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27 Jan 2023
January 27, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental TechnologyPatient Care

What to Expect: Your Child’s First Visit to the Orthodontist

If you had to undergo orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, hearing it recommended for your little one might make you wince—we understand! However, we’d like to assure you that just like general dentistry and treatments today, orthodontic care has improved in hopscotch-style leaps and bounds! 

Thanks to advances in technology and early intervention, Family Dental Health can focus on building your child’s comfort in our care, and confidence in their smile! Read on to learn about what you can expect during your child’s first visit to the orthodontist, and feel free to contact Family Dental Health with any questions! 

Getting Acquainted

We enjoy getting to know everyone who sits in our chair, and we want you and your child to trust that you’re in safe, qualified, and caring hands. We’re here to answer questions in ways that make sense and take any fear out of treatment. Your child will get an opportunity to meet the Family Dental Health team and tour the office before we settle in for some radiography (x-rays) and digital photography to get a clear picture of what’s going on internally and externally. 

Oral Health Exploration

Once we have a chance to look over the images and share them with you both, we’ll move to the next phase of examination. Gathering the physical clues is imperative, but there are certain signs to be aware of that will make diagnosis and treatment more individualized and effective. We will want to know if your child displays any of the following habits:

If there is an issue to address and intervention is desired to prevent complications at a later stage, we can create a fully customized treatment plan. We will go over options with you and weigh the pros and cons, and we absolutely want the input of your child or teen—it’s their mouth, after all! 

Game Plan

Once a treatment method has been chosen, you and your child will be given an estimated timeline as well as an estimate of the cost. Our staff will review your insurance benefits and work to maximize them when applicable—either way, we can discuss financing options and payment plans to suit your needs. We want everyone to be able to get the care they need and deserve without breaking the bank.

We’ll get to visit with your child as often as every 4 weeks, or as few as every 10 weeks depending on their appliances and progress. However, it’s very common for people to have questions or concerns between appointments, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us as they pop up. We’re here to help teach you both how to care for the hardware and maintain proper dental hygiene throughout treatment. 

Once they have completed their treatment, we’ll be able to congratulate them, celebrate their healthy, beautiful new smile, and prescribe a retention appliance when necessary—achieving that smile was a process, and we want to ensure they hold onto it for a lifetime! 

If you’re curious about pediatric orthodontics in Portland or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jan 2023
January 13, 2023 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

What a Great Smile! Dental Bonding for Kids

Dental bonding is a versatile cosmetic and restorative dental procedure that can be performed on patients of all ages. It can repair damage, fill gaps, and improve the look and structure of teeth. Family Dental Health wants all our patients to enjoy healthy, confident smiles, and if your child faces problems with chipped, misshapen or gapped teeth, your Portland dentist may recommend bonding treatment.

What is the Bonding Procedure?

Dental bonding is a treatment where a tooth-colored material is applied directly to the teeth—a composite resin or modifiable ceramic—that restores, rejuvenates, and improves teeth in appearance and function. This minimally invasive same-day dental solution is performed in-office, and rarely requires anesthesia unless it is being used to correct decay.

To assist the bonding composite in adhering to the tooth, Family Dental Health roughens the tooth surface and applies a conditioning liquid. Since bonding requires little preparation, the maximum amount of existing tooth structure can be preserved, and the composite resin strengthens and fuses itself to a child’s natural tooth. Tooth-colored resin with a putty-like consistency is color-matched, applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. 

Once this has been achieved, an ultraviolet (UV) light or laser is used to harden the material. Once the bond has hardened, it is trimmed, shaped, and polished to match the rest of the tooth’s natural sheen. The overall bonding process averages 30-60 minutes per tooth.

Is Bonding a Good Solution for My Child?

Every child’s dental situation is different. If bonding is being considered purely for aesthetic purposes, you may want to consider factors like how long your child can comfortably sit still and whether the affected tooth will fall out on its own soon. Bonding is often used for pediatric patients in the following situations:

  • To repair decayed, chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • To improve the appearance of teeth – close a gap, fix alignment, make tooth shape more uniform
  • To fill in the tooth root area that has been exposed by receding gums
  • As an alternative to amalgam fillings (depending on location in the mouth and extent of decay)

How Should Bonded Teeth Be Cared For?

Bonded teeth look, feel, and function like natural teeth and should be cared for with a sound oral hygiene routine. Beverages like soda, dark-colored juices, and sports drinks should be avoided whenever possible to prevent staining, and we recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard be used during your child’s active pursuits to prevent damage and injury. 

