My Blog

Posts for: May, 2017


If you've known anyone who has worn braces, you know what comes after — wearing a retainer. This can be kind of a letdown after all those months with braces, but it's absolutely necessary.

That's because teeth have a tendency to “rebound” to their pre-orthodontic positions once the force to move them stops after the braces are removed. Retainers help keep or “retain” moved teeth in their new positions and prevent them from reverting to the old.

When you think “retainer,” you probably picture a removable appliance with a wire that fits over the front of the teeth. While that may be the most common type, it isn't the only one. There's another called a bonded retainer, a thin piece of wire bonded to the back of the teeth that need to be retained. Unlike the other type, a dentist must remove a bonded retainer when it's no longer needed.

The biggest advantage of a bonded retainer is its invisibility — the wire is behind the teeth so no one can see it as with a removable retainer. The wire is bonded to the teeth with a dental composite material and then light-cured to create a strong attachment.

Another advantage is especially pertinent to younger patients. Because it's permanently attached and can't be taken out, there's no constant reminding of the patient to wear it — and no more worries about replacing a lost one.

They can, though, be difficult to floss around leading to potential plaque buildup that increases disease risk. It's very important you receive proper hygiene instruction for cleaning under the bonded retainer. Another concern is that they can break under excessive chewing pressure. And as with the more common retainer, we wouldn't want to remove it as that will result in the teeth's relapse to their old positions.

To learn which retainer is best for your situation, you should discuss the options with your orthodontist. Regardless of which type you choose, though, a retainer is a must for protecting your investment in that new smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontics and retainers, 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 “Bonded Retainers.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
May 11, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
May 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

The majority of patients with cavities are children because of their affinity for sweets, but adults also have this dental problem. The fillingsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 27 percent of American adults aged 20-39 and 21 percent aged 40-59 have cavities (caries) in their teeth. Adults are often more conscious about their appearance, so they are interested in tooth-colored fillings for cavities. Find out about this dental option offered at Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc. in Redlands, CA.

About Cavity Fillings
A cavity is a small problem that can become a bigger one if it isn’t treated quickly and thoroughly. Cavities develop when bad bacteria eat away at the enamel of the teeth—bacteria thrive when sugar is present, which is why children often have this problem. Your dentist will clean the cavity, then fill it in to protect it from further damage. The filling material is commonly made of amalgam (metal), gold or composite material (also called tooth-colored or white fillings).

Why Tooth-Colored?
Whenever you laugh or talk, sometimes the top of the molars in the back of your mouth can be seen by others. When you have metallic fillings, the silver or gold color is very noticeable. With tooth-colored or white fillings, no one can tell the difference. This is the main reason why many patients of Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc. in Redlands ask for tooth-colored fillings for their cavity treatments.

Fillings Help Restore and Strengthen Your Smile
A cavity is just a small hole in a tooth that isn’t visible to the naked eye, but if it isn’t properly cleaned and filled it can widen and turn into advanced dental decay. Tooth colored fillings not only keep your smile looking attractive, they are also strong enough to prevent future decay for many years. Regular dental cleanings also help ensure that you don’t develop any more cavities.

Talk to Your Dentist
If you think you have a cavity that needs to be treated, talk to Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts about the benefits of getting tooth-colored fillings. Call (909) 793-9711 today to set up an exam and consultation at her office in Redlands, CA.