We know no one enjoys filling out paperwork, but in any medical environment, all those questions about your medications and medical history are incredibly important. Most people acknowledge that they need to fill out paperwork at places like their GP or orthopedic, but at dental offices, paperwork is often left ignored and unfinished. Because people typically come to the dentist twice a year, it can feel more routine than going to other medical offices. This translates to people not feeling the need to mention things like new medications or recent surgeries. Your teeth don’t have much to do with the rest of your body, right? In reality, your overall health has a strong impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Even small changes to your medical history can impact how we approach your dental treatment options.
Almost all medications — even over-the-counter drugs — come with long lists of side effects. Most decongestants and many antihistamines can severely reduce saliva production. Saliva helps keep your teeth “clean” in-between brushing by washing away harmful bacteria. If we know that you’re on a medication that affects saliva production, we can take some proactive measures to ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.
Some other medications that may affect your saliva production include painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants. If you’re taking any kind of medication regularly, make sure your dentist knows — even if you don’t think it’s affecting your teeth or mouth directly. With anything medical, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Your mouth is a gateway for harmful bacteria, allowing them to easily move from your teeth and gums to affect the rest of your body. Poor oral health can exacerbate, and even cause, certain conditions, including endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. Letting your dentist know about your health conditions — including your family’s health history — is vital. If endocarditis runs in your family, your dentist may recommend coming in for three or four cleanings a year instead of two, just to make sure there are no bacteria that can wind up near your heart.
Your oral health can also impact pregnancy. Recent studies link periodontal disease to low birth weights and premature births. We typically recommend that pregnant women come in for cleanings every three months instead of every six months if they’re struggling with their gum health.
Other conditions that relate to your oral health include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis. These illnesses can make the mouth more susceptible to gum disease, mucosal lesions, and tooth loss respectively. The best way to keep yourself healthy is to tell your dentist exactly what sort of conditions you have so they can create a treatment plan that works for you.
Surgeries and injuries — on any part of the body — can affect oral surgeries and treatments. At our office, we approach every case with individual, personalized care. If we don’t know your medical history, we could make a mistake. Keep us in the loop on any and all changes by filling out all requested paperwork and talking to your dentist while you’re in the office. We want every visit to our office to be beneficial and worthwhile to you but for that to be possible, we need your help.
“We know that these past few weeks have been the most challenging that many of us have seen in our lifetime. In our twenty-five year history, we’ve seen a lot of changes but the uncertainty and complexity facing us now seem bigger than ever. But even during these challenging times, we never lost sight of what was most important: our patients.
Now more than ever, we want to say thank you. Thank you for letting Stanley Dentistry be a part of your healthcare team and a part of your lives. Thank you for continuing to show up for us even in the midst of these trials. Thank you for being a part of our family. And a part of being family means no matter how difficult this is, we will continue showing up for you and that’s our promise. To protect you, to care for you, and to keep you healthy. We’ll show up for you and we won’t stop. While you’ve been away, we’ve been implementing new and innovative ways to keep you and your loved ones safe. We’re eager to serve you and your family. We’re here and we’re ready to help you find your smile.”
Making sure you and your family feel safe when coming into Stanley Dentistry is our team’s number one concern. We know these are scary, uncertain times which is why we’re going the extra mile to create a safe space where you can get the dental treatment you need. A few of our new COVID-19 prevention methods include:
We are reopening our office for elective procedures (including cleanings) on May 11th! While we’re very excited to see and help our patients again, we first wanted to quickly go over the precautions that we will be taking to keep you and your family as safe and healthy as possible.
At Stanley Dentistry, our responsibility to our patients is to provide the highest standards of dental office infection control. We consider protecting the health of our patients and our team our top priority.
It is important to us that our patients feel safe and well-cared for during their appointments. We have always maintained a high standard of cleanliness but we are now taking it a step further to curb the spread of COVID-19. In order to follow the infection control guidelines recommended by the ADA & NCDS, we are implementing some new protocols. When you come in for your appointment post-May 11th, you can rest assured that your overall health and well-being is our major concern. Below are our new sanitation guidelines.
