Lukin Family Dentistry Blog

Posts for: February, 2016


There’s really no secret to keeping your child’s teeth healthy — good, daily hygiene habits, regular dental visits and early treatment for emerging problems. It’s a lot easier for those things to happen if your child feels comfortable with dental care and visiting the dentist. Sadly, that’s not always the case: many children develop an unhealthy fear of the dentist because the initial relationship may have been mishandled.

Here, then, are 3 tips that will help you foster a healthy relationship between your child and their dentist.

Visit the dentist before their first birthday. From a health standpoint, dental visits should begin soon after your child’s first teeth emerge (erupt) in the mouth. Visiting the dentist by their first birthday also improves the chances they’ll develop a sufficient level of comfort with the visits, more so than if you waited a year or two longer.

Choose your dentist with your child’s sense of security and comfort in mind. When you’re looking for a dentist to care for your child, think of it as looking for a “new member of the family.” It’s important to find an office environment that’s kid-friendly and staff members that work well with children. Some dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry and many general dentists have additional training in working with children. The key is a dental team that has a good, trust-building rapport with children.

Set an example, both in the home and at the dentist. Children learn quite a bit watching what their caregivers say and how they react in potentially stressful situations. If dental care is important to you personally, it’s more likely to become important to your child. And when you visit the dentist with your child, be sure to project calm and a sense that it’s routine — if you display tenseness or nervousness your child may take that as a sign that visiting the dentist is something to fear.

You want your child to learn that the dentist is their friend who’s there to help them. That lesson should begin early with the right dental team — and by making dental care a priority in your own life.

If you would like more information on dental care for your child, 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 “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”

By Lukin Family Dentistry
February 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Should My Teenager Get an Implant to Replace a Missing Tooth? Why dental implants are great to replace a teen’s missing tooth.

If you have a teenager who has lost a tooth, whether it’s from a sports accident, decay or another reason, a dental implant is the perfect choice to replace it. Dental implants are the modern, long-term, most cosmetically beautiful choice to replace your teen’s missing tooth.Dental Implants Dental implants are an investment in your child’s future, so you want to see the best, like your neighborhood family dentists at Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, Texas.

Before implants, tooth replacement choices were limited. You could choose to:

  • Not replace the tooth and just live with a not-so-pretty smile and reduced chewing ability
  • Get a partial which would be inconvenient, uncomfortable and noticeable
  • Get a bridge which requires the teeth around it to be restored with crowns

Now thanks to dental implants, your teen can have a permanent, beautiful, natural solution to a missing tooth. Teens tend can be very self-conscious about their looks. That’s what makes implants placed by your Sugar Land family dentist the perfect choice for your teen, because dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from existing teeth.

Dental implants provide long-term tooth replacement because they are made of titanium, a very strong material that is also “biocompatible”--it is kind to bone and soft tissue. Because of its unique properties, titanium will actually “fuse” into bone, becoming a permanent part of your teen’s smile. They also boast a 95% success rate, the highest of any surgical implant!

Your teen will be confident, knowing that the implant will stay in place, unlike partials. Speaking and eating won’t be a problem either, because the implant is now a permanent part of your teen’s mouth.

Your teenager deserves the best, most long-term solution to replace a missing tooth, a dental implant. You will be happy when you see your teen have a full, beautiful smile again, so call Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, Texas, the experts on dental implants. Get the best tooth replacement option for your teen!


It’s true — thumb sucking beyond age 4 can cause bite problems for permanent teeth. But prolonged thumb sucking is just one of a number of possible contributing factors for a bad bite (malocclusion). A dentist must identify all the factors involved when a bad bite is present — their involvement is essential for a successful treatment outcome.

A fairly benign habit for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking is related to an “infantile swallowing pattern” young children use by thrusting their tongues forward between the upper and lower teeth when they swallow. Around age 4, though, they usually transition to an adult swallowing pattern in which the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Thumb sucking stops for most children around the same time.

Thumb sucking beyond this age, though, can put increased pressure on incoming permanent teeth pushing them forward. This could lead to an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the jaws are closed. The tongue may also continue to thrust forward when swallowing to seal the resulting gap, which further reinforces the open bite.

Before treating the bite with braces, we must first address the thumb sucking and improper tongue placement when swallowing — if either isn’t corrected the teeth could gradually revert to their previous positions after the braces come off. Besides behavioral incentives, we can also employ a thin metal appliance called a “tongue crib” placed behind the upper and lower incisors. A tongue crib discourages thumb sucking and makes it more difficult for the tongue to rest within the open bite gap when swallowing, which helps retrain it to a more normal position.

An open bite can also occur if the jaws develop with too much vertical growth. Like thumb sucking and improper tongue placement, abnormal jaw growth could ultimately cause orthodontic treatment to fail. In this case, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the jaw structure.

With all these possible variables, our first step needs to be a thorough orthodontic exam that identifies all the cause factors for your child’s specific malocclusion. Knowing if and how thumb sucking may have contributed to the poor bite will help us design a treatment strategy that’s successful.

If you would like more information on the causes of poor tooth position, 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 “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”