What is Icon Resin Infiltration?

Dentists are constantly looking for new and better ways to help their patients. Icon resin infiltration allows us to treat post-orthodontic white spot lesions in a minimally invasive manner, making it the perfect alternative to composite veneer restorations.

What is Icon?

Icon resin infiltration was first described 40 years ago. The optical properties of it are similar to those of natural enamel, so it matches the natural shade of the tooth.

Icon resin infiltration is a minimally invasive restorative treatment for post-ortho white-spot lesions (WSLs) and certain congenital hypo-calcified enamel lesions (“hypo” spots). These “spots” occur from a cyclical imbalance between demineralization and remineralization of the enamel, usually caused by poor hygiene practices. Over time, the associated plaque, bacteria and acids build up and lead to the lesions because the remineralization at the outer surface of the tooth decreases the access of calcium and other ions to deeper portions of the enamel.

The reason behind their white color is because there is a scattering of light at the subsurface of the demineralized enamel. Hypo spots, or enamel bruising, are congenital enamel defects often caused by trauma or infection involving the primary teeth.

The Procedure

The treatment for Icon resin infiltration is minimally invasive and can be completed in one visit. There are no shots or numbing because it is not painful. A plain pumice is used to clean the teeth by etching the lesions. The etching removes the outer remineralized layer of enamel that had previously been blocking calcium and other ions from entering the tooth.

After they etch the tooth, they put a finishing bur on any surfaces that do not indicate an improved appearance. Then, a drying agent (ethanol) is applied. Once the tooth is dry, then begins the application of the resin infiltrant. The material soaks in for three minutes to allow for capillary action. The excess material is removed with cotton rolls, micro-brushes and floss. The material is lightly cured, and more material is added for one minute. Again, the excess is removed and cured. Once all of this is complete, the tooth is finished with polishing discs or burs. This entire process takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete.

Overall

This treatment is much less invasive and expensive than other alternatives such as fillings or veneers. It can also be done sooner than other cosmetic options like veneers where you have to wait until growth is complete. If left untreated, hypo spots often look worse after bleaching. When they are treated with Icon, hypo spots will whiten similarly to the natural tooth enamel.

Even if these lesions are treated, in some small cases the spot does not disappear completely. The worst case scenario would be there is no change in appearance. In most cases, it provides a significant cosmetic improvement in one simple, painless visit. Contact one of our offices today to learn more.

Learn More About Icon Resin Infiltration

Is Silver Diamine Fluoride Application Right for My Child?

Silver Diamine Fluoride application is a common tooth decay treatment and prevention option in babies, toddlers, and children. As a parent, you are likely wondering if silver diamine fluoride (SDF) application is really right for your child.

SDF is often times the ideal in the following situations:

  • Babies and toddlers: This is the least-invasive option to treat baby tooth decay. It can also keep teeth from decaying further. Some parents wonder if it’s necessary to treat baby tooth decay since the teeth will fall out—it is necessary. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and to speak.
  • Multiple cavities: SDF application can cover up to eight teeth at once. Filling multiple cavities takes longer and is less comfortable for children, making this the preferred option for kids with multiple cavities.
  • Special needs: Children of all ages with special needs may not have the ability to restrict their own movement enough to receive numbing. They also may not understand the process enough to remain calm. SDF can treat their cavities in just minutes, without causing undue distress.
  • Older kids: Kids up to age 13 can deal with tooth decay in baby teeth while their permanent teeth come in. With a skilled application, SDF can keep decaying baby teeth from negatively impacting surrounding permanent teeth as they emerge and develop.
  • Genetic predisposition: If you have a family history of more-easily getting cavities, SDF can lower your children’s risk of getting cavities.

SDF is not recommended if your child has: a silver allergy, significant damage to their front teeth, been diagnosed with gingivitis or lichen planus, or if they don’t want to have stained teeth at all.

Silver diamine fluoride application is internationally-recognized for its safety and effectiveness of treating and preventing cavities. SDF is a commonly-used tooth decay treatment option in infants all the way through the loss of the last baby tooth. Additionally, it has a lower cost and requires less time at the dentist than traditional fillings. If you have any questions or would like a consultation, contact one of our offices.

Teeth Growing Behind Baby Teeth

If your child has ever ran up to you with two rows of teeth—you’re not alone! When permanent teeth come in before baby teeth have fallen out, we call it “Shark Teeth.” Shark teeth are actually common among children and if you’re a concerned parent, rest assured that it’s easily treatable.

What Causes Shark Teeth?

