Dentist For Children in Lincoln, NE: Effects of Thumb Sucking in Children

thumb sucking and pacifiers Lincoln NE

Your  dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can tell you that the effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers are often mild misalignment of the baby teeth that does not always effect the development of permanent teeth if these habits are stopped at an early age. Thumb sucking is a common  behavior of babies and some children because it is a way they can soothe themselves. It allows them to feel comforted, but unfortunately, the long-term effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers can create lifetime problems if it is not stopped at the appropriate age.  Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can help you identify any dental-related effects of thumb sucking your child might be experiencing.

baby with baby teeth effects of thumb sucking

From the moment children enter the world, they are considered a natural born being with an urge to suck on something, and this is even apparent as they continue to grow and explore the world putting everything possible into their mouths. Once a child reaches approximately six months of age, the urge does decrease somewhat, however, thumb sucking can still be part of their routine that helps them fall asleep. If children wake up at night, they may also find it will relieve hunger and possibly soothe them back to sleep. The effects of thumb sucking is not confined to the teeth. Prolonged thumb sucking past age 5 can potentially be a sign of a more significant problem or even an emotional disorder.

While parents sometimes find themselves offering their child a pacifier or letting them self-soothe by thumb sucking, eventually this can cause poor alignment of teeth and create a potential need for expensive dental work down the road. Another long-term effect of thumb sucking is speech problems or delay. At this point encourage your child to break this habit. Your  dentist for children in Lincoln, NE Kelly O’Hara can give you some suggestions on how to break this habit.

baby enjoying outside with balloons effects of thumb sucking

Our dentist for children in Lincoln, NE  gets a lot of questions about what the long-term effects of thumb sucking are past the age of 5 or 6. They include:

1. Speech complications such as a lisp possibly caused by the position of the jaw bone.
2. The spread of germs. While it is impossible to avoid all germs, some bacteria that children acquire as an effect of thumb sucking can cause serious illness.
3. The roof of the mouth can become more sensitive and change shape.
4. Teeth can be forced into different positions and lead to either an underbite or overbite.

Data shows that nearly 30% of pre-school age children continue to suck their thumb.

pediatric dentist on effects of thumb sucking in Lincoln NE

Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE has some helpful tips that may help you break your child of the habit:

1. Be kind. Have compassion and try to understand their needs. Offer support and teach them about the long terms effects of thumb sucking.
2. Help them to live as stress-free as possible.
3. Offer distractions such as toys or activities.
4. Do not punish your child. Disciplining your child could cause more stress for them creating a need to self-soothe, leading to thumb sucking.

Check out a this infographic on this topic:
(Click image to enlarge)

infographic effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers

It is crucial to begin the task of breaking bad habits early. Set specific times at which your child can have a pacifier so that they don’t become dependent upon it all day and night. Everyday household items such as placing a sock over your child’s hand can prevent them from thumb sucking during the night. Possibly set up a reward system, so that when they do refrain they are rewarded making it more likely for them to want to stop.

dr ohara teaching dental health and the topic of effects of thumb sucking to child

If these simple tricks don’t work you can always talk to your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE. They can prescribe a bitter tasting medication which can be used in coating the tongue or pacifier. Refrain from using any household solutions until visiting with your local dentist because some of them are very harmful to children.

Do always remember that there is a reason your child is sucking his/her thumb. Whether it is insecurity, anxiety, or even discomfort of some sort, be sympathetic and listen to what your child is telling you. Merely creating that nurturing environment can lead to them becoming emotionally stable and healthier overall, decreasing the need for and thereby reducing the long-term effects of thumb sucking.

If you are struggling to help your child quit sucking their thumb, you are not alone. Just remember that the unfortunate long-term side effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers are worth the effort it will take to help your child overcome this habit.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Your Caring dentist for children in Lincoln, NE

Dr.Kelly O’Hara 


CAQ on the effects of thumb sucking and pacifiers for your dentist for children in LIncoln, NE

Q: Do pacifiers cause dental problems?

A: Pacifiers can cause flaring out of the upper front baby teeth, creating the inability to bite with front teeth. If pacifier use is stopped before the age of 4, it usually does not effect the positioning of the permanent teeth. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE   can screen your child for these conditions and help you and your child find ways to quit this habit.

