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All Posts in Category: Family Dental Care

Eeewww! My Splint is SMELLY!

Do you know how to properly clean your oral device? I didn’t and I’m married to a dentist.

We had a patient stop in our office the other day asking how to clean her TAP 3 sleep apnea device. She said it was starting to smell and taste bad after wearing it nightly for a few months. It’s easy to sympathize – those qualities are not incentives to wear the device every night. One staff member suggested a denture cleaner and the patient said she remembered being cautioned against that. So what is the answer?

I have a splint I wear at night to treat my TMJ pain. I’ve worn it for years. I usually just rinse my splint with water in the morning and let it air dry. About every week or so, I’ve used my toothbrush, with a little left over sudsy toothpaste on it, to gently brush my splint in the morning. I found out today that toothpaste can be abrasive when used to clean oral devices. Again, what is the answer to a clean and deodorized oral device?

A few minutes of intense staff discussion in our lunchroom followed this question, then another staff member jumped on the internet, went to the website for the TAP 3 Elite, and found instructions on proper care for the device. Thank goodness for the internet!

Cleaning directions, straight from the TAP 3 Elite website.

After our conversation at work today, I will admit I did take a little sniff of my splint when I got home. It wasn’t terrible, but I felt compelled to clean it, just the same.

The following instructions are for cleaning a TAP 3 Elite, an oral device used to treat sleep apnea, although we believe this would be a safe method to clean any oral device such as a splint or night guard, mouth guard, orthodontic retainer, or partial or full denture.

I’ll use my splint to show you how to properly keep your oral device clean and deodorized:

  • Use a soft toothbrush dedicated just for this task, cool water and an antibacterial liquid soap to thoroughly clean the device each morning. I know it sounds weird to use hand soap on your oral device, but I tried it and I feel it cleaned my splint really well. My biggest fear was tasting the soap when I put my splint back in my mouth, but I made sure to rinse it thoroughly and I didn’t taste the soap. Win! The cool water is also important, as you don’t want to damage or distort the device with hot water.

  • Let your oral device thoroughly air dry before placing it in the storage container or case. If your oral device isn’t completely dry, just leave the top of the case open during the day or leave it in a safe place. I usually keep mine on the bathroom countertop or on my nightstand during the day.

  • Every two weeks, disinfect your appliance by soaking it in a solution of half mouthwash, half water for only 10-15 minutes, then thoroughly rinse it with cool water. You can substitute a denture cleanser for the mouthwash, but again only soak the appliance for 10-15 minutes. Timing is key here, folks. You could potentially damage your device if it is left in the cleaning solution for too long. I left my splint in the mouthwash solution for 10 minutes and it came out looking and tasting fresh and clean.

Remember: You should always put your oral appliance into a clean mouth. The bacteria on your splint can’t form there on its own. Brush and floss your teeth before wearing your oral appliance each day or night. These actions will help keep your appliance, your mouth and your teeth cleaner.

I do feel a little silly for not properly cleaning my splint all these years. Although I was keeping it pretty clean with sudsy toothpaste, I was potentially damaging it with the abrasive toothpaste. I’m excited to sleep with a clean and fresh-smelling splint tonight. Sweet dreams, everyone!

Yay! My splint is fresh and clean!

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center and faithful nighttime splint wearer

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Getting Started with Invisalign

I’m sure you’ve heard about Invisalign. It’s another treatment method to traditional braces to straighten teeth at home and on your own time. Invisalign treatment consists of multiple, clear trays that apply pressure to specific teeth, or areas on those teeth, to gently guide each tooth into the desired position. The trays are designed to wear in stages and are numbered in order of the treatment phases. Invisalign treatment typically lasts between 6-18 months, depending on how consistently the trays are worn and the amount of correction required. The actual Invisalign process is pretty straight forward, but how and where do you begin? Let’s take a closer look.

At Pike Lake Dental Center, we offer free Invisalign consultations. Yes, I said FREE. You’ll find no pressure or sales pitch from our staff. We simply want to help you find out if Invisalign is a treatment option for you. If we discover Invisalign is not the best option, we are happy to refer you to one of our fantastic local orthodontists for traditional orthodontic care. If Invisalign is an option, we are happy to help you begin your journey to straighter, more beautiful teeth.

