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Posts for: February, 2015

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health

As a parent you’re concerned with a number of issues involving your child’s health, not the least of which involves their teeth. One of the most common is thumb-sucking.

While later thumb-sucking is a cause for concern, it’s quite normal and not viewed as harmful in infant’s and very young children. This universal habit is rooted in an infant swallowing pattern: all babies tend to push the tongue forward against the back of the teeth when they swallow, which allows them to form a seal while breast or bottle feeding. Infants and young children take comfort or experience a sense of security from sucking their thumb, which simulates infant feeding.

Soon after their primary teeth begin to erupt, the swallowing pattern changes and they begin to rest the tongue on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth when swallowing. For most children thumb sucking begins to fade as their swallowing pattern changes.

Some children, though, continue the habit longer even as their permanent teeth are beginning to come in. As they suck their thumb the tongue constantly rests between the front teeth, which over time may interfere with how they develop. This can cause an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet properly, a problem that usually requires orthodontic treatment to correct it.

For this reason, dentists typically recommend encouraging children to stop thumb-sucking by age 3 (18-24 months to stop using a pacifier). The best approach is positive reinforcement — giving appropriate rewards over time for appropriate behavior: for example, praising them as a “big” boy or girl when they have gone a certain length of time without sucking their thumb or a pacifier. You should also use training or “Sippy” cups to help them transition from a bottle to a regular cup, which will further diminish the infant swallowing pattern and need for thumb-sucking.

Habits like thumb-sucking in young children should be kept in perspective: the habit really isn’t a problem unless it goes on too long. Gentle persuasion, along with other techniques we can help you with, is the best way to help your child eventually stop.

If you would like more information on thumb sucking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Thumb Sucking in Children” and “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

The lengths that some comedians will go to for a laugh! Actor Ed Helms, as dentist Stu Price, pulled out his own tooth in the movie The Hangover. Or did he? Turns out Helms really is missing a tooth, which never grew in. When he was in his late teens, he received a dental implant to make his smile look completely natural.

Helms told People magazine he wasn't exactly eager to remove the implant crown that had served him so well for almost 20 years, but there was no better way to do the famous tooth-pulling scene.

“We started to do different tests with prosthetics and blacking it out and nothing worked,” Helms told the magazine. Helms' dentist said it would be okay to take the implant crown out. “My dentist was really into it,” Helms said. The rest is movie history!

Congenitally missing (“con” – together with; “genital” – relating to birth) teeth are inherited and actually quite common. More than 20% of people lack one or more wisdom teeth, for example. These would not usually be replaced if missing (in fact, wisdom teeth are often removed) but it's a more serious issue when the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth — and not just for aesthetic reasons.

When a particular type of tooth is missing, it disrupts the pattern and function of the teeth. If left alone, sometimes the existing teeth will shift to close the gap. It's like removing a brick from an arch — the rest of the bricks would fall together in a different formation (or collapse entirely). And when upper and lower teeth don't come together properly, they can't function well.

The best treatment for this type of situation is the one Ed Helms had: a dental implant. They look and function like real teeth and do not attach to or damage adjacent teeth as other tooth-replacement options might.

It is important that a child with a congenitally missing tooth wait until jaw growth is complete — different for every person but usually in the late teens — before getting an implant. Otherwise, the artificial tooth might eventually appear too short when the person has stopped growing. In the meantime, there are temporary tooth replacements that can be made.

If you would like more information about options for congenitally missing teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When Permanent Teeth Don't Grow.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Teenagers & Dental Implants.”

By Beasley Cosmetic & General Dentistry
February 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Mini ImplantsYou may be familiar with traditional dental implants, which are a common, permanent solution to replace missing teeth. But traditional implants can be cost prohibitive for many people. They also take several months with separate dental visits to complete the procedure.

For those looking for a more inexpensive, faster solution to loose dentures, mini dental implants may be the answer.

How Do They Work?

Mini dental implants are small posts inserted into the jaw bone. These posts help secure the denture onto the gums to avoid embarrassing and uncomfortable slippage. The procedure is so simple it can be completed in one visit taking only and hour or two using only a local anesthetic. Denture wearers can even eat with their dentures the very same day.

Advantages of Mini Dental Implants

One of the major advantages of mini implants over traditional implants is the cost savings. They are often less than half the cost of traditional implants. Mini implants are also completed much faster than traditional implants so there is little to no down-time. You can eat, drink, and feel comfortable socializing immediately. Plus, having your dentures secured by mini implants means no more denture adhesives or loose-fitting dentures. They can also be made to fit the dentures you already have, which saves time and money.


Not everyone is an appropriate candidate for mini implants. Also, not all dentists are certified to offer this option. If you are interested in mini dental implants, be sure to find a dentist that specializes in this procedure. Dr. R. Brad Beasley of Beasley Cosmetic and General Dentistry in Athens, AL offers mini dental implants using the patented 3M Denture Attachment System.

If you have dentures and are tired of slippage, but you always assumed that traditional implants would be too costly or take too much time, consider mini dental implants as the affordable, fast solution to having more secure, more comfortable dentures.