My Blog

Posts for: May, 2017

DentalCareisDifficultbutnotImpossibleforaSpecialNeedsChild

A child with a chronic illness or condition often requires a lot of focus on care for their special needs. Other aspects of their health can often take a back seat — too often including dental care.

Proper dental care can be a challenge for special needs children if they have diminished physical, intellectual or behavioral capacities. Children with autism or attention deficit disorders may not be able or willing to perform tasks like brushing and flossing. Other conditions could make them intolerant to toothpaste in the mouth, or create an inability to keep their mouths open or to spit.

Some chronic conditions also seem predisposed to dental defects. For example, enamel hypoplasia, a lack of sufficient tooth enamel, is common with Down, Treacher-Collins or Turner Syndromes, and can greatly increase the risk of tooth decay.

But even though difficult, effective dental care isn't impossible. It begins with your dental provider.

Pediatric dentists are often excellent in this regard: they often have the training and experience to treat children with chronic conditions. Whoever you choose must be able to partner with you in caring for your child's dental needs.

Daily hygiene is also a critical factor. Your goal should be the same as with any child — to teach them to brush and floss for themselves. Depending on their condition, however, you may need to assist them for a longer term, perhaps permanently. But it is imperative — daily hygiene is their best defense against oral diseases.

You should also consider their medication and how it may impact their dental health. Antidepressants, antihistamines or drugs that assist with breathing function can cause mouth dryness. This, as well as drugs with sugar or acid compounds, can increase risk for dental disease. If they must take these types of medications, try to give them at mealtime to reduce their effect in the mouth.

Above all, pursue the same professional dental care as you would for any other child. Keep up regular dental visits beginning around their first birthday for cleanings and preventive measures like topical fluoride or sealants. By taking these measures you'll help ensure their dental health won't suffer.

If you would like more information on dental care for special needs children, 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 “Managing Tooth Decay in Children with Chronic Diseases.”


By Ashley Harrison, DDS
May 18, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Many patients want to know if dentures are a good option for replacing missing teeth. The answer depends on a number of factors. For denturesinstance, your age, dental health and goals for your smile are considerations. Schedule time to discuss these various factors with Dr. Ashley Harrison, a general and cosmetic dentist practicing in Chico, CA.

What Are Dentures?
Dentures are dental appliances that allow patients to restore their full smiles. They are made of plastic material that’s designed to mimic the appearance of your natural teeth and gums. There are two main types—full and partial. Full (also called complete) dentures are the solution when the patient is missing an entire row of teeth—they suction over the gumline. Partial dentures only have one or a few teeth and snap onto the remaining teeth. They can be removed when needed.

Are They a Good Option?
Dentures are a good option for some patients—particularly those who have advanced bone loss in addition to their tooth loss, and need replacement teeth to eat and talk normally. Generally, if you’ve gone a long time with a missing tooth, there’s a good chance that your Chico dentist will recommend dentures. They are most commonly prescribed to seniors, but young adults can sometimes benefit from partial devices.

Getting Fitted for Dentures
If your dentist determines that you are a good candidate for dentures at your initial exam, you will go through a two or three-step process:

1) A dental mold will be taken of your mouth so that custom dentures can be designed.
2) You’ll return to your Chico dentist a few weeks later to have your dentures fitted and adjusted (if needed).
3) In some cases, complete dentures will be modified again to ensure the perfect, most comfortable fit.

A Full Smile Again
If you’ve been living with missing or weak and decayed teeth that will need to be extracted, talk to Dr. Harrison at her Chico, CA, dentist office. Call (530) 894-5454 today to find out if dentures are a good choice for you.


By Ashley Harrison, DDS
May 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
ArianaGrandeBreaksFree-ofHerWisdomTeeth

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”