Family Dentistry in Maple Ridge Explains Common Dental Concerns

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As you age, your dental needs change. That’s why knowing what to expect at each life stage matters so much for your oral health. In this all-encompassing guide, you’ll find the information you need for every age group. 

Are you a parent concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking? A teenager debating about braces? An adult struggling with tooth sensitivity? Or a senior wondering how to care for your dentures? Read on to learn more and discover family dentistry in Maple Ridge

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Childhood (Ages 0-12)

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in kids often starts with what’s on their plate. Sugar is the main culprit, so those sugary cereals, juices, and candies can be harmful. But it’s not just food; poor dental hygiene, like irregular brushing and flossing, can also cause decay.

Preventive Measures

Preventing tooth decay is easier than you might think. 

  1. Start with regular brushing using a fluoride toothpaste. 
  2. Teach your child to floss between their teeth every day. 
  3. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
  4. Opt for healthier snacks like fruits and vegetables. 

Importance of Early Dental Check-Ups

Even if their teeth are tiny, they need as much care as yours. Schedule your child’s first dental visit as soon as the first tooth appears or by their first birthday at the latest. Early visits make your child more comfortable with the dentist and allow for early detection of potential issues. 

2. Teething Issues

In an article by Sarah Terry, teething typically kicks in between 6 and 12 months, making for some restless nights and fussy days. Here’s what you might observe:

  • Drooling

Expect more bib changes and possibly some skin irritation from the excess drool.

  • Fussiness

Your usually cheerful baby might seem a bit out of sorts.

  • Chewing

Anything and everything within arm’s reach could end up in your baby’s mouth.

How to Make It Easier:

  • Cold Teething Rings

A refrigerated teething ring can provide some relief from the discomfort.

  • Cold Washcloth

A clean, cold, and damp washcloth for your baby to chew on works well, too.

  • Pain Relief

If the discomfort persists, consult your pediatrician about suitable over-the-counter pain relievers.

When to Consult a Dentist:

If the typical teething symptoms turn more severe, it’s time for a dental visit. Look out for these red flags:

  • Prolonged fever
  • Difficulty in eating or drinking
  • Excessive discomfort or crying

3. Thumb-Sucking and Pacifier Use

Both thumb-sucking and pacifier use are common habits that many children find comforting. But, like anything, they have their ups and downs.

Advantages Disadvantages
Comfort –  These habits can soothe a fussy baby and may aid in falling asleep. Dental Issues – These habits can lead to problems like misaligned teeth or a malformed palate over time.
Self-Soothing – They help the child learn to regulate their emotions somewhat. Speech Issues – Prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier use can sometimes contribute to speech issues.

 

Steps to Break the Habit

If your child is still thumb-sucking or using a pacifier beyond age 3, it’s time to take action.

  • Identify Triggers

Figure out the situations that prompt your child to suck their thumb or use a pacifier.

  • Offer Alternatives

Give them a stuffed animal or a blanket for comfort instead.

  • Positive Reinforcement

Use a reward chart and offer small incentives for days without thumb-sucking or pacifier use.

Early Orthodontic Concerns

Early orthodontic screenings are about catching problems before they grow up along with your child. Experts recommend a first visit to the orthodontist by age 7. Why so early? Because some issues are much easier to fix when addressed sooner rather than later.

Here are some concerns that can benefit from early intervention:

Types of Issues
Crossbites When the upper and lower jaws don’t align correctly.
Severe Overcrowding When there’s not enough room in the mouth for permanent teeth to come in properly.
Overbites and Underbites Issues with how the top and bottom front teeth align.

 

Adolescence (Ages 13-19)

  • Exploring Options 

Teen years often mean orthodontic work. You have choices whether your teenager needs minor adjustments or more intensive alignment.

Traditional Braces Clear Aligners
Effective for complex issues but are more visible. Nearly invisible and removable but best for less complex cases.

 

Factors to Consider

  • Complexity of the Issue

More complex alignments often require traditional braces.

  • Lifestyle

Certain options may be better if your teen plays sports or plays a wind instrument.

  • Budget

Traditional braces usually cost less than clear aligners.

2. Wisdom Teeth

The late teens often welcome wisdom teeth, and sometimes the complications that come with them.

Signs of Emergence and Potential Issues When to Consider Removal
Pain in the back of the mouth. Persistent pain or infection.
Swelling or tenderness in the gums. Crowding or misalignment of other teeth.
Difficulty opening the jaw. Cysts or tumours forming around a wisdom tooth.

 

Oral Hygiene Habits

Being a teenager is no excuse for slacking on dental hygiene. Here are the basic routine to do and bad habits you should avoid: 

Basic Routine Bad Habits to Avoid
Brushing twice a day to keep cavities away. Skipping dental check-ups.
Don’t forget to floss because it’s equally important. Overconsumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks.