Q: What is a good age to take away a pacifier?

A: Ideally, pacifiers should be taken away by the time a child starts speaking. This is because often children who prolong the use of pacifiers have delayed speech or speech problems. The very latest a pacifier should be taken away is age 4 due to long-term effects to the development of permanent teeth. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE can help you find good strategies for stopping this habit.

Q: Is it good to use pacifier for babies?

A: Pacifiers can be a great tool for parents to use to help soothe a young baby. This is very relaxing and soothing for infants and can help them stop crying and calm down and sleep better. Babies are naturally inclined to suck fingers or pacifiers to help themselves relax. 

Q: Can a baby sleep with a pacifier all night?

A: Pacifiers certainly help a lot of babies to relax and fall asleep. It is not a bad thing for babies to sleep with a pacifier, although a baby who depends on it throughout the night may have the tendency to wake up in the middle of the night frequently if the pacifier falls out of his mouth.

Q: What causes an anterior open bite in children?

A: Anterior open bite is when the front teeth do not come together when the back teeth are touching. This can be a result of genetics, but is very common among kids who have a history of prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use. It is a very common effect of thumb sucking.This condition can be corrected through orthodontic treatment and in rare cases, surgery. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE  can help you identify this condition and refer you to an orthodontic specialist.

Q: Is there a children’s family dentistry near me in Lincoln, NE?

A: Nebraska Family Dentistry has five locations throughout Lincoln, NE that offer family and children’s dentistry. To find a location near you, click the link below.

Q: Is there a dentist for kids near me in LIncoln, NE?

A: All of our locations have caring, compassionate doctors who love serving patients of all ages, including kids. Follow our link to find a location near you in Lincoln, NE.


Healthy School Lunch: Best Ways To Pack Your Kids a Healthier Lunch

best ways to pack your kids a healthier lunch

When packing a healthy school lunch, it is important to consider how much sugar might be hiding in some of the processed foods or snacks. A sack lunch from home can be a cheaper and healthier alternative to the school cafeteria, but it all depends upon what you pack. Often, healthy school lunch contains processed foods with many hidden sources of sugar. Some of these sources are disguised using words that sound “healthy.” Many kids can end up consuming upward of 150-200g of sugar, or possibly even more, by eating foods that are labeled as “healthy foods.” Healthy school lunches can be an essential part of healthy daily meals. As your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE, we have some great tips to help your kids a healthy school lunch makeover that even their dentist will approve of!

apple sauce not a good Healthy School Lunch snack

Healthy School Lunch:
1. Say No To Applesauce

What is a seemingly practical and portable addition to a healthy school lunch is applesauce, but this snack is loaded with its own natural sugar as well as added sugars, which promote cavities.  Try your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE tip and pack a small container of cottage cheese. If you want to get creative, throw in some blueberries or sliced strawberries for extra flavor!

banana Healthy School Lunch snack

Healthy School Lunch:
2. Choose Fresh Fruit

Fruit snacks and fruit leathers are popular for healthy school lunch ideas among kids, but not among dentists for children in Lincoln, NE. These snacks are sticky and will cling to teeth, encouraging the build-up of plaque. Go for the real deal instead! Offer slices of banana, apples, or strawberries. You can also try no-prep options for your healthy school lunch like grapes and mandarin oranges, which are both great alternatives.

milk being a Healthy School Lunch source of calcium

Healthy School Lunch
3. Plain Milk is Best

A terrific source of calcium is milk, but flavored options such as chocolate, strawberry, or even cotton candy, contain added sugars that can cause decay. Instead, swap out these sweet options with plain milk, which will cut out unnecessary sugar. If you want to spice up plain milk, you can try adding a drop or two of food coloring. If your kids don’t like milk, string cheese would be another excellent dairy option for a healthy school lunch.

yogurt probiotic is a Healthy School Lunch snack

Healthy School Lunch
4. Get Yogurt With Probiotics, Good Bacteria

Probiotics are good bacteria that help kids have a healthy mouth by preventing those unwanted cavities. Probiotics can help kids have a healthier GI tract and fewer stomach aches. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE recommends probiotics as a daily supplement for adult patients as well. There are several varieties of yogurt, and many of them have probiotics, but also many of them have high amounts of sugar. Look for Greek yogurt with probiotics and sugar should ideally be less than 15g.

