According to a recent study published by the American Dental Association, parents no longer need to wait to start brushing their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Experts are now recommending using a “rice-grain sized smear” on children’s first teeth up until the age of three, at which point a pea-sized amount is acceptable.

It might come as a surprise to some, since parents have previously been advised to wait before using fluoride solution. A scientific review, however, found that small amounts could minimize cavities — which 25% of children develop before age six — without contributing to fluorosis (tooth discoloration that occurs with high fluoride exposure).

What else has changed in the last few years? Here are two major changes to dentistry that many people might not be aware of.

Old Recommendation: Dentures and Bridges Are the Best Solution for Missing Teeth

  • Today, many dentists instead recommend cosmetic dental implants for patients who qualify. Dental implants are titanium screws inserted into the jawbone. A false tooth is then attached on top. The screw effectively acts as a tooth root, and it looks and behaves much like a real tooth.
  • Implants have over a 98% success rate, and require follow up procedures only 12% of the time. Dentures often stop fitting the mouth correctly because your jaw shrinks as you age. When dentures become ill-fitting, they can rub against the gums and cause sores.
  • Dentures are usually the preferred option only because dental implant costs are relatively high, at $2,000 to $4,000 per tooth, and not covered by insurance.

Old Recommendation: Mini Dental Implants are Only For Dentures

  • Many dentists will not approve mini dental implants for patients. Since they are smaller than traditional implants, they can often be used for patients who don’t have the required bone thickness for larger implants.
  • They used to only be used as temporary solutions, until dentists found they were bonding to the bone and difficult to remove. Over a decade of research has indicated that in many cases, mini dental implants can be used in place of normal implants. They are most frequently still used to support dentures, bridges and other structures, though.
  • Another advantage is that a mini dental implant costs less than traditional implants, and also has a quicker healing time. On average, they are about $1,000 per tooth.

Do you know any changes that have hit the dental community in the last few years? Let us know in the comments.

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