Eating ice, biting nails, or chewing pencils and pens chips away at bonding material (and natural teeth!), so if your child has these habits, they should work on curbing them to get the best results from bonding. If your child observes that their bonded tooth suddenly feels “different” or “funny”, ask for details—they could have chipped the bond, in which case you should call us as soon as possible!

Will Future Dental Restoration Be Needed?

The answer is: most likely. Dental bonding material isn’t as strong as tooth enamel, but usually lasts several years (about a decade) before it needs repair or renewal. Bonding resin on teeth shows wear over time and can become stained or appear dull with age. Once a child finishes growing, a more permanent restorative procedure like a crown or veneers may be advised.

In Summary: Bonding Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Takes an hour or less to apply 
  • Less expensive alternative to fillings or other restorations
  • Looks natural – bonding solution is matched to natural teeth
  • Minimally invasive
  • Rarely requires anesthesia 
  • Does not reduce natural tooth structure

Cons:

  • Can stain or dull over time
  • Easier to break or chip than other restorations
  • Will likely require repair or restoration in the future

No one should be able to tell your child has had dental work done—but expect lots of compliments on their bright smile! Contact us today if you have questions or would like to learn more about dental bonding for kids. Your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health looks forward to helping your little one feel confident in their smile.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

27 Dec 2022
December 27, 2022 by David CaseBlog

Science Rules: Fun Crafts & Oral Health Experiments for Kids

At Family Dental Health, we know your little one’s smile fills you with joy and pride; smiles are a source of joy and pride for us, too! We cherish the opportunity to help build a foundation that will ensure your child has a healthy smile for life. But, we know before they become oral hygiene pros, they’re not quite sure why interrupting playtime to brush their teeth is necessary—or why you won’t let them have more sugary drinks and snacks. 

Luckily, there are many fun ways to teach them the importance of dental health. Family Dental Health has a few suggestions you can try out with your child, and if questions come up that you’re not sure how to answer, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a visit! We love sharing our knowledge and showing families that oral health is a gift that keeps on giving!

Brushing Basics

Demonstrating how to remove the nitty-gritty from your little one’s mouth is a good precursor to explaining the nitty-gritty of what can happen if they skip brushing and flossing (whether it’s with the traditional string variety, soft picks, or perhaps a WaterPik® meant for kids). 

We find large model mouths especially helpful, and they can be fun to put together! If you have access to white Styrofoam™ egg cartons or ice cube trays, you can create the teeth of your model. If you’re going with the egg cartons, you can cut the rows apart and glue, tape, or staple them on cardboard to imitate the upper and lower rows of teeth. For a (slightly) more realistic look, you can paint the cardboard pink! Once you’ve got the mouth ready, your child can practice brushing each tooth and flossing between the spaces.

If you’ve got white ice cube trays, a dry erase marker, a craft stick (or a popsicle stick), felt, and glue, you can create another mouth and toothbrush model. Glue the felt to the top of your stick, and you’ve got yourselves a toothbrush that will scrub dry-erase ink from the ice cube trays. You can even spell out plaque, tartar, and bacteria with the dry erase marker, which could make wiping away that ink feel especially satisfying. 

Flossing Frenzy

To add to the fun, you can also bust out some play dough (either homemade or store-bought will work) and place it between the spaces of the carton or ice cube tray teeth, then remove the buildup with pipe cleaners or yarn. This step is great for teaching children the importance of flossing. You can tell them, “Your heroic toothbrush needs a sidekick to remove the dangerous, bad-breath causing bugs that it can’t reach alone.” 

Dangerous, Bad-Breath Causing Bugs?

Those words might sound scary, and the truth is, they can be. If your child’s oral health defense isn’t strong enough, they’ll be susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Teaching them healthy habits from the beginning goes a long way toward creating strong, beautiful smiles they can be just as proud of as you are. And luckily, little ones really want to follow in the footsteps of the people they’re closest to, so setting a positive example by caring for your smile will make a big difference.

With the serious warning out of the way, we’d love to talk about a fun science experiment you can conduct with your little learner!

Lab Coat? Check. Goggles? Check. Eggs? Wait, What?

