Caring for Children and Families in Pella, Oskaloosa, and Lynnville

As a father, the health of his daughter is one of Dr. Jeffrey Allen’s priorities. As a general family dentist, your kids’ dental health becomes one of his top priorities.

Dr. Allen and his staff, many of whom are parents, have all fought (and hopefully won) the battle of getting their kids to brush their teeth.

Teaching children proper brushing habits sets a good foundation for a healthy mouth that will last a lifetime. Dental health is an important component of overall health, so it’s important to know that the kiddos are brushing their teeth thoroughly, rather than just putting some toothpaste on a toothbrush and swishing it around for a few minutes.

The American Dental Association teaches proper teeth brushing habits in just five simple steps.

1.     Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.

2.     Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes.

3.     Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.

4.     To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

5.     Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Of course, your four-year-old isn’t going to know what a 45-degree angle is, but there is no better way to teach than by example. Turn brushing time into a family affair until your kids have gotten the hang of it. Using a timer is a great way to make sure your little one is brushing for long enough.

We recognize that teaching personal hygiene to your kids can be a process, but ensuring their future dental health is extremely important. Once they’ve mastered brushing their teeth, you can tackle flossing!

Dr. Allen and his staff love to see children and families in our office. Call (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Pella Families Shouldn't Fear Fluoride

Dental fluoride is a routine part of most dental cleanings and exams at many dental offices. For some time, however, the use of fluoride has been a debate among dental and health professionals.

The question remains: Is fluoride good for you and your teeth, or not?

Well, the answer is yes. Fluoride contains a protective component for your teeth, but it can be harmful in certain circumstances, as well.

If you are over the age of 8, wear braces, have dry mouth, or have difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth properly, fluoride treatment benefits you the most. Fluoride in small amounts strengthens your tooth enamel, the number one protector of your teeth. Without fluoride, and other helpers such as saliva, your tooth enamel would not reharden after eating and drinking and would leave your teeth exposed to plaque and decay-causing bacteria.

On the other hand, fluoride in large amounts can be very harmful, especially for young children. Fluorosis is a condition caused by over-exposure to fluoride that can cause softening and crumbling of your enamel and permanent discoloration to your teeth.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of fluoride.

It’s safe to assume that you use fluoridated toothpaste. Most people do, and it’s unlikely that a toothpaste will get the ADA seal of approval if it contains no fluoride at all. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so it’s likely that you ingest small amounts everyday. Between the fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, it’s enough to promote healthy teeth and gums, but not enough to harm you.

Also, if your dentist gives you a fluoride treatment, don’t be afraid to take it. Just be sure not to swallow it, as pure fluoride is much more harmful than diluted fluoride when ingested directly.

I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a family dentist in Pella, Iowa, and I make it a point to keep my patients informed so that they can make sound decisions about their dental health. Call my dental office at (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule dental appointments for you and your family.

Dentist in Oskaloosa, IA Reveals Bacteria in Used Band Instruments

Band instruments, especially used brass and woodwind instruments, can contain heavy amounts of bacteria. According a recent study published in the March/April 2011 issue of General Dentistry, over 440 different bacteria, 58 molds, and 19 yeasts were found on 13 different used musical instruments. Researchers tested 117 sites on the instruments, including internal chambers, mouth pieces, and cases.

“Parents may not realize that the mold in the in their child’s instrument could contribute to the development of asthma,” stated R. Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD, lead author of the study. He further stated that the yeasts can cause infections on the mouth and lips. Some of the bacteria found were the types that cause staph infections, which resist many prescribed antibiotics.

The research brings to light that sterilizing used band instruments is essential prior to using them. Your student’s band instructor can provide thorough steps for sanitizing an instrument. After initial sterilization, the instrument should be wiped down frequently, especially the parts that contact the face and mouth. Dr. Glass also recommends that students should refrain from sharing instruments with others.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen, A Pella, IA dentist, believes the best way to fight the bacteria in your mouth is by following the American Dentist Association’s guidelines of brushing two times a day, flossing once a day, rinsing after meals, and keeping your semi-annual dental visits. Contact Dr. Allen’s office at (641)628-1121 to schedule your six-month appointment. A healthy mouth can play beautiful music! We support the schools and bands in Pella, and we want your young musician to remain healthy for lifelong success!

