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What You Need To Know About Crossbites

April 10th, 2021

Typically, when a parent brings a young child to the dentist, the last discussion they’re expecting to have is one centered on braces and orthodontic appliances. Yet, even at ages three and four, a talk about braces, expanders, and retainers can indeed be front and center when a child is diagnosed with a crossbite.

The question then is what to do about it, how soon should intervention take place, and what the complications are that can arise if nothing is done at all. Let’s get some answers.

What Exactly Is a Crossbite? Imagine for a moment you’re sitting in front of a nice soup bowl with a wide flat brim, and inside that bowl is hearty chowder you’d like to keep warm until you’re ready to devour it. So, you grab another bowl designed exactly like the first, and hover it upside-down over the bowl containing the soup. As you slowly lower it, you try to line up the brims so when they rest together they form a nice even seal. Unfortunately, given the soup is hot, you don’t quite get the brims to line up perfectly, and the edge of the top bowl ends up resting just slightly to the left of the lip on the bottom bowl. The way these two bowls now rest unevenly atop one another is exactly what you would see in a person with a crossbite.

A crossbite can affect several teeth, or a single tooth, and can occur on either one side of the mouth or both. Simply put, if any one tooth (or several teeth) lies nearer the tongue or cheek instead of coming together evenly, you’re likely dealing with a crossbite.

So, What To Do About It And When? The dental community is split on when to initiate treatment for a crossbite, with some suggesting treatment should begin as soon as it is noticed (sometimes as early as age three), while others suggest parents should wait until a child’s sixth year molars have arrived. Despite the difference of opinion as to when treatment should begin, dentists and orthodontist are in agreement that the condition cannot be left untreated. Doing so presents a host of complications for the child later in life including gum and tooth wear, uneven jaw development that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and facial asymmetry – something no parent or child wants.

What Does Crossbite Treatment Look Like? Crossbite treatment generally involves adjusting the spread of a child’s teeth with dental appliances so the bite pattern matches evenly on all sides. Depending on the type of crossbite a child has, this can be done with dental expanders that resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly to “spread” a child’s bite to the prescribed width. Additionally, dental facemasks, braces and clear aligners may be used – particularly when a single tooth is out of alignment. Crossbites are generally regarded as genetic in nature, and they’re not overly common. It is, however, a condition that needs to be treated before permanent damage to a child’s facial and oral development occurs.

So, if you find yourself at the other end of a discussion about having your little one wear a dental expander, be sure you listen and get however many opinions regarding that advice as you require. Your child, and your wallet, will thank you long into the future.

Proper Brushing FAQs

March 29th, 2021

Mouth open or mouth closed?
After lunch or after dinner?
Flat or at an angle?
We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a
brush a get to work, right?
Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing
those pearly whites. The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works. We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.” What’s even correct these days?!
Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions)
guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy dos and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Proper Brushing Habits
Don’t: Keep your brush flat
Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing
Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!
Do: Use short, side-to-side strokes
Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!
Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel
Don’t: Go one and done
Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus or soda)
Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life
Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember: switch out on the first day of each season
Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds
Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.
Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container
Do: Allow your toothbrush to air dry
Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it
Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet
Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush
Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel

And there we have it! Some easy practices to keep that perfect smile.
Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!

Five Fun Snacks for Healthy Teeth

July 30th, 2015

Snacks can taste good and give your child’s energy a boost, but they can also be bad for teeth. Sugary, sticky snacks, such as candy, cookies, and snack cakes can lead to tooth decay if eaten regularly between meals. Still, there are plenty of fun snacks for healthy teeth.

The trick when selecting snacks is to avoid too many added sugars and refined carbohydrates that stay on the teeth and give bacteria a chance to ferment and produce acid from them, which can lead to tooth decay. In addition, snacks should provide nutrients to support a healthy mouth. These are five fun snacks you can feel good about giving to your child.

1. Yogurt and cereal.

Yogurt contains calcium, which is an essential mineral for strong and healthy teeth. Select plain yogurt or yogurt flavored with real fruit, rather than flavored yogurt that is sweetened with added sugar. We recommend choosing a whole-grain cereal, which is less likely to lead to dental caries. Choose a low-sugar or unsweetened cereal to avoid accidentally making the snack as sugary as a candy bar.

2. Tuna and whole-wheat crackers.

Canned tuna contains vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for helping your body absorb and use calcium. Whole-wheat crackers are natural sources of antioxidants for a strong immune system, and they’re lower in refined carbohydrates than white crackers.

3. Bell pepper strips and hummus.

Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin C is also a good choice for supporting regeneration or maintenance of healthy gum tissue. Vitamin E is another antioxidant, and it also supports a healthy immune system. A strong immune system is protective against infections, such as bacterial infections associated with gum disease.

4. Turkey and cheese roll-ups.

Turkey is carbohydrate-free, so it doesn’t leave residues of sugars on teeth for bacteria to ferment. Lean ham is another good choice. Low-fat cheddar, mozzarella, or Swiss cheese is a good source of calcium as well as protein. For a more substantial snack that’s still low in carbohydrates and sugar, add a few celery sticks.

5. Peanut butter and carrots.

Peanut butter is another source of vitamin E. Carrots provide vitamin A, which is essential for a strong immune system. You can also substitute cauliflower or broccoli florets for the carrots, and ranch dressing for the peanut butter, and still have a snack that’s fun to eat and good for your child’s teeth.

For more great snack tips, ask a member of our St. Paul, MN team at your child’s next appointment!

How often does my child need to see the dentist?

July 23rd, 2015

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, checkups at Dr. Bob Maley Family Dentistry are recommended for all children two times a year. Children should be evaluated for cavities and other emerging dental issues every six months, because these problems can lead to more serious dental problems and health issues if left untreated.

While it is always good to follow the official guideline mentioned above, it is also important to understand that each child is unique and his or her dental needs are equally unique. If your child shows signs of dental or orthodontic problems, Drs. Bob Maley and Ann Jennen might recommend more frequent visits.

One way to help your son or daughter maintain good oral health between pediatric dental visits is to monitor brushing and oral care habits, especially if the child is still very young. Children who are two to five years of age will usually still require at least some degree of monitoring during their dental care routine.

The Checkup Visit

During your child’s regular dental care checkups, Drs. Bob Maley and Ann Jennen will evaluate the current state of oral health and will be able to recognize any issues. The twice-yearly checkup visits are typically the time at which problems like cavities, irregular growth patterns of the teeth, and oral decay are discovered. Thus, making these appointments for your child, and following through with them, is extremely important.

Learning and Maintaining Good Oral Health

Drs. Bob Maley and Ann Jennen and our St. Paul, MN staff are your partners in terms of your child’s health care. Even when your child is an infant and a toddler, good brushing and other oral care habits can be taught. We will help you to educate your child about how to care for teeth in the most effective way, and you can carry those lessons home and help your child to follow them for the ultimate in oral health.

1150 Montreal Ave Suite #104
St Paul, MN 55116
(651) 224-0001 Get Directions