Taking Care of Your Family Like it is Ours
With today’s busy lifestyles, it’s reassuring to find a dentist who can reliably see all your family members, from young children to seniors. Our office warmly welcomes patients of all ages, while providing them with the preventative and restorative services they need to ensure good oral health, and natural smiles, throughout their lives.
Dr. Bhandaru is highly-trained and licensed to deliver care for children, teenagers and adults in an office setting that’s friendly, comfortable and relaxed. As a family dentist we offer services from routine dental disease prevention and education, to restorative cosmetic and orthodontia care.
It’s always our goal at Carrollton Smiles that when you walk through our doors you’ll immediately know that you’ve found the perfect place for your entire family’s care!
Our Family Dental Services
How Should I Take Care of My Child’s Teeth?
We always tell parents to bring their child to start brushing their child’s teeth right after the first one appears. In fact, children need to see the dentist when the first tooth arrives. As additional teeth erupt, they should be checked every two weeks by mom or dad for signs of discoloration that might indicate decay. We also share with parents these other good early oral hygiene tips:
Brush twice a day. Until they can do it themselves, brush your child’s teeth after every big meal, and at bedtime. When brushing a younger child’s teeth, use a soft-bristled brush and pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Note: Don’t use fluoride toothpaste, unless told to do so by a dental health professional, in children under age 2.
Don’t forget to floss. Flossing gets gingivitis-causing food debris that’s lodged between the tooth base and gumline. It’s an essential part of any good oral hygiene program, so ask us when it’s time to start flossing your child’s teeth.
Consider tooth sealants. Because it is so hard sometimes to brush and floss a young child’s teeth, another decay-prevention step you can take is to have a sealant applied to their teeth. Sealants last for years and are effective at protecting hard-to-reach areas. We will evaluate the sealant’s status during a child’s regular checkup.
- See the dentist 2X a year. Remember, for happier, healthier smiles the AAPD recommends an exam and cleaning for your child every 6 months. That will help ensure that their mouth stays healthy, and their smiles more natural-looking, as they develop on the road to adulthood!
We love seeing patients of all ages, especially children, and try to make their office experience- and mom or dad’s- as comfortable, fun and relaxing as possible. If you have any questions about how to keep your child’s smile looking naturally beautiful for many years to come, or would like to schedule an appointment for your child with us, call Carrollton Smiles today at (972) 245-3455!
Dental health during teen years offers another set of challenges. For most parents, this doesn’t come as a big surprise. A dizzying number of changes strike during these formative years, and parents often experience a few frustrations along the way.
But teens listen more than we realize, and pestering parents can make a tremendous difference in the dental future of these young adults. Oral home care habits tend to slide, sometimes to the point of complete neglect. Increased independence may lead to eating and drinking habits that harm oral and overall health. Don’t underestimate any encouragement given to help your teen avoid the long-term effects of cavities and gum inflammation.
Preventive visits every six months provide us with an opportunity to coach your teen and reinforce the efforts you’re making with them. Sometimes the rapport we establish in a professional, yet friendly, setting proves especially effective. Plus we can share problems with them through visual aids while reinforcing any positive efforts they’re making.
Tips for home efforts that protect your teen’s dental health:
- Limit sodas and energy drinks. Sugary carbonated drinks are the number one cause of tooth decay in adolescents. Many 20 ounce bottles of soda contain 18 teaspoons of sugar in an extremely acidic liquid. The combination can be devastating for teeth.
- Encourage brushing before bedtime. Night hours can be especially harmful as the mouth dries out and bacterial plaque flourishes.
- Explain the dangers of sharing toothbrushes. Teens love to share everything, even toothbrushes. The bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities can easily transfer from one person to the next through this method.
- Slip in dental floss or a toothpick with their lunch or backpack.
It’s easy to ignore, but a little bit of tooth decay or gum disease always leads to a little bit more. The outcome of these untreated problems inevitably becomes pain, emergency treatment, and tooth loss. So why does this happen?
It’s an infection.
Millions of bacteria swarm our mouths, many of them harmless and even beneficial. But a few bad characters wreak havoc on the hard and soft tissues of the mouth in many people. Like all living creatures, they need an energy source. Sugars are their snack of choice, and they use simple carbohydrates from our diet to manufacture energy.
Like all living creatures making energy, they also produce waste. These acidic wastes deposited on the teeth erode the hard enamel surfaces and form holes, known as cavities.
Some bacteria produce a toxic waste that causes bleeding gums and destruction of the bone around the teeth. In fact, this is the leading reason people lose their teeth and end up with dentures. It’s all part of an infection.
Most infections can be treated with antibiotics, but mouth bacteria require a different approach. Regular checkups help us identify new cavities, and periodic cleanings remove mineralized deposits that harbor millions of harmful bacteria. Fluoride varnishes harden tooth surfaces, and high-risk patients benefit from customized approaches with our team.
