share something for which they are thankful. Many times, the answer is “I’m thankful for the good health of those dearest to me.”
Sometimes in the rush of daily life, we forget how central good dental health is to our overall health. Sure, good oral hygiene helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But increasingly, researchers are finding that an unhealthy mouth may increase your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, even preterm labor.
Think of your mouth is a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body. Systemic conditions such as AIDS or diabetes often first become apparent as mouth lesions. Your saliva is an important diagnostic tool. For example, certain cancer markers are detectable in saliva.
More than 500 species of bacteria thrive in your mouth at any given time. These bacteria constantly form dental plaque. If you don’t brush and floss daily, and visit us for regularly scheduled dental cleanings, plaque can build up along your gumline, resulting in a form of gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can evolve into a more serious gum infection called periodontitis. Long term gum disease eventually results in the loss of teeth. But the consequences may not end there. Good oral hygiene is absolutely crucial to keeping your healthy.
At this time of year, all of us at South Miami Family Dental are thankful for our wonderful patients. We think of ourselves as partners in ensuring your family remains healthy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and a very merry holiday season ahead.
Ask most folks if there’s a difference between family dentistry and general dentistry and you’ll probably get a shoulder shrug. Truth is the terms “family dentistry” and “general dentistry” are often used interchangeably. In reality, they do mean different things.
Let’s take a moment to clear this up. As we know, some dentists specialize in a certain area of dentistry, like endodontia (for the treatment of the teeth’s root and pulp). Others may concentrate on a certain age group. A general dentist does not have a defined area of specialization.
What makes South Miami Family Dental (SMFD) different is that we offer more than one specialized dentist in our practice. Our goal is to meet most of your family’s dental needs.
At SMFD, for example, you might make an appointment for your college-aged child to have a wisdom tooth removed. At the same time, you can make an appointment to have your own teeth cleaned with one of our hygienists.
Here are just some of the treatments available in our office:
Wisdom teeth extractions
Bondings and fillings
Implant dentistry is a specialty of SMFD. We also have one of the state’s most prominent TMJ doctors on staff. And, for those patients who need extra care, we offer sedation dentistry.
Our fully digital office features the most technologically advanced equipment to maximize your patient experience. For example, our digital X-rays emit less radiation and provide more accurate information. We utilize Cone Beam CT for 3-dimensional imaging which helps with the diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of certain conditions. Our use of radio wave technology produces better results than traditional laser technology for soft tissue surgery. Our intraoral digital scanner lets us provide you with highly accurate restorations while eliminating the discomfort of dental impressions.
For 20 years, we’ve been providing South Florida families with the highest quality dental care. To our existing patients, we’ve been honored to serve you and your family. To our new patients, let us show you the SMFD difference.
(That’s right. Women GO to Their Dentists More Frequently Than Men)
Snaps to the ladies. Recent studies have shown what we suspected all along: women are more proactive than men in maintaining their teeth and gums. Women are almost twice as likely to go for regular dental checkups, then they schedule the recommended treatment following those checkups. Women also have a better understanding about how to maintain good oral health, and a more positive attitude toward visiting the dentist.
But, there definitely different challenges in women’s and men’s oral health. Let’s investigate some common questions women are asking.
Ibrush and floss each day. Why do my gums bleed sometimes?
Women have hormonal changes that can cause bleeding and gum disease. It might be linked to menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.
I always had healthy gums. Now that I’m pregnant, why are my gums sore?
Pregnancy gingivitis is a condition that occurs when the hormone balance in your body changes and levels of progesterone increase. This makes it easier for certain types of bacteria to grow - making gums more sensitive. Symptoms range from gums that burn or bleed slightly to severe swelling and infection. Morning sickness also contributes to dental problems due to increased acid coming in contact with teeth.
Is it true gum disease can cause problems with my baby?
Women with chronic gum disease are four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely, resulting in underweight babies.
I’m in my 50’s and my gums are suddenly burning and bleeding. What’s wrong?
Hormone fluctuations occur during perimenopause and menopause. Symptoms include bloody gums, burning, dry mouth, changes in taste, and infection. You may need more frequent cleanings to prevent gum disease.
Can my osteoporosis meds cause bone loss in my jaw?
