Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

 

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at 712-276-8391. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

A Good-Looking Path to Better-Looking Teeth: Invisalign® Systems and Other Clear Aligners

Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult.

Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems.

The Benefits of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.

The Clear Aligner Fitting Process

For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.

Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.

How to Pay for Clear Aligners

Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.

Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.

Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.

 

For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please give us a call at (712) 276-8391. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.

What is Smile Design?

Smile design is a dental procedure that creates straighter, whiter, and a more naturally beautiful looking smile. Smile design can do wonders to a person’s confidence by helping them love their smile again, but it can also help restore full dental health to a person.

So how does it work?

First, you’ll talk with your cosmetic dentist to customize and plan for your own personal smile design. We’ll work with you to discuss any underlying dental issues and help you achieve your dental goals, whether that be a better smile or all around better dental health.

Then, we’ll help you create a timeline to help plan for any event or social function you want your smile design done by. From there, any dental diseases are taken care of and a dental hygiene visit is completed. Patients are encouraged to bring photos of how they want their teeth to look, either from celebrities or photos from their younger selves.

The patient and cosmetic dentist then sit down to discuss issues like arrangement of teeth, teeth position, and the overall effect this procedure will have on their appearance. They then make an individualized plan before the teeth are prepared.

Treatments

Each patient is different and the plan of action is made specifically for that individual. Common treatments include veneers, crowns and veneers, bridges, dentures, or implants. With these treatments, you’ll have your dream smile in no time!

Who can get a smile design?

Any person who wants to look younger is a great candidate for a smile design. This process can help take years off your appearance. Anyone who wants to have more confidence in their smile is also a good candidate.

 

Talk with your cosmetic dentist today to see if a smile design is right for you. Everyone deserves to have healthy looking teeth and have confidence in their smile. Here at The Dentist of Siouxland, we’re here to help give you that. Call us today at 712-276-8391 to set up an appointment to start getting your smile design plan made.

4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

Damage to teeth and gums can’t be ignored. It’s always important to act quickly if something is wrong, but some dental issues are more pressing than others. How can you know the difference between a dental problem that needs to be solved soon and a problem that needs to be solved now?

We never want our patients to put off a dental procedure when it could lead to lasting harm, so we’ve compiled a list of important warning signs that mean you should get your teeth checked out as soon as possible. After all, you’ve only got so many teeth — it’s best to keep them all in good shape.

1. Broken or missing teeth

It goes without saying that obvious physical damage to your teeth is one of the most urgent dental emergencies you can experience. If your tooth has been damaged, rinse your mouth with warm water immediately and call us as soon as possible. If your tooth has come out, gently try to put it back into the socket (without touching the root!) or keep it in your mouth to protect it until we can see you.

2. Dental abscesses

A dental abscess is a small collection of pus inside of a tooth or gums that is caused by a bacterial infection. If your symptoms include shiny red swollen gums, a fever, or pain that spreads to your jaw or neck, you may have an abscess, even if you don’t see it. Try to see us as soon as possible, but, in the meantime, you can reduce the pain of the abscess by avoiding cold drinks. Use a soft toothbrush to very gently clean the area until we can get you into the office.

3. Lost filling or crown

A crown or filling can become loose or even fall out for a variety of reasons. If you lose a crown or filling, it’s important to try to save it — we may be able to reuse it. Rinse the area with warm salt water and continue to brush the damaged tooth (gently!) until we can see you.

4. Significant pain or swelling in the teeth, gums or jaw

Constant pain or swelling in your mouth is never normal! This symptom may seem vague or common, but it could be a sign of major damage or an infection that could have nasty results if left untreated. Don’t tough it out. Call us and we will decide together whether you need to come in for an appointment.

 

Ignoring any of these four dental problems could result in the permanent loss of teeth. Infections can even spread to other parts of your body and cause serious general medical issues, so it’s extremely important to get your teeth examined if you experience any dental emergency on this list!

We want your tooth pain or mouth pain to stop.