The free Invisalign consultation consists of two parts here at Pike Lake Dental Center:

The initial consultation visit lasts about 40 minutes. We start by discussing your teeth and goals for treatment. We take a few digital photos of your face and teeth. We also take digital impressions of both your upper and lower teeth with our new iTero scanner. No gooey, sticky impression material required! The iTero software compiles many images together and creates a virtual image with exact measurements of your mouth and how your teeth bite together. These files are sent electronically to Invisalign. Once the information is received by the Invisalign team, your treatment plan is created within 48 hours.

At this point, we are also able to gather information from you to send into your dental insurance company to preauthorize the Invisalign treatment. Some insurance companies provide adult orthodontic coverage.

The second appointment with our office lasts about a half an hour. Ideally, we’d like to see you back for this appointment within a week of your initial consultation. At this appointment, we sit down with you and discuss your customized Invisalign treatment plan. You are able to see everything Invisalign has created for your unique, customized treatment. This even includes a 3D image of each phase of your treatment for each arch of your mouth, plus a view of your bite and how it will change during the course of treatment. It’s an amazing moment when a patient is able to view the images of their teeth post-treatment on the computer screen before treatment has even begun. This digital file can be shared with you via email so you are able to show images of your transformation with friends and family.

We also discuss fees with you at this appointment. Invisalign treatment fees varies drastically depending on the different levels of treatment needed for each patient. It’s a worthy investment to attain the winning smile you deserve.

If you’ve been thinking about Invisalign treatment, now is the time to contact our office for your free consultation. We are excited to help you achieve your very best smile here at Pike Lake Dental Center.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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3D Scans: The Future of Dentistry

Our office recently tested out a new 3D camera/scanner. We had a lunch and learn meeting with the scanner’s salesman where we learned about the benefits and potential of the machine. We were able to test it out on each other and get a good feel for the product. It wasn’t a difficult decision to purchase the equipment. The scanner just arrived a few weeks ago and we’ve already been putting it to good use!

How will this scanner help us help you?

By digitally scanning our patients, we are able to create a baseline from which we will be able to monitor many different concerns. For instance, we will be able to monitor the entire structure of a patient’s mouth. If a person grinds their teeth, we can monitor and track the wear on the teeth to fractions of millimeters. The software will even highlight the differences between each scan a patient has with our office. If a patient suffers from periodontal issues, we will be able to track the pockets and receding gum tissue. When a patient sees regression on the results of their at-home periodontal care, it will be a lot easier to guide them toward the appropriate care and areas that require more attention. When there is progress with their at-home perio care, we will be able to celebrate their accomplishments with them – in vivid color! Visual aids are always helpful with patient care and treatment understanding.

This scanner also helps us continue to eliminate the gooey impression material for most procedures. We can take digital impressions to send to dental labs for splints, crowns, bridges, surgical guides, Invisalign and more. We can also send those same scans to our own CEREC and 3D printer to create crowns, bridges, splints, implants, surgical guides, study models, and more. I feel the possibilities are endless!

The actual time it takes to retrieve the full mouth scan is minimal – only about two minutes. In that short time, we gain so much valuable information. The process is simple – we move this wand over your teeth while the scanner takes thousands of photos and binds them together to form one, big image. It is taking precise measurements and acquiring exact data about your teeth, much more accurate than the old, gooey impressions could.

Have you ever taken a visual tour of your entire mouth? It’s pretty amazing to see new views your teeth and in color! We can even stop and take individual photos of teeth, which we could send to insurance companies or use as before and after photos. Again, the possibilities are endless!

A digital scan, kept on file, can be reused for multiple purposes. Perhaps we scanned you in May for a baseline scan. In August you find you need a splint to help cure nighttime clenching. We can use the same scan. In October, you break a tooth and need a crown. Yes, we can use the same scan.

So, will this service cost you more?

Nope! This is simply another tool we will use to better diagnose, track and aid in our patients’ treatment. We demand the best for our patients. If we can make your time at our office more efficient, comfortable or more economical, we will do it. If we can help you understand your diagnosis or treatment better, we will do it. Providing you with the best dental care available is at the core of every one of our decisions. Insist on the best! You are worth it!

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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A Traditional Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea – Is There Another Option?

