dr tim verwest ft myers

Sealants Critical to Children’s Oral Health

Sealants are plastic coatings that protect those difficult to reach pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth from the bacteria that cause tooth decay. A quick and painless procedure done in your dentist’s office, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars as soon as possible after they fully erupt in the mouth, usually between the ages of six to eight for first molars and 10 to 12 for second molars. While sealants are not necessary for all children, they are particularly beneficial to children who are at higher risk for tooth decay. But, how do you know if your child is at higher risk?Although overall oral health risk is a combination of genetics, personal habits and diet, history of decay is a good predictor for future risk of decay. Your child is considered to be at higher risk if he or she has had a cavity filled in the past three years. The good news is you may be able to help prevent future cavities by making sure your child receives preventive care, including having sealants applied to first and second molars.

Although approximately 60 to 70 percent of cavities can be prevented by placing
sealants on children’s teeth, a recent study by Delta Dental shows that 60 percent of
children age 6 to 9 who are at higher risk of tooth decay did not receive sealants on
their first molars, and 80 percent of children age 11 to 15 did not receive sealants on
their second molars.1

These figures are particularly striking when you realize that many dental plans cover preventive care, like sealants, at as much at 100 percent of the cost. As a parent, you want your child to be as healthy as possible, and that includes protecting their teeth.

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.

Little evidence to support benefits of oil pulling

If you follow health or celebrity news you’ve likely heard the buzz on the latest natural health craze to hit the internet: Oil Pulling.

As the name suggests, the practice involves using about a tablespoon of oil – typically sesame or coconut, preferably organic – as a mouthwash. The oil is swished and “pulled” through the mouth for upwards of 20 minutes per session before being spit out into the trash. This ancient Hindu Ayurvedic medicine remedy is said to have a laundry list of health benefits, among which are common dental health concerns: preventing tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath as well as whitening teeth.

While there are numerous articles with claims and personal stories supporting the practice of oil pulling, there is little scientific evidence to support these assertions. There is, however, significant evidence that a preventive oral care routine including brushing teeth for about two minutes twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and visiting a dentist regularly can prevent dental disease.

There is likely little harm in trying oil pulling, other than possible discomfort from the lengthy swishing process. If you do decide to try this or any other alternative medicine or natural remedy, we encourage you to consider it a complement to a proven preventive dental care routine. You may also want to check with your physician or dentist to make sure that alternative practices will not interfere with any medications or affect other problems that you may have.

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.

Healthy School Lunches

Sometimes getting your kids to eat healthy can feel like pulling teeth. as a father of three kids, I can relate to your struggle. Now that school is almost back in session in Ft. Myers, and all around Florida, it means packing a school lunch for many of us. I don’t know about you, but after the first week (or two) I get stuck for creative ideas. Not only creative ideas, but HEALTHY lunch ideas.

Food choices affect not only our body weight AND our dental health. Foods like raisins and fruit roll-ups, while seemingly healthy, get stuck in back teeth and their natural sugars attract bacteria – an ideal environment for cavity formation. Saliva in the mouth helps to combat cavities, so encouraging your child to drink water is a must. Milk is a good choice too due to the calcium, but be aware flavored milk has added sugars.

Here are my top healthy lunch (and snack) choices:

1. Raw Veggies – Carrots, celery, cucumbers etc. Have a high water content, are low in sugar and are crunchy providing a hard surface which is less likely to “stick” to teeth.

2. Grains – Whole grain breads, pretzels, unsweetened cereals (like Cheerios)

4. Cheese – mozzarella sticks, cheddar, colby jack, even cottage cheese.

4. Fresh Fruit – Apples, pears, berries. While fresh fruit contains sugar, it also contains fiber and is a better choice than dried fruit.

Remember, everything in moderation. Your kids do not have to be sugar-free. What’s the fun in that?! Your kids can still have healthy teeth and eat a cupcake or have an ice cream now and then. The overall nutrition of the diet is important, so if they eat healthy food most of the time the treats will not sabotage their teeth or overall health. Always encourage your kids to brush and floss regularly (download our free brushing chart ) and make sure they also have regular dental checkups. If you have concerns about your child’s teeth make sure to give us a call at Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers 239.482.2722. We are always happy to answer questions or give you second opinion.

Dr. Ascune Joins Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers

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Dr. Leanet Ascunce, DMD has joined Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim M. Verwest, DMD.  Dr. Ascunce obtained her specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Ascunce is a graduate of the University Of Florida College Of Dentistry and completed her general practice residency program at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Florida International University.

Her professional affiliations include The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American and Florida Dental Associations.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, is located in Ft. Myers and Port Charlotte. Dr. Verwest continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for the last 25 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 www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers voted “Best of Southwest Florida”

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Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim M. Verwest, DMD has been voted best pediatric dentist of Southwest Florida 2015 by the Ft. Myers News-Press readers. The News-Press 25th annual best of Southwest Florida awards recognizes the top businesses in the community selected by their readers. Earlier this year Dr. Verwest was named for inclusion in the Consumer Research Council of America 2015 Guide to America’s Top Dentists.

Best of SWFL Dr Tim Verwest

His professional affiliations include The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American and Florida Dental Associations and West Coast Dental Association, the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Lee County Dental Association.  He is often a guest lecturer for various organizations and has taught classes at Florida Southwestern State College.

