Your baby is turning one year old—and it's time for their first dental visit! Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend your child first see the dentist around this milestone birthday.
You'll also have a decision to make: do you see your family dentist or a pediatric dentist? While your family dentist can certainly provide quality care for your child, there are also good reasons to see a dentist who specializes in children and teenagers.
The "fear factor." Children are more likely than adults to be anxious about dental visits. But pediatric dentists are highly trained and experienced in relating to children one on one and in clinical techniques that reduce anxiety. Their offices also tend to be "kid-friendly" with bright colors and motifs that appeal to children. Such an atmosphere can be more appealing to children than the more adult environment of a general dentist's office.
The "development factor." Childhood and adolescence are times of rapid physical growth and development, especially for the teeth, gums and jaw structure. A pediatric dentist has extensive knowledge and expertise in this developmental process. They're especially adept at spotting subtle departures from normal growth, such as the early development of a poor bite. If caught early, intervention for emerging bite problems and similar issues could lessen their impact and treatment cost in the future.
Special needs. The same soothing office environment of a pediatric clinic that appeals to children in general could be especially helpful if your child has special needs like autism or ADHD. Some children may also be at risk for an aggressive and destructive form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries (ECC). Pediatric dentists deal with this more commonly than general dentists and are highly trained to prevent and treat this aggressive form of tooth decay.
Seeing a pediatric dentist isn't a "forever" relationship: Once your child enters early adulthood, their care will continue on with a general dentist. But during those early years of rapid development, a pediatric dentist could give your child the insightful care they need to enjoy optimum dental health the rest of their lives.
If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, 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 “Why See a Pediatric Dentist?”
Each year doctors treat about 150,000 new cases of severe facial pain. If you're one of those people, you don't have to suffer—there are ways to gain relief from these painful episodes.
Those recurring episodes are known as trigeminal neuralgia (TN). As the name implies, the source of the pain are the trigeminal nerves, which originate in the brain stem and extend on either side of the face. Each is divided into three branches (hence the "tri" in trigeminal) that serve the upper, middle and lower parts of the face and jaw.
TN can involve one or more of these branches, resulting in mild to severe pain that can last for several seconds. Jaw movements like chewing or speaking can trigger an episode, as well as a light touch to the face.
There are various proposed causes for TN, including links with inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, which damages the insulating sheathing around nerve cells. The most common cause, though, appears to be a blood vessel pressing against the nerve. The compression causes hypersensitivity in that area of the nerve so that it transmits pain at the slightest sensation.
Other conditions like jaw joint pain disorders (TMD) or a dental abscess can cause similar pain symptoms, so it's important to get an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor does identify your condition as TN, you may then need a comprehensive approach to treatment involving a team of care providers, including your dentist.
For the most part, TN can be managed, beginning with the most conservative approach to gain relief, often with medications to block the nerve's pain signals to the brain or decrease abnormal nerve firings. If that proves insufficient, though, more intensive treatments are available.
One possible treatment for an impinging blood vessel is a microsurgical procedure to expose the affected nerve and relocate the vessel. While this can be effective, the surgery does carry some risk of facial numbness or decreased hearing. If the risks are too high for conventional surgery, an alternative procedure uses a precise beam of high-dose radiation to relieve the pressure from the vessel.
The most important thing to know about TN, though, is that it is possible to control it and relieve future pain episodes. If you're experiencing these symptoms, see your dentist or doctor for an exam and accurate diagnosis.
If you would like more information on trigeminal neuralgia, 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 “Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Nerve Disorder that Causes Facial Pain.”
With gum disease affecting at least 50 percent of American adults (according to the CDC), it’s important that everyone knows how to properly care for their gums in order to keep them in healthy shape. After all, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and it is closely linked to some serious systemic health problems, as well. Read on to learn how to properly care for your gums, and if you are at all concerned about your periodontal health, make sure to contact Dr. Gregory Herzler, your dentist in Saginaw, MI.
Your Gum Health is a Window Into Your General Health
The state and health of your gums can tell our Saginaw, MI, dentist a lot about not only your oral health, but your overall health, as well. Here are some of the ways that poor gums can affect your health:
- There is a link between gum disease, tooth loss, and cognitive decline in older men.
- There is an increased buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain of those with gum disease, and beta-amyloid is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s.
- There is a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Those who drink or smoke are also more likely to develop both of these issues.
