dentist fort myers

How to Get The Best out of Retainers

So the day has finally come to get your braces off and you can’t wait to show the world your new smile. But did you think of the important role retainers play afterwards? They avoid any shifting and maintain the position of your straight teeth for your perfect smile to last. We have a few tips to properly care for your smile savers that can last you a lifetime:

  • Keep a close eye on them!– Retainers can be very easy to misplace or lose. With that being said, it’s always easier to store them in your case and keep them in a place where you know you can always find them. One common mistake is wrapping them up in a napkin and accidentally disposing of them!
  • Avoid any damaging to your retainer– Keep retainers in a place that’s not too hot or not too dry. The plastic can warp from the heat or crack from the dryness. You should also insert and remove your retainers without flipping it with your tongue to avoid it from breaking.
  • Regularly give them a cleaning– Your teeth get exposed to bacteria and plaque and so do your retainers. To keep them squeaky clean, simply give them a soft brushing as you would with your teeth. To freshen them up even more, give them a soaking in a cleanser that’ll keep them fresh and germ-free. Remember to avoid hot water!
  • Wear as prescribed– If you don’t wear your retainers regularly, your retainers may not properly fit anymore since your teeth have tried moving back to their original position. If gone without them for too long, you may be needing braces again!

Why is it Important to Repair Baby Teeth?

You may think that baby teeth eventually just fall out and may not need to be repaired if they have any problems, but they definitely play a huge role for eating and future development of permanent teeth. Your baby teeth, or primary teeth, fall out at different times depending on the type of tooth. For instance, primary molars don’t fall out by at least the age of ten. It’s possible that a cavity can develop during that time frame and cause a problem for the tooth before it falls out. Any sign of small decay can spread and cause the premature loss of a primary tooth. The more primary teeth that are in good shape, the better! Preserving the health of primary teeth is important is because it holds the space for permanent teeth. Keeping them around is the best way to avoid unnecessary crowding in the future caused by other teeth drifting into any spaces left by an extracted primary tooth.



Local Dentist Recognized as America’s Best Dentist for 2016


The National Consumer Advisory Board has named Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim M. Verwest, DMD one of America’s Best Dentist for 2016. Selections are done based on a proprietary assessment of a dentists experience, training, continuing education, and commitment to excellence to ensure the most impartial unbiased review of all applicants.

Dr. Verwest is a board certified Diplomat of the National Board of Pediatric Dentistry with professional interests in the areas of pediatric pharmacology, biomaterials, and pediatric anesthesia.  He believes in lifelong learning and continues his education by taking courses in pediatric sedation, pediatric oncology, sealants, prosthetics, pediatric cosmetic dentistry, pediatric materials, childhood growth and development, and more.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for the last 26 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information, visit or (239) 482-2722.

Three reasons to smile

1. Smile for Beauty’s Sake: According to a survey of more than 1,000 Americans nationwide, a smile is the most important physical feature that contributes to a person’s overall attractiveness. Nearly one-half of Americans (47 percent) cited the smile as the most important physical feature, followed by eyes (27 percent) and physique (16 percent). Men and women agreed on the order, though women said they put more emphasis on a person’s eyes.

2. Smile for Success: More than six of 10 Americans (64 percent) say a smile has some bearing on a person’s overall success.

3. Smile with Satisfaction: More than six of 10 Americans (64 percent) say they like their smile, and almost a third (31 percent) wouldn’t change a thing about it. Those who would change their smile most frequently cited cosmetic improvements such as whitening or straightening of teeth.

Important Oral Health Habits for Young Children

Tooth decay can develop any time after the first tooth comes in, starting around 6 months old, and good habits should begin even earlier.

Only 28 percent of American parents would give their kids an “A” grade for oral health, according to a new survey of American children’s dental health by Delta Dental.1 In fact, nearly nine of 10 parents (86 percent) say their children’s oral health isn’t as good as it could be.

A majority of parents (51 percent) understand that oral care habits – rather than genetics or what their kids eat – are most responsible for their children’s oral health. Yet, almost one-third of children don’t brush twice daily, and 61 percent of children don’t floss daily.

