Thumbs-Up to a Healthy Mouth

Local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, counsels many worried parents about their children’s thumb sucking habits.  Dr. Lempert explains “Parents most frequently express concerns about the damage thumb sucking can have on their child’s teeth and they are frustrated with finding a suitable method to encourage their child to stop.”   In her practice Dr. Lempert incorporates recommendations from the American Dental Association and the American Psychological Association to formulate a unique, comprehensive approach.  She starts with a basic understanding of the sucking reflex.

thumb suckingAccording to the ADA and the APA sucking in infants is common, harmless and beneficial for self-soothing.  As a child grows and becomes a toddler this self-soothing is still acceptable and allows the child to feel safe while exploring their new world.   When a child enters the preschool years the benefits of sucking wane and the side effects can become more detrimental.  This is when the sucking effects on the developing mouth and teeth can become evident.

Dr. Lempert explains, “Once the adult teeth erupt the sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth.  It can also cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth.”  This is why Dr. Lempert follows the guidelines of the American Association of Orthodontists and recommends every child have an orthodontic screening by age 7.  She explains, “Most children do not need treatment at that age but for some we can identify potential problems, like thumb sucking, and offer early solutions that will ultimately make for less problems down the road.  Prevention is important.”

If you have concerns about your child’s thumb sucking habit Dr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings for children in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at:  www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.

Dr. Susan LempertAAO

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lempert graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Human Biology.   She received her Master of Science in Oral Biology Degree, Certificate in Orthodontics, and Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from Temple University School of Dentistry.  

 

 

 

 

 

Soft Drinks and Orthodontic Treatment: A Recipe for Disaster

Soft Drinks + OthodonticsThe American Association of Orthodontists recently published a warning about the dangers of soft drinks during orthodontic treatment.  Sodas, both regular and diet, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juices can do considerable damage to teeth.   This damage is compounded when you are wearing braces or aligners.

The acids in these beverages weaken the tooth by pulling the calcium out of the enamel.  This process of decalcification can lead to cavities.  This loss of enamel is permanent and will not restore itself.

The acid effect of soft drinks on your teeth can be amplified by another source of acid found in your mouth.  Every day the surface of your teeth accumulate plaque, a sticky mixture of food debris, saliva and bacteria. The bacteria in the plaque utilize sugars and starches as food and make acid as a byproduct.  This acid softens the teeth.  For orthodontic patients this decalcification occurs around the braces and under the aligners.  If you combine the acid from plaque with acid from drinks it doubles your risk for tooth decay!

braces

During orthodontic treatment it is best to avoid these damaging drinks.  If you must drink a soft drink use a straw to limit the contact with your teeth.  Also, drink with a meal and do not sip the drink over a long period of time.  The length of time the teeth are exposed to the acid increases the risk of decay.  Brush right away after drinking and if you don’t have a toothbrush with you then rinse with water.

aligners

Dr. Susan Lempert, a local orthodontist, encourages her patients to follow the AAO warnings about soft drinks.  She suggests drinking water instead.  Dr. Lempert prescribes a special fluoride paste for all of her patients during treatment and will also recommend more frequent dental cleanings if a patient’s home care is deficient.

Dr. Lempert explains, “When you finish your orthodontic treatment you want a beautiful smile with straight, healthy teeth.  White decalcification marks and cavities will destroy your result.  Choose your drinks wisely because your smile depends on it!”

Dr. Susan Lempert Dr. Susan Lempert is a local orthodontist and a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.  For more information about Dr. Lempert and her practice you can visit her website at:   www.lempertsmile.com.

 American Association of Orthodontists

 

The Orthodontist’s Role in Recognizing Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder where there is partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep.   Children with OSA have repeated episodes of airway obstruction during sleep and may snore, gasp, snort or even stop breathing. This leads to slowing of the heart rate, brain arousal, a drop in blood oxygen level and disruption of sleep.  According to The American Academy of Otolaryngology approximately 10 percent of children snore regularly and up to 4 percent have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children

The National Sleep Foundation reports that children with OSA can be difficult to wake up, display morning irritability, suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness and have frequent morning headaches.  Additionally, these children are commonly inattentive and display disruptive behavior that can lead to school or social problems.   Many of the symptoms of OSA are similar to those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.   In addition to the behavioral and social difficulties associated with OSA there are other consequences such as slowed growth and development, cardiovascular problems and increased risk for obesity.

Risk factors for OSA are:

  •  Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Abnormalities of the jaws or tongue
  • Childhood obesity
  • Neuromuscular deficits such as Cerebral Palsy
  • Allergies or asthma

Orthodontists are in a unique position to recognize children who may suffer from OSA.  As certified specialists in the irregularities of the teeth and in the morphology of the jawbones, orthodontists understand the symptoms and characteristics of children with OSA can help identify patients at risk.  Also, orthodontists see their patients frequently and this repeated exposure puts them at an advantage when it comes to identifying the symptoms and distinct craniofacial indicators associated with OSA.

If you suspect OSA in your child be sure to alert your orthodontist.  She can determine whether your child may be at risk, discuss possible orthodontic corrections and refer your child to medical specialist for treatment.

If you have concerns about OSA in your child, Dr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings for children in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.

Dr Lempert
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Lempert graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Human Biology.   She received her Master of Science in Oral Biology Degree, Certificate in Orthodontics, and Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from Temple University School of Dentistry.
 

Focus on Cuspid Impaction ~ Why Your Child May Be at Risk

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  This month the focus is on the prevention of a common and destructive childhood dental problem, impacted maxillary (upper) cuspids. Dr. Susan Lempert, a local orthodontist, explains: “When a tooth is unable to erupt normally and becomes stuck in the bone it is known as an impaction.  The tooth is trapped and can damage the roots of the adjacent adult teeth it presses against.  Maxillary (upper) cuspid teeth are particularly susceptible to impaction because they are one of the last teeth to erupt in the upper jaw.  If there is crowding they can easily be blocked out of the mouth.” Cuspid Impaction Dr. Lempert adds: “Impactions happen for many reasons such as crowding, narrow jaws, baby teeth that don’t fall out, permanent teeth that develop in the wrong spot or a combination of each.”  If impaction is suspected, a general dentist will refer the patient to an orthodontist for an early orthodontic evaluation. During this early evaluation the orthodontist can determine whether early treatment is indicated.

Dr. Lempert explains further:  “Early treatment can make space and create a better environment for the impacted tooth to erupt, thus minimizing negative effects on the adult teeth.  Sometimes no orthodontic treatment is indicated and all that is needed to relieve the impaction is removal of the over-retained baby teeth.”

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children a screened by an orthodontist no later than age 7.  While most children will not need treatment at this age, some may benefit from early treatment especially when it comes to the prevention of cuspid impaction and the potential damage it can cause.

Dr. Susan LempertAAO logo

 

 

 

 

If you have concerns about your child’s bite Dr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings for children in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at:  www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.