- There is also a small, but still important, correlation between gum disease and overall cancer risk.
The overall color, shape, and appearance of your gums can also tell us if you might have diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, herpes, anemia, and more.
Caring for Your Gums
The takeaway is that it’s important to maintain healthy gums because your gums can also impact your overall health. Luckily, caring for your gums is surprisingly simple. You can easily prevent gum disease just by:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day: once in the morning and at night before bed
- Flossing daily: this is crucial, for brushing can’t remove plaque buildup between teeth as effectively as flossing can
- Quitting smoking: if you are a smoker, quitting the habit for good can greatly improve the overall health and outlook of your gums
- Eating a healthy diet: avoid sugary and starchy foods, which increase plaque buildup, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet full of lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and fibrous veggies and fruits.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Whether you need to schedule your six-month dental checkup or you are dealing with red, puffy gums, you can always contact Dr. Gregory Herzler's Saginaw dental office at (989) 793-7733 to schedule an appointment with your dentist!
If you are tired of trying out over-the-counter teeth whitening products, only to discover that they don’t give you the bright white smile you want, it’s time to consider professional teeth whitening. A professional teeth whitening treatment is fast and effective. Our dentist, Dr. Greg Herzler, in Saginaw, MI, offers take-home teeth whitening and a wide variety of other dental services to help your smile.
There are many reasons why professional teeth whitening is one of the most popular dental services. These are a few of the most frequently asked questions about professional teeth whitening:
How effective is a professional teeth whitening treatment?
Professional teeth whitening allows you to whiten your smile up to 8 shades whiter, and your beautiful results can last for years.
How safe is professional teeth whitening for my teeth?
Professional teeth whitening products have been rigorously tested and approved by the American Dental Association before they are sold. Over-the-counter products aren’t always tested for safety. In fact, some OTC products contain harmful chemicals and abrasive agents which can make your teeth sensitive.
Are my teeth healthy enough for professional teeth whitening?
When you decide to whiten your smile, it’s best to take care of any painful dental issues like tooth decay, before you whiten.
What types of professional teeth whitening methods are available?
Our office offers take-home whitening, which comes in a convenient kit, containing whitening gel, custom trays, and instructions on how to whiten your smile at your own pace, in the privacy of your home.
Professional teeth whitening is your ticket to a brilliant, bright, white smile. You can look your best quickly and easily thanks to professional teeth whitening. To find out more about professional teeth whitening and other dental services, call our dentist Dr. Greg Herzler in Saginaw, MI, today at 989-793-7733.
Visiting the dentist for regular cleanings and needed dental work can do wonders for keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. But if you’ve seen or heard about infections occurring in healthcare facilities, you might be a little concerned that your trip to the dentist might expose you to one. Don’t be! You and your family will be out of harm’s way because your dental team has made protection from viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents a top priority. To highlight this effort, the American Academy of Oral Medicine commemorates each September as “National Dental Infection Control Awareness Month.”
As a healthcare provider, dentists have a legal, moral and ethical obligation to protect patients (and staff members too) from infection through what are known as “standard precautions.” These include barrier protection, disinfection and sterilization practices, and safe disposal of contaminated items.
But dentists and their professional organizations don’t stop with the minimum requirements—they’re committed to a higher standard when it comes to infection control. The bedrock for this commitment is adherence to an infection control checklist developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), updated regularly. This in-depth checklist recommends several best practices and protocols, including:
- Creating a written infection control plan that outlines all practices and procedures to be followed by the provider and staff;
- Barrier protection, including the wearing of disposable gloves, face shields or gowns by providers as appropriate;
- Proper disposal methods for used items;
- Proper hand washing and other hygiene practices before and after treatment procedures;
- Proper disinfection and sterilization of instruments and equipment;
Most licensing bodies also require that dentists and their staff undergo continuing education in infection control, usually every two years.
Because you as a patient have a right to know the details about your medical and dental care, you have public access to infection control guidelines and requirements. You can also ask your dental provider about what steps they take to protect you and your family from infectious disease. They’ll be glad to answer any questions you have to put your mind at ease about your safety.
The dental profession’s commitment to patient and staff safety has drastically reduced the risk of any infection. Rest assured, your dental visit will be beneficial for your oral health—and safe for your general health too.
If you would like more information about infection control in the dental office, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Infection Control in the Dental Office” and “Shingles, Herpes Zoster: A One-Sided Facial Rash.”
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.