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kid’s first dental visitMany parents are unsure when their child should visit the dentist for the first time. It’s a question we hear quite often at our dental office in Erdenheim, and one we’re more than happy to answer.

Pregnancy

A child’s dental care first starts during pregnancy. Baby’s teeth actually begin to form prior to birth, so it’s important for Mom to follow a balanced diet and ensure she’s getting a proper intake of vitamins and minerals. Regular dental appointments for Mom-to-be are essential. If Mom has any active gum disease or cavities, it’s imperative to have those treated.

It’s Teething Time!

As Baby’s teeth begin to erupt, usually around 6 months, your child may experience some teething pain. Rubbing Baby’s gums or giving him a wet washcloth to suck may help relieve the pain. It’s also the most important time for your child to first visit a pediatric dentist in Erdenheim. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should have his first visit with a dentist by 6 months, and no later than his first birthday. This visit ensures that everything is erupting without issue and allows your dentist to assess for possible future dental problems.

Accidents

If your child has accident that damages his teeth or mouth prior to the first recommended visit, we encourage you to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Babies with developmental problems should also see a dentist earlier than usual. If an injury or developmental problem affects teeth, other areas of the mouth, or jaw, it’s wise to also talk with your pediatrician.

At our dental office in Erdenheim, we always encourage the our patients’ parents to be proactive about child dental care. The earlier we see your child, the sooner we act to ameliorate any potential issues.

Welcoming pediatric patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill, and neighboring areas.

 

 

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awkward dental momentsWe’ve all been there. We get home after an important business dinner, change out of our fancy clothes, head to the bathroom to wash our face and brush our teeth, we look in the mirror and… BAM! there it is. A piece of your sauted spinach side dish stuck right in between your two front teeth. You can’t help but slightly panic, “How long has that been there? Did everyone see it? Why didn’t anyone say anything?!” At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’d like to offer you some tips on how to avoid this post-meal worry, along with others, by fixing the problems when they happen.

What to do if There’s Food Stuck in Someone’s Smile

First and foremost, if you notice that one of your dining partners has a piece of food stuck between their teeth, it’s recommended that you politely and discreetly point it out. Nobody likes the feeling of seeing a food particle in their smile when they look in the mirror hours after the meal has ended, wondering why nobody told them. Help your tablemate avoid this fate by silently motioning to your own mouth while making eye contact. This is a great way to make them aware of the problem without causing unnecessary attention. They can then try several tricks to remove it with ease.

 

  • Swish with water. The active motion of moving water throughout the mouth can help loosen the stuck food particle and wash it away.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Sugarless gum is sticky and can work at removing lingering food just like a lint roller works on eliminating fuzz from fabric.
  • Floss. If floss is available, it’s the best option for removing anything that may get stuck between teeth. However, it’s best not to floss at the table. Politely excuse yourself and head to the restroom.
  • Paper towels. No floss? No problem. The corner of a folded paper towel can also work to unstick a piece of food from between teeth.

 

No matter which technique you use, never use tools that could damage teeth, gums, or your mouth. Avoid keys, pens, hairpins, wire, tweezers, or similar objects.

What About Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of things, like a garlic-loaded dinner. When that’s the case, no problem. Just chew a stick of sugarless gum or pop sugarless mint. If neither of these options are available, water can help neutralize the bad breath agents on the tongue. Is bad breath more of a chronic problem, not just post-meals? It could be a sign of something serious and you should visit your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as you can.

With these tips in the back of your head, and a little pre-dinner stop for gum and floss, you’ll be ready to handle any awkward dental moment quickly and with ease.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill, and surrounding areas.

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Dental Care Challenges for Autistic Children… And Solutions!For many children with Autism, the dentist, and even basic dental care, can be pretty scary. This can lead to challenges for Mom and Dad who are only looking out for the health of their child. At our Erdenheim pediatric dental office, we have some fun solutions that can make dental care easier for our most special patients.

