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At Willow Pediatric Dentistry, we always welcome and encourage any questions you may have about your child's oral health. When you express your questions and concerns, it allows us to provide personalized care that is right for you and your child. Our mission is to provide excellent oral care in a relaxing, comfortable, and safe environment for kids, ensuring a positive dental experience that best fits each individual’s needs.
We invite you to review the answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question not listed here, please contact our office and we would be happy to help.
Sippy cups should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup. It is recommended that ONLY WATER be used in sippy cups throughout the day. Mealtimes are the best time to have any other drink including milk and/or juice.
Drinking liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks, pop, etc.) throughout the day, encourages demineralization of teeth. It takes the mouth approximately twenty minutes to naturally cleanse sugary liquids from the teeth with saliva.
Six month routine check-ups with your pediatric dentist are the best way to monitor the condition of your child’s teeth and to ensure cavities are not developing.
Sports drinks contain high levels of acid and sugar content causing erosion of enamel, the outermost layer of the tooth. As the enamel wears thin, teeth come more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Children should avoid sports drinks and hydrate with water to minimize dental problems, sports drinks can be as bad as soda for your teeth!
If a sports drink is consumed to replace lost electrolytes after physical activity or exercise, below are some tips to help reduce teeth damage:
* limit frequency
* use a straw to minimize contact with the teeth
* swallow immediately and do not swish around
If you have dental concerns or questions related to sports drink consumptions, please contact our office.
X-rays are a vital and necessary part of your child's dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed because they cannot be seen during visual examination. X-rays not only detect cavities, but they are also used to evaluate injury, to track the progress of dental development or plan for orthodontic treatment. Dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you if dental problems are found and treated early.
With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. In fact, the x-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected dental problem. The equipment used today restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest and filters out unnecessary x-rays. High-speed film and lead aprons assure that your child receives minimal amount of radiation exposure.
Dr. Jody is trained to manage a wide spectrum of dental emergencies and is committed to providing the best pediatric dental care. The information below is to help guide you when being presented with some of the most common dental emergencies. Please remember to stay calm and contact us with any questions.
There are several different causes for a toothache - a few of them are listed below:
* Tooth decay (cavity)
* Tooth fracture
* Infected gums
* Abscessed tooth
* Tooth or gum injury
Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and clean the area thoroughly to make sure there is no food trapped in the tooth or gums. If the pain still exists, over the counter motrin or tylenol may be given (as long as they are not allergic or have any other contraindications for these medicines). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight. Do not use aspirin or heat on the gum or tooth.
If there is significant facial swelling, swelling that involves the eye or under the jaw line or if the child has trouble breathing or swallowing go to the local emergency room or urgent care facility.
If your child is experiencing a toothache, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth
The baby tooth should never be replanted because of the potential damage to the developing permanent tooth. If needed, over the counter motrin or tylenol may be given (as long as they are not allergic or have any other contraindications for these medicines). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight.
If bleeding cannot be stopped with pressure or there is excessive bleeding please take your child to the emergency room.
If your child has knocked out a baby tooth, please call the office to set up an appointment.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth
Time is very important with avulsed adult teeth. Locate the tooth and rinse it in cold water by holding it at the top and not the root end. Do not scrub or clean the tooth with soap. If possible, reinsert it back into the socket and hold it in place with a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If you are unable to hold the tooth in place, place it in a cup of milk or saliva and bring it to the office. Contact our office immediately - time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
If you cannot reach our office within 15-30 minutes, please seek treatment at the local emergency room so the tooth may be reimplanted and have a higher chance for long term success. Reimplanting the tooth should happen as soon as possible and ideally within one hour of avulsion.
The teeth affected may be splinted to the neighboring teeth for approximately 7-10 days. Depending on the tooth and its development, the tooth may need a root canal within 7-10 days. The tooth will require several follow-up appointments and there may be an incident where it is not recommended to replant the tooth because of the time out of the mouth is excessive. We are unable to guarantee a successful outcome for the tooth.
Bitten Tongue or Cheek
Place a cold compress on the area to keep the swelling down. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure to the area with a clean cloth. If there is a lot of bleeding or the bleeding can’t be controlled with constant pressure after 20-30 minutes, call the office or take the child to the emergency room.
Chipped or Cracked Tooth
If the cause of the chipped or cracked tooth was a serious accident, look for the following warning signs and go to the emergency room and call your pediatrician.
* Bleeding from the ears or nose
* Loss of consciousness or having passed out
* Changes in vision
If your child does not have any of those signs present, inspect your child’s mouth to see what tooth is chipped or cracked. Rinse the mouth with warm water and place a cold compress on the face to reduce swelling. If you are able to locate the broken piece, bring it with you to our office. Once you are in the office, we will be able to recommend the best method of treatment.
If needed, over the counter motrin or tylenol may be given (as long as they are not allergic or have any other contraindications for these medicines). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight.