The question every parent dreads to ask: will my child need braces? In the United States, the answer will probably be “yes”. The vast majority of pediatric patients in our office undergo some kind of orthodontics in order to create straighter, more symmetrical smiles. A straighter smile isn’t just cosmetic though — dental misalignment frequently equates to more cavities and more worries down the road. If you’ve noticed some misalignment in the way your child’s adult teeth are coming in, your dentist will most likely recommend that they get braces in a few years. Braces will definitely straighten a smile but, if your child is below the age of ten, there is another option that will help them achieve a straighter smile (for less money). It’s called HealthyStart.
HealthyStart is a relatively new pediatric orthodontic device but thousands of dental offices across the country have found a lot of success with it. The device works by correcting dental misalignment as it’s happening instead of after the fact. Braces are (sometimes) bulky, uncomfortable, and must be worn for so long because they’re fixing something that is already faulty. HealthyStart, on the other hand, keeps dental misalignment from ever happening by guiding developing teeth into the correct position over time.
HealthyStart was invented not as a way to help kids bypass braces but as a solution to the dreaded Sleep Disordered Breathing (SLB) diagnosis. Your child may have SLB (also known as a blocked pediatric airway) if they are:
SLB is essentially sleep apnea for kids. At night, their airway is becoming blocked — either by something (frequently enlarged tonsils) or by the natural way their mouth is developing. When the airway becomes blocked, the body attempts to wake up. Even if your child doesn’t remember waking up numerous times throughout the night, his or her body does. Constantly waking up inhibits the body from getting through a full sleep cycle. As adults, that isn’t especially dangerous. For kids, it can be.
Kids need sleep in order to grow and develop correctly. Without it, your child can suffer from cognitive and physical development deficiencies. So, how do you fix SLB? First, visit an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. They will examine your child and see if they need to have their tonsils removed. If the ENT decides the tonsils don’t need to be removed (or if the tonsils are removed and the symptoms continue) it’s time to head to the dentist.
Not all dentists offer HealthyStart or have any idea what SDB is. The vast majority of dentists will say that your child will outgrow the snoring and teeth-grinding (which they will after the effects have already been felt). They’ll tell you to come back in a few years for braces. At our office, we’ll offer you a free HealthyStart consultation.
The actual HealthyStart device is made of a soft, comfortable plastic that’s easy to wear. Kids only have to put it in at night and for one or two hours during the day so it’s not like braces in that it can easily be removed (similar to an Invisalign tray). The device helps position the mouth and jaw at the correct angle so the child can breathe better at night. As the child’s teeth begin to grow in, the device guides them and keeps them straight. At our office, we do regular check-ups on HealthyStart patients to make sure everything is developing as it should. As the child grows, we take new scans and have new, custom HealthyStart devices made (also similar to the Invisalign system).
From start to finish, HealthyStart does take a while to complete. Your child may be wearing the nighttime device till they are twelve or thirteen. After that, they made need a retainer to keep the teeth as straight as possible. In severe misalignment cases, a year or two of braces may be required. Without HealthyStart, those kids would need 5+ years in traditional orthodontics.
The best way to know if HealthyStart will help your child is to bring them in for an exam. There are a lot of obvious symptoms of SDB but there is no way to firmly diagnose it just from reading an article and looking at your child’s teeth. Schedule an appointment (virtual or in-person) at Stanley Dentistry to find out how HealthyStart can change your child’s life.
In response to the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, our office has decided to postpone all elective treatment until May 11th. Your health and wellness is always our number one priority. Elective treatment includes cleanings and new patient consultations. As always, we will still be open for emergencies and for major procedures that could not be rescheduled. We will also be conducting virtual consultations for people who would like to start their dental treatment while in the safety and comfort of their homes. Simply go to our Make an Appointment page and let us know that you’re interested in setting up virtual consultation. We will call you shortly to schedule.
Like our in-person consultations, our virtual consultations are 100% free. They offer patients some time with the doctors to ask questions about different procedures. The doctor may ask you to take some pictures of your smile so they can start putting together a customized treatment plan. Once our office opens back up, you can come in and immediately get started with whatever procedures the doctor has recommended.
