Teach Them Young | San Antonio Dentist

Boy brushing his teeth

We are born with a clean slate and our instincts aren’t all that great, but they are enough to get us by with the help of an adult. As we grow, we are taught things that will help us get by in life on our own. Along the way, we also pick up habits, both good and bad. The good ones keep us safe, successful and healthy – the others do the opposite. As parents, it is important that we start our children off successful when it comes to forming good habits.

It is a common misconception that a child’s teeth aren’t all that important because they fall out to make way for their permanent ones. Because of this thought process, children aren’t always taught about dental hygiene. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge leads to tooth decay and more dental visits. Thankfully, there is something we can do to prevent our child’s oral health from declining to that state – teach them young.

In 2013, there was a study done in Scotland that wanted to prove that implementing a nursery tooth brushing program nationwide would reveal a reduction of tooth decay in five-year olds. Each health service administrative board area would distribute a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, then supervise the toddler’s teeth brushing practices to teach them proper technique. Once taught, the children would continue the practice at home and over the next twelve years, their dental health would be monitored. Those that were taught in nursery school had a decrease in dental decay from 3.06 to 2.07 once they reached ages 10-12, thus proving that the earlier they are taught to take care of their teeth, the healthier their mouths will be.

Because baby teeth are only temporary, they aren’t as strong as our permanent ones turn out to be. This makes them more susceptible to developing tooth decay. If they aren’t looked after daily, the more frequent (and painful) the tooth decay will be, making this habit a top priority. Once they understand the basics, it is now imperative to keep them motivated enough to continue the process to form a habit. Consistency is key.

A study was done in Ponta Grossa, PR, Brazil in order to prove that it takes more than just the basics to develop a habit. 26 kindergarteners were selected and the presentation was broken up into three stages – zero knowledge, a motivational presentation once basic knowledge was given, and a thirty-day check-up to see if anything stuck. As they learned more about their dental health, they more they would make better choices when it came to their teeth.

It is never too young to teach our little ones about the importance of maintaining a good dental routine. In fact, these studies that have proven that stressing these good dental habits at an early age can not only set the stage for the rest of their lives, but will also decrease the chances of developing tooth decay.

For more information regarding pediatric dentistry, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Everyone Can Wear a Crown | Snohomish Dentist

crownsWhen we were kids, there was nothing cooler than the characters in our storybooks wearing a crown. They told people what to do, everyone looked up to them and so when we thought about future career choices, princess and king were always in the mix. Once we grew up we realized it was going to be tough to be royalty. We are, however, still able to wear a crown – a dental crown.

Dental crowns are just what you think it is – like a crown the royals wear, a dental crown is basically a cap your dentist uses to restore your damaged tooth’s shape, size and appearance. Any time your tooth is weakened by a root canal, is misshapen or discolored, has a large filling or just worn down, a crown will be suggested to fix it. The process is simple and virtually painless, but what are the benefits of having a dental crown? Here are the top five:

Undergoing a dental crown procedure can improve the look of broken or cracked teeth. If you are suffering from a loss of teeth, dental crowns are the solution to replace any missing teeth.

Receiving dental crowns look extremely natural because the porcelain and composite resin crowns match the exact shade of your natural teeth. With dental crowns, you will not be able to tell the difference from your crowns and natural teeth.

For those of you who are consistent coffee drinkers, dental crowns are perfect because they are stain-resistant. This is because dental crowns are made from porcelain, a material that is not prone to discoloration.

Due to the durable materials used for your dental crowns, crowns can last for many years. With dental crowns, patients can go about their daily routines without constantly worrying about their dental crowns falling out of place.

Dental crowns are restorative and preventive measures that improve missing or damaged teeth. Dental crowns also drastically decrease the amount of bacteria build-up that can lead to the loss of more teeth.

If you are embarrassed of your missing or damaged teeth, dental crowns are the perfect solution to build your confidence!