If you suspect you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea, you’ve probably also given some thought to a traditional sleep study to be officially diagnosed. Going to a sleep study clinic for an overnight, with all those wires attached to you, doesn’t probably sound like a very fun night out. What if there was another option for an accurate sleep study? What if you could have a sleep study taken while sleeping in your own bed, with just this little machine attached to your chest, wrist and first finger? Sounds appealing, right?

A few months ago, Stacey, a RDH here at our office, suggested this device to Dr. Matt. She had a friend in another state whose dental office was using this device for sleep studies on their patients. She did some more research into the company and convinced Dr. Matt the WatchPAT deserved consideration. We were able to test it out on one patient prior to purchasing the kit. We decided to test it on the husband of one of our assistants. Guess what? He has sleep apnea. His reviews of the test itself were positive. We were convinced it was a piece of technology we wanted to offer our patients. Let me tell you a little about the WatchPAT.

The WatchPAT is a small device that is able to monitor a patient’s sleep and confirm whether or not he or she suffers from sleep apnea. To gain this diagnosis, the WatchPAT monitors sleep time, snoring, restless sleep, each stage of sleep (REM, deep and light), sleep position, and the oxygen in the blood. It’s pretty complex for as little as it is!

The test process is simple. A patient settles into bed for the night, applies the Snoring/Body Position Sensor on their chest, straps the WatchPat onto their non-dominant wrist, places the uPAT sleeve over their ring finger and turns on the device. It’s that simple! The necessary data is collected while you sleep. The next morning the patient packs the pieces back into the carrying case and returns it back to our office. We upload the collected data to a sleep study doctor. The results are returned to us within a day usually.

The best part: You can do this sleep study right in your own home, in the comfort of your own bed! We believe it’s a more accurate study because your sleep is more natural in your own comfortable surroundings.

The cost of the sleep study is less than the cost of an overnight in an average hotel. Would that fee be worth it to receive answers to health questions?

We aren’t saying this sleep study is right for everyone. It doesn’t always prove each patient we’ve tested has sleep apnea. It’s just another option we are excited to offer our patients.

So how do we decide which patients to test? Sometimes a patient or their spouse suspects they have sleep apnea, as in our first test patient. There are also some clues that we notice either during an exam or while talking with a patient that tip us off to possible sleep apnea sufferers. Most often, the patients we screen are more mild cases of sleep apnea that we suspect we can treat with a TAP3 oral device, made through our dental office. For another blog post on sleep apnea and the TAP3 devices we make for our patients, click on this link.

Oftentimes, patients are surprised by the sleep study results. Even more often, they are surprised by the severity of their results. We have seen patients who have been misdiagnosed by others, or they haven’t felt the symptoms they present are severe enough to warrant sharing them with their healthcare professionals.

After a confirmed diagnosis, we are there to help guide a patient through the next phases of treatment and healing. We also recommend patients to follow up with their physicians and share the WatchPAT results with them. The more thorough care our patients receive from both our office and their physicians, the better the success rate is.

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Keeping Your Child’s Silver Smile Shiny: A Mother’s Thoughts

My 12 year old daughter started her journey with braces in March of 2017. Since then, she’s had to learn how to take care of her teeth a little differently than she did before starting orthodontia. Of my three kids, Katie is the child who thrives on routine the most. She packs her school backpack exactly the same way every day. She keeps her bedroom and locker orderly. She arranges her pillows “just so” on her bed each night. So when she started ortho, I expected her to continue with her regular brushing routine, which she did.

It became evident quite quickly that her regular brushing routine was not going to be enough with the new brackets and wires she was sporting. I could see a build up of food and plaque on her teeth when she smiled. I found myself asking her nearly every day if she had even brushed her teeth that morning and she’d always answer me with an exasperated “yes”. She truly had. She brushed her teeth every morning after breakfast and every evening before bed, sometimes even at school. She brushed for two minutes, twice a day. That’s the trademark rule and she was following it. Her dad is a dentist for goodness sake!

I would harp on her that she needed to do a better job brushing, that she was missing critical areas in her mouth or that she was brushing her teeth too lightly to be effective. This was serious! I would tell her constantly that braces are a huge investment, a serious responsibility and an incredible gift to receive as a kid. She had to take better care of her teeth, especially now! Katie would counter that she knew all of those things and she was taking care of her teeth. Duh! Her dad is a dentist for goodness sake! Our daily conversations would almost always turn into an argument and neither of us would feel good about them afterword.

