October 17th, 2018
One of the most enjoyable parts of looking at family pictures is finding resemblances. You have your father’s brown eyes and your grandmother’s curly hair. You’ve got your aunt’s basketball height and your cousin’s freckles. But some similarities might not be so appealing—could one of those be a family tendency toward gum disease?
Studies have shown that periodontal disease appears to have some kind of genetic component, especially for serious diseases and those that appear early in the patient’s life. Aggressive periodontitis, for example, a relatively uncommon disease which causes rapid bone loss around certain teeth, is often more common among members of the same family. Other studies suggest there might be a genetic link between our immune response and the development of chronic periodontitis. So far, however, the link between genetics and gum disease is still under investigation.
We do know that environmental factors are an important trigger for gum disease. Failure to brush and floss, smoking, diet, stress, medical conditions such as diabetes—all can influence the health of our gums. The best way to overcome these factors is your own proactive approach! Thorough brushing and flossing, regular checkups and cleanings, proper nutrition, and avoiding smoking are all time-tested ways to keep your gums and teeth healthy. If you have a medical condition, proper treatment and medication will also help protect your oral health.
During your examination with Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Sandy Hayes at our Cookeville office, please tell us about any family history of periodontal disease, your own gum care routine, and any habits or conditions which might influence your health. We can tailor treatment and offer suggestions for prevention based on a thorough knowledge of your medical history. We have many options available today for preventing and treating gum disease. Let’s make sure all your family albums are filled with beaming smiles—that’s the most appealing resemblance of all!
October 10th, 2018
Toddlers are notoriously balky about strangers. But their first dental visit should not be cause for fear and tears. Nor should you assume that getting your toddler to Hayes Family Dentistry is going to involve a full-blown tantrum or Mafia-style bribery. “Honey, don’t worry. We’ll go get ice cream after…” sort of defeats the purpose of making that first dental appointment.
These five tips will make your toddler’s trip to see Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Sandy Hayes as fun as a stop at an amusement park.
1. Before you make a dental appointment for your child, take him or her on a ride-along to one of your dental appointments. Let your son or daughter experience the office and get the lay of the land. Toddlers don’t like surprises. But if your little one is already familiar with the big chair that goes up and down, the next time he or she will have no problem taking a seat.
2. About the big dental chair … well, it’s really an amusement park ride. See how it goes up and down? Toddlers love games, and turning the trip to the dentist into a game is among the oldest (and most successful) tricks in the parent playbook.
3. Positive reinforcement is a good thing. That's why Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Sandy Hayes and our staff hand out cool toothbrushes or stickers to children after their appointment. A fun-colored toothbrush with a suction bottom is a good incentive to come back for another cleaning.
4. Timing is everything. Don’t take your child to the dentist an hour before the daily nap. Make the appointment with your child’s schedule in mind. This increases the chances of success.
5. A few days before the scheduled appointment, start reading your toddler bedtimes stories about what happens at the dentist. Dora the Explorer’s Show Me Your Smile, written by Christine Ricci, is a popular dental story that your child might relate to.
October 3rd, 2018
It was a small fall! A miniscule piece of popcorn! A minor foul on the basketball court! But now there’s a chip in your otherwise perfect smile. Is a chipped tooth worth calling Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Sandy Hayes?
Any time your tooth is injured is time to call our Cookeville office. Even a small chip can affect your tooth structure and should be evaluated. We will also want to check your tooth and gums to make sure there is no underlying injury that could be more serious, and to treat your tooth as soon as possible so that no further damage occurs.
A very small chip might need nothing more than smoothing and polishing to remove sharp edges. A small chip in your enamel can be repaired with dental bonding, where a composite like those used to fill cavities will be shaped to cover and fill the chip. This composite will be matched to your tooth color for a seamless repair. A porcelain veneer is also an option for you. These procedures will restore the look of your tooth and protect it as well, because even a small chip can lead to tooth sensitivity or further damage in the future.
A larger chip, such as a fractured cusp, might require a crown. But a large chip might also mean that the inside of the tooth has been compromised. If the dentin or pulp are affected, pain, infection, and even tooth loss could result. A root canal might be necessary to preserve the tooth, so prompt treatment is necessary.
Regardless of the size of the chip, call our Cookeville office as soon as possible. We can give you tips for pain management, if needed, until you see us. If you can save the chip, bring it with you when you visit in case there is the possibility of bonding it to the injured tooth. But even without that missing piece, there are ways to restore the look of your original tooth. Remember, repairing a chipped tooth is not just cosmetic. We want to keep your smile healthy, as well as beautiful!
September 26th, 2018
One of the most frequent questions that Dr. Kevin Hayes and Dr. Sandy Hayes and our team hear is about what kinds of snacks are best for a child’s dental health. Sugary snacks are inevitable sometimes, but it’s vital for you as a parent to monitor how frequently your child is eating the kinds of snacks that may give him or her a cavity or two down the line.
Unsurprisingly, the best snacks are healthy ones, though they may not always be the most appealing to your little ones. The good news is that healthy doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. Once your kids give these tasty snacks a go, they might become open to all things healthy!
- Fresh veggies and hummus
- Apple wedges with peanut butter
- Low-fat yogurt with berries
- Cubes of cheese and crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs with a little bit of salt and pepper
- Celery sticks with cream cheese and sunflower seeds
- A homemade milkshake with low-fat milk (or almond milk), the fruit of their choice, chia seeds, and cinnamon
- Lean proteins such as chicken breast, fish, and turkey
These snacks aren’t high in sugar but they contain all the nutrients your children need to have the necessary energy throughout the day.
This is only a sample of all the great, healthy snacks out there for your kids. For more ideas, ask us the next time you visit our Cookeville office. It’s never too early to create healthy habits; they’re not only good for oral health, but overall health too. That’s a win-win, if you ask us.