The Delta Dental survey indicates that these poor habits start early, and American parents may be contributing to their children’s tooth decay long before they can brush or floss on their own.

Children’s baby teeth need to be brushed

As soon as a child’s first tooth comes in, it should be brushed. But 63 percent of American parents didn’t begin brushing for their children at this time. Instead, they waited until there were a few or even a full set of teeth.

The first tooth – and all subsequent teeth – should be brushed gently with a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day until age 2. A small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste should be used from ages 2 to 6. Even before children get the first tooth, the mouth and gums should be wiped with a soft, damp cloth or infant toothbrush after feedings.

Poorly established brushing habits have helped contribute to so many kids having cavities. These habits set a foundation for children as they get older. It’s important for parents to get their children in a routine as soon as the first tooth appears, so they don’t question the habit later on.

Children’s bottles and sippy cups at naptime and bedtime should be filled with water

Many parents don’t know that children shouldn’t be put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, unless it contains water. But, 46 percent of parents with children under age 3 put their child down for a nap or bedtime with a bottle or sippy cup containing milk or juice at least once a week or more.

Fruit juice, and even plain milk, can be harmful to young kids’ oral health. Both beverages have many grams of sugar that, when left to bathe on teeth at naptime or overnight, can result in tooth decay.

Parents should only fill bottles or sippy cups with water, except at meal and snack times. And anytime children are given sugary beverages or snacks, teeth should be either rinsed with water or brushed afterward.

Some other important habits for healthy smiles:

Once any two teeth are touching, parents should floss, or help the child floss, once a day.
Children should first visit the dentist within six months of getting the first tooth – and no later than the first birthday.
Parents should eliminate saliva-transferring behaviors – such as sharing utensils and toothbrushes and cleaning a pacifier with their mouths – which are all activities that can pass harmful bacteria to a child.
1 Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted the 2015 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. Interviews were conducted nationally via email with 1,325 parents of children ages 12 and under from Dec. 2, 2014 to Jan. 2, 2015. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of error is ±2.7 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Manual or Electric Toothbrush?

In recent years electric toothbrushes have gained increasing popularity among young adults and children.  Some parents have questioned if electric toothbrushes work better than just a manual toothbrush.  There are pros and cons to which one effectively works better at removing plaque from teeth. Technique is a key component when deciding which kind of toothbrush is best for you and your family.  For children, technique is often problematic in brushing teeth.  So if a child does not have the dexterity to manually brush all tooth surfaces properly, he/she will still not be able to do so with an electric toothbrush. Parental assistance is recommended, and  helping your child is more beneficial than an electric or a manual toothbrush. We recommend allowing your child to brush his or her teeth first and a parent help finish brushing at the end. Have your child lie down on the floor with his/her head in your lap.  This allows you easier access and better visibility to your child’s teeth.  When helping your child, the toothbrush should be aimed at the gum line using a 45 degree angle.  Brushing should last a minimum of two minutes. Of the electric toothbrushes on the market, research suggests that an electric toothbrush that rotates is best.  This process is known as rotating and oscillating. The rotating and oscillating action removes more plaque and reduces gingivitis more effectively than a manual toothbrush. Whether you choose a manual or an electric toothbrush, select a brush with soft bristles.  Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles are no longer straight and firm.  Replacing your toothbrush is essential because an old brush’s bristles are no longer in the correct position to effectively clean teeth.  Also, using a toothbrush that is size appropriate for your child is important.  If you choose to use an electric toothbrush for your kids, Oral B Professional or a Sonicare for Kids is a great choice for an electric toothbrush.

Help With Sensitive Teeth

One of the most common dental complaints involves sensitive teeth.  Whether it’s biting into a cold ice cream cone or drinking a hot beverage, the pain that can come from hypersensitivity can be more than an inconvenience.