When a child has two rows of teeth it’s because their baby teeth didn’t fall out before the permanent teeth started to come in. Typically when permanent teeth erupt, even if baby teeth are still present, it adds pressure to the roots of the baby teeth. The added pressure should break the roots that connect the baby teeth to the gum line, ultimately causing the baby teeth to fall out as they should. But, when that doesn’t happen the permanent teeth will start to grow behind the baby teeth, causing a child to have two rows of teeth.

What Should You Do If Your Child Has Two Rows of Teeth?

If your child has multiple rows of teeth you have a couple of options:

  • If the tooth is loose, encourage your child to try and wiggle it out.
  • In the case where the tooth isn’t loose, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist.

A pediatric dentist will remove the baby tooth/teeth so your child’s permanent teeth can grow in.

Permanent Tooth Eruption

Permanent tooth eruption occurs over a seven year span, during which a child’s baby teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. Permanent teeth usually start eruption around age 6, and typically appear in the same order that as a child’s baby teeth came in. Children will have 20 baby teeth and eventually have 32 permanent teeth.

Just like teething in babies, permanent tooth eruption is different for each child. Regular dental visits not only helps ensure your child’s optimal oral health but also gives you the chance to ask questions along the way if you’re concerned about their baby or permanent teeth. If you have questions about baby or permanent teeth, contact us today!

Dental Crowns for Baby Teeth

There are many different reasons for a pediatric dentist to recommend dental crowns for baby teeth. Cavities can be very problematic if left untreated in a baby tooth. Baby teeth often aren’t fully developed and can break easily when hit or bumped when not treated with a crown or filling. Catching these problems early can promote healthy development of baby teeth and prevent major issues later on.

What are Crowns?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped covering cemented to the tooth. It’s purpose is to restore the tooth to its natural shape and function. Crowns are often recommended by pediatric dentists when it is necessary to repair and restore a baby tooth that has a large cavity or cavities, broken tooth, or a baby tooth that has not developed properly.

Teeth that are severely decayed or fractured cannot be repaired by filling because of the risk of the filling falling out, breaking or wearing out. This would cause additional future dental procedures. Crowns are much more durable than fillings and usually last until the baby tooth falls out.

Repairing and restoring baby teeth is very important. Most children begin to lose a few baby teeth by age six, but they won’t lose their molars until age 12 or 13. This is why it is essential to keep those teeth healthy until they fall out naturally. When they fall out healthy and naturally, it helps the permanent teeth grow into their proper position which reduces the chances that they will need extensive orthodontic treatment later. Decay can spread rapidly between teeth once it starts because the enamel of baby teeth is thinner than permanent teeth. Crowns are used to help save the decayed tooth, but they are also able to prevent the spread of decay and infection to other areas of the mouth or body.

The Procedure

The process of placing a crown is fairly simple. First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth that needs to be restored. Then, they will put a dental dam in place and remove any decay that is in the tooth. Lastly, they shape the tooth to fit the crown.

Crowns for children can be placed in a single procedure, whereas adult crowns often require several visits to the dentist.

Once the procedure is done, it is normal for your child to experience some discomfort caused by irritation of the tooth’s soft tissue around the tooth for up to 24 hours. Your child may take over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with the discomfort. If your child experiences pain for longer than 24 hours, it is important to contact your dentist. You should not allow your child to eat until the numbness has completely worn off to prevent accidental bites of the lip or cheek.

 

To learn more about whether dental crowns are right for your child, contact one of our two offices to schedule a consultation.

What Are Frenectomy Procedures?

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both frena from the mouth. The frenum is a connective tissue membrane that attaches one surface within the mouth to another. Frenum means bridle in Latin, and this term is used because it restricts tongue movements when it is connected by a frenulum between two surfaces inside of the mouth or pharynx. The two types of frenum are known as the labial frenum and the lingual frenum. In some cases, a frenectomy can help with breastfeeding and relieving respiratory issues.

Labial Frenectomy

A labial frenectomy is a procedure that removes the small tissue connecting the upper lip to the gum between your two front teeth. It can also cause gum recession by lifting the gums off of the jawbone.

Lingual Frenectomy

The lingual frenum is a small fold of tissue in the middle of the underside of the tongue. It can be positioned too far forward, which can cause it to over-tighten and restrict your tongue’s movement when it comes to speaking, singing, and eating. Lingual frenum, also known as being “tongue-tied,” can also impede an infant’s ability to latch during breastfeeding or eating from a bottle.

