Recent Articles

Spring Cleaning for Your Smile!

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Spring Cleaning for Your Smile!
“Spring cleaning” should be part of every child’s routine, especially when it comes to their teeth! Even with regular daily brushing and flossing, routine cleanings, or “prophylaxsis” (literally “preventive treatment of disease”) at the dentist should be an important part of your child’s spring routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported the first rise in 40 years of children with cavities in their baby teeth — with kids ages 2 to 5 bearing the largest increase. In the case of professional teeth cleaning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and a twice-annual examination, check-up, and cleaning can go a long way in helping your child avoid being a part of this trend.


It Makes a Difference!


Regular cleanings, including scaling and polishing by your child’s dentist or hygienist, will remove plaque and tartar (mineralized plaque) which builds up over time and is nearly impossible to remove with regular brushing or flossing. Dentists use special tools or ultrasonic sound waves to help remove plaque or tartar. Without a regularly scheduled cleaning, plaque and tartar can attack the gums, which can lead to gingivitis and a number of other complications.

Professional cleanings and regular exams can also bolster your child’s at-home dental hygiene routine and give your dentist a chance to take a close look at your child’s mouth to ensure that they don’t have any problems that have gone undetected.
On top of keeping their smile squeaky clean and making sure their oral health is in check, a professional cleaning appointment gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with the doctor about your child’s daily dental routine or any concerns you may have. Regular exams and cleanings can give the dentist a good idea of what your child’s habits are, allowing them to suggest changes you can help your child make to improve his or her oral health. Make cleanings a part of your child’s spring routine, and get them on the right path to a longtime healthy and happy smile!

Scared No More: 5 Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists

Posted by on Mar 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Scared No More: 5 Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists

If your child is afraid of the dentist, they’re not alone. In fact, a majority of adults have a fear of the dentist –- as many as 75% — according to the Dental Fears Research clinic at the University of Washington. This anxiety is primarily caused by a bad experience of his or her own during childhood. But such fears are unfounded, and helping to make your child comfortable during their visit is the best way to ensure a positive experience for everyone. What are some of the ways you can help?

1. Don’t Teach Them To Be Scared: One thing you have to realize is that fear of the dentist isn’t passed with mother’s milk. It’s an acquired fear. Ironically enough, parents are often the ones most responsible for teaching this fear to their unsuspecting offprings. Remember, kids don’t know they’re supposed to be scared. The first visit to a dentist is the same to them as going to a circus or a science museum. There are flashing lights, toys and masked people all around.


2. Read a Book: A trip to your local library will provide a number of titles that will help your child understand how the dentist helps keep their teeth healthy and clean.


3. Role Play: Help your child develop a positive attitude toward the dentist while having fun at the same time. Plan a make-believe trip to the dentist in your own living room. Keep it light and explain to them what their visit will be like. Whether it’s a routine cleaning, x-ray, or even a filling, knowing what to expect in advance will make the real trip much easier.


4. Distract Them: Bring along a favorite toy or game for your child to play with. Keeping them occupied helps to keep their mind in a happy place.


5. Positive Reinforcement: If your child has a positive experience at the dentist office, reward their good behavior with a trip to the zoo or another favorite spot. Next time they will look forward to going to the dentist!

Regular check ups and cleanings are key to a healthy mouth. With scheduled visits for proactive dental care, more serious problems and issues can be avoided altogether, and the dentist’s office might never need to be scary again.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe For Kids?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are Dental X-Rays Safe For Kids?
Because children’s mouths are growing and changing constantly, and a visual inspection alone cannot tell your dentist everything they may need to know about your child’s mouth, eventually every child will need a dental X-ray. But are dental X-rays safe, and should your child have them taken?


What are the Facts Surrounding X-rays?


You can rest assured knowing that today’s dental X-rays are safer than ever before. So safe, in fact, that the amount of radiation that a child is exposed to in a bite-wing X-ray (image of the back molars) is roughly equivalent to the amount of radiation they are exposed to in the environment on a daily basis. And many dental offices today use digital X-rays, which use roughly 80 percent less radiation than conventional film X-rays, so the effects may be even less.


How X-rays Are Beneficial


The benefits to kids’ dental health from obtaining X-rays, including diagnosing decay, pathology or any abnormalities, far outweigh the risks of being exposed to this minimal dose of radiation. And while X-rays are proven to be relatively harmless, you can ensure your child is even safer by making sure they wear a lead apron with a lead thyroid collar to further minimize any potential impact.


