2401 Congress St
Portland , ME 04102

Does My Child Need Sealants?

March 1, 2016

Yes, your child should have sealants if deep grooves or fissures are present on their back teeth. The CDC reports:  Dental cavities are the most common chronic disease in children ages 5-17 years- four times as common as asthma 50% of children have dental decay by age 11 Sealants are a protective barrier that a dental professional will use to fill in the small pits and grooves in your child’s teeth, and are a simple solution to help lower the risk of cavities. How to prevent decay: 1. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and sports beverages 2. Choose healthy snacks like cheese, carrots or celery 3. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste (if child is able to spit out toothpaste) 4. Floss once daily to help clean in between teeth 5. Place sealants on healthy molars to prevent food getting caught on the chewing surfaces Sealants are very easy to place and only take a few minutes of your time; this could even be done at your child’s next dental cleaning. If you have any questions or concerns about sealants, ask your dental professional at your next appointment. Call Dr. Kathryn Buss at Portland Smiles...

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Why do I need to replace a pulled tooth?

February 23, 2016

Even though you may be able to adapt to a space in your mouth after loss of a tooth, over time complications will arise due to movement of remaining teeth and bone loss. The surrounding teeth tend to move into the space. Movement of teeth changes one’s bite.  Biting forces that the previous tooth withstood are put on other surrounding teeth and often times at wrong angles due to the rotations that occur.  A change of bite and increase in forces can be a spiral effect that causes further tooth loss or need for more dental work. Bone loss not only reduces integrity of bone but causes cheeks to collapse in and possible enlargement of the tongue. Options to replace a missing tooth are: Implant with crown Bridge Implant partial/Complete Dentures Partial/Complete Dentures If you are missing a tooth, it is strongly advised to make an appointment with your dentist.  For further questions, call...

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Why do I need a nightguard?

February 16, 2016

Bruxism is the involuntary or habitual action of clenching and grinding teeth. A nightguard is a custom fitted appliance made by your dentist.  It protects your teeth from the side forces caused by clenching and grinding at night time.  Without proper nightguard treatment, over time bruxism can cause significant damage to your teeth, jaws and muscles.  Often one may not know they are grinding because it occurs during sleep.  Nightguards do not always eliminate the habit of clenching and grinding, but it protects your teeth from the effects.  Essentially the nightguard wears down instead of your teeth, muscles and supporting structures. Signs of grinding in the mouth include:    Flat spots or concavities Short teeth Sensitive teeth Gum recession Cracked or broken teeth Muscle tenderness in the facial/jaw muscles Headaches Causes of bruxism are not always known.  However, stress and anxiety are common triggers.  A misaligned bite or missing teeth may be other reasons.  If you have one or many of these symptoms, it is strongly advised to make an appointment with a dentist. CONTACT US...

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Gum disease, do I really have it?

February 9, 2016

  Gum disease is very common and affects more than 50% of the adult population. Symptoms could be as little as bleeding gums, or as severe as losing teeth. So how can you tell if you have gum disease? Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing is the first stage of gum disease called gingivitis. Although you may not see any swollen gums, do not overlook this. This is the best time to act. Make sure you are brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and using mouth rinse in your oral hygiene routine. If the bleeding persists, you will want to get a hold of your local dental professionals. While gingivitis is reversible the next stage, bone and gum loss, is not. When plaque builds up under your gums and is not removed tartar starts to form. Irritants like tartar that stay under the gums for a prolonged period of time will cause bone and gum loss also known as periodontal disease. Depending on how much bone you have lost your teeth may become mobile. Other signs of progressed periodontal disease are gum recession, bad breathe and tastes. If you believe you have tartar build up or periodontal disease,...

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Why are my teeth sensitive?

October 19, 2015

Due to the temperature, are you unable to enjoy a bowl of ice cream or your morning cup of coffee? Does eating a piece of candy hurt? Does breathing in cold air make you wince? Do you avoid brushing or flossing due to sensitivity? Any of these may be caused by the following? Plaque buildup along the gumline Tooth decay Gingivitis Receding gums Brushing teeth too hard Some tooth whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes Your age Cracked or broken teeth Acidic foods and beverages Abscess Get Assistance Everyone’s symptoms are unique and there can be many factors contributing, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist to properly pinpoint what’s causing your sensitivity. We can assess the true cause and help you enjoy your favorite foods...

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Why do I need a crown and not a filling?

October 16, 2015

Both crowns and fillings treat damaged and decayed teeth. So why did your dentist recommend a crown and not a filling? It’s easy to select the cheapest route but let’s take a step back and discover why your dentist chose the crown over the filling. From a dentist’s perspective, the major reason for choosing one over the other is the size of defective tooth structure and the longevity of the desired treatment. The dentist chooses the solution which is better for your dental circumstances and truthfully the money does not influence the educated decision. Fillings are generally recommended for smaller cavities and chips, closing spaces, and well worn as well. Fillings allow the dentist to fill in the hole where the cavity was or rebuild tooth structure that was missing. Over time the strength of the chewing and biting forces in the mouth may wear the filling down requiring a replacement or crown. A crown is a cap that goes over a tooth. Think of a crown like a bear hug or a newborn being swaddled, the outside layer protects the inside not allowing it to move or, in the case of a tooth, it holds together the remaining...

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What are the best ways to brush my toddler’s teeth?

October 15, 2015

Being a mom of two young boys, I am very aware of the exhaustion and frustration that comes along with brushing a toddler’s mouth. Even though I’m a dentist, I still get the melt downs, refusals to open, and yes a few times I have been bitten.  Daily morning and evening brushings can be daunting.  Here are a few tips that help me: Start with a routine early in the toddler’s years (age 12-18mo). Have them watch you brush and floss your teeth. Show them how to brush theirs. Let them try! As they get older and more “independent” toddlers tend to like to help. Remember toddler’s manual dexterity is not completely developed so it is important to still brush their teeth for them. My toddler likes to remind me, “I can do that all by myself”. Make it fun. Ask questions like, Can you show me how big a hippo can open? How about a lion? Use whatever animal your child may like. My little guy is still convinced a giraffe opens the biggest! Another option is to count teeth while brushing to distract them or you can pretend to wipe away “sugar bugs.” Try a special “big...

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