First and foremost, if you are in pain, we want to help you get some relief. Then we can address any underlying causes to solve the problem using dental best practices. If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, give us a call at 712-276-8391 as soon as possible. We’ll get you an appointment in the near future, so you can go back to your life and leave tooth pain behind.

How Does a Cosmetic Dentist Fix Your Teeth?

What’s the first thing you see when meeting someone new? Oftentimes, it’s their smile. And if someone doesn’t have a perfect smile, it can be a source of insecurity for them. Luckily, there are ways to help you fall in love with your teeth and cosmetic dentists are here to help!

Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and your smile. Whether your teeth are chipped, stained, misaligned, or worn, cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile and your confidence. Here are just a few ways cosmetic dentistry can help fix your teeth.

Enamel Abrasion

This procedure is a way to remove discoloration. The procedure uses a fine pumice in a micro-abrasion machine to remove surface stains. While this process doesn’t work for stains inside the tooth or intrinsic stains, it works wonders to remove stains caused by things like tobacco, wine, coffee and berries.

Dental Veneers

Veneers, the gold standard for cosmetic dental procedures, are thin, custom made shells of tooth colored porcelain that cover the front surface of the teeth. About a half- millimeter of enamel from the tooth is gently shaved and then an impression is taken. Then, the impression is sent to a dental lab for custom veneers.

While you’re waiting for your permanent veneers, you’ll have temporary ones. Once you get your permanent set, they’ll be cemented to the front of the teeth and you can change the size, color, shape or length.

Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth is one of the most common and quickest ways to change your smile. This is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t need anything more than a bit of brightening for their teeth or someone who isn’t quite ready for a huge commitment.

Fortunately, teeth whitening can be done in a dentist’s office, or it can be done at home. However, it’s wise to get the bleach from your dentist to make sure you’re getting the safest and best product.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a great option for people who have deeply stained or chipped teeth. During this procedure, a tooth- colored, putty- like resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist can then trim, shape and polish it.

Invisalign Braces

These are perfect for not only kids, but adults as well because no one can tell you’re wearing them! They’ll help you get the perfect smile that you’ve always wanted. While they’re great for straightening teeth, they also help with chronic pain caused by misalignment, such as headaches.

 

Whatever you want to do to improve your teeth, we’ve got you covered. We want all of our patients to be confident in their smiles. If you have any questions about different procedures used for cosmetic dentistry, please reach out to us at 712-276-8391. We’ll get you set up with an appointment and our team will get you the right process for your needs.

Improving Your Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice, and if you’re not confident in yours, it can be a cause for low self esteem and insecurities. That’s where cosmetic dentists come in. Cosmetic dentists are here to help you be confident in your teeth and smile.

There are lots of things cosmetics dentists can do to make you love your smile. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just some of the reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

Straightening Teeth

Crooked or misaligned teeth are really common for most people, but not everyone had braces in middle school. Now you might be an adult and don’t want to go the traditional teeth straightening route. That’s where your cosmetic dentist comes in.

We can provide you with different methods of straightening your teeth, including but not limited to, clear braces, Invisalign, and veneers. These options give you a way to straighten your teeth without the pain of braces and the hassle of going to an orthodontist.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Got some missing teeth? No worries! Cosmetic dentists have a variety of ways to fill gaps and missing teeth. These include crowns, implants, dentures, bridges and more. No matter how you lost your teeth, we can help get your smile complete again.

Whitening Your Teeth

Everyone wants that million dollar smile that sparkles when you show it. Getting whiter teeth can help you have brighter teeth. Having your teeth whitened by a professional is safer and more effective than doing it yourself at home. It can also last longer.

Whitening your teeth is one of the more popular ways to improve your smile and dentists offer a wide variety of ways to do it. There are several methods your dentist can try, and they can even provide you with take home kits. Talk with us to find out what method is best for you!

Tooth Reshaping

Some people don’t love the shape of their teeth, whether they are pointy or oddly shaped or whatever the reason may be. Reshaping your teeth can help get you that straight, even tooth look. Most people opt for the veneer route if they want to change the shape of their teeth, but talk with us and we can decide the best option for you.