Benefits of a Frenectomy

There are several benefits to having a frenectomy. Those include:

  • Improves appetite and eating in infants and children
  • Improves speech function
  • Improves bite function
  • Helps to reduce pain and discomfort
  • Promotes self-confidence in children and teens by eliminating gaps in the smile

What Happens After a Frenectomy

In most cases, the pain from a frenectomy is mild, and it heals quickly. The patient can have normal function of the lips and tongue. Many patients hardly notice the effects of the surgery.

 

For more information about frenectomies and if one is right for your child, give one of our two offices a call. We’re always happy to explain more and help you decide if it’s right for your child.

Pediatric Dental Care: Starting Your Child Off on the Right Tooth

The quality of dental care a child receives while growing up can have a huge impact on their teeth — and even their general health — for the rest of their life. Dental care sets the stage for the way teeth develop as they grow, and it’s important to begin with a good foundation. To reinforce healthy brushing habits with children and make sure their teeth are coming in nicely, we recommend visiting the dentist early, with a first visit at about twelve months of age, which is usually less than six months after their first tooth shows up.

Here are a few specific reasons to take your children to the dentist early in their lives:

Baby Teeth are Important

Your child’s baby teeth aren’t disposable just because they’re temporary. They play an important role in your child’s development. Making sure their baby teeth are in order will have a positive effect long after they lose them. Baby teeth act as placeholders for adult teeth; they help your child’s jaw and gums develop in the right way. Not only that, healthy baby teeth help children learn to speak by supporting the shape of the mouth correctly. And a dazzling smile is good for their self-esteem.

Experience Calms Anxiety

Many grownups feel anxious about going to the dentist. However, if you bring your children in for a visit at about the age of twelve months, they’ll be too young to think anything bad is going on and they won’t likely be very worried. One of the best ways to help children avoid the development of dental anxiety is to begin building a habit of regular dental visits early in life. Parents who wait until children are two years of age or older likely will have a much rougher time with visits at early ages, and the children could develop lifelong anxiety about going to the dentist.

Tooth Decay Comes Early

Tooth decay can set in as soon as your child develops their first tooth. A CDC report showed that as many as 40% of children will develop some form of tooth decay before they reach kindergarten. And that decay can have a long-term effect on the health of their teeth and gums.

Nip Problems in the Bud

After children have stopped growing, it can be difficult to get crooked teeth back in order. The process is likely to be more difficult, longer and more uncomfortable for the patient than if the problems are taken care of early in life. That’s why there’s no better time to fix misaligned or crooked teeth than when your child is still growing. As soon as their teeth show signs of these problems, we can begin early to guide their teeth into the correct position.

 

Giving your child’s teeth the care they deserve sets them up for dental success in the future by introducing good dental hygiene habits and preventing problems from getting worse as their teeth age. If you have any questions about how to give your child the best dental care possible or would like to set up an appointment, give us a call at 712-276-8391. Begin proper dental care as soon as your child’s first tooth shows up and you’ll put them on the road to a healthy, beautiful smile all their lives.

One Year Update: COVID-19 and Dental Offices

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed almost every aspect of our daily lives—including regularly visiting the dentist. However, this should soon be a thing of the past. Not visiting the dentist was one of the many ripple-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and even though it is not over, yet, things are looking up.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, confidence in going back to the dentist hit a new high since the pandemic started, with 94% of patients stating they are ready to go back to the dentist or they have already have gone back to see the dentist, compared to August of 2020 where only 78% of patients had been back or were ready to go back to the dentist.

If you’re ready for your next dental checkup, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Continued Safety Protocols

As more and more people become fully vaccinated, the CDC has started to provide less-restrictive guidelines for these people. However, most recommended precautions, such as using personal protective equipment, have not changed for health care settings, including dental offices.

Even though we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers trending down, we still ask that you follow our guidelines for your safety and the safety of others, including:

  • Do not come to the office if you have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Limit the number of people you bring to your appointment, if possible
  • Wear a mask until notified that you can remove it

Per the CDC, we are regularly consulting with our state and local health departments for region-specific information and recommendations, as they monitor trends in local case counts and adjust accordingly.

We understand that you may not feel comfortable quite yet, or you have questions about the protocols we’ve implemented in our office to keep patients safe. You can review our entire list of COVID-19 Safety Protocols or you can contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Best Practices for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

Once kids get their first tooth, parents start to wonder how they can help their child establish good dental habits. As a parent, you want to help your children develop good dental hygiene, since poor dental health is all too common and can lead to complications in adulthood such as more serious diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Below are simple tips for helping your children develop and maintain healthy teeth.