Unless you are experiencing an emergency, we recommend scheduling a virtual consultation at this time. We may not be able to give a diagnosis, but we will be able to answer some of your questions and begin your journey to a healthier, brighter smile. So many of our patients go into their first consultation thinking they need one thing and, after talking to the doctor, leave knowing they need something completely different. This virtual consultation is a time to clear the air and get both the patient and the doctor on the same page.
We understand that this is a challenging time for everyone. We’re more than willing to work with you when it comes to choosing a good platform for your virtual consultation. If you have an iPhone, we recommend using FaceTime. If that doesn’t work, we are open to using other platforms including Zoom and Skype.
We are also offering virtual consults that do not need to be scheduled. For these, you can simply send in a description of your smile along with a few pictures. One of our doctors will create a short video for you explaining a good course of treatment. If this style of consult interests you, please click here.
This is the easy part! To schedule a virtual consultation with one of our doctors, you can either call 919-371-4454 or you can go to our Make an Appointment page and request one. We’ll handle it from there!
It’s the question thousands of parents have begun asking themselves: is fluoride safe for kids? In the modern era, where natural is synonymous with better, a lot of parents are turning away from traditional means of oral hygiene (aka fluoride) in favor of more “organic” methods and products.
With such a large demand for natural dental products, the past five years have seen serious improvements in organic toothpaste with brands hello and The Natural Family Co. leading the movement. These brands often use the absence of fluoride as a selling-point since so many families are looking for fluoride alternatives. These organic products may be better than they were ten or fifteen years ago but are they really better than the naturally-occurring fluoride? And should parents try to steer their kids away from consuming fluoridated water or foods that contain high levels of fluoride?
The discovery of fluoride as an anti-cavity agent wasn’t an overnight occurrence. It actually took over twenty years for scientists and dentists to realize the revolutionary power fluoride could have on the general population — when used in the correct dosage.
The long road to discovery began in 1901 with a fresh dental school grad named Frederick McKay. The newly minted dentist moved to Colorado Springs to open a dental practice. During his first few years there, he noticed many of the residents had dark brown staining on their teeth. These brown teeth were healthy and more cavity-resistant than their unstained counterparts.
McKay and a famous dentist known as Dr. G.V. Black worked together for years, trying to uncover the cause of “teeth mottling” (or fluorosis) as they called it. They found that a large percentage of the children in Colorado Springs had mottled teeth but they were unable to obtain a cause or a treatment for mottled teeth.
McKay later traveled to Oakley, Idaho where a large number of the town’s population had mottled teeth. It was there that McKay was able to start connecting some dots thanks to a larger study. That decade of research yielded surprising results: the recently-built communal water pipeline had extremely elevated levels of fluoride. When the town stopped drinking from the pipeline, the prevalence of mottled teeth decreased exponentially. The connection between mottled teeth and fluoride was finally forged.
In the years that followed, more scientists and dentists did tests of their own. They were able to find out the exact levels one must ingest in order to see the symptoms of fluorosis. They found that, in small doses, fluoride was more helpful than hurtful. The naturally occurring fluoride could fight tooth decay better than any lab-generated chemical compound. Eventually, town officials across the U.S. began fluoridating water supplies in an effort to curb tooth decay in children. The effects were immediate: tooth decay numbers dropped faster than anyone thought possible. Since fluoridating water is inexpensive (it costs about $1 a year per person), many local governments continue the practice today.
We know, from those who suffered from severe fluorosis in the early 1900s, that there are some serious consequences to ingesting too much (or too little) fluoride as a child. When you’re young, your teeth are willing to absorb as much fluoride as you give them. Too much, and staining occurs. Not enough, and you are at a higher risk of tooth decay later in life.
If you’re worried about your child ingesting too much fluoride, here are a few simple steps to follow:
If you do not want your child to brush with fluoride, there are some toothpaste products on the market that do not contain fluoride. However, the American Dental Association does not recommend brushing with non-fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is the only naturally occurring ingredient on the planet that is guaranteed to protect against tooth decay. If your child doesn’t brush with fluoride toothpaste and doesn’t get fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office every six months, they will be at risk of having significant tooth decay and potential tooth loss later in life.
Compared to 1901, we’ve come a long way in the field of dental science. Very rarely does anyone get fluorosis anymore. We know how to keep the levels of fluoride in toothpaste, water supplies, and in-office fluoride treatments well below the danger point. If you’re worried about your child’s fluoride ingestion, talk to your dentist about what qualifies as a healthy level of fluoride. Chances are, you’ll find that your child is ingesting the recommended amount of fluoride.
