Dental Tips Blog


Gaps Between Your Child’s Teeth

One of the most common concerns that parents have for their children’s teeth is when their teeth seem to have very wide spaces between them. The appearance of these gaps becomes something that the parent wants to have checked; to make sure their child isn’t going to have severe orthodontic problems, or is simply just concerned about the way this looks. Many people wind up asking “can we fix this?” or, “can my child have braces put on their baby teeth?” in order to close the spaces between them.

Thankfully, these spaces are a very good thing to have! Your child’s primary teeth are designed to be placeholders for their developing permanent teeth below. Since the permanent teeth are nearly twice the size of the baby teeth, more space is needed. If your child’s primary teeth were all immediately side-by-side, then the permanent teeth might not have enough space in the mouth to erupt properly. This natural space is intended by nature, protecting the eruption patterns of your child’s permanent teeth as they begin to erupt over the next several years.

Extra spacing also helps reduce your child’s risk to to develop tooth decay. Baby teeth develop cavities very easily, so cleaning between them is important. The added space between each tooth helps prevent bacteria and acids from eating into the tooth enamel, causing a cavity.

A true concern occurs when the primary teeth appear all lined up perfectly with no space between them. This can result in crowded permanent teeth, and a higher risk for tooth decay. Early intervention by your children’s dentist or orthodontist is an effective way to encourage proper growth modification and natural eruption patterns.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



What Should I Look for in a Children’s Dentist?

We spent lots of time researching and locating the best pediatricians for our child. Even in early pregnancy, we make sure that our baby gets the best nutrition and health care available. Selecting the best dentist for your child will greatly affect the way they smile for the rest of their lives, and parents understand that selecting the best dentist for their child takes some investigation to determine what the best choice is.

Find a dental team that creates a positive atmosphere for your child.

From very early on, your child’s experience with the dentist should be positive, in a relaxed setting that helps them feel comfortable throughout their entire experience. That doesn’t mean avoiding necessary care, but it does mean finding a children’s dental care provider whose team is dedicated to meeting the needs of their individual patients. A team that is patient, gentle, and understanding with your child can help make every visit one they look forward to.

Expect great communication from your child’s dental provider.

Understanding why your child may need certain treatments or therapies helps parents co-plan their child’s care along with the dentist. Many offices hurry the patients out and do not explain to the parent why or why not a particular treatment is needed. Instead, find a dentist who will sit down with you and discuss your child’s oral health, any findings that they have made, and why one treatment is preferred over another.

Look for an office that offers flexible scheduling.

Families are usually very busy when it comes to day-to-day activities. By finding an office that accommodates your schedule, you can expect to typically be seen when you need to be. If it’s hard to get an appointment for routine care, then it may be hard to be seen if your child experiences a dental emergency.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



What is a Space Maintainer?

A space maintainer is a small device that holds the space open between two teeth, where a baby tooth has been lost prematurely. Our teeth are designed to have specific growth patterns that guide the developing permanent teeth into a precise place. If a baby tooth, acting as a placeholder, is lost prematurely, then the growth pattern has the potential to be disrupted. Adjacent teeth may shift into the place due to nothing being there, and block (cause impaction) the permanent tooth below.

By placing a small temporary device in the area of the lost tooth, the space can be maintained for the developing permanent tooth to erupt properly. Sometimes these devices are called a “band and loop”, which is essentially a small metal band that goes around one of the teeth, with a thin wire loop extension out the side, butted against the tooth on the opposite side of the space. The open area of this maintainer allows the permanent tooth to begin to erupt without any interference. Once the permanent tooth begins to erupt, the temporary appliance is removed.

If your child has lost a tooth prematurely, having a space maintainer placed in their mouth is very easy to care for and should be done early as possible by your childrens dental care provider to prevent complex orthodontic needs later on. Some dentists, most pediatric dentists, and also orthodontic specialists place these devices. As with every tooth, proper brushing and flossing around the appliance is important to prevent tooth decay or gingivitis. It is perhaps one of the smallest orthodontic appliances that is used in modern dentistry, but has an extremely large impact on the health of your child’s developing smile.

Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental



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!


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.

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