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Family Dentist vs. General Dentist

What's the difference between a family dentist & a general dentist?At Brar Family Dentistry, we believe everyone deserves a smile they’re proud of. That’s why we’re proud to offer comprehensive, high-quality dental treatment from our two conveniently-located offices in Merrimack and Nashua, NH, helping our patients not only achieve a great smile but maintain it over the course of a lifetime. Our dentists place a strong focus on family dental care, and our patients often ask us: what’s the difference between a family dentist and a general dentist?

The Difference Between a Family Dentist and a General Dentist

Ever wondered what the difference is between a family dentist and a general dentist? They’re similar in many ways, and both work to help patients maintain a great smile – but there are a few key differences.

The primary difference between a general dentist and a family dentist is the age group they serve. General dentists usually treat adult patients, as that’s where they focus the majority of their dental education. A general dentist is trained on a wide variety of procedures to help keep the teeth healthy, but that training is focused on adult teeth. For that reason, many general dentists have an age limit where they’ll only accept patients above the age of 15 or 16.

Family dentists, however, focus on providing dental care for patients of all ages. A family dentist will offer largely the same dental services as a general dentist, but they’ll also provide pediatric dental care for patients in adolescence or childhood. Family dentists also usually take a long-term approach to maintaining a healthy smile, focusing on preventive care above all. Visiting a family dentist not only allows you to take care of your whole family in one visit but also ensures your smile stays healthy in the long-term.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Family Dentist

While all dentists have a part to play in taking care of teeth, if you’re looking to get convenient dental care for the whole family, your best bet is a family dentist – and if you’re looking for one, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about how our Nashua and Merrimack family dentists can help your entire family maintain beautiful, healthy smiles for a lifetime. We can’t wait to hear from you!

How to Prevent Cavities in Children

5 Top Tips To Prevent Cavities in Children 

How to prevent cavities in childrenAs your children’s dentist in the Merrimack and Nashua areas, Brar Family Dentistry is committed to helping our youngest patients combat cavities and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Although children’s cavities are largely preventable, they are still the most common chronic disease of children under 19. Much of the work of our family dentist revolves around preventing and treating cavities. Our dentists and friendly dental hygienists work hard to educate parents and their children about oral hygiene and best practices for tooth decay prevention. You can even earn points as a part of our No Cavity Kids Club and “buy” prizes with your accumulated points! Also, as part of this ongoing education, here are five things you can begin today that will help you and your children avoid cavities.

Tip #1: Start Good Oral Health Care Habits Early

While it’s never too early to start new, healthy habits, our family dentistry gives you the tools and information you need to help your children start those habits as early as possible. Here are a few of the most important:

  • Brushing

In order to prevent cavities from forming, teach your kids to brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Brushing after every meal and before bedtime can reduce bad breath, gingivitis and plaque and leave your child with a minty fresh feeling to start and end the day. Until your child is old enough to brush, be sure to clean your baby’s gums and mouth with a warm, wet washcloth regularly.

  • Flossing 

Our children’s dentistry in Merrimack and Nashua recommends children floss at least once daily, preferably at bedtime. When the teeth are flossed regularly, tiny bits of food and plaque are removed from between the teeth and along the gum line to keep the teeth and gums healthy. Flossing habits developed at a young age will carry through to adulthood and result in healthier teeth and gums. Note that when your child first starts flossing, it is normal for gums to bleed a little. If bleeding persists after the first few times, let us know at your child’s next appointment.

  • Don’t allow eating or drinking before bedtime
  • Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle in his or her mouth
  • Avoid habits such as frequent snacking and sipping milk, juice or other sugary drinks.

Tip #2: Get Enough Fluoride

According to the Centers for Disease Control, water fluoridation can reduce the amount of decay in children’s teeth by 18 to 40%. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate. Besides using a fluoride toothpaste recommended by our family dentistry, our doctors may recommend other fluoride rinses or applications to help prevent cavities.