Several things can cause sensitive teeth:

  • Cracked or fractured teeth
  • Missing or worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities

Each of these needs to be treated by a dentist.  Ignoring tooth sensitivity or expecting it to get better on its own can cause problems to compound and bring on even more pain.  By far, the most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin, the soft tissue just below the hard enamel that protects your teeth.  Dentin can be exposed by one of the causes listed above, or simply because it has worn away as a result of abrasion.

Use a mouthwash with fluoride.

Mild gum disease, which again causes an exposure of the dentin, can often be treated by the regular use of a fluoride rinse.  This will help to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and reduce the bacteria that is attacking your teeth and gums.

Stop using medium or hard toothbrushes.

Your toothbrush should be one with soft bristles as most of us already use too much force when brushing.  This can further wear away enamel and cause greater sensitivity.

Start brushing and flossing regularly.

If you aren’t brushing twice a day, as well as flossing, you should start.  The buildup of plaque on your teeth creates an acid that makes already sensitive teeth even more sensitive.

How Often Should my Child go to the Dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, checkups are recommended for all children two times a year. Children should be evaluated for cavities and other emerging dental issues every six months, because these problems can lead to more serious dental problems and health issues if left untreated. While it is always good to follow the official guideline mentioned above, it is also important to understand that each child is unique and his or her dental needs are equally unique. One way to help your son or daughter maintain good oral health between pediatric dental visits is to monitor brushing and oral care habits, especially if the child is still very young. Children who are two to five years of age will usually still require at least some degree of monitoring during their dental care routine. The Checkup Visit. During your child’s regular dental care checkups, they will evaluate the current state of oral health and will be able to recognize any issues. The twice-yearly checkup visits are typically the time at which problems like cavities, irregular growth patterns of the teeth, and oral decay are discovered. Thus, making these appointments for your child, and following through with them, is extremely important. Learning and Maintaining Good Oral Health. Even when your child is an infant and a toddler, good brushing and other oral care habits can be taught.

Tooth Friendly Foods

Did you know that every time your children have a snack, the cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths have one, too? When mom and dad choose tooth-friendly foods, the risk for cavities, obesity, and diabetes goes down significantly. Increase the little ones’ odds for a cavity-free check-up with the following snack-time favorites: Water or milk. A major contributor to childhood obesity in the United States, soda is high in sugar and caffeine. Juice and sports drinks aren’t much of an improvement, loaded as they are with sugar and artificial colors. Instead, choose water or milk for essential hydration and nutrition. Fresh or frozen fruits. Kids need 1 to 2 cups of fruits a day. The vitamins in fruits are good for the teeth, while high water content helps dilute the effect of naturally occurring sugars. Choose fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried fruits as opposed to dried fruits that stick to the teeth. Dairy treats. The calcium in dairy helps maintain strong bones, build strong teeth, and protect against tooth decay. Rather than letting them open an unhealthy bag of nacho chips, offer fresh cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese as a yummy alternative. Crunchy veggies. Finger foods like carrots and celery are packed with vitamin A, helping the kids maintain resilient tooth enamel. As a bonus, crunching stimulates their gums and promotes saliva production. Low-sugar cereals. Sugar abounds in breakfast cereals. Choose low-sugar cereals instead, and while you’re in this aisle, skip chewy granola bars in favor of plain crackers. Jell-O. Kids love Jell-O so much, they’ll gladly sidestep candy for this tooth-friendly treat.


Common Dental Health Questions

  1. Are dental x-rays safe?

Exposure to any source of radiation isn’t ideal, but fortunately the dose of radiation you get from taking x-rays is extremely small.  You can thank the wonderful engineers and scientists in the dental industry for that.  New, digital x-ray machines limit the beam of radiation to just the small area being x-rayed, higher speed x-ray films require shorter exposure time, film holders keep the film in your mouth from slipping and avoiding repeat x-rays, and full-body aprons protect the body from stray radiation.  Federal law requires x-ray machines to be checked for accuracy and safety every two years, and some states even increase the frequency of checks.

