Lionville Professional Center
145 Dowlin Forge Road
Exton, PA 19341

Gap Business Center
Route 30
Gap, PA 17527

Prevention

Chewing Tobacco
Dentistry Today
Extractions: Should Permanant Teeth be Removed?
Protect Your Smile!!
Routine Dental Care is Important
Serious Problems Require Early Treatment
When is the Best Time for Treatment?
Why Are So Many Younger People in Orthodontic Treatment Now?


Chewing Tobacco

It is estimated by the American Cancer Society and other sources that over 22 million Americans use smokeless tobacco. That wasn't a misprint -- it's 22 million.

Perhaps you are one of these individuals, or you may have a friend or relative who "chews". Most people who partake in this habit cite a number of reasons why they do it. Some claim it's relaxing, while others claim it gives them a "boost". Some chew tobacco because others do it, while others claim it tastes good.

What many people who use chewing tobacco do not tell you, of course, is that they are addicted to it. Perhaps they just don't realize it, or believe it couldn't happen to them. However it is a fact. What many people who use chewing tobacco also do not tell you, is that cancer causing agents have been found in tobacco. The tobacco itself can cause changes of the skin that lines your mouth, and it is also known that there is a greater use of tobacco among patients with mouth cancer than among those who do not have mouth cancer.

What are some of the changes that you might see if you chew tobacco? Sometimes a dull or bright red color can form on the spot where the tobacco is usually held. The gums that help support your teeth may begin to disappear in that same area. Pre-cancerous red or white "sores" or lesions can also appear. These lesions can transform themselves into malignant cancer, and do so unpredictably. As you know, malignant cancer can be life threatening.

Not all of the 22 million plus people who chew tobacco will become addicted or get cancer in their mouth, but if your friend or relative - or even you - feel that you are at risk, and need to chew something, think about chewing sugarless gum instead. If you wish to quit, but are having trouble with it, feel free to contact our office for help.

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Dentistry Today

Today in all of medicine, “prevention” is a popular buzzword. Dentistry has taken the lead in the area of prevention. The single most significant event in the prevention of dental disease has been the introduction of fluoride in public water. In one generation, the incidence of dental decay, or cavities, has been reduced by a whopping 50 % or more. Imagine if we could do the same for heart disease or cancer! Not only has the introduction of fluoride saved our country millions of hours in their dentists’ chairs, but it has saved our country millions of health care dollars. Translation -- you have more money in your pocket, and a healthier smile as well. If you have no fluoride in your drinking water, ask your dentist about prescription fluoride tablets or drops to protect your child’s smile.

A more recent preventive measure that is benefiting many patients is the widespread use of dental sealants. As many of you know, sealants are a hard, plastic-like coating applied to the grooves of teeth to prevent a cavity from ever starting. This could prevent the need for a future filling or root canal procedure. Sealants, particularly during the ages of 6-16, prevent thousands of cavities each year. As their use increases, dental disease will continue to decline. If you are between the ages of 6-16, or you have children in that age range, ask your family dentist about sealants -- they are an excellent investment.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends your first dental visit at the age of two. Regular visits to your family dentist will help prevent problems, and correct small problems before they become large. Daily brushing, flossing, and a diet that encourages fruits and vegetables and discourages sweets and snacking between meals is great prevention. This healthy diet will help keep your waistline slimmer and your heart healthier as well.

One area that requires mention is early tooth loss in children. Primary (baby) teeth are for chewing and to hold space for the permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early, severe functional and esthetic problems can follow. Putting an infant to bed with a bottle that contains fruit juice or milk is still a cause of unnecessary early tooth loss and discomfort. If you must put your child to bed with a bottle, use water if you can. If you or your child loses a primary tooth too early, see your family dentist or an orthodontist right away.

Sports are as popular as ever. Amazingly, only 7 percent of young athletes wear protective mouthguards. Most children that play organized football and hockey wear them – because they must. However some of the worst facial and mouth injuries that my patients have ever received were during recreational sports at the playground, or with friend and relatives in their own backyard. Regular use of mouth protectors would save millions of tears and health care dollars every year.