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 25 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 www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers to match car wash donations

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD will match all donations made during the annual New Horizons of Southwest Florida Super Teens Club car wash. Last year the car wash raised $1,200 for the seven super clubs, which helps at-risk children become successful, independent, and contributing members to society.

The car wash is free, but donations will be suggested. The event willinclude fun giveaways and prizes courtesy of Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers. The Super Teens Club car wash is November 14, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, located at Chick-Fil-A, 21900 S Tamiami Trail, Estero, FL 33928.

New Horizons of Southwest Florida has seven “Super Clubs”, which include K-12th grade after school tutoring, reading and leadership camps, social skill learning and teaching students’ moms to grow strong families.  New Horizons currently reaches nearly 400 children and teens at locations in Estero, Bonita Springs and Naples and provides over 80,000 hours of after school tutoring and mentoring annually at no cost to their families.  For more information, please visit http://newhorizonsofswfl.org/.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for over 25 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 www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Why are baby teeth important? Your child needs their baby teeth to be healthy to chew their food, speak, and keep the space needed for their adult teeth to grow in properly.  Sometimes when a baby tooth is lost, the teeth next to it can move into the empty space. When the adult teeth try to grow in, there is not enough space.  This can cause teeth to be crooked and or crowded.

Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear, which is typically around six months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries (cavities). It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some unfortunate cases, infants and toddlers have experienced decay so severe that the teeth could not be repaired and needed to be removed. The good news is that decay is preventable.

Tooth decay in infants generally begins when bacteria is passed from the mother to the baby.  When a mother (or primary caregiver) puts a spoon or pacifier in their mouth and then back in the baby’s mouth, the bacteria is passed.

Liquids that contain sugar are another reason for decay. These liquids include sweetened water, fruit juice, milk, breast milk and baby formula. A baby should never go to bed with a bottle. The longer the liquid stays on the mouth, the longer the acids that feed on the bacteria have a chance to attach to the teeth, leading to decay.

Fluoride is important because it can combine with the enamel and create a stronger tooth that is more resistant to decay.

Below are tips from the American Dental Association on how to prevent decay on your toddler’s baby teeth:

  • Lower the risk of the baby’s infection with decay-causing bacteria. This can be done two ways – by improving the oral health of the mother/caregiver, which reduces the number of bacteria in her mouth, and by not sharing saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers and giving them to babies.
  • After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth. This will remove plaque and bits of food that can harm erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child-sized toothbrush and water. (Consult with your kid’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age two.)
  • When your little one can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste (usually not before age two), begin brushing with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs.
  • Brush their baby teeth until he or she is at least six years old.
  • Place only formula, milk or breastmilk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your toddler uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean — don’t dip it in sugar or honey, or put it in your mouth before giving it to the child.
  • Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or prolonged use of a training (sippy) cup.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits that include a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes.
  • Ensure that your child has adequate exposure to fluoride. Discuss his or her fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician.

Brace Yourself! Does My Child Need Braces?

For some children, getting braces is something they actually look forward to. For other children, there is a lot of fear and concern.

Making the decision to get braces for your child can be especially difficult.  You may be concerned about whether your child really needs them, if they are ready for braces, and how to afford them. Hopefully this article will shed some light on your concerns.

Why Get Braces For Your Child

There are several reasons why your child may need braces. Their teeth could be crooked, overcrowded, overlapping or have a malocclusion (when the upper and lower jaws are different sizes, resulting in an overbite or underbite).  These jaw and tooth issues can be a result of an accident, early tooth loss, decay or even habits like thumb sucking.

Your dentist may recommend that you take your child to see an orthodontist at one of their regular dental visits.  The orthodontist can then decide a treatment plan. The age that this may happen can vary from 6 up to adulthood. Once permanent teeth come in, your dentist will be able to determine if there is a need for braces.

Going to the Orthodontist

The orthodontist will conduct exams that will asses the child’s bite and teeth. He or she may ask questions about popping jaws or problems with chewing and swallowing.  Impressions and x-rays may also be taken at this time. The orthodontist will then come up with a treatment plan that is right for your child.

Braces

Braces work by applying pressure on the teeth and moving them into a straighter position. You have choices when it comes to the type of braces used: metal braces, clear or white ceramic braces, and lingual braces that are attached behind the teeth. There are also clear removable braces that use plastic trays, but these are usually only used when there is no malocclusion present. Headgear may also need to be worn at night to push teeth back to make more room.

After the braces are applied, your child will need to go back often for adjustments and to monitor the progress. Only your orthodontist will be able to tell how long your child will need to wear their braces, but 2 years is the average. After the braces are removed, your child may need to wear a retainer.

How to Care For Braces

Your child will be given a special flosser to help keep the braces free of food that can easily get stuck in them. Flossing should be conducted daily if not several times a day. Regular dental visits should also be made for cleanings and to check for cavities. Foods that are hard and sticky should be avoided because they could damage the braces. If a bracket does become loose or a wire pops out of place, you should call your orthodontist immediately.

Can I Afford Braces

The average cost of braces is $5,000. It is possible that insurance will not cover this amount.  There are some ways to reduce the cost. Your dentist may be able to work with you to set up a payment plan. There are also state insurance companies that may be able to help you with the cost. Smiles Change Lives is a program that can get your child in braces for a drastically reduced amount. Your child must be between the ages of 11 and 18. Income and the condition of your child’s teeth will also determine eligibility.pediatric-dentistry-logo