Tip #3 Choose Foods Wisely

As your providers of dentistry for kids in Merrimack and Nashua, the most impactful suggestion we have is to limit the consumption of sugary foods as they’re one of the leading causes of tooth decay in children. Providing the right kinds of foods and helping your child choose more wisely when it comes to snacks and drinks can go a long way in preventing cavities. When looking to follow a healthy diet that’s good for your teeth and the rest of your body, try sticking to the food pyramid. The pyramid is structured to give you a healthy serving of all the necessary food groups you need throughout the day. Here are some ideas on foods to choose and those to avoid to prevent cavities.

  • Healthy Foods to Choose
  • Calcium-rich foods like milk, yogurt & cheese
    • Vegetables and leafy greens such as broccoli
    • Nuts
    • Fresh fruit such as bananas, apples and oranges
    • Vegetables such as beans, Brussel sprouts and peas
    • Grains such as bran, brown rice and whole-grain cereals and pasta
    • Water – it’s a natural way to wash your mouth clean
  • Foods to Avoid
  • Sugary snacks including candy
    • Gummy bear vitamins
    • Fruit snacks
    • Sugary soda, sweet tea, energy drinks, sports drinks, etc.

Tip #4: Apply Dental Sealants

Some of the most cavity-prone areas in a child’s mouth are in the chewing surfaces of the molars. This is because these teeth contain many crevices where food can get stuck – even to the point where brushing doesn’t dislodge it. When food is trapped there for a long period of time, it can lead to cavities. To prevent that from happening, you can have sealants applied to your child’s teeth. Sealants will smooth out these grooves so that food doesn’t keep getting stuck in those teeth. It’ll make those teeth easier to brush as well.

Tip #5: Routine Checkups are Important 

To pave the way for a lifetime of good dental health, Brar Family Dentistry recommends visiting our Merrimack or Nashua office once every six months for a checkup and cleaning. In addition to helping children avoid cavities, these routine dental visits can also help them avoid developing serious health problems in the future as oral health is linked to overall health. During your child’s first visit, we will provide a variety of helpful services that include.

  • Diagnostic examinations to check for cavities and other underlying dental problems
  • A thorough teeth cleaning
  • Fluoride application, if necessary
  • Oral hygiene recommendations

Trust Your Children’s Dentist In Merrimack & Nashua

You can trust Brar Family Dentistry to provide the best preventative care for your child as well as be there in the event your child does have a cavity with friendly, expert care. If your child is experiencing tooth sensitivity that may be due to a cavity, we’d love to help. Request an appointment today by contacting us at 603-424-2121 in Merrimack or 603-889-0601 in Nashua. We’ll thoroughly examine your child’s teeth for cavities, clean any plaque deposits that may cause them and provide helpful oral hygiene tips to help you and your child prevent cavities far into the future. We want every child who visits our children’s dentistry to leave with a smile! And our fun, upbeat and kid-friendly office and staff help ensure that happens!

How to Cope With Sensitive Teeth

How to cope with sensitive teeth.Brar Family Dentistry welcomes children and patients of all ages to our family dentistry. We pride ourselves on providing families in the Nashua and Merrimack areas with general dentistry care they can count on to maintain great oral health or treat common dental problems. One of those common problems is sensitive teeth. Whether it’s cold drinks, hot soup or the use of whitening toothpaste that may be causing your sensitivity, Drs. Bar, Dressler and Yue have some ways you can ease the pain and keep it from interfering with your daily life.

What Does Sensitive Teeth Pain Feel Like?

Most commonly, sensitive teeth pain manifests as a sudden, sharp flash of pain when teeth are exposed to air, cold, sweet, acidic or hot foods. The pain may shoot into the tooth’s nerve endings but is usually temporary. At least 40 million adults suffer from sensitive teeth in the United States, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. As your trusted general dentistry, we care about the health of your teeth, which is why we want to take the time to discuss the topic of tooth sensitivity.

Why Is My Tooth Sensitive?