Besides prevention, “esthetics” is another buzzword in dentistry. Today, our nation demands to look and feel better than ever before. To find proof of this, take a look at the local cosmetics counter, health club, or hair salon. I have studied and written on the issue of attractiveness in the past, and research shows that your smile is often the most noticed feature on your face by others. Knowing this, it is obvious why so many innovative materials and comfortable procedures are available to meet growing patient demands. Some of these include more natural looking crowns (caps), veneers, tooth colored fillings, dental implants, esthetic periodontal therapy, tooth-saving techniques, and orthodontic treatment. Even adult orthodontics is commonplace today. This combination of prevention and esthetics benefits us all by keeping our teeth healthier and more attractive longer than ever before.

When some people think of the dentist, they also experience fear. This is truly unfortunate today. With today’s hi-tech treatment, state of the art infection control, and advanced pain control techniques, it is time to go back to your dentist, or visit for the first time. Ask the young people, and you are likely to hear that going to the dentist is not only easy, but can be an enjoyable experience. Don’t let fear prevent you from learning how easily you can be helped. Instead, allow yourself the freedom to learn how your modern dentist can help you – comfortably.

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Extractions: Should Permanant Teeth be Removed?

To extract, or not to extract? That is the question.

Did you ever notice that some orthodontic patients who receive braces are able to keep all of their permanent or adult teeth, and some are not? Historically, this debate has raged within the orthodontic profession for decades. In fact, early in the history of orthodontics, two schools of thought emerged. One school felt that even with slightly crowded teeth, some permanent teeth should be removed along with the braces treatment. The other felt that even with the most severe crowding, permanent teeth should never be removed.

Even today, statistics show that extraction rates vary from one orthodontist to another and it can be to a significant degree. Yet the basic principle remains a simple one -- Try everything possible to help the patient maintain all of his or her permanent teeth, unless this produces an unstable or “re-crowded” result.

The good news is that the vast majority of orthodontic patients today can be treated to a stable final result, keeping all of their permanent teeth. The key is having an early orthodontic examination. Some crowding of teeth is normal at certain stages of development, but if the crowding is moderate or severe, or if there is a significant bite problem, earlier intervention could be crucial in achieving the best possible orthodontic result. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child’s first dental exam be performed at age 2 and their first orthodontic exam at age 7.

The progressive orthodontist has many treatment options available today to avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions that at one time were routine. If you or your family dentist see something that doesn’t appear normal - for example, a crowding or significant bite problem - see an orthodontist right away.

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Protect Your Smile!!

It seems that in our schools and neighborhoods, there are more young athletes than ever before. Today's athletes are faster, stronger, and better than ever before. School records are broken almost as quickly as they are set. Yet with so much talent and excellent training, on thing can not be separated from athletics - INJURY.

Recreation experts have long recommended a mouth protector as an important piece of safety equipment, and most children who play organized football or hockey wear them. Usually, this is because they have to. Surprisingly, only 7 percent of the rest of young athletes wear them. Some of the worst mouth injuries that I’ve ever seen have occurred during recreational sports – at the playground with friends or in the backyard with relatives.

This is risky business considering that mouth protectors cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken or fractured teeth, lip and facial injuries, jaw fractures, and even concussions. Here are some statistics:

  1. 15 - 17 percent of all sports injuries occur around the face.
  2. 5 million teeth are knocked out every year in sports such as baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, rollerblading, mountain biking, hockey, and martial arts.
  3. About 200,000 oral injuries are prevented by mouth guards each year. This is good news, but could certainly be improved.

Besides the obvious pain or discomfort these injuries bring, correcting the damage done by these injuries can set you back thousands of dollars. This is unfortunate when you realize that mouth protectors bought from sporting goods stores cost between $3 and $25 and take about ten minutes to boil and fit. Even a custom dental guard made by your dentist only costs about $150, and provides the maximum protection against oral injuries and concussions. While a custom mouth protector is more expensive, it fits and feels better so an athlete is more likely to wear it. And here’s a thought -- How much did those last pair of sports shoes cost?

Most mouth protectors usually cover the upper teeth, although special circumstances such as braces or a protruding lower jaw may require covering the lower teeth as well. Once our patients receive an orthodontic appliance or braces, we provide a mouth guard that covers both the upper and lower teeth.

