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Retainer Instructions

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | September 21, 2016

1st retainer:  wear for 3 months day and night (all the time).

Retainers 3-4 are the retainers that you will wear at night forever.  Each retainer should last a minimum of 6 months and up to a year.  Please know that once all 4 retainers are no longer usable you will need to purchase more retainers to keep the smile you have worked so hard to achieve.

All 4 of the retainers are the same.  You can use these trays for bleaching as well.

Good luck and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to call.

Sensitive Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | July 11, 2016

Sensitive Teeth

 

As summer is scorching outside what more could you want than a cold ice cream treat? However, if you have a sensitive tooth (or teeth) that may soon be the last option you want this summer! Not to worry though, there are many solutions for the problem of sensitive teeth once you know the cause.

 

Possible Causes:

  • Tooth Decay (Cavities)
  • Worn Fillings
  • Gum Disease
  • Inflamed gums
  • Exposed Tooth root

 

Solutions:

  • First Start by trying Sensodyne or a similar toothpaste for 2 weeks to see if that is the easy fix. This is typically the solution for exposed teeth.
  • Floss your teeth! This helps gums when they are inflamed due to caught items.
  • Make an appointment with the dentist to make sure there are no harmful unlying problems
  • A crown, inlay, or bonding to correct the rotted tooth and restore it so that signals are not as easily shot down to the root.
  • Root canal if sensitivity is persistent and cannot be treated by other ways.

 

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth: Taking the proper time to brush and floss teeth each day.

Get ahead by taking care of your teeth or correcting the ache now to enjoy those cold treats again and make this hot summer that much better!

 

Your Summer Diet

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | June 6, 2016

“What are these spots on my teeth?”

“I brush my teeth like I’m supposed to, why do I keep getting cavities?”

 

I often have patients who have questions on why their teeth are hurting or why certain colors are showing up. Other than brushing your teeth regularly and flossing, your diet has a big impact on your dental health. This summer make healthy choices for your body — and for your teeth!

 

Here are a few of the common suspects that corrupt teeth:

 

  1. Coffee and dark pops: These often can leave stains on the teeth, even when brushing regularly. A tip to avoid stains while still drinking what you love – use a straw! This keeps the majority of liquid away from your teeth.
  2. Foods high in citrus: These are fine in moderation, but can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. Be sure to brush shortly after eating to avoid the problem. Foods like tomatoes and pineapple can also irritate mouth sores.
  3. Foods that crunch: These are so tasty (chips, pretzels, popcorn), but also filled with starch which tends to get trapped in your teeth. As long as you take extra care to floss and brush at night, they will be okay.
  4. Anything too sugary: The worst foods people can eat are sugary gum and hard candies that stay in your mouth for an extended amount of time. In addition, chewy, sugary foods are the reason why you can brush your teeth and still get cavities, because the sugars and chewy parts of the food can get caught in the cracks of teeth and are very difficult to get out. A solution is making sure to brush, floss, and use mouthwash to get out the trapped foods that the brush cannot.

 

These top problems impacting dental health are easily avoidable when the items are consumed in moderation and properly treated by the end of the day.

 

I look forward to seeing your smile soon!

Tips for Mild TMJ Relief and Prevention

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | April 22, 2016

Many people suffer from TMJ from varying degrees so here are some tips to help mild TMJ symptoms and hopefully help prevent major TMJ pain from developing.

  • Avoid chewing gum or hard foods or chewing ice.
  • Do not bite fingernails or bite down on pencils.
  • Massage the temporal and masseter muscles  Image of Masseter and Temporal Muscles
  • Practice stress reducing techniques
  • Support your jaw while yawning

If these simple things are not helping to reduce your TMJ pain then a trip to your dentist for further investigation is warranted. At the dental visit the doctor can evaluate if your teeth are aligned properly and discuss the possibility of addition TMJ therapies.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | January 22, 2016

Valentine’s Day for children is not really about love for significant others, but more of their love for candy. While it would be easy to say to eliminate the sugary candy, that is not very realistic. Instead, it is important to note which candies to stay away from, and which are better to promote for your children. I know for my children in elementary school there are strict rules on what they can bring to their class party, it must be individually wrapped with a nutrition label on it. Here are some of my favorite ideas to share the love (of candy) on Valentine’s Day and also which ones to pick out of their pile they get:

