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A Stress Free Smile, the Gift to Give

December 21st 2010

It seems like there’s always something to be stressed about, whether it’s related to school, work, relationships, smiling womanfinances, or *gulp*, the holiday season. Between cooking, traveling, shopping, and hosting friends and family in our homes, we get no time to just sit down and relax. What is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” can quickly become the most stressful time of the year.

So does that mean we should just give in and spend our holidays overwhelmed by stress and anxiety? No! This is the time of year to celebrate life, to leave our worries behind, and to enjoy the people we love—and ourselves.

Say Goodbye to Stress with a Smile

Not only is it easier to smile than frown, but smiling actually makes us feel happier. According to scientific studies, when we smile, we stimulate muscles in our face. These muscles then stimulate a specific area of the brain that causes us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

But smiling doesn’t just benefit us. Research also shows that smiling can make the people around us feel happier, too. That means that we have the ability to create an environment of fun and joy—at home, at work, or wherever we may be. All we have to do is train ourselves to smile, instead of frown, when we face stress.

So, any time you start to feel upset or stressed about, well, anything this holiday season, don’t forget to show off those pearly whites. Better yet, stop stress before it starts by always keeping a big, bright smile on your face.  And since this is supposed to be a time of giving, don’t forget to spread some love and cheer. Make smiling the gift to give this year.

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!

December 8th 2010

99322812For a kid, losing baby teeth is the ultimate sign of growing up. They compare notes with their friends on how many teeth they’ve lost and who lost them first. And while your little one is just excited to show off the space where a tooth used to be, you may be wondering exactly what to expect about the departure of those deciduous teeth.

Get Lost!
Baby teeth are usually lost in the order they arrive: the bottom two incisors first, followed by the top two. Your child will probably begin losing his or her baby teeth around age five or six, though it can happen as young as four years old. Essentially, the root will dissolve as the adult tooth pushes out. Though baby teeth generally fall out by themselves, they can also become stuck in food when your child is eating and may accidentally be swallowed (totally harmless, we promise).

So, what else is important to understand?

  • NEVER, EVER force or yank a loose tooth out! If the root has not completely dissolved, the tooth can break off leaving the root behind, which can cause infection.
  • It’s okay to wiggle. It’s best to encourage kids to wiggle loose teeth free themselves. If it’s hanging on by a thread, you can grab it with a tissue and gently rotate to remove it.
  • They’re so BIG! Don’t worry. Adult teeth come in full size. Your kiddos head, however, will continue to grow!
  • What’s with the color? Baby teeth are whiter than adult teeth. The color difference will be less noticeable as more adult teeth arrive.
  • It hurts! About the time your child’s baby teeth are falling out their six-year molars are erupting. Gums may appear swollen and kids may complain. Over the counter analgesics should help.

Time to Call the Dentist
Your dentist has probably seen it all before, but definitely call the office if your child encounters one of the following:

  • A baby tooth is lost too soon. Baby teeth are important placeholders for adult teeth. A space maintainer can keep other teeth from drifting or shifting into the gap. This helps keep the path clear for the adult tooth.
  • Shark teeth! Some kids develop two rows of teeth if an adult tooth erupts before a baby tooth falls out. The adult tooth should push the baby tooth out within a few weeks. If the condition persists for more than three months, make the call.
  • Still not a loser. If child has not begun losing his or her baby teeth by age seven, consult your dentist. Though there probably isn’t an issue, it’s good to check. There is an advantage for late losers. Teeth are stronger after sitting longer in the jaw, making them more cavity resistant.

Even though it may be difficult to bite or chew with missing teeth, encourage your child to maintain a healthy diet. It’s also a great time to reinforce good dental habits including brushing twice a day, flossing, limiting sugary treats and drinks, and keeping regular dental visits.

The Amazing, Disappearing Dental Insurance Benefits!

November 30th 2010

invisible manThe holidays are coming!

*rings bell*

Crowds of people run screaming down snow-covered streets.

It happens every year, and yet every year we feel as though we’re blind sighted, attacked by an unexpected intruder. So much preparation: the shopping, the cooking, the envelope-licking. Well guess what? Dental insurance providers are taking advantage of your self-induced insanity to slip out of the back door unnoticed.

