Guide to Restoring Your Child’s Missing Teeth

When a parent learns their child is missing a tooth or multiple teeth it can be very upsetting.  Typically, missing teeth will be discovered at a routine dental visit and the general dentist will refer the child to an orthodontic specialist for an evaluation.

Local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, explains the goals of this first orthodontic visit.  “Often parents are very upset when they learn of their child’s missing teeth.  I try to calm them at this first visit and put the problem into perspective by explaining that there are dental solutions to this issue.  I always remind parents that there are many medical conditions that are far more serious and without a good prognosis so in comparison this is a problem that we can fix.” 

While it may not be a life-threatening problem, Dr. Lempert does recognize the important aesthetic concerns for young patients who are missing teeth and the damaging effect it can have on their self-esteem if left untreated.

In Dr. Lempert’s office the child’s initial visit will be followed by a comprehensive analysis of their teeth and jaw bones utilizing advanced digital scanning technology, x-rays and photographs.  A treatment plan will be formulated with a clear timeline and strategy. Some children may not be ready to start active orthodontic care at the time of their evaluation and all that will be needed is careful orthodontic monitoring until the timing for care is optimal.

When a child is ready for treatment the orthodontist will evaluate the dental spacing and jaw growth and determine if the missing tooth space will remain open or if it can be closed.  In her practice, Dr. Lempert provides a transitional replacement tooth during active orthodontic care that blends in with the child’s natural teeth.  This helps the child avoid the embarrassment of having a visible empty space in their mouth and allows them to smile confidently.

Dr. Lempert will work closely with the patient’s general dentist and specialists to create an optimal site for future restorations, including implant replacement.  Dr. Lempert adds “I always provide aesthetic retainers with replacement teeth embedded in them so kids can smile assuredly.  Implants cannot be placed until the child is done growing so retention of the orthodontic result is crucial for the best possible outcome.”

To learn more about missing teeth and what may be the best solution for you or a family member Dr. Lempert provides complimentary screenings for children in her Swedesboro office. You can visit her website at www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.

Dr. Susan LempertDr. 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. 

Local Orthodontist Spotlights Injury Prevention

Each April the dental community joins together to promote National Facial Protection Month. It is the perfect time of year to bring attention to how important it is to protect your teeth, gums and mouth from injury when taking part in organized sports and recreational activities.

“It is important that athletes of all ages play it safe by wearing mouth guards and appropriate protective gear when participating in activities that could cause injuries,” said local orthodontist Dr. Susan Lempert, a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). “Many sports injuries can be prevented by wearing appropriate protective gear.”

Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available. Over-the-counter mouth guards cost as little as $5 and can protect teeth and jaws, but they only provide protection when they are worn.

mouthguard types

Mouth guards are much less expensive than the cost of care to restore broken or knocked out teeth. In a recent AAO study among 1,000 U.S. parents whose children play in organized sports, the parents estimated it would cost $1,142 to replace a damaged permanent tooth. In reality, costs to treat one knocked-out tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000, according to an article in the journal Sports Health.

Dr. Lempert advises parents and coaches to remind youngsters to always use a mouth guard when participating in any activity during which the mouth could come into contact with a hard object or the pavement. “Athletes in orthodontic treatment should consult their orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to use,” said Dr. Lempert.

Dr. Susan Lempert

Consistent use of other protective equipment is important, too. Helmets save lives and prevent head injuries. They should be worn for activities such as bicycling, skateboarding or skating on in-line skates. Helmet wear is mandated for many organized sports. Face guards, devices made of plastic or metal that attach to baseball helmets, help to prevent facial injuries as well.

For more information, visit Dr. Susan Lempert’s website at http://www.lempertsmile.com/ or call 856-241-8400.

American Association of OrthodontistsNational Facial Protection Month is co-sponsored annually by the American Association of Orthodontists, the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world, and by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association. Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the AAO. The AAO’s website is aaoinfo.org. 

 

 

The Mystery of Your Child’s Disappearing Teeth

Understanding Tooth Erosion In Children

Local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, educates concerned parents about the mysterious finding of “disappearing” teeth.  Dr. Lempert explains:

“Parents will bring their children in for an orthodontic consultation and among their more traditional concerns like crowding or spacing they will note short, dull, and worn looking teeth.  In some instances, I have patients whose baby teeth have been almost entirely worn away.  During our initial orthodontic examination, we can detect evidence of acid erosion in children and advise parents on the best course of action.”

Dr. Lempert incorporates recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in her practice to help identify and assist in the treatment of acid erosion.  She works together with parents to develop an understanding of the issue and to assemble a team of specialists, including their dentist, to help them combat this complex problem.

Watch this educational video on tooth erosion.