You won’t actually need a lab coat or goggles, but you will need 4 hardboiled eggs and the imagination to pretend they’re teeth. You’ll also need:

  • 4 cups or jars
  • 1 cup of soda
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of fruit juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • Baking soda or toothpaste
  • Toothbrush

When you’ve got your cups or jars of each liquid ready, carefully place 1 hardboiled egg in each, with the shells still intact. Leave the eggs to soak overnight, then prepare to be amazed (or have your predictions confirmed) by your findings the following day! 

The egg that sat overnight in soda is likely to be deeply stained—this is where the toothpaste or baking soda and the toothbrush come in handy. Have your child see if the staining can be scrubbed off. The egg might return to its former appearance with enough scrubbing, but it may lead to the questions, “What is this soda doing to the rest of my body?” and “Is drinking soda worth the erosion it causes?” 

Depending on the juice chosen, it might not have changed the color of your hardboiled egg much, but the coating of the shell may become gritty, and your child’s toothbrush might pick up some color as you scrub it. The potency of vinegar softens the shell to the point that the egg can be squeezed without cracking. Lastly, the water tends to have no visible effect. Water is neutral on the pH scale, which makes it an excellent beverage choice, and creates the opportunity to talk about how acidity and alkalinity can create illness or wellness! 

And to think this all began with a topic seemingly as simple as teeth! Your child’s smile may be more full of wonder after these activities, and Family Dental Health would love to encourage their curiosity and help their smiles stay healthy and strong as they continue learning and growing. Contact your Portland dentist at Family Dental Health today to schedule their next checkup!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Dec 2022
December 13, 2022 by David CaseBlog

Smile Safari: An Introduction to Animal Teeth

If you and your child are the proud companions of a pet, there’s a good chance you’ve both thought or said something like: “Fluffy’s really living the life. Instead of having to go to school or do chores, they can relax and sleep all day, getting up only to eat or maybe chase a laser if they’re feeling feisty.” However, Fluffy also doesn’t have to floss and brush their teeth, so how do Fluffy’s teeth manage not to suffer from disease and decay? 

Contemplating this may lead you and your little one to wonder about all kinds of different animal mouths and how they remain clean and strong. Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health happens to love talking about teeth of all types, so keep reading to go on a toothy smile safari!

Myth Busting

Before we start listing fun facts about animal teeth of different species, we’ll answer the question we asked first about Fluffy’s teeth seeming impervious to decay. The myth that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans has existed for some time even though they lick themselves daily and have an affinity for things as yucky (and potentially toxic) as soiled kitty litter. Our mention of these particular habits and the word myth probably clues you into the truth, but we’ll explain in more detail. 

Human mouths are home to anywhere from 650 to 1,000 different types of bacteria at any given moment, while the number of bacteria in the mouth of a dog may hover around 600. On its own, this fact might make you believe that pervasive myth, but diets and the types of bacteria are important to keep in mind. Dogs shouldn’t be ingesting sugar the way many humans do, making cavities less likely to form in their teeth, but both humans and dogs are likely to develop gum disease without a solid oral hygiene routine

Doggy Dental Care

You read right—canine friends need help cleaning their mouths to prevent periodontal disease (the advanced form of gum disease), which can lead to tooth loss. You can softly brush your buddy’s teeth and gums with a toothpaste meant for dogs, as toothpastes meant for humans can contain ingredients like xylitol, which is very harmful to your beloved pooch. Giving them treats with the seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council is helpful, too! And be sure not to smooch your pooch on the mouth, as harmful bacteria can be transferred easily! Mothers, lovers, and dogs are the most common sources of gum disease infections.

If you’re curious about your feline friend, research suggests their oral bacteria is very similar to a dog’s. One big distinction between their mouths is the tongue. Why do cats have rough barbs (known as papillae) on their tongues? Simple—they help remove dirt, debris, and loose hair from their coat, but their primary function is to scrape flesh from their prey’s bones—they’re animals after all, even if we’ve domesticated them. A look at their diets (or what their diets would be if they weren’t our sweet housemates) brings us back to the topic of animal teeth!

Sharp or Dull, Long or Short, Numerous or Few?

The different types of teeth you’ll find in an animal’s mouth provide clues on what they eat! Can you imagine a cow’s mouth with teeth like a dog’s? That wouldn’t be helpful for them to chew grass, leaves, and other plant matter, which is why you’ll find rows of flat, wide teeth in the mouths of herbivores (plant-eaters) like horses, camels, cows, sheep, and goats. The jaws of these animals are also capable of moving sideways, which helps them grind the food between their molars for healthy digestion.

