Posts for: November, 2019
Millions of children across the US regularly participate in some kind of sport. No matter whether your child is a dancer, gymnast, soccer player, or football player, the goals of parents are always the same: to keep their child healthy and to prevent injury. Having a pediatrician that you turn to regularly for care is invaluable, as this trusted medical doctor can also provide you and your child with guidance and counseling to ensure that you are taking all the precautionary measures necessary to prevent sports-related injuries in your little one.
Caring for Childhood Sports Injuries
With millions of kids also visiting the hospitals every year for sports-related injuries it’s important to acknowledge that the need for proper injury prevention practices is particularly crucial for children and teens. The most common sports-related injuries include repetitive motion injuries (e.g. tendonitis), ankle sprains, broken bones, and concussions.
Since many of these conditions are the result of overuse rather than injury symptoms may appear gradually over time. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your child when they complain about pain or other issues they are having. It’s also important that kids have ample time to rest and heal. If they don’t this can also put unnecessary stress the body and leave them prone to injury.
Minor sports injuries can often be treated with rest and home care. The RICE method is often used for treating minor to moderate sports injuries. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Children may also find relief through non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, but it’s important to talk with your pediatrician before starting your child on any new medication.
While you may wish to treat your child’s symptoms at home it’s also important to know when to turn to a pediatrician. Call your child’s doctor if their symptoms do not improve with at-home care, if symptoms get worse, or if their symptoms affect their training. These symptoms also require immediate medical attention:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Deformity (e.g. a misaligned bone)
- Numbness, tingling or weakness
- Trouble walking or putting weight on the injured part of the body
As any pediatrician will tell you, it’s always better to prevent injuries than to treat them once they arise. There are a variety of measures you can put in place to reduce your child’s risk for injury. These injury-prevention tips include:
- Making sure that your child gets a physical exam from their pediatrician at least once a year to make sure that they are healthy enough for physical activity.
- Make sure that your child is getting ample training throughout the year so that once the season rolls around their body will be ready for the demands of their chosen sport.
- Make sure that your child is wearing the appropriate footwear and protective gear. This includes helmets, mouthguards, shin guards, and other padding.
- Your child should also stretch and warm-up for at least 10-15 minutes prior to game time. A proper warm-up can greatly reduce injury.
If your child is experiencing pain, swelling or other problems as a result of a sports injury don’t hesitate to give your pediatrician a call today. Catching and treating sports injuries right away can prevent further complications.
While not as prevalent as adults, teenagers can have missing teeth, usually from injury or from never having been formed. Fortunately, life-like dental implants can replace missing teeth. But unfortunately for teens, implants aren't usually a good option—yet.
That's because a teenager's jaws are still growing, and will continue until early adulthood. Dental implants don't adjust to this growth like natural teeth and will eventually look out of place. It's best, then, to consider a temporary restoration for a teenager. And, there are two excellent options: one removable and one fixed.
The first is a removable partial denture (RPD). Like a full denture, an RPD has an acrylic base that resembles gum tissue, to which prosthetic (false) teeth are attached to match the positions of the missing teeth. It's usually held in place with metal or nylon clips that slide under part of the natural teeth at the gum line.
RPDs are versatile and durable. But they're not designed to be worn indefinitely, so they can be damaged if subjected to excessive biting forces like biting into something hard. And, peer-pressured teens may also feel self-consciousness about wearing a “denture.”
The other option is a bonded bridge. It's similar to a traditional bridge, except how it's supported in the mouth. A traditional bridge gains its support from the crowns on each end attached to natural teeth, which must be permanently altered for them. By contrast, a bonded bridge has strips of dental material extending from both sides of its back that are bonded to the back of the adjacent natural teeth.
With the bonding material behind the bridge, it can't be seen—and the natural teeth won't require permanent alteration. But a bonded bridge is usually more costly than an RPD and less secure than a traditional bridge. And not every teen is a viable candidate for one: issues like how the teeth fit together and if the teen has a tooth grinding habit could be strikes against this fixed option.