• Powdery Candy: While powdery, sugary candy such as Pixie Stix, Sweet Tarts, and Sweet Tart Hearts (perfect for showing your love on Valentine’s Day) may seem like a bad choice, they are surprisingly not as harmful as you may think as far as candy goes. If eaten or dissolved on the tongue, the sugar that feeds the bacteria that causes decay is not as exposed to the teeth, eliminating much of the risk.
• Chocolate: Who doesn’t love chocolate? There are many options for individually wrapped chocolate bars perfect for classroom treats. This is a good option because Chocolate contains cocoa, which inhibits the growth of the bacteria that causes plaque.
• Of course now the best option here is Sugarless Candy: There are many options here which keep your teeth healthy while still tasting great! Ex. Sugar Free Lollipops, Sugar Free Gum, and Sugar Free Hard Candy’s (so many to choose from).

Shy away from:
• Sour Candies: These acidic candies quickly strip away enamel. If they do eat these, it is better to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing teeth as to not spread the acid onto more tooth surface area. Ex. Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, and Airhead Extreme Sours
• Hard Candy: Solid treats are bad for teeth because they take longer to dissolve. This means more time for the bacteria from them to begin to decay the teeth. Ex. Jawbreakers, Jolly Ranchers, Zotz
• Sticky and Chewy Treats: Gummy treats are easy to get caught in teeth crevices and are very difficult for saliva to wash away. The sugar remains and causes decay in teeth. Ex. Gummy Bears, Jelly Beans, and Twix

With these helpful tips, we at Craig Dental Center hope you show off your great smile to others on Valentine’s Day!

Information from: http://www.recipecorner.com/recipe/article/benefits-xylitol/best-and-worst-candy-your-teeth
http://askthedentist.com/3-best-worst-candies-teeth/
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20687551_4,00.html

Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | December 18, 2015

A very common cause of malocclusion (crocked teeth requiring braces) come from thumb sucking or pacifiers beyond age 2. I am going to share with you my favorite tricks for helping your children kick this habit so they can hopefully avoid or decrease the severity of Malocclusion.

IMG_4681

Pacifier trick is “snip the tip.”   First ween the child to only using the pacifier during bedtime.  Gather up all of your pacifiers and keep them up where the child doesn’t have access. Snip just the very tip off the pacifier and let them have it at night.  Progressively snip more and more off.  The child will naturally begin to not want the pacifier.  The key here is consistency.  You have to be strong parents!  Do not give one that isn’t snipped or let them have it during the day.   The work you’ve accomplished will be undermined and you’ll have to start all over with a more determined child!

 

 IMG_4679

Mavala Stop is the best product on the market for thumb sucking.  It works for kids who suck fingers and bite fingernails as well.  I bought mine on Amazon.  Paint it on the child’s fingernail on the digit they suck.  (My children were quite determined so I had to paint both thumbs.)  Paint it on in the morning and again at night.  Again, the key is consistency.  It is nasty tasting stuff and if you are consistent it will not take long for them to get the picture.

 

It takes about a month to kick a habit so dig your heels in parents and help those kids out. Good luck!

Tips for Brushing your Children’s Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | October 30, 2015

I am a mom and I am a dentist. So, I realize when I ask you to brush and floss your child’s teeth it is no easy task.  They don’t exactly hold still and open wide.  Mine don’t either.  But, brushing teeth is a worthy fight!  The importance and habit need to be instilled right from birth.  We can save them from toothaches and cavities through proper hygiene and a healthy diet.  I’m going to share some tips and little known facts to help you out.

Parents need to brush and floss for the kids until approximately age 8. They don’t have the dexterity or patience to properly brush and floss them until then.   This takes a lot of people by surprise, but think of their handwriting.  It is developing, but certainly not perfect.  They are still growing.  I brush and floss my children, then I have them brush after me so they can take their merry time if they so choose.  My 7.5 year of has an electric tooth brush with a timer.  She brushes and then I floss and do a “quality check.”  She frequently misses the front teeth and has to repeat but is getting better all the time.

child brushing teeth

It is a lot easier to brush someone else’s teeth if you lay them down on the ground or stand behind them. When I treat patients at my office I don’t stand in front of them to give an exam.  I ask them to sit in the chair and recline them.  I usually do my exams from behind them.  This allows me to see much better!  Try it when brushing your child’s teeth.  You will be much more effective.

mom brushing child's teeth

mom brushing kid's teeth

Don’t use so much toothpaste! I tell people to use as much toothpaste on the toothbrush as you would put peanut butter on toast.

toothpaste on toothbrush

Silver vs White Fillings

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | August 26, 2015

I spend quite a bit of time everyday talking about the differences of white and silver fillings. I thought it might be an interesting blog topic.