When it comes to the mouths of carnivores (meat-eaters), you’ll find a mouthful of long, pointed (sharp) teeth that help lions, tigers, foxes, wolves, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex (testing to be sure you’re still with us), grip and cut the meat of their prey. Flat teeth meant for chewing aren’t necessary for these eaters, because they’re able to swallow and digest larger chunks of food.

If an animal eats both meat and plants, they can be referred to as an omnivore and will have a combination of sharp and flat teeth for their varied diet.

Teeth as Tools

While Family Dental Health strongly advises you and your child stick with using your teeth for speaking, eating, and smiling, there are animals that can use their teeth for other activities. For example, elephant tusks are actually teeth, and they use them both defensively and like hands as they lift and carry objects, and even dig with them. If they lose a set of tusks, they can grow replacement tusks up to six times in their lives. If you think that’s incredible, wait ‘til you read about shark teeth! 

Sharks lose teeth each week! They’re not attached to gums like human teeth and may break or come out clean when they’ve chomped into their prey. Luckily for sharks, they can grow a replacement tooth within a day of losing one. This leads to the phenomenal presence of over 20,000 teeth in one shark’s lifetime!

There are so many astounding facts to learn about the animals we share a planet with, and we love to share what we know with our young (and not so young) visitors. Unlike elephants and sharks, you and your little one are given just one set of permanent teeth. We’re here to help ensure they’re healthy for a lifetime of happy smiles, so contact your Portland dentist at Family Dental Health today to schedule a checkup!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Nov 2022
November 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Lasers: A “Groovy” Tool for Dentists

At Family Dental Health, we take pride in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest and greatest in dental treatments and technologies. That’s why we think dental “lasers” are truly smashing. And if you’re worried about paying one million dollars, rest assured laser treatments are more accessible and affordable than ever. Austin Powers jokes aside, we’re here to tell you how lasers work in dentistry and how they can benefit your smile—and make for a more comfortable dental experience!

How do dental lasers work?

Advanced laser technology has been one of the most important improvements in modern medicine and dentistry, allowing us to hang up our other tools while providing treatments that are less invasive, more comfortable, and with healthier results than ever before.

All lasers work by creating energy in the form of light, but the precise function in dentistry depends on the type of procedure. With surgical and other types of restorative dental treatments, the laser functions as a cutting device, replacing sharp dental tools, or as a vaporizer of diseased or decayed tissue—leaving healthy tissue intact. For teeth whitening, the laser functions as a heat source to speed up and enhance the effects of bleaching agents.

No Fear Here

One of the greatest things about dental lasers is they are great for patients with any level of dental anxiety. They eliminate the sharp tools, so you don’t have to hear or feel the scraping on your teeth, or the sounds and vibrations of the dental drill. Lasers create a calmer, more relaxed dental experience that can eliminate dental anxiety for many patients. 

Laser Cleanings

Don’t you just love good teeth cleaning? No? While some folks do enjoy that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling, most don’t enjoy the cleaning itself. Lasers can help with that! Rather than using sharp tools to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth and around the gum line, low-level lasers target and disintegrate plaque and tartar buildup without the invasive techniques. Where traditional cleanings can irritate the gum tissue, causing bleeding, swelling, and pain, laser cleanings leave healthy tissue alone, so you can have a more comfortable cleaning.

Laser Gum Disease Treatment

Similarly, we can also use lasers to provide periodontal therapy or gum disease treatment. Where a laser cleaning focuses mostly on the visible crown portion of the tooth and buildup along the gum line, periodontal therapy goes deeper—under the gum line, removing plaque and tartar while targeting and killing the infection and leaving healthy tissue intact. 

Traditional gum disease treatments involve sharp tools and invasive techniques like scaling and root planing, gum grafting, and gum surgery—and these techniques only treat the physical symptoms of the disease. Laser periodontal therapy, however, gets to the root cause of the problem—treating the infection at the bacterial level and creating a healthier environment for the gums to reattach to. Laser gum disease treatments are more comfortable, more conservative, and garner healthier results so you don’t have to treat and retreat.

Tooth Decay & Root Canals

If you have a cavity or an infected tooth, lasers can help with that, too! Lasers can be used to remove areas of decay from within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel for a tooth-colored filling to be placed. If your tooth is infected and you’re in need of a root canal, lasers can help us carefully and conservatively remove the infection and save the tooth.

