Got Questions?

1How to Brush your teeth? Brushing facts

Brushing your teeth is probably a standard part of your daily routine, but chances are you aren’t following the American Dental Association’s guidelines for cleaning your teeth properly. The ADA currently recommends that you brush your teeth at minimum of two times each day – preferably morning and night or anytime you eat foods that contain sugar. When you brush, your toothbrush should be tilted at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. As you brush, be sure to remove debris from every surface of the teeth – including the backs of the teeth, near the gum line, and on chewing surfaces. It is also important to brush your tongue, as bacteria can accumulate there and cause bad odor.

2What type of toothbrush to use?

That the type of toothbrush you use makes a difference in your oral health? The ADA recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a head that is ergonomically proportioned to the inside of your mouth. Do not use medium or hard-bristle toothbrushes, these brushes can actually cause abrasions to the teeth and gums, making them more vulnerable to decay. The ADA also recommends replacing your toothbrush about four times yearly or whenever the bristles become frayed.

3Should I change my brushing habits?

You may need to change your brushing habits if you are experiencing signs of poor oral hygiene. Examples of common symptoms include bleeding or reddened gums, excessive plaque build-up, decaying teeth and receding gum lines. To find out if you are brushing correctly or if you need to change your brushing habits, make an appointment with your dentist for a full consultation.

4Is there anything else I need to do in addition to brushing properly?

Yes. It is important that you also floss daily and use toothpaste that contains fluoride each day. You should also schedule dental exams and professional cleanings in at least twice per year.

5Are baby / milk teeth important?

  • Serve as space holders for the permanent teeth, forming a path for them to follow when they are ready to erupt. If a child loses a baby tooth too early (due to trauma or decay) the other teeth around them may shift, resulting in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth.
  • Facilitate proper chewing, enabling good nutrition. Research shows that children with numerous cavities are often underweight because eating begins to hurt. As a result, they limit food choices, disrupting proper nutrition.
  • Children learn to talk using their primary dentition. Research shows that, because most speech skills are already formed by the age of seven, children who lose their primary front teeth too early often need speech therapy

6Baby teeth: If my child has cavities, should I fill them?

  • It is often a misconception, “Why insert fillings in baby teeth when they will fall out anyway?” Unfortunately, neglected cavities create problems that affect the development of permanent teeth. The tooth becomes painful and the nerve becomes inflamed, eventually dying. This creates an abscess that often results in the loss of the tooth and serious damage to the permanent tooth. Some severe cases require emergency hospitalization.
  • Brown or missing teeth often affect the development of self-esteem. A beautiful smile enhances self-confidence regardless of age.
  • Your child’s general health is affected by the health of their teeth and gums.

7When should preventive dentistry start for my child?

  • Prevention begins early. A mother’s diet while pregnant will contribute to a child’s developing primary teeth in the womb. After birth, parents should cleanse a baby’s gums and begin brushing the teeth gently as they emerge. Infants should visit a pediatric dentist for a preventive care exam no later than age one.
  • Initial dental visits for babies and toddlers are primarily educational.

8Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?

  • Patients should get regular cleanings twice a year, in addition to following a proper oral hygiene routine. If your child had significant dental treatment in the past, we will always let you know how often your child should visit based on their specific needs. Also, we will assess the caries risk assessment of the child and accordingly schedule dental visits.

9Diet and nutrition: What foods are best for my child’s dental health?

  • Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.

10Sealants: How do they work and do they contain BPA(Bisphenol-A)?

  • Sealants work by providing a layer of protection from cavity-causing agents such as cookies, crackers, chips and sticky foods.  They are applied to the “back teeth” or molars which are the chewing surfaces where food most commonly accumulates. Our office uses BPA- free materials for sealants and all tooth-colored fillings.

11X-rays: Are they safe?

  • There is minimal risk at our office as we use digital X-rays. We only take X-rays as needed and are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. The lead aprons and digital sensors used ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

12Teething: When does this occur?

Teething typically begins when a baby is between six and eight months old, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 to 14 months.

13Teething: How can I help my child get through this painful stage?