Please call our office to schedule an appointment.
An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the root caused from an infected tooth due to trauma or a deep cavity. The abscess may form as a pimple or bubble on the soft tissues of the mouth. If you are concerned your child may have an abscess, call our office to schedule an appointment. If left untreated, an abscess can progress to a serious, life-threatening bacterial infection. Once you are in the office, we will take a dental x-ray and recommend the best method of treatment.
If needed, over the counter motrin or tylenol may be given (as long as they are not allergic or have any other contraindications for these medicines). Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing based upon your child’s age/weight. If there is significant facial swelling, swelling that involves the eye or under the jaw line or if the child has trouble breathing or swallowing go to the local emergency room or urgent care facility.
Broken Braces or Wires
If a broken appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If it’s not easily removed, cover the sharp portion with chewing gum, a cotton ball or orthodontic wax. If the wire is stuck in the tongue, gums or cheek, do not remove it. Contact your orthodontist or provider who place the appliance. A loose or broken appliance which is not causing any pain or discomfort does not usually require emergency attention.
Severe Blow to the Head
Call 911 immediately or take your child to the nearest emergency room.
Possible Broken Jaw
Keep the jaw from moving with a towel or handkerchief and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Take your child to the nearest emergency room.
Fostering a well balanced and healthy diet for children from an early age helps form habits that result in a lifetime of strong teeth. Teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth need a well balanced diet like the rest of the body.
Make sure to feed your child a variety of foods from the five major food groups. You can lessen the risk of dental caries and oral decay by limiting your child's intake of certain foods that can contain a lot of sugar such as sweetened sugar drinks and juices, sticky foods, candy, and things that get stuck in the tops of the teeth. Choose nutritious snacks such as fruits and vegetables and avoid frequent snacking. The more frequent your child snacks, the greater chance for tooth decay.
If you have questions regarding healthy food for the teeth, please ask your dentist and hygienist.
Our staff is well trained to treat children of all ages and special needs. Every child goes to the dentist with a set of unique needs and will be treated as if they were our own. Each time you visit our modern, kid-friendly office, you will be greeted with our friendly and caring staff. Our mission is to provide excellent oral care in a relaxing, comfortable, and safe environment for kids, ensuring a positive dental experience that best fits each individual’s needs.
Depending on your child's age, cognitive ability and needs, we tailor fit our approach using many different types of behavior management tools. Our child waiting room is equipped with toys and books and we have TV’s in every treatment room. We use positive reinforcement to educate your child while completing the necessary treatment and dental terminology appropriate for your child to understand. For our younger patients we do knee to knee exams and tell-show-do. If needed, we offer appointments with nitrous oxide, conscious sedation or general anesthesia.
Establishing communication and trust with you and your child is our top priority. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to provide you and your child with a more positive and enjoyable experience.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for babies and young children - it may provide a sense of comfort, happiness or security. More often than not, children stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of two and four.
Children can be at risk for dental and/or growth complications if thumb sucking persists. This of course depends on many factors including how strongly the child sucks on a finger/thumb/pacifier and how many hours a day. It is recommended that a child stop sucking by age 2-3 and certainly by the time the permanent front teeth erupt to allow for proper growth of skeletal aspects of the face and dental alignment. Constant pressure of a thumb resting on the gums could interfere with the normal tooth eruption and jaw growth. The pressure can cause the teeth to flare outward and the upper and lower teeth don’t align, causing a condition called open bite. If you have concerns about thumb sucking, please contact the office.
Pacifiers may also affect a child’s teeth in the same way as thumb or finger sucking. Watch that the pacifier is resistant to breakage, does not pose an airway obstruction hazard, is kept clean, and not tied around the child’s neck. Replace a pacifier that shows any signs of wear.
Below are some suggestions to help break the habit:
- Help your child become aware of their habit.
- Children have different triggers for thumb sucking such as boredom, anxiety, comfort, etc. Try to help eliminate those triggers.
- We would be more than happy to speak with your child about thumb sucking - we are experts in explaining why it’s important to discontinue this harmful habit
- Use positive reinforcement to encourage your child not to suck their thumb - a game, reward, a treat or anything else your child enjoys. Offer gentle reminders and praise them when they stop.
- At nighttime, wrap your child’s hands in gloves, mittens or clean socks and use positive reinforcement when the child wakes up with a dry hand.
- If necessary, we can fit your child for a special oral appliance called a tongue crib or a bluegrass appliance. This physically stops them from being able to suck their thumb and is good for children who want to stop sucking but need a reminder.
Make an appointment today to discuss your concerns
The American Dental Association and all pediatric dentists encourage children, adolescents, and adults to abstain from all forms of tobacco use. Tobacco use in any form brings the oral region into direct contact with cancer causing agents called carcinogens. Irreparable damage to oral health can be caused by these harmful chemicals and carcinogens. Smoking can reduce smelling and tasting abilities, stain the teeth, result in oral cancer, compromise recovery after oral surgery and increase the risk of contracting periodontal disease.