Pella Cosmetic Dentist Creates Beautiful Smiles

What defines a beautiful smile, and how can you achieve one? An average or less-than-perfect smile can be enhanced with cosmetic dentistry.  During a smile makeover consultation, your cosmetic dentist will evaluate the shape of your teeth, the size, the texture, and the color.  Dr. Jeffrey Allen is an experienced and trained cosmetic dentist offering a variety of minimally invasive, highly affective cosmetic treatment.

Veneers: To repair chipped, stained, crooked, gapped, or crowded teeth, Dr. Allen may suggest porcelain veneers. These custom-made porcelain shells adhere directly to existing teeth.  Placement of porcelain veneers customarily takes two appointments. During the first appointment, impressions are taken and teeth are shaped and prepared for the veneers. At the second appointment, teeth will be cleaned, polished, and the veneers will be bonded to the teeth.

Bonding: Bonding can close gaps between teeth and lengthens small or misshapen teeth. In one appointment, Dr. Allen can apply a resin directly to the teeth to improve the size and texture. A low-intensity light hardens the resin after the desired shape is achieved.

Whitening: Teeth-whitening is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. Dr. Allen offers home teeth whitening systems. The home system lightens and brightens teeth with a specially formulated whitening gel and a customized whitening tray. The gel and tray should be worn for a few hours each day. Home whitening systems allow you to gradually whiten your teeth, but ultimately result in whitening of 8-10 shades – the same results you’d see with a one visit whitening system.

If you feel your smile is less than beautiful, contact Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA cosmetic dentist at (641)628-1121 to schedule a smile makeover  consultation. I perfect smiles for residents of Pella, Oskaloosa, Monroe, Newton, and surrounding areas.

Which Toothbrush is Right for You?

Scientists think that toothbrushing tools date back to 3,000 BC when they were made of twigs. Thanks to modern technology, we no longer have to brush our teeth with trees. In fact, we have several different styles and types of toothbrushes to choose from. When deciding on a toothbrush, here are some important things to consider:

Most people choose a soft-bristled toothbrush because the bristles are more flexible and can bend easily and reach areas where food and plaque hide. Soft bristles also brush the area without cutting or bruising the gums.

The head of your toothbrush should be small to allow effective cleaning. A small head makes it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas, including the back teeth. (more…)

Oral Cancer Examinations

Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, this is a great time to schedule an oral cancer screening. Research shows that approximately 7,900 people die from oral cancer each year. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer have used some form of tobacco. Other risk factors for oral cancer include: heavy alcohol use, sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), and untreated severe periodontal disease. Found and treated early, survival rate increases dramatically.

A great time to be screened is during your regular dental visits. The process only takes a few moments. Here is what you should expect during your oral cancer screening:

  1. Prior to your examination, remove any dentures or partials.
  2. Your neck, face, lips, and mouth will be inspected for visible signs of cancer.
  3. Your throat, jaw, and neck will be felt for any lumps.
  4. The inside of your lips and cheeks will be examined for red or white patches that may indicate cancer.
  5. You will be asked to stick out your tongue so that the healthcare provider can thoroughly check the top, sides, and underside for abnormal texture, color, or swelling.
  6. Additionally, the roof, floor, and back of the mouth will be examined.
  7. The examination will conclude with your healthcare provider gently placing one finger on the floor of your mouth and using the other hand to apply pressure under the chin to check for sensitivity or lumps.

If you notice any abnormalities prior to your regular visit, contact me, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a Pella, IA family dentist. I provide cosmetic, preventive, and restorative services to patients in Pella, Oskaloosa, Lynnville, and surrounding areas. Call my Pella dentist office today at (641)628-1121 to schedule an appointment. Remember, early detection and treatment lead the battle in fighting oral cancer.

Dental Floss Preferences

During your trip to the store, you may have noticed the large variety of both toothpaste and dental floss. When choosing dental floss, which style to choose is simply a matter of preference.

A study conducted by periodontists at University of Buffalo found that nylon waxed dental floss and Teflon floss (wide, plytetrafluoroethylene floss) yield the same results on oral health: they both remove food particles and plaque.

However, of the 60 participants in the study, 75% preferred dental tape, which is thicker than thread floss, it will not fray or break, and slides smoothly between teeth. Usually, people with more room between their teeth like dental tape. (more…)