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Purpose and process of dental sealants

You can feel and see that our teeth, especially our molars, have several groves and dents. The way that our teeth are shaped presents a risk for food particles and plaque to get caught in, causing decay. By sealing our teeth with a thin coating, we provide an extra barrier of protection for our teeth, keeping them healthier, longer. Sure we can brush and floss our teeth, as we should, but sometimes bacteria can get caught in the crevasses of our teeth and cause cavities.

Sealants are made of different types of materials and the specifics vary from dentist to dentist. The basic principles are the same. Your dentist will prepare your tooth by cleaning it thoroughly; adjust the tooth’s surface to ensure a secure and solid bond, and apply the sealant to the tooth while ensuring that it dries quickly and properly.

Sealants are recommended for almost anyone that would like to maximize the protection of their teeth. However, most often, sealants are performed on children and adolescents that are developing their adult teeth. By sealing the teeth at this cavity prone age, you and help protect your child’s teeth from cavities for about 10 years post-sealant!

Upkeep for sealants is simple, have your dentist check for chips in the sealant and monitor the wear to best project when you may need to get your teeth resealed.

To keep your sealants in tip top shape, avoid eating especially hard or gummy foods such as jawbreakers, licorice, caramels, etc. as these foods could cause your sealant to pop out of place.

Sealants are a major factor in preventative dental care. Protecting your teeth from harmful decay and cavities will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the future.

Most dental insurance providers cover dental sealants, however, it is always a good idea to check beforehand, just in case. We recommend contacting your insurance provider directly before making an appointment for dental sealants.

Once you’re ready, make an appointment with your dentist! Getting dental sealants is a fairly simple dental procedure and will really benefit your overall dental health in the long run. You already brush and floss your teeth, now is the time to take your preventative dental care to the next level.

To schedule an appointment with us to discuss dental sealants or to seal your teeth, give us a call!

How to avoid dental injuries

As we see summer come to an end, we can expect school to be right around the corner. In no time, football games, swimming and diving competitions along with so many other contact sports will be in full swing. With all of these physical activities comes some concern for dental injuries. So how can you protect your children’s smiles while encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities?

The most common solution to preventing dental injuries from sports is the use of a mouth guard.

With almost any major sport that children participate in, mouth guards are recommended or required. These typically cover the upper teeth to protect broken or chipped teeth as well as damaged lips. For those of you with some other form of orthodontia, talk to your dentist for recommended solutions.

So how do mouth guards work exactly?

There are several different types of mouth guards to choose from, however, it is necessary that whichever moth guard you chose does not restrict your breathing and fits properly or it could not work as well as it should.

Custom mouth guards are designed by your dentist to fit your teeth as comfortably as possible and provide you the best protection against dental damage.

Boil and Bite mouth guards are made in a pre-formed shape that is designed to be altered after boiling in hot water and biting down on the plastic for a recommended amount of time, offering a decent fit and comfort. Be sure to follow directions closely to ensure the best fit and protection.

Stock mouth guards are ready to wear when you buy them, however they provide the least protection and worst fit, but it is better than no protection!

Whichever style of mouth guard you decide to choose for your needs, make sure you change it out every so often as it can get quite nasty with all of the bacteria present in your mouth. To reduce the amount of times you will need to change it out, take extra precaution to keep it clean.

When it comes time for you or your children to shop for a mouth guard for sports related uses, talk to your dentist for recommendations and help deciding which option will be best for you.

If you have any additional questions about dental safety and sports or if you would like to ask us specific questions related to your dental needs, give us a call.

Food for your teeth

Having a well balanced diet and fueling your body with the proper nutrition is so important for your overall health, however, it also contributes to the health of your teeth in tremendous ways! The make up of certain foods can be damaging to your oral health and being low in certain nutrients can make your teeth more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. It’s pretty self explanatory that eating sugary or acidic foods is damaging to your oral health, but let’s go over some foods that are beneficial for your teeth!

Cheese

Cheese contains several nutrients, like protein and calcium that are known to strengthen tooth enamel. This helps prevent tooth decay and raise pH levels in the mouth.

