Our Blog

Can a Night Guard Mean Sweet Dreams for Your Child?

February 21st, 2024

Sometimes the reason for a poor night’s sleep is obvious. Maybe your child watched a scary movie. Or loaded up on sugar before bed. Or can’t get to sleep after a night of computer screens or video games. Not much we can do about these problems.

Sometimes, though, the cause of your child’s sleep difficulties is dental in origin, and that is something Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim can help with.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common childhood dental problem. While children with this condition sleep, their jaws clench and their teeth grind against each other throughout the night. When to suspect children might suffer from bruxism? When they experience:

  • Frequent headaches or facial pain
  • Waking with a sore jaw, or popping or clicking jaw sounds through the day
  • Teeth which are chipped, cracked, flattened, worn down, or sensitive
  • Waking up tired, because grinding affects the quality of sleep
  • Siblings who complain about nocturnal grinding noises, which affect the quality of their

Pain and fatigue are unpleasant enough, but there are additional serious consequences for those who suffer from bruxism. Our jaws are extremely powerful, and clenching and grinding can put hundreds of pounds on pressure on teeth and jaws over a few hours of sleep.

These forces can lead to damaged teeth and dental work, and problems with the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, the complex hinge that allows our jaws to move up and down, back and forth, and side to side.

Clearly, prevention is clearly a much better option for a healthy smile. And one of the simplest and most effective treatments for preventing the damage caused by bruxism is a night guard.

Night guards fit over the affected teeth to prevent them from touching directly, saving tooth and enamel from injury and wear. Not only do night guards prevent contact, they spread the biting forces of the jaw over the surface of the guard to greatly reduce their impact. And because they also stop the jaw muscles from clenching tightly, there’s no excess stress placed on the temporomandibular joint.

For all these reasons, a night guard is pretty much a slam dunk for adults who grind their teeth. But for children, it’s not necessarily an automatic decision. Why?

  • If tooth grinding is mild and appears to be limited to baby teeth, children often outgrow the condition. Your dentist can let you know if you need to do more than monitor the situation.
  • Sometimes it seems like your child’s smile changes from day to day. Between losing baby teeth and erupting adult teeth, this beautiful smile is a work in progress. A fitted night guard might not be a perfect fit while your child’s teeth are still coming in and shifting position.
  • Finally, jaw and facial pain can also be caused by problems with your child’s bite or misaligned teeth, and that might mean that an orthodontic consultation is in order.

But if you suspect your child is suffering the effects of night time grinding and clenching, give our Oklahoma City office a call. A thorough examination will provide you with the best diagnosis and solutions for helping your child retain a healthy smile and regain a healthy night’s sleep.

And if a night guard is recommended, a dental professional is the best person to see for the most effective night guard.

While over-the-counter products are available, a custom night guard is designed to fit your child’s individual teeth and mouth perfectly. Impressions or 3D scans are taken in the office, and a guard is fabricated with the precise shape, strength, and thickness needed to protect young teeth. And, as a bonus, custom night guards offer the most comfortable fit for the most comfortable night’s sleep.

Scary movies, a late night sugar rush, mesmerizing video screens—not much we can do about those! But if your child is suffering lost sleep and painful mornings because of tooth grinding, give us a call. A night guard just might be the key to sweet dreams.

The Transformation of Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2024

Did you know the actions leading to the beginnings of Valentine's Day were actually centered on the avoidance of war? A Catholic priest named Valentine defied the orders of the Emperor Claudius II and secretly married young men and their brides after the emperor had declared it illegal because only single, young men could be sent to war. Rather than lose potential soldiers to fight his war, Claudius attempted to hoard them by proclaiming marriage illegal.

Valentine continued to marry young couples anyway and, eventually, was put to death for it in 270 AD. Before his death, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine”. Nearly 1,800 years later, people are still signing letters and cards in this manner. This year, carry on the tradition started long ago, while adding your own twist. Here are a few suggestions.

Simple and Creative Valentine's Day Ideas

  • Memorialize it with a Photo. Couples often have photos taken around Christmas, but Valentine's Day photos allow you to capitalize on romance. Famous couple Julia Child and her husband, Paul, had their picture taken together every Valentine's Day and included their sense of humor with silly props.
  • Return to Your First Date Location. Even if your first date together was at a local hotdog stand, its sentimental value can make it a fun part of your Valentine's Day agenda. Be creative and make a treasure hunt with clues that lead your partner to the original date location, where you can express your love with flowers or a gift.
  • “From Your Valentine” Messages. Deliver your message in a creative way to make this Valentine's Day stand out from the others. Bake your partner's favorite treat and write a message on it with a tube of icing, or draw a note on the steamed up mirror so it shows up when your partner takes a shower.