For more information regarding dental crowns, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Don’t Let Thanksgiving Ruin Your Smile | Snohomish Dentist

Happy Thanksgiving wooden blocks against a rustic wood background with pumpkins and autumn leaves
Happy Thanksgiving wooden blocks against a rustic wood background with pumpkins and autumn leaves

Thanksgiving is a holiday all about giving thanks and breaking bread with the people in your life. We stuff ourselves to the gills without any regard of what it could be doing to their waistlines. But what about our teeth? Unfortunately, we rarely consider our dental health when we celebrate these holidays but we really should. Our mouths are susceptible to much more because of it is where we ingest almost everything into our bodies, both good and bad.

So, what do we do to prepare ourselves for this gluttonous holiday? Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are celebrating:

Keep things short and sweet. We all know that this holiday is an all-day event. Between the pre-meal snacks and the post-meal desserts, it’s impossible to not fall victim to grazing the entire day. Keep this to a minimum. The longer you allow the acids in foods to hang out in your mouth, the easier it is for cavity-causing bacteria to invade your teeth and set up camp. Spend more time visiting with your loved ones than you do munching on snacks. And when you do snack, mix healthy snacks with the unhealthy ones to counter-balance any ill effects. Sticky foods, like cranberry relish and pecan pie do a number on your teeth. Keeping acidic foods, like tomatoes or wines, to a minimum will also help. The acid breaks down your teeth’s enamel, making them more susceptible to issues brought on by cavity-causing bacteria. Don’t deprive yourself of these holiday delights. It’s all about moderation.

Stay hydrated. As you consume your holiday meal, keep a glass of water handy. Staying hydrated will not only help with digestion, but drinking plenty of water will also wash away any food debris still lingering around in your mouth. Saliva is your mouth’s natural defender against the bad bacteria in your mouth.

Keep your routine. We can’t forget to pay special attention to our teeth during this delicious holiday. They work overtime for you during times like these. Make sure you brush, floss and rinse the way you normally would. Scratch that, pay more attention to them. Your teeth don’t know you’re celebrating. After the holidays, be sure to make an appointment for a quick dental check-up. You never know what your celebrating has done to your mouth. It’s always better to catch any issues before they turn ugly.

For more information regarding cavity prevention during the holiday season, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

How to Prevent Gums from Receding | Snohomish Dentist

periodontal smallAccording to the New York Times, more than 75% of adults in America will have some sort of gum disease in their lifetime. Gingivitis is the early stages of periodontal disease, caused by plaque formed along the gum line. Periodontal disease, like gingivitis, can cause your gums to become red, sore and inflamed. It could also cause your gums to bleed.

Thankfully, gingivitis is easily remedied. By continuing to brush, floss and rinse daily, you are going to be reversing the effects the gingivitis has on your gums. Visiting your dentist for a good office cleaning is also going to help heal any sort of gingivitis you may be developing. Because if left untreated, it will lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis will cause the inner layer of gum and bone to pull away. If left untreated, the spaces allow debris to collect, causing the gums to become infected.

We all know we need to keep a daily dental regime if we want our teeth to remain healthy. Visiting the dentist twice a year also takes proactive steps to keeping your smile bright. But if you do happen to develop some form of gum disease, worry not. There are ways you can heal those sore gums with regular everyday items.

Baking Soda. According to the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, baking soda toothpaste is great on your teeth because it helps loosen plaque in those areas harder to reach. For a DIY version, just mix a little bit of baking soda with some water and apply it to your gum line to help aid in keeping the area from getting infected.

Turmeric. Believe it or not, turmeric is the a natural aid for inflammation, which makes it ideal for treating gum disease. Just mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric to ½ teaspoon salt and mustard oil into a paste, and apply it to your infected gums twice a day.

Aloe Vera. Not only does aloe vera soothe a sunburn and aid in healing wounds, but you can also use the organic, food-grade gel to relieve the swelling and pain in your gums. It’s anti-bacterial properties is an all-around soothing agent for your inflamed gums.

Tea Tree Oil. When it comes to antiseptics, tea tree oil is one of the best we have. Just a couple of drops rubbed along the affected area will help ease the symptoms you’re feeling. In fact, it isn’t just limited to gum disease. Tea tree oil also works great on other oral infections, like thrush.

Clove Oil. When it comes to toothaches, nothing beats a little clove oil. But when you have gum disease, applying a little on your gums will help soothe the pain you feel along your gum line. However, using an all-natural clove toothpaste every few days is more beneficial as regular use of clove oil may cause damage to your teeth and gums from overuse.