We’re on to you dental insurance! And we won’t be fooled.

*Petrificus Totalus*

(Dang. Still working on our spell-casting skills.)

Here’s why we’re adding dental appointments to our list of holiday to-dos:

Yearly maximum
An insurance company will pay for a certain amount of your dental work every year. This set allowance renews annually, so even if you don’t use it all, it won’t be there next year.

The new year comes with a renewed deductible. This amount is usually around 50 dollars, and insured patients must pay it before an insurance company will begin covering procedures. If you’ve already paid this year’s deductible, make the most of your investment by scheduling treatment now.

Insurance fees
You never know what next year’s premiums or co-pays might be. Visiting in the next month ensures you’ll pay this year’s fees.

Nobody wants sudden oral problems to overshadow their holiday festivities. Visiting your dentist now means reducing the risk of a dental emergency this season.

If you let them, your insurance benefits will skip town this holiday season. Grab your benefits by the reins and ride into the New Year with a bright, healthy smile that says, “I don’t take kindly to strangers,” or the opposite of that. Don’t delay! Wise patients book their December appointments well in advance.

It Must Be In the Water!

November 9th 2010

Fluoride is a79168479 tooth’s best friend, and today, we know a lot about how this essential mineral works to strengthen our smiles. Kids and adults alike benefit from the positive effects of fluoride treatments, so much so that it is present in our toothpaste, dental rinses, and even our water supply. As a matter of fact, it’s so common for cities to fluoridate their water, most of us don’t even think about it. But just when and where did this helpful practice start?

In the 1930’s, we began to discover the oral health benefits of fluoride and how it could prevent tooth decay. City governments started discussing the possibility of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply as a way to provide entire populations with safe, effective doses of the mineral. Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first metropolitan area to offer fluoridated water to its residents in 1945. After studying the program for nearly six years, researchers found a striking reduction in cavities for Grand Rapids children. Today, more than 72% of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated water systems.

There you have it! For 65 years, many teeth across America have enjoyed the benefits of a daily fluoride dose flowing right out of the tap. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, right alongside immunizations and motor vehicle safety.

If you’ve only been drinking bottled water, you might be missing out on a great perk for your smile. Fluoride is important, so if your family doesn’t drink tap water, make sure you mention it to your dentist at your next visit. He or she can recommend ways to get plenty of this necessary tooth booster!

To find out more about the fluoridated water in your community, visit the CDC My Water’s Fluoridation page.

Donated Candy Becomes a Sweet Surprise!

October 21st 2010

We all know that kids, candy, and cavities go hand in hand. As parents, we do our best to keep their little fingers in the fruit crisper and out of the cookie jar. For most of the year, it’s controllable. Well, except for birthday parties (seriously, how many can you attend in a week?), but overall, you are able to stop the kiddos from gobbling down loads of chocolate, gummy bears, and bubble gum. And then comes Halloween.100428293

‘Tis the holiday for obnoxious amounts of candy gathered during Trick-or-Treating adventures. The kitchen table becomes the bargaining table and there is a collective negotiation across the land. Kids everywhere lobby for the ability to consume armfuls of candy while parents are packing it up to save for later. Even with a generous lot of sugar doled out every night after Halloween, somehow, the bounty lasts all the way through Christmas. You can’t throw it out, that’s just wasteful. Not to mention if the kids find out, their attitude is going to match the Frankenstein costume they’re wearing. There must be something better to do with all that extra candy, right? In a word, yes.

The Halloween Candy Buy Back is a wonderful program that enlists dentist to “buy back” Halloween candy, which is donated to Operation Gratitude and other military support groups. Operation Gratitude then fills holiday care packages with the candy to send to our troops overseas. This year, Operation Gratitude is sending 60,000 care packages and they literally need tons of candy to fill them. It’s a great opportunity to teach your son or daughter about the gift of giving while helping a soldier who might not be coming home for the Holidays this year.

Special candy collecting events are planned all over the U.S. in the days following Halloween. To learn more about theHalloween Candy Buy Back, or to find a participating dentist and event in your area, go to www.halloweencandybuyback.com. You can also learn more about Operation Gratitude at www.operationgratitude.com.