Lukin Family Dentistry Blog

Posts for: February, 2020

4ThingstoDotoKeepYourChildsDentalDevelopmentonTrack

When you’re expecting a new baby, there’s a lot to prepare: outfitting the nursery, stocking up on diapers or choosing a pediatrician. It’s also not too early to consider how to protect your new child’s dental development.

From birth through adolescence, a child’s mouth goes through a whirlwind of growth. Hopefully, it all follows a normal track, but detours can arise like tooth decay or bite problems.

Here are 4 things you can do to keep your child’s dental development on track.

Start oral hygiene before teeth. Daily oral hygiene is essential toward helping your child avoid tooth decay. And don’t wait for teeth to come in—begin wiping their gums with a clean, damp cloth right after nursing. When teeth do appear, switch to brushing with just a smear of toothpaste and then add flossing as more teeth come in.

Begin regular dental visits. The American Dental Association recommends pediatric dental visits around the first birthday. The possibility of tooth decay becomes a concern around this time as the primary teeth are steadily erupting. Starting earlier rather than later may also help your child adjust to the routine of dental visits that they’ll most likely carry on as they get older.

Control their sugar consumption. Because sugar is a prime food source for disease-causing bacteria, you should keep your child’s sugar consumption as controlled as possible. For example, don’t put a baby to bed with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid (including juice and breast milk)—the constant presence of the liquid during nap time encourages bacterial growth and acid production.

Get an orthodontic evaluation. While we often associate orthodontic treatment with the teen years, it may be possible to head off bite problems earlier. So, see an orthodontist for a bite evaluation when your child is around age 6. If there are signs of a developing problem, certain techniques could help stop or slow them from getting worse, helping you avoid extensive and expensive treatment later.

With a newborn coming, you and your family have a lot on your plate. Be sure, though, not to forget making plans for keeping their teeth and gums healthy.

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 “Age One Dental Visit.”


By MARK LUKIN
February 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: crown   Bridges  

Restore and beautify. Span a smile gap. These are the benefits of crowns and bridges from your dentists in Sugarland, Dr. Stephen Lukin and Dr. Mark Lukin. Great substitutes for failing teeth, crowns and bridges look and act like natural teeth. Could they help your smile?

What are crowns?

Dental crowns are porcelain caps that imitate natural tooth structure and appearance. Placed over existing tooth structure and accurately blending in with adjoining teeth, crowns provide excellent protection and support for teeth which have:

  • Lost a substantial amount of enamel due to cavities, wear or injury
  • Undergone root canal therapy because of extensive decay, infection or other injuries
  • Odd shape or size or deep stains and surface defects

In his Sugar Land office, our dentist will examine and X-ray your tooth to see if a crown is your best restorative choice. If so, oral impressions and a detailed care plan tells the dental lab how to fashion your new crown.

Also, if you need a single-tooth implant to replace a missing tooth, your dentist will use a porcelain crown to restore it.

What are bridges?

A bridge consists of one or more pontic, or artificial, teeth attached to porcelain crowns. The crowns cover natural teeth on opposite sides of a smile gap. Thus, this prosthetic is sturdy and permanent.

Some people choose state of the art bridges supported by titanium dental implants. These prosthetics anchor to the jaw bone itself for superior stability, oral function and maintenance of jaw bone health and density.

The benefits of crowns and bridges

  1. In many cases, crowns can avoid dental extractions.
  2. Bridges span gaps, allowing for best chewing and physical appearance.
  3. Bridges hold remaining natural teeth in proper alignment.
  4. Both kinds of prosthetics are durable and last for many years.
  5. Today's material of choice for crowns and bridges is lifelike and dependable porcelain. (No one will even notice you wear one because the color and shape are realistic.)

For your best smile...

Learn what the preventive, restorative and cosmetic services offered at Lukin Family Dentistry can do for your oral health and smile aesthetics. Call us for a bridge or crown consultation. Call (281) 265 9000.


By MARK LUKIN
February 18, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Preventive Care  

How can you have a bright, healthy smile for life? Get routine preventive care from your dentists in Sugar Land, Dr. Stephen Lukin and Dr. Mark Lukin. Lukin Family Dentistry provides check-ups, cleanings, sealants and more, all tailored to your needs and dovetailing with your home oral hygiene. Yes, preventive dental care really is important.

Tooth decay and gum disease are preventable

Sadly, these two oral health conditions lead to tooth loss, reports the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, routine at-home and in-office care with your Sugar Land dentist help prevent them, avoiding discomfort, expense, and loss of oral function and smile aesthetics.

The most effective weapon in the preventive dentistry arsenal is the routine check-up and cleaning. When you come to the office every six months, Dr. Lukin will inspect your teeth for tooth decay, dental alignment and condition of fillings and other restorations.

Also, he'll check your gums for signs of periodontal disease--redness, puffiness, tenderness, mobile teeth and more. Gum disease affects overall health: so it's best to keep those soft oral tissues free of plaque and bacteria.

Finally, he'll do a brief and painless oral cancer check. When detected early, these malignancies are highly curable.

