Dental Tips Blog


When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

Early dental care for your child can help them establish a proper oral care routine that prevents many dental diseases and infections later on in their childhood. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that all children see a dentist by their first birthday, or when their first teeth erupt, whichever comes first. By the time a child is 3 or 4 years of age, they may already have developed large areas of tooth decay or abscesses that could have been prevented. Early dental disease sets the tone for the rest of their dental health, and can damage their developing permanent teeth.

Your child’s first visit will most likely be relaxed and a chance for them to explore the office, meet the staff, and understand what goes on during a dental exam. Most of the appointment will probably just include talking between the dental provider, the parent and the child. The actual exam (or even cleaning and x-rays if the child is willing) will only take a few minutes.

Most children enjoy trying on a pair of gloves, holding the dental mirror, and pretending to be the dentist! At recurrent visits, the child will learn to go back for treatment like a big kid, and have preventive procedures performed while their parent relaxes in the reception area. Even children that are very apprehensive typically tend to be very cooperative when they are given the chance to independently “go to the dentist” on their own. However, the parent is welcome at any time to check on their child or stay with their child if they like.

If you’ve waited a little longer than what is recommended, don’t worry! It’s never too late to catch up on your child’s dental care.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



Treating Decay in a Baby Tooth

One of the benefits of growing up is that we are able to have an entirely new set of teeth come in during our childhood. Taking great care of our baby, or primary teeth, can greatly affect the health of the permanent teeth that we will have for the entire rest of our lives.

Primary teeth act as guides for the developing permanent teeth. Most of the time the last primary tooth is not lost until as late as 12 years of age. Because primary teeth are not as strong as permanent teeth, it’s important to take exceptional care of them so they can last.

Decay in a primary tooth isn’t uncommon. Primary teeth are less dense and decay can spread more quickly than it can in a permanent tooth. This also means it’s important to treat it as soon as it is diagnosed, to prevent complications or spread of infection. A common misconception is that it’s not important to remove decay in a baby tooth, because it will simply fall out. However, allowing a tooth to fall out prematurely can disrupt the eruption pattern of the developing permanent teeth, potentially causing orthodontic problems later on. Decay can also spread through the tooth down toward the developing permanent tooth, creating a secondary infection. In rare cases, dental abscesses from baby teeth have been thought to spread bacteria into other areas of the body, including the brain.

Don’t wait until your child complains of a toothache before you take them to the dentist. Early preventive care can help prevent dental emergencies and invasive treatment. But, if you are caught off guard by a surprise, see your pediatric dentist immediately to help preserve the tooth and protect the health of your child’s smile.

Posted on behalf of Marietta Family Dental Care, P.C.



Cleft Lip and Palate

Sometimes children are born with a common birth defect known as a cleft lip or a cleft palate.  Clefts simply mean a space that does not close all the way.  Sometimes cleft lips or palates occur alone, and in other cases they occur together.  If your child was born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate, your pediatrician has probably already spoken to you about corrective surgery.  If not, you should talk to him about this as soon as possible. Surgeries to repair the cleft can begin as early as three months, and more than one surgery may be required.

When you meet with the surgeon, make sure you include your pediatric dentist or family dentist in the plan. Correction of cleft lips and palates may cause a need for braces later in life, and if your dentist is aware of the issues, he or she can closely monitor your child.

Consider taking your infant to the dentist a bit earlier than normal if they do have a cleft, so that a relationship can be developed and the dentist can have a memory of the extent of the cleft and the repair to be done prior to working with your child the first time.

While it may seem overwhelming if your child was born with a cleft, do know that these are always repairable. Talk with your healthcare team and know that they are all there to help you, and help your child achieve the best possible outcomes. Include your dentist in the team as you move forward, and they will also be there to help you as you move through this process.


Pediatric Dentistry

As a parent, you may have applauded the end of the winter vacation. The kids are back in school, and you are back to your daily routine.  Until the dreaded ‘parent / teacher’ letter shows up one day, saying that your son or daughter seems to not be paying attention in class.

A common cause for a loss of concentration in school is tooth decay.  After seeing your pediatrician, make an appointment to see a pediadrict dentist. If there are no medical reasons that your child is not paying attention, and especially if this is a new problem, the cause may simply be that your son or daughter has a toothache.

Annually, in the United States, tooth aches and tooth decay account for over 50 million lost days at school. Tooth decay is an infectious disease, and while your son can not pass this to his friend in school, tooth decay will spread to other teeth if not treated promptly.

Tooth decay causes cavities in children. If these cavities are caught promptly, they are easy to fill and treat.  Other problems that may arise if a child has tooth decay is a new problem in speaking or eating.

