We are often asked at St. Louis Hills Dental Group at what age should children stop using pacifiers. The largest pacifier available in stores is one for an 18 month old child. We encourage parents to start weaning their children off pacifiers at that age if not sooner. There is an increased risk of children developing posterior crossbites or anterior open bites if a pacifier is used past the age of 2 years. In some situations these bite problems may not self correct if pacifier use is not stopped by that time.
We recommend a 6 week program to stop pacifier use:
1. Both parents need to be in agreement about the timing of stopping the pacifier.
2. In week two the pacifier can no longer leave the house. Don’t have it in the diaper bag or car rides or going to the store.
3. In week three the pacifier can no longer leave the bedroom.
4. In week four the pacifier can no longer leave the bed. If the child goes to daycare or a baby sitter this is a good time to get the child used to sleeping during the day without one. The child may have to have its back patted while going to sleep but things will get better.
5. In weeks five and six the child should be pacifier free 75% of the time. Parents can cut part of the tip off of the pacifier to decrease the suction of the pacifier. Sometimes even the whole tip can be cut off to eliminate the ability of the pacifier to be held between the teeth.
Some families decide to have the child give up the pacifier “cold turkey” giving it to Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or a new baby in the family. The child can then be given a new toy, like a stuffed animal, to compensate for the pacifier.
Some patients who are using manual toothbrushes have excellent oral health. Far more frequently this is not the case. Switching patients to a power toothbrush makes an immediate and positive impact on their oral health.
Power toothbrushes have many times the brush strokes of a manual brush. Some power toothbrushes have more brush strokes in one minute than a manual brush has on one month. Power toothbrushes are so significantly superior there is no comparison.
Using a power brush with fluoridated toothpaste helps remove biofilm, stains, and helps decrease tooth decay. Power brushes can also improve the gingival health of patients who have gum disease. All benefits of the use of a power toothbrush.
The brush heads of power brushes need to be replaced just as you would replace a manual brush. When the bristles become visibly splayed it is time to replace the head. Heads come in several sizes. Larger sizes are generally better because they have more bristles. In some patients with small mouthes or hard to reach areas small heads are better. Small headed brushes may take longer to remove the biofilm, but the brushes have timers to help make brushing more effective.
When we see our patients at St. Louis Hills Dental Group, we are always looking for ways to improve their oral health. The benefits of power toothbrushes can not be denied.
At St. Louis Hills Dental Group we have always provided oral cancer screenings for our patients. There is also an article in this website on how patients can conduct an initial self screening and what to look for. Another concern is the increasing number of cases of human papilloma viruses being found in society. This is a very real threat, especially in younger populations.
We have recently added new technology that allows us to screen our patients for possible cancer and viruses using a fluorescing light to identify suspicious spots or lesions. This system utilizes a special light that brightens the oral tissues and shows questionable spots as dark areas. These dark areas can be identified and followed or they can be referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy.
We want to do what we can to make sure our patients are healthy. We are constantly looking for ways to make sure that happens.
At St. Louis Hills Dental Group we take great pride in the quality of the members of our team providing care for our patients. We feel the hygienists, clinical assistants, front office individuals, and the doctors combine to give our patients an experience as unique and pleasant as possible.
Our hygienists attend several years of college before going to hygiene school and earning their designation as a registered dental hygienist. We are fortunate to be able to attract the skill level of hygienists we have at this office.
Our clinical assistants assist the doctors as well as doing many other tasks to help our patients. They have all gone through “expanded function dental assisting” programs and have a wealth of experience in providing dental care. They are usually the ones who develop the closest communication and friendships with our patients.
The front office team members guide our patients through the myriad of issues with dental insurance and how to pay for dental treatment. As we have discussed in other articles on this website dental insurance has changed and continues to change creating many questions for our patients. We do everything we can to answer those questions so our patients are “surprised” as little as possible when payment is discussed.
In addition to all of the above, the entire St. Louis Hills Dental Group team attends regular monthly “continuing education” meetings. These meetings offer a variety of programs and topics to better allow us to continue to provide the care we do.
Please let us know if you ever have any questions or concerns for St. Louis Hills Dental Group.