My Blog

Posts for: March, 2015

By Constance E. Smith, DDS
March 24, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Plenty of parents use little tricks to persuade young ones to eat their vegetables, wash their hands, or get to bed on time. But when actress Jennie Garth wanted to help her kids develop healthy dental habits, she took it a step further, as she explained in a recent interview on Fox News.

“Oh my gosh, there's a froggy in your teeth!” the star of the '90s hit series Beverly Hills 90210 would tell her kids. “I've got to get him out!”

When her children — daughters Luca, Lola, and Fiona — spit out the toothpaste, Garth would surreptitiously slip a small toy frog into the sink and pretend it had come from one of their mouths. This amused the kids so much that they became engaged in the game, and let her brush their teeth for as long as necessary.

Garth's certainly got the right idea. Teaching children to develop good oral hygiene habits as early as possible helps set them up for a lifetime of superior dental health. Parents should establish a brushing routine with their kids starting around age 2, when the mouth is becoming filled with teeth. A soft, child's size toothbrush with a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste and plenty of parental help is good for toddlers. By around age 6, when they've developed more manual dexterity, the kids can start taking over the job themselves.

Here's another tip: It's easy to find out how good a cleaning job your kids are doing on their own teeth. Over-the counter products are available that use a system of color coding to identify the presence of bacterial plaque. With these, you can periodically check whether children are brushing effectively. Another way of checking is less precise, but it works anywhere: Just teach them to run their tongue over their teeth. If the teeth fell nice and smooth, they're probably clean, too. If not... it's time to pull out the frog.

And don't forget about the importance of regular dental checkups — both for your kids and yourself. “Like anything, I think our kids mirror what we do,” says Garth. We couldn't agree more.

If you need more information about helping kids develop good oral hygiene — or if it's time for a checkup — don't hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Constance E. Smith, DDS
March 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Crowns  

If you've noticed that your metal crowns are starting to look worn, it may be time for an all-porcelain replacement.

Dental technology has gone through a lot of changes over the years. From anesthesia to restorations, the dental industry has made great strides to maintain oral health and improve the lives of their patients. While crowns remain a stable, durable way of restoring Dental Crownsor replacing teeth, old crowns may become unsightly after many years of wear. Here's how Eastern Shore Smile Solutions can update those old metal crowns.

Metal crowns

Made of gold or a combination of alloys, metal crowns were the standard restorations for a long time. And while they are still the preferred material for crowns on the back teeth because of their durability, they may need to be modernized for the teeth that show when you smile. Metal crowns are so named because they have a metal base with porcelain overlaid on their surface. Over time, the gum tissue can recede and the metal will begin to show through the edges of the crown. This displays dark gray areas that can resemble decay and negates the cosmetic purpose of the crown.

Porcelain crowns

While the metal crowns may still be functional, all-porcelain crowns look much more natural and attractive. They are designed to match your natural teeth perfectly and are made of the same material throughout the entire restoration. Therefore, they will maintain their appearance for as long as you have them - which can be several decades with proper care and scheduled visits to your Easton dentist.

Maintaining good dental hygiene - brushing, flossing, and regular checkups - is the best way to preserve both natural teeth and crowns, regardless of their age or composition. Talk to the professionals at the next visit to your Talbot County dentist's office to learn how you can keep your smile looking and feeling its best.

Do you have teeth that are crooked, bent, misshapen, or cracked? How about teeth that are so misaligned that it's difficult to offer up an earnest smile to anyone?
Fortunately for you, your smile doesn't have to stay crooked, as Connect. Create. Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is the leader inContouring and Reshaping rejuvenating dental health across the Jackson, MI, area. That's because it offers a variety of different dental procedures, so you can present a beautiful smile to each and every onlooker. After all, straightening teeth that are bent or crooked and filling in those that have chips or cracks allows you to have more confidence in your smile - which gives you a greater reason to smile to begin with!
For teeth that have deficiencies like those mentioned above, contouring and reshaping them to perfection is a viable option conducted right at Dr. Constance E. Smith's office. The contouring procedure is cosmetic in nature though it can also be used to enhance other restorative periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening or gum pocket reduction.
The treatment itself involves scalpels, lasers, or radiosurgery; the option that best fits your own dental needs should be discussed by you and your dentist. Whichever treatment option you choose, the recovery period afterward will typically take between a few days and a few weeks, depending on how comprehensive your procedure was, before your mouth is fully healed.
You can help your pain feel at ease more quickly when you:
  • Take over-the-counter pain reliever medications like Tylenol or Advil (but not aspirin, which leads to bleeding)
  • Eat only soft foods for at least a few days following surgery
  • Heed your dentist's instructions exactly about how to brush your teeth while your mouth heals
Even if you're already perfectly happy with your smile, Dr. Smith gives free stuff to the winners of her Tuesday Dental Trivia question, which is different every week and posted on her Facebook page! The gift for a correct Dental Trivia answer is a $10 gift card for Jackson Coffee Company, and the connections she makes with Facebook participants is priceless.
If you'd like more information on why contouring and reshaping your teeth help revitalize your grin or how you can get in on a piece of the Dental Trivia action every Tuesday, give one of Dr. Smith's helpful dental associates at Connect. Create. Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry a call today at (517) 787-7520 for the leading dental solutions your mouth's been missing!

By Constance E. Smith, DDS
March 09, 2015
Category: Oral Health

If you’ve noticed a small sore in your mouth, it’s possible you have a non-contagious disease known as lichen planus. Although usually benign, it’s still a good idea to have it examined and monitored.

The condition is so named because its lesions are similar in appearance to lichen, the algae and fungi organism often found on rocks and trees. It’s believed to be a type of autoimmune disease, in which the body treats some of its own cells as foreign and reacts adversely to them. Certain medications and substances may also cause a lichenoid reaction. Besides the inner cheeks, gums or tongue, lichen planus may also appear on other skin or mucous surfaces on the wrists, legs or fingernails.

When it appears inside the mouth it usually resembles a lacy pattern of white lines or ulceration. Gum tissues may become red and inflamed, with some soreness after brushing or eating. Although there’s no known cure for lichen planus, it rarely causes serious problems — in fact, you may not even be aware you have the condition unless pointed out during a dental exam. It may, in time, fade away.

If the lesions do become bothersome (painful, itchy or overly-sensitive), there are some ways to ease discomfort: brushing with a soft toothbrush (to minimize irritation), flossing, and avoiding acidic or spicy foods and beverages which have been known to cause flare-ups. Managing stress is also helpful, and a topical steroid may be prescribed for more severe outbreaks.

Perhaps the greatest concern with lichen planus, though, is it may resemble more serious conditions, particularly oral cancer. The only way to be certain that it is a benign condition is to perform a biopsy on some of the affected tissue. If you notice a problem, be sure to visit us for a complete examination. And regardless of whether you have the condition or not, regular oral cancer screenings, as well as limits on alcohol consumption and stopping use of tobacco, will also reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Odds are if you have a case of lichen planus it isn’t causing you any problems. If it does cause you discomfort, though, you can take steps to ease your symptoms.

If you would like more information on lichen planus and similar oral conditions, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.