Then, at one of our first monthly return visits with her orthodontist, who also happens to be a dear family friend, I put both Katie and Dr. Landrigan on the spot.

“Let’s talk about brushing,” I suggested while the doctor was examining Katie’s teeth.

Dr. Landrigan looked at me apologetically and replied, “She needs to do a better job.”

I still feel a little guilty for making him uncomfortable by putting him on the spot, but Katie needed to hear it directly from her trusted orthodontist because she wasn’t listening to me. She was brushing regularly. How could we remedy this problem? We spent a few minutes talking about brushing habits and together decided she needed an electric toothbrush. Just our luck – I know a guy! Wink. Wink.

We drove straight to my husband’s dental office and picked up a snazzy, new Oral-B electric toothbrush for Katie. It was something new and fun and it was able to connect to her cell phone via Bluetooth. It was cool! The best part: her older siblings didn’t have this snazzy Oral-B electric toothbrush. Katie unpacked the box immediately when we got home, downloaded the Oral-B app onto her phone, set up the Bluetooth connection and started brushing her teeth. Bam! Victory!

In this age of technology, this particular electric toothbrush and smartphone combo does a few things.

The toothbrush syncs with the Oral-B app, which has a timer that keeps track of how long and how often you brush.

The app tracks where you brush, so you know if you’ve spent enough time on each area of your mouth.

It can detect if you’re brushing too hard or aggressively, which are very common problems. Plus, it celebrates your success.

The electric toothbrush has been a game changer for Katie’s over all oral hygiene, especially while she’s in ortho. I noticed a difference in her teeth and smile almost immediately. Her teeth actually looked clean. There was no visible buildup of plaque and her teeth were actually shiny. What a difference! She is now able to brush her teeth much more thoroughly, getting in between and around every bracket, even in those hard to reach areas. I even feel her teeth stay cleaner longer with the new toothbrush.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed the difference in Katie’s oral hygiene. At her next ortho appointment, Katie was commended on her improved tooth brushing. She feels much more confident with her silver smile now too. I know she’s got the tools she needs to take much better care of her teeth and her braces.

I often joke that my husband and I finally nailed parenting with our third child, but part of that imagined expertise includes a lot of trial and error. As a parent, I’m thankful for technology that helps make mundane tasks fun and even helps monitor things I cannot.

From one parent to another, if you’re making a huge investment into your child’s teeth through orthodontia, please also keep in mind the importance of oral hygiene during this critical time. Sometimes it’s something as simple as an electric toothbrush that can transform your child’s brushing habits and empower them to help take care of themselves, even as pre-teens. If together we can find ways to make parenting easier and less stressful, I’m all for it!

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, mother of three and staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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PLDC + CEREC = LOVE

We’ve been talking a lot about our CEREC lately both in the office and on Facebook. CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics or CEramic REConstruction. This two part system has revolutionized crowns and bridges in our office. Just this week, we had a technician out to perform some routine service our milling unit. He told us we had over 49,000 minutes on this machine. In 11 years, that’s a lot of run time!

So what does a CEREC mean for you as a patient?

The biggest advantage of the CEREC is the time savings. We can make a crown or bridge in one appointment, compared to a lab-created crown that requires two visits at least two weeks apart. One ninety minute appointment is all it takes from start to finish to own a strong and beautiful crown. You only come to our office once for the crown – that means one visit, one day with time off work, not two. The time savings for us includes confirming one appointment, cleaning one room and not recementing crowns between temporary and final crown visits. It may not sound like a whole lot of time savings for us, but it is.

No more gooey impressions! Before, we would take impressions with the gooey impression material two times during a crown or bridge prep and send them off to the dental lab to create the crown or bridge for us. Now, impressions are made digitally with this machine, the CEREC acquisition unit. Not only can we take digital impressions for crowns and bridges with this machine – we can take impressions for dental implants, Invisalign treatment plans, night guards or splints, surgical guides, and even whitening kits. Digital impressions are so much easier and much more precise than the old style gooey impressions. Plus, we keep the scanned file in the patient’s digital chart, so we are able to refer back to it if it’s ever needed.

