How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Babies and young children often suck on their thumbs and other objects. It is a natural reflex and can give them a sense of security. But since the beginning of time, parents have worried that thumbsucking and using pacifiers could harm their child’s teeth. So, how can thumbsucking affect your child’s teeth?

When does thumbsucking become a problem?

For babies without any teeth, thumbsucking does not present much of a problem. Even after a few teeth come in, thumbsucking still isn’t a major issue necessarily, as those teeth are not permanent teeth. But when it comes to permanent teeth, thumbsucking can affect the position and crookedness of teeth or the palate (the roof of the mouth). So, the child’s age is a factor. Many children stop sucking their thumbs before the permanent front teeth erupt. It is important that before those teeth come in that the habit of thumbsucking is broken.

Additionally, how the child sucks their thumb or pacifier can affect whether dental issues arise. Children who vigorously suck on their thumb are more likely to have affected teeth versus children who more passively suck their thumb or just rest it in their mouths.

How do you stop your child from thumbsucking?

No doubt you’ve heard of many home remedies to thumb sucking. Depending on the age of the child, different methods may be effective.

  • Help your child replace thumbsucking with a new method of self-soothing, like hugging a favorite stuffed animal
  • Offer positive reinforcement for not thumbsucking
  • Have your dentist explain the potential consequences of thumbsucking to the child
  • Cover the thumb or thumbnail with a bitter substance (ask your dentist for recommendations)
  • Place a bandage on the thumb
  • Cover the hand with a sock at night to prevent the child from thumbsucking in his or her sleep

Thumbsucking is a difficult habit to break, especially in very young children, but if left unchecked it could lead to dental problems in the future. If you’re concerned that your child’s dependence on sucking their thumb or pacifier might be harming their teeth, talk to their dentist to find out potential issues and solutions appropriate to your child’s age and situation.

To keep your child’s teeth healthy, schedule their regular dental checkups with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

Am I Too Old for Braces?

Am I Too Old for Braces?

Crooked teeth can pose a problem: at the worst, they can make it easy for food and plaque to get trapped and cavities to form, at the most benign, they can make you self conscious about your smile. Braces are one option for straightening teeth. But they’re also synonymous with adolescence. If you’re past your teen years, are you too old for braces?

You can get braces at any age, but getting braces when you’re younger can be beneficial. In adolescence, your mouth is still forming and developing, so moving the teeth can be easier. What does that mean for changing your smile as an adult? In some cases, braces might not be enough, and surgery might be required to move your teeth. Additionally, it might take longer to move your teeth and get your braces off.

That’s not to say that you can’t get braces if you’re an adult, especially if your dentist recommends that you get them to move teeth for health reasons. The necessity of moving teeth that are facilitating decay or other problems for your dental health outweighs the inconvenience of moving teeth in an adult mouth, undoubtedly. Even if you want to move your teeth for cosmetic reasons, braces are still an option for adults. In fact, one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18, so you won’t be alone!

There are some advantages to getting braces as an adult instead of having them as kids. Your oral hygiene habits are likely much better than those of a thirteen-year-old, and you reduce the risk of tooth decay from failing to clean between your braces brackets. You can also drive yourself to your own orthodontist appointments, and since you’re a responsible adult, you’re more likely to follow all the rules that ensure your brackets don’t pop off and you don’t damage your teeth, like avoiding gum and hard candy.

If you’re worried about how braces will look and you aren’t confident rocking brace face at the office, there are other options available to straighten teeth. Products like Invisalign can straighten your teeth, and as the name implies, are virtually invisible. The process is simple; your dentist makes a mold of your teeth to create a series of clear retainers that gradually move your teeth, without the look of braces. Clear braces are also a good option for adults who want to change their smile without lots of colored rubber bands.


Are you concerned about your smile? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry to see what we can do for you.

Everything You Need to Know About TMJ Pain

Everything You Need to Know About TMJ Pain

TMJ pain affects an estimated 15 percent of Americans and can cause a variety of issues, from headaches to tooth damage. But what does it mean? And what does it mean for your mouth? Here’s everything you need to know about TMJ pain and TMD.

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joints, which include the jaw muscles and joints that work the jaw, allowing you to open and close your mouth and to chew, swallow, and talk.

The TMJ are located on each side of the face and are ball and socket joints with a complicated network of discs, bones, ligaments, and muscles that work together to allow the jaw to move.

What does TMD stand for?

TMD is an acronym for temporomandibular joint dysfunction or temporomandibular disorder, sometimes also referred to as a TMJ disorder. Any issue that causes pain during or interferes with the function of the TMJ can be referred to as TMD.

What causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by a variety of issues, including misalignment of the teeth or jaws, injury, dislocation of the jaw, arthritis, and stress (which can cause grinding or clenching the teeth).

What are the symptoms of TMD?

A major symptom of a TMD is TMJ pain. TMD can also cause tenderness in the jaw muscle, clicking or popping of the joints, or difficulty moving the jaw.  

How do you treat TMD?

TMJ disorders can be treated with various methods, depending on the cause of the disorder. Your dentist may recommend that you quit chewing gum, eat soft foods, or use heat to ease the pain. You may be fitted for a night guard or bite plate, which can prevent tooth grinding and clenching.

If your TMD symptoms are caused by stress, you may need to use relaxation techniques to reduce stress and relieve tension on the jaw. If your teeth or jaw is not properly aligned, you may be prescribed orthodontic treatment to correct the misalignment. In cases of arthritic TMJ pain, anti-inflammatory or arthritis medication may ease your symptoms.

Should I see a dentist for my TMJ pain?

Absolutely. Only by seeing a dentist can the cause of your TMJ pain be diagnosed and the course of treatment be undertaken to ease your TMJ pain.

Are you experiencing tooth or mouth pain that you think may be caused by TMJ issues? Schedule an appointment with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

Want a Whiter Smile for Holiday Parties? Here’s What You Should Know About Whitening

Want a Whiter Smile for Holiday Parties? Here’s What You Should Know About Whitening

This time of year calls for a lot of smiling, from family photos for Christmas cards to pretending you liked the gift you got from your in-laws to greeting your friends, family, and coworkers at holiday parties. With so many opportunities to show off your pearly whites, you want a white smile. Here’s what you should know about whitening:

Over-the-Counter Treatments

There are lots of whitening products available over-the-counter at your local drugstore. These include whitening toothpaste, mouthwashes, strips, gel and trays, and light systems. They also range in price, with toothpaste and mouthwashes at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

Some of these products include hydrogen peroxide and bleach teeth to whiten them. Others include less harsh whitening agents just remove surface stains. Peroxide products are going to be more effective, but they can also cause sensitivity. Additionally, while these products can help you whiten your smile and prevent staining, they aren’t as effective as treatments your dentist can prescribe.

Dental Treatments

There are also whitening treatments available to you through your dentist. These include gel and tray systems, similar to what you can get from the drugstore, but stronger and more effective, as well as high-powered light systems. Some of these may involve in-office treatments, while some may just be whitening products prescribed to you by your dentist.

Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry offers Zoom! Whitening treatments. The in-office Zoom! treatment is a one-time, 90-minute session in the dental office with the Zoom! Whitening lamp, plus custom-fit bleaching trays and a six-month supply of bleaching gel for touch-ups. There is also a “take home” Zoom! treatment, which includes custom bleaching trays and a two-week supply of bleaching gel. Both of these treatments contain desensitizers to reduce sensitivity from bleaching and can whiten your teeth up to eight shades!

Ready for a whiter, brighter smile for the holidays? Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry offers in-home and in-office Zoom! Whitening treatments to help you get a whiter smile in no time!

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Children?

Nowadays we are much more aware of the effects of chemicals and radiation on our bodies, we can have some warranted skepticism about the way we expose ourselves to these things, and the hazards to which we expose our kids. X-rays are one of these things that may cause concern. Are dental x-rays safe for children? Here’s what you should know:


X-rays are a form of radiation that is passed through the body in order to create an image of the bones. When x-ray technology was first discovered, the level of radiation used was high, and in some cases toxic.

That is not the case today. The level of radiation in dental x-rays is low enough to be considered very safe, and is, in fact, comparable to the level of environmental radiation that we are exposed to on an everyday basis. Even though dental x-rays occur near the brain, they don’t put your children at increased danger.

Dental issues

The risk of x-rays is not only mitigated by the fact that they’re no more significant than the radiation in our environment, it’s overwhelmingly overruled but the risk incurred by not getting dental x-rays. Teeth are the only exposed bone surfaces in the human body, and as such, they are very susceptible to damage and very important to protect.

Adults suffer tooth decay and cavities, and children are even more susceptible to these issues since they are less skilled in taking care of their dental hygiene and often actively avoid brushing and flossing their teeth. They also might not notice when something is wrong with their teeth. For these reasons, it’s absolutely crucial children get dental x-rays on a regular schedule, along with dental cleanings.

Is it time your kids got their x-rays or six-month checkup? Set up an appointment today with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry!