My Blog

Posts for: July, 2016

By Valerin Dental Group
July 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health

When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.

“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.

Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”

Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.

Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.

“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”

It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”

By Valerin Dental Group
July 08, 2016
Category: Dental Products
Tags: mouthguards   Sports Guards  

TekFit MouthguardYou probably wouldn't think of going out on the field without pads or other safety gear, but do you always wear your mouthguard? Too many athletes give up on mouthguards after buying uncomfortable models from sporting goods stores. Dr. Manny Valerin, your Peoria, IL dentist at Valerin Dental Group, explains how custom-made TekFit mouthguards will change your mind about these important protective appliances.

Why should I wear a mouthguard?

It only takes a second for a stray ball or blow to the face to damage your teeth, mouth or lips during a game or practice. Many injuries can be prevented or minimized when you wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards also help absorb some of the shock of a blow and reduce your risk of concussion.

What's wrong with store-bought mouthguards?

The least expensive type of mouthguards are one-size-fits-all versions that rarely fit anyone well. The more expensive boil-and-bite models do offer a better fit but are often bulky. If your mouthguard is uncomfortable, chances are that it will be thrown to the sidelines the first chance you get.

Using a mouthguard is particularly important if you wear braces. Without a guard, damage to your wires and brackets can occur if you experience a blow to the mouth. You're also more likely to cut your lips and mouth if a ball or puck hits you in the face.

TekFit mouthguards are made just for you in Peoria

TekFit mouthguards are designed for you and you only. Dr. Valerin takes an impression of your teeth, which is used to create your custom-made mouthguard. Since the mouthguard is created using a mold of your teeth, it fits perfectly and is much more comfortable than the guards you can buy at the store.

TekFit offers a range of mouthguards designed for low-, medium- and high-contact sports. Want to show your team spirit? Personalize your TekFit mouthguard with your number, name, team name or logo

Mouthguards offer an excellent way to prevent your teeth from damage. Why not call Dr. Valerin, your Peoria, IL dentist at Valerin Dental Group, at (309) 693-2310 to schedule an appointment for a mouthguard impression? Protect your teeth with TekFit!

By Valerin Dental Group
July 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Sedation Dentistry  

Visiting the dentist for cleanings, checkups and needed dental work is one of the pillars of dental health, along with daily hygiene and a nutritious diet. But an estimated 50% of people have some form of anxiety about dental visits — and around 15% actually avoid care because of it.

If you feel nervous about dental visits, there are ways to reduce your anxiety. First and foremost is to find a compassionate provider you trust and feel comfortable around, who listens non-judgmentally to your concerns.

But that's only the beginning: depending on your degree of anxiety, you could require more help to relax through sedation medication. The drugs and methods used can induce various degrees of consciousness ranging from mild relaxation to more sleep-like states.

The most basic is oral sedation. Typically, this involves taking the medication by mouth about an hour before an appointment. You can take it by itself to increase relaxation or along with other forms of sedation (like inhaling nitrous oxide gas) or local anesthesia.

Beyond inhalation, a higher level of sedation involves injecting the medication into the blood stream through an intravenous (IV) drip. This induces a deeper “semi-awake” level of consciousness, but differs from general anesthesia, which places a patient into unconsciousness to block pain during a major procedure. With IV sedation you may still be able to respond to verbal commands or touch; and although you're monitored for vital signs you won't need medical assistance to maintain breathing and heart function.

With today's advanced sedation drugs and methods, we can control dosages to achieve just the right level of sedation, as well as reduce the amount of time the drug may affect you afterward in recovery. Many drugs also have an amnesiac effect so that you'll remember little if any about the procedure afterward.

Whether by mouth, inhalation or with an IV, sedation therapy can make a difference no matter what your level of anxiety. And if your dental visits continue to be comfortable and pleasant ones, you're more likely to receive the care you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

If you would like more information on sedation methods during dental care, 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 “IV Sedation in Dentistry.”