Lexington Pediatric Dental
Losing a Tooth Soon?
Did you know that teeth contain stem cells that could help protect your family’s future health?
Stem cells help the body renew and repair itself. When people hear “stem cells” they often think “embryonic stem cells”, but there are also adult stem cells. For decades, doctors have quietly been using these noncontroversial adult stem cells from bone marrow or umbilical cord blood to treat diseases such as leukemia, and over 500,000 families have privately stored their child’s umbilical cord blood for its potential medical uses in the future.
It turns out that there are also potent stem cells that live in the dental pulp (the meaty tissue inside teeth) and the periodontal ligament (the layer of tissue that keeps the tooth attached to the jaw bone). Scientists have called these stem cells “dental stem cells”. Although they are found in or around teeth, these “dental stem cells” have the potential to be useful for a wide range of regenerative dental and medical applications.
The story of these stem cells from teeth goes back to a curious scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2000, Dr. Songtao Shi was researching stem cells from bone marrow. One day when his daughter was losing her baby teeth, he rushed one into his lab and found similar ‘mesenchymal’ stem cells inside.
Over the past 10 years, scientists and doctors have investigated many uses for dental stem cells such as for regenerating bone, repairing or building new teeth, and treating a number of serious conditions such as type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack), repairing corneal damage, and treating neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In 2009, dental stem cells were used successfully to regenerate jaw bone in the clinic and to treat periodontal disease. In 2011, scientists showed that dental stem cells can create islet cells, similar to those in the pancreas, which produce insulin in response to glucose levels – suggesting that dental stem cells may someday play a role in treating type 1 diabetes.
Why preserve stem cells from teeth?
Dental stem cells are easy, convenient and affordable to collect – since stem cells can be harvested from any healthy tooth. We all lose 20 baby teeth from about age 7 to 12, then many of us have teeth pulled for braces, and our wisdom teeth extracted when we reach our late teens or early adulthood. So we ask, is there a better use for teeth that come out than to put under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy? Yes, the stem cells inside may hold the promise for a range of very interesting potential uses in the future.
The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry issued a policy statement on dental stem cells in 2008, in which they acknowledge the potential utility of these cells, as long as they are properly collected and stored. The AAPD recommends that dentists stay abreast of new developments in stem cell science, that they inform their patients about the potential for regenerative dental and medical applications using dental stem cells, and that they work with quality providers of stem cell preservation services to ensure that stem cells are properly collected, transported, tested, processed and cryopreserved.
Our practice now offers Store-A-ToothTM, the leader in dental stem cell banking.
Store-A-Tooth offers a second chance for parents to store their children’s stem cells in a simple, convenient and affordable way. Banking dental stem cells now could help protect your family’s future health. You’ll be prepared to take advantage of future breakthroughs in stem cell research and ‘regenerative medicine’ – which may provide new treatments for conditions such as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson’s.
“In only 10 years, we’ve seen research into dental stem cells grow exponentially. Our mission is to help educate families about dental stem cells, especially those that may be affected by serious diseases such as type 1 diabetes or muscular dystrophy. We want parents to know that it’s relatively easy and affordable to preserve the stem cells in their children’s teeth and that these cells hold the potential to be used in a number of future applications,” said Dr. Peter Verlander, Chief Scientific Officer of Provia Laboratories. Dr. Verlander left his post atHarvardPartnersCenterfor Genetics and Genomics to help launch Provia Labs, which provides the Store-A-Tooth service.
Before baby teeth come out or wisdom teeth are extracted, please take a moment to learn more about dental stem cell banking to see if this service is something you want to do for your family.
To learn more, ask about Store-A-Tooth at your next visit or go to their website at www.store-a-tooth.com.