 

No matter if it’s a small change or a big change, cosmetic dentists can help give you confidence in your smile again. Call us at 712-276-8391 to set up an appointment to talk with our dentists about what we can do to get you loving your smile again.

Tooth Extractions: 4 Steps to an Easy Recovery

There are more than seven billion people in the world, and every one of them has a set of teeth—32 of them, in fact. Unfortunately, from time to time, some of them have to go. It’s not something anyone’s looking forward to. After all, your teeth have all been with you for years, reliably chewing anything you asked them to. Most of us are pretty attached to them!

Many patients dread the recovery period after an extraction, but as long as you know how to take care of yourself, an extraction can be one of the least troublesome medical events of your life. Today, we’ll tell you what you can expect, and what you can do to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.

The main concern in the period after a tooth extraction is the possibility of a dry socket. This is when a blood clot fails to form over the extraction site, or when the clot comes loose and exposes the wound, possibly even leaving the bone underneath exposed. Fortunately, it’s not incredibly common (it occurs in less than 5% of routine dental extractions).

The pain of a tooth extraction can be avoided by following these steps.

Step 1: Clear your schedule

The most important thing you can do to prepare for this procedure or any other is to make sure you’re ready for the recovery period. If you were thinking about going on a ten-mile bike tour or pushing a new one-rep-max at the gym, you’ll have to postpone it. Clear your schedule of strenuous physical activity for a few days after the extraction, so you don’t risk loosening the clot before it has a chance to heal.

Step 2: Stock up on soft foods

Avoid eating anything you’ll have to chew or suck. Stock up on soft foods like yogurt and applesauce. Or you could make a smoothie—but be careful not to use a straw. Sucking up any liquid may dislodge the clot and leave the wound exposed. Eggs can work too, if you’re craving something a little more substantial.

Step 3: Manage your pain

After the procedure, your poor gums are going to need a bit of babying. You’ll probably want a painkiller of some kind. The extraction site might not hurt badly right away, but you can manage the pain best by taking a Tylenol or similar drug early. The pain likely will increase for the first three days or so, but don’t worry, that’s normal. If pain continues to increase after the third day or doesn’t decrease, it’s possible you have a dry socket. Contact your dentist, and they’ll decide how to handle things from there.

Step 4: Be gentle with your teeth

Your nighttime routine will have to change, too. For the first two days, avoid rinsing out the extraction site so the wound can heal. After that, you should rinse gently with warm salt water to encourage healing. Brush your teeth gently but avoid teeth right next to the extraction site for the first couple of days. Even after the first couple days, be very careful not to brush the site itself. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s best to prop your head up with an extra pillow or two.

 

Tooth extraction is a little uncomfortable for the first few days. But with just a little care, you can minimize the pain, and your teeth will be chewing reliably for you once again in no time. The key is to be patient with the healing process and gentle with your mouth for a few days. Putting up with the pain and inconvenience of an extraction is much better than living with the pain and infection risk of a cracked or impacted tooth!

The Dentist of Siouxland is here to support you through extractions and all your dental needs. If you’re having tooth pain, or if you have questions about tooth extraction or any other procedure, give us a call at (712) 276-8391, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Laughing Gas Eases Dental Procedures: We’re Not Joking!

By now, most people have heard dentists often use nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to make procedures more comfortable for their patients. But many people don’t know exactly what laughing gas is or what it does. At The Dentist of Siouxland, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as a sedative for any procedure for one low cost, because we know dental fear is no laughing matter!

Our patients sometimes want us to answer questions about the gas before they decide it’s right for them. Some even ask, “If I’m laughing, won’t it be hard for the dentist to work on my teeth?” Though it’s called laughing gas, you won’t actually double over with belly laughs – you’ll just be less worried about what’s going on inside your mouth. You’ll still be awake and more-or-less alert, so if the dentist needs to ask you to tip your head a certain direction or open wider, you’ll be able to do so.