Although Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love, it doesn't have to be a special day only for couples. If you're single, use this special day to shower yourself with love, because you're worth it! After all, the priest Valentine believed so strongly in the sanctity of love that he was willing to risk his life for it. Whether you're in a relationship or single, young or old, romantic or not, Valentine's Day is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day from the pediatric office of Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim.

Looking Out for Your Furry Friend

February 7th, 2024

The grownups in your life help you with your dental care. After all, good dental health makes your life happier. Your teeth and gums feel great. You can eat crunchy foods. Your checkups and cleanings keep your smile healthy and bright.

And you want the same happy life for one of your best friends—your pet! Because February is Pet Dental Health Month, let’s talk about some ways you and your family can keep your dogs and cats healthy and happy, too.

  • Feed Your Pet Healthy Food

The adults in your life make sure you eat a healthy diet. This includes serving foods filled with vitamins and minerals which are good for your teeth and gums. Pets also need to eat healthy meals, and there are special foods and treats made for their dental health. Some foods help keep teeth strong, and some tasty treats help clean the teeth.

Your veterinarian can help you find out the healthiest meals and treats for your dog or cat—and tell you which foods aren’t good for them!

  • “Chews” the Right Toys

Dogs—and some cats—love chew toys, so we need to make sure those toys are safe for them and for their teeth.

Chewing on bones, sticks, and hard plastic toys can break even the biggest and strongest dog’s tooth. If a toy is harder than your pet’s tooth, it can damage your pet’s tooth. Toys should be tough enough not to break into little pieces when they’re chewed, and big enough not to be swallowed. Your vet is a good person to ask about the best and safest toys for your furry friend. And speaking of your vet . . .

  • Take Your Pet to the Vet for the Best Dental Care

We talk about your pet’s veterinarian a lot, because veterinarians are both dentists and doctors for our four-legged friends. And just like you visit your dentist and doctor regularly to make sure you stay healthy, your pet sees the veterinarian for checkups, vaccinations, and dental exams. 

Checking your pet’s teeth regularly is important because, while dogs and cats don’t get cavities the same way we do, they often suffer from gum disease caused by built-up plaque—the same kind of plaque which causes cavities and gum disease in people.

If your pet is showing any of signs of a dental problem—a broken tooth, really bad breath, brown or yellow stains on the teeth, not wanting to eat, pawing at the mouth, or lots of new drooling—it might be time to visit the vet for a dental checkup.

February is Pet Dental Health Month, but your dog or cat is your friend all year long. You and your family can help your pets to have healthier teeth and gums by feeding them the right foods, seeing they have safe toys, and visiting the vet regularly. Your love and care will help your furry friend live a longer, healthier life. That’s happy news for both of you!

When do children usually lose their baby teeth?

January 31st, 2024

Many parents have concerns about their children’s teeth not falling out on time. Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim and our team are here to answer any questions parents may have about when children lose their teeth.

Children have 20 primary teeth that come in around age three. By about age six, these teeth will loosen and begin to fall out on their own to make room for the permanent ones. It is common for girls to lose their baby teeth earlier than boys. Most children lose their final baby tooth by age 13.

Baby teeth normally fall out in the order in which they came in. The lower center incisors are usually the first to fall, around age six or seven, followed by the upper central incisors.

If a child loses a tooth to decay or an accident, the permanent tooth may come in too early and take a crooked position due to teeth crowding. If your child loses a tooth to decay or accident, call Dr. Brent Moody and Dr. Somer Heim to make an appointment.

Some kids can’t wait for their baby teeth to fall out, while others dread the thought of losing a tooth. When your child begins to lose teeth, you should emphasize the importance of proper dental care on a daily basis to promote a healthy mouth.

Remember to:

  • Remind your child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day and offer assistance if needed
  • Help your child floss at bedtime
  • Limit eating and drinking between meals and at bedtime, especially sugary treats and drinks
  • Schedule regular dental visits for your child every six months.
  • Ask about the use of fluoride treatments and dental sealants to help prevent tooth decay.

Call Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma to learn more about caring for baby teeth or to schedule an appointment at our Oklahoma City office!