Boulevard Dental

Promoting information on dental health and information

Children’s first dental visits

by wujick

A child’s first visit to the dentist is critical for ensuring a foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. This is why at Boulevard Dental we work hard to ensure the initial experiences to the dentist are happy ones.

At Boulevard Dental, we recommend that our Seminole child’s first visit to the dentist be at 2 years of age – we call these ”Happy Visits.” Our friendly staff ensures that the child has a great time while getting familiar with all of the sights and smells and sounds of a dental office. The visit is culminated by meeting the dentist to “count their teeth” so that he or she knows they are in good hands at Boulevard Dental.

We strive to always focus on ensuring a positive experience with smiles and rewards to reinforce the visit’s success. At Boulevard Dental, we lend books to our patients to read to the child prior to this first visit so that they know exactly what to expect ahead of time and there will be no surprises. And we love to have parents involved in the room with their children’s first experiences to limit any separation anxiety while they are getting to know us.

It is always critical for the parent to have a positive attitude about visiting the dentist as well. Research shows that when parents possess negative feelings to dentistry, the child will have similar sentiments. So, both at home as well as while accompanying your child at the office, we encourage a positive and supportive outlook towards visiting the dentist in order to reduce your little one’s anxiety.

Usually at about three years of age, the child becomes more comfortable and allows us to do a full array of normal dental procedures like cleaning the teeth, fluoride and routine exams.

At Boulevard Dental, Dr. Wujick and Dr. Kopakin have many years of experience with pediatric dentistry, and our staff understands the unique challenges of helping children enjoy their visits to the dentist. We welcome you and your family to visit us for all of your family dental needs.

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Bad Breath (Halitosis)

by wujick

There are many causes of bad breath. Some of them simply lead to a nuisance for vanity. While others can be signs of greater health concerns.

1)      Things We Eat – foods like garlic and onions contain sulfurous chemicals that remain in your stomach and may travel in the bloodstream to the lungs. This will cause temporary odor upon every exhaled breath. And for those lovers of garlic, there is help. Recent studies in the Journal of Food and Science indicate that milk, when consumed with garlic, may help to reduce the subsequent halitosis.

2)      Sleeping – Whenever one’s mouth gets dry less saliva is available to rinse away the odor causing bacteria in the mouth. So, it is very important to maintain proper oral moisture. This is one reason why morning breath occurs. Usually we will go for six to ten hours without consuming fluids or stimulating salivary flows which allows for the stinky oral bacteria to build up. Mouth breathers will allow their mouths to dry out even faster.

3)      Medication – As we age, we usually need more and more medications to maintain our health. Many medications we consume today have dry mouth (xerostomia) as a side-effect.  With decreased salivary production, one’s propensity for the oral bacteria to thrive increases. Oral lubricants such as Biotine products or Oasis mouthwash may help to provide dry mouth relief.

4)      Hiding Places – Some people have more hiding places for odoriferous foods and bacteria to hide in the mouth. The two most common locations are the tongue and tonsils. The tongue can vary in texture. And those with more fibrous tongues tend to make it more difficult to clean. Also, those that still have their tonsils provide crypts for food and bacteria. These bacteria can inflame the tonsils overtime and can harbor a reservoir for odor. Also, those who wear mouth appliances such as dentures, retainers, etc. need to clean them regularly.

5)      Sickness – Sometimes the accumulation of mucus and bacteria in the mouth and sinus cavities when one is sick can create odors. This stink will often not resolve until the infection passes.

6)      Reduced Salivary Flow – Some people develop reduced salivary flow over their life. Most commonly this occurs as side effects of many medications. However, some people develop Sjogren’s Disease. This is a condition, predominantly affecting women, in which one’s body will decreases the saliva production. Oral lubricants such as Biotine products or Oasis mouthwash may help to provide dry mouth relief for less severe cases. However, prescriptions may be needed for more advanced situations.

7)      Smoking – And, of course, smoking is not healthy for anyone. The bad breath caused by the habit should be the least of one’s concerns. There are many methods to assist in quitting smoking, your dentist can assist you with this goal.

8)      More Serious Concerns – Lastly, there are many more serious conditions in which chronic bad breath is often one of the first signs of deteriorating health. These conditions include: gum disease, kidney problems, diabetes, oral cancer, anorexia/bulimia. So, it is always important to inform your dentist of chronic bad breath problems that you cannot seem to solve yourself.

Manual Toothbrush vs. Electric Toothbrush

by wujick

I am often asked about types of toothbrushes. And my short answer is to use whatever motivates you to keep your teeth as clean as possible. There is no one best solution for everyone, so I try not to give a generic one size fits all answer, but here I will try to address some things to think about when you are making your next toothbrush purchase.

First of all, my personal experience has shown that electric toothbrushes can remove plaque better than manual versions. I have a couple particularly tricky spots in my mouth that I use to test this. And when I use my electric toothbrush the plaque is clearly removed better in these tricky areas.

Now, there is nothing wrong with a manual toothbrush. It is cheap and easy to use. The down side is that it is technique sensitive more than an electric toothbrush. And it’s more difficult to do the brushing strokes necessary to remove the plaque in tough to reach areas; whereas the electric brush does the work for you.