Feb 25th, 2012
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There are many reasons for us to brush twice a day. When we brush, floss, and rinse, it minimizes the bacteria in our mouth. This in turn decreases oral disease, prevents bad breath, reduces stains and other particles keeping our teeth shiny white. These are all great reasons to brush but the most important reason is to prevent the formation of BIOFILM. That is the real reason to maintain consistent home care. Biofilm forms when bacterial species stack on top of each other. The first bacteria that congregate on newly developed biofilm are called streptococcus and antinomies which are not pathogenic, meaning they cannot cause periodontitis and are in fact beneficial regarding healthy gums. If newly developing biofilm is not eliminated the later arriving bacteria (periodontal pathogens or bad bacteria) have a chance to colonize. Periodontal pathogens freely float around the mouth but cannot cause disease unless they are attached to your gums. When the biofilm is not brushed away bad bacteria increase and within a few weeks they become the dominant bacteria. The colonization of bad bacteria can ultimately lead to periodontal disease. The key to minimizing the bad bacteria is by frequently removing the biofilm & forcing it to start over, which of course is accomplished by brushing your teeth twice a day! Successful home care is very important since periodontal disease can affect the body in many different ways including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and of course tooth loss. So brush twice a day to decrease your biofilm!
Jun 29th, 2011
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With recent technological advances, I am able to offer my patients many modern amenities, including digital x-rays (radiographs).
The most positive affect of digital radiographs is the fact that they use a lot less radiation than the traditional way of taking x-rays. This day in age parents are more aware of all aspects of their children’s health. When someone has any type of x-ray a big concern is “How much radiation is coming from this?”. Digital x-rays use about 80% less radiation than the traditional type of x-rays.
Digital radiographs also provide us with more accurate results, a sharper image, and one that is much larger than traditional radiographs. This enables us to better interpret what is going on in the teeth.
Using digital x-rays also saves patients time. When the x-rays is taken, a quick scan into the computer brings the image right up on our screen. Whereas the old type of films required processing by hand. Digital x-rays are clearer, more defined and also give us the ability to zoom in to enlarge any areas of concern.
Without a doubt, digital radiographs are safer and more convenient for my staff and my patients. If you have any questions always feel free to call the office or we can talk at your next dental visit!
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the result of clenching the jaw down tightly and grinding the teeth. When you clench down on your teeth pressure is put on the muscles, tissues and other structures surrounding the jaw. People who clench their teeth mainly do it while sleeping.
- Sore jaw
- Eating disorders
Most people clench their teeth more at night than during the day because you have no control over it when sleeping. Others do it throughout the day without even realizing it. Though the cause of Bruxism is not determined completely some causes are:
- Sleeping habits
- Misaligned teeth
Not being in control of how tightly you bite down is the main problem. People with severe headaches may clench their teeth at night without even knowing about it. Those bruxers who live alone are especially at risk because there is no one there to hear them grinding to inform them of the habit.
How to treat Bruxism
There is no definitive treatment for Bruxism, though there is prevention. There is no way to completely stop clenching your teeth if you do already. It’s more about management than anything else.
Ways to manage and sooth the pain of Bruxism
- Relax your jaw throughout the day. When you realize that you are clenching your teeth while you’re awake, let loose.
- Try to tilt your head down when you are yawning as to prevent jaw injury due to hyperextention
- Getting plenty of sleep is essential to releasing pain, although most clenching/grinding is done while you sleep, more sleep releases stress and reduces jaw clenching.
- Massage the muscles in your neck, jaw and even behind your ears.
- Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Avoid eating food that is hard to chew.
- Wearing a night guard while you sleep will help from getting the headaches and jaw pains, in addition to protecting the teeth from wear caused by grinding.
The best prevention of damage caused by grinding is a night guard. Impressions of the teeth are taken and a night guard is customized to fit the teeth perfectly. You don’t have to suffer from bruxism anymore! Please fee free to call us if you feel that you or your child may suffer from bruxism. We can discuss your individual case, severity & options for treatment that will work best for you.
Bringing your child to the dentist can have the potential to be a stressful situation. Many parents fear of how their child may react. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare your child for their first dentist trip. Here are a few tips to ensure a positive first experience:
- Make brushing at home interesting. Tell them you’re going to paint their teeth clean with a special paintbrush (meaning the toothbrush). Buy them fruity toothpaste, toothpaste that they will like. Let them pick out the toothpaste and toothbrush they’ll be using.
- Do not make any references to more complicated aspects of dentistry (like the crown you needed, or the terrible toothache you had once)
- Do not refer to a negative experience that you may have had regarding dentistry. Fear is a learned response and the way your child reacts to the dental appointment can be greatly influenced by how you prepare your child at home. Children are very intelligent and observant and can sense parental emotion in many ways.
