Brushing your baby's teeth is crucial in the earlier stages of life. Even before their first adorable tooth pops up, you can gently brush their gums. A wet washcloth or a baby finger toothbrush is recommended by most dentists. Some babies may fuss or chop down and some babies may giggle, but what is important is wiping them down at least twice a day no matter how your little on reacts. Though easily preventable with good care, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of children and teens ages 6 to 19.
Early preventative care for your child saves you money in the long run. By their first birthday your child should see a dentist for a check-up. First visits can vary from office to office, but most first check-up for children age 1 and under are fairly quick.
It is pretty common as a dentist to hear from our patients "Now doc, I have TMJ, especially when I wake up in the morning." I hear this all the time.
There are many reasons why people have discomfort or just sounds coming from their jaw joint. But first, a little anatomy lesson. The joint that connects the lower jaw, or mandible, to the head is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. This joint is what allows our jaw to both rotate and translate making it possible to talk and chew and do all the necessary things our mouths do. This joint is found directly in front of the ear and if you put your fingers on it and open you can feel it in motion. This joint consists of four basic parts. First are the bones: the mandiblular connector, or condyle, and the port in the head where this condyle sits, or fossa. Now if we just had this component we would have bone rubbing on bone and that would not be good. Much like if you have ever tried to slide something heavy like a refrigerator on a bare floor, it's difficult and often leaves scratches and dings in the floor. However, if you put a towel under this heavy object and push, it slides much easier and no harm is done to the floor. In the same way, the second component of the TMJ, a disc sits between the condyle and the fossa so that we can move our jaw easily up and down with little friction and no pain. The third component of the joint are the tendons that hold everything tightly in place like bungee cords so that everything functions in harmony. The final component of the joint are muscles that actually move the joint, up and down and from side to side. These four components make up your TMJ, everyone has two of them, one on each side of your head.
While common, especially in women, not everyone has TMD. TMD, or Temporomandibular disorder, is when one or several of these four major components are not working in harmony. Common symptoms for this are popping, clicking, limited opening, chronic jaw fatigue, locking open or closed, feeling a sudden change in bite, and discomfort or pain to varying degrees. Understanding which component is out of harmony isn't always easy and should be evaluated by a dentist. Mild symptoms like occasionally clicking may not need any treatment at all, but symptoms that are getting worse and interrupting with daily tasks of biting, talking, chewing, or inhibiting general quality of life should get seen by a trained professional.
- BLAKE C. SESSIONS, DMD
Happy New Year!
Like many Americans, New Years is a time to make resolutions- to promise to save more/spend less, get organized, spend more time with family, travel more or take control of their health by changing eating habits, working out and making themselves a priority. While we can’t help with what you put in your mouth, our team at Rainier Dental can definitely help what’s going on in there already! We might be able to help with a few other resolutions too.
Let’s back up. Rainier Dental is not your regular dental office. We are a privately owned, non-franchised group of practices here in Pierce County with four locations to serve you. We are not a corporate company driven by sales goals; we are a dental office providing premier care to the patients of our neighborhoods. Our owner, Dr. Dale VanDerschelden was born and raised in Puyallup, a true local boy. While Dr. Van, as he’s affectionately known, is not currently seeing patients, has assembled an amazing team of doctors, hygienists, assistants and auxiliary staff to make your visit to us the most convenient and comfortable as possible. We are available Monday through Saturday and offer extended office hours for our patients. We bring in specialists to our office to simplify the scheduling process for you. We’ve been following this business model for over 20 years. You know what they say, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Rainier Dental is a full service dental office offering services ranging from regular and deep periodontal cleanings, fillings, crowns, partials, dentures, extractions, implants, periodontal surgeries, root canal therapy, braces (both traditional and clear) to whitening services and complete smile makeovers. We see children as soon as that first tooth comes in for a happy visit up to our most “experienced” patients needing to replace teeth that have gone missing. There isn’t a smile in Pierce County that we are not equipped to help shine brighter.
If taking better care of YOU is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, we vote you make your dental health a priority. By staying on top of your doctor/dentist recommended dental cleanings, you are giving your body a true gift. Just like maintaining the oil in our car keeps major engine work at bay, keeping your teeth and gums healthy can help prevent the need for additional dental treatment and can reduce the risk of other health problems such as heart disease and pre-term labor. Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Take care of it! Our dental hygienists are top notch both clinically and in patient care. When you come into our office for your new patient exam, you’ll meet one of our three amazing hygienists who will walk you through your first visit by showing you our patient education video, doing complete charting and x-rays and then have a comprehensive visit with one of our doctors. We want to get to know you and your dental needs.
We are proud to be an “in network” provider for almost every traditional insurance company out there. Our newly relocated Sumner practice even accepts state insurance for patients up to age 20. We bill your insurance company as a courtesy to you and help you understand your dental benefits.
Traditional dental insurance isn’t a fit for you? Then we have another alternative that might be just what you’re looking for! In late December, we rolled out our very own in house dental discount plan named Rainier Care. For a small monthly fee, ($29 for a single person or $24.00 for children 12 and under), you have access to the BEST dentists and hygienists around for a discounted price. Included in your membership are two FREE cleanings per year and 30% off all other treatment. The most amazing piece of our new discount plan is that there is no annual maximum, no waiting period and no pre existing exclusions. We have made quality dental affordable with Rainier Care!
Okay, we might not be able to help you plan your next vacation or clean out your garage, but we can help with those other pesky resolutions! We can find appointment times that work for the whole family on one visit, we can save you money with our new Rainier Care plan and help you make your health a priority. Please, give us a call today at 253.826.8800 to make 2017 the year you take control of you and your family’s dental health. We look forward to helping you “Create smiles for a lifetime”.