Start at Home

The act of brushing and flossing alone can be quite an uncomfortable feeling for an autistic child. By introducing them to the world of oral hygiene at home, it can be a bit more comfortable for them. Start by choosing a toothbrush that’s properly sized for their mouth and make sure the bristles are soft. Then introduce the brush to your child by touching his lips with it. Gently touching your child’s face with the toothbrush may help him to adjust to this weird new texture. You may also want to brush your own teeth in front of your child to help him realize that it’s not harmful.

Finding the Right Dentist

The search for the right pediatric dentist in Erdenheim for your Autistic child may seem intimidating. However, organizations like Autism Speaks make that a bit easier by providing a list of dental offices in your area that specialize in Autistic care. You can find one by heading over to www.AutismSpeaks.org/community/resources. Once you find the right dentist, here’s a little guide to make your appointment a bit less stressful.

 

    • A Pre-Appointment Conversation. Talking with the dentist prior to your visit can help him understand your child’s needs and give you the opportunity to talk about any concerns, challenges, or questions you may have.

 

  • A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words. Ask your dental office to provide you with any photos they have of the practice and team so you can familiarize your child with the facility before your first appointment.
  • A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way. Practicing ahead of time can help prepare your child for what will happen. Try having her recline with her feet out straight, place her hands on her belly, and practice opening wide. You can even get her accustomed to the tools used in a dental office. Simply stop by your local drugstore and pick up a small flashlight, a dental mirror, and an electronic toothbrush.

 

With a little at-home preparation, along with choosing the right dentist, your dental care challenges can be a thing of the past for your autistic child; and you can help her begin an oral health care routine that will last for life.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas.

 

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dental health now vs dental health of the pilgrimsWhen we think of Thanksgiving, we think of huge turkeys, delicious pies, and a table full of yummy goodness. We also think about what we are thankful for and enjoy time around the table with friends and family. While the tradition of Thanksgiving hasn’t changed much since the Pilgrims and Native Americans first joined around a plentiful feast, the way we care for our teeth sure has.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and to perhaps give you a little something extra to be thankful for this season (your toothbrush, anyone?), everyone at our dental office in Erdenheim thought it would be interesting to examine how dental hygiene has changed since the days the Pilgrims first landed on Plymouth Rock.

First, neither the Pilgrims or the Native Americans had access to proper toothbrushes like we do now. Instead, they used animal hair tied to a twig or an animal bone, or sometimes even needles from a pine tree. These tools were designed to remove debris from the teeth. Not that we have to tell you twice, but take your Erdenheim dentist’s advice, stick to the modern hygiene tools.

For a toothpaste, the Native Americans had a bit of an advantage. Since they were familiar with the land, they knew what was available to them to help scrub their teeth. In fact, they used herbs like sage and also the cucacua plant, which was used to make a toothpaste-like cleanser. While the Pilgrims also used herbs, leaves, and even salt to clean their grins, their imbalanced diet led to more complicated oral health issues.

Since the Pilgrims traveled for quite some time across the Atlantic from England, their food choices were limited. The pantries aboard the Mayflower were full of food that would not rot during the journey, but wasn’t very good for their teeth. It included dried meats and fruits, beans, grains, cheese, beer, and a whole lot of hardtack. Hardtack is a dry biscuit whose ingredients include flour, water, and salt. While the Pilgrims were making their way to freedom and surviving on what food they had, despite its damaging effects to their teeth, the Native Americans were eating a much healthier, fresher diet, which helped keep their teeth in better shape.

The Native Americans knew the land they lived on and used that knowledge to their advantage, especially when it came to food. They were hunters, gatherers, and farmers, and ate a well-balanced meal of meat, nuts, berries, and veggies. Since oral health isn’t based on brushing and flossing habits alone, but also results from a good diet, the Native Americans naturally had healthier smiles.

Now that we have the luxury of modern dentistry and technology, like checkups, fillings, and actual toothbrushes (along with a multitude of flavored toothpastes), our oral health has become much better than that of both the Native Americans and Pilgrims. However, that doesn’t mean we should take any of the dental technologies available for granted. In fact, we should be thankful for all that’s available to us to help keep our smiles healthy and our teeth white and strong, starting with a preventive at-home brushing and flossing routine and visits to our Erdenheim dental office.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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national diabetes awareness monthNovember is dedicated to bringing awareness to a disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans – diabetes. Diabetes may cause problems throughout your entire body from your eyes, nerves, and kidneys, to your heart and even your mouth. Our dental practice in Erdenheim wants to increase awareness of how diabetes can contribute to oral health concerns.