With all brushes you want to use only soft bristles. The brushing motion or ultrasonic forces will remove the plaque thoroughly; hard bristles are not needed and will only lead to erosion of both the tooth and gums over time. The one motion you want to be careful in doing is back and forth along the outside of the teeth. This also can cause wear on the teeth and gums if you brush too hard. Therefore circular motions or a motion from the gums to the tooth is gentler for your mouth.

As far as electric brushes go, there are several brands. They all seem to work pretty well. But, I would not depend on the inexpensive spin-brushes to do much better than a manual brush. You really have to buy the more expensive electric brushes to get an improved result. However, assess the premium brushes closely to make sure the extra bells and whistles are worth the extra investment to you. The only time I would ever buy a cheap spin-brush would be for a child that is having a tough time getting inspired to brush and the fun spin-brush with cartoon characters might motivate the child more.

Flossing is also important for your teeth and gums. So remember no matter what type of toothbrush you use, there is no substitute for flossing.

And in closing, remember one important rule for taking care of your teeth: only brush the ones you want to keep.

 

Policy paper recommends the use of xylitiol

by wujick

Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay

by wujick

Many people understand the tooth decay prevention qualities of fluoride, a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay. Well, there is a lesser known all-natural substance that will also help prevent tooth decay – xylitol.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most fibrous fruits and vegetables. Initially extracted from the Birch tree in the 19th century, today it is often obtained from corn sources. It is also naturally produced in our own bodies in small levels. In fact an average sized adult can produce up to 15 grams a day with normal metabolism. Xylitol is widely used as a sugar (sucrose) substitute in products such as gums and candies as well as used as a baking substitute for sucrose.

The medical community has recently discovered its prevention of middle ear infections as well as a great sugar-substitute for diabetic patients. Recently, xylitol has been used to help clear out nasal passages as well. Xylitol also has lower caloric content than sucrose. Xylitol has a low glycemic index of only 7 as compared to sucrose’s level of 83. But, the dental community is excited about its tooth decay prevention properties; it has been included into oral care products for those who have dry mouth or are susceptible to tooth decay.

There are two main properties of xylitol which allow it to prevent tooth decay. Firstly, as a sugar-substitute it adds a sweet flavor to its product, however, unlike sucrose, it is not converted to acid by mouth bacteria. In addition, not only will xylitol not be consumed by mouth bacteria, but research has demonstrated that it will actually reduce levels of decay-causing bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria appear to be unable to stick to teeth as well when xylitol is in their environment.

So, the next time you decide to purchase some chewing gum or candy, try to choose an option with xylitol in it.

Don’t worry; a chipped tooth can be fixed

by wujick

As a dentist, one of my worst fears in life is to chip a front tooth. But, even if this were to happen, I know thanks to advances in modern dentistry, the calamity can be fixed with a variety of different options depending on the type of damage and the condition of the existing tooth structure.

The first thing we will do is take a radiograph of the tooth and root. Occasionally, the root and pulp (nerve) can be damaged depending on the severity of the trauma. However, most of the time, the dentist can fix a chip with more superficial solutions such as bondings, veneers or crowns.

Smaller chips can be fixed with a simple bonding. The composite material used has many color choices for the dentist to use to best match the natural shade of your tooth. If the chip is shallow enough, the dentist might not even need to numb the tooth. Bondings are very easy and conservative approaches for fixing the tooth. A limitation of bondings occurs when it is used at the very tip of the front tooth. Sometimes, this type of bonding can be easily dislodged.

A more dependable and better esthetic method of fixing a chip is with a veneer. A veneer requires a thin preparation on the front surface of the tooth. The veneer restoration is a beautiful porcelain façade that will be custom made to match the surrounding tooth shape and color.

If the tooth is more severely chipped a crown (cap) might be warranted. This restoration requires more tooth preparation than the other options, but the results create a beautiful porcelain tooth that is custom made to match the surrounding tooth shape and color.

Sometimes a previous bonding, veneer or crown is chipped. Depending on the severity and location of the chip, sometimes the defect can be patched with a bonding. However, if the requirements of the defect are greater than the adhesive abilities of a bonding or if the desired esthetics are not achievable with a bonding, then a new veneer or crown may be warranted.

With all of these options available, if ever you find yourself in this situation, know that it is not the end of the world; your dentist will be able to put your smile back together almost as good as new.

Gum Disease

by wujick

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a silent health problem which is can often be easily prevented. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition in which the gums respond to the plaque and other debris around the teeth. As much as 80% of the population has some form of periodontal disease and many of these individuals don’t even realize it.

The condition begins as gingivitis in which the gums inflame. Sometimes, when you floss, you will see blood – this is probably a sign of periodontal disease. As the condition progresses and bone loss occurs as a result of the inflammation, the condition is called periodontitis. Often only in more advanced cases of periodontitis is the condition painful. So, it is so important to catch this disease early to treat it before it progresses, needs more extensive and invasive treatment and risks the loss of your teeth. And when periodontal disease is treated, it is important to maintain the treatment.

A lot like diabetes, periodontal disease is not cured, but rather is maintained over the life of the patient. After all, the deterioration of both diseases can become life-threatening if allowed to progress.  This is why it is so important to keep your gums healthy.