Biopsies & Lesions

Lesions and tissue abnormalities in the mouth are serious business, so it’s a good thing we’ve got laser technology on our side! Lasers can be used for biopsies, which involve taking a small sample of tissue from the mouth so that it can be screened for oral cancer. Laser biopsies are less invasive and more comfortable than traditional biopsies. Lasers can also be used to remove lesions in the mouth and treat canker sores. What a relief!

Teeth Whitening

By far the most popular cosmetic dental treatment, teeth whitening can be assisted by our trusty dental lasers to speed up the in-office bleaching process. First, we apply a special peroxide bleaching solution, which is then activated further by the laser light which heats up and speeds up the whitening power to full throttle, so you can leave with a dazzling smile after a single visit.

Mr. Powers could have benefited from dental lasers, himself, don’t you think? If you’d like to learn more about laser dentistry and how it can make for a healthier mouth and a more comfortable dental experience, we would love to speak with you. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health today to schedule a visit. We would love to help make your smile… groovy baby! Yeah!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Nov 2022
November 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Silver Diamine Fluoride: An Affordable Filling Alternative

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an antibiotic topical liquid solution brushed onto teeth to halt the progression of tooth decay. Research has shown the effectiveness of SDF in cavity prevention and arrest, and it has been used safely and successfully worldwide with patients of all age groups. Family Dental Health uses silver diamine fluoride to help our patients alleviate and battle tooth decay in a noninvasive, affordable way. Read on to learn more about SDF and what it can do for you or your child’s oral health!

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver diamine fluoride combines fluoride to promote mineralization, silver to act as a microbial, and ammonia to stabilize the high-concentration solution—so the silver kills bacteria while fluoride prevents further breakdown of the tooth structure. Since it is applied topically with a brush, it requires minimal disruption of the natural tooth—meaning no drills or fillings! Future dental restoration will almost always be necessary, even following SDF treatment, but it can drastically reduce the severity of damage and postpone the need for more extensive dental work.

What Does SDF Do?

SDF has been used worldwide for more than 80 years, particularly in Japan and China. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared SDF for the treatment of sensitive teeth in adults 21 and older, and it is marketed under the brand name Advantage Arrest™ in the United States. 

SDF can accomplish the following:

  • Relieves hypersensitivity in teeth
  • Inhibits bacterial growth on teeth
  • Hardens teeth, making them more resistant to acid erosion and abrasion
  • Stops cavity growth
  • Prevents new lesions on teeth where it’s been applied
  • Stains areas of dentin and enamel that are not sound, providing important clinical feedback to the dentist for a more effective plan of action for treatment

When is SDF a Good Choice?

SDF is effective for use in teeth with healthy pulp that is free of infection and necrosis (which means localized, irreversible death of living tissue). Because it is a noninvasive treatment, but it does stain the teeth where it’s applied, it is a good choice for children, people with disabilities, people who cannot tolerate conventional dental methods or those who have limited access to dental care and traditional restorative treatment for dental decay.

Since SDF has been used successfully overseas for decades, there is plenty of research to back its safe and effective use for children—dentists now treat pediatric patients “off-label” with SDF with positive results and positive experiences in the dental chair. It is a good stopgap measure for kids with baby teeth, and it can be used to treat primary teeth as well, both for cavity arrest and prevention as well as to combat sensitive teeth.

If you are interested in SDF treatment for yourself or your child, Dr. David Case and our dental team in Portland would love to talk more with you about it. Contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Oct 2022
October 27, 2022 by David CaseBlog

Baby Teeth: Folklore & Traditions Around the World

What parents do with their children’s baby teeth varies from family to family. Some save them, some throw them away, some make a craft project or a keepsake from them. Recent research is even exploring the possibility of having parents store their children’s baby teeth to preserve mesenchymal stem cell content in the event the child develops cancer or certain other illnesses in their future. Just for fun, Family Dental Health wants to discuss some history of baby tooth traditions around the world. 

Baby Teeth Rituals Throughout History

Every human culture in documented history included rituals around the disposal of a child’s lost baby teeth. Researchers in the early 20th century summarized them to include:

  • The tooth was thrown into the sun or between the legs
  • The tooth was thrown onto or over the roof of a house, often while saying a prayer or singing a song to some individual or animal
  • The tooth was placed in a mouse hole near the hearth or offered to another animal
  • The tooth was hidden where animals could not get at it
  • The tooth was placed on a wall
  • The tooth was “planted” in a tree, garden, or field, with the idea a new tooth would then grow in the child’s mouth to replace it
  • The tooth was thrown into a fire to prevent a witch or other malevolent force from cursing or gaining any power over the child
  • The tooth was swallowed by the mother, the child, or an animal

The most commonly practiced ritual—recorded from Mexico to Russia to New Zealand—was to offer the lost baby tooth as a sacrifice to a mouse (or rat) with the hope the child’s adult teeth would be as strong as the rodent’s, usually accompanied by a prayer or song. 