SUGGESTIONS FOR A PROTECTED AND HEALTHY SMILE:
Always wear a mouth protector during any contact sport - even if your friends choose not to.
Always wear your mouth protector during practices and “pick-up” games, as well as during organized games.
Never wear removable retainers, removable bridgework, complete or partial dentures when participating in contact sports.

Remember, your smile is absolutely priceless, and is often the first thing other people notice about you. Protect it like the precious jewel that it is - with the proper mouth protector.

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Routine Dental Care is Important

Many orthodontic patients wonder if they should continue to see their pediatric or family dentist while undergoing orthodontic treatment. For several reasons, the answer is absolutely yes.

Orthodontic treatment often begins while one or more primary (baby) teeth are present. To avoid damage to the permanent teeth and to help maintain enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt into the mouth, it is important to maintain optimum health of these primary teeth.

Protective sealants are a helpful advance that reduces the incidence and severity of cavities. To be sure that no breakage or leakage occurs, these sealants must be evaluated by your dentist on a regular basis.

Another valuable preventive procedure for many patients is the professional application of topical fluoride in the dental office. To maximize the strength and health of your teeth, your pediatric or family dentist will help you to decide how often this procedure should be done.

The incidence and severity of cavities has decreased significantly in recent years. Even so, cavities still occur, and once they begin, may advance rapidly. With orthodontic treatment phases often lasting one to two years, regularly scheduled dental visits will help avoid the possibility of painful cavity problems.

Along with younger orthodontic patients, older adolescent and adult patients must also be followed on a regular basis. Common concerns for these patients are the formation and eruption of wisdom teeth, cavities, and especially periodontal disease (disease of the supporting gums and bone). Patients with special orthodontic problems (extra teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth, over-retained primary teeth, badly broken down teeth, etc.) often require special considerations that must be discussed thoroughly among the patient, dentist, and orthodontist before and during orthodontic therapy.

Be sure to continue your regularly scheduled dental visits during orthodontic treatment. Your family and pediatric dentists and your orthodontist will work together on your behalf to achieve the healthiest smile for you.

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Serious Problems Require Early Treatment

A common question in our office is, “Do you think it would have been better to see you earlier?” Families usually ask this question after our findings reveal a serious orthodontic condition. Sometimes, the patient’s family dentist referred the patient to see an orthodontist months, or even years earlier. However, for a variety of reasons, the patient was unable to see us right away. Often, your dentist simply wants you to have an early evaluation to be sure that everything is normal. Other times, they may notice a problem that requires immediate attention. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the only orthodontic association fully recognized by the American Dental Association, recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist be at age seven.

Orthodontists have different philosophies about early treatment. Some believe that any crowding, spacing, or jaw growth discrepancies should be treated as soon as they are noticed. Others believe patients should wait to be treated until all the primary (baby) teeth are lost, and all permanent teeth are in place. Research shows that the best long term results are achieved by following a philosophy that is specific to each person’s individual needs, rather than trying to treat every person in exactly the same way.

Patients who receive limited, earlier treatment often require braces as well at a later age. Therefore, it is important to be sure that treatment is truly necessary for early intervention. Here’s a “Top Ten” list of conditions that could require earlier treatment:

  1. Protruding upper teeth
  2. Underbite (lower teeth in front of upper teeth)
  3. Crossbites of any kind in the front or back (usually, top tooth trapped behind a lower tooth)
  4. Moderate to severe crowding (minor crowding is often a normal condition when primary and permanent teeth are together)
  5. Extended thumb or finger sucking habits (it’s best to help a child end this habit at 5-6 years old)
  6. Missing teeth
  7. Extra Teeth
  8. Impacted teeth
  9. Ankylosed teeth (teeth fused to the jaw bone)
  10. Tooth wear, especially in the permanent teeth

Other conditions may benefit from earlier treatment as well, so ask your dentist, or see an orthodontist yourself if you are not sure. An orthodontist can locate and intercept certain problems with early treatment before they cause permanent damage or other serious issues. Many children need only to be supervised, and not treated until most or all of the permanent teeth are in place. A progressive AAO orthodontic specialist can help you with this important family decision.