Lead By Example
Kids love to imitate those around them, so being a good role model is one of the best ways to show children how important dental health is. Demonstrate good oral health habits with them, brush and floss with your kids, rather than sending them into the bathroom on their own. Instead of treating it as a chore, make it part of the daily routine.

Keep Dental Appointments
Keep a regular routine of going to the dentist for regular checkups. Your child should have their first dental appointment within 6 months of their first tooth or their first birthday, whichever comes first, and then twice a year after that.

Eat Healthy Foods
Avoid sugary drinks and food. This can help with not only your child’s overall health, but it can also create a conversation about cavities. When sugar is allowed to sit on your teeth, it can create decay, and we all want healthy, strong teeth to enjoy the things we love.

Brush and Floss
Brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes is one of the best way to keep your mouth clean and healthy, yet it’s not always achieved. Set a timer and use a tartar dye if desired to be sure all the teeth surfaces are cleaned and that brushing has happened long enough to be effective at removing plaque. There are also apps available to make brushing and caring for your teeth fun.

These are some great ways to help keep your child’s mouth clean and healthy. Give one of our two offices a call today to schedule an appointment with us. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have!

How to Teach Your Child the Value of Oral Hygiene

As a parent, it’s a very daunting task to teach your child the value of oral hygiene. It is especially difficult when they are in the preschool years and more likely to be distracted and uninterested in what you have to say. The key, according to dental instructor Elizabeth J. Hodges, who often lectures on this topic, is to make teaching fun for both parent and child.

This blog will discuss some ideas on how to keep your child interested in their oral health.

Why It Matters

Keeping good oral hygiene is so important as a child. As a parent, you probably know this, but how do you convince your child that it is important. When you maintain a clean mouth, you will have lesser chances of dental diseases and tooth loss. Good dental hygiene also plays a huge role for aesthetic reasons as it keeps your teeth looking polished and white and also reduces the chance of experiencing bad breath.

Habits to Teach

Regular Dental Checkups
It’s important to take your child to the dentist for regular checkups (at least every six months). This will help them get into the habit of seeing a dentist on a regular basis, which will help them even as they grow into adults.

Eating Healthy Foods
Eating healthy at a young age is so important for children. This will help them get into the habit of eating fruits and vegetables and actually enjoy them. Eating healthy is great for oral health and will keep their teeth stay in good condition

Brushing Twice a Day
Showing your child that it is important to brush their teeth twice a day is a great practice. You can even start this before your child actually starts teething. You can start by wiping their gums with a soft foam, and once they start to grow teeth, you can upgrade to a baby toothbrush. This will help your child to grow up with the familiarity of having their teeth brushed.

Flossing
Teaching your child at a young age that not only brushing, but also flossing your teeth is another great way to keep their mouth healthy. If this is difficult for you as a parent, you can have your dentist help show them at their regular checkup!

Lead By Example
Your child learns the most from you as their parent. Showing them how important oral hygiene is and practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best ways for them to learn. When you put both your child’s and your own dental hygiene as a top priority, your child will grow up understanding the importance of taking care of your teeth.

 

It is imperative to teach your child how to take care of their teeth at a young age. We’re always happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Call either of our two locations today and we can schedule an appointment.

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Tiny, but important ― that’s how baby teeth are referred to, especially by dentists. While most parents would look at their babies’ tiny teeth and wonder what in the world they could be thinking about, dentists realize early on that these tiny teeth aren’t just for looking at cute smiles and giggles.

Taking good care of your baby’s teeth early on is crucial to their oral health now and for the rest of their lives. We’ve come up with several reasons why you want to keep your baby’s teeth in tip top shape.

  • These teeth are crucial to your child’s health and development. They help with the development of permanent teeth by saving space for them in the jaw. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift to the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in.
  • Baby teeth aid in speech development. Taking care of your child’s teeth will help them speak and communicate better.
  • They help your child maintain good nutrition by permitting him/her to chew properly.
  • Baby teeth help children feel good about themselves and their smile. It’s so important for children to feel confident from a young age and keeping their teeth healthy is imperative.

What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?

Baby teeth can get cavities, just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by cavities, they can also lead to dental infections. Tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection. If a tooth needs to then get extracted, this can cause the teeth to drift, which may lead to overcrowding and difficulty for the adult teeth to grow in.

Be sure to visit a dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing and definitely by the time they reach the one year mark. Our team will check for cavities and any other pediatric dental problem. We’ll also help show you and your child how to properly take care of their teeth. Give one of our offices a call today!