Bad Tooth Bart!!

February 4th, 2019

Welcome to February everyone!  While this month is considered many things, it holds a special place in dentistry because it is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  To celebrate, The American Dental Association sponsors many events nationally, as well as locally.  One of the largest community events, Give Kids a Smile Day, was held on February 1st.  The goal is to have local dentists provide dental exams throughout the area schools, especially in under-served areas.   

At Mellion Orthodontics, we celebrate Dental Health Month by providing oral hygiene education to 2nd and 3rd grade classes throughout Stark county.  Our presentation is called ‘Bad Tooth Bart’ (it’s a Spaghetti Western), and it has significantly grown in popularity over the past 8 years.  This year we are scheduled to teach the benefits of good oral hygiene to over 1500 students! 

As always, our team is excited to provide this service.  If you read this and want us to come visit your school, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.  At the end of February we will post pictures of our adventures!

Wisdom Teeth Roulette

April 5th, 2017

Dr. Theresa here this week.   Frequently our teenage patients, and their parents, will ask us, “Do I need to have my wisdom teeth taken out?”  If these ‘wisdom teeth’ are so wise, why do they occasionally need to be removed?

Well, lets start with a little background lesson on teeth.  32 teeth make a full set.  On average, the first permanent molars erupt at age six, and by the early teens 28 teeth are present (including the 12-year molars).  Then, there is a six year hiatus in tooth eruption while the third molars (wisdom teeth) continue to form.  On average, third molars begin to erupt into the mouth at 18 years of age.

Why then do most people NOT have their wisdom teeth?  The problem is the amount of room, or lack thereof, for the wisdom teeth to erupt.  The Maxilla (upper jaw) sometimes has enough room to allow for wisdom tooth eruption, but the Mandible (lower jaw) often does not.  It gets pretty cramped back there!

So, are we as a species shrinking?  In the jaw, yes.  Why?  There are a multitude of theories on this one, but they are beyond the scope of this post.  And none of these theories have been proven correct, so right now everything is speculative.

Does everyone need their wisdom teeth removed?  No.  Our patients are monitored in conjunction with their general dentist to assess the likelihood their wisdom teeth will erupt.  If it looks like their position will inhibit full eruption, or there won’t be enough room for COMPLETE eruption, then we recommend they are removed.  It is as simple as that.

Remember, every patient has an unique set of circumstances.   Therefore some are fortunate enough to be able to keep their wisdom teeth.  Most are not.  The procedure to have them removed is not difficult, and we are lucky to live in an area with many talented professionals that take great care of those patients that need wisdom teeth removed.  So, our advice is to be like Bobby McFerrin.  Google him if you must…

Bad Tooth Bart!!!

March 8th, 2017

Dr. Nate here again!  I enjoyed last week’s break while Dr. Theresa took the reins with our blog.  This week’s post highlights the results of our contribution to Dental Health Month.  The best way to explain what we did is to bring in Kate, one of our excellent team members in the Uniontown office.  Go to it Kate…!

Kate here, and in keeping with the western theme of Bad Tooth Bart, let me say ‘Howdy!’   We had an AMAZING month as our Mellion Team went out to visit schools in our communities to celebrate National Dental Health Month!

We had the pleasure of visiting Suffield, Mogadore, Hartville, Uniontown, Lake Center Christian, St. Michael’s, Gorrell, Whittier & Strausser Elementary Schools to perform a play called ‘Bad Tooth Bart’ to help teach students the importance of good dental hygiene.  Why do we do this?  Let me reference this previous blog post for an explanation.

Our play is called “Bad Tooth Bart” and centers on a town whose citizens need help taking care of their teeth.  There are good guys, bad guys, cowboy hats, dance moves, cavity bugs and silly string!  How could it NOT be FUN???  Although Bart starts out as a bit of a troublemaker, when the townspeople rally to help him in his time of need, he realizes that being kind and helpful is always the best way to go!

We would like to express our gratitude to our local schools for the warm welcome we received.  (And a little secret…I think WE have more fun than the students!)

To see the actors in action, click on this and this to view photos from our adventures, and thanks again to all who participated!

The Struggle is Real

February 22nd, 2017

Dr. Nate here again!  This week I wanted to focus on HOW to clean your teeth with braces.  I know, boring.  And you already know how to keep your teeth clean, right?  Well judging by how many patients need a frequent tutorial on the proper technique, something is getting lost in translation…

All of our patients know that we spend a HUGE amount of time discussing how to brush and floss with braces.  We do this immediately after putting them on!  As most of our team have had braces, they are all experts at explaining the process.  They understand the struggle is real.  You must be dedicated to the process.

What is the biggest concern with bad oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment?  Two words: WHITE SPOTS!  Remember that braces seal off the part of the tooth that is covered, which protects it from plaque damage.  The remainder of the tooth, however, is exposed.  Leaving too much plaque and gunk on the teeth will cause the tooth to become soft and turn a chalky white color.  That is the start of a cavity, and it is PERMANENT.  Google ‘tooth decalcification' to see the devastation.

Obviously this isn’t pretty.  It is however completely avoidable!  And most often this becomes noticeable after the patient is finished with braces.  This is the time everyone has waited for…the amazing smile!  Instead, all anyone will notice are these white spots that the patient CANNOT brush off!  To make them disappear requires hours of work by the dentist, at a tremendous expense to you.  So why not read a little further to ensure you are doing everything correctly????

In dental school an inordinate amount of time was dedicated to proper brushing techniques.  No joke, we had entire classes on the subject.  Riveting.  Why am I a dentist again?  The most popular, and apparently most effective, is called the “Modified Bass” technique.  For those so inclined, here is a link to review research on the superiority of the technique.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t read it either!)  I will eventually get to my thoughts on dental research on later posts.  Sorry, stream of consciousness here…

Do I particularly care if our patients exhibit a perfect Modified Bass Technique?  No.  What I DO care about is that our patients be EFFECTIVE at brushing and flossing.  We constantly talk about splitting the tooth into sections, above and below the braces.  The area where most patients miss is where the tooth and gum meet.  And this is where most of the plaque gathers.  Seeing a potential problem here????  The most important area to clean is also the most frequently missed during brushing…!

Here is a link to our Youtube page with a series of videos on how to clean with braces.  Watch it.  And watch it again.  Tell your loved ones how much it changed your life.

We are in charge of making your smile amazing, and I think we are pretty good at that.  But we can’t make you brush and floss.  The responsibility is yours.  OWN it!  You’ll be glad you did.

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