Another cool bonus about the CEREC is you, as a patient, can watch your new crown being made from start to finish. The impression and design process is done right in the operatory with you. Once we send the file to the milling unit, you can watch the tooth progress. This isn’t top secret science, we want you to be involved! There aren’t many times a person can say they watched a tooth, especially their own, being created right before their eyes.

With no lab bills, we are able to keep our crown prices lower and much more competitive than we would with rising lab fees. Being able to give our patients quality care with competitive fees is extremely important to us.

We can also keep a close eye on quality control. Sometimes we would get a crown back from the lab and it wouldn’t fit well or it was the wrong shade. In those instances, it usually meant taking impressions again and sending the crown back to the lab. It also usually meant having the patient come back to our office again in another two weeks. Not so anymore. If something is wrong with the crown, we can quickly mill another one. We make sure every crown is made to our extremely high standards. We even use our skills to custom shade the crowns to get the perfect shade for each unique patient.

I’d be lying if I told you we don’t like playing with the technology, too. It gives us great satisfaction to know we have created something strong, beautiful and durable from start to finish right here inside our office. Being able to learn and improve upon all aspects of the crown process from creation to completion, we have honed our skills over the past eleven years and can produce a consistent, high-quality product with extremely high customer satisfaction. We are pretty proud of that fact.

In hindsight, we are extremely happy we invested in our CEREC many years ago. We have made some updates with software and cameras over the years and have taken care of it with routine maintenance and service. We have loved this machine and our patients love it too. With this machine, we are utilizing the latest and best technology to ensure our patients are receiving the best care available. Insist on the best – you’re worth it!

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, staff member at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Charcoal Whitening: Yay or Nay?

I’m a sucker for online businesses that conveniently mail you fun, little luxury products once a month or every quarter. Ipsy, BirchBox and ScentBird are a few of my favorite companies that offer monthly subscriptions for about $15. At the insistence of a friend that raved about the products she received from the company Fab, Fit, Fun, I joined. With an active family and me recently going back to work, there is little free time to spend on myself, so these mail delivery boxes have become my little pick-me-up treats. Plus, who doesn’t love beauty supplies that magically show up on their doorstep every so often?

A few months ago, I received a charcoal whitening kit in my Fab, Fit, Fun box. Being a dentist’s wife, I am all about teeth and products to keep them looking and feeling healthy. This product intrigued me. I’ve seen many advertisements on social media for charcoal whitening and have been interested in it. So, when a charcoal whitening kit was mailed to me without any effort on my part, I knew I needed to at least give it a try.

I talked with my husband about his thoughts on this method of tooth whitening and he listed his concerns: possible tooth abrasion, safety, cost, etc. In the end, he said to try it. If anything were to go wrong, I know the guy who could fix it. Wink. Wink.

My friend, who had tried the charcoal whitening kit already, forewarned me about it being a mess, so I took it along with me when my daughter and I stayed overnight at a hotel for a volleyball tournament. Yes, I’m THAT evil person. Instead of messing up my own bathroom sink, I’ll mess up the hotel’s sink. To be perfectly fair, I did clean it all up once I was done.

The charcoal powder is EXTREMELY FINE. The directions said to sprinkle the powder on a dampened toothbrush. I seemed to get more sprinkled all over the sink than I did on my toothbrush, so I adjusted my tactic. I tapped off the excess water from my brush and dipped the bristles into the powder. Then I gently began to brush my teeth.

If you ever try charcoal whitening, this next part is the funny part. Be ready to laugh! The result while brushing with the charcoal powder is hilarious. I was laughing so hard in the hotel bathroom, my daughter came in to make sure I was ok. The ultra fine powder was everywhere – on the sink, the counter, up my nose, in my hair, on my face, on the floor. We both had a good laugh about it. Try laughing while brushing your teeth – it is messy.

I didn’t want to brush too aggressively, especially since Matt had said he was worried about possible abrasion. I didn’t feel that the charcoal powder was gritty. I had expected it to feel like sand in my mouth, but it is so fine that it isn’t gritty at all. There wasn’t a taste to the charcoal powder either, which was unexpected.