There are ways to prevent tooth decay, but if your child is experiencing new concentration problems at school, consider adding in a visit to your dentist as you try to determine the cause.  Until then, encourage your child to brush twice daily, floss at least once a day, and help them by encouraging a healthy diet. One of the best ways a parent can help build good dental habits is by displaying these habits themselves. Parents are great examples of what to do (and not to do!). Help your child by making good brushing and flossing part of your daily routine in your home.


How to Keep Your Children’s Teeth Healthy

Congratulations!  You are a proud new parent.  While this is an exciting time, it is also one where you have many questions and concerns.  One may be how to keep your infant’s teeth and gums healthy.

One thing you may not realize is that healthy gums and gum care should begin at birth.  Just as a parent feeds and diapers baby, they should also help develop good oral hygiene right from the start.

There are several things a parent can do to help keep baby’s gums and future teeth healthy:

  1. Never share saliva. Don’t lick after baby’s spoons or her pacifier as adult saliva has bacteria that is harder for baby to breakdown.
  2. After each feeding, parent’s should wipe baby’s gums off with a clean, damp cloth.
  3. As soon as your baby starts getting teeth, begin brushing with a toothbrush designed for children. Use a children’s toothpaste, and schedule her first dental appointment with a dentist that specializes in children’s dental care at this time.  Never use fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least two years old.
  4. Teach children to use only a small amount of toothpaste, and always supervise brushing until your child can safely spit out all toothpaste.  Flouride toothpaste should never be swallowed.  Children around the age of six or seven can usually spit out toothpaste and will not swallow.
  5. Use bottles just for formula and milk. Try to avoid putting sugary drinks in a bottle, and make sure that baby finishes her nighttime bottle before going to bed.  Never dip a bottle nipple or pacifier in sugary substances and allow baby to suckle on this at it can lead to gum disease and tooth decay in infants.
  6. Provide a colorful diet to your child as soon as she begins eating food. The greater the variety, the more healthy the diet.

By starting early, your baby will grow up with a healthy mouth and teeth and a delightful smile!


Preventing Tooth Decay in Babies

Congratulations! You are the proud parent of a new baby boy or girl.  It is never too soon to begin thinking about how to protect your child’s teeth and steps to take to keep your baby’s teeth healthy and strong.

Many parents believe that because they are called ‘baby’ teeth, and that they fall out, dental care is really not necessary until permanent (adult) teeth begin to come in.  This is not true. In fact, baby teeth are just as important as permanent teeth and are susceptible to cavities, decay and loss. Children need these baby teeth to help to learn to talk and speak, and to eat food and chew. The other important part of baby teeth is that if the first teeth are healthy and come in correctly, adult teeth will almost always do the same thing.

Many infants end up with tooth decay in the front of the mouth (the front teeth), and this is sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay. To help prevent tooth decay in your baby, there are several things that parents should do.

Try to limit or eliminate drinks that contain sugar. Most tooth decay is caused from frequent and long exposure to sugary drinks. Sugars are found in juices, so limit the amount of juice your child has. Never send baby to bed with her bottle, even if the bottle just has milk.  Milks and formulas also have sugars in them, and the constant and prolonged exposure to the bottle and liquid can cause cavities.

Never eat after your baby and then use that spoon for baby again. Adults have larger amounts of bacteria in their mouths, and this bacteria can cause frequent and numerous cavities in babies.

If baby uses a pacifier, do not dip the pacifier in syrup or other sugars to help quiet a ‘fussy’ baby. While this may work for a bit, it leads to cavities and tooth and gum disease in the infant.

The good news is that tooth decay in babies is completely preventable. Schedule your infant’s first visit with a pediatric dentist when their first teeth begin to appear.  In this way baby becomes used to seeing the dentist and it is just a routine visit.


Pediatric Dental Care

Early children’s dental care is an important part of establishing a lifelong healthy smile. Tooth development begins during pregnancy and continues into a person’s late 20s, so early preventive care is essential.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents take their child to the dentist at the time their first tooth erupts or before they turn one year of age. The primary focus of these appointments is to reduce a child’s anxiety when it comes to visiting the dental office.

It’s a common belief that tooth decay in a baby tooth does not need to be treated because the tooth will simply fall out. This may be true if the tooth is already near the age of exfoliation. However, baby teeth act as placeholders, which guide the development and eruption of the permanent tooth underneath. Premature loss of a baby tooth can cause collapse of the adjacent teeth, resulting in crowding or the inability of the permanent tooth to erupt. Untreated tooth decay can also spread through the baby tooth and reach the developing permanent tooth. Baby teeth decay at a much quicker rate than permanent teeth, so early intervention to dental disease is extremely important.

One method to help reduce the risk of tooth decay in permanent molars is to place a preventive sealant on the chewing surface of the teeth. This coating makes the grooves and pits of the teeth more shallow and easier to clean through simple toothbrushing.

Your child’s first visit will usually consist of just an exam and consultation. If your child is comfortable they may also enjoy having their pictures taken as well as their teeth cleaned.


