Category: Children

Dental Emergencies

dental emergency
Do you know what to do in a dental emergency?

Spring is in the air, and kids are competing in outdoor sports, riding bikes, or maybe just playing outside. This burst of activity is great for growing bodies, but oftentimes the enthusiasm outpaces their abilities. Despite improvements in protective devices – such as advanced football facemasks, full-face bicycle helmets, and fitted mouthguards – dental injuries are still too common in active youths. If your child collides with someone or takes a tumble, and comes up clutching their mouth, would you know what to do?

There are several standard classifications of tooth damage that you should be aware of:

  • Avulsed– Completely knocked out, with tooth roots intact
  • Displaced– Tooth is intact, but has been knocked loose and is crooked or pushed deeper into the gumline
  • Chipped/Broken– A small or large piece is detached and separated from the main tooth body
  • Cracked/Fractured– A fissure is present and visible, possibly extending the width, depth, or length of the entire tooth

 

What To Do

If you or your child experiences any of these injuries, call us immediately and we will see them as soon as you can visit our office. However, by taking appropriate “First Aid” steps, you can increase the chances of saving a damaged tooth.

Avulsed Tooth

For permanent/adult teeth, the best chance to salvage the tooth is by replanting it within 5 minutes of the incident. Within that window, the body still recognizes the tooth and the ligaments surrounding bone are present on the root surface and can naturally re-attach.

Action: Rinse the tooth, holding the tooth by the crown and avoiding touching the root surface. Push the tooth firmly back into its socket, and keep pressure on the tooth so it stays in place. If it will not stay in the socket, keep it moist in the patient’s saliva (between a cheek and gum), or soak it in cold milk or water to preserve it until you get to our office.

With primary or “baby teeth”, do not attempt to replant, as this could damage the emerging adult tooth. Use direct pressure to control the bleeding, and call us ASAP so that we can assess the situation and offer prudent treatment, if necessary.

Displaced Tooth

If a primary or permanent tooth has been pushed out of place or deeper into the jaw, do NOT attempt to reposition it. Call Meyer & Johns Dental as soon as possible, since the longer a tooth is left out of alignment, the more difficult it will be to return to its original position.

Chipped/Broken Tooth

This is the most frequent tooth damage for both children and adults. If possible, locate and preserve the the tooth fragment (see above), since tooth-colored bonding materials are available that allow seamless reattachment in some cases.

Damaged teeth can sometimes be salvaged, if you know what steps to take.

Cracked/Fractured Tooth

Similar to a chip or break, these types of injuries generally result in more extensive damage. Don’t try to wiggle or remove any portion of the tooth, and avoid direct biting pressure. If tooth pulp is left exposed by the damage, there may be pain or sensitivity to contact and temperature changes. An examination by Drs. Meyer or Johns can determine whether the tooth can be saved, or other possible repair options.

 

As always, if you have problems with your teeth — sports-related or other — don’t wait until your next appointment. Letting us know early is very important to maximizing your options and avoiding further damage and/or unnecessary repair work.

 

Focus on Kids’ Healthy Smiles!

Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. To celebrate the American Dental Association is encouraging good brushing habits activity and coloring pages, including a downloadable Brushing Calendar to help your little ones track the good habits they are developing.

We talk about it every year, but lifelong habits start early. The following guidelines can help parents make sure kids’ brushing habits are on track:

Babies – Under 1 Year

Babies don’t usually get their first teeth until around eight months, but they still need a clean mouth! Gently cleaning gums with a soft cloth, gauze, or a super-soft fingertip baby toothbrush can help remove food particles. But don’t press too hard – a very light pressure will keep from irritating sensitive gums.

 

Toddlers – 1 to 2 Years

When baby’s first tooth erupts, it’s time to begin to use a toddler-sized toothbrush for cleaning their mouth. Look for a brush that has very soft, rounded bristles that easily fits in their little mouth. As soon as they have more than one tooth and the teeth edges touch, you can begin using wide, flat floss. Again, make sure to only apply gentle pressure while cleaning all sides of the tooth. Making oral hygiene part of their regular bedtime routine is the first step in a lifetime’s good habits.

 

Preschoolers – 2 to 4 years

As their independence, mobility, and language begin to develop, so will their teeth. They’ll already be familiar with brushing and flossing, and the next step is brushing for themselves. You should tart by empowering them them to choose their own toothbrush. Making a big decision for themselves will excite them, and they’ll have their pick from a huge array of cartoon characters, TV show themes, and movie heroes. You will, however, need to make sure they’re choosing one that fits easily in their mouth and has soft bristles to protect their gums. Since they lack hand dexterity at this age, their toothbrushes are shorter and equipped with larger handles. You should still be supervising their brushing at this stage.

