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Posted by on Jul 16, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Understanding And Caring For Your Child’s Hypocalcified Teeth

If your child loses his or her baby teeth only to have adult teeth grow in with white, brown, or yellow patches, they may have teeth that are hypocalcified. While many dentists are not exactly sure what triggers this condition, it can lead to some abnormal tooth growth and require some special care. In order to remove the discoloration, your child may need some more extensive dental work done after the teeth have reached adult size. 

What exactly are hypocalcified teeth?

Every tooth has an external protective layer known as enamel. Usually, enamel is extremely hard– it prevents bacteria from damaging the inner pulp of the teeth. This hardness comes from minerals like calcium phosphate, which make enamel the hardest and most durable substance in your body. When teeth are hypocalcified, these minerals are less concentrated in places, because the enamel has not formed normally due to a lack of ameloblasts. These “patches” of uneven mineralization can lead to discoloration. In severe cases, the patches can also lack the characteristic hardness of enamel, making the tooth more susceptible to decay. Some hypocalcified teeth may also have abnormal shapes or sizes. 

Do hypocalcified teeth require special care or treatment?

If you notice that your child has brown or yellow spots on their teeth right when the permanent teeth replace the primary teeth, it’s time to talk to a pediatric dentist. Sometimes, hypocalcification will need a higher level of attention, as soft areas can lead to rapid tooth decay. Other times, the problem may be slight and be more of a cosmetic concern than a dental health problem.

Cosmetic Hypocalcification

If the spots only affect tooth appearance, the dentist may suggest bleaching, which can improve the appearance of the spots. However, if the discoloration is persistent, the dark-colored areas can be removed and filled. But it’s important to wait to fill or cap discolored teeth until your child is a teenager; teeth continue to grow throughout childhood, so cosmetic correction is most effective after the teeth have reached adult size and shape.

Slight Hypocalcificaton

In the case of soft or thin enamel, your dentist may decide to act sooner. Soft or misshapen teeth can make teeth cleaning at home more difficult. If the quality of the enamel is only slightly affected, you dentist may suggest

  • limiting acidic foods and sugary treats, especially those that dissolve enamel. Candies like suckers and drinks like sodas should be a very rare part of your child’s diet.
  • a strict brushing and flossing routine, as misshapen teeth can be harder to clean. 
  • a diet rich in calcium, including leafy greens. When the body is deficient in calcium, it will start to break down calcium stored in the teeth, which can further weaken the enamel.

Severe Hypocalcification

However, if the enamel is too soft to prolong treatment, the dentist will probably suggest removing the problem areas or providing protection for the them until the teeth are large enough to have a permanent treatment. Depending on the size of the calcified area and how badly the tooth is misshapen, you dentist might suggest a stainless steel cap to protect the enamel into teen years. If the soft areas are smaller, fillings can be effective, but they may need to be replaced later. After the teeth have grown, a permanent cap or crown can help prevent further decay into adulthood.

It’s important to note that hypocalcification of any severity can also cause tooth sensitivity– enamel usually protects the more sensitive dentin and pulp of the teeth from intense flavors and temperature changes. Sealing the teeth with resin or capping the teeth can help to alleviate this problem if it majorly affects your child’s ability to enjoy food. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Dental Associates PC

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Posted by on Jul 6, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Dealing With A Dry Mouth? Tips To Ease Your Discomfort

If you have been struggling with a persistent dry mouth, you may find yourself reaching out to your dentist to find a way to ease the symptoms. The clinical name for dry mouth is xerostomia. The symptoms occur due to a lack of saliva production, which is usually caused by an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. Persistent dry mouth can lead to problems with swallowing, unquenchable thirst and general discomfort. Here are a few tips to help you deal with your symptoms while you wait for the dentist, and a look at what your dentist may be able to do for you.

Reduce Your Intake of Sugar

Not only is sugar harmful for your teeth, but its negative effects can be intensified when you’re suffering from dry mouth. Since your mouth doesn’t have sufficient saliva to combat the problem, it can allow the sugar to run rampant on your teeth, causing more decay. If you eat anything with sugar, follow it up with some water and brush your teeth quickly.

Stay Hydrated

If your body is dehydrated, it’s going to increase the severity of your dry mouth symptoms. Make a point to drink as much water as possible daily – at least eight glasses. This helps to maintain your hydration levels. If you are severely dehydrated, your doctor may suggest an electrolyte solution to help restore your body’s necessary hydration.

Invest in Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva production naturally. If you chew gum throughout the day, it will help ease your dry mouth symptoms. Just make sure you’re chewing sugar-free gum; otherwise you’re risking the development of cavities from the sugar.

Use Mouthwash Regularly

Prescription mouthwash products are used to restore the moisture levels in your mouth until your salivary glands can do the job on their own. Your dentist can recommend a mouthwash that’s good for moisture retention until your appointment.

Run a Humidifier

Humidifiers and vaporizers increase the moisture in the air by creating moist vapor from warm water. If the air in your home is dry, this can make your dry mouth symptoms worse. By adding a humidifier to each of the large rooms in the house, you can increase the ambient moisture in the air, which could help to reduce the dryness in your mouth.

Meet With Your Dentist

If these steps don’t resolve your dry mouth condition, you’ll want to talk with a dentist at a clinic such as Dentistry For Children & Adolescents. He or she can do a thorough exam to determine the root cause of your dry mouth symptoms. If it is due to a medical condition such as diabetes, you’ll have to get treatment for the condition in order to see complete relief.

He or she may also ask about the medications that you’re taking, because some medications can cause dry mouth. If the issue is caused by a medication, your dentist may suggest asking your physician about an alternative.

There are some prescription medications designed to stimulate the natural production of saliva in your mouth. These medications can help ease your symptoms until such time as you can deal with the direct cause. In addition, your dentist may also recommend a regimen of certain mouth rinses or dietary changes.

As you can see, dry mouth isn’t something you should just have to live with. Instead, with a proactive dentist and the tips in this article, you can deal with your symptoms, identify the cause and eliminate the problem altogether. Talk with your dentist today about your dry mouth symptoms to see if he or she can help you identify the cause. While you’re waiting for your appointment, the other tips here may provide some temporary relief.

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