While the overwhelming majority of loss of bone in patients occurs when osteoporosis meds are administered intravenously, in some cases bone loss also occurred when medication was taken orally. Bone loss in the jaw causes complications for implant placement, as well as the healing from dental surgeries. Make sure to let us know if you are currently on this type of medication.
Teaching kids about proper oral hygiene doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. In honor of Children’s Health Month, here’s a simple “Tip a Day” to keep your child’s smile at its brightest.
Start oral hygiene early! Wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean moist gauze pad or washcloth.
When teeth first begin to erupt, gently brush infant’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and water.
Start dental visits early – before the age of one.
At age 2, add a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to the brush…and make sure your child spits it out.
Use only a soft-bristled brush.
Make sure your child has the dexterity necessary for proper brushing and flossing.
Brush the inside surface of each tooth first – plaque accumulates here first.
Don’t forget to brush the tongue.
Set a consistent time of day for brushing and flossing – make it a routine.
Consider setting a 2 minute timer for brushing – or play a favorite tune while they brush.
Don’t send toddlers to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Sustained exposure to drinks containing sugar causes tooth decay.
Try to ensure toddlers give up pacifiers before 36 months. Long-term pacifier use can impair tooth development and cause speech-impairing malformations of the mouth.
Encourage kids to start drinking from regular cups between 12 and 15 months. Long term use of sippy cups can cause tooth decay and cavities.
Begin flossing your child’s teeth at age 4. By age 8, most kids can floss for themselves.
Floss daily to remove plaque from between their teeth and under the gumline BEFORE it hardens into tartar.
Because plaque is difficult for kids to see, consider using a plaque-disclosing tablet one time so your child can see where plaque likes to hide.
Praise your kids for doing a great job on their brushing and flossing.
Let children pick a fluoride toothpaste flavor they like.
Allow kids to choose their own toothbrush with the characters or colors of their choice.
Let your child pick a new toothbrush every few months.
Always replace toothbrushes after a cold, flu or infection.
If you opt for an electric toothbrush, you still must supervise correct brushing practices.
Have a discussion with your child’s pediatric dentist about sealants – not all kids need them.
Don’t pull out your child’s loose tooth. You could damage sensitive tissue. Allow kids to wiggle the tooth themselves.
Resolve to make your child’s diet healthier: serve more fruits and vegetables, less sugar and fewer carbonated beverages.
When kids do eat starchy or sugary foods, try to make it at mealtime instead of snack time. The extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from their mouths.
If your tap water is not fluoridated, ask us about which daily fluoride supplements to use.
If your child participates in organized sports, make sure they have a properly fitted mouth guard.
Be a good role model by taking care of your own teeth.
Make sure your child comes to see us twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
It’s Halloween….so which treats are best for kids? Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats is sugar free gum. Stay away from lollipops and hard candies. Gummy worms and caramels stick to the teeth long after the treat has been enjoyed, so have kids rinse after eating these. Enjoy the day with smart, healthy treats!
As we all know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sadly, breast cancer remains the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women – nearly 1 in 8 will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes.
Surprisingly, recent studies have found a link between breast cancer and oral health. In fact, The Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment conducted a survey of over 3,000 people and found that individuals with chronic periodontal disease had a high occurrence of breast cancer. These people were actually 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
So, as we focus on annual breast check-ups during October, let’s also refocus on proper oral health. The routine is simple:
Brush twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste.
Make sure to come to our office for a professional cleaning and check up every six months
And keep this top of mind: more than one third of people being treated for breast cancer can develop complications that affect the mouth. Women who are beginning cancer treatment should visit us at least one month before their treatment begins. Most chemotherapy agents suppress white blood cells, which protect against infection. Chemo can also affect saliva production, leading to dry mouth and serious dental implications. Oral tissues can become inflamed and gums may bleed more easily. All dental work should be completed and teeth should be cleaned prior to any cancer therapy. Call us to discuss how to keep oral health at its optimum during this difficult time.
Much has been written about optimizing our health as we age. Thankfully, most of us now get regular physicals, track cholesterol numbers, exercise daily, etc. But, what about our oral health? Can we be proactive about keeping a bright, healthy smile? Thankfully – YES! Here are some simple, smart tips to help you retain your pearly whites your whole life long.