Baby Dental Care

At what age should you take your child to the dentist for the first time?

According to a recent survey by the American Dental Association, three out of four people who were asked this question had no idea. It would also stand to reason that very few people also would not know what kind of dental care regimen a baby should have.

For infants and toddlers, the ADA recommends the following dental care program:

A child’s first visit to the dentist should occur within six months after the first tooth appears or before the child’s first birthday, whichever is sooner.  A pediatric dentist is the best choice for young children’s dental care.

Dental hygiene should begin as soon as just a few days after birth. After your infant eats, take a clean, moist cloth and wipe the gums.

As soon as the first tooth breaks through the gums – usually around six months – brush with a small toothbrush and water.

When the child turns two, you can start to use a small pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Teach them to spit out the toothpaste and not swallow it. Continue to brush the child’s teeth for them until you feel they can do it on their own.

When the child has two teeth that touch together, you can begin flossing.

Pacifiers should never be dipped in sugar or sugary juices, as they can cause tooth decay. It is also not a good idea for an adult to lick a pacifier and put it in the baby’s mouth, as decay-causing bacteria from the adult’s mouth can be transferred to the baby.

The ADA has a great website called Mouth Healthy, which outlines recommended dental care for all ages, from infants to the elderly.  It is always important to remember, however, that if you or your child is experiencing any pain or discomfort with your teeth, you should seek out the services of a reputable dentist right away.


Tips for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Taking children to the dentist can be tricky, and this is especially true for a child’s first dental visit. Some children find it hard to sit still at the dentist and may behave disruptively, running around or touching things in the dentist’s office. Alternatively, some children can feel anxious or intimidated in new situations or interacting with strangers and will not immediately warm up to the person in the white coat. Furthermore, sharp-looking, noisy dental instruments can be frightening to children who have been known to throw tantrums or have meltdowns once seated in the dental chair.

If you are a caregiver who is planning to take a youngster to the dentist for the first time, here are some things you can do to ensure that your child gets the best out of his or her treatment and the visit goes as smoothly as possible.

1)      Choose a kid-friendly dentist

Some dental practices are more kid-friendly than others. You can call beforehand to find out what amenities the dental practice offers for kids, e.g. kids waiting room/play area, stickers, child-sized dental chairs etc. Taking your child to a pediatric dentist rather than to a general dentist is recommended since pediatric dental facilities provide child-friendly environments, and the dental staff is trained to work with children.

2)      Orient the child beforehand

Calmly discuss the upcoming visit with your child. This will satisfy your child’s curiosity and also help them to feel prepared. During a first visit, the dentist will usually do a physical examination, take x-rays, and perhaps do a dental cleaning. Let your child know what will be expected of them. Also, prepare your child to like the dental practitioner by painting the dentist as a nice person who likes children. Build up positive associations in your child’s mind so that dental visits don’t seem scary or even that big of a deal. Some dental practices offer office tours and taking the child on one beforehand is a good way to orient them to the new environment.

3)      Communicate with the dentist

Let the dental staff know up front of any allergies your child has, as well as any habits that might affect their oral health e.g. thumb sucking. You should let the dentist know of any concerns you have regarding your child’s ability to receive dental care.

4)      Stay with your child

It’s important for parents to stay in the examining room with younger children. This allows you to offer moral support and be a comforting presence for your child. By staying in the examining room, you’re also able to observe the dental staff in action and make sure you are comfortable with the way care is being delivered.


Dental Treatment and Baby Teeth

If you’ve ever had a child with a cavity that needed to be filled, you’re probably asked “Why? Isn’t that tooth going to fall out anyway?” This is a wonderful question that most parents have asked to their child’s dentist. While baby teeth are made to eventually fall out, they also play an important role in the development of the permanent tooth forming underneath.

Baby teeth act as a placeholder for the tooth underneath. When a tooth is lost prematurely, the adjacent teeth can shift into the space, making it too small for the underlying tooth to erupt into. This causes crowding or impacted teeth requiring orthodontic intervention to correct. In some cases where the tooth is decayed too badly and must be extracted, a temporary space maintainer should be put in place.

Because baby teeth are less dense than permanent teeth, they decay at a much faster pace. Even a small cavity that is not addressed early on can quickly become an abscessed tooth requiring treatment involving the nerve and the placement of a temporary crown in order to retain the tooth. Early intervention allows treatment to be smaller and less expensive.

When decay is left untreated, it can cause the dental infection to spread into the area of the permanent tooth as well as other areas of the body. In rare cases, dental abscesses that are not treated can contribute to other conditions such as pneumonia, endocarditis and abscesses of the brain.

The best way to prevent severe dental problems in your children’s teeth is to have them checked early on and regularly to address any needs. Young children should be seen by a pediatric dentist.  The AAPD recommends a dental screening for your child by age 1 or when the first tooth erupts.

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