Two minutes with black teeth seems to last forever. At last, the time was up and I could spit and rinse. Because I didn’t have a real minty-fresh feeling in my mouth, I brushed my teeth quickly with my regular toothpaste after using the charcoal powder. The result: I didn’t notice a huge difference, although going from black to white teeth did seem like a HUGE change.

Clean up was easy. I did make a much bigger mess than I had expected. That powder gets everywhere! It was all over my face, all over the sink and the counter, even the floor. A damp cloth was all I needed to wipe everything down. The powder didn’t stain anything.

I continued to use the charcoal powder for about a month, brushing twice daily as recommended by the manufacturer. I never experienced any sensitivity while using the charcoal powder. I also didn’t experience any shade change on my teeth. I liked the organic feel to the powder and the fact I could easily pronounce all the ingredients in the powder… Activated Charcoal (made from Raw Coconut Shell), Natural Calcium Bentonite Clay and Organic Mint Extract.

All in all, I was glad I tried the charcoal powder. It had intrigued me and I think it would have always fallen into my “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda” category if I hadn’t given it a try. Would I recommend it? Sure. Just because I didn’t notice a change in my tooth shade, doesn’t mean the next person won’t. It was fun. It’s something different. It’s a fad. I’ll stick with my tried and true professional whitening kit.

Before beginning a whitening regimen, please consult with your dentist. He or she can help you make the best choice on which whitening products are best for you based on credible research and facts. Make the most of your whitening experience and only use products that are proven to give you safe, effective results.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, Staff Member at Pike Lake Dental Center

 

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Choosing The Best Tools for You Kids: Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Floss and Mouthwash

After our blog about kids and toothbrushing, we thought we’d take this topic one step further and talk about choosing the best tools to give your child to help them take care of their teeth. There are many, many choices out there. Where do you start? Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Let’s break it down together…

How do you decide on a toothbrush? There are so many choices! Toothbrushes typically have age recommendations listed on the packaging. You’ll see in these photos there are brushes recommended for different ages, from toddlers to 7+ year olds. Soft toothbrushes are always better for kids. If you have questions, talk with your dentist about a toothbrush recommendation for your child.

Notice the age recommendations on the toothbrush packages.

We all should replace our toothbrush every 6 months. Don’t forget to also replace your child’s toothbrush every 6 months. Toothbrushes clean best when the bristles are prone and don’t look like this:

For real – my son’s toothbrush. How did I miss this? It’s in the garbage now.

Which toothpaste is right for your child? Toothpastes are also packaged with age recommendations clearly listed. Oftentimes, no toothpaste is suggested to parents just beginning to brush their baby’s teeth. Training toothpastes are usually fluoride-free and safe to swallow. Training toothpaste is a great idea for little ones, especially babies and toddlers. As your child becomes better at brushing and spitting, a toothpaste with fluoride is recommended by age 4.

Training toothpaste options available at your local retail store.

When should I start flossing my child’s teeth? Right away. Flossing is also highly recommended by dentists for children as their teeth start to fill in. Getting kids used to flossing at 3 or 4 years of age is ideal. Disposable flossers can be purchased in fun shapes for kids. Flossing with a flosser makes the job much easier for little ones with unpracticed fingers. Don’t expect your 4 year old to be able to handle a string of floss. Start with the flossers and establish good habits. The rest will come in time.

Fun flossers!

Mouthwash is fun! As your little one progresses with his or her oral care and can brush their teeth without swallowing the toothpaste, adding mouthwash into their tooth brushing routine is a fun treat. Mouthwashes for children are always alcohol free and almost always contain fluoride. When selecting a mouthwash, I’d recommend you keep in mind the flavor of toothpaste and purchase a complimentary flavored mouthwash. There are lots fun flavors available. My kids loved picking out a new mouthwash at Walmart or Target. Hey, if they were excited about mouthwash, I was one happy mom!

Mouthwash comes in lots of fun colors and flavors.

There are many ways you can make it fun for kids to take care of their teeth. Teach them to fight tooth decay right away. Good brushing habits established at early ages make for positive, lifelong brushing habits. Flossing early on helps combat tooth decay between teeth. Mouthwash provides a fluoride rinse and also helps strengthen and protect teeth. Give your kids all the skills and tools they need to maintain healthy, beautiful smiles from their first tooth all the way through adulthood. A healthy smile is a happy smile!