Another strong-toothed animal could be substituted for mice or rats according to research, which revealed similar ceremonies that incorporated cats, squirrels, beavers, or dogs—but the mouse remained the most common by far.

Ever Heard of the Tooth MOUSE?

In many countries around the world, children still believe in the Tooth Mouse. Spain, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Mexico put lost teeth under pillows, expecting money or gifts left by “El Ratoncito Perez” or several variations that translate to “mouse who collects teeth.” 

Kids in Argentina leave their teeth in a glass instead, still expecting a visit by a magical, thirsty rodent who leaves a treasure while they sleep. In France and Switzerland, La Petit Souris (“Little Mouse”) is the name of the rodent that whisks away discarded baby teeth for cash or candy. 

In South Africa, the tooth is left in a slipper for the Tooth Mouse, who leaves a gift behind. Other countries who offer their baby teeth to the Tooth Mouse during the night expect nothing in return but the guarantee of a strong, healthy new tooth in their future.

Where Did the Tooth Fairy Come From?

Researchers believe modern-day “tooth fairy” customs—observed by the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and Denmark—combine the “tooth mouse” myth with the idea of a “good fairy”—a concept from English children’s literature and expanded on by media like Disney movies. 

The motif of relationships and financial exchanges between people and benevolent fairies has been around for many years, but the idea of a tooth fairy has likely persisted as a source of comfort to kids who could be a little scared by losing their teeth. (We understand that fear here at Family Dental Health!)

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… A Tooth?

In Greece, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, and China, children throw their baby teeth on the roof when they fall out. Kids in Greece wait for a mouse or pig to retrieve it, young Sri Lankans await a squirrel, while in India, anticipation is for the return of a sparrow bearing a new tooth. Cherokee Indian children throw the tooth on the roof, repeating, “Beaver, put a new tooth in my jaw!” four times.

In parts of Africa, children throw lost upper teeth on the roof and bury lost lower teeth in the ground. The reverse is true in East Asia, where lower teeth are thrown on the roof and upper teeth are buried, thrown on the ground, or hidden under the bed. 

In some Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, kids are encouraged to toss their teeth up toward the sky. Brazilian children throw teeth outside for birds, who they believe will only take them if they are clean, while kids in El Salvador expect a rabbit to swipe their tooth, regardless of its cleanliness.

Give a Dog a Tooth

Throughout Central Asia, baby teeth might be put into fat and fed to a dog with the wish that the child’s replacement tooth will be as strong as the dog’s. If there is no dog available, the teeth are buried near a tree so that the new tooth will have strong roots. Some Alaskan tribes also feed baby teeth to a dog with similar intentions.

Family Jewels

Some Central American countries fashion jewelry from lost baby teeth, a tradition said to originate from ancient Viking customs where articles belonging to children were regarded as powerful, good luck, and sometimes carried into battle.

…Or a Family Tree

The children of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation tribe of Canada give lost teeth to their mother or grandmother, who place the tooth in a tree. The family then dances around the tree together to encourage the tooth to grow in as straight as the trunk.

Food for thought, huh? Contact Family Dental Health in Portland today so we can take the best care of your little one’s baby teeth… we’ll let you decide what to do with them when they fall out!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or  treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Oct 2022
October 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

If your jaw clicks when it opens, or you can’t fully open it, or you have pain in your face and trouble chewing, then you’re among the 15% of Americans who have chronic jaw pain.

Your jaw joint is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. The name comes from the jaw’s role to connect your temporal bone in the skull with your mandible bone. Some people experience short-term pain that goes away with ice and over-the-counter medicine. But if you have chronic jaw pain or you can’t open your mouth, you might have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and it’s important to see your dentist right away to find relief.

Dr. David Case, Portland dentist explains more below about the causes and treatments of jaw pain.

Different Kinds of Jaw Pain

Pain in your jaw can feel different depending on what’s going on. In order to best understand what’s causing your pain, try to notice when you specifically feel the pain and what specifically it feels like. 