Since all children are different, their need for x-rays will vary as well. Often times an X-ray is utilized to help your dentist diagnose developments that cannot be viewed through a visual examination. Children are generally more susceptible to tooth decay than adults, and children with a high risk of tooth decay are recommended to have X-rays taken every six months. Lower risk children may require X-rays less frequently (as seldom as every two or three years), so you can significantly cut the number of your child’s X-rays by promoting good oral health at home.


WIN: Chocolate is good for your teeth!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

WIN: Chocolate is good for your teeth!

February. Despite the cold,  there is always something about February that helps to melt away all that freeze and warm us up both inside and out … chocolate. And, get this! Would you believe it can actually be good for your teeth?

Can Chocolate Be Good for Your Teeth?

If you’re doing a little happy dance right now, you can continue … we’ll wait a moment.  Okay, thanks. Yes, that’s not a typo. Chocolate can be good for your teeth. The problem is, most chocolate we consume is so loaded with sugar and calories that the benefits we gain remain minimal.  That said, it’s always good to understand what makes the foods we consume good or bad for us, and since you’re likely to be consuming more than your typical quantity of chocolate this month, we thought we would help fill you in on chocolate’s teeth protecting qualities.

  1. Polyphenols!  Scientists believe this antioxidant compound found in fruits and vegetables, tea, red wine, coffee, and chocolate, to name a few, helps reduce inflammation, cholesterol and high blood pressure, while also protecting from heart attack and stroke. When it comes to oral health, the perceived role of polyphenols in controlling inflammation could equate to a lesser incidence of gingivitis.
  2. Cocoa Butter! The velvety texture of cocoa butter not only helps make chocolate taste yummy and luxurious, but it also helps coat the teeth when we bite into our favorite February treat.  This coating helps prevent plaque from sticking to the teeth shortly after consumption – another benefit for the much-maligned chocolate-shaped heart.
  3. Cocoa Husk?  We’ve saved the best for last. Research over the past ten years has suggested the husk of the cocoa bean contains antibacterial properties that offset the destructive effects of sugar on teeth, and can actually boost the mouth’s ability to fight off the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Now, before you rush out and stock up on chocolate as result of this good news … here’s the bad news. For now, at least, the husk is actually disposed of when manufacturing the chocolate we consume today.  And, while this may change in the future, in the short term, science is looking for ways to incorporate the beneficial properties of the husk into products such as mouthwash and toothpaste.

So, don’t be afraid of chocolate. As with everything in life, moderation is key, and chocolate can be a better choice for you than other types of sweets. Have fun. Enjoy yourself, stay warm, and be good to your loved ones this season.  And make some new friends while you’re at it as well!

Your Snoring Isn’t As Innocent As You Think

Posted by on Feb 13, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Your Snoring Isn’t As Innocent As You Think

If the sonorous chorus of a loved one’s snoring has you at your wit’s end, rather than burying your face in your pillow and lambasting them in the morning for their motorcycle muffler cacophony, you may wish to suggest they see the doctor instead. Frequent snoring, particularly when punctuated by moments of “interrupted” snoring, can be signs of a potentially life threatening condition called sleep apnea. It is a serious concern worthy of both your attention, and that of your nighttime vocalist whose life you might just save as a result of your vigilance.

Is It Sleep Apnea?

There are two forms of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to communicate effectively with the nerves responsible for patterned breathing, and obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a hyper-relaxation of the muscles in the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common of the two, and the one we’re choosing to discuss today, can be managed effectively. Knowing the warning signs and the associated risks is the first goal. Then, combatting the condition with a visit to the doctor and initiating lifestyle habits that work toward removing the condition from your life is the second.

Here are some warnings sings of potential sleep apnea:

  • Being startled awake by a choking or gasping sensation
  • Consistent, loud snoring that is interrupted by brief periods of up to a minute without snoring
  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
  • Awakening with headache pain, a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning chest pain
  • Moments during sleeping when the snorer is observed as not breathing
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure

Risks of not addressing sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, tachycardia, and heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD

Treating sleep apnea begins with you being proactive about your own health:

  • Lose weight: research suggests even a moderate 10% loss in weight can help reduce or eliminate sleep apnea events in patients.
  • Avoid alcohol late at night: Because it relaxes the muscles in the mouth, consuming alcoholic beverages too close to bedtime can result in apnea.
  • Elevate your sleeping position: A 30° incline in pillow, or bed height has been shown to help apnea sufferers. It also has the added benefit of reducing nighttime GERD complications.
  • Mouthguards: Your dentist likely carries a mouthguard that can help reduce the slippage of the jaw and tongue that contribute to sleep apnea symptoms.