Additionally, your hygienist gently scales your teeth with small handheld instruments to remove soft plaque and hard tartar. They take digital X-rays when scheduled to look for decay between teeth and to inspect tooth roots and bone structure.

Education is an important part of your dental visit. Your hygienist and your dentist can show you ways to improve your twice daily brushing and flossing techniques and give you tips on tooth-friendly nutrition, a no-tobacco lifestyle and more. What you do at home for your oral health partners with your dental team's efforts on your behalf.

Additional preventive services

Your dentist offers:

  • In-office fluoride treatments
  • Painted-on plastic sealants for deeply-pitted back teeth
  • Bite guards to cushion habitual teeth grinding and clenching
  • Check-ups for your toddlers, beginning at age one or whenever the primary teeth begin to erupt

Keep that great smile

You and your family can. At Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, your friendly professional team knows preventive care is the mainstay oral health. If it's time for your routine exam and cleaning, please call us for a convenient appointment: (281) 265-9000.


By Mark Lukin
February 13, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   gum disease  
WhyGumDiseaseCouldAffectMoreThanYourOralHealth

Do you know the top cause for adult tooth loss? If you guessed tooth decay, you’re close—but not quite. The same goes if you said accidents or teeth grinding. It’s actually periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial gum infection that affects half of American adults.

What’s worse, losing teeth could be just the beginning of your health woes. Several studies show uncontrolled gum disease could cause problems in the rest of the body. That’s why we’re promoting February as Gum Disease Awareness Month, to call attention to this potentially devastating oral disease—and what you can do about it.

Gum disease usually starts with a thin film of food particles and bacteria called dental plaque. As it builds up on tooth surfaces, bacteria multiply and lead to an infection that can spread below the gum line, weakening the gums’ attachment to the teeth.

Beyond tooth loss, though, gum disease could affect the rest of the body. Oral bacteria, for instance, can travel through the bloodstream and potentially cause disease in other parts of the body. More often, though, researchers now believe that the chronic inflammation associated with gum disease can aggravate inflammation related to other conditions like cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes or arthritis. Likewise, inflammatory conditions can worsen symptoms of gum disease and make it harder to treat.

The good news, though, is that reducing the inflammation of gum disease through treatment could help ease inflammation throughout the body. That’s why it’s important to see us as soon as possible if you notice gum problems like swelling, redness or bleeding. The sooner you’re diagnosed and we begin treatment, the less an impact gum disease could have on both your mouth and the rest of your body.

Similarly, managing other inflammatory conditions could make it easier to reduce symptoms of gum disease. You can often control the inflammation associated with these other diseases through medical treatment and medication, exercise and healthy eating practices.

You’ll also benefit both your oral and general health by taking steps to prevent gum disease before it happens. Prevention starts with a daily practice of brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque. You should follow this with professional dental cleanings and checkups every six months (sometimes more often, if advised).

Gum disease can damage your teeth and gums, and more. But dedicated dental care and treatment could help you regain your dental health and promote wellness throughout your body.

If you would like more information about preventing and treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”


HeresHowtoAvoidDrySocketAfterToothExtractionSurgery

Surgical tooth extraction is a fairly routine procedure with few complications. But one rare complication called dry socket does affect a small number of patients. Dry socket, which derives its name from its appearance, can be quite painful. Fortunately, though, it doesn't pose a danger to oral health.

Normally after a surgical extraction, a blood clot forms in the empty socket. This is nature's way of protecting the underlying bone and nerves from various stimuli in the mouth as well as protecting the area. Sometimes, though, the clot fails to form or only forms partially (almost exclusively in lower wisdom teeth), exposing the sensitive tissues beneath the socket.

Patients begin to notice the painful effects from a dry socket about three or four days after surgery, which then can persist for one to three more days. Besides dull or throbbing pain, people may also experience a foul odor or taste in their mouth.

People who smoke, women taking oral contraceptives or those performing any activity that puts pressure on the surgical site are more likely to develop dry socket. Of the latter, one of the most common ways to develop dry socket is vigorous brushing of the site too soon after surgery, which can damage a forming blood clot.

Surgeons do take steps to reduce the likelihood of a dry socket by minimizing trauma to the site during surgery, avoiding bacterial contamination and suturing the area. You can also decrease your chances of developing a dry socket by avoiding the following for the first day or so after surgery:

  • brushing the surgical area (if advised by your surgeon);
  • rinsing too aggressively;
  • drinking through a straw or consuming hot liquid;
  • smoking.

If a dry socket does develop, see your dentist as soon as possible. Dentists can treat the site with a medicated dressing and relieve the pain substantially. The dressing will need to be changed every few days until the pain has decreased significantly, and then left in place to facilitate faster healing.

While dry sockets do heal and won't permanently damage the area, it can be quite uncomfortable while it lasts. Taking precautions can prevent it—and seeing a dentist promptly if it occurs can greatly reduce your discomfort.

If you would like more information on oral surgery, 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 “Dry Socket: A Painful but Not Dangerous Complication of Oral Surgery.”