cracker snacks, not a Healthy School Lunch alternative

Healthy School Lunch
5. Skip Starchy Snacks

Salty snacks like pretzels, chips, and crackers might seem okay to add to a healthy school lunch because they are low in sugar, but don’t be fooled. Simple starches such as those just mentioned can be just as bad as sweets, if not worse. These snacks break down into a sticky, gooey substance, coating teeth and ultimately resulting in cavities. Looking for some crunchy alternatives? Try sunflower seeds, almonds, or even baby carrots. Other savory snack ideas, although not crunchy, can include hard-boiled eggs and chunks of cheddar cheese.

colorful veggies, a part of a Healthy School Lunch

Healthy School Lunch
6. Choose Colorful Vegetables

Add some color to life by giving your kids an assortment of colorful vegetables. Kids are more likely to eat a snack that looks appealing. The different colors feature different vitamins and minerals. Your dentist for children in Lincoln, NE recommends eating lots of red and orange veggies because they are typically high in Vitamin C (good for gums), while leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of calcium (for strong teeth). Consider cherry tomatoes, strips of red and orange bell peppers, or even steamed broccoli with melted cheese. Don’t forget about fun-to-eat snacks for your healthy school lunch like snap peas and edamame; they’re great too!


Check out the “6 Best Ways To Pack Your Kids a Healthier Lunch” Infographic 

(Click infographic to enlarge)

infographic 6 best ways to pack you kids a healthier lunch

Biological Dentist Near Me in Lincoln, NE Area?

biological dentist near me in lincoln ne area

Are you looking for a biological dentist in Lincoln, NE? At Nebraska Family Dentistry, Kathryn Alderman is your local biological dentist  serving patients at various locations by providing mercury free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area. Dr. Alderman is passionate about helping patients live healthier, happier lives and knows that having a healthy mouth can greatly impact a person’s overall well-being. Dr. Alderman will carefully review your medical history and help you treat your dental conditions using materials and techniques that will benefit your overall health. If you would like to have mercury free dentistry for yourself and your family and have concerns about older metal restorations that may require replacement or the safety of dental treatment for patients with specific medical conditions or dental anxiety, Dr. Alderman would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.

Dr Kathryn nfd lincoln ne

What is a Biological Dentist?

Biological dentists are providers who understand that the health of the mouth can impact a person’s overall health. The goal of biological dentists is to treat dental problems while helping balance systemic health. One of the ways Dr. Alderman, your biological dentist does this is by ensuring that only the most bio-compatible, materials are used. She performs mercury free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area. She strives to ensure that any dental treatment performed helps reduce systemic inflammation in the body. Biological dentists rely on scientific-based evidence of the safety and efficacy of dental treatments before recommending them to patients.

dental filling option

Mercury Free Dentistry in Lincoln, NE

Amalgam is a dental material that has been used for many years in dentistry. The use of amalgam fillings in modern dentistry is slowly waning with the development of superior materials and the controversial subject of the threat amalgam fillings may pose to human health. It is estimated that about 50% of dentists in the U.S do not use mercury amalgam fillings, although only about 10% of them understand the health risks associated with amalgam. Amalgam fillings are typically comprised of an alloy of several metals including 50% mercury combined with smaller percentages of silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are often called silver fillings, but in reality, they are not pure silver. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and has been shown to cause various harmful effects to human health. Research suggests that during normal chewing and changes to the temperature in the mouth during eating and drinking may cause the mercury from the fillings to be released into the body, which can contribute to negative effects on systemic health and that a single amalgam filling can release up to 15 mcg of mercury per day into a person’s body. The average adult has up to eight fillings in their mouth, making the average daily exposure up to 120 mcg of mercury per day. For reference, scientists warn the general public not to eat an excess of mercury-containing seafood, which on average would expose someone to 2.3 mcg daily.

In addition to negative health effects, improper disposal of amalgam fillings also poses a risk to the environment. As your biological dentist, Dr. Alderman uses amalgam separators to avoid introducing mercury into the city water supply when she is removing old amalgam fillings and performing mercury free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area.