 

School-aged Children – 5 to 8 years

At this age, a good brushing routine and technique should be established. They’ll need to upgrade to a longer-necked brush with a larger head that still fits comfortably in their mouth while brushing. And they’ll still be choosing a style with bright colors and familiar characters. At this stage they can begin flossing on their own, but again with supervision. By the time they’re in 2ndor 3rdgrade, they should be able to brush and floss independently.

 

Beyond basic hygiene, dentist visits are something that should also begin at a young age. If your baby has older siblings, it’s a perfect time to get them used to the idea of visiting Meyer & Johns twice a year. We can do a pretend “Mouth Check” of toddlers, even if they don’t have enough teeth to clean! If haven’t already introduced your child to our friendly office staff, bring them to your next appointment.

America’s Favorite Halloween Candy Is…

candystore.com
www.candystore.com features an interactive map of favorite Halloween candy.

Even though it’s many people’s favorite holiday, Halloween might seem like a nightmare for dentists. Actually, at Meyer & Johns we LOVE Halloween — our staff is in the spirit all month long. It’s just the after-effects of all that candy we don’t like.  We talk about it every year, but sensible consumption and good brushing habits are key to winning the candy battle. We trust that you know what strategy works best with each of your children. If you’re still not sure, check out our blog post HERE for age and developmentally-appropriate approaches. 

 

We trust that you know what to do, so enough about teeth – let’s talk about the candy! Confectionary information and shopping website candystore.com has compiled a mountain of data on candy sales and consumption. They recently published an interactive map that lists the favorite Halloween candy for each of the 50 U.S. states, including pounds sold, as well as 2nd and 3rd-place choices by state. 

 

Missouri’s fave? The Milky Way bar, a preference we share with Maryland and Vermont. Some of the interesting tidbits include:

  • Corn Rules! Candy Corn is the most popular nationwide, taking the top spot in seven of the 50 states. Somewhat surprisingly, Skittles came in at #2, with five. 
  • Cowboy Candy?  Dubble Bubble gum was the favorite Halloween candy in Oklahoma and Montana. Don’t they know what they’re missing?
  • Location, location… Not surprisingly, the extreme Northeast and Northwest favor salt water taffy. 
  • Marketing wisely? Two of the most-recognizable and highly-promoted products – Twix and Kit-Kat – only ranked 1st in one state apiece. 
  • Sour in the South – Lemonheads were the top pick in Louisiana. 

 

Happy Halloween from your friends at Meyer & Johns Dental – Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to brush! 

 

 

6 Scary Mouth Facts

October isn’t just Dental Hygiene Month, it’s also Halloween! In honor of the most frightening 31 days of the year, we’ve assembled a collection of six scary mouth facts. Read on at your own risk…

#1.  Mouth + Nose + Eyes + Ears = Connected

Yep, they’re all attached. Tear ducts feed into the sinus/nasal cavity, which shares space with the oral cavity and is also connected by the ocular nerve channel to your ears. That’s why tears make your nose run, why your sense of smell is so important to tasting things, and why your ears pop if you blow your nose too hard.

#2.  Saliva is actually a form of filtered blood.

Specialized cells in our saliva glands are responsible for absorbing some elements of the blood. Other plasma components are filtered and combined with secretions from the mucous glands in the mouth. The result helps us digest food, keep teeth clean, and ensure our talking, swallowing, and breathing mechanisms are all well-lubricated.

#3.  Oh, that dirty mouth! bacteria mouth

So, we know that our mouths are a hotbed of bacteria — both good and bad. However, most of the hundreds of strains that live in our mouth are inert – they don’t really do anything. Meanwhile, the good bacteria help protect us against bad bacteria, plus many environmental elements that invade our mouths through air, food, or beverage. But even some good bacteria can have bad effects elsewhere in the body if introduced into respiratory tracts (aspiration pneumonia) or under the skin (as in a bite!).

#4.  Not brushing could lead to a brain abscess.

No joke – teeth that aren’t cared for can form an abscess, a bacterial infection often caused by untreated cavities or tooth injuries. If left untreated, that infection can spread from mouth to the jaw, neck, or even your brain. Sepsis and bacterial meningitis are also potential complications of untreated tooth abscess.

#5.  Soda does horrifying things to your teeth.

It coats, it soaks, it accelerates decay. In fact, people who drink three or more daily glasses of soda each day have over 60% more tooth decay, fillings, and tooth loss. This is mainly because the average soda contains between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar — that’s almost a ¼ cup!

#6.  Even more about spit…

scary mouth facts

As we’ve mentioned, our mouths produce a lot of saliva – enough each year to fill two bathtubs. But over the course of a lifetime, we will make 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s 6,250 gallons, or enough to fill the average in-ground residential swimming pool.