The pain you are having due to tooth sensitivity is caused by the traveling movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. If your hard enamel is worn down or your gums have receded, these tiny tube surfaces can become exposed. The pain is often sharp and sudden, but it is temporary. Having sensitive teeth can be caused by several reasons. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Using Tooth-Whitening Toothpaste.

Many are brushing with a tooth-whitening toothpaste but those pastes can contain chemicals and abrasive ingredients that may cause you pain.

  • Brushing Too Hard.

Dr. Brar recommends only brushing with a soft-bristled brush and not pressing too hard when you do brush. Using hard bristles could wear down the enamel on your teeth and expose those tiny canals that lead to your dental nerves and cause you pain.

  • Eating Foods High In Acid. 

Citric foods like lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, tomatoes or drinking soft drinks can aggravate your already exposed nerves and cause pain.

  • Grinding Your Teeth. 

Even though your tooth enamel is very strong, grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel. This exposes the dentin, or the middle layer of the tooth, which contains the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves.

  • Long-Term Use Of Some Mouthwashes. 

Mouthwash that contains alcohol and other chemicals may cause trouble for those with sensitive teeth if your dentin is exposed.

  • Developing Gum Disease. 

As you grow older, your gums naturally recede and as this happens the tiny tubes are exposed and you may have sensitivity. If you develop gingivitis or gum disease, our expert dentists will detail a plan to treat the disease.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene.

If you allow plaque to build up on your teeth and around your gums, it can wear away tooth enamel which exposes your teeth to sensitivity.

  • Getting A Tooth Filling

After you have a cavity filled or a filling replaced, you may experience some tooth sensitivity from the tooth decay irritating the tooth. This will improve after a few weeks. If it does not, be sure to contact our Nashua and Merrimack office.

  • Using Whitening Treatments

Teeth-whitening treatments contain harsh chemicals that remove stains, but they can also remove the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity.

Can Tooth Sensitivity Be Cured?

It is unlikely that you will completely cure your tooth sensitivity. However, properly diagnosing the reasons for tooth sensitivity is the best way to eliminate the pain. Symptoms may come and go until the cause of the sensitivity is permanently addressed. Dr. Brar can recommend the best course of action for you or your child. The treatments below may be considered to improve sensitive teeth.

What Are Natural Remedies For Sensitive Teeth?

The natural remedies recommended by Dr. Brar and the staff at Brar Family Dentistry mostly center around eliminating the cause of tooth sensitivity as mentioned above. These remedies include:

  • Use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
  • Brush gently with a soft-bristled brush & floss daily to eliminate plaque.
  • Eliminate foods high in acid.
  • Use a recommended fluoride rinse daily.

How Can Brar Family Dentistry Help You Cope With Sensitive Teeth?

It’s important to check with your general dentist if you are having prolonged bouts of pain due to tooth sensitivity. Dr. Brar or his associates can pinpoint the exact cause of your sensitive teeth. That way you’ll hit on the right solution. There are some treatments that Brar Family Dentistry can perform to assist with sensitive teeth if needed.

These may fix a tooth flaw or decay that is causing sensitivity.

  • Fluoride gel or varnish.

These materials can be painted on your teeth to serve as an invisible barrier between afflicting foods and exposed nerves.

  • Surgical gum restoration. 

This will rebuild or restore your receding gums to protect the root and reduce sensitivity if the gum tissue has eroded from the root.

  • Mouthguard. 

If you are a teeth grinder at night consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and save your enamel. Dr. Brar can custom-fit a mouthguard just for you.

  • Desensitizing Sealants. 

Dr. Brar can apply dental sealants or other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride to the exposed root surface.

  • Root canal. 

This is a last-resort treatment for severe tooth sensitivity that has not been helped by other methods.

Treat Tooth Sensitivity At Your Nashua and Merrimack, NH, Family Dentistry

Your tooth sensitivity is treatable. If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation from your Nashua and Merrimack, NH, dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Between the home and the dentist-provided remedies listed above, we are sure to find ways to help you manage your hypersensitivity. Only an office visit can determine the most likely cause of your tooth sensitivity and the best solution for your particular situation. If you would like to talk to a caring professional about your sensitive teeth, don’t hesitate to contact our Merrimack office at 603-424-2121 or our Nashua office at 603-889-0601. We look forward to welcoming you to our family dentistry practice!