Fortunately, this material is no longer being used by many dentists. We perform mercury-free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area and only use composite material for fillings. It is a good idea to ask your dental provider what type of dental materials they use routinely and be aware of any failing amalgam restorations you may have that may need to be replaced in the future with an alternative material.

If you are considering removing old amalgam fillings, or are looking for mercury free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area, it is a good idea to consider seeing a biological dentist for this procedure. Most general dentists who practice conventional dentistry do not employ the same precautions during amalgam removal that biological dentists use. This can ultimately put your health at risk. Biological dentists know that harmful vapors that contain mercury are present during amalgam removal.

To minimize patient exposure during amalgam removal in our offices, patients are instructed not to breathe through their mouth, high-volume evacuators are placed as close to the tooth as possible, the tooth is isolated with a rubber dam, cold water is applied to avoid heating up the material during removal and a room air-purifier is used.

For patients who are concerned about metal toxicity from mercury exposure, it is possible to have  testing to determine the levels present in the body. Talk with your doctor or dentist about your concerns.

Which Type of Filling Material is the Safest?

In our offices, we perform mercury free dentistry in the Lincoln, NE area. Composite resin fillings, glass ionomer, zirconia, gold, and porcelain crowns are all biocompatible alternative dental materials to mercury amalgam fillings. In the past, some of the arguments for the continued use of amalgam was that composite fillings did not last as long as amalgams. Research has shown that amalgam fillings placed on molars have a much higher failure rate than composite fillings. Another reason for the controversy of a composite as a viable alternative to amalgam was that some of them contain BPA (bisphenol-A).

Fortunately, today there are many brands and materials available that do not contain BPA before or after curing. If you have questions or concerns about the type of materials that may be used in your treatment, speak with your dentist. If you suffer from allergies it is possible to have blood testing done that will identify a reaction to the ingredients in dental materials.

root canal

CAQ for Biological Dentist: Are Root Canals Safe?

Root canal therapy is the last effort that can be made to save a tooth that has sustained trauma or become infected due to a crack or deep cavity. During a root canal, the biological dentist removes the infected or dead nerve of the tooth, disinfects the canal the nerve once occupied and fills the empty space with a special filling material. Not every case is the same, and not every root canal has the same long-term prognosis.

If the extent of infection is great, root canals can fail because the bacteria may not be completely removed and the tooth will become a source of chronic infection and inflammation in the body. This can lead to the spread of infection to other teeth or parts of the body if it is able to enter into the bloodstream.

It is important to have a dentist who is skilled at removing the bacteria and who chooses which teeth are eligible for root canals carefully. Biological dentists know that most teeth that have infection do not have a good long-term prognosis after root canal therapy due to the difficulty of complete removal of the bacteria during traditional root canal therapy.

How a tooth is determined to be a viable candidate for root canal therapy depends upon the reason for the inflammation of the nerve. Your biological dentist will tell you that teeth that have been fractured, cracked or have a newly placed filling can lead to nerve inflammation in the tooth. This type of inflammation is acute and can be resolved by performing a root canal.

If a tooth has a large abscess that is draining infectious fluid and has been chronically infected and shows signs of bone loss, performing a root canal will not completely eradicate the bacteria from this infection. After the root canal, the tooth will continue to harbor some of the bacteria from the tooth infection, becoming a chronic source of infection in the body.

Some patients have strong immune systems and can tolerate a low-grade chronic infection for a period of time, but patients who have autoimmune conditions or other inflammatory conditions are at a higher risk of experiencing a second infection after the root canal is completed. Your biological dentist knows that in this situation, the best option is to remove the tooth which is the source of infection, allow the bone to heal and replace the tooth with a dental implant.

How Do I Find a Biological Dentist?

Here are some questions you can ask when calling a new dentist to determine if they are a dentist who practices biological dentistry:

  1. Do you use digital or conventional x-rays?
  2. Do you use an amalgam separator?
  3. Is this a mercury-free practice?
  4. What kind of testing methods do you use for patients who have allergies to metals or other dental materials?
  5. Do you give patients safety glasses or protective barriers during removal of amalgam fillings?
  6. Do you use a dental dam during amalgam removal?
  7. How do you prevent the amalgam from heating up during removal?
  8. How is the room air-protected?
  9. How is the mercury amalgam removed from the tooth?

Ragweed Allergy and Tooth Pain: How it is connected

ragweed allergy toothache

Ragweed allergies are related to sinus-related tooth pain for many individuals. Sinus-related tooth pain usually has a gradual onset and is often characterized as a dull ache around upper molars. Dr.Kimberly Polley, your family and emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE can help you determine whether or not you are suffering from sinus-related tooth pain or tooth pain from dental problems. 

In this article, Dr. Kimberly Polley explains how tooth pain and allergies can be connected.

Ragweed allergy is most common during the months of August and  September, although many people suffer from allergies well into November. It is estimated that 20% of people in the U.S. suffer from ragweed allergy.

Ragweed allergy is caused by an allergic reaction to a weed that is common throughout the U.S. The pollen from this weed can travel hundreds of miles and survive in a variety of areas, making it difficult to avoid contact. 

woman sneezing due to allergy

What are the symptoms of ragweed allergy?

Symptoms of ragweed allergy can include the following symptoms:

  • Runny, Stuffy Nose
  • Itchy Eyes or Throat
  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Sinus-related toothaches

In severe cases, ragweed allergy can even cause asthma, chronic sinusitis or severe non-localized toothache.


woman thinking about dental procedure to treat tooth pain

Can a ragweed allergy affect my teeth?

Ragweed allergies can create inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, which puts pressure against the nerves of the upper molars, causing a sinus-related toothache. This tooth pain is not always on both sides, and can mimic the symptoms of a severe toothache. This type of tooth pain can feel like it is moving as you bend over or move your head from side to side. If you are not sure if you are experiencing tooth pain from a cavity, tooth infection or sinus-related tooth pain, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your Lincoln, NE dentist to evaluate your teeth and rule out any dental-related causes of tooth pain. If you normally suffer from allergies, try taking an antihistamine. If your symptoms improve, it is more likely to be sinus-related tooth pain.

The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.


curious young man with tooth pain

Can a ragweed allergy affect my gums?

Seasonal allergies can affect the gums, causing them to become red, swollen and even painful. This is due to the sinus congestion making it difficult to breathe through the nose. The soft tissues in the mouth ideally exist in a moist environment. If these tissues become dried out from mouth-breathing, the tissues become irritated and inflamed.  


ragweed a potential tooth pain trigger

Can ragweed allergy lead to bleeding gums?

Ragweed allergy can lead to bleeding gums in some cases. The drying effect of mouth-breathing on soft tissues creates irritation along with making the tooth surface more hospitable to plaque-bacteria, creating an inflammatory response in the body from an overgrowth of bacteria along the gumline.


tooth pain linked to cavity illustration

Can ragweed allergy lead to cavities?

Mouth breathing causes dry mouth as well as taking antihistamine medications. These medications reduce mucus production throughout the body. In an ideal environment, the mouth is able to maintain a healthy level of important enzymes to neutralize acids from our food as well as the acids created by the bacteria that live in the mouth. When there is an insufficient quantity of saliva or the quality of saliva flow in the mouth is not ideal, these protective buffers are less capable of counteracting acids from foods and reducing plaque formation on the teeth, which can lead to cavities and tooth pain long-term.


covering mouth bad breath

Can Ragweed Allergy Cause Bad Breath?

Mouth breathing and taking antihistamines dry out the mouth, making it easier for plaque to multiply and create inflammation or tooth decay. This combined with post-nasal drip and inflammation of the throat and sinuses can create a bad odor that cannot be removed by brushing. It is best to continue with an excellent oral hygiene routine of brushing twice daily, flossing daily and rinsing with antimicrobial rinse to reduce inflammation caused by plaque-bacteria. This will also help reduce sensitive and bleeding gums as much as possible during allergy season.


sneezing man

How Do I Know the Difference Between Allergies and a Cold?

Symptoms of allergies and a cold are very similar. If the symptoms are prolonged more than a few weeks, it is likely that you are suffering from seasonal allergies. You can have allergy tests done to determine what environmental allergies you may have.


dr barth interacting with patient who has a tooth pain

Can a Dentist Help With Allergies?

