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Are Dental X-rays Safe for Kids?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?

Because children’s mouths are growing and changing constantly, and a visual inspection alone cannot tell your dentist everything they may need to know about your child’s mouth, eventually every child will need a dental X-ray. But are dental X-rays safe, and should your child have them taken? 

What are the Facts Surrounding X-rays?

You can rest assured knowing that today’s dental X-rays are safer than ever before. So safe, in fact, that the amount of radiation that a child is exposed to in a bite-wing X-ray (image of the back molars) is roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation they are exposed to in the environment on a daily basis. And many dental offices today use digital X-rays, which use roughly 80 percent less radiation than  conventional film X-rays, so the effects may be even less.

How X-rays Are Beneficial

The benefits to kids' dental health from obtaining X-rays, including diagnosing decay, pathology or any abnormalities, far outweigh the risks of being exposed to this minimal dose of radiation. And while X-rays are proven to be relatively harmless, you can ensure your child is even safer by making sure they wear a lead apron with a lead thyroid collar to further minimize any potential impact. 

Since all children are different, their need for x-rays will vary as well. Often times an X-ray is utilized to help your dentist diagnose developments that cannot be viewed through a visual examination. Children are generally more susceptible to tooth decay than adults, and children with a high risk of tooth decay are recommended to have X-rays taken every six months. Lower risk children may require X-rays less frequently (as seldom as every two or three years), so you can significantly cut the number of your child’s X-rays by promoting good oral health at home.
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Are My Gums Receding? And Why?

Are My Gums Receding? And Why?

Have you ever noticed you're often in the dark about having put on weight until the day you need to don that dress or suit that's been hiding in the closet since last year? Progressive change can be difficult to notice, especially when it occurs to us and not someone else.  Changes that occur along our gum line certainly fall into this category, and given the measurement used to gauge erosion is measured in millimeters, it's no wonder it's easy to miss. So, how much erosion is normal, and what causes it? Let's take a look.

What's "Normal"?

Unfortunately to most, gum recession is considered to be a normal part of aging.  Even the expression "long in the tooth" stems from the age-old story that as we get older, our gum line tends to recede and expose more of the surface of our teeth. But there really is nothing "normal" about gum recession, and for most of us, it can actually be prevented. So, unless you're inclined to keep things as they are, and embrace gum recession as the well-paid price of wisdom, we can help. 

First things first. There are a host of factors that contribute to the erosion of your gumline. The best part is, the VAST majority of these causes are preventable.  

The Biggest Offenders:
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Over-vigorous, or improper brushing
  • Aggressive flossing
  • Exposure to acids in sports and energy drinks
  • Tobacco use
  • The frequent use of whitening products
All of the above causes of gum loss can be prevented. All of them.  If you grind your teeth at night, you can wear a mouth guard. If you brush as though you're sanding down the statue of David, learn proper technique from your dentist, or from a video online. Bleeding a lot when flossing? You're not slicing cheese - go easy, there, friend!  If you smoke, drink too many energy drinks, or chew tobacco, cut back, or stop altogether. None of that stuff is good for you in any way imaginable. And lastly, if you're actually trying to look like Ross from the show "Friends" by abusing whitening strips, you can stop now, your teeth have got to be super-white already!

Be Proactive

What's next? How can you tell if your gums are receding faster than the Amazon rainforest? Well, the most proactive step you can take is to visit your dentist. In fact, if you're going regularly, your dentist has been monitoring your recession for some years now. If you've ever noticed your dentist poking around in your mouth with a metal object you can't see, all while reciting numbers to the hygienist, he's probably doing two things: measuring the recession of your gums, and the depths of your gum pockets. Both speak to the health of your gum line.

So, the next time you hear your dentist reading off what seem like lottery number choices, just ask how your gum-health is going … they'll be happy to keep you in the loop.

The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, so be on the lookout for this tell-tale sign. Reduce, or eliminate the above discussed habits, and ask your dentist how you're doing in terms of taking care of your gums. With a little bit of knowledge and proactive behavior, no one will be saying you're "long in the tooth" any time soon, and you'll still be able to maintain your sage status. And, that's a good thing.
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4 Methods for Non-surgical Bite Correction

4 Methods for Non-surgical Bite Correction

If you’ve ever had the occasion to speak with someone about how to correct an underbite, your conversation no doubt centered on the painful idea of having to “break” the jawbone, weeks on a liquid diet because of a jaw that was then wired shut, and the application of braces both before and after surgery. Understandably, such conversations tend to elicit a lot of wincing on the part of the patient ... are there alternatives? Let’s find out.
  • Expanders:  Expanders are often used to correct a crossbite – a situation where either the upper or lower bite is narrower than the other.  An expander helps adjust the spread of a child’s teeth so the bite matches evenly on all sides. Expanders resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly so as to “spread” your bite to the prescribed measurements.
  • Braces: You may have had them as a kid, and you might need them again. Seeing an adult with braces isn’t as much an odd sight as it may have been in the recent past, and given that many of us didn’t wear our retainers as we were instructed, it’s not much of a surprise. Braces alone can sometimes alleviate a lot of bite concerns, and if your bite is only slightly off, solutions like Invisalign can be an even less intrusive method to correct your bite.
  • Bonding, Implants and Reconstruction: Braces and expanders not going to cut it for you? If you’ve experienced dental trauma in the past, or just weren’t on top of your oral health care routine, you might need a bit more help. But, no fear … simple bonding, implants and “reconstruction” that could include new crowns and even veneers can deliver the solution you’re seeking.
  • Veneers: Speaking of veneers, it’s amazing how even an underbite can be cosmetically altered so the teeth give the appearance of no underbite. There is a good degree of artistry with this approach, and when done correctly, this creative placement of veneers on the upper jaw mimics a jaw in proper alignment. 
Fixing a bad bite doesn’t have to be fraught with expense and pain. Speak with your dentist and orthodontist about the options available to you, and before you know it, you’ll be looking and feeling a whole lot better. 
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