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When is the Best Time for Treatment?

An orthodontic specialist can improve a person's smile at any age, but there is usually a best age for treatment to begin. Thus the old adage "Timing is everything" applies to orthodontics.

Beginning a corrective program too soon among children can create "tired" patients who lose the necessary motivation to cooperate. Yet starting too late can create its own set of troubles, including the need for permanent tooth extractions that might have been avoided with earlier intervention.

How can you be sure that it is the "best" time to begin a corrective program? Some young people have a full set of permanent teeth before they turn 10 years old, while others still have primary, or baby , teeth at 15 and older.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the only orthodontic association fully recognized by the American Dental Association, and the only organization that represents fully trained certified orthodontic specialists, recommends that children should visit an orthodontist for the first time at age 7. This early intervention allows us to determine how and when a child's individual problem should be treated to achieve an ideal improvement in the shortest period of time, and with the least expense.

Naturally, the majority of children require no treatment at age 7, but for some, limited interceptive treatment can help prevent more serious problems as they get older. Uncorrected orthodontic problems can affect young people in many ways, including their self-esteem, speech and even general health. Thus, if your family dentist notices a problem, or if you are concerned about something regarding your child's teeth, have an orthodontist help with an evaluation, and do it as early as possible. The benefits of an early evaluation could make orthodontic treatment much easier for the patient.

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Why Are So Many Younger People in Orthodontic Treatment Now?

Many parents bringing their first child in for orthodontic treatment today wonder why so many children around them are wearing braces or retainers at such a “young” age. They often say, “I didn’t get my braces until I was in high school.”

This is very true for many parents today, and the question is a valid one. Why are so many younger children in orthodontic treatment these days?

The main reason is growth. Boys and girls have an adolescent “growth spurt” well before high school. This time of rapid growth is usually the best time for full orthodontic treatment because it keeps treatment time shorter and fees lower. Treating during this time can also improve treatment stability. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the only orthodontic association fully recognized by the American Dental Association, recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist be at age seven.

Waiting until someone is 14 or 15 years old to begin treatment is often after the growth spurt is complete. For some at this age, jaw growth may even be finished -- particularly in girls. While orthodontic treatment can certainly help at any age, it is possible that the time to achieve the best end result in the easiest way may already have passed by. This is especially true if the orthodontic condition involves a jaw growth problem.

Another reason that continues to emerge from the literature is patient cooperation. Good patients get good treatment results. Without a high level of patient help, many orthodontic treatments will fall short of an ideal result. Recent studies indicate that pre-adolescents are more easily motivated to cooperate with an orthodontic treatment plan than older adolescents. Earlier treatment, in select cases, is more likely to produce the best possible result.

Orthodontists have different philosophies about early treatment. Some believe that any crowding, spacing, or jaw growth discrepancies should be treated as soon as they are noticed. Others believe patients should wait to be treated until all the primary (baby) teeth are lost, and all permanent teeth are in place. Research shows that the best long term results are achieved by following a philosophy that is specific to each person’s individual needs, rather than trying treat every person in exactly the same way.

Patients who receive limited, earlier treatment often require braces as well at a later age. Therefore, it is important to be sure that treatment is truly necessary for early intervention. Here’s a “Top Ten” list of conditions that could require earlier treatment:

  1. Protruding upper teeth
  2. Underbite (lower teeth in front of upper teeth)
  3. Crossbites of any kind in the front or back (usually, top tooth trapped behind a lower tooth)
  4. Moderate to severe crowding (minor crowding is often a normal condition when primary and permanent teeth are together)
  5. Extended thumb or finger sucking habits (it’s best to help a child end this habit at 5-6 years old)
  6. Missing teeth
  7. Extra Teeth
  8. Impacted teeth
  9. Ankylosed teeth (teeth fused to the jaw bone)
  10. Tooth wear, especially in the permanent teeth

    Other conditions may benefit from earlier treatment as well, so ask your dentist, or see an orthodontist yourself if you are not sure. An orthodontist can locate and intercept certain problems with early treatment before they cause permanent damage or other serious issues. Many children need only to be supervised, and not treated until most or all of the permanent teeth are in place. An AAO orthodontic specialist can help you with this important family decision.

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