Coconut Oil. Oil pulling is an ancient process that has tons of health benefits. Lauric acid is one of its components, which helps disinfect and reduce gum inflammation. A tablespoon every morning will naturally hydrate and protect your gums, making gum disease development difficult.

It is important to take care of our teeth by following a regular dental routine and regular dental visits. But when something unfortunate does arise, it’s nice to know there is something we can do to naturally help heal gum disease.

For more information regarding receding gums, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

How Do I Protect My Child’s Teeth from Halloween? | Snohomish Dentist

Children In Halloween Costumes Trick Or TreatingIt’s October…that one month of the year that children hold dear to their hearts. Sure, there is Christmas. We all know there’s no competing with Santa. But this is the month that holds something special that even Santa can do – bring them Halloween. It’s the one day of the year that everyone can be anyone or anything they want to be. And above all that, there’s candy. Lots and lots of candy given freely by just saying those three magic words: trick or treat. No need to be good in order to dodge the coal in the stocking. In fact, the ‘trick’ in trick or treat almost praises naughty imp behavior if candy isn’t received. But as your children are scouring the neighborhood for larger haul than the year before, you will need to ask yourself – how can I monitor my child’s oral health during this sugar-infused time of the year?

Here are some oral hygiene tips to keep in mind as your little monsters return with their stash:

Limit the intake. Halloween has to be the coolest time of year for your child’s imagination. For one day, they have the freedom to munch on candy while “fighting crime” dressed as a superhero. Tiny humans live for this day. Depriving them of what some would call a major part of the holiday will not only make your child upset, but won’t make life in your place very peaceful for a minute. So instead of denying them the sweets, have them choose a set number of candies they want the most and let them have them. Whatever they don’t choose, throw it out or freeze it for later. Not only will you know that what they are eating is safe, but you can rest at ease that they aren’t sneaking it behind your back, unleashing the cavities while you aren’t looking.

In addition to the limitation of sweet treats, set up a time of day that your child will be able to eat that candy. Similar to snack time at school, having a time when your little one knows a snack is allowed teaches them that snacking isn’t an all-day event, making them less inclined to crave sweets all day.

Of course, the main defense against Halloween candy-driven cavities is good dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing before bed will prevent cavities from attacking while your little one sleeps. In case you aren’t sure if your child is brushing thoroughly enough, there are various disclosing products you can give your child to find out if their doing a good job brushing by coloring areas in their teeth that have plaque buildup. If they are fully against brushing, let them pick out their own dental stuff. Kids are often swayed by doing grown up things. The key is to make brushing less of a chore and more of a fun way to fight “cavity crime”. Not only will they continue to love Halloween, but they can be their teeth’s superhero all year ‘round!

For more information regarding cavity prevention during Halloween, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Painless Dentistry: Is It Possible? | Snohomish Dentist

skd284147sdcAre you afraid for going to the dentist? Have you ever asked yourself why? While there have been many excuses given as to why someone cancelled their dental appointment, most of the time, it is the fear of pain that makes them so skittish. And no matter how much you try to rest their minds at ease, it is this fear of the dental procedure that will cause someone to “tough through” the pain, rather than remedy it.

Now what if I told you that the dental industry has made great strides in trying to ease your fears? It’s true. With sedation dentistry, patients can have safe, mild forms of sedation while the procedure is being done, so they can relax calmly in the chair that gives the most anxiety. Additionally, the sedatives will also numb the areas that will be worked on, making the fear of pain during the procedure nonexistent. The anesthetic is temporary so by the time it wears off, the procedure is done and you were none the wiser. You may have to have a driver give you a lift home, but you are free and clear to leave after the procedure is complete.

There are many types of sedation available, and which you receive will depend on the procedure needed and your level of anxiety to have the procedure done. They can vary from minimal, where you are awake but feeling relaxed and calm about the procedure, to moderate, which leaves you awake but groggy. If you are in need of a more invasive procedure, you will need to have a stronger anesthetic given, one that will leave you awake, but you will have minimal consciousness. But if a major surgery is concerned, it is known that these are the procedures that give the patient the most anxiety. In this case, you will be given a general anesthetic that will leave you completely unconscious. You won’t be awake, you won’t feel anything, but you will definitely need a driver afterwards.