Do you have tightness, soreness, or clicking? Is the pain shooting sharp or a dull ache? Some jaw problems can also cause pain in your face, head, neck or shoulders. Many patients who have chronic migraines don’t realize it’s actually a dysfunction of their bite and TMJ. It’s important to see a dentist and explain what you’re feeling so that they can offer the best treatment options.

Causes of Jaw Pain 

Your jaw has multiple parts that work together. The temporal bone and mandible bone join together with a piece of cartilage and a shock-absorbing disk. Pain often results from the cartilage being worn down or the disk being dislodged.

Causes of jaw pain include:

  • Arthritis that inflames your joints
  • Genetics that cause your connective tissues (jaw cartilage) to wear down
  • Injury that dislodges the disk or just hurts your jaw
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth that puts stress your jaw and muscles (bruxism)
  • Headache or migraine that radiates pain down into your jaw (jaw pain can also cause headaches and create a bad cycle of pain)
  • Periodontal disease or gum disease
  • TMJ or temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Treating Jaw Pain

Only a professional medical provider can diagnose and treat TMD. Fixing your pain and treating it, in the long run, will all depend on what’s exactly causing the problem. If you’re suffering, we would love to help you. We will give you a full examination including watching and listening while you move your jaw and open your mouth. Sometimes dental x-rays and bite analysis are necessary to learn more.

To treat jaw pain, your Portland dentist might recommend:

  • Physical therapy
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • A custom night guard or mouthguard
  • Stretching and massaging the muscle
  • Pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Orthodontics or restorative dentistry to correct bite alignment
  • Counseling to relieve the stress that might be causing you to clench your teeth
  • Corrective surgery performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon

If you have jaw pain or any other oral health questions, make an appointment at Family Dental Health today! Your oral health is key to taking care of yourself and enjoying your life.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Sep 2022
September 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Services

5 Natural Ways to Sleep Better

We think fondly of it, we all want it – why is it so hard to find? We’re talking about sleep, of course. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of adults report having trouble sleeping almost every night, with 63% saying their sleep needs are not being met. 

Like water, a healthy diet, and breathing, sleep is essential to support every part of your health. Sleep is when our bodies rest, repair, and run a lot of self-maintenance. Studies show that not getting enough sleep can harm your memory, your heart health, your immune system, and make you gain excess weight.

Sometimes sleep loss is a real medical issue that needs to be treated by a doctor (your Portland dentist can help with sleep apnea). But if you’re just dealing with the common troubles of settling down and enjoying your sleep, we’ve got sleep tips that are all easy to incorporate into your life…starting tonight! 

Set the Tone

Think of everything you do to set the right tone for a dinner party or even a study session. Every event needs some preparation. You can do a lot of little things to immediately make your environment more conducive for sleeping:

  • Turn your phone off
  • Dim the lights
  • Clean up if it will make you feel better
  • Light a candle
  • Use blackout shades to keep out any remaining sun or street light
  • Lower the air conditioning to 65-68 degrees 
  • Write a to-do list for the morning so you can stop thinking about ongoing tasks and let your mind rest

Make the Time

When it comes to sleep, timing is everything. Yes, you need to find about 8 hours each night when you can actually close your eyes. But just as important is the hour you spend before going to bed, as well as the time you wake up. If you want to sleep better:

  • Start winding down at the same time each night. 
  • Try to be in bed with lights out at the same time each night.
  • Wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. 

Doing this naturally guides your circadian rhythm—the important hormones that direct your body clock for sleeping and waking over 24 hours. This will teach your body to expect sleep at a certain time and to actually be ready for it.

Establish a Routine

Harness the power of psychology and classical conditioning. Remember Pavlov’s dogs? Use the same stimulus to trigger your mind and body that it’s bedtime each night. For many children, even the first line of their bedtime song will trigger a yawn. You can trigger sleepiness for yourself by lighting the same candle, playing the same song, brushing and flossing your teeth and putting your pajamas on in the same order each night.

Herbal Supplements & Aromatherapy

There’s a lot to be learned about the power of herbs and aromatherapy when it comes to aiding a healthy lifestyle. Consider taking melatonin—a naturally occurring hormone that balances sleep; magnesium—a mineral that can calm your nerves and muscles; or valerian—an herb that helps you fall asleep faster and deeper. These are completely safe and natural supplements you can take regularly to help with sleep.

Similarly, using lavender, vetiver, or sandalwood oil can calm your body and induce better sleep. Try diffusing oil into the air or put drops on your pillow. Some supplements and methods will work better for you than others and they all do different things to the body. So talk with your doctor before taking any new herbs or supplements.