One of the most dangerous oral health issues associated with diabetes is the development of gum disease. Those battling diabetes are at increased risk for gum disease since they’re more susceptible to bacteria and have a limited ability to fight off this bacteria. This is especially true when a diabetic’s blood sugar is difficult to control. When diabetes is not monitored and controlled, the glucose level in saliva increases, helping bacteria in the mouth multiply and thrive. This makes keeping up with your appointments with your Erdenheim dentist and brushing and flossing everyday extremely important.

Like diabetes, gum disease may cause concerns and serious whole-body issues. Gum disease can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and many other problems. Gum disease can make diabetes even more difficult to control since it affects blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes, maintaining proper oral hygiene is not only important for a healthy mouth, but for a healthy body as well.

There are several levels of severity to gum disease. The earlier stage is known as gingivitis which may be treated, thereby reducing risk for other problems, if caught early. However, if gum disease is left to fester, periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, can develop.

If a patient develops periodontitis, the gums actually pull away from the teeth creating pockets. Bacteria collect and fester in these pockets. The longer the bacteria is in the pockets, the deeper they become and infection can set in, causing more serious problems. This infection will eat away at the bone that holds your teeth in place and can result in loose teeth, teeth that shift, or even lost teeth.

Gum disease is only one of the oral health concerns associated with diabetes. While it may be one of the most serious issues, the other problems are just as severe and are well worth noting. Some of the other issues linked to diabetes include:

  • Tooth Decay
  • Fungal Infections
  • Taste Impairment
  • Infection and Delayed Healing

One of the best ways to ensure that your diabetes isn’t negatively affecting your oral health is to control your blood sugar. It won’t hurt to keep your regularly scheduled appointments at our Erdenheim dental office where we can help catch any problems in your mouth before they become big issues. Preventive, at-home care is also extremely important, so make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Finally, remember to mention any changes in your condition or medication to us at your appointments. The more we know, the more we can help keep your mouth and your whole body healthy.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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how to fix vampire teethWhile having extra-pointy canine teeth, sometimes called vampire teeth, isn’t dangerous to your health, it’s not uncommon for patients of our dental office in Erdenheim to express concern, or even embarrassment, about their sharp, spiked teeth. But we’ve got an easy solution that can transform your smile quickly – tooth recountouring.

Why are Canine Teeth Pointy in the First Place?

Canine teeth are the four teeth (two on top and two on bottom) that are pointy and slightly resemble dogs’ teeth. The canines’ purpose is mainly to help us eat, as they serve to help us hold and tear food. While all canine teeth are pointy in nature because of this purpose, some people have canines that appear much pointier. Nothing about having sharp canines is dangerous, however some people can be uncomfortable with the appearance of their superior spikiness.

What is Tooth Recontouring?

Tooth recontouring, also known as tooth reshaping, is a cosmetic dentistry solution that shows instant results. This procedure is often used to change the shape, length, or surface appearance of teeth and can be helpful in fixing crooked teeth, chipped teeth, and yes, “vampire” teeth.

The procedure can typically be completed in one to three visits, depending on your individual needs, and without any pain. Basically, your dentist in Erdenheim will use his artistic eye to sand away any extra enamel that is contributing your specific problem. With just millimeters of enamel removed, your tooth will be transformed immediately. This treatment can also be paired with bonding, which uses tooth-colored material to sculpt and reshape a tooth.

What Are the Benefits of Tooth Recontouring?

Besides helping with your cosmetic concerns, there are a variety of benefits of tooth recontouring. Tooth recontouring is a conservative cosmetic dentistry treatment and a cost-efficient way to easily transform your smile.The treatment is generally painless, and often times, no anesthesia is necessary since only surface enamel is being removed. But tooth recontouring can not only improve your appearance, it can also improve your oral health. By removing areas such as overlaps and imperfections where bacteria and tartar can build up, you’re greatly reducing your chances for decay and gum disease.

