At what age should you begin treating a poor bite? Many might say with braces around late childhood or early adolescence. But some bite problems could be addressed earlier—with the possibility of avoiding future orthodontic treatment.
A crossbite is a good example. In a normal bite, all of the upper teeth slightly cover the lower when the jaws are shut. But a crossbite occurs when some of the lower teeth, particularly in back, overlap the upper teeth. This situation often happens when the upper jaw develops too narrowly.
But one feature of a child's mouth structure provides an opportunity to intervene and alter jaw development. During a child's early years, the palate (roof of the mouth) consists of two bones next to each other with an open seam running between them. This seam, which runs through the center of the mouth from front to back, will fuse during puberty to form one continuous palatal bone.
An orthodontist can take advantage of this separation if the jaw isn't growing wide enough with a unique device called a palatal expander. This particular oral appliance consists of four, thin metal legs connected to a central mechanism. The orthodontist places the expander against the palate and then uses the mechanism to extend the legs firmly against the back of the teeth on both sides of the jaw.
The outward pressure exerted by the legs also widens the seam between the two palatal bones. The body will respond to this by adding new bone to the existing palatal bones to fill in the widened gap. At regular intervals, the patient or a caregiver will operate the mechanism with a key that will continue to widen the gap between the bones, causing more expansion of the palatal bones until the jaw has grown to a normal width.
The palatal expander is most effective when it's applied early enough to develop more bone before the seam closes. That's why it's important for children to undergo bite evaluation with an orthodontist around age 6. If it appears a bite problem is developing, early interventions like a palatal expander could slow or stop it before it gets worse.
If you would like more information on interceptive orthodontics, 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 “Palatal Expanders.”
From birth to early adulthood, your child's teeth, gums and jaws develop at a rapid pace. And, for the most part, nature takes its course without our help.
But tooth decay can derail that development. The result of bacterial acid eroding enamel, tooth decay is the top cause for premature primary tooth loss in children. One particular form, early childhood caries (ECC), can rapidly spread from one tooth to another.
Many parents assume prematurely losing teeth that are destined to fall out soon anyway is inconsequential. But primary teeth play a critical role in the proper eruption of permanent teeth, serving as both placeholders and guides for those teeth developing just below them in the gums. A permanent tooth without this guidance can erupt out of alignment to create a poor bite that may require future orthodontics.
Being proactive about tooth decay lessens that risk—and the best time to start is when the first teeth begin to erupt. That's when you should begin their regular dental visits sometime around their first birthday.
Dental visits are an important defense against tooth decay. Besides routine dental cleanings, your child's dentist can offer various preventive treatments like sealants to stop decay from forming in the biting surfaces of back molars or topically applied fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel.
Daily home care is just as important in the fight against tooth decay. Oral hygiene should be a part of your child's daily life even before teeth: It's a good habit to wipe an infant's gums with a clean cloth after nursing. As teeth arrive, oral hygiene turns to brushing and flossing—perhaps the best defense of all against dental disease.
It's also important to watch their intake of sugar, a prime food source for bacteria that produce harmful acid. Instead, encourage a "tooth-friendly" diet of whole foods to keep teeth and gums healthy.
Even if they do develop tooth decay, there are effective treatments to minimize any damage and preserve affected primary teeth until they've served their purpose. By adopting these prevention strategies and prompt treatment, you can stay ahead of this destructive disease.
Mouthguards play an important role in protecting our mouth and face from damage. At Green Bay Family Dental, Dr. Heidi Eggers-Ulve and Dr. Eric Ulve understand the importance mouthguards play in protecting our teeth, including from high-impact sports during the day or teeth grinding at night. This is especially important for kids as they are often involved in sports and other activities that may result in the loss of teeth if not properly protected. For properly fitted mouthguards or night guards, it is important to find the right family dentist in Green Bay, WI, to meet your dental needs.
When You Should Wear A Mouthguard
Mouthguards and may be worn for a variety of reasons, all of which aim to protect our teeth from damage or injury. Two of the most common reasons for wearing a mouthguard include while playing sports where you are at risk for getting hit in the face and at night if you are prone to grinding your teeth, also called night guards.
Mouthguards for sports may require custom fitting from your family dentist in Green Bay, WI, if you or your child has braces, crowns, or implants that need additional protection or may otherwise not be properly fitted with generic mouthguards. With braces especially during sports play, not only do your teeth and braces need protection from high-impact injuries to the mouth, but your gums also need protection from rubbing or cutting that may occur with contact from the wires of the braces.
