There is just something about the months of October, November, and December that can make our teeth hurt! Oh yeah … the holidays! Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we are bubbling over with tasty treats and busy schedules. The combination can mean making less than smart choices about what we eat, and perhaps getting a little lax on our oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing day and night no matter what.
Obviously, everyone on staff at Hatch Dentistry in Blackfoot will tell you to brush, floss, and stay away from sugar. But even when we do our best, sometimes our teeth just need a little TLC! And ignoring that toothache or sign of trouble until after the holidays just is not a good idea. The sooner you have the problem addressed, the sooner you can be back smooching under that mistletoe! Plus, there are some other pretty basic reasons you should get a checkup!
Here are nine signs you need to make an appointment soon:
- You should never have pain in your teeth; that is not natural. If there is pain, it could be a sign of an underlying problem like a cavity or damaged nerve.
- Bleeding gums. Are your gums bleeding quite a bit when you brush or floss? Do they sometimes get swollen and irritated? Is there a history of gum disease in your family? All reasons to make an appointment soon. Getting ahead of gum disease can make a world of difference for your oral health down the road.
- Spots & sores. Remember when you were little and lost a tooth, and your tongue immediately went to that area because it felt funny? That sensation never goes away. If something is amiss in your mouth, your tongue will probably find it – then obsess over it. If you have a sore in your mouth that lasts more than a week or is causing serious discomfort, you should make an appointment with a dentist ASAP.
- Trouble eating. Are you experiencing pain or discomfort while chewing or swallowing, no matter the consistency or texture of the food? Time for a visit to the dentist!
- Dry mouth. You should not always feel parched. This could be a side effect of a new medication or a sign of something else. A dentist or doctor is a good place to start.
- Jaw pain. Does your jaw sometimes pop when you’re chewing or opening and closing your mouth? Do you experience pain when chewing or first thing in the morning? It is not normal for a jaw to hurt or muscles to be sore.
- Pregnancy! It’s not uncommon for expecting moms to have some minor dental issues. For example, pregnant women may be more likely to develop “pregnancy gingivitis” which can trigger sore, tender gums. Plus, if you’re experiencing morning sickness, your teeth are taking a beating from all the acid. It’s perfectly safe to have routine dental checkups, cleanings, and x-rays while you’re pregnant – and in fact, it’s recommended.
The longer you wait to have a potential dental problem looked at, the bigger the problem could become. When you feel or see a problem arising, don’t hesitate to call Hatch Dentistry right away. Our trained staff can talk to you about what you’re experiencing, and get you into the office and back out on your way good as new in no time.
If you have children, chances are you’ve wondered if you are doing everything you should to protect your child’s teeth from bacteria and decay. You may have questions about when your child should first visit a dentist, when the right time is to begin brushing and flossing, and if there is anything else you can do to prevent tooth decay and cavities.
When habits are formed early, it is often easier to maintain those habits as we get older. As parents, it is important to begin thinking about oral health before your child’s first birthday, as many children develop cavities well before they turn five years old. Understanding how children get cavities and what you can do to prevent tooth decay can set your child up for better oral health as they grow older.
Early Stages of Dental Care
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should visit a dentist around their first birthday, or when teeth first begin to appear. Home care can begin even earlier to reduce bacteria growth and to promote healthy gums.
Before your child has teeth, you can use a soft washcloth to wipe their gums after feeding to combat bacteria. After teeth begin to arrive, you should begin brushing using an infant toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste. You should not use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is able to spit properly, usually at about age 2 or 3.
When Can My Child Brush Their Own Teeth?
Most children can begin brushing their own teeth with adult supervision when they are 2 or 3 years old. Once your child can spit properly, experiment with allowing them to do the brushing. Do not begin using fluoridated toothpaste until they learn to spit. Encourage healthy habits by brushing with your child, providing instruction and encouragement.
It may be a struggle to get some kids to brush twice a day. Seek ways to make brushing a fun, rewarding experience. Award gold stars, offer rewards or use music to make brushing more fun. You should supervise brushing until your child is older, and possibly perform a final brush until they get better about brushing all the surfaces of their teeth.
Flossing should begin whenever two teeth are touching. Brushing rarely gets all the food stuck between the teeth, especially the ones in the back of the mouth. Teach your child how to floss, or use special flossers or floss picks safe for use by kids. Flossing should be done daily.
Dental Sealants and Fluoride Usage
Dental sealants are often recommended for children, as sealants provide a barrier between your kids’ teeth and cavity causing bacteria. They are generally applied to teeth in the back of the mouth where most chewing takes place. The thin resin coating protects the teeth and allows them to get stronger as your child grows older.
Fluoride treatments can also be applied at the dentist to help teeth become stronger. Most municipal water supplies are treated with fluoride, and most toothpaste will contain a small amount of fluoride. Your dentist will be able to recommend additional fluoride supplements if necessary.
