In a few days, we’ll be wishing each other “Happy New Year!”! For most of us, the New Year signals a time to make resolutions for the months ahead. We may decide to eat healthier or exercise more. How many of us think to include our dental health in our plans for the year? After all, healthy teeth are what allow us to chew that healthy food (as well as the rewards we give ourselves for reaching some of these goals!)
The health of your mouth is also linked to your overall health. Now, a healthy mouth will not magically solve all your medical problems, but it also won’t hurt them. You’ll also have the added benefit of being more likely to keep your own teeth and being less likely to have gum disease or dental cavities. A pretty smile is an advantage in many areas of life.
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, you will probably need to start your road to dental health there. Hard deposits on your teeth need to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Hard buildup on your teeth causes your gums to be sore just like a hard pebble in your shoe can cause a sore foot. Dental cavities or infections also need to be addressed.
Once you have your mouth on the road to its best dental health, you can maintain it by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day to clean the areas where your toothbrush can’t reach, and seeing your dentist at regular intervals.
Of course, we all know that despite our best intentions, many resolutions are discarded within the first few weeks of the New Year. In fact, this very subject came up recently at a brunch meeting at which I first heard of a simple method taught by BJ Fogg, PhD for making something new a habit. It’s a very simple method with only 3 steps. I will share the basics here:
- Step 1: Simplify what you want to do into very small steps. It might even be so small as to seem silly. For example: Moving the postcard from your dentist to a spot where you’ll see it everyday, Moving your floss container so it sits next to your toothbrush or toothpaste, or Committing to flossing one tooth a day.
- Step 2: Decide after which step in your current routine, this step will fit. Putting it after an action that is part of your routine will make it easier to remember. For example, you might decide to Floss one tooth after your morning toothbrushing or to Preschedule your next dental check up visit while you’re at your dentist’s office so you don’t have to remember to call for an appointment.
- Step 3: Focus on incorporating this tiny step into your routine each and every day. At first you will probably need reminders, but over time it will become easier.
You’re probably saying “How will committing to flossing one tooth make a difference?” Starting with a small commitment that you know you can keep increases your chances of success. Once you’ve successfully built this small piece into your routine, you can start the process over again with the next small step. Seeing yourself succeed at each of these smaller steps will spur you on to continue the process until you reach the desired result.
If you do not have a dentist to start you along this process, I invite you to call my
office at 440-960-1940 or contact us through my website at www.drjrobb.com
During your latest dental cleaning and checkup, your dentist notices a skin rash around your mouth. You sigh—it’s been going on for some time. And every ointment you’ve tried doesn’t help.
You may have peri-oral dermatitis, a type of skin rash dentists sometime notice during dental treatment. It doesn’t occur often—usually in only 1% of the population—but when it does, it can be resistant to common over-the-counter ointments.
That’s because peri-oral dermatitis is somewhat different from other facial rashes. Often mistaken as acne, the rash can appear as small red bumps, blisters or pus-filled pimples most often around the mouth (but not on the lips), nostrils or even the eyes. Sometimes the rash can sting, itch or burn.
People with peri-oral dermatitis often try medicated ointments to treat it. Many of these contain steroids that work well on other skin conditions; however, they can have an opposite effect on peri-oral dermatitis.
Because the steroids cause a constriction in the tiny blood vessels of the skin, the rash may first appear to be fading. This is short-lived, though, as the rash soon returns with a vengeance. Prolonged steroid applications can also thin the affected skin, making it more susceptible to infection and resistant to healing.
Peri-oral dermatitis requires a different treatment approach. The first step is to stop using any kind of steroidal cream, as well as moisturizers, ointments and both prescription and non-prescription medications. Instead, you should only use a mild soap to wash your face.
You may find the rash looking worse for a few days but be patient and continue to avoid ointments or creams. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe oral antibiotics, usually of the tetracycline family. It may take several weeks of antibiotic treatment until the skin noticeably clears up.
For most people, this approach puts their rash into permanent remission. Some, though, may see a reoccurrence, in which case it’s usually best to repeat treatment. With a little patience and care, though, you’ll finally see this persistent rash fade away.
These blog articles started because of a column called Health Talk in "The Morning Journal" newspaper. I have enjoyed writing them. My inspiration for topics comes from a variety of sources: questions from my patients or the public, my interest in English language (sayings about teeth), and others.
Unfortunately, my contact at "The Morning Journal" informed me earlier this month (December 2019) that the newspaper has decided to discontinue the Health Talk column at the end of 2019. I appreciate all the readers who have followed my articles there and have invited them to continue to read articles here, on my blog at www.drjrobb.com. I appreciate all of you who read them here on the website blog as well.
I am sad to see Health Talk end, but hope that the future will bring additional opportunities.
I will continue to post articles on this blog! Currently, you can see when a new one posts if you're a member of my Facebook group www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb or you can subscribe to the RSS feed here (That's the little orange symbol with the 3 curves that looks like a sideways wifi signal.) or just bookmark the page and check back.