Teeth grinding can also cause damage to the surface area of teeth over time, in addition to jaw pain and headaches. Some people may not even know that they are grinding their teeth at night, which is why it is important to see your dentist regularly so that they can check for any wearing down that may show signs of nighttime grinding. With a custom-fitted night guard, your teeth and jaw will be protected from the damage that grinding can cause to your teeth.
If you are interested in getting a custom-fitted mouthguard for sports or night guard to protect against teeth grinding, consider Dr. Eggers-Ulve and Dr. Ulve of Green Bay Family Dental, your family dentist in Green Bay, WI. To get started today, please give us a call at (920) 432-2961.
Half of adults over age 30, and an astounding 70% over 65, have had some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Unchecked, a bacterial gum infection can spread into the supporting bone and destroy attachments between the teeth and gums. Because of its rapidity and aggressiveness, gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults.
But there may be even more harm caused by gum disease beyond losing teeth: There's growing evidence gum disease may worsen other diseases like diabetes, heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with gum disease are also more likely to suffer from one or more of these systemic conditions.
The link between gum disease and these other diseases appears to be inflammation. When tissue becomes injured or diseased, swelling (inflammation) occurs to isolate these tissues from the rest of the body. Under normal circumstances, this is a critical defense mechanism to protect the body overall.
But this response is a temporary measure—if it becomes chronic, it can actually damage the tissues it's trying to protect. This often happens with gum disease as inflammation can't overcome the gum infection, and both sides settle into a kind of trench warfare. The same story plays out with other diseases with an inflammatory response. And if the body is waging war with a gum infection, it can worsen these other conditions.
It's important then to take care of your gums and the rest of the body to minimize chronic inflammation. You can help prevent a gum infection by brushing and flossing every day and getting your teeth cleaned professionally at least every six months. You should also see your dentist if you notice swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, often the first signs of gum disease.
It can also benefit your gums if you're addressing other inflammatory issues in your body. Besides regular medical care, you can reduce your risk for other systemic diseases by eating a healthy diet, keeping your weight at an optimum level and avoiding smoking.
The individual parts of your body aren't isolated islands: Diseases that affect one can eventually affect all. By preventing or treating gum disease as early as possible, you'll also help reduce the effects of other systemic diseases.
If you’re dealing with a cavity a filling is often the best way to restore the tooth.
According to the CDC, cavities are the most common childhood disease in kids between the ages of 6-11. However, this doesn’t mean that adults are off the hook. Cavities are also a serious and common problem for teens and adults, including seniors. The good news is that if decay is caught early enough by our Green Bay, WI, family dentist Dr. Eric Ulve and pediatric dentist Dr. Heidi Eggers-Ulve we can easily place a dental filling to restore and strengthen the tooth.
Want to know the benefits of dental fillings? You’ve come to the right place. These are the benefits of getting fillings from our team:
Prevent further dental issues
A cavity causes a hole to develop within tooth enamel. If the cavity isn’t removed it will continue to spread until it reaches the inside of the tooth where the pulp is. From there, an infected pulp will require a root canal or, worse, a tooth extraction. By getting a dental filling from our Green Bay, WI, dental team now you can save yourself further dental problems and more severe and widespread decay.
Bolster and support your natural teeth
Everything from decay or chips and cracks can leave us dealing with a weakened tooth. To combat this, our team places incredibly durable tooth-colored fillings. Not only will this help to restore the tooth's strength, it will also last for many years to come.
Boost your confidence
We all know how important the health of our smiles is to our self-esteem. If you have cavities and damaged teeth, this can make you feel embarrassed and less than confident. By restoring your teeth with tooth-colored fillings, we can help you feel great about the appearance of your smile.
Safe for everyone
We see patients of all ages at our practice who are dealing with cavities. Fortunately, we have a pediatric and general dentist on-site to be able to effectively and properly treat cavities and place fillings in young children, teens, and adults. Tooth-colored fillings are safe for everyone, no matter their age.
Whether you or your child is dealing with a cavity, know that our pediatric and family dentists in Green Bay, WI, are ready to help. To schedule an appointment with our team, simply call Green Bay Family Dental today at (920) 432-2961.
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