Many people don't see a dentist on a regular basis. They go only when they feel they have a problem. At Kneib Dentistry, we call this "crisis treatment" as opposed to "preventive treatment."
While these patients may feel they are saving money, it usually ends up costing much more in both dollars and time. The reason for this is that most dental problems don't have any symptoms until they reach the advanced stages.
An example is tooth decay. At Kneib Dentistry, we hear all the time, "Nothing hurts... I don't have any problems." But tooth decay doesn't hurt! Until, that is, it gets close to the nerve of the tooth.
Then a root canal and crown are usually necessary instead of the small filling, which could have been placed several years ago when the cavity was small. Dr. Kneib can usually detect a cavity 3 or 4 years before it may develop any symptoms. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a tremendous cavity and they have never felt a thing!
Diets low in certain nutrients reduce resistance to oral and dental infections like periodontal disease (gum disease) and decay. Dr. Kneib feels a healthy immune system is essential to controlling periodontal disease.
Counseling in the Four Basic Food Groups will improve dental health and general health. The consumption of sugar, especially in sticky forms or in a baby bottle while sleeping, contributes to the rapid development of dental decay.
The trace nutrient fluoride may not be adequately supplied by bottle or municipal water supplies throughout the Erie area. Supplementation with oral tablets and topical application will reduce the incidence of dental decay by more than 60%.
Together, a balanced diet, daily use of fluoride, effective brushing, and sensible eating habits can reduce the risk of, or even prevent, infectious dental disease.
Fluoride, in proper dosage, has been shown to significantly reduce dental decay. When fluoridated water has less than the ideal amount or is not available, fluoride supplements are recommended. (A call to your local water district is all that is necessary to determine whether your water has fluoride or not.)
When supplements are needed, the administration of fluoride supplements should begin shortly after birth and continue through the time of eruption of the second permanent molars (approx. 12 years of age).
Regular dental check-ups at Kneib Dentistry should begin no later than 18 months of age.
Fluoride has been a great benefit to patients of all ages in helping prevent dental decay. Regular brushing and flossing lowers the chance of developing "cavities."
At Kneib Dentistry, we know that the most decay-prone areas of teeth are the grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, which require further preventive care.
To prevent decay, a plastic-like coating called a sealant should be painted on the chewing surfaces of all the back teeth. Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90% to 100%.
The American Dental Association recommends, and Dr. Kneib agrees, that sealants be placed as soon as the first adult back teeth come in at age 6 or 7. Sealants should continue to be used as each adult back tooth comes into the mouth. All back teeth that need to be sealed are present by age 13. Sealant application is simple and fast.
One of the easiest problems to spot is a build-up of plaque. Plaque is the soft, sticky layer of bacteria, which is constantly forming on the teeth.
Usually it is invisible to the naked eye, but when a person is not brushing adequately, it can build up to where it appears to be a thick whitish coating on the teeth at the gum line. If not removed, it can lead to gum disease .
Another potential problem, which is easy to spot, is missing teeth. Many assume that if they are still able to eat, they are OK.
But very often, losing just one tooth can lead to the loss of support, and teeth begin to drift into the empty space, causing a change in the bite. It also forces the remaining teeth to carry an additional load, sometimes past their ability to adapt. In most cases, when even one tooth is lost, the remaining teeth suffer and are more likely to be lost as well.
First visit by first birthday sums it up. Your child should visit a dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age. An early examination at Kneib Dentistry and preventive care will protect your child's smile now and in the future.