But how are they administered? For those that need minimal relief, it will generally be administered via a gas mask of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. No needles, no pain. For those that need a bit more, you will be given a pill to be taken orally prior to the surgery taking place. The reaction to it depends on the patient – some can stay awake, some are often groggy. For the extra-strength sedative, chances are you will need an IV. Not only will it keep you sedated throughout the procedure, but the dentist can adjust the dosage given to you the entire time. All versions are very safe and are generally paired with a topical anesthetic applied to the affected area. Not only will the anesthetic keep your mind off the situation at hand, but will truly keep it completely pain-free.

If you would like more information regarding sedation dentistry, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

I Want Whiter Teeth: Which Way is Best? | Snohomish Dentist

489195623If you ask most people what they consider a great smile, chances are they will say bright white teeth. The problem is, it isn’t as easy as it seems. Our diets and lifestyle choices can hinder your teeth being their pearliest. You can brush & floss every day, but your teeth may not keep its natural sheen. You can make appointments with your dental professional to have teeth whitening sessions, but that can get pricey. So how do you keep your teeth white in between dental visits? There’s always over-the-counter versions (i.e. Crest white strips) you can buy to do it at home, but how good are the results? Is there a better, more natural version? How do you decide which is best for you? Here is a breakdown of some ways you can do at home:

Whitening products sold over the counter in the form of strips, trays, or paste work by using the oxidizing agents to remove pigment on the surface of the enamel. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are commonly used in these products and contain 3 to 10 percent hydrogen-peroxide level, as opposed to the 15 to 38 percent level dentists can use. The products are effective at removing surface stains but should be used in moderation.

So what about natural ways? You would be surprised by some foods that can actually help whiten our teeth while keeping us healthy. Of course, you can always make your own hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste. Known as an age old go-to product, this is the DIY way for you to replicate the manufactured products at home. But did you know that strawberries and bananas can produce similar results? Strawberries contain malic acid, and malic acid is fantastic at breaking down teeth stains. A couple berries and some baking soda is a great, and fruity, version of the peroxide version. Rubbing a banana peel over your teeth like a toothbrush will also shine up your smile. The minerals in a banana, like potassium, will absorb into your teeth and brighten it in a very healthy way.

Getting and keeping a bright smile may not be the easiest thing to do on a regular basis, but there are lots of ways to keep it up in between a thorough professional visit, so why not? Dr. Haines offers custom take home pre-filled bleaching trays with varying opalescence levels of 35%, 20% and 15%. Contact the office for more information.

If you would like more information regarding teeth whitening options, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Can Dental Bonding Fix My Smile? | Snohomish Dentist

177406608After a long, sunny season, you may have a few flaws with your teeth. All of the fun in the sun, there are plenty of reasons your mouth has gone through some mishaps. If you suffer from any dental problems that threaten the look of your smile, you may be the ideal candidate for dental bonding. Whether you suffer from chipped or cracked teeth, a dental bonding procedure will drastically enhance your smile to a more natural and polished look.

There are many things that can lead to dental bonding. An active lifestyle, an accidental mishap, poor dental hygiene, even a bite into something hard can all cause our teeth to become damaged. But what does it entail to undergo dental bonding? You’ll be surprised how simple the procedure really is. Granted, there is a little advance preparation is needed for dental bonding. Anesthesia is often not necessary unless the bonding is being used to fill a decayed tooth. Your dentist will use a shade guide to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth.

Next, the surface of the tooth will be roughened and a conditioning liquid applied. These procedures help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. The tooth-colored, putty-like resin is then applied, molded, and smoothed to the desired shape. An ultraviolet light or laser is then used to harden the material. After the material is hardened, your dentist will further trim, shape, and polish it to match the rest of the tooth surface. All in all, a typical dental bonding takes about 30 to 60 minutes per tooth, start to finish. This makes it painless, but also convenient.

Not only does dental bonding repair chipped or cracked teeth, but it is also recommended for those individuals who suffer from tooth discoloration. Avoid suffering from stains that never seem to go away no matter how hard you try. Set yourself up with a consultation to find out if dental bonding will allow you to achieve your ideal, bright smile.