Above all, our patients want assurance that it’s safe. Nitrous oxide IS safe. It was first used as an anesthetic drug in 1844. Since then, modern medicine has perfected safe methods of delivery. Occasional use of nitrous oxide in small amounts for dentistry has no known side effects. It’s a tested and verified sedation choice used by thousands of dentists and their patients to take the edge off during dental work.

Laughing Gas is Easy and Comfortable During Procedures

Unlike other more-complicated methods of sedation used for complex or serious dental procedures, laughing gas is easy on both the dentist and the patient. Your dentist simply fits a special mask over your face and asks you to breathe in the mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Before long, you’ll feel the effects of the gas.

Under the effects of nitrous oxide, you feel calm and comfortable. Some people feel as though their arms and legs are heavy, though you’ll be able to move them if the need should arise. The sense of calmness you get from the gas keeps your feelings of anxiety at bay. It also is likely to make you care less if you feel pain.

After your dental procedure is complete, the dentist removes the mask used to deliver the nitrous oxide, and the effects of the drug wear off quickly. Unlike with other sedation methods that put you further “under,” you’ll be able to drive yourself home shortly afterward your appointment without needing much time to rest.

For many years now, dentists have used this process to deliver calmness to dental patients using laughing gas. It’s accepted the world over as a safe, effective and fast way to make sure dental procedures cause as little stress as possible.

At The Dentist of Siouxland, we provide this important service, because we know dental anxiety is no joke. We want to make sure any visit to our office is as quick and comfortable as possible. If you have any questions about nitrous oxide/laughing gas sedation or want to schedule an appointment for any reason, just give us a call at (712) 276-8391 and we’ll be happy to help!

Taking Care of Your Teeth as You Age

As our bodies age, we know we’ll have lots of very natural physical challenges, and that includes changes in our teeth and mouth. Those changes can be unsettling – even frightening – and day-to-day dental hygiene can become difficult. But if these new challenges are met head-on, there’s no reason seniors can’t keep gums and teeth healthy well into their later years!

As you grow older, make it a point to stay aware of the new dental challenges you face and you’ll be much happier with your dental health – and with life in general!

Day-to-Day Challenges of Senior Dental Hygiene

Many common day-to-day changes seniors face in caring for their teeth fall into two categories: physical difficulties and medication side effects.

General physical lifestyle changes you experience as a senior may seem as though they are unrelated to dental care, but they can have a huge impact on your teeth. For example, if you develop arthritis, it may be more difficult for you to properly brush your teeth every day. If so, you may find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, which requires less precision and force. Similarly, you should consider using a water flosser if flossing has become difficult.

The side effects of some medications many people begin taking as seniors can cause dry mouth. This innocent-sounding condition can have serious consequences for dental health over time, because saliva is a major part of how your body keeps your teeth clean. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for germs to grow. You can manage this challenge by increasing your fluid intake and chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production.

Look and Feel Natural with Dentures

Many people, despite their best efforts and good dental habits over a lifetime, will find they have significant damage to their teeth as they age and may want to consider dentures to help them with eating and speaking.

Dentures come in a variety of forms, but all of them are designed to make your mouth look and feel normal after tooth loss. If you only have a few good teeth left, you may decide to pull them and go with full dentures. If you’ve only lost a tooth or two, you may not need a full set of dentures. Partial dentures can give you strong, natural-looking replacements that blend well with your other teeth. For convenience, you might consider implants with click-on dentures that don’t require adhesives.

Make Senior Dental Care a Priority!

Dental hygiene is important at any age, but the older you get the more important it is to practice good dental hygiene to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Whether you’ve made it to a ripe old age with a full set of healthy teeth or you’ve needed a little bit of work along the way, your dentist can work with you as your partner to preserve your shining smile.

 

If you have any questions at all about changes to your dental care routine as you get older, or if you want to discuss possible dental implants or dentures, give us a call at (712) 276-8391. We’ll work with you to keep you on the road to healthy senior teeth!