In the United States, local governments have been putting fluorinating drinking water for almost one hundred years and there have been no negative side effects. Fluoride is naturally occurring and very safe when ingested in small doses. It’s actually a lot more dangerous for children to be cut off of fluoride at a young age because that means a significantly higher chance of severe decay later on. Protect your child’s smile by bringing them in for regular fluoride treatments and using an ADA certified fluoride toothpaste.
Every year, thousands of children are diagnosed with tongue-ties or lip-ties that make nursing, eating, and speaking difficult. In the U.S., treatment is easy and readily available in the form of a simple procedure called a frenectomy.
A lot of our patients who bring in children with tongue or lip ties have never heard of the disorder. To help them out before they get into the office, we’re breaking down the differences between a tongue and lip tie, what a frenectomy actually is, and why your child might need one.
The frenulum is the thin band of flesh that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth (called the lingual frenum) and the upper and lower lip to the gums (called the labial frenum). Most people don’t really notice these tiny bands of flesh because they’re so small. Of course, like most things in the body, they have an important purpose that, when disrupted, can have serious consequences.
Kids who are tongue-tied have an underdeveloped lingual frenum. In the womb, that piece of flesh never thinned out. This keeps the tongue from moving properly which, in turn, means difficulties eating and speaking.
A lip-tie occurs when the labial frenum extends downward into the gum line too far, interfering with nursing and, later on, tooth development. A severe lip-tie can restrict baby teeth from coming in properly, causing misalignment issues for years to come. You can easily check for a lip-tie by attempting to gently pull your baby’s upper lip away from the gums. If the labial frenum is extended far down into the gum line and it is awkward/difficult to pull the lip from the gums, your child most likely has a lip-tie.
We recommend bringing babies who may have a lip-tie or tongue-tie into our office for a full exam. Lip-ties can inhibit babies from nursing properly and can cause more serious problems down the line.
In many non-severe cases, babies can grow out of lip and tongue ties. There are simple exercises your child can follow to help release the tightened labial frenum or lingual frenum. In time, there’s a good chance the problem will go away on its own.
In other, more severe cases, patients with tongue or lip-ties may need to undergo a quick and non-invasive surgery called a frenectomy. During a frenectomy, Dr. Bobbi uses a guided laser to remove a very small portion of the labial frenum or lingual frenum. As with most oral procedures, the healing period is relatively fast and, because the surgery uses a laser, there is no bleeding. Within a week or two, your child will be feeding and talking better than ever.
25 years ago, Dr. Bobbi Stanley opened a dental practice in Cary, North Carolina. Twenty-five years later, that small office has expanded to include four doctors, a trained team of dental assistants, and three hygienists. Although a lot of things have changed in the past twenty-five years, our team’s dedication to serving the community hasn’t. Helping the people of Cary, Raleigh, and Durham find their smile is, and always has been our mission.
To celebrate all the smiles we’ve transformed in over two decades, we’re putting on events, specials, and giveaways every month of 2020! Come to this page regularly to check out what’s coming up.
The smile you’ve been waiting for just got a lot more affordable! Get $250 off Kor whitening and $100 off Zoom whitening for a limited time. Make 2020 the year you stop hiding your smile.
Help us reach our goal of $500 by donating to the amazing charity Smile Train. Your donation will help correct cleft lips and palates in children across the globe. You can donate here or in our office.
Have you been dreaming of getting a smile makeover but can’t work it into your finances? We’ve got you covered! We’re giving away $25,000 worth of porcelain veneers to one lucky winner. To enter for a chance to win this incredible prize, simply go to Dr. Bobbi’s personal Instagram page, @drbobbistanley, and follow the instructions. Best of luck!
Parents naturally want what’s best for their kids and that includes dental care. Taking your children to the dentist is important but so is making sure they’re cleaning their teeth properly at home. It’s never too early to start good brushing and flossing habits which is why I wanted to count down some of the top toothpaste brands for kids.
