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Posts for: March, 2016

By Inland Oral Surgery
March 30, 2016
Category: Oral Health

As is the case with most celebs today, Beyonce is no stranger to sharing on social media… but she really got our attention with a video she recently posted on instagram. The clip shows the superstar songstress — along with her adorable three-year old daughter Blue Ivy — flossing their teeth! In the background, a vocalist (sounding remarkably like her husband Jay-Z) repeats the phrase “flossin’…flossin’…” as mom and daughter appear to take care of their dental hygiene in time with the beat:

We’re happy that this clip highlights the importance of helping kids get an early start on good oral hygiene. And, according to authorities like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, age 3 is about the right time for kids to begin getting involved in the care of their own teeth.

Of course, parents should start paying attention to their kids’ oral hygiene long before age three. In fact, as soon as baby’s tiny teeth make their first appearance, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3, kids will develop the ability to spit out toothpaste. That’s when you can increase the amount of toothpaste a little, and start explaining to them how you clean all around the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth. Depending on your child’s dexterity, age 3 might be a good time to let them have a try at brushing by themselves.

Ready to help your kids take the first steps to a lifetime of good dental checkups? Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, and gently guide them as they clean in front, in back, on all surfaces of each tooth. At first, it’s a good idea to take turns brushing. That way, you can be sure they’re learning the right techniques and keeping their teeth plaque-free, while making the experience challenging and fun.

Most kids will need parental supervision and help with brushing until around age 6. As they develop better hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow through with the cleaning regimen, they can be left on their own more. But even the best may need some “brushing up” on their tooth-cleaning techniques from time to time.

What about flossing? While it’s an essential part of good oral hygiene, it does take a little more dexterity to do it properly. Flossing the gaps between teeth should be started when the teeth begin growing close to one another. Depending on how a child’s teeth are spaced, perhaps only the back ones will need to be flossed at first. Even after they learn to brush, kids may still need help flossing — but a floss holder (like the one Beyonce is using in the clip) can make the job a lot easier.

If you would like more information about maintaining your children’s oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Inland Oral Surgery
March 22, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: TMJ   jaw pain  

The facts about TMJ treatments

One of the main causes of chronic jaw pain is inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, also called TMJ. It is the joint connecting tmjyour jawbone to your skull. The TMJ is unique because it is a sliding hinge joint, due to the way it moves. Because of its unique anatomy, the TMJ can become displaced or strained, leading to inflammation and jaw pain. Your oral surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery in Spokane, Washington want you to know they can relieve your TMJ pain.

You may have TMJ problems if you:

  • Have aching facial pain or an aching pain around your ear
  • Jaw tenderness and pain that doesn’t go away
  • Experience difficulty chewing or have a clicking sound when you chew
  • Experience your jaw locking in place when you open and close your mouth

For relief from TMJ symptoms, your oral surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery want you to try:

  • Eating soft food and avoiding chewy and sticky foods and gum
  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications
  • Not to clench your teeth
  • Massaging your jaw muscles
  • Applying moist heat or ice packs to your face

For stubborn TMJ symptoms that don’t respond to home treatments, your oral surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery have several TMJ treatments available, including:

  • Botox injections into the jaw muscles
  • Corticosteroid injections into the jaw joint
  • Flushing the TMJ (lavage)
  • Prescription pain medications and muscle relaxants
  • A custom-made bite guard or TMJ splint
  • Counseling to eliminate clenching and other bad habits
  • Physical therapy and jaw stretching exercises
  • Applying moist heat and ice therapy

Your oral surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery want you to know that surgery is usually the last resort in TMJ treatment. It is always best to try conservative, non-invasive treatments like those listed above. The goal at Inland Oral Surgery it to treat your TMJ before it becomes severe. If you have TMJ symptoms, don’t wait because early treatment is essential. Call your oral surgeons at Inland Oral Surgery in Spokane, Washington and end your chronic jaw pain and treat your TMJ!

By Inland Oral Surgery
March 15, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding  

It can be alarming to be awakened in the middle of the night by a screeching, gritting sound coming from your child’s bedroom. No, it’s not a scene from a horror movie: it’s your child grinding their teeth as they sleep — a behavior so prevalent in children under eleven it’s considered normal.

That doesn’t mean, however, you should completely ignore it. While it isn’t harmful for most children, a few can encounter tooth wear, pain or trouble sleeping that calls for some form of intervention.

The causes for tooth grinding and similar habits known collectively as bruxism aren’t thoroughly understood, but in children it’s believed linked to the immaturity of the neuromuscular system that controls chewing. Some point to shifts from one stage of sleep to another — more than 80% of grinding episodes occur in lighter stages of sleep and only 5% to 10% during the deeper Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) stage. It also seems prevalent in children who snore or have other symptoms of sleep apnea.

One primary concern is how the behavior can affect teeth, particularly through abnormal wear. The teeth, of course, make hundreds of contacts with each other every day during eating, speaking or jaw movement. If, however, the forces generated during these contacts chronically exceed normal parameters, as with bruxism, it can cause accelerated tooth wear. This can result in a higher susceptibility to tooth decay and appearance changes later in life.

If your child is exhibiting problems associated with teeth grinding, there are ways to address it. We may recommend a thin, plastic mouthguard they wear while sleeping that prevents the teeth from making solid contact with each other. We may also refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if we suspect signs of sleep apnea. And, children under severe psychological stress, which can also trigger teeth grinding, could benefit from behavioral therapy.

The good news is most grinding habits fade as children enter their teens. In the meantime, keep a watchful eye and see us if you notice any indications this common habit is affecting their health and well-being.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits, 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 “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”