The complex interaction of infection and inflammation extends beyond the gums and mouth. In fact, research continues to uncover the many ways that problems in our mouths can reach into critical areas of our bodies. For example, mouth bacteria penetrate through bleeding gums and enter the bloodstream. Like a river, blood flow carries the bacteria to the small vessels of the heart and brain. As this happens, bacteria can damage the intricate vessel lining and cause a blockage of the vessel. This increases the chances of getting a heart attack or a stroke..all because of bleeding gums.
The same process deposits mouth bacteria and their toxins in other areas of our bodies and appears related to arthritis, diabetes, and some cancers. In the last few years, we’ve learned that a healthy mouth can affect our overall health in many ways.
A few tips for maintaining a healthy mouth:
- Brush and floss twice a day: Consistent daily habits remove sticky, bacterial plaque that starts the cascading events that lead to decay, gum disease, and other health problems. If you don’t like to floss, consider toothpicks, brushes or the magic of a Waterpik.
- Brush for at least two minutes each time: It sounds like a long time, but it makes a difference. Consider an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, or setting a timer on your phone.
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly: Bacteria linger on your toothbrush, finding their way back into the mouth at the next use.
- Keep sugary drinks, starchy foods, and desserts to a minimum: Foods high in starch and sugar provide fuel to bacteria. Despite diligent brushing and flossing, sugary and starchy foods serve as catalysts for decay. Be moderate, and avoid snacking between meals.
- Drink sugary liquids through a straw: A straw helps keep sugar from bathing the teeth directly before swallowing.
- Drink water after eating a meal: Swishing with water helps clean larger deposits of food from your teeth. Plus, we all could use a little more hydration!
- Get cavities treated immediately: Cavities rarely hurt until they reach a critical stage. And don’t forget: a little bit of tooth decay eventually becomes a little bit more.
- See a dentist every six months: The risk of critical dental problems diminishes significantly if you’re visiting us twice a year. Patients that fit preventive dentistry into their budget typically enjoy fewer dental expenditures over time than those who wait for emergencies to develop.
A variety of tooth and jaw issues open up the door to orthodontics in a growing child. Dr. Bhandaru may point out that your child’s baby teeth appear crowded, or the relationship between the jaws isn’t ideal. While not generally the time for treatment, it may help you prepare for the possibility of future corrective care. As permanent teeth start to appear, usually around age 6, We monitors the process further and helps you decide if early orthodontic treatment makes sense.
Although the majority of cases involve teenagers, braces can play a role for some kids in their earlier years. Since permanent teeth are typically larger than baby teeth, space may need to be opened with the gentle force of braces. This allows teeth to move into place properly, helping avoid more extensive treatment later.
A narrow jaw or a large overbite may create a similar dilemma. Guiding jaw growth while your child’s developing can make a tremendous difference in the long-term outcome. Once the growth stops in teen years, the only corrective measure often involves surgery…always a good scenario to avoid when possible.
The Usual Track
Many youngsters benefit the most from orthodontics after baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth move into place. This classic case may start in the early teen years, leaving a nicely aligned and highly functional set of teeth going into adulthood. The length of time spent wired-up can vary, but average treatment time often falls around two years.
A variety of methods allow orthodontic treatment to solve nearly every possible scenario that appears, but successful treatment relies on good patient compliance. Wearing elastic bands consistently, keeping follow-up appointments for adjustments, and practicing outstanding home care can lead to a positive outcome. This commitment involves frequent preventive visits with your hygienist as well, a strategy that helps avoid cavities around brackets. We specialize in helping our orthodontic patients enjoy a successful outcome: a gorgeous, healthy smile.
Our goal is for our patients to experience the least amount of dental treatment possible. And we know that children who enter adulthood with the fewest restored teeth will enjoy the lowest risk of future problems.
Sealants give us a tool that can dramatically reduce the number of fillings placed in permanent teeth during critical stages of growth and development. On the chewing surface of molars, deep grooves reach into the center of the teeth. Under a microscope, these crevices might look like a deep canyon. In fact, most of them are narrower than a single toothbrush bristle but wide enough for bacteria to hide. It’s easy to see how cavities can form in such a perfect hideout.
If the grooves in permanent molars are sealed at a young age, the risk of decay occurring on the chewing surfaces decreases dramatically. Fortunately, this procedure can be done quickly and without any discomfort. If the grooves are free of cavities, they can be gently cleaned out and conditioned for bonding. Then a resin material is flowed into the grooves and sealed quickly with a blue activating light. Within a few minutes, the permanent molars receive a protective measure against cavities.
Sealants only last a few years and may need to be repaired or replaced periodically. But research confirms a 90% reduction in chewing surface cavity activity in sealed molars. This cost-effective, simple step may help your child enter adulthood with fewer fillings and less risk of major dentistry in the future.