Meditate & Read

How you spend the hour before bed can do a lot to help you sleep better. According to the National Sleep Foundation, watching television or looking at any screen before bed can seriously hurt your chances of a good night’s rest. Instead, try reading something in actual paper and ink. It doesn’t have to be hard literature; even a magazine or light read is better than a screen and social media. Whatever you read is bound to make for a better conversation-starter throughout the week, too.

This might be especially difficult for people who feel they have to work on their computers late into the night. If that’s you, remember that you’re only human and you’ll be more productive the next day if you get the sleep you need. 

You can also try meditating, praying, or remembering things for which you’re grateful before you fall asleep. Your brain needs time to cool down and relax before totally shutting off and sleeping. This can help end the cycle of thoughts and worries that prevent many folks from finding restful sleep.

Sleep Help from the Dentist

As a professional healthcare provider, Family Dental Health wishes all of our patients the most optimal health and wellness, including quality sleep! In some cases, oral health issues such as TMJ, grinding and clenching (bruxism), or sleep apnea might be physical barriers keeping you from getting enough sleep. Your dentist can help you address and treat these issues.

If you are looking for a Portland dentist to help with these or any oral health needs, make an appointment at our office Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Sep 2022
September 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

No Tradesies: Packing Mouth-Healthy Lunches for Kiddos

Breakfast is always being touted as the most important meal of the day—and for good reason! It’s important for families to kickstart their day with nutrients that will help them power through school, work, socializing, sports, homework… does anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it all? 

The right foods in your child’s lunch can help boost their energy and keep those brains, bodies, and mouths going all day! Alternatively, lunches full of sugary, sticky, acidic foods and beverages can accelerate tooth decay and cause your child to feel sluggish both physically and mentally.

Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health loves to share ideas on what to include in your child’s lunch to keep their smile safe and their health optimal… and perhaps what to leave out and have as an occasional treat for good behavior. 

But First, Hydration

About 65% of a child’s body is made up of water (60% for adult men, 55% for adult women), and it’s important for this balance to be maintained. Water is the best choice for hydrating for the following reasons:

  • Water tends to be neutral instead of acidic or alkaline, which makes it safe for the teeth.
  • It helps prevent dry mouth (xerostomia), which creates a breeding ground for dangerous, decay and gum disease-causing bacteria.
  • Being adequately hydrated helps aid proper digestion.
  • Water regulates body temperature.
  • It helps deliver oxygen throughout the body.
  • Keeps joints lubricated and is a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord.
  • Flushes waste from the body, mostly through urine.

Encourage your child to keep their mouth and body healthy by sending them to school with a refillable water bottle rather than a bottle of juice or soda.

Now for the Flavor

You probably guessed that Family Dental Health would recommend fruits and veggies, right? There are so many tasty options, and their vitamin and mineral content makes them an excellent choice for both oral and overall health. Our favorites are:

  • Apples 
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupe
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries

Each of these fruits contains vitamin C, which can help kill bacteria and promote a healthy supply of collagen in the gums. We do suggest your child waits for at least 30 minutes to brush their teeth after eating fruits because the citric acid combined with brushing can weaken tooth enamel and cause erosion. (Everyone should wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after eating, but especially with highly sugary or acidic foods and drinks.)

Veggie Time

They may not be your child’s favorite, but veggies are full of goodness for mouth and body health. The following choices naturally scrape away plaque that can build up between meals or be missed when your child brushes:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Snap peas
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber

Sandwiches & Snacks

If you’ve been wondering: “What about protein?” we’ve got you covered. We recommend using whole grain wheat bread and enamel-building meats like chicken and turkey. Including cheese will help your child get calcium, vitamin D, and phosphate, too. You can also go with the classic PB & J! 

Hard-boiled eggs are another good source of protein. For more fiber, folic acid, iron, vitamin E, potassium, and zinc, add nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds!

We know it can be a bit more difficult if you have picky eaters at home, but these foundations are good to keep in mind. At Family Dental Health, we love to find recipes that some of these ingredients can hide in, ensuring our young ones get the health benefits without even knowing it!

A proper diet will go a long way toward keeping your child’s smile healthy, but it’s still important to bring them in for thorough, gentle cleanings and cavity prevention methods. We love seeing their smiling faces, too, so contact Family Dental Health today to schedule an appointment!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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