 Yogurt

 Again, another dairy product, like cheese yogurt contains protein and calcium. The probiotics present in yogurt are beneficial to the bacteria in your mouth because the good bacteria kick out the bad bacteria that are known to cause cavities. Side note: Yogurt can have added sugars, so just keep an eye out for that if you decide to add yogurt to your diet for oral health benefits.

 Green veggies

 Green vegetables are healthy in almost any context. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that are known to improve oral health. Spinach and kale especially, have high calcium content, which is beneficial to tooth enamel.

 Almonds

 Bringing back high protein and calcium, almonds are a great snack to add to your diet for positive oral health results. Eat them plain or add them to a salad!

 Apples

 While we normally don’t recommend sugary, sweet foods, apples are an exception. This tasty fruit is packed with fiber and the texture is great for gum stimulation.

 Carrots

 Carrots are a quick and easy healthy snack to munch on throughout the day. They are also full of fiber and contain wonderful vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking to change up your diet to benefit your oral health, consider adding a few of these healthy suggestions! Be sure you are fueling your body with the right stuff, giving it all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs and deserves. By keeping a healthy diet, you will be sure to improve your dental situation as well.

Do you have any specific questions regarding foods for your oral health or any diet related questions, we’d be happy to get you headed in the right direction. Call us anytime!

Cavities and your Kids

We often forget that children can develop cavities at any age. From before their first tooth comes in, it is important to care for your child’s oral health. Cavities and tooth decay are almost always preventable with a healthy diet, great dental hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings and check ups. However, despite it’s preventability, tooth decay remains one of the most common childhood health issues. The rate of cavities in children and toddlers is becoming a serious issue and it is growing. We are seeing tooth decay and cavities form on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth, which can have negative effects on a child’s overall health.

Below, we will give you some tips on how you can help prevent cavities and tooth decay in your child’s teeth.

Dental Visits: When and how often?

This varies from patient to patient, but to be safe, we recommend making an appointment with your family dentist as soon as your child has their first tooth. This allows us to show you proper techniques to caring for such little teeth and preventing cavities. We will also let you know when you should bring your child back in for their next check up.

Care for your own dental health.

Sharing things like utensils, straws, or anything else that can transmit saliva can bring harm to your kid’s teeth. There are specific cavity germs that are easily transmittable through saliva, so be sure you are keeping your dental hygiene in check too!

Limit the sugar intake.

For the younger kids, it is very important to limit the sugar you allow in their diet. This not only helps their dental health but it also helps their overall health. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle, but if you feel you have to try to stick to water.

At each stage in life, there are different guidelines to caring for your child’s teeth. This is why it is so important to visit the dentist regularly and follow their guidelines for at home care. Also take into consideration your own dental health and the eating habits of your children and your family.

We know how important it is to develop healthy dental habits from a young age.

If you’d like to meet with us about cavities in children, or if you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

An Overdue Introduction

Welcome to my dental blog.  Which I’ve had, but welcome to me actually writing it.

10359153_10152896763561800_2400321310519550711_nWho am I?  Dr. Owen Mandanas. I am a wife, a mother of two cool hockey playing young boys, a Filipina dentista who grew up in the Deep South (South Cackalackey), and a struggling vegan wannabe.  All in that order of importance… maybe.

First and foremost I love my family. Then my career as a dentist. And then sometimes I find time for myself.

As this is my dental blog, I will start this first overdue entry with the fact that I truly love being a dentist and hopefully I will write things in this blog that can help you with whatever dental problems or concerns you may have.

I’m not sure that you want to know my dental story (a little bookkeeping), but here goes…

In 2000 I graduated from Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago. I spent the first 8 ½ years of my career in Nome, Alaska. This was an incredible time in my life and I loved everything about it all.  What a huge change from 10 years of living in the Windy City!

I loved everyone I worked with in Nome- all of my dental assistants and the dentists with whom I spent hours working in village trips and in the hospital in Nome. I gained invaluable knowledge not just on dentistry and teeth, but on working hard (10-12 hour days on village trips) and treating people with respect. I don’t think I was really very good at it at first. The transition of a life in the city to a life in the Alaska bush translates to plenty of room for personal growth. But they welcomed me and taught me well,

Now I am in Anchorage, AK raising a family and nurturing a growing dental practice. It’s an amazing ride and hope that my dental insights can be of help to you!