 

3. Dental Sports Injuries

Many teens are active in sports, making dental injuries a real concern. A good mouthguard can save a tooth and a lot of pain. Custom-fitted options offer the best protection.

In Case of Injury:

  1. Rinse the mouth and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
  2. If a tooth is broken, save the pieces if possible.
  3. See the dentist immediately. 

Adulthood (Ages 20-50)

1. Gum Disease

Dr. Ryan Waring explains gum disease as an inflammatory condition affecting the gums and the bones supporting the teeth. It’s primarily caused by bacterial infection due to the accumulation of plaque—a soft, sticky film of bacteria.

Signs and Symptoms Preventive Care and Treatments
Red and swollen gums Daily Brushing and Flossing
Bleeding when you brush or floss Regular Dental Check-ups
Chronic bad breath Advanced Treatments

 

2. Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental issue characterized by sharp, temporary pain in the teeth when exposed to hot or cold temperatures, sweet or acidic foods and drinks, or even air pressure. 

  • Common Causes

Over-brushing, acidic foods, tooth grinding.

  • Solutions

Sensitivity toothpaste, fluoride treatments, and avoiding triggers.

When to Consult a Dentist:

  • Persistent sensitivity lasting more than a week
  • Sensitivity affecting many teeth or causing severe discomfort

3. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is the habitual act of clenching or grinding the teeth together. This can occur during the day (awake bruxism) but is more commonly associated with sleep (sleep bruxism).

Signs and Side-Effects Treatment Options
Jaw pain and headaches Mouth Guards
Worn-down or fractured teeth Behavioural Therapy
Increased tooth sensitivity Medication or Muscle Relaxants

 

4. Dental Work and Restorations

Common Types of Restorations Maintenance
  • Fillings for cavities
  • Crownsfor damaged or weak teeth
  • Bridges and implants for missing teeth
  • Regular Check-Ups
  • Good Oral Hygiene
  • Prompt Repairs

 

Middle and Senior Years (Ages 51+)

1. Tooth Wear

Tooth wear refers to the loss of the enamel and the potential loss of the underlying dentin. This can happen through erosion, abrasion, and attrition, often worsened by diet, oral hygiene, and certain habits like teeth grinding.

  • Causes:

Natural aging, acidic foods, teeth grinding, and aggressive brushing.

  • Slowing Down the Process:

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, avoid acidic foods, and get regular dental check-ups.

Treatments Available:

Bonding Resin can restore the tooth’s original shape.
Veneers These cover the front surface of the teeth for a youthful appearance.
Crowns A cap can protect and strengthen the tooth for severe wear.

 

2. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is characterized by a reduced saliva flow, leading to a dry, uncomfortable feeling in the mouth.

Causes Solutions
  • Aging
  • Medications
  • Certain medical conditions.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva.
  • Schedule regular check-ups.

 

3. Oral Cancer Awareness

Oral cancer rates increase with age, and early detection through regular screenings greatly improves outcomes.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Sores that don’t heal.
  • Unexplained bleeding.
  • Persistent sore throat or hoarseness.
  • Lumps or thick patches in the mouth or throat.

4. Denture Care

This is essential for maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of your dentures and keeping your mouth healthy.

 

Types of Dentures Purpose
Complete Dentures Replace all teeth.
Partial Dentures Fill in the gaps of missing teeth.
Implant-Supported Dentures Secured with dental implants for added stability.

 

Proper Maintenance and Cleaning

  • Use a soft brush and non-abrasive denture cleaner.
  • Visit the dentist to ensure proper fit and examine for damage.
  • Keep dentures moist to maintain their shape.

Family Dentistry’s Role 

Family dentistry offers a one-stop solution for the dental needs of every family member, regardless of age. A family dentist has you covered from kids’ cavities to adults’ gum issues to seniors’ denture care.

Early Diagnosis

Regular visits and screenings lead to early detection of dental issues, which usually results in easier and more effective treatments.

Convenience

A single provider for the whole family simplifies scheduling and fosters a long-term, trusting relationship.

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Secure Lifelong Oral Health at Maple Ridge Family Dental Clinic

From the teething troubles of infancy to our senior community’s oral health challenges, a family dentist can help you. Early diagnosis through regular check-ups can make treatments more effective and less invasive. A trusted family dentist in Maple Ridge simplifies scheduling and brings peace of mind, knowing your entire family’s oral health is in good hands. It’s always early enough to take a proactive role in dental health. Your teeth and gums are integral to your overall well-being, and deserve attention at every stage of life.

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