Importance of Pacifier Weaning

Importance of Pacifier WeaningMost babies love their pacifier and so do parents for their soothing capabilities. But once your child reaches a certain age you may want to reconsider the use of a pacifier in order to avoid dental problems down the road. At Brar Family Dentistry, we believe maintaining your child’s dental health from an early age will lead to health benefits that will last throughout adulthood.

Effects of a Pacifier

While the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains that pacifiers can have positive effects on children between one and six months old, it’s best to begin breaking the habit sooner rather than later. Using pacifiers for longer than necessary can influence the shape of the mouth and alignment of the teeth because babies are still growing. As they mature physically, their jaw will begin to grow around anything that is inside their mouth on a repeated basis. Similar to long-term thumb sucking, you may notice the upper teeth begin to tip outward or not even come in properly. If you’re concerned about your child’s pacifier use, it would be best to consult with a pediatric dentist as they can help you come up with a plan to help your child quit.

Breaking the Habit

In addition to consulting with your family pediatric dentist, you’ll want to prepare for when it’s time to take away your child’s pacifier. Knowing what motivates your child is a good start. The best way to encourage your child to stop using their pacifier is through positive reinforcement. You could do this by praising your child for good behavior or even offering a prize for each day and night they don’t use it. But remember, consistency is key when it comes to weaning. If your child is often in the care of someone else, be sure to let them know your goal so that no one gets confused.

Time it Right

There are many sources out there with varying information on when your child should stop using a pacifier. Some experts believe your child should stop after six months of age when the risk of SIDs drops and ear infections become more likely. However, you could just cut back the use of the pacifier to nap and bedtime only. At the end of the day, the safest time to stop is before your child’s teeth begin to develop. Before the age of two, children’s teeth usually can self-correct within six months of breaking a habit. After the age of two, their teeth become more impressionable and a pacifier can cause problems.

Contact Your Trusted Nashua & Merrimack Dentistry 

While pacifiers can offer comfort and reassurance for babies, it’s best not to let the habit continue for longer than it should. Knowing when it’s time to stop is key and Brar Family Dentistry is here to help. To ensure your child has a future of strong dental health, be sure he or she receives the best early dental care possible. Book an appointment today by contacting our family dentistry at (603) 889-0601 or (603) 424-2121. We happily provide premier family dentistry treatment to families in and around the Nashua or Merrimack, NH area.

Fixing Gummy Smiles

Fixing gummy smilesSome people feel self-conscious about smiling because they believe their gums are too prominent. Though we each have our own definition of what makes a smile beautiful — including how much gum is too much — cosmetic dentists define a smile as “gummy” when 4 millimeters (just over 1/8 of an inch) of gum tissue shows. If your smile looks gummy there can be different reasons for this. It is important to understand the various causes of gummy smiles so you and your cosmetic dentist can work together to find the best cosmetic dentistry procedures to adjust and enhance your smile.

Causes

Gummy smiles can be a side effect produced by issues with your gums, teeth, lip, or jaw. Depending on what area of your mouth is causing the gummy smile, cosmetic dental treatment will differ.