Sleep apnea is serious business, and should never be ignored. If you or anyone in your family is experiencing these symptoms, please come in for a consultation. Solving sleep apnea issues can be easier than you think, and you’ll be glad you came in to resolve the issue. After all, your health – and your life – are at stake.

Need a Tooth Removal? Get the Facts

Posted by on Feb 6, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Need a Tooth Removal? Get the Facts

When we experience the loss of a tooth, either through trauma or decay, the bone that surrounds the tooth undergoes a remarkably quick process known as resorption, where the bone is “broken down” at the cellular level and dispersed elsewhere throughout the body. Essentially, because the body believes it no longer needs this bony material due to the tooth’s absence, it reclaims this material into the body for other use. While this might sound like nothing to worry about, your dentist is likely to suggest socket preservation to prevent a host of further complications that accompany this rather intriguing bit of biological science.

What Is Socket Preservation?

Socket preservation is another name for what is clinically known as a bone graft. Essentially, it’s a stopgap measure for filling in the hole where the tooth used to reside, so it can heal in preparation for later treatment. If nothing were done to stop this dissipation of bone it would likely destabilize your neighboring teeth, and make future implants and other forms of prosthetic devices unlikely to work. Aside from the clinical consequences of bone loss, what might concern you more is the fact that the bone height determines our facial features, and a loss of that height due to an unpreserved socket can alter one’s appearance dramatically. Because of this, many dentists prefer to proactively stunt this resorption by using a bone graft.

There are four different types of bone graft that can be used at the time of the extraction, to preserve ridge integrity. They are:

  • Autograft: Bone harvested from patient’s own body
  • Xenograft: Bone grafts or collagen from bovine or porcine origin
  • Allograft: Block bone graft from a cadaver
  • Alloplast: Synthetic biomaterials such as PLGA, hydroxyapatite, tricalcium phosphate, bioglass – ceramics, etc.

Generally speaking, a bone graft is a surgical procedure where one of the above materials is layered into the socket where the tooth used to exist. There is a great variety to the type and procedure involved in bone grafts, and much is dependent on your dentist, your budget, the quality of the extraction performed, your overall health, your oral health, and the type of material to be used.

However, since preserving the bony ridge of your mouth is critical to future restorative work and your appearance, it is wise to consider the procedure if recommended. The benefits of socket preservation are many, chief among them the overall continual health of the other teeth in your mouth. Ask your dentist if you have more questions about this procedure.

Five Tips for Healthy Weight Week!

