August 5th, 2020
A study conducted in Washington State in 2004 and another conducted in Madrid, Spain in 2012 both reported findings that support a direct relationship between parents’ dental fear and their child’s fear of the dentist.
The Washington study examined dental fear among 421 children ages 0.8 to 12.8 years old. They were patients at 21 different private pediatric dental practices in western Washington state. The Spanish study observed 183 children between the ages of seven and 12 as well as their parents.
The Washington study used responses from both parents and the Dental Sub-scale of the Child Fear Survey Schedule. The survey consisted of 15 questions, which invited answers based on the child’s level of fear. The scale was one to five: one meant the child wasn’t afraid at all, and five indicated he or she was terrified. The maximum possible points (based on the greatest fear) was 75.
Spanish researchers found a direct connection between parental dental fear levels and those among their kids. The most important new discovery from the Madrid study was that the greater the fear a father had of going to the dentist, the higher the level of fear among the other family members.
Parents, but especially fathers, who feared dental procedures appeared to pass those fears along to every member of the family. Parents can still have some control over fear levels in their children. It is best not to express your own concerns in front of kids; instead, explain why going to the dentist is important.
Dr. Jennifer Wells and Dr. Erik Wells and our team work hard to make your child’s visit at our Watkinsville office as comfortable as possible. We understand some patients may be more fearful than others, and will do our best to help ease your child’s anxiety.
July 29th, 2020
Our team at Healthy Smiles knows that every parent loves to hear his or her child say, "no cavities!" when leaving our office. Let's talk about why primary (baby) teeth get cavities, what you can do to help prevent them, and what Dr. Jennifer Wells and Dr. Erik Wells can do if your child gets a cavity. It's a team effort!
Prevention is Key
A well-balanced diet high in protein, vitamins, and minerals (especially calcium and phosphorous) is an important part of cavity prevention. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that children should eat healthy snacks like cheese, vegetables, and yogurt, and drink milk. Limit hard candy and carbonated beverages, which have acid and can cause tooth decay. Also, do not put children to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice because sugary fluids pool around the teeth and gums, which promotes decay.
In addition to limiting sweets and scheduling regular visits at our Watkinsville office, make sure your child flosses once a day and brushes his or her teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. A good rule of thumb is if children can tie their shoelace, then they should be able to brush their teeth without help. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following basic brushing techniques:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes
- Brush the outer surfaces, inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all teeth.
- To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
These tips will greatly increase cavity prevention; however, if your child gets a cavity, it will not heal on its own and must be fixed. Dr. Jennifer Wells and Dr. Erik Wells will remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill the hole where the decay was. You may wonder why it's important to fill baby teeth if they're going to fall out eventually. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth to grow in. If one is lost, teeth may shift and prevent a permanent tooth from growing in. In addition, a decayed tooth can become abscessed and cause pain. No fun!
Let’s work together to help your child develop good oral health habits that last a lifetime. Please contact our office if you have any questions about your child's diet or cavity prevention.
July 22nd, 2020
Many varieties of fillings are available at our Watkinsville office. Most people are familiar with traditional amalgam fillings: those big silver spots on top of teeth.
Made from a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury, amalgam fillings have been used to fill cavities for more than 100 years. They offer several advantages, including:
- High durability for large cavities or cavities on molars
- Quick hardening time for areas that are difficult to keep dry during placement
- Reduced placement time for children and special-needs patients who may have a difficult time keeping still during treatment
Although dental amalgam is a safe and commonly used dental material, you might wonder about its mercury content. You should know that when it’s combined with the other metals, mercury forms a safe, stable material.
The American Dental Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U. S. Food and Drug Administration, and World Health Organization all agree that based on extensive scientific evidence, dental amalgam is a safe and effective cavity-filling material.
Newer, mercury-free, resin-based composite fillings (white fillings) are also available at our Watkinsville office. Composite resin fillings are made from plastic mixed with powdered glass to make them stronger.
Resin-based fillings offer several benefits for patients, including:
- They match the color of teeth
- Less tooth structure needs to be removed than with amalgam fillings
- BPA-free materials can be used
Resin-based composite fillings also have some disadvantages, including:
- Higher cost than amalgam fillings
- Inlays may take more than one visit
- Requires more time to place than amalgam fillings
There’s a lot to think about when you have to get a cavity filled. We recommend you do your homework and speak with Dr. Jennifer Wells and Dr. Erik Wells before deciding what’s best for you or your family.
July 1st, 2020
Happy Independence Day from Dr. Jennifer Wells and Dr. Erik Wells and team! The Fourth of July celebrations in America may have changed a lot over the years, but there is no doubt that we Americans love to celebrate the anniversary of our country's independence! Today we're devoting the Healthy Smiles blog to some fun facts about the Fourth!
- My, how we have grown! This year the United States Census Bureau estimates that our country has 313.9 million residents celebrating the Fourth of July this year, but back in 1776 there were just 2.5 million members of the country.
- Our country loves to show how proud that we are of our independence. Did you know that there are 31 United States places with the word “Liberty” in their names? The state of Iowa actually has four towns with the word Liberty in the name: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
- The United States loves Fourth of July food! It is expected that around 150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth each year. One of the Fourth's most popular sides, potato salad, goes just perfectly with the hotdogs and hamburgers that are standard Fourth of July fare. Some people choose potato chips instead, but we wouldn't have such a plethora of potatoes if not for the prodigious production of the states of Idaho and Washington -- they provide about half of all the potatoes in the United States today!
- Americans love celebrating the Fourth outdoors: About 74 million Americans fire up their BBQ grill every Fourth of July.
- The Chinese contribution: Did you know that Americans have spent more than $211 million on fireworks that were imported from China?
No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don't forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast!