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Getting Your Smile Ready for School

Starting up a new school year can be exciting for kids, and a welcome relief for parents.

You’re prepared. You’ve dusted off the old back pack (or purchased a new one), picked up a few school supplies, shopped for a new outfit or two, and shared in the anticipation with your child about the coming year. If you still don’t think you’re 100% ready, here are items you’ll want to check off your list:


Connect with other parents. If you haven’t already done so, find out who’s in your child’s class this year. Get the skinny on the new teacher. Arrange a school carpool. It will clear up the unknowns, and those contacts will be a big help throughout the year.


Establish a routine. That includes bedtime. If your kids have been staying up late every night in the summer, it will be tough getting to sleep the night before school starts. Try an hour of quiet time before bed – without electronics or cell phone use – or quiet reading to wind down. Lay out clothes the night before, have breakfast planned and ready to go (simple, but nutritious, is best for time-strapped parents), so that the kids will be ready for carpool or the bus.  Have a nutritious snack ready when your child gets home. And make homework a priority – with limits on video games and television viewing.


Get the kids checked out.  Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease — five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in 5- to 17-year-olds, according to the California Health Care Foundation. Make a dental appointment for an exam (it’s covered by most insurance plans, along with two cleanings per year.) And, if your child plays sports, they will most likely be required to have a physical exam before the first practice. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines.


Be proactive about protection. Speaking of sports, football and soccer season is a great way to let off steam, as long as it’s safe. Mouthguards, or mouth protectors, are a must for contact sports and should be a part of your child’s standard athletic equipment from an early age. (They make sense for non-contact sports as well, like gymnastics and skating.) Mouthguards help prevent injuries, including the loss of teeth, and can be purchased at the drugstore or sporting goods store, or at the dentist office. Your dentist can recommend the best option for you.


Meal prep for school.  Performing well in school is harder when you’re hungry. Make sure your child has a healthy breakfast and that you have a plan for lunch, including meal tickets or lunch money. (Many children qualify for free or reduced price on food at school, including breakfast. Check with your school office.) If a cafeteria lunch isn’t an option for your child, pack a nutritious meal for them. Include healthy items like cheese sticks, celery and fruit, and avoid sugary foods.


Back to school time can be hectic for everyone, but with a little organization you’ll all settle into a rhythm that will feel natural in no time.


Fear of Dental Visits: Best Methods to Alleviate Anxiety
Most people are a little apprehensive about a visit to the dentist, while others are just downright frightened. People who don’t see a dentist regularly admit that fear is the overriding issue. The fear can be so severe that some individuals will put up with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unsightly teeth, rather than make a dental appointment. 5 Ways to Help Alleviate Fear • Identify your causes of anxiety and phobia. Pain is the major concern. Other concerns include loss of control, feeling of helplessness, embarrassment over condition of teeth and gums, and negative past experiences. • Communicate fears prior to appointment. Before you set an appointment, be vocal about your apprehensions, fears and anxiety. This gives the dentist a way to gauge the situation and create an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists will devise cues and signals. • Use distractions. This helps divert attention during treatment. Try listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball or counting to yourself. Prior to appointment, watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax. • Are sedatives helpful? Sedation can help reduce anxiety and keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Sedatives include nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist which one might work best for you. • Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises can help someone stay calm during treatment. The tactics include breathing, which involves taking a deep breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax the muscles and slow down heart rate.
How braces can deliver more than just a straight smile
When contemplating the merits of orthodontic treatment, prospective patients don’t often look beyond the obvious benefits of an improved bite, straighter teeth, and a higher self-esteem. Braces can correct myriad of oral health issues that, if not treated, can cause bigger problems later in life. And, while other non-traditional forms of orthodontic treatment to improve physical appearance have sprung up over recent years (like online mail-order services or the clear molded trays designed to move teeth), they’re not appropriate for everyone, and they do nothing to address other more serious dental health problems. Crooked and misaligned teeth can contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and possibly gum disease or total tooth loss. In more extreme cases, disfiguring of the face and mouth occurs, affecting the development of the jaw and position of the teeth. That can lead to breathing or swallowing problems which can cause snoring and sleep apnea problems as an adult. Improper occlusion and jaw alignment can also create speech, chewing or biting problems. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints, leading to headaches or face and neck pain. Of course, the typical reasons for braces are to correct a cross bite (one or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth), deep overbites (lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth), under bites or lower jaw protrusion (when the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw) and spacing problems due to missing or extra teeth. While orthodontic treatment is most common for young teens, all ages can benefit from braces, from pre-ortho treatment at age nine or so, to full braces for teens and young adults. And it’s not unheard of for older adults whose teeth may have shifted over the years to undergo treatment to realign their smiles. Though orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum dental health. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children get an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. Many parents take their children to the orthodontist to correct problems arising from issues of early childhood. For example, finger or thumb sucking habits can cause protrusion of the upper incisor teeth and constriction of the upper jaw. Teeth that erupt out of position can also be guided to proper alignment with braces. It’s important to meet with an orthodontist for an evaluation. Many orthodontists provide ortho consultations free of charge. At that point, they can present options, including clear, gold or traditional braces, and discuss financing packages. With all the recent advancements in orthodontics, wearing braces has never been easier or more effective.
Win prizes at the dentist’s office this summer.
Western Dental and Brident Dental are giving you more reasons to visit the dentist this summer.   Starting now and lasting through the summer, Western Dental and Brident are running the “Embrace your Summer" and #GrinIt2WinIt selfie promotion in all of its 244 offices throughout California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada. To participate, patients can post a selfie to receive a Pop Socket and a chance to win an Amazon gift card.    Every office has created a selfie station for the purposes of staging a selfie, but the photos can be taken anywhere as long as they are tagged with #GrinIt2WinIt and posted to a social media site like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Patients who post while in the office receive an instant gift of a Pop Socket (a stylish accessory that adds versatility to cell phones or tablets), while supplies last. After a selfie is posted with #GrinIt2WinIt, patients can win a $10 Amazon gift card.   Of course, patients can also enjoy big values in dental treatments at every Western Dental and Brident office. Throughout the summer, patients can take advantage of attractive financing with approved credit on braces ($99/month) and dental implants ($125/month), and new patients receive free exams and x-rays and free ortho consultations. PerioProtect, a new, at-home gum treatment that painlessly kills bacteria deep below the gum line while freshening breath and whitening teeth is another treatment option for patients seeking to improve their overall dental health.   There is a lot going on at Western Dental/Brident this summer. Be sure to make an appointment and join in the fun. You’ll receive more than just a healthy smile!   Head over to our Instagram  to see some #GrinIt2WinIt inspo in action and start sharing your own selfies!