Don't forget, we have moved to a new location just east down the street from where we previously were. We are working on getting signs for the building and the signpost. Our move happened about a full month before we thought it would, which is good for us, but it does mean not everything was as far along "in the pipeline" as we had originally anticipated.
Our new address is 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd. W, Lorain, OH 44053. We are in a one story, 4 unit, gray building located between the old Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (the parking lot now houses overflow trucks from LakeShore Auto across the street) and Dr. Sfeir's office. Our unit is the one closest to the former Re-Store. Other businesses in our building are Styling by Alessio's (hair and nails), AllState Insurance, and Crawford Resources. Across the street is the pink building that houses Rehabilitation Consultants and Lake Shore Auto's lot.
Our phone number remains the same--440-960-1940. Hope to see you there!
I’ve had some questions from several of you about my Waterlase MD dental laser. This device has multiple settings so it can be used for a variety of dental procedures, though it is not yet able to be used for all of them. Here are a few of the ways the Waterlase MD might make your dental visit easier!
- Fillings and Sealants*: Water energized by the laser, powers away decay and creates a better bonding surface for tooth-colored filling material or sealant. The laser also helps reduce the number of bacteria that remain in the space we prepare, which often means less sensitivity for you after the filling. The laser has its own anesthetic effect, which means that most people can have treatment without needing the numbing “novocaine”.
- Mouth Sores: Sores in and around your mouth are often painful. The dental laser can create a “bandage” type coating over some mouth sores to reduce the pain or discomfort they create. Anecdotal research suggests that areas treated with the laser will not have another sore develop in the same spot.
- Root Canals Disinfection is a key factor in clearing the infected tissue from the center of your tooth. The Waterlase MD is used in addition to conventional root canal therapy because laser energy has been shown to reach some branches off the main canal that conventional methods may not reach.
- Gums The Waterlase MD has several uses on gums. It can be used for cosmetics—to make gum contours match on front teeth or to remove excess gum tissue. It can also be used in restoring a tooth when gum tissue is overlapping an area where your dentist needs to work. The laser can be used to make that area visible. It can also be used to keep the bacterial count in a pocket between your tooth and gum low to promote gum healing.
- Frenums Frenums are thin, muscular bands of tissue found in several areas of our mouths. If a frenum attaches high on the gum tissue, it may affect speech, push your teeth apart, or pull on your gums, causing the gums to recede down the roots of the adjacent teeth. The dental laser broadens these tissue bands to relax the tension on the surrounding tissues.
Overall, the laser creates less heat, less pressure, and less vibration than traditional treatment methods. As mentioned above, many procedures can be done without numbing. It creates less trauma and bleeding versus traditional surgical techniques, to promote faster healing and make your recovery more comfortable.
*Please note that any metal will act like a mirror and reflect the laser energy. For this reason, if you already have an amalgam (metal) filling or a metal crown on a tooth, the Waterlase MD cannot be used on that tooth if the area is near the metal restoration you already have.
If you’d like to learn more about laser dentistry and how it can be used in your dental care, please call my office at 440-960-1940 or visit my website at www.drjrobb.com You can also find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
The holidays draw families together like no other season as loved ones gather from near and far to eat, drink and be merry—and exchange gifts. For the little kids that means toys (and sometimes for the big “kids” too!). Unfortunately, a toy meant to delight children could instead cause them harm, including injuries to their teeth and gums.
Be selective, then, when giving toys to the special children in your life this holiday season. Here are a few tips to remember to help protect their teeth and gums from injury.
Avoid toys with small parts. Given infants’ and toddlers’ propensity to put objects in their mouth, try to avoid choosing toys with small parts. While the main concern with smaller toys is the risk for choking, small, hard objects in the mouth could also cause dental damage. The danger is especially acute if a child falls while a toy or similar object is in their mouth.
Watch out for hard, sharp-edged toys. Younger children especially like to bite and gnaw on things. It’s prudent, then, to stay away from hard plastic toys or those with sharp points or edges—these could chip teeth or cut into the gums. Instead, look for toys made of more pliable plastic or fabric, and with rounder surfaces. When in doubt, look for labeling on packaging that indicates the appropriate ages for a particular toy.
Discard damaged toys. With your kids’ toy boxes brimming over with new holiday treasures, it’s a good time to do a safety inventory of their older toys. Besides those they’ve outgrown, look for toys that may have been damaged or broken. Although initially they may have been safe, toys in poor condition might pose many of the dangers to teeth and gums we’ve previously mentioned. Damaged toys should be either repaired or discarded.
Supervise their playtime. You might also want to keep a watchful eye out as your kids play with their new toys. While they do need their own time to be imaginative during play, children could put their toys to uses not intended for them, increasing the risk of injury. A bit of gentle supervision is a good idea to prevent unintended—and unwelcome—consequences.
The holidays are a magical time for all of us, but especially for children. Follow these holiday toy tips to prevent dental injuries that could ruin your family fun.
If you would like more information about protecting your child’s dental health, please contact us or schedule a consultation.
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