Your dentist can help you sort out the best of these options for your teen. If cared for and maintained properly, either restoration can buy you time until your teen is ready for dental implants.
If you would like more information on restoring a teenager's smile, 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 “Temporary Tooth Replacement for Teens: What Are the Options?”
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Once you find out you’re pregnant it seems like everything shifts focus to how you are going to take care of yourself and your unborn child. Furthermore, you start making decisions about how to care for your baby once it enters the world. One of the most important aspects is choosing a pediatrician that your child can turn to from birth until adulthood for medical care. Choosing a doctor that you like and can trust is important not just for parents but also children.
Having the same doctor means that children are also more likely to get the proper care, tests, and vaccines they need to keep them healthy. Having a continuous, trustworthy relationship with your children’s doctor will ensure that your child gets the care and treatment they need through all aspects of their developing life.
Looking for a Pediatrician
So, when is the best time to start looking for a pediatrician? Usually a good time to start searching is between 28 and 34 weeks. This will give you enough time to do your homework and not feel rushed to find a doctor that you feel you truly can trust. You can ask your friends, colleagues, and family members for personal recommendations and referrals. Once you determine which doctors sound good it’s time to setup a one-on-one meeting to learn more about their training, practice and services.
This is also a time to determine whether the pediatrician is a good fit for your family and that you feel a good, positive connection with them. Prepare questions ahead of time so that you get the most out of your consultation.
Once your child is born they will usually see a pediatrician for the first time within the first week of birth. After that, your newborn will come into the office regularly for monitoring, vaccines, screenings, and checkups. These routine checkups are crucial, as they allow your pediatrician to monitor everything from their hearing and vision to certain health problems and developmental delays. By bringing your child in for their regularly scheduled appointments your pediatrician will be able to catch problems and provide early interventions to reduce the risk for complications and long-term issues.
When your baby arrives it’s natural to have a lot of questions. Your pediatrician isn’t just here to provide your child with comprehensive health care; they can also provide you with answers to everything from breastfeeding and bathing to diet and sleep schedules.
Your pediatrician can educate parents, especially new parents, on the dos and don’t of caring for their newborn.
If you are currently pregnant it’s never too soon to find the right pediatrician for your budding family.
As with most Western countries, we in the U.S. love our carbs. While fats and proteins make an appearance in our diets, many of us go full-tilt on sugars, starches and fibers.
Regardless of what some diet gurus say, we do need these organic compounds to generate energy for our cells. But carbs can also fuel inflammation: This is a mechanism in the body that isolates and protects healthy tissues from damaged tissues or toxins. Chronic inflammation, though, contributes to systemic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and, yes, gum disease.
And it's not just a matter of too many carbs in your diet. Not all carbs are equal: Some can actually stimulate inflammation, making conditions like gum disease worse. Others, though, might actually help decrease inflammation.
So, in terms of your gum health in particular, how do you know which carbs are better for you and which are worse?
It depends on their ranking on the glycemic index, a measure of how fast the body digests a particular carbohydrate to form glucose, the blood sugar that fuels our cells. The faster the digestion (higher on the glycemic index), the more likely they'll overload the bloodstream with glucose, requiring the release of the hormone insulin to bring the levels back to normal. Continuous insulin increases ultimately lead to higher inflammation.
High glycemic foods include those with added sugar, bakery items made with white flour, white rice or mashed potatoes. But there are also carb foods low on the glycemic scale—most vegetables, greens, beans, nuts and whole grains—whose slower digestive rates avoid the big blood sugar spikes and excessive insulin—and actually hinder inflammation.
So, if you want to control inflammation, reduce your consumption of high glycemic foods like chips, French fries, cookies and similar items. Instead, eat low glycemic foods like apples, bulgur wheat products, oatmeal, and other fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.
In short: steer clear of processed foods with added sugar, and indulge yourself in fresh “real” food. These also have the added bonuses of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that keep your body functioning normally. And that can also make a big difference toward keeping your gums healthy and disease-free.
If you would like more information on diet and dental health, 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 “Carbohydrates Linked to Gum Disease.”