My Blog

Posts for: May, 2015

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
May 18, 2015
Category: Oral Health

As is the case with most celebs today, Beyonce is no stranger to sharing on social media… but she really got our attention with a video she recently posted on instagram. The clip shows the superstar songstress — along with her adorable three-year old daughter Blue Ivy — flossing their teeth! In the background, a vocalist (sounding remarkably like her husband Jay-Z) repeats the phrase “flossin’…flossin’…” as mom and daughter appear to take care of their dental hygiene in time with the beat:

We’re happy that this clip highlights the importance of helping kids get an early start on good oral hygiene. And, according to authorities like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, age 3 is about the right time for kids to begin getting involved in the care of their own teeth.

Of course, parents should start paying attention to their kids’ oral hygiene long before age three. In fact, as soon as baby’s tiny teeth make their first appearance, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3, kids will develop the ability to spit out toothpaste. That’s when you can increase the amount of toothpaste a little, and start explaining to them how you clean all around the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth. Depending on your child’s dexterity, age 3 might be a good time to let them have a try at brushing by themselves.

Ready to help your kids take the first steps to a lifetime of good dental checkups? Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, and gently guide them as they clean in front, in back, on all surfaces of each tooth. At first, it’s a good idea to take turns brushing. That way, you can be sure they’re learning the right techniques and keeping their teeth plaque-free, while making the experience challenging and fun.

Most kids will need parental supervision and help with brushing until around age 6. As they develop better hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow through with the cleaning regimen, they can be left on their own more. But even the best may need some “brushing up” on their tooth-cleaning techniques from time to time.

What about flossing? While it’s an essential part of good oral hygiene, it does take a little more dexterity to do it properly. Flossing the gaps between teeth should be started when the teeth begin growing close to one another. Depending on how a child’s teeth are spaced, perhaps only the back ones will need to be flossed at first. Even after they learn to brush, kids may still need help flossing — but a floss holder (like the one Beyonce is using in the clip) can make the job a lot easier.

If you would like more information about maintaining your children’s oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
May 10, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Considering the costs, many people view replacing a back tooth as less important than a more visible front tooth. They’re rarely seen, so who will notice?

You might, eventually. A missing back tooth can set off a chain reaction of problems that can affect your overall dental health. Besides playing an important role in chewing food, back teeth also redistribute most of the chewing force away from the front teeth. Their absence can also affect the bite: adjacent teeth to the missing one will tend to migrate toward the open space, causing them to tip and rotate into an improper position. This can cause an increase in tooth mobility, excessive wear and erosion, and endanger their survival in the long run.

To avoid these and other problems you should consider some form of replacement. Most dentists prefer a dental implant for its life-like appearance and durability, and because its titanium post has a natural affinity with bone. Bone cells will grow around and permanently adhere to the implant, which may stop and even reverse bone loss in some cases.

Implants, though, require a certain amount of bone structure initially to anchor and position properly. If you have inadequate bone and don’t want to bone graft the area, the next best option is a fixed bridge, in which the missing tooth is replaced with an artificial crown known as a pontic. The pontic is fused between two support crowns that are permanently affixed to the natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth (also known as abutments). While fixed bridges restore function and inhibit tooth migration, they require the natural tooth supporting the bridge to be reduced to accommodate the crowns placed on them. This permanently alters them and places them at higher risk for future nerve damage, gum disease and decay.

One final option is a removable partial denture (RPD). Although RPDs restore function and improve appearance, their movement within the mouth may place additional stress on the teeth that hold them in place. This movement over time could damage or loosen them.

We can discuss which option is best for you after a complete dental exam. The important thing, though, is to replace the back tooth as soon as possible — doing nothing could cost you much more in the long run.

If you would like more information on tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Replacing Back Teeth.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, INC.
May 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Veneers  

VeneersMany people are unhappy about the staining or discoloration that has occurred on their teeth over the years, leaving their smile an unattractive color and their confidence in shambles. Fortunately, there's a dental solution that's available for discolored, stained, or even cracked, chipped, bent, and misaligned teeth: dental veneers.

At the dental office of Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc., veneers are safely used to achieve full restoration in the mouths of many who've lost their beautiful smiles. Consisting of a wafer-thin layer of strong porcelain that acts as a believable substitute for natural tooth enamel, dental veneers get bonded to the front of patients' teeth so their underlying esthetic problem is completely covered.

Veneers can help improve a variety of things about your teeth, including:

  • Color — Veneers are custom-made in the specific tooth color of your choice, allowing them to fit perfectly alongside your natural teeth.
  • Size And Shape — Veneers are created with the patient's desires in mind regarding how big or small and how wide or narrow they should be to fit in seamlessly next to neighboring teeth.
  • Alignment And Spacing — Veneers help close gaps that may exist between teeth or even help improve dental alignment in your mouth.

Veneer Procedure

During a typical veneer process, patients first speak with their dentists about the veneer dimensions that would best fit their smiles, as individual differences in everyone's teeth makes the saying "one size fits all" particularly negligible here.

Next, patients' teeth are scraped using a precise dental device that removes a thin layer of their tooth enamel. Once this has taken place, dentists will take a mold of patients' teeth and send the mold into a nearby dental laboratory, where skilled dental technicians use it to construct personalized veneers.

Patients typically use temporary veneers for a few weeks while their permanent ones are being constructed. Once the veneers have been fully finished, they're sent back to the dental office and ultimately cemented to the outer surface of patients' teeth for a fully rejuvenated smile.

For more information on why dental veneers can help restore your smile right here in Redlands, CA, give Dr. Hamrick-Stotts a call at (909) 793-9711 today!