Dentists can help you identify whether your tooth pain is related to seasonal allergies or a dental problem. If you are suffering from tooth pain and are not sure if it is a sinus-related toothache or a true dental condition, schedule an appointment with your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE to evaluate your teeth. Your dentist can also help you control inflammation of the gum tissue during allergy season. Dentists can also refer you to an allergy specialist who can help you control your allergies with medication or dietary supplements.


woman thinking of dental issue of tooth pain

Where Can I Get an Allergy Test?

You’ve probably heard of others taking allergy tests. But where can you get allergy tests? Thankfully, you can receive allergy tests by seeing an allergist. If you’re in Lincoln, you can see Dr. Petra Razdan, an allergy expert.


Woman think about allergy and tooth pain solution

What kinds of allergy tests can an allergist run?

There are two main tests that an allergist will run. The most common is a skin test. In a skin test, the allergist will administer diluted allergens onto the patient’s skin will observe for signs of reaction to the allergens. The second test is less accurate than the first. It is called a Radioallergosorbent test (RAST). This test checks the patient’s blood levels for certain antibodies which indicate certain allergies. In either case, it is worthwhile to see an allergy doctor for these reasons, as well as expert allergy advice.


dentist showing empathy on tooth pain

Treatment Options for Ragweed Allergy

There is no cure for ragweed allergy. The main treatment option to treat ragweed allergy is to take antihistamines. Antihistamines are made to treat allergies and are usually the most effective solution. Otherwise, seeing an allergist or avoiding the outdoors are all good alternative solutions.

If you’re looking for an allergist in Lincoln, NE, we’ll refer you to Dr. Petra Razdan.

Commonly Asked Questions about Ragweed Allergy and Tooth Pain

Q: Can seasonal allergies make your teeth hurt? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers… 

As a natural defense mechanism, the body produces extra mucus to help clear out allergens which causes pressure to build in the sinuses located above the upper molars. The pressure in the sinuses presses on the nerves of the teeth can cause symptoms of a toothache.

Q: Can allergies make your bottom teeth hurt? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers …

If your allergies are causing sinus pressure, it can result in tenderness in the face, jaw and nasal passages. This type of tooth pain is usually a dull ache, not a sharp pain.

Q: Can allergies make your gums hurt?

Allergies cause nasal congestion which can make it difficult or impossible to breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing dries out the tissues in the mouth which are normally coated in protective saliva and mucous cells. This irritates the gums and soft tissues in the mouth and leads to bleeding gums and more bacterial buildup of plaque on the teeth, increasing symptoms of gingivitis.

Q: Can allergies make your jaw hurt? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers …

Although it is most likely that sinus pressure will affect upper molars, it is possible that the jaw can become tender if the sinus pressure has created enough inflammation to press against the nerves of the teeth which branch to the lower jaw. It is a good idea to call your emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE if you have started to experience sudden facial or tooth pain of any kind to rule out dental-related problems. 

Q: Can gums bleed from ragweed allergies? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers …

Mouth-breathing from blocked sinuses can dry out the mouth and cause more plaque to form on the teeth. This leads to inflammation of the gum tissue and bleeding, swollen gum tissue.

Q: What is the best antihistamine for ragweed allergy? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers …

Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra or Xyzal are all oral antihistamine options that can help reduce symptoms.

Q: What are some natural home remedies for dealing with ragweed allergies? Our emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE answers …

Increasing fluid intake can help the body eliminate allergens more effectively, taking vitamin D to help support immune function, avoiding eating dairy products as they are known to increase mucous production in some individuals, staying indoors as much as possible during times with high pollen count and washing pillowcases frequently to remove residual pollen from hair.

Wishing you health hand happiness,

Your family and emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE 

Dr. Kimberly Polley


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Dental Office Infection Control

dental office infection control Lincoln NE

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we know that our patients put their trust in us to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere and operate with the highest standards of dental office infection control where they can receive the dental treatment they need. Part of our responsibility to our patients is providing the highest standards of dental office infection control to protect the health of our patients. It is important to us that our patients feel safe and well-cared for in our offices.  At any of Nebraska Family Dental offices in Lincoln, we maintain a high standard of cleanliness and follow the infection control guidelines recommended by the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control. When you come to any of our dental locations, you can be assured that your overall health and well-being is our major concern.