- Refrain from offering rewards or bribes for good behavior
Our office is geared towards making your child comfortable and knowledgeable about good oral hygiene. All your child needs to know for the first visit is that they going to have their teeth counted and receive a new toothbrush and surprises. Usually, the first visit consists of parent education and the child having his/her teeth counted (examined). This insures that the child has a fun and easy experience, finishing with the receipt of a new toothbrush, stickers, and prizes. On the second visit we introduce the electric toothbrush (polisher), floss, and vitamins (topical fluoride treatment). As far as pictures (radiographs) are concerned, we generally decide together when they are required.
Like many things, preparation for something is just as important as the actual experience. We encourage parents to prepare their children for the first dental visit in a positive way!
Jul 9th, 2010
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Many people will tell you that being healthy includes exercise and eating a balanced diet. But not a lot of people realize that being healthy also includes regular dental checkups. Recently, there have been multiple studies showing that poor dental health can lead to a variety of health concerns including heart attacks, low birth weight and diabetes.
If not properly treated, bacteria in the mouth can affect the heart when it enters the blood stream and attaches fatty plaques throughout the heart’s blood vessels. This can result in the formation of clots & potential heart attacks.
Studies also show that periodontal disease can cause low birth weight in babies. Women with periodontal disease have a greater risk for giving birth to babies that are born too early and/or too small. Periodontal disease also increases the biological fluid that induces labor which causes the risk of pre-mature babies.
Individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease due to a weakened immune system (about twice the risk). Diabetes and periodontal disease can also assist in increasing blood sugar levels. Oral symptoms of diabetes include but are not limited to: difference in taste, burning mouth syndrome, abnormal wound healing and fungal infections. Check your mouth periodically to see if you notice anything abnormal such as bleeding, white patches, bad taste, dryness, and/or soreness.
So, is your family really healthy? Do they brush and floss daily? Does each family member have at least two professional dental cleanings a year? Forming these healthy habits in our children early in their development will result in better overall health for the rest of their lives!
Most of us were personally affected by the water contamination that happened in the surrounding counties recently. Everywhere you went cases of water, gallons of water and even water jugs were out of stock. Coffee establishments could not sell coffee, tea or specialty drinks. Restaurants were forced to shut down completely. Nothing other than bottled or packaged items could be sold or purchased safely. We were all brushing our teeth with bottled water and washing dishes with boiled water. Throughout the weekend and into the following week, many businesses had to close due to the contaminated water.
I’m very pleased to let everyone know that Lexington Pediatric Dental was able to stay open during the “water crisis”. Who would think that a dental office could stay open for regular hours of operation when so many other businesses could not. Because of our state of the art office and equipment, Monday morning we opened at regular time and saw patients for their scheduled appointments. The water issues were not an inconvenience for LPD because we do not rely on town water. Instruments are sanitized & cleaned in our ultrasonic & autoclave machines using distilled water. And the water used in the treatment rooms was simply changed out with purified water, safe for drinking and the use of everyday activity. Cleaning teeth and performing dental procedures was no problem and the office was able to carry on as normal! Lexington Pediatric Dental is committed to providing excellent dental care to our patients in a safe environment and I’m proud to say the recent contaminated water issue is a great example of that.
May 11th, 2010
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Brushing & Flossing Instructions
Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.
Wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this method.
Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short strokes, about a half tooth wide.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom.
- Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces.
- Gently brush the tongue to remove debris.
- Floss between teeth daily.
When To Begin Brushing
Once your child’s teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (such as Baby OraGel) until your child is able to spit it out (too much fluoride can stain their teeth).
For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:
- Let your child brush your teeth at the same time.
- Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation).
- Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to “help out”).
- Let your child some children’s books about tooth brushing.
- Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time.
To help your child understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain“ their teeth temporarily and then brush them clean.
It can also be a good idea to create a “tooth brushing routine”. And stick to the same routine each day.
Highly effective in preventing decay on the biting surfaces of your chewing teeth, dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.
Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Children and adults can benefit from sealants in the fight against tooth decay.
Jan 11th, 2010
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