If you have extra-pointy canines or other cosmetic concerns, give our Erdenheim dental office a call today. We’ll talk about your concerns, what your smile goals are, and the best treatments for you. We’re sure to get you happy about showing off your pearly whites!

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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food that are good for your smileOne of the best ways you can get, and keep, your mouth healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and choose smile-healthy foods. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’d like to educate you about how the foods you eat can contribute to great oral health and your overall well being.

When you eat, your mouth goes through changes, starting the minute you take that first bite. While you’re eating, bacteria convert sugars and carbs into acids. It’s these acids that can cause some serious tooth damage. Acids attack the enamel and can lead to cavities. Not only that, the more often you snack throughout the day, the more acid is produced and the more your mouth is exposed to the danger of further decay.

What to Eat

Some of the best foods for your mouth are the same ones that are good for your body. The basic food pyramid can give you some great guidelines to follow to ensure you’re getting the right amount of dairy, protein, and vegetables everyday for your overall wellness. However, when thinking about smile-friendly foods, there are few your dentist in Erdenheim would like to highlight.

The rules of foods for a healthy mouth are easy to follow and are pretty straightforward. Some of the best food choices include cheese, chicken or other lean meats, and nuts. High in calcium and phosphorus, these foods can both protect tooth enamel and give teeth what they need to remineralize and become stronger.

Additional food choices that are great for your mouth are crunchy fruits and vegetables. Celery, apples, and pears, for example, have high water content and can stimulate the flow of saliva. Foods containing a lot of water tend to lessen the effects of sugars and carbs in the mouth, and the production of saliva helps wash away particles and fight against acid – both useful in protecting teeth against decay.

What to Avoid

Eating acidic food like citrus fruit, tomatoes, and lemons can add to the damage-causing acid. While you don’t have to avoid these tart favorites, they should be enjoyed as part of a larger meal as opposed to being consumed alone. Pairing acidic foods with larger meals helps minimize the amount of acid that actually reaches your teeth and can decrease the damage that acid causes.

Other poor food choices include the obvious culprits like candy, cookies, cakes, pies, pretzels, and dried fruits. With large amounts of sugar, these foods can fuel bacteria which will lead to tooth decay.

What Else Can You Do?

In addition to following a diet of smile-friendly foods, regular visits to our Erdenheim dental office can not only help keep your mouth healthy, they can help keep your whole body healthy too. With more and more systemic health problems like diabetes and heart disease being linked to oral health, keeping your regularly scheduled appointments is even more important. At these checkups, we’ll not only make sure your mouth is healthy, we’ll also make sure your body isn’t in any danger from oral health problems.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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dental emergency

Like any other emergency, a dental emergency can happen at any time. However, there are plenty of dental emergencies that do not require the attention of a hospital emergency room. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’d like to help you understand which injuries should be seen by a dentist and which need immediate attention at your local emergency room.

The majority of dental emergencies do not need to be treated at the hospital. A good rule of thumb to follow is any dental injury that does not appear life-threatening should be directed to your Erdenheim dentist and kept away from the emergency room. Some types of problems that should be treated by the dentist and not the hospital include:

  • Broken or cracked teeth
  • A knocked out tooth
  • Toothache caused by decay or abscess

However, simply because you are not being treated at the hospital does not mean you should be leisurely with seeking care. In fact, any dental problem, life-threatening or not, requires quick action for a successful treatment.

In situations where the injury is more serious and potentially life-threatening, it’s absolutely appropriate, and encouraged, to head to your hospital and be treated immediately. The majority of injuries that fall under this category are known as traumas and can include:

  • Jaw fracture/dislocation
  • Deep lacerations to the soft tissues in the mouth or the face
  • An abscess or infection that’s swollen and affecting breathing/swallowing

If you have one of these traumatic injuries, go straight to your closest hospital or call 911. The doctors at the hospital will get you the help you need. They may also request that you see your dentist as a follow up to the emergency care. It’s important to make sure you schedule and keep this appointment so we’re able evaluate the damage and provide any necessary treatment.