Dental office infection control dentist tools

Equipment and Instrument Cleaning

The best dentist offices follow very specific guidelines outlined by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how dental equipment and instruments should be properly disinfected and cleaned. Equipment and tools are classified and put into one of three categories based upon the risk of infection transmission: non-critical, semi-critical, and critical.

Non-critical instruments are those that touch intact skin, only. Those instruments can be items such as x-ray sensors, pulse oximeters, or blood pressure cuffs. These particular instruments can be re-used between patients after receiving a low-level or intermediate-level disinfection. Low-level disinfectants are classified as hospital disinfectants but are not qualified to kill the same variety of pathogens as an intermediate-level disinfectant. An intermediate-level disinfectant is classified as a hospital disinfectant or “tuberculocidal,” which means that it specifically targets and kills the bacteria that causes tuberculosis as well as a host of other bacteria and viruses.

Semi-critical instruments are those that come into contact with mucous membranes such as the inside of your cheeks or non-dry skin. These instruments include mirrors, reusable impression trays, and dental fillings condensers. They should also be dry heat sterilized after each use.

Critical instruments in dental office infection control would include those that encounter blood and are used to penetrate bone or soft tissue. Tools that are covered under this classification are scalpels, scalers, bone chisels, and forceps. Critical instruments need to be sterilized after each use. Acceptable methods of sterilization include dry heat or heat/chemical vapor and autoclaving.

The best dentist offices have extremely high standards of dental office infection control, because they know that it is crucial to protect the health of patients as well as staff members. There are other areas in the office that you should be aware of as a patient when you visit a medical or dental provider. 

washing hands for Dental office infection control

The first area is, hand washing, which is very important in helping to prevent the spread of diseases to patients and amongst co-workers within the dental office as well. An alcohol-based hand sanitizing solution can be used in all cases except for when hands are covered in visible dirt or debris, according to the CDC. Any dental professional with hands that are visibly soiled must wash using both soap and water. Under these four conditions, hand hygiene should always be performed as recommended by the CDC:

  1. After the dentist uses his/her bare hands to touch equipment that may be contaminated by saliva, blood, and or some other secretions or bodily fluids.
  2. Before and after the treatment of every patient and if possible, in front of the patient.
  3. Before putting on gloves as well as immediately after they are removed.
  4. Dentist (or any other dental professional) that has visibly soiled hands.

Dental office infection control dental chair

Office Cleanliness and Surface Contamination

The best dentist offices give attention to not only the dental instruments and equipment, but also to all other aspects of the clinic itself. According to information from the CDC, dental offices contain two types of surfaces: housekeeping surfaces and clinical contact surfaces.

Sinks, floors, and walls are all examples of what would be considered housekeeping surfaces. Research does indicate that they offer very little if any chance of contamination and they can also be cleaned on a regular basis with water and detergent. Of all the housekeeping surfaces, the CDC says that floors should be cleaned the most regularly for best dental office infection control. 

Clinical contact surfaces include things such as light switches, drawer and faucet handles, chairs, countertops, or other items that a patient or dentist might touch during a procedure. If not protected by barriers, which include bags, plastic wrap, and sheets, clinical contact surfaces should be cleaned between every patient with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant. catering dental team with Dental office infection control

Education and Training

The best dentist offices maintain training records for safety and dental office infection control just like any other business, which is required by the federal and state governments. The best dentist offices should offer continuing/ongoing education and training to all employees to make sure policies and procedures are followed and practiced correctly. The CDC also recommends that when training, it covers safety guidelines for both employees as well as patients.

Dental office infection control is critical as discussed above, and as long as your dentist maintains their safety and infection prevention protocols, you can trust them when it comes to all of your dental needs!

At Nebraska Family Dentistry, we strive to provide a safe place for our patients. One of the ways we do so by following high infection standards.  You can schedule with our dentists in Lincoln, NE 24/7 via online scheduling app.


schedule online day or night

You can schedule 24/7 via online schedule 

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