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, mom of 3 kids and employee at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Kids and Toothbrushing: A Mom’s Scoop

Brushing your teeth for a full two minutes twice a day is extremely important. My kids have been known to go into the bathroom, “brush”, and return to their activity in less than 30 seconds. Either I’m raising the world’s fastest thorough toothbrushers, or I have extremely lazy kids sometimes when it comes to toothbrushing. I’ll let you decide.

When my kids were really little, my husband or I would brush their teeth for them. Sometimes it was a struggle, sometimes it went well. Every time we brushed their teeth, though, we couldn’t wait until they could brush on their own. Eventually, we would sit and watch the kids brush their teeth, making sure they were not missing any areas or cutting their brushing time too short. Over the years we’ve tried using a timer, singing the alphabet multiple times, counting slowly to 100 and other tactics to achieve proper brushing times. Now, at 12, 13 and 15, we let them brush on their own, expecting them to do a proper job. Their dad’s a dentist for goodness sake! I do have to say in their defense, their tooth brushing skills have greatly improved over the years.

The Jugovich kids at about 1, 2 and 4 years old.

For kids, learning to brush all their teeth correctly is sometimes a daunting task. It’s so easy for them to scrub the chewing surfaces of their teeth and their front teeth quickly, feeling as though they’ve done a smashing job. What about brushing the inside surfaces of their teeth close to the roof of their mouth and their tongue? Or brushing the tooth surfaces next to their cheeks? Or brushing their tongue? Those are all important areas to brush.

The best way to teach kids (or adults!) to properly brush their teeth is to start in one quadrant, or area, spending a good 30 seconds brushing all over – top, bottom, inside and outside. For instance, after the upper right teeth are brushed for 30 seconds, move onto the upper left, then down to the lower left, next on to the lower right, and finally the tongue. It really doesn’t matter where they begin, just that 30 seconds is spent on each of the four main areas of the mouth, plus a little extra time for the tongue.

Jack REALLY needed to brush his tongue this day!

Remember parents, kids learn from you too. Let your kids watch you brush your teeth. A lively toothbrushing contest, or brushing your teeth at the same time, is always fun. Leading by example is a powerful form of teaching.

Goofing around and getting ready to brush our teeth.

If attention is an issue, there is a website that plays cute videos designed to help keep your child focused on brushing for a full 2 minutes. Here’s a link to the website 2min2x.org. I actually recommended this website to my sister recently for my little 2 year old niece. I also found another link to a YouTube video that is engaging and colorful. This Blippi video is a hoot and demonstrates toothbrushing for kids. If you cruise the internet, there is a plethora of great information and videos to help maintain attention while brushing.

Another idea to ensure dentist recommended brushing time is to set a timer. I found fun timers for sale at retail stores and on Amazon. I found simple two-minute timers that look a lot like the sand timers in games like Scrabble. A timer on a smartphone would work to track your child’s brushing time too. There are also cute and inexpensive battery powered toothbrushes with timers included in them for children. These can be purchased at retail stores for usually less than $10.

The more fun you make proper tooth brushing, the more fun it becomes for your child. Instilling the skills to help take care of a child’s teeth early is key to preventing tooth decay. Give your little one the skills early to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile his or her entire life.

 

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, mom to 3 kids and employee at Pike Lake Dental Center

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Thoughts About Teeth From a Dentist’s Wife

I often get asked about teeth because people know my husband is a dentist. Luckily, I rarely get the full, open mouth view with a finger pointing to a tooth in the grocery store. People usually save that treat for my husband. Trust me, that has happened before and not just once. All teasing aside, I find people are extremely curious about dentistry and have lots of questions about their teeth. Typically these questions are issues a patient should be addressing with his or her dentist at regular 6 month check ups.

Not surprisingly, most of the people I fall into dental conversations with haven’t been to a dentist in a long time and are embarrassed about the length of time it has been since their last dental visit. I get it. We get busy. We prioritize our time and our finances in different ways. Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned from personal experience: YOUR TEETH ARE IMPORTANT!

Showing off my cheesy smile in 1979.

