My Blog

Posts for: July, 2015

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
July 17, 2015
Category: Oral Health

When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.

“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.

Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”

Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.

Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.

“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”

It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
July 02, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gummy smile  

A “gummy” smile, in which the upper gums are too prominent, is a common condition. There are several causes for gummy smiles — determining which one is the first step to having your appearance changed.

Although perceptions vary from person to person, most dentists agree a gummy smile shows 4 mm or more of gum tissue, and the amount is out of proportion with the length of the crown (the visible tooth). Teeth normally erupt through the gums during childhood and continue development until early adulthood, shrinking back from the tooth until stabilizing in place.

This typically produces a crown length of about 10 mm, with a “width to length” ratio of about 75-85%. But variations can produce differences in the relationship between teeth and gums and the width to length ratio of the teeth. The teeth may appear shorter and the gums more prominent. Worn teeth, caused by aging or grinding habits, may also appear shorter.

If tooth to gum proportionality is normal, then the cause may be upper lip movement. When we smile, muscles cause our lips to retract 6-8 mm from the lip’s resting position. If the amount of movement is greater (meaning the lip is hypermobile), it may show too much of the gums. The upper jaw can also extend too far forward and cause the gums to appear too prominent.

There are a number of ways to improve gummy smiles, depending on the cause. Periodontal plastic surgery known as crown lengthening removes and reshapes excess gum tissue to reveal more of the tooth. Lip hypermobility can be reduced with Botox injections (to paralyze the muscles) or in some cases with surgery to reposition the muscle attachments. Orthognathic surgery can be used to surgically reposition an overextended upper jaw. Other cosmetic enhancements such as orthodontics, bonding or porcelain restorations can also prove effective.

The first step is to obtain an accurate diagnosis for your gummy smile. From there, we can devise the best treatment approach to bring your smile back into a more attractive proportion.

If you would like more information on minimizing a gummy smile, 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 “Gummy Smiles.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS
July 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Are you turned off by dental procedures that just seem too uncomfortable, noisy, complex and time-consuming? For years, dentists have used tools that intimidate patients who need fillings, gum surgery and even simple diagnostics.Gum Disease

FDA-cleared in 1991

Medicine and dentistry changed direction in the 1990's due to the advent of medical lasers. Implemented for years in industrial applications, lasers now bring their focused, high energy light beams to the hands of skilled dentists such as Brenna Hamrick-Stotts DDS. Dr. Hamrick-Stotts uses laser technology to:

  • design beautiful and natural-looking crowns and other dental restorations with the NeVo laser scanner and CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design/ computer-aided manufacturing)
  • lighten dark and stained teeth in only 20 minutes with the Ezlase laser whitening system
  • treat soft tissue sores
  • remove small cavities, essentially vaporizing decay without the damaging vibration of traditional dental drills
  • detect oral cancer and other diseases of the mouth, actually visualizing the margins where healthy tissue ends and diseased tissue begins

A Gentler, More Precise Treatment

Individuals with periodontitis, or advanced gum disease, are most often treated with deep cleaning--that is, manual scaling of teeth and roots to remove plaque, tartar and the harmful oral bacteria they harbor.

Without this intervention, gum disease progresses, producing very swollen, red gums, bad breath and loose teeth. Plus, bacteria from the infected gum tissue spread throughout the body, contributing to long-term conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, stroke and pregnancy and birth complications.

Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts uses innovative "no-shot" laser treatment to combat gum disease in her patients. Laser gum treatment is truly minimally-invasive. It basically "blasts" away plaque and bacteria from infected gums--even below the gum line. Very comfortable, quick and extremely precise, laser gum surgery restores soft tissues to optimum health with less bleeding and swelling. It's truly the modern treatment of choice to give gums a new lease on life.

Explore Laser Dentistry

Dr. Hamrick-Stotts and her team are devoted to bringing compassionate dental care to the Redlands, CA community. She knowledgeably blends health-related goals with exceptional aesthetics to give patients healthy and attractive smiles that help maintain best systemic wellness, too. Prevention, diagnosis and treatment with state of the art equipment, quality materials and a listening staff of professionals add up to outstanding dental care.

Find out more about lasers and your oral health by calling Brenna Hamrick-Stotts DDS today for a one-on-one consultation. Phone (909) 793-9711.