  • Give your baby a firm rubber teething ring to chew on. Avoid liquid-filled teething rings, or any plastic objects that might break. Gently rub the gums with a cool, wet washcloth. You may place the wet washcloth in the freezer first, but wash it before using it again. Feed your child cool, soft foods such as apple sauce or yogurt. Topical pain relievers and medications that are rubbed on the gums are not necessary, or even useful, because they wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes.
  • Children are born with a natural sucking reflex. In fact, babies begin to suck on their fingers while still in the womb. Sucking a thumb or pacifier is relatively harmless during the first few months of life and may actually be emotionally comforting to an infant. However, prolonged sucking that lasts into the preschool years may cause long-term oral complications.

14Mouth guards: Should my child wear them while playing sports?

An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place, resists tearing, protects the jaws, and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth, and depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. An orthodontist can recommend the best mouth guard for an athlete who wears braces.  In fact, just by wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries could be prevented. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.

15Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?

When administered correctly, local anesthesia is safe for children. Our team is highly trained in anesthesia delivery, and we always communicate to children in an age appropriate manner, prior to administering the local anesthetic

16Nursing: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Baby bottle decay occurs as a result of long-term contact between the teeth and liquids that contain sugars. Often, infants and toddlers are allowed to drink from bottles for prolonged periods of time – perhaps while lying down or watching television. The liquids pool around the teeth, which can lead to a build-up of plaque. Over time, this can erode the tooth enamel, resulting in early childhood caries.

17What are the signs of baby bottle or nursing decay?

Baby bottle decay can affect any of the teeth, but it is most often found on the upper front teeth. A tooth may show visible signs of decay, such as the appearance of black or brown spots on the surface. Babies with infected teeth may also have swollen gums near the tooth.

18What types of treatments are available for children with baby bottle decay?

Pediatric dentists determine how to treat early childhood decay based on the extent of a child’s caries. When the decay is found in its earliest stages, it may be addressed with modified feeding habits and improved hygiene. Decay that is further progressed may require a crown/pulp therapy or extraction. Fillings are not traditionally used to treat baby bottle decay in small children.

19Besides brushing, what else can be done to prevent early childhood caries?

Diet plays an important role in a child’s dental health. Sugar feeds the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. Limiting foods and beverages containing sugar deters cavities and helps protect the enamel. Avoid giving your child sugary juices, candies and sodas, and never let your child go to bed with a bottle.

Avoid nursing children to sleep at bedtime, or putting anything in their bottle other than water. If your child nurses at night, wash or wipe the teeth, gums and mouth prior to putting the child to bed

20How should I take care of my baby’s teeth and gums at home?

Infants do not have teeth to brush or floss. However, they do have gums that should be cleansed gently with a damp cloth each day. Once the first tooth emerges, an age appropriately- sized toothbrush can be used to carefully brush and prevent the build-up of plaque.

21How do I know if my child needs pulp therapy?

Only your child’s pediatric dentist can diagnose a diseased tooth. However, an infected pulp may cause certain symptoms in a child, such as a chronic or frequent toothache, swelling and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

22What will my child experience when undergoing pediatric pulp therapy?

A child may be sedated for a pulp therapy procedure. Initially, the treatment site will be anesthetized to prevent patient discomfort. The diseased pulp is carefully removed, whether in part or in whole. The canals within the tooth may be cleaned and filled with a therapeutic material. Finally, the tooth is capped with a dental crown to protect it.

23What types of complications might my child experience if he or she continues to thumb-suck past age 2 to 4?

Thumb-sucking that persists past the preschool years may damage your child’s palate or affect the alignment of his or her teeth. Alignment issues affecting the primary teeth often correct themselves. Once the permanent teeth emerge, however, thumb-sucking may cause them to protrude forward, requiring major orthodontic intervention.

24Is there anything I can do to prevent my child from sucking his or her thumb or pacifier?

Positive reinforcement is the most effect means of encouraging a child to stop taking a pacifier or sucking his or her thumb. Never use pressure or punishment to stop your child from sucking a thumb or pacifier

25When should I talk to my child’s pediatric dentist about thumb-sucking?

Your child should already be seeing a dentist by age one. Keep the dentist aware of any changes in your child’s sucking habits over time. Notify your child’s dentist immediately if you notice any changes to your child’s teeth or the roof of his or her mouth. Older children who do not stop sucking their thumbs naturally by age four may need to be fitted for an oral appliance that prevents thumb-sucking or else it leads to malocclusion

26My child has special health care needs – what can I do before the dental visit?

