How to Get Your Child to Stop Sucking Their Thumb

Are you and your child having thumb wars?  “1,2,3,4  I declare thumb-sucking no mo!!”
If you were anything like me when I was a child, thumb sucking has literally sucked years out of your life!  If it is now happening to your child — we are here to help you get your child to stop sucking their thumb!  Stop-Children_Sucking-Their-Thumbs

WHY do children suck their thumbs or fingers?

Well because it’s soothing when they’re bored, tired or anxious.  It is important to know when your child’s habit has crossed the line of a comforting pastime to becoming a potential problem.  Prolonged finger and thumb sucking can cause minor physical problems like chapped skin, calluses, teeth alignment issues and fingernail infections. Continue Reading…

Adult Braces – What Are Your Options?

When you think about braces, you generally think about kids having to wear them.  But nowadays, you often see adult braces becoming just as popular!  According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), adults make up 25% of orthodontic patients across the country.


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Why Does a Tooth Die: Understanding a Tooth Abscess


First of all, what the heck is a tooth abscess?  Generally a tooth abscess occurs when a tooth dies (rest in peace little buddy).  When the tooth dies, an infection forms at the root tip.  This infection, if left untreated, eats away at the bone in the jaw and can cause you to lose the tooth.

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7 Tips When Choosing a Dentist

It can be a really hard decision when it comes down to it but here are a few tips when choosing a dentist:

1. ADA Member

 adaA dentist that is a member of the ADA has access to all the latest technology that is backed by scientific research. As a member of the ADA, dentists take an oath to abide by the ADA Bylaws and Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. Also, dentists who are members have a voice in legislative decisions about oral health care.


2. Insurance

If you have dental insurance, you can find a list provided through your insurance as to what dentists are members of your plan. Obviously you want to take advantage of any dental insurance that you have, so if you aren’t sure if an office you want to go to accepts your insurance or not, just call that dental office. They can give you a quick answer.  You can see a list of our accepted insurance policies here.

3. Reviews

A great place to check reviews when looking for a dental office is Angie’s List. It costs money to be a member and it also costs money to check reviews, but you can then feel safe that you are getting legitimate information. Angie’s List allows people to give businesses a letter grade in 8 categories. Other reviews to look for are Google + reviews or even check if the dental office itself uses a program like Demandforce in which patients can leave their feedback about their dental experience at that particular office.

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Why Do People Get Bad Breath?

We have all at one time or another experienced bad breath, or medically termed, halitosis.  Unfortunately, some people may not know that they have it, but why do people get bad breath?  It’s an awkward situation when someone you know has chronic bad breath and you aren’t sure how to tell him or her.  In actuality, bad breath could not just come from the onions your friend ate; it could be something actually wrong with their system.

why-do-people-get-bad-breathBad breath usually stems from not brushing and flossing enough.  When food sits on your teeth, gums and tongue, bacteria thrives on it and causes odors to start forming.  This is easy enough to resolve.  Try as much as possible to brush your teeth after meals and floss at least once a day.  The one thing that people are missing is brushing their tongue.  Tongues are tricky little organs due to the fact that they have numerous taste buds and papillae that trap food particles and bacteria.  Some people even have cracks and crevices in their tongue that make for even worse food traps.  If you suffer from bad breath, try brushing your tongue first and see if that helps.  There are things called tongue scrapers that have a saw blade pattern to them that can help you scrape debris from your tongue. You would be surprised at what comes off of your tongue when you use these little gadgets. There are also special brushes and special cleaning liquids that are made to help clean the tongue, but in general, using your toothbrush works just as well. Continue Reading…

Dental Implants: What to Expect

What the heck are dental implants anyway? Dental implants are quickly becoming a popular choice today for replacing missing teeth. When a tooth has been removed, it of course leaves a space that may or may not need to be replaced with something. Sometimes this space does not bother people but it can be irritating to some. So, one of the options to replace that space can be an implant.
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Dental Insurance 101

Ok, so we all know that sometimes insurance can be complicated to understand.  It doesn’t have to be that way once you know what you are looking at.  Let’s go over the basics with some dental insurance 101 to help you get a better grasp of it.