I get a lot of patients who want to know which kinds of toothpaste their kids should be using depending on their unique circumstances. Whether you want something organic or something fluoride-free, there’s a toothpaste out there that will be perfect for your child.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has no adverse side-effects when used correctly but if you do not want your child to use fluoride toothpaste, I recommend the Jack N’ Jill Natural Fluoride Free Toothpaste. The Jack N’ Jill brand uses xylitol (naturally-occurring alcohol found in plant material) to promote oral health instead of fluoride. Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay and is naturally sweet, making it the perfect ingredient for kids’ toothpaste. Jack N’ Jill toothpaste is affordable and comes in many different flavors (including flavorless).
A lot of parents struggle with how to take care of their infant’s developing smile. As your baby’s teeth come in, it’s important to try to clean them using a soft bristle brush or even a “finger brush” that’ll be gentle on their gums. Pair that soft brush with Spry Kids Tooth Gel to keep any cavities from milk or juice at bay. Like Jack N’ Jill, Spry also uses xylitol instead of fluoride so it’s perfect for parents who want a more organic approach to oral health. This product isn’t technically toothpaste — it’s tooth gel. This more or less means your child can swallow it and it can be left on their teeth for longer than your typical toothpaste.
While there are a decent amount of parents who’re looking for non-fluoride toothpaste, there’s twice as many who are looking for fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is the best way to prevent cavities in both children and adults. I always highly recommend that parents buy fluoride toothpaste.
One of my favorite toothpaste brands is Toms of Maine because they use organic ingredients that are still tough on tooth decay. There are no artificial foaming agents or preservatives as there are in your typical bottle of Crest. While the normal Toms of Maine toothpaste products would be fine for your kids, they do make a special toothpaste just for kids that comes in a natural strawberry flavor.
Getting kids to floss is even harder than getting adults to floss — but, unfortunately, it’s exponentially more important. Kids who floss grow up to be adults who floss which is why I always adamantly encourage parents to get their kids flossing as early as possible. Flossing can be a little uncomfortable but it is the best way to prevent periodontal disease, gum recession, and other serious problems.
DenTek Kids Fun Flossers are perfect for kids who understand how to floss but struggle with using small flossers or traditional string. DenTek’s flossers have a larger handle for easier use and they come in fruity flavors to make flossing a little more fun. If your child is finding it difficult to use any kind of flosser, GumChucks Kids may be the better way to go. GumChucks is the only flossing product that allows kids to floss their back teeth without forcing them to put their hands in their mouths (and encourage the spread of germs). The long handles make flossing a breeze even for the most novice flossers.
Thumb-sucking is the hardest habit for kids to kick because it’s an instinctive self-soothing behavior. When they’re upset or trying to go to sleep, they learn that thumb-sucking can help them get into that mellow state. As they get older, and their soothing habit begins to deform their developing smile, they don’t want to let go of the behavior because it’s the only way they know how to calm down. Parents who don’t force their kids to stop thumb-sucking by the age of two can expect a lot of tears and temper-tantrums later on.
To make things a little easier for parents, dentists have invented some clever tools to help children stop the detrimental habit. To keep kids from ruining their teeth, palate, and developing facial shape, I recommend using the Nipit Hand Stopper, Mavala Stop Thumb Sucking and Nail Biting Deterrent, or the TGuard ThumbGuard. The Nipit Hand Stopper and the TGuard are glove-like instruments that inhibit a child from physically placing the thumb in their mouth. The thumb-sucking deterrent is a clear, invisible polish that’s safe to ingest but tastes bad. A few days with that on their thumbnail and your child will be over the habit!
Millions of people snore. You may snore, and (if you’re unlucky) your partner may snore. Because snoring is so common, people just accept it. No one finds it odd if they or someone they know snores. Sometimes it’s a symptom of sleep apnea but, in a lot of cases, it’s completely harmless — if not a little annoying. Chances are, if you’re snoring, there’s nothing wrong. However, if your child is snoring, you should be concerned.
Snoring in children is a strong sign of a blocked pediatric airway — which is about as dangerous as it sounds. Because children’s mouths and throats aren’t finished developing, their airway can be small and crowded. Everything from allergies to oversized tonsils to misaligned teeth can cause the airway to become blocked — especially at night. As with sleep apnea in adults, a blocked pediatric airway keeps kids from getting a full night’s rest. A lack of sleep in children can cause developmental problems, ADHD-like symptoms, and struggles in school.