  1. What can you tell me about dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coating that covers the chewing surfaces of the teeth to fill in fissures and grooves.  Because these are the hardest areas to reach, bacteria tend to live here and cause cavities and decay.

Sealants are becoming a go-to solution for kids who have even more trouble brushing the hard-to-reach areas, such as their molars.  However, sealants work for adults too.

Typically, they protect teeth for up to 10 years but should be checked regularly for chipping and excessive wear.

  1. How close are we to drill-less dentistry?

Also known as air abrasion and microabrasion, drill-less dentistry can remove tooth decay, remold old composite restorations, prepare a tooth surface for bonding or sealants, and remove superficial stains and discolorations.  Air abrasion works put shooting a fine stream of particles at the tooth surface to clean away decay and stain, much like a mini sandblaster works.  Remaining particles can then be suctioned away.

  1. Are silver-colored fillings, or amalgams, safe?

Amalgams contain mercury, leading many people to think that they are causing a number of diseases, including autism, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as numerous public health agencies, have confirmed multiple times that amalgams are safe and that there is no link between the fillings and these diseases.  Although mercury is toxic on its own, when mixed with other metals such as silver, copper, tin, and zinc, they form a stable alloy that dentists have actually used for over 100 years.

  1. What is the most effective way to whiten my teeth?

ALL toothpastes help to remove surface stains with the help of mild abrasives.  Whitening toothpastes, however, contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional removal.  Most over-the-counter whitening toothpastes contain peroxide – either carbamide or hydrogen.

The difference between whitening methods is due to the percent of peroxide.  Store-bought solutions, such as strips, trays, and toothpastes, typically contain a maximum of 7% peroxide, while whiteners that a dentist uses contain up to 45% peroxide. Just one hour in the dentist’s chair can result in a dazzling smile, while at-home treatments kick in about 4-6 weeks later.

Both ways work well, but the biggest discrepancy comes with the costs.  Chair-side treatments will costs around $500, while store-bought kits range from $25 to $100.

  1. How can I change the shape of my teeth?

There are several different options to change the shape, close gaps, or repair chipped teeth.

  • Dental bonding applies a tooth-colored resin to the tooth surface and bonds it to the tooth with a special light.
  • Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over teeth to fully cover the entire visible portion of the tooth.
  • Veneers are extremely thin, custom-made shells that cover the front surface of your teeth.
  • Reshaping your teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) removes small amounts of tooth enamel to change the length, shape, or surface.
  1. I have a terrible fear of the dentist. How can I overcome this?

You’re not alone.  Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid the dentist completely out of fear, and almost 20% will only schedule an appointment if it’s absolutely necessary.

The first step is talking to your dentist.  Many dentists assume that all patients have the same level of fear and pain tolerance.  Alerting them that yours might be a special case will allow them to take special consideration.

Other solutions include medications, use of lasers instead of drills, and anxiety-reducing techniques such as guided imagery, biofeedback, deep breathing, acupuncture, and other mental health therapies.

  1. How do I know which toothpaste my child should use?

There are a couple rules of thumb here, and the answer is a little tricky.  It really depends on the age of your child.  Fluoride is an important mineral proven to prevent cavities. However, swallowed in large doses, fluoride can be toxic.  Once your child learns to spit and not swallow the toothpaste, you can transition them to using toothpaste containing fluoride.

The American Dental Association also grants their Seal of Acceptance to certain products that meet their criteria for safety and effectiveness.  When in doubt, pick toothpaste with the ADA seal.  They’ll do all of the research and work for you.

  1. I can’t afford regular dental care. Are there some resources available to me?

Yes, there are thousands of dentists across the US that offer their services at a reduced rate or free of charge through dental society sponsored assistance programs. Contact your local dental society for more information about where you can find the nearest assistance programs (such as public health clinics and dental school clinics).

The ADA’s website also links to state dental associations and dental schools.

  1. I recently moved and need to find a new dentist. How can I find one?

Over 80% of people rely on recommendations from friends and family to find a new dentist.  If you’re moving nearby, your current dentist may be able to make a recommendation as well.