If you feel that you may need dental bonding, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

How Chewing Gum Helps Whitened Tooth Sensitivity | Snohomish Dentist

Taking chewing gumHave you ever noticed that our teeth seem to feel extra sensitive after we get our teeth whitened? Sure, they look great but at what cost? We know they do a great job, but what about the whitening process makes our mouths feel this way and how can we get it to stop? The remedy to this tooth sensitivity is as simple as popping a piece of chewing gum into your mouth.

Before getting into the evidence to support this theory, let’s take a quick look at what constitutes sensitive teeth. A tooth can become sensitive for a different reasons. When we get our teeth whitened, we are polishing up enamel that has gotten a little dull. As our day-to-day lives cause tooth enamel to wear, teeth become increasingly prone to pain when drinking or eating certain foods. Receding gums can also play a major role in causing your teeth to become sensitive and there are lots of reasons gums can recede. Dentin exposure can cause your teeth (and their roots) to no longer have all of the protection our gums and tooth enamel provide. It is this that causes the pain we feel.

Now that we know a little bit more about what could cause the sensitivity, let’s get back into what can help relieve it. A study was published in the British Dental Journal stating 88 patients were broken into three groups prior to receiving an in-office teeth whitening. The groups were as follows: patients without chewing gum, patients with sugar-free gum, and patients with sugar-free gum that also included Recaldent, a product that helps strengthen tooth enamel by adding calcium & phosphate to its list of ingredients. After the procedure, those patients with gum were asked to begin chewing. Surprisingly enough, those that chewed on a piece of chewing gum had significantly less pain than the group that went without.

But why? Why did the gum-chewing patients feel so much more relief than those that didn’t? Scientists aren’t exactly sure. They have theorized that perhaps the increased saliva production gave the patient some type of relief. Or perhaps, the act of chewing gum made the patient forget about the pain altogether. What they did find is that the version of chewing gum that helped to remineralize teeth did not make a difference in the experiment whatsoever. If the patient had gum, the patient felt some relief, despite its ingredients.

So make sure to pick up a pack of sugar-free gum on the way to your next teeth whitening appointment. Not only will it help prevent cavities, tooth decay and bad breath, but it will also help relieve any sensitivity the whitening procedure may cause.

Keeping Up with Your Veneers | Snohomish Dentist

ToothbrushWhen it’s time for you to get porcelain veneers, your daily oral care routine is going to change. Yes, the porcelain used to make your veneers are made to look like your teeth and have a level of durability that is similar to real teeth, but they aren’t the same and shouldn’t be treated like they are. After all, why do you have veneers in the first place? Worn, chipped and/or discolored teeth generally become this way due to certain habits or activities we love to do. And since they aren’t meant to last forever, the longevity of your porcelain veneers depends on how well you look after them. Here are a few suggestions to make sure your veneers last as long as they possibly can.

Firstly, it all comes down to the basics. Brushing and flossing daily is not only good for your veneers, but will also help to prevent future veneers. Use a nonabrasive toothpaste containing fluoride to ensure that that it won’t scratch your veneers, leaving them prone to issues like periodontitis, which can cause your gums to recede. Because your veneers are placed right at the gum line, if your gums do happen to recede, the appearance of your veneers could be compromised.

If staining is one of your main issues, staying clear from beverages like coffee, wine and tea is a great idea to keep your new teeth pearly white. Porcelain is very resistant to staining by nature, but the cement used to affix the veneers is prone to staining over time.

Chipped teeth are generally caused by accidental incidents, but can also be caused by biting your fingernails or munching on things like hard candy or ice. While it seems like a harmless act, using your teeth to do things like this can break or dislodge your teeth, but can also do the same to your veneer. Stay away from using your teeth as a chisel. While they are always handy, being in your mouth, it isn’t good for your teeth. Similarly, if you are known to clench or grind your teeth, like while you sleep, this is also a bad habit that is really doing damage to your teeth. Talk to your dentist. They can create a night guard that will prevent your teeth from wearing down and your veneers from accidently chipping.

When it comes to our bodies, taking preventative measures is always the best bet. The better we take care of ourselves, the longer we last. Same can be said for veneers. So look after them so they can look after you.

If you feel that you may need veneers, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.

Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.