I have grown up with a love for teeth. My mom worked at a dental office when I was growing up. I started working at a dental office when I was 19 years old and still work in the field. I married a dentist. My husband and I have lots of friends in the dental field – assistants, hygienists, dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, dental lab owners and more. We talk teeth A LOT, even at home. Personally, I brush and floss regularly. I’ve gone through ortho twice. I whiten my teeth. I go in regularly for check ups and cleanings. I realize the value of my teeth. I know I am a freaky exception, but I also want to share that realization with everyone I meet. YOUR TEETH ARE INVALUABLE!

Dr. Matt and his dad, Matt Sr.

Years ago, my father-in-law had a partial denture that needed to be repaired. He was without his partial for about a week while it was at the lab. During that week, my father-in-law had terrible indigestion because he wasn’t able to chew his food properly. He was so excited to get his teeth back! As soon as he did, his digestive issues cleared up. It was wonderful! It was also a testament to the value of teeth.

Also, many, many years ago, we had a young man call our office requesting to have all of his teeth extracted and dentures made for him. This gentleman was in his early twenties at the time. When he explained what he wanted, I was completely perplexed, but I scheduled him for a consultation with our dentist. At the consultation, our dentist refused to extract his healthy teeth and the patient went elsewhere for treatment. I think about that man every so often and wonder if he ever found a dentist willing to extract all his teeth. He was young and healthy. Why in the world could he not see the value in maintaining his natural teeth? I think Dr. Seuss said it best in his book, The Tooth Book, “And when you get your second set, THAT’S ALL THE TEETH YOU’LL EVER GET!” In other words, you only get one chance with your permanent teeth.

Generally, most of the people I fall into dental talk with want to know more about dentistry. How much do certain procedures cost? Can you actually get a crown made in an hour? Is whitening expensive? How much does Invisalign cost? Does your husband do root canal treatments? While I can answer some things generically, others I cannot. I find myself saying over and over, “Just give them a call. Set up an appointment. Someone at our office can answer your questions much better than I can.” While I feel as though I’m a great representative, I’m no expert.

Your teeth are invaluable!

I also find I inadvertently make people feel guilty for not taking better care of their teeth. I get the embarrassed smile and the “I know I should just do it” look. “It” usually being “call for an appointment”. I never mean to make people feel bad about their teeth. I do not judge. Ever. In fact, in those situations I find myself feeling a little embarrassed and I typically make up a crazy excuse like, “I don’t really have the option of not taking care of my teeth – my husband is a dentist.” That may be true, but I think no matter what Matt did for a living, I’d still take care of my teeth to the best of my ability.

Another common topic I hear from people is that they seem to constantly be looking for a dental office to call “home”. They may be new to town or their previous dentist retired. There is no relationship established and they are searching to establish one. I get it. I’m all about relationships. Now days, I feel as though my kids’ doctors are here one year, gone the next. We just get established with a physician and we hear he or she is leaving for another clinic out of state. That lack of provider continuity seems to greatly affect patients. If their provider is inconsistent, they become inconsistent patients.

Here’s the crazy fact about dentistry: Dentists are ultra consistent. (They also save EVERYTHING, but I’ll tell you about that in another blog post.) It takes a tremendous amount of effort and financial commitment to establish a dental office. Typically, a person who invests that much of themselves into a dental practice is going to be there for a long, long time.

My stash of business cards.

Once a patient establishes with a dental office that they trust and feel comfortable at, it usually turns into a long-term relationship. I encourage people to just call and schedule an appointment for a cleaning and exam or for a consultation. Meet the staff. Get a feel for the place. Let it become less scary or new to you. Begin to let it feel like home. The first step is always the hardest: make the initial call. Of course, I do try to always carry Matt’s business cards with me in my purse, but establishing with someone – anyone – is the important thing.

In conclusion, yes, I love teeth. I love perfect teeth. I love imperfect teeth. If you and I have talked face to face, you can bet I have taken notice of your teeth. We are all built differently and that is what makes each of usspecial. The most important thing is that you’re taking care of the teeth you have. I love seeing people smile. I’m not going to lie – I especially love when it’s my husband that partners with you to make your smile the best it can be, but you seeking consistent care for your teeth is most important thing. The first step is the hardest: call for an appointment. I promise you, at Pike Lake Dental Center, we will do our best to make it an easy, pain-free and pleasant experience for you. Your best smile is our goal! We are a wonderful place to call home.

Written and submitted by Stephanie Jugovich, wife and life-long cheerleader of Dr. Matt

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