Pediatric dentists are trained in seeing kids with special health care needs, but all children are different.  Prior to a visit, inform the office of your child’s special needs and we can accommodate as necessary, including extra-time for the appointment.  Additionally, if your child has a favorite toy or DVD that tends to provide comfort, it may help to bring it to the office.  You may also set up a “non-appointment” visit with our office where you can bring your child to simply tour the office and meet our staff and doctors; this may make the next visit less anxiety-producing.  To facilitate your child’s proper care, it is very important to compile all medical history items prior to your visit including, all diagnoses, past surgeries (and dates), medications your child is taking, physical limitations, special dietary concerns, names/numbers of all physicians he/she is seeing (in case a consultation is necessary), etc.

27What do I do if my child falls and hurts his/her teeth?

First, remain calm.  If your child has knocked a tooth out, find the tooth, trying to avoid touching the root of the tooth.  If it is a baby tooth, DO NOT place it back in the mouth, but visit the dentist to ensure no other trauma has occurred (placing a baby tooth back in can cause long-term damage to the permanent tooth bud).  If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse with cool water only (not scrubbing) and gently try to reinsert it into the socket where the tooth was.  If that is not possible for whatever reason, place the tooth in a glass of cold milk and visit the pediatric dentist immediately (the faster you act the better chances of saving the tooth).  If your child’s tooth was not knocked out, it is still important to visit the pediatric dentist to fully assess all injuries, including providing antibiotics where necessary.  Any fractured pieces of teeth should also be saved and brought to the office.  If your child experienced a blow to the head or jaw, he/she needs immediate medical attention as head injuries can be life threatening.

28What is sedation?

Sedation helps provide young patients with a comfortable experience and effective results. Often, children are intimidated by dental visits or otherwise unable to sit still during exams and treatments for extended periods of time. Sedation helps minimize anxiety and relax children during dental visits – all under the safe supervision of a pediatric dentist.

29What types of sedation are available for my child?

Children are most often given nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. This gas is inhaled through a mask during the dental visit, providing a calming effect. Laughing gas is safe, and its effects wear off nearly immediately after treatment. Other types of sedation may be necessary for children with greater anxiety levels or special needs. Examples include oral sedation given prior to the dental visit, IV sedation, and general anesthesia which all usually leave children with little or no memory of their dental treatment.

30Should I consider pediatric sedation for my child’s next dental visit?

Your child may be a candidate for pediatric sedation dentistry if he or she has special needs, is very young, has difficulty sitting still, or has anxiety about visiting the dentist. For more information about pediatric sedation and whether it is right for your child, contact our office.

31How will my child need to prepare for a dental visit involving sedation?

You will be given instructions for preparation prior to your appointment. You may need to obtain a medical clearance form from your child’s pediatrician. Your child may not be allowed to eat or drink in the hours leading up to the procedure. If your child experiences anxiety prior to the visit, consider letting him or her bring a ‘comfort’ item, such as a blanket or stuffed animal.

32When is the best time to consult an orthodontist?

The ideal age for a child to visit an orthodontist for the first time is age 7? Although not all orthodontic issues can be addressed at this age, many of them can at least be identified. An orthodontist may be able to pinpoint potential issues with crowding, alignment, protruding teeth, under-bites and more.

33What are some signs that my child may need orthodontic treatment?

Only your child’s pediatric dentist can determine whether he or she should consult with an orthodontist about possible treatment. However, there are some signs that your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment:

  • Jaws that click or ‘pop’ when opening and closing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Mouth breathing
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Habits like finger sucking or tongue-thrusting

34What types of treatments will my child’s orthodontist use to correct misaligned teeth?

Orthodontists often use special appliances, such as braces, to bring a child’s teeth and jaws into proper alignment. Mouth appliances are custom-fitted and may be fixed or removable. In some cases, an orthodontist may recommend that certain teeth be removed to facilitate treatment

35How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment requires a longer-term commitment. Expect to bring your child for return visits on a regular basis for several years. The exact duration of treatment depends on the child, the type of treatment, and the severity of the condition being treated.

36What is a Myobrace?

Myobrace system is preventive pre orthodontic treatment that focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crooked teeth, often without the need for braces or extraction of teeth, unlocking natural growth and development. It works towards ensuring that every child who presents with a concern of aberrant muscle function, has a healthier growth pattern and normal function following interference and retraining of muscles.

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