My Blog

Posts for: September, 2018

By Smiles by Bigelow
September 19, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: pediatric dentistry   sugar  

Tooth decay is an ever present danger for your baby’s developing teeth. It begins with disease-causing bacteria feasting on leftover sugar, producing high levels of oral acid that slowly dissolves the teeth’s protective enamel. The softened enamel then becomes an open door for decay to infect the tooth.

Meanwhile, those bacteria continue to eat and produce acid….

So how can you stop this devastating cycle? Besides daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, the most important thing you can do is deprive bacteria in your baby’s mouth of sugar through limiting their consumption of it. This means you’ll first need to identify the different sources of sugar available to your baby—and some of them might surprise you.

Here, then, are 3 not-so-obvious sugar sources your baby might be consuming.

During feeding. If you’re breast-feeding, you may not think this is causing a sugar problem for your baby. True, breast milk by itself doesn’t promote decay: it’s the combination of it with other sugar-rich foods and liquids the baby might be consuming as they get older. Together this could significantly increase their risk of pediatric tooth decay (also known as early childhood caries or ECC). So, be careful to limit sugar in other things they’re eating or drinking in addition to nursing.

24/7 Baby bottles and pacifiers. To calm infants at nap or sleep time, parents or caregivers often use bottles filled with sweet liquids or pacifiers dipped in jam, syrup or sugar. This practice increases decay risk from both the added sugar and its constant availability to bacteria in the mouth around the clock. Instead, avoid this practice and limit any sugary foods or liquids to mealtimes.

Medications. Some medications an infant may be taking for a chronic illness may contain small amounts of sugar. Additionally, medications like antihistamines can reduce the production of saliva that’s needed to neutralize acid after meals. If your child is on medication, ask your healthcare provider about its dental effects and if there are any sugar-free alternatives. Be sure to keep up daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits too.

Limiting your baby’s sugar intake is critical in preventing tooth decay. It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect their dental health.

If you would like more information on helping your child avoid tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Age One Dental Visit: Why It’s Important for Your Baby.”

By Smiles by Bigelow
September 18, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Implant SmileIt is possible to close the gaps in your smile permanently with dental implants. Dental implants are inserted into the jaw bone and act as replacement roots for missing teeth. Crowns or bridgework function as replacement teeth and are securely anchored in place by the dental implants. A dentist can help you decide if dental implants are the right tooth replacement option for you. At Smiles by Bigelow, Dr. Tod Bigelow is your dentist in Hattiesburg, MS for dental implants.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are hypoallergenic metal posts that are placed into the jaw bone and function as a replacement tooth root where natural teeth are missing. Over time, the metal implant fuses with the jaw bone through a natural process known as osseointegration. Once the implant and bone have fused together, the dental implant will remain securely in place. Further, fusion of the two provides additional support for the bone, which can deteriorate following the loss of natural teeth.

After dental implants have completely fused with the jaw bone, they can be topped with artificial teeth. Two options for replacing missing teeth in conjunction with dental implants include dental crowns and bridgework. Crowns are often used to replace individual teeth that are missing, while bridgework is used to simultaneously replace multiple missing teeth. Your dentist can advise you as to whether crowns or bridgework are the right option for capping your dental implants.

Benefits of Dental Implants

There are several benefits to choose dental implants to close the gaps in your smile. When there are gaps due to missing teeth, there are fewer teeth to share the work of biting and chewing food, which can put additional strain on surrounding teeth. Missing teeth also mean less support for facial muscles, which can result in sagging of the face. Speech can also be affected as the placement of the tongue when speaking is altered by the gaps from missing teeth.

Your Hattiesburg dentist for dental implants can help you decide if they are the right choice for you. Some of the benefits of dental implants include:

  • Restore your smile
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Evenly distribute biting and chewing functions across teeth
  • Alleviate the extra strain on surrounding teeth
  • Provide support for sagging facial muscles
  • Restore the natural contours of the face
  • Improve speech by correcting tongue placement when speaking

It is possible to finally close the gaps in your smile once and for all with dental implants. For dental implants in Hattiesburg, MS schedule an appointment with Dr. Bigelow by calling Smiles by Bigelow at (601) 582-1623.

By Smiles by Bigelow
September 08, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

When things get unpleasant in your mouth, it’s most often related to some underlying cause. In fact, the discomfort you’re feeling is often a call to action to have it checked and treated.

The American Dental Association recently surveyed approximately 15,000 U.S. adults about their oral problems. If you have any of the top 3 problems found in this survey, it could be a “warning bell” sounding in your mouth right now.

Here, then, are the top 3 dental problems in America, what they mean and what you should do about them.

#3: Tooth Pain. About a third of respondents (more among those younger or from lower-income households) indicated pain as a problem. As a warning sign of something wrong, tooth pain could be telling you that you have a decayed tooth, a gum abscess or something similar. The best thing to do is get a checkup as soon as possible. It’s unlikely that whatever is causing the pain will go away on its own and procrastination could make ultimate treatment more complex and difficult.

#2: Difficulty Biting. A slightly higher number of people named difficulty chewing and biting as their main oral problem. As with tooth pain, chewing difficulty causes could be many: cracked, loose or decayed teeth, ill-fitted dentures, or a jaw joint disorder (TMD). Again, if it hurts to chew or bite, see a dentist. Besides the underlying problem, chewing difficulties could also affect the quality of your nutrition.

#1: Dry Mouth. Chronic dry mouth garnered the highest response in the survey, especially among older adults. This is more serious than the occasional “cotton mouth” feeling we all experience—with chronic dry mouth the salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva to neutralize mouth acid or fight disease, thus increasing your risk for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. It’s most likely caused by medications or systemic conditions, so talk with your dentist or physician about boosting saliva flow.

If you would like more information on comprehensive dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.