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Five Tips for Healthy Weight Week!
It’s January! And, if you’re like many, that means resolutions are in full force … you’re workin’ the scale, getting your body moving, sleeping more, and maybe even working less (yeah, right!). Congratulations. Stick with it. But, remember, there are good and bad ways to get in shape. In honor of Healthy Weight Week, we’ve got five tips any reader can do today to ensure their efforts pay off – the healthy way.
  1. Make friends with the scale. There’s a wide chasm of opinion between those who support using a scale, and those who do not. Many physicians say it’s a smart way to monitor the effect our eating habits have on our weight, while weight loss consultants and those who study body image, would rather you toss it in the trash, or use it for anaerobic exercise. The answer seems to lie in the middle. Perhaps you’ve heard something like this: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It makes sense, right? Keep track of your weight each day, and you’ll get a feeling for whether that pizza you ate this week was a choice your body deals well with … or, not. It’s a wonderful approach to dealing with the scale in your bathroom as well. So, use it. But make sure your understand it shouldn’t rule your life. Talk back to it, even! The scale is there to help measure where you’ve come from, and where you’re headed — not as a measure of who you are as a person. You are not the number on the scale.
  2. Don’t neglect your muscles. A healthy weight is best maintained when the muscles that support our body are strong. So, any sort of training that helps you build strong muscles should be considered a plus.
  3. Recognize achievements now. The difficulty maintaining a healthy weight often has to do with improper goal setting. Long-term goals (like retirement, for example) are difficult for humans to keep in focus beyond a short period of time. Failure, then, is almost predictable. It’s impossible to discount the feeling you’ll get when you’ve got a bag of groceries in each arm, and are aware of your muscles working to carry them; or when you feel yourself more deftly move in and out of your car after a particularly good week of healthy eating. These are real, immediate, AND measureable experiences. Experiences that when added up and remembered each day are the key to keeping your body healthy.
  4. Know your brain.  Your brain lies to you. Yes, it does. It tells you you’re hungry when you’re tired. And, it tells you you’re tired when you’ve still got an extra mile in you. Don’t allow it to trick you. Learn more about your brain, and how to corral its tomfoolery on the FitWoman website. Which, by the way, has a lot of actionable healthy weight resources for women AND men!
  5. Asian soup bowls to the rescue! Speaking of our brains, how about we play a trick on it instead? It’s no surprise, that the larger the plate, the more we put on it. And the more we put on the plate, the more we eat. So, here’s a trick you can take to the bank. Pick up a few Asian soup bowls … not the giant ones used for the Vietnamese soup known as Pho, but more the Japanese miso soup variety … the small ones.  If you struggle with portion control, try using these smaller bowls during mealtimes. It’ll slow you down, and allow your brain to start seeing them as the preferred portion size. It’ll help you manage servings more appropriately, and over time, you’ll get used to the new way of eating. Mangia, Mangia!

You Won’t Believe It; Crazy Oral Health History!

Posted by on Jan 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You Won’t Believe It; Crazy Oral Health History!

Did you know oral health care once fell to the local barber? Or, that people used to think tooth decay was caused by worms? Yuck! History is informative and fun. And, the beginning of the year marks the start of a new term of scientific discovery …who knows what will be in store for us this year. Maybe we’ll happen upon a super-awesome way to take care of our teeth this year. Or, maybe if you keep flossing, we won’t need better technology at all! 😉 Let’s see what history has in store for us.

5000 BC

Worms! There’s an ancient Sumerian text describing a certain sort of “tooth worm” as the reason for cavities at this point in history – thankfully, they were wrong about this one. Phew!


A “silver paste,” is described in a Chinese medical text as a type of tooth filling material. Researchers consider this to be the first reference to a type of dental amalgam.


Tooth hurt? Time to head to the barber. This year in France, a Guild of Barbers is established to care for individuals with tooth concerns. Two groups evolve from the effort: “surgeons who were educated and trained to perform complex surgical operations; and lay barbers, or barber-surgeons, who performed more routine hygienic services including shaving, bleeding and tooth extraction.”


Nearly two hundred years of tooth work from the guy who also cuts hair creates an awareness, that maybe it’s better to have trained doctors performing surgical procedures. From this point on, royal decrees allow lay barbers to perform only bleeding, cupping, leeching, and extracting teeth. Gulp (that’s still some serious stuff!).


French surgeon, Pierre Fauchard, pens “The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth (Le Chirurgien Dentiste).” Today, we consider him to be the Father of Modern Dentistry.


Time for some metal! Gold crowns and posts placed after a root canal make an appearance, along with the suggestion that white enameling for gold crowns for a more esthetic appearance.


Let’s make those broken teeth beautiful! Porcelain teeth are granted patent status – Frenchman Nicolas Dubois de Chemant gets the honors.


Comfort and speed enter dentistry as one of George Washington’s dentists, invents the first tooth drill (connected to a spinning wheel!), and the first chair specifically made for dental patients arrives, complete with an adjustable headrest and an arm extension to hold dental tools.


Rest easy. The first reclining dental chair appears on the market!


Public anesthesia demonstrations? Yes. Nearly twenty years before the American Civil War, dentist William Morton demonstrates ether anesthesia on a patient for surgery – in public.


The introduction of the collapsible metal tube revolutionizes oral care. Now, instead of having to purchase liquid or powdered toothpaste directly from the dentist (in glass, porcelain, or paper containers), tubes are now mass-manufactured and ultra-portable.


The X-ray is discovered by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen.


In the new century, many new inventions came to market, including the first nylon toothbrush.


Newburg, New York and Grand Rapids, Michigan are the first two cities to add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.


Fluoride toothpaste hits the market.