If you suffer a dental emergency that’s not considered a trauma, give our Erdenheim dental office a call as soon as you can. We’ll get you in for an exam and work with you to resolve the problem. And while we’re always happy to help you fix an injury, we’re also really big on preventing it in the first place. In order to limit your chances of a dental emergency, watch what you eat (caramels, popcorn, and sugar, oh my!), always wear a mouthguard when playing sports, brush and floss everyday, and maintain your regularly scheduled appointments to keep your smile strong and resistant to problems.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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porcelain veneersIf you’re unhappy with your teeth, there are several ways we can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. At our Erdenheim dental office, there are many cosmetic dentistry solutions available to enhance your look. However, one of the most common procedures is dental veneers.

What Are Veneers Used For?

Veneers can be used to fix multiple problems. Whether there is a slight gap in your front teeth or you want to make all teeth appear even in length and proportionate in shape, veneers can eliminate the need for several treatments while giving you the smile you want. Veneers can be used to correct:

  • Teeth discolored by root canal, stains, or large fillings
  • Worn or ground-down teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Misalignment, unevenness, or irregularities in shape
  • Gaps between teeth

What is the Process?

  • Consultation. This is the first step to your veneer treatment plan. You and your dentist in Erdenheim will talk about the results you’d like achieve and have honest conversation to determine if veneers are an appropriate solution for you. A treatment plan will be developed and you can start your veneer treatment.

 

  • Preparation. Preparing a tooth for a veneer includes removing a thin layer of enamel from the tooth’s surface to make a space for the veneer to be placed. Your dentist will send your permanent veneer to a dental laboratory to be molded using specific measurements and color direction. While you wait for the permanent veneer, a temporary may be placed.
  • Bonding. Using an artistic eye, your dentist will determine the proper place for your veneer to create a natural-looking fix. When it’s ready, your tooth will be cleaned and etched to give the adhesive something to hold on to. A bonding material will then be used to adhere the veneer to your tooth, creating a strong, long-lasting hold.

 

If you’ve been waiting to get the smile of your dreams, give our dental office in Erdenheim a call. We’ll schedule an initial consultation, talk about your smile goals, and determine whether veneers are the best option for you.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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i lost a fillingFillings, which are used to fill the space left by a cavity, can come loose, crack, and sometimes even fall out completely. While a lost filling isn’t always considered a dental emergency, it can cause pain and be uncomfortable. If this happens, there are several things you can do before your visit to our Erdenheim dental office.

When a filling is lost, it’s more important than ever to keep the area as clean as possible. The divot in your tooth where the filling used to be is a great place for food to collect and bacteria to lurk which can end up causing more damage. To keep the area particle free, it’s a good idea to rinse with warm salt water and brush the area gently after eating. It’s also not uncommon for your teeth to become sensitive or a bit painful after losing a filling. If this happens, try an over-the-counter filler material with zinc oxide to place into the gap and take some pain reliever. Remember, this is a temporary solution and an appointment at our dental office in Erdenheim is still important.

The single most important thing you need to do when you lose a filling is call your Erdenheim dentist. At your appointment, we’ll examine where the filling was and talk with you about the best option to restore your tooth to healthy and strength again. Often, we can replace the old filling with a new one. However, there are times when, if the filling was quite large, we may need to talk about another option, such as a crown.

While fillings are a great treatment method to fix cavities and other dental problems, they can become loose or fall out due to some of our habits and food choices. Fillings are at increased risk for damage and falling out if you eat hard or sticky foods, or clench and grind your teeth. The best way to avoid a damaged filling in the first place is to be careful what you eat and talk to us if you clench or grind as you could be causing more damage to your smile than just losing a filling.

If your filling has become loose or has fallen out, don’t hesitate to call our Erdenheim dental office as soon as you can. We’ll check out what’s going on, discover what caused it in the first place, and get your tooth back in tip-top shape.

Serving patients in Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.