Dentist Blog

Posts for: May, 2015

By Northside Family Dentistry
May 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health

As is the case with most celebs today, Beyonce is no stranger to sharing on social media… but she really got our attention with a video she recently posted on instagram. The clip shows the superstar songstress — along with her adorable three-year old daughter Blue Ivy — flossing their teeth! In the background, a vocalist (sounding remarkably like her husband Jay-Z) repeats the phrase “flossin’…flossin’…” as mom and daughter appear to take care of their dental hygiene in time with the beat:

We’re happy that this clip highlights the importance of helping kids get an early start on good oral hygiene. And, according to authorities like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, age 3 is about the right time for kids to begin getting involved in the care of their own teeth.

Of course, parents should start paying attention to their kids’ oral hygiene long before age three. In fact, as soon as baby’s tiny teeth make their first appearance, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3, kids will develop the ability to spit out toothpaste. That’s when you can increase the amount of toothpaste a little, and start explaining to them how you clean all around the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth. Depending on your child’s dexterity, age 3 might be a good time to let them have a try at brushing by themselves.

Ready to help your kids take the first steps to a lifetime of good dental checkups? Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, and gently guide them as they clean in front, in back, on all surfaces of each tooth. At first, it’s a good idea to take turns brushing. That way, you can be sure they’re learning the right techniques and keeping their teeth plaque-free, while making the experience challenging and fun.

Most kids will need parental supervision and help with brushing until around age 6. As they develop better hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow through with the cleaning regimen, they can be left on their own more. But even the best may need some “brushing up” on their tooth-cleaning techniques from time to time.

What about flossing? While it’s an essential part of good oral hygiene, it does take a little more dexterity to do it properly. Flossing the gaps between teeth should be started when the teeth begin growing close to one another. Depending on how a child’s teeth are spaced, perhaps only the back ones will need to be flossed at first. Even after they learn to brush, kids may still need help flossing — but a floss holder (like the one Beyonce is using in the clip) can make the job a lot easier.

If you would like more information about maintaining your children’s oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Northside Family Dentistry
May 08, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   tmd   tmj disorders  

Have you noticed a clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your jaw? As many as 36 million U.S. adults experience this phenomenon in one or both of the joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull.

While the sounds may be disconcerting, there’s generally no cause for concern in the absence of other symptoms. They’re most likely caused by a harmless shift in the position of the disk inside each temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and it can diminish or disappear entirely over time. But, if you’re also experiencing persistent discomfort, severe pain, or limited function in your jaw (which can include getting it “stuck” in an opened or closed position), then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder — part of a complex set of conditions affecting one or both jaw joints, muscles and/or other surrounding tissues. (You may have heard the condition called TMJ, which is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. Health care professionals prefer TMJD or TMD.)

Depending on the severity, TMD can interfere with your ability to speak, chew and even make facial expressions. The cause is unclear, but genes, gender, environment, stress and behavior are believed to play a role. It can also be symptomatic of a larger medical problem, such as fibromyalgia, which can produce pain all over the body.

Management Options for TMD

TMD traditionally was viewed as a bite problem (malocclusion) requiring mechanical correction — e.g., through orthodontic braces or surgery. But the current therapeutic model approaches TMD as an orthopedic problem (joint inflammation, muscle soreness, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk damage) and favors a sequence of conservative, reversible procedures — hot or cold compresses in the jaw area, soft foods, physical therapy/massage, medication, and/or a bite guard to decrease pressure on jaw joints from tooth clenching and grinding — prior to more aggressive, irreversible treatment alternatives.

If you would like more information about TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief from TMD” and “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”

By Northside Family Dentistry
May 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

If you’re like many people, two little words may strike fear in your heart. Those words? Root canal. Some people are even more nervous about having a root canal than having a tooth pulled. But your Macon dentists Clinton M. Watson, DDS, MBA and Nicole L. Jackson, DDS, at Northside Family Dentistry want you to know that there are many myths about root canals that are simply Root Canalunfounded. Dispelling those myths may help calm your fears about having the procedure.

Myth: Root Canals are a Painful Procedure

Truth: Contrary to popular belief, root canals should not be any more painful than any other dental procedure. Your dentist will numb your teeth and gums for the root canal and you should not experience any discomfort. If you experienced a toothache prior to the procedure, that pain should be relieved after the root canal is performed because it removes the infected tissue. If you are especially nervous, Macon patients have the option of choosing sedation dentistry which can calm your fears or even let you sleep during the procedure.

Myth: Root Canals are a Long Process

Truth: Most root canal procedures can be completed by your dentist in one or two dental appointments. After the root canal is performed, your dentist will then assess the type of tooth restoration that is necessary which may take additional dental visits.

Myth: Root Canals Can Cause Sickness

Truth: Once upon a time, some dentists believed that releasing the trapped bacteria in the tooth’s pulp could cause illness. But no current research supports this theory. Root canals do not appear to cause any illness.

Myth: Only an Aching Tooth Needs a Root Canal

Truth: Even if a tooth is not infected or hurting, it still may need a root canal. In some cases, a tooth is dead or dying and a root canal is necessary to prevent it from becoming infected. Your dentist will monitor your oral health at each visit and let you know if any of your teeth show signs of decay that may warrant a root canal.

If you’ve been nervous to make that dental appointment because you fear those two little words, fear no more. A root canal can be just what your teeth need in order to be saved and to stay intact. If you’re still nervous, Northside Family Dentistry in Macon, GA offers sedation dentistry that can help you through the procedure. Schedule an appointment today to talk to your dentist about the benefits of a root canal to save a tooth at (478) 475-1976.