There are a bazillion ways that dental plans are written up, so we are just going to look at a typical generic plan and focus on that (please read your plan carefully to check on all the specifics).
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Canker Sore vs Cold Sore

Canker sore vs cold sore.  They plague many people.  They both are a drag.  Let’s talk about what they are and why we get them.

Canker sore:

  • Painful sores or a single sore on the inside of your mouth

  • Can be found on your tongue, cheeks, and towards the back of your throat

  • Usually white in color or have a red border. 

  • Normally you can tell you are getting a canker sore because you may feel a tingling sensation prior to seeing any physical evidence. 

  • Tend to take about 1-2 weeks to heal and the pain lessens as they go away.

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8 Tips if You Gag in the Dentist Chair

Tips-Gag-Dentist-ChairDo you hate going to the dentist because you have a gag reflex while x-rays are being taken or impressions are being done?  It can make for a very frustrating dental visit for both you and your dental provider.  Your throat has the tendency to be “on guard” if it feels like there is a potential choking hazard or that your airway can be blocked and you are unable to breathe.  Some people have a worse gag reflex than others and some don’t have it at all.  Gagging can stem from a bad dental experience you had in the past or just a general anxiety.  Don’t feel alone if you suffer from this condition because you are in the company of many others.

We have had our fair share of gaggers in our dental chairs at Szmanda Dental Center and we have found a few tricks that may help you get through your dental visit.

  1. Breathe through your nose. Obviously this will curtail the reflex of gagging if you are concentrating on breathing through your nose and not your mouth.

  2. Be aware of when you feel your gag reflex is at its worst.  Is it in the morning or in the afternoon?  If you take note of this, try to schedule your dental appointment before or after that touchy time.

  3. Numbing Spray.  We do have a spray available that is similar to Chloraseptic in which it numbs the back of the throat for a brief time.  We can also place a little bit of our topical anesthetic on the roof of your mouth which will have a numbing effect and may help to relax your gagging.  Both are a fabulous cherry flavor!  (Sorry for you cherry haters.)

  4. Salt.  Just take a pinch and place it on your tongue.  This trick seems to work well for most of our patients.  It’s not the tastiest thing in the world, but because of this, your mind tends to concentrate on the salt over gagging.  We keep salt at all of our offices so no need to worry about bringing your own.

  5. Lifting your left.  Your brain can also be bamboozled by a simple lift of the leg.  While you are sitting in the chair, bringing a leg up off the chair a few inches and holding it in that position makes you focus on something else.  It also tightens your stomach muscles, which helps with that gagging reflex.

  6. Hum your favorite tune.  One thing that RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) Magazine suggested that we have not tried yet is to hum.  By simply humming, you are producing airflow, which keeps you breathing.  A telltale sign of a gagging episode that is about to begin is when the patient stops breathing.  So, even if your hygienist or dentist doesn’t suggest it, let them know you are going to be humming a little ditty while they need to do their treatment.  Try something simple like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”Request an Appointment

  7. Get serious with wrist bands that apply pressure.  There is also a suggestion from RDH to try a product called Sea Bands or Accustraps.  If you know you are a serious gagger and are willing to try anything, you may want to get your hands on these.  Typically they are used for motion sickness or morning sickness.  It is a band you wear around your wrist, which fits snug and applies pressure.  The nerves that carry signals to the brain understand pressure faster than pain or nausea, thusly preventing gagging.  We hope to have these at our offices in the near future.

  8. Practice at home.  If you want to try to break your gagging habit, you can practice by taking something like your toothbrush and touching it to the roof of your mouth (  Hold it there for longer increments each time and when you have that spot mastered, start moving it back further and further.  Yes, it sounds terrible and like it’s a pain in the butt, but if it helps, it will make life a little easier.  Just remember that you have to practice and build upon it for it to work, so don’t give up!  You can do it!

Please don’t let your gag reflex deter you from coming to your dental appointment.  We want to keep your dental needs in check before a problem arises.  Szmanda Dental Center would like to provide you with the best possible care and we would like to help you in any way we can.  Please feel free to ask us any dental questions.  That’s what we’re here for.

Information compiled from RDH Magazine, and Staff at Szmanda Dental Center © Szmanda Dental Center, S.C. 2013