KEEP YOUR GUMS HEALTHY: Bacteria (plaque) is always forming on your teeth. If you don’t remove it, it can cause soreness, swelling and bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can cause infections that affect the bone underneath. Be on the lookout for signs of gum disease, including: bleeding when you brush; receding gums; loose teeth and bad breath. Schedule an appointment with us if you start noticing these symptoms of periodontitis.
DON’T LET YOUR MOUTH DRY OUT: Saliva helps keep your teeth clean and protects your mouth from decay. A dry mouth increases your chance of tooth decay. Your medication could be to blame, so be sure to drink plenty of water. You may also find sugarless candy or sugarless gum can help.
BE KIND TO SENSITIVE TEETH: Worn enamel, gum issues and tooth decay can all make your teeth more sensitive. Good dental care is the best prevention. Brush, floss, and come and see us regularly. We may even recommend switching to different toothpaste to make you more comfortable.
PREVENT CHIPS, ENSURE YOU’RE GETTING SUFFICIENT FLUORIDE: Stop chewing ice or other hard foods that cause chips in your enamel or even break teeth. And, if you prefer bottled water over tap water, make sure you are getting enough fluoride. You may want to add a daily fluoride rinse to your brushing routine.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR ACID: Fizzy drinks, citrus fruits and juices all contain acid. Sugar and starchy foods can cause your mouth to make acid – which wears away the enamel on your teeth. Try to eat sugary or starchy foods with your main meals – when your mouth makes the most saliva to help wash acid away.
WATCH OUT FOR SHIFTING TEETH: Have you noticed that food seems to be getting stuck in new places in your mouth? Yes, this annoying phenomenon is a “thing!” Teeth actually shift as we age. Misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and may even damage supporting tissue and bone. If your teeth have shifted dramatically, you may need to consult an orthodontist. Let’s talk about it during your next visit.
BE VIGILANT AGAINST SIGNS OF ORAL CANCER: As we age, there is a small chance of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, tongue or lips. Of course, we don’t need to discuss how damaging smoking is to your health. But, in the “golden years,” it also makes sense to drink alcohol more moderately. And, all Floridians – no matter our age - should use lip balm with sunscreen whenever we go outside. Early warning signs of oral cancer include sores, red or white patches, and any long-lasting changes in your mouth. Let us check them right out.
BTS (Back to School) = TMTD (Too Much To Do)! As parents, we all have a fair amount of trepidation about getting kids back into the structure of a new school year. Besides making adequate study time for homework, there is the frantic scheduling of after-school activities, carpools, etc.
But this year, let’s make Back To School a great time to get your family into new oral health routines. I promise, the following tips are simple – and they’ll make a difference as the year goes by:
SCHEDULE A DENTAL EXAM FOR YOUR CHILD: According to the American Dental Association, a dental exam is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of your regular back to school preparations. Tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning - as well as hours of missed school.
GET THE KIDS INTO A REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING ROUTINE: As you’re doing your back to school shopping, head to the dental care aisle and buy new toothbrushes and floss. Children should change their toothbrushes every three months, or after an illness. (Here’s a suggestion: change their toothbrushes each time your child gets their report cards.) Make sure you get the kids into the routine of regular flossing, too.
SWITCH TO HEALTHIER LUNCHES AND SNACKS: Now is the time to re-evaluate what you’re packing for their lunches. Switch away from chips and sugary snacks. Include more grains, milk, cheese, raw veggies, yogurt and fruit. Also, try changing from juices to water.
INVESTIGATE MOUTHGUARDS FOR AFTER SCHOOL SPORTS: If your child participates in certain team sports, (like soccer, baseball, football, basketball and lacrosse) make sure they have a properly fitted mouthguard. This can prevent discomfort for them – and expense for you.
Written by Martha Cecilia Restrepo. Posted in Blog
If you are consistent with your oral health, you will see those gums healing fast if is detected at an early stage. A good hygiene routine is needed, make sure your children do too. Believe me, deep cleanings are expensive and if you do not have insurance to cover a good portion of it, you will not be very happy.
Written by Martha Cecilia Restrepo. Posted in Blog
As a manager in a dentist office, is common to think that I am an expert in the matter. But no, definitely I have learned more about since my son got his braces than ever. Healthy pink gums can quickly become red and swollen from poor oral hygiene. Yes, it happens to dentist’s kids too. So, I started to read more about and found some interesting information that can come handy for you.