Even though it appears that they’re sleeping, because their airway is intermittently being cut off, their brain will not allow them to go into a deep, restful sleep. Our bodies are smart. If they think something is wrong, they’re going to encourage us to stay awake and find a solution. The thing is, with a blocked pediatric airway, there’s nothing a child can do to fix it. It isn’t related to the position they’re sleeping in or how many hours they spend in front of a blue-light computer. Fixing a pediatric airway can be tricky because the origin of the problem can be manifold. To help you get a better idea of what may be causing your child to snore at night, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons.
As simple and silly as it sounds, a dust-covered stuffed animal could be causing your child’s pediatric airway to become blocked. Allergies in children are getting worse and worse but a lot of concerned parents seem to focus solely on addressing food allergies, completely ignoring airborne allergies.
Seasonal allergies and allergies related to dust can cause kids’ noses to become clogged. This forces them to breathe through their mouths. Not only is mouth-breathing uncomfortable, but it’s also detrimental to a developing child’s health. If a child breathes through their mouth for a long time, it can affect how their face, mouth, and throat develop.
This is where the snoring comes in. Long-term mouth breathers begin snoring because their mouths (from their teeth to their palate) are developing in an abnormal way. What’s the best way to keep this from happening? Try some over-the-counter allergy pills that are safe for kids. If your child is still snoring, go to an allergy specialist to see if a prescription-strength antihistamine might work a little better.
Tonsils are (typically) small masses of soft tissue that reside at the back of the throat. At one time, they helped catch harmful germs and bacteria from entering the body. Today, most doctors agree that they’re pretty much useless. In some cases, they’re actually harmful, causing painful infections (tonsilitis). Tonsilitis is especially prevalent in children which is why many kids get their tonsils removed.
The adenoids are very similar to the tonsils but are located a little further back, just behind the nose. These germ-catching patches of soft tissue are harder to see but your doctor should be able to tell if they’re enlarged. Adenoid removal is a little less common than tonsil removal since they’re typically less of a nuisance.
If the tonsils or the adenoids are too big (which happens frequently), they can fall backward while a child is sleeping, covering the airway. To see if this is the root of your child’s blocked pediatric airway, visit an ear, nose, and throat specialist and ask them to take a closer look. They should be able to quickly tell if the tonsils and/or adenoids are at the root of your child’s snoring habit.
Kids’ mouths look a lot different than adult mouths so sometimes parents don’t know if their kids’ teeth are coming in correctly or not. They may take them to a dentist but, chances are, the dentist won’t mention misaligned teeth or an abnormal palate. They’ll check for cavities but most dentists have no clue what a blocked pediatric airway is. They’ll tell the parents that the child will need braces later on and they’ll leave it at that. Unfortunately, that doesn’t even begin to start to solve the problem.
Dentists don’t learn about the pediatric airway in dental school. They have to go to continuing education classes which isn’t something a lot of dentists look forward to doing. If you suspect your child’s blocked pediatric airway is coming from a crowded mouth or misaligned teeth, mention the term “blocked pediatric airway” to your dentist. If they give you a confused look, it might be time to start searching for a new dentist.
A blocked pediatric airway caused by allergies or tonsils is easy to treat. With mouth or palate development, things can get a little trickier. Once again, if your dentist isn’t familiar with the blocked pediatric airway, chances are they’ll recommend that your child get braces in a few years. Parents who have a child who is snoring shouldn’t have to wait a few years to see a change.
That’s why we started offering the revolutionary orthodontic device, HealthyStart, at our office. HealthyStart is the best way to correct misaligned teeth and open up the pediatric airway for kids who are snoring at night. The soft plastic device is custom-made and fits comfortably in the child’s mouth at night. As the child’s mouth continues developing, the HealthyStart device will act as a guide, encouraging normal, healthy growth. By the end of the HealthyStart program, your child will no longer be snoring and will have straight teeth (without braces!)
Interested in hearing more about HealthyStart? Schedule a free consultation with me to talk about your options. We’ll go over HealthyStart and how it could help change your child’s life for the better.