Posts for: February, 2018

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
February 27, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: toothache  

Whether it's sharp or dull, constant, or intermittent, a toothache is troublesome. At Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, MI, Dr. Todd toothacheBrower and his staff understand how uncomfortable a toothache is, so they've provided some information about what might be causing your tooth to hurt and how it can be treated, both at home and in our office.

What causes a toothache?

There are several reasons why people visit their Holland dentist with complaints of a toothache. One of the most common reasons is because of tooth decay. Normally, cavities don't hurt, but if they go untreated or undetected, the decay can reach the inner portions of the tooth where the nerve endings are located. Gum disease or abscesses can trigger pain around a tooth. A broken tooth may also cause pain, particularly while chewing or otherwise biting down. A piece of food, such as a popcorn hull, can become stuck in between two teeth and cause pain from the pressure it puts on the gum tissue.

How are toothaches treated?

Depending on the source of your toothache, you may need a root canal to remove decay or a procedure to help reverse the effects of gum disease. If you think you've eaten something that's gotten stuck in your teeth, try flossing to dislodge the trapped particle of food.

For toothaches or any other dental problem you may be experiencing, contact Ottawa Smiles Dental in Holland, MI to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brower. Helping you smile confidently and comfortably is our ultimate goal!

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
February 13, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

Families of children with chronic conditions face many challenges. One that often takes a back seat to other pressing needs is the prevention of tooth decay. But although difficult, it still deserves caregivers’ attention because of the dental disease’s potential long-term impact on oral health.

Chronically ill children are often at higher risk for tooth decay, most commonly due to challenges in practicing effective oral hygiene. Some conditions create severe physical, mental or behavioral impairments in children’s ability to brush and floss: for example, they may have a heightened gag reflex to toothpaste in their mouth or they may not be able to physically perform these tasks on their own.

Some children may be taking medications that inhibit salivary flow as a side effect. Saliva is critical for disease prevention because it both neutralizes mouth acid (which can erode tooth enamel) and is a first line of defense against disease-causing bacteria. And a child’s diet, while designed to support treatment of their chronic condition, may conversely not be the best for supporting their dental health.

It’s best if caregivers and their dentists develop a strategy for decay prevention, which should include the following:

  • Regular dental visits beginning at Age One. Besides monitoring dental health, dental visits also provide cleanings and other preventive measures like topical fluoride or sealants;
  • Brushing and flossing support. Depending on a child’s physical and mental capacities, caregivers (or an older sibling) may need to model brushing and flossing, or perform the tasks for the child;
  • Medication and diet changes. If medications are causing dry mouth, caregivers can speak to their physicians about possible alternatives; likewise, they should see if modifications can be made to their diet to better support dental health.
  • Boosting salivary flow. It’s especially important with children who have dry mouth to drink more water or use aids (like xylitol gum or candies) to boost salivary flow.

Although it requires extra effort and time to give attention to a chronically ill child’s dental health, it’s well worth it. By working to prevent tooth decay early in life, these children will be more likely to enjoy good dental health in the future.

If you would like more information on dental care for children with special needs, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Managing Tooth Decay in Children with Chronic Diseases.”