 

The first difference is the cost which I talked about in the “Things to know about your Dental Insurance” blog. You can read about why in that blog, but basically the white filling costs a little more than the silver.

 

Another difference is cosmetics. White fillings blend into the tooth, so usually it is very hard for the untrained eye to tell that a filling has been done. Silver fillings are, well, silver.

 

When I take checkup x-rays, the silver in the metal fillings create a little halo effect. So, when I look to see if there are any problems under existing fillings, the problem has to be larger for me to be able to detect it under silver fillings than under white fillings.

 

Conservation of healthy natural tooth structure is super important! When I am doing a white filling, I remove the decayed tooth structure and when I get to healthy tooth, I stop drilling and bond the white filling in. When I am doing a silver filling I remove the decayed tooth structure and then I have to drill in some retention features, these are required to make the silver filling stay in the tooth and not fall out. A silver filling isn’t bonded into the tooth but rather anchored. In the x-ray shown below there are 4 fillings, 2 on the upper and 2 on the lower. The decayed tooth structure was equal in size. You can see the difference in size between the top and bottom. The bottom is the white and the upper is the silver. White fillings are more conservative than silver.

Silver vs White take 2

 

These are the major differences between white and silver fillings in my eyes. There are instances in which one material is clearly a better choice than the other and if that is the case I try to educate the patient on why and guide them to the longer lasting, better material. There is a trace amount of mercury in silver fillings, but there is no science indicating this to be detrimental to the patients health. I work with amalgam (silver filling material) every day and feel it to be safe.   I would not recommend white over silver fillings for this reason alone. My job as your dentist is to inform and educate you of the condition in your mouth and advise treatment when indicated. As long as either a silver or white filling will work to fix the cavity, I let the patient direct me to which material they prefer.

Back to School Check List

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | July 31, 2015

It’s that time of year again when we search the paperwork that the school has sent us to find that one sheet with the list of supplies and with a smile head to the store with a quick and easy mission in mind.  You arrive home 4 hours later after going to at least 3 store only to realize that you bought the unsharpened #2 pencils and now have to sharpen 40 pencils by hand!!!  So much for easy!

 

We at Craig Dental Center would like to add a few things to your list but would like to make them quick and easy… honestly!

 

  1. Make sure your child is scheduled for his/her routine 6 month check-up and cleaning. Regular check-ups help decrease missed school days by catching areas of concern before they turn into a toothache.
  2. Make sure your child is flossing once a day. Interproximal (between the teeth) cavities are very common in children and adults and flossing will help to reach the areas that a toothbrush cannot.
  3. Children and adults both should be brushing at least twice a day, morning and night for 2 minutes each. The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that you change your toothbrush ever 3-4 months or sooner if bristles become frayed with use.
  4. It is a good idea to send a toothbrush to school for your child to brush after lunch or a sugary snack.
  5. Mouthguards, there are many kinds and if you child is in sports please talk to us about the kind of mouthguard that would best fit your child’s needs.
  6. Help your child to make healthy eating decisions. Foods that are high in sugar and acid such as fruit juices and candy can cause decay, so help them to choose fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins instead. Not only do the healthy snacks reduce risk of decay they also help to keep your child satisfied longer!

As we transition from the “calm and relaxing” summer to the hustle and bustle of the school year, we hope that you contact us with any dental question or to set up your appointments.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Bad Breath

By: Dr. Elizabeth Craig | July 13, 2015

 

The source of 80% of bad breath comes from the oral cavity.  When the bacteria build up around and in between your teeth and on your tongue it can cause inflammation and let off a noxious odor.  Everyone has bad breath from time to time, but when you are experiencing it regularly it could indicate a problem and you should consult with your dentist.

Bad breath can be prevented or decreased by doing the following:

  1. Practice good oral home care. Brush your teeth twice a day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too! Floss your teeth to remove the plaque and food in between them.   If you were or denture or partial denture remove it at night and clean before placing back in your mouth.
  2. See your denture routinely. Check ups with your dentist twice a year will enable your dentist to see if the bad breath is being caused by tooth decay, dry mouth, or other problems.
  3. Stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
  4. Keep your mouth moist. Drink water or use sugar free gum to stimulate saliva.
  5. Keep a log or take notice of the foods you eat routinely. It is possible the foods you eat are contributing to the bad breath.