  • Gums – If your teeth appear too short in relation to your gums, it could be that they are being covered up by too much gum tissue. Your cosmetic dentist can resolve this problem in our Nashua or Merrimack office with a periodontal plastic surgery technique called “crown lengthening,” which involves removing and reshaping the excess tissue to expose the full length of teeth.
  • Teeth – Teeth sometimes emerge in the mouth at different heights; some teeth growing in shorter than others. This may add to the gumminess of a smile. To remedy the issue, we recommend a cosmetic dental treatment known as capping or crowning, which involves making shorter teeth appear longer by covering them with thin porcelain veneers. On the same note, you may have a grinding habit that is causing your teeth to get worn down and become shorter over time. This type of grinding may also cause compensatory eruption, in which teeth actually begin to move (or erupt) very slowly outward from the gum to compensate for the wear and maintain a functional bite. These issues can lead to gummy smiles, and many times your cosmetic dentist will recommend you complete orthodontic treatment to move the affected teeth back into the correct position. Afterward, the worn-down teeth can usually be restored with porcelain crowns/veneers as well.
  • Lip – On average, your upper lip moves 6 to 8 millimeters from its normal resting position to achieve a full smile. If the lip is hypermobile, meaning it rises much farther up, more gum tissue will be revealed—thus producing a gummy smile. In order to alleviate this type of gummy smile, you’ll need to ensure the muscles that control the lip are modified so they don’t raise it quite so high. Treatment for this issue can range from Botox shots that temporarily paralyze the muscles for about 6 months to surgery that permanently restricts how high the lip can move. The latter is referred to as a lip stabilization procedure.
  • Jaw – Sometimes the upper jaw (maxilla) is too long for the face, a condition referred to as Vertical Maxillary Excess. If you are experiencing this oral-facial condition, your jaw will need to be repositioned with orthognathic surgery (“ortho” – straighten; “gnathos” – jaw). Of all the cosmetic dental treatments highlighted above, this is the most complex procedure; however, when performed by a skilled cosmetic dentist, it can yield amazing results!

Contact Your Trusted Nashua & Merrimack Dentistry 

If you would like more information on how to improve your gummy smile, please contact our Nashua or Merrimack office to schedule your consultation with a cosmetic dentist. We look forward to helping you find your ideal smile!

Top Reasons to Choose Dental Implants

Top Reasons to Choose Dental Implants
Both dentists and patients agree: dental implants are the way to go when it comes to tooth replacement. Brar Family Dentistry is excited to offer you state-of-the-art implant restorative dentistry treatment to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Visit us in Nashua or Merrimack to chat with our friendly doctors about what our dentistry can do for you!

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a restorative dentistry method for replacing teeth. The implant consists of both a titanium post and a dental crown. The small titanium post is the actual implant, which is attached to a lifelike dental crown. The crown is the only part of the tooth-replacement that is visible in your mouth. Dental implants can be used for one, two, or all of your teeth!

Benefits of Dental Implants

The many benefits of dental implants can be summarized into three main categories—similarity to natural teeth, dental health, and cost efficiency.

Similarity to Natural Teeth

Dental implants are made of titanium—a metal with a unique ability to fuse to living bone. Following the procedure, the titanium in the dental implant begins to fuse to your bone. After a period of several months, a dental implant will feel completely natural, indistinguishable from your normal teeth. At this point, your implant has fused with your jawbone, securing itself completely. You can eat, speak, and smile with confidence, knowing that your dental implant will remain secure and comfortable.

Dental implants are similar to your regular teeth in terms of maintenance as well. Caring for dental implants requires the same oral hygiene routine as your natural teeth: brushing and flossing accompanied by consistent visits to your dentist is recommended.

Unlike with other teeth replacement options (such as dentures), there is no special cream or soaking overnight for dental implants. The material that forms your dental implant prevents inherently decay. Your implant, however, can be damaged through gum disease. So, again, vigilant oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist will promote a long life for your implant, as well as your remaining original teeth!

Dental Health

One of the little-known woes of tooth loss is the bone loss that inevitably follows. Bone is a living tissue that requires constant stimulation to rebuild itself and stay healthy. In the case of your jawbone, that stimulation comes from the teeth. When even one tooth is lost, the bone beneath it begins to resorb, or melt away. This can give your face a prematurely aged appearance and even leave your jaw more vulnerable to fractures if left untreated. Dental implants halt this deteriorating process by fusing to the jawbone and providing stabilization. No other tooth restorative dentistry method can offer this advantage.