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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry classifies the source of the acid into two categories, intrinsic and extrinsic sources:

  •  Intrinsic sources of acid are most frequently attributed to children with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as well as psycho-social disorders like bulimia that cause stomach acid to be regurgitated into the mouth.
  •  Extrinsic sources of acid come from drinks and foods with high levels of acid like soda, sports drinks and citrus fruits.  In both instances, the acid demineralizes the teeth and makes them softer and more susceptible to wearing away or “disappearing”.

Certainly, there are many other factors that can exacerbate the extent of acid erosion like, the quantity and quality of a child’s saliva. Less saliva, as can happen when someone is dehydrated, provides less buffering capacity to neutralize the acid.  Enamel, the outer protective coating on teeth, can vary in quality from person to person.  Children with weaker enamel will display harsher effects from erosive acids.  Excessive use of firm, abrasive toothbrushes or paste can remove the softened enamel.  Additionally, habits like bruxism (tooth grinding) can significantly increase the deleterious effects of acid on the teeth.

Successful treatment tooth erosion in children requires first that the problem is identified.  Orthodontists are in a unique position to recognize the effects of acid erosion in children as they see their patients more frequently and thus may be able to readily note changes in the tooth surfaces.  They can then work with the pediatric dentist, GI specialist and pediatrician to identify and eliminate the source of the acid, and ultimately restore and protect the teeth.   During orthodontic treatment Dr. Lempert provides her patients with a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste that helps protect and strengthen tooth enamel during orthodontic care.

If you have orthodontic concerns for your child or think your child might have acid tooth erosion 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.

 

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

Local Orthodontist Says Goodbye To Orthodontic Impressions – It’s No Gag!

Kids and adults alike remember the dreaded impressions or “molds” that were required prior to starting orthodontic treatment.  First a tray was fit to your mouth and then a heaping mound of pink mushy material was pressed onto your teeth and held there for what seemed like an agonizing eternity.  For some it was no big deal but for many, especially those with a strong gag reflex, the molding would bring on the unpleasant urge to be sick!

Great news for the impression weary—getting a 3-D replica of your mouth has become a lot easier!  Intra-oral digital scanning is the latest technology that can help orthodontists make a 3-D reproduction of a patient’s mouth.

Gloucester County native and local orthodontist, Dr. Susan Lempert, explains: “We have embraced digital dentistry in our practice.   Our intra-oral scanner uses a small wand that is waved over the teeth.  Using 3-D video technology it generates an exact replica of the patient’s oral anatomy.  This 3-D replica can be used diagnostically or to fabricate a variety of orthodontic appliances including Invisalign.  Our patients love it and we couldn’t be happier with how easy and accurate it is to use!”

Dr. Lempert digital dentistry

Intra-oral Scanner

A magic wand that gets rid of orthodontic impressions—it is a dream for patients and orthodontists alike and a reality that Dr. Lempert is excited to share with her patients.

Dr. Susan LempertDr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at www.lempertsmile.com to learn more about her practice.

American Association of Orthodontists

 

 

 

 

 

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 Dangers of DIY Braces

Recent online advertising of DIY orthodontic treatment has resulted in some people turning to the Internet in the hope of a quick, cheap fix for their crooked teeth. Self cures like “gap bands” and self- administered clear aligners lack the supervision and guidance that is necessary for safe and effective movement of teeth.  

WATCH VIDEO: “The Expert Smile”

Moving teeth within jawbones is a science and relies on in-depth understanding of facial jawbone growth, the biomechanics of tooth movement, and bone physiology.   Additionally, orthodontists carefully review each patient’s medical history to see if it may influence how their body will respond to therapy. Unsupervised treatment could result in root shortening, tooth damage, or even tooth loss.  Check out this article showing how the use of a self-administered rubber band to try to close a gap resulted in damage to the gums and teeth:

In order to safely get the treatment results you desire it is important to seek the care of an orthodontist.  Orthodontists differ from general dentists in that they first complete 4 years of dental training and then continue their training in orthodontics for an additional 2-3 years.  Once a doctor has completed this added specialty training they are considered an orthodontist and are permitted membership in the American  Association of  Orthodontists (AAO).

Why an Orthodontist

WATCH VIDEO: “Why an Orthodontist?”

Dr. Susan Lempert

Dr. Susan Lempert is a local orthodontist and a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.   Dr. Lempert attributes the success of her patients’ orthodontic treatment and the quality of her results to the mutual trust between her and her patients. Patients of Dr. Lempert believe in the quality of her specialty care and understand that it is a service that has value in their lives.

Many people desire straight teeth but do-it-yourself straightening is not a wise choice.  It is dangerous and ineffective.  For this healthcare procedure it is best to step away from the lure of DIY Internet videos and contact Dr. Lempert.  She will arrange for a complimentary orthodontic evaluation and discuss treatment options in a way that fits your needs and budget.

AAO logo

For more information about Dr. Lempert and her practice you can visit her website at:  www.lempertsmile.com.

 

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.