Special thanks to the American Dental Association for ferreting out these wonderful historical finds. If you enjoyed this small list, there are many more on the ADA’s website.

Does Your Dentist Know What Herbs and Drugs You Take?

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Does Your Dentist Know What Herbs and Drugs You Take?

Keeping your family’s medical team in the loop on the medication and supplements you consume is more important than you might imagine. Some supplements, especially those that also act as natural blood thinners (like garlic and curcumin) can create serious complications during surgery and deep cleanings. In this article, we’ll fill you in on what can go wrong, some of the common herbs and drugs that cause problems, and some of the common questions that pop up so you can be prepared.

What Can Go Wrong

Keeping your dentist abreast of the supplements and medications your child takes is critical for two very important reasons: some are blood thinners and can prevent clotting during surgery and cleanings, and others can heighten or lessen the effects of anesthesia. Neither of these scenarios is good, so whenever you’re taking anything at all (even over the counter meds), be sure to let your medical team know.
SOME of the Common Herbs and drugs that cause problems (not a complete list)

  • Everfew
  • Ginseng
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Ginkgo
  • Kava and Ephedra
  • Curcumin
  • Garlic
  • Ginkgo
  • Goldenseal
  • Alfalfa
  • Barberry
  • Bromelain
  • Cinnabar root
  • Dong quai
  • Horse chestnut
  • Melilot
  • Oregon grape
  • Sweet woodruff
  • Alprazolam (also known as Xanax)
  • Atenolol Furosemide (also known as Lasix)
  • Lipitor
  • Propoxyphene
  • Synthroid (also known as Levothyroxine)
  • Vicodin (also known as hydrocodone)

Keeping safe from dental drug interactions and excessive bleeding, is as simple as talking to the doctor before an exam. Many times, a patient will fill out paperwork mentioning the drugs or supplements they’re taking when they first start as a patient – if you’re not asked about changes to your habits since filling out that form, however, offer up the info on your own. It’s the best thing to do to cover all your bases.

A Wish, A Gift, and A Goal

Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 in frontpage | 0 comments

A Wish, A Gift, and A Goal

The season of giving is upon us. And what kid doesn’t like to bask in the warmth of the holiday spirit? Whether you have youngsters just coming of age and beginning to understand the gift of giving, or teens well-acclimated to the joy of caring for another, there is nothing like December to remind everyone in your family of how incredible helping others – and helping oneself can be. So with that in mind, we thought we’d suggest three simple, dental-oriented ideas you can share with your children to help them finish the year off right, and get prepared for the next!

  • The Wish: While it may be difficult to convince your child to begin informing themselves about how to stay healthy at this young age, since a healthy child is on the wish list of every parent, the best thing we can do to protect them is to educate ourselves.With that in mind, we’d like to point you to a marvelous resource developed with the health of your entire family in mind – the Patient Connect website ( A repository of knowledge about how to protect your mouth and body throughout life, the Patient Connect Health Topics section is worthy of your time. Over the years, we’ve realized many people are just not as informed as they should be about the effects of certain habits they may possess, or of better ways to take care of their teeth. This section of the website was built with that in mind. Check it out, and make that wish for good health in the New Year a certainty.
  • The Gift: Over the past few years, you may have become aware of charity organizations like Mercy Ships, which assist children and adults in poor areas of the world with mouth and facial reconstruction surgery. In certain parts of the world, children who grow up with these concerns are often shunned from their villages and grow up to lead ostracized lives with little hope to regain entry to a society where being a part of the community is a fundamental factor to living. During this season of giving, perhaps you might suggest to your child that they consider a donation to a charity or cause in which they believe, in exchange for something they might otherwise hope to receive. The internal reward a child experiences when giving to others truly can be transformative …
  • The Goal: Goals are commonplace this time of year, and many times we don’t quite make it through to fulfilling most of them. Even something as simple as flossing nightly easily falls prey to life’s ordered chaos. Finding time to convince your children to do the same is, well … obviously a challenge. To fare a little better this year, consider checking out a few books that offer great actionable advice that can help you stay on top of your commitments, reign in distractions, and battle that ever weakening “muscle” named willpower. This way, you can actually floss, AND make sure your kids do the same! Here are our two of our favorites to get you started: Getting Things Done, by David Allen; and, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. There are more tips and tricks in these books to last a lifetime. Enjoy!

May your family be blessed now and always! -The Parker City Family Dental Family