Establish Healthy Habits for Oral Health
It is important to encourage healthy habits early in life, as your child will continue these habits throughout life. Teach your child to brush and floss regularly, and work with your dentist to identify any other steps that may be necessary to promote healthy teeth and gums.
Visit the dentist regularly to check for early signs of tooth decay and to have sealants and fluoride treatments applied. Talk to your child’s dentist about any concerns or questions you may have about their oral health and dental care. More
Choosing a good family dentist is not always easy. Your dental health is an important part of your overall health, and you need to see someone who is experienced, stays up-to-date on new techniques or procedures, and who is convenient for you to visit in Blackfoot. Cost and insurance coverage are also deciding factors. Take the time to do a little research, learn about the dentists in your area, and select someone who will meet your needs. The office of Dr. Dennis Hatch is happy to help answers questions you may have. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a family dentist in Blackfoot.
The first place many people look when choosing a new dentist is a list of providers covered by their dental insurance. Make sure you understand your dental coverage, and verify with the dentist’s office that they do accept your insurance plan.
Ask about accepted payments and if payment plans are available. Costs for certain procedures can vary greatly between different practices in the same community. You may want to get an estimate of out-of-pocket costs for common procedures like a filling or root canal.
Some dentists will offer a discount if payment is made at the time of service, so be sure to ask about any additional ways to lower your costs. If you do not have insurance, you may still qualify for a dental discount plan or a payment plan.
Location and Office Hours
It’s important to choose a dentist whose office is close to your home or work and who is available at times that are convenient for you. It is not uncommon for dentists to have several offices to serve a wider area, so be sure to confirm their hours of operation before scheduling an appointment.
Be sure to inquire about emergency care and whether the dentist is available outside of regular office hours to treat emergencies. You’ll also want to know if they offer most major dental procedures, or if you would be referred to another office for more serious procedures.
Experience and Qualifications
Dental offices should be forthcoming when answering questions pertaining to the dentist’s training and experience. Find out where they obtained their education and how long they have been practicing. Also check to see if they belong to any trade associations, and if they receive continuing education.
Use your own judgment when evaluating the experience and education of a dentist for your family. Consider your own personal preferences and decide if you’d rather see someone with years of experience and who has an established practice in your community or someone who has less experience but more recent education.
You can also check with your state licensing board to verify that the dentist is licensed to practice in your state and whether any disciplinary actions have been made against them.
Ask Friends and Family for Referrals
Asking your friends, family or coworkers about their dentist can provide valuable insight that can help you make your decision. Ask them what they like about their dentist, how they started seeing him or her, and if they’ve ever had any problems with scheduling, visits or billing.
Of all the research you can do, getting an honest opinion from someone you trust is often the most insightful. Many times your friends or family will have had experiences with other dentists as well, so be sure to ask if you have someone in mind.
Making the Final Decision
As you can see, several factors should be considered when deciding which dentist you should see. Rank your priorities and try to focus on the items that are the most important to you personally. Find a dentist that you like and can trust, and that you can openly discuss any concerns you may have about your dental health. More
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, so it’s important to teach your child early about the importance of maintaining good oral health, especially during candy-focused holidays like Halloween, the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Not only does untreated tooth decay cause pain, it may also lead to infections that affect eating, speaking, and overall wellbeing. Fortunately, tooth decay and other oral diseases are preventable. Hatch Dental in Blackfoot is a general family dentist who is happy to answer questions about all your dental needs.
• Bring your child to his or her dentist for regular checkups.
• Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride.
• Talk to your dentist about dental sealants. Sealants protect teeth from decay and have the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay in school-age children when used in combination with fluoride.
Teach Your Children These To-Do’s
• Make taking care of teeth fun! Let your child pick out their own toothbrush or perhaps make teeth brushing a family affair. It’s always fun to brush the tongue!• Brush teeth 2 times each day for 2 minutes
• Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste
• Spit and don’t swallow
• Angle toothbrush against gums
• Brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes
• Brush the front, back, and top of teeth
• Brush tongue to remove germs and freshen breath
• Have your child floss daily to remove plaque from between the teeth and under the gum line, before it can harden into tartar.
Kids will generally need help with brushing until age six or seven. Beginning around age 4, begin flossing for your child. By the time they reach age 8, most kids can begin flossing for themselves.
A Few Facts
• Kids should use a soft toothbrush with a shape that will allow them to reach all areas of their mouth.
• Plaque is a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can lead to cavities.
• Taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued.
• A balanced diet is necessary for your child to develop strong, decay-resistant teeth.
• Discourage frequent snacking between meals, especially sugary foods. The sugars and starches found in many foods and snacks like cookies, candy, and soft drinks attack the tooth enamel and may lead to cavities.
Call Hatch Dental in Blackfoot to schedule an appointment today. More