Moreover, dental implants are a healthier option for the adjacent, natural teeth. Unlike dental implants, other restorative dentistry methods weaken the adjacent teeth. With bridgework, for example, the natural teeth on either side of a gap left by a missing tooth must provide support for the dental bridge. This can stress those adjacent teeth and leave them more susceptible to decay. Likewise, a partial denture relies on adjacent teeth for support and may cause those teeth to loosen over time as a result. Dental implants are stand-alone tooth replacements that don’t rely on support from surrounding natural teeth. Talk to your dentist today to learn more about how implant restorative dentistry can keep your teeth strong.

Cost Efficient

Because dental implants become part of your jawbone, they provide a permanent solution to tooth loss. Other restorative dentistry options may need to be replaced or remade over time. If you properly care for your dental implants, they should last a lifetime. As a result, dental implants provide the best long-term value for tooth replacement. For information about financing your implant restorative dentistry treatment, contact our Nashua or Merrimack office today.

Get Started with Implant Restorative Dentistry

Whether you need a tooth replaced or simply want more information about implant restorative dentistry, contact your trusted local dentist. Our staff eagerly awaits the opportunity to discuss what dentistry options are right for you. Conveniently located in Nashua and Merrimack, Brar Family Dentistry is your go-to for general, cosmetic, and restorative dental needs. We can’t wait to make you smile!

Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

Among the most common birth defects, cleft lip and cleft palate affect approximately 1 in 800 babies born in North America. Luckily, dental treatment exists to help affected children live a healthy, normal life. Learn more about how dentistry can help cleft lip and palate conditions now.

What Are Cleft Lip & Palate?

Cleft lip and palate are birth defects resulting from the incomplete formation of anatomical structures during early pregnancy. The names vary based on the location of the impartial formation (either the lip or the roof of the mouth, referred to as the palate). These two conditions may occur separately or together.

The severity of the symptoms vary from case-to-case. Cleft lip and cleft palate are distinguishable by a separation or opening in the palate or lip. As a result, the individual may have difficulties with feeding and speech. Additionally, both conditions are associated with ear infections, hearing loss, and dental problems. To treat these symptoms and others that may arise, work with your children’s dentistry specialists to develop a treatment plan.

Causes & Risk Factors

Doctors know that cleft lip and cleft palate are congenital defects, meaning they’re present at birth. While experts assume they are genetic conditions, the cause has not yet been determined. Scientists believe cleft lip and cleft palate may be linked to certain factors during pregnancy, such as…

  • Certain medications
  • Viral illness
  • Tobacco or alcohol use
  • Vitamin deficiency

Cleft Lip & Palate Treatment

Cleft palate and cleft lip are complex conditions requiring a team of medical professionals. In general, the first goal of treatment is to repair or “close” the gap in the lip and/or palate as soon as it is practical. Typically, this may be at as early as 2 to 9 months of age. However, your child may require several surgical procedures at different points in their childhood. In addition to your children’s dentist, you may work with an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, a plastic surgeon, or other specialists.

For the initial surgery, your child will receive intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, ensuring that he or she doesn’t experience any pain during the procedure. Both conditions rely on a specialized “flap” procedure; this consists of incisions to create “flaps” of tissue around the affected area. These flaps are then stitched together in order to close the gap.

Post-Treatment

Depending on how complex the child’s condition is, follow-up procedures may be required after the initial treatment to fully correct any defects in form and function of the lips, teeth, and jaws. These follow up procedures may include plastic surgery, orthodontics, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and speech therapy. Our friendly dentists at Brar Family Dentistry can provide you with a list of recommended specialists for consultations in these areas of treatment.

Visit Brar Family Dentistry

Cleft lip and cleft palate can be a daunting undertaking for the family of a newborn. Our team wants you to know that you don’t have to go through it alone. The children’s dentistry specialists at Brar Family Dentistry are eager to join your team as you begin treatment and we’ll help provide guidance along the way. With the proper care, your child can achieve a healthy and normal life. Schedule an appointment at our Nashua or Merrimack office today. We look forward to working together on enhancing your child’s future!