If your child is a tobacco user, below are some early signs of oral cancer:
* pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the lips and mouth
* a mouth sore that won’t heal
* trouble swallowing, chewing or moving the tongue or jaw
* a red or white patch that does not go away
* a change in the way the teeth fit together
Oral cancer can be treated if it’s caught early. If you have questions or concerns about your child using tobacco, please contact our office.
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a fairly common pediatric dental problem.
During sleep, there of three types of bruxism that exist; clenching, grinding and a combination of the two. The most common type is grinding. Possible causes of teeth grinding at night include, but are not limited to:
- Stress or anxiety due to a change in the environment (divorce, a recent death in the family or change in school, etc)
- Misaligned or crowded teeth that can cause interference between the upper and lower teeth
- Sleeping issues including heavy snoring or even sleep apnea
- Internal conditions such as systemic earache pain or other discomfort
Children are not usually aware that they clench and grind their teeth while sleeping. Some do not even notice if they are daytime grinders. Some of the most common signs of teeth grinding are:
- Visibly worn teeth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw tenderness
In most cases, there is no treatment required. Teeth grinding decreases between the ages of 6 and 9. Most children stop grinding their teeth between the ages of 9 and 12. If you are concerned your child is grinding their teeth, please contact our office to schedule an evaluation. If excessive teeth grinding is found, a nightguard may be recommended or a consultation for an airway evaluation.
Occasionally, an adult tooth comes in before your child's baby tooth falls out. It may come in behind or in front of the baby tooth. Don’t be alarmed - this is a very common occurrence with children. Encourage your child to wiggle out the baby tooth on their own. If the adult tooth is more than halfway in or if the baby tooth is not wiggly at all, contact our office so we can do an examination to determine if your child needs help getting the tooth out.
A papoose board is a temporary medical stabilization board used to limit a patient’s movement to decrease risk of injury while allowing safe completion of dental treatment. Protective stabilization also known as a papoose board is used only when necessary. It is always discussed with and approved by parents before the safety device is used. When needed, this stabilizer is much less traumatic than restraining your child using several adults and has less chance for injury to the patient, practitioner and staff.
A pediatric dentist specializes in the oral healthcare of children, from infancy through the teenage years and has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school. They have been trained to monitor and guide dental development, which is important for the overall growth of a child’s permanent teeth. Every child goes to the dentist with a set of unique needs. Pediatric dental offices are dedicated to providing children with the best service possible through personalized care.
Fluoride varnish is a topical fluoride used to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, fluoride is a safe and effective supplement in reducing the risk of caries and reversing enamel demineralization.
Fluoride is painted on the tooth surfaces with a soft brush. It forms a sticky covering over the tooth and becomes hard as soon as saliva in the mouth touches it. Application is quick and painless. Fluoride varnish is offered in several different flavors.
Your child can eat and drink right away. We recommend that your child stays away from sticky or chewy foods and does not brush or floss for 4 hours after application. If you have any questions about fluoride varnish, please contact our office.
Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Evaluating the many brands of toothpaste can be an overwhelming task. Many toothpastes contain harsh abrasives, which can wear away tooth enamel. Purchase a toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association; their seal of approval can be located on the toothpaste box and tube. It’s important to choose a toothpaste that has been approved as safe and effective. If you have any questions or concerns about choosing an appropriate brand of toothpaste, contact our office and we would be happy to help.
The best kind of toothpaste is the one you will use!
Struggling with your child to brush their teeth is a very common problem. It is important for you to stay calm and be cheerfully persistent. Below are a few suggestions to help your child get excited about brushing their teeth.
* allow your child to pick out their own toothbrush
* brush together
* make it fun - dance or sing
* set up a reward system
* brush your child’s teeth and allow them to brush yours
It’s important to make teeth brushing part of your child’s daily routine, because being healthy should not be an option. If you have any questions or concerns regarding brushing, please feel free to contact us.
Prevention is Key
The front two lower teeth usually erupt around six months old. This can vary from babies that are born with teeth to those who do not get their first tooth until they are a year old. Usually all twenty baby teeth will have erupted by age three.
As soon as you see their first tooth - start brushing daily!
As an infant, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft wet gauze or washcloth. This should be done after every night feeding, whether breast or bottle fed. There are soft infant toothbrushes that should be used at bedtime with a small smear of toothpaste, no larger than a grain of rice. At three years of age, you may increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea sized amount. Have the child spit out the excess paste.
Help your child to brush until they are at least 6 years old and then supervise brushing until they can consistently do a great job and clean all areas. You may want to use disclosing tablets or rinse so that you and your child can see areas that need improvement. This may last until the child is 8 to 10 years old and there is no plaque remaining on the teeth after brushing.
BRUSHING: Always use an extra soft or soft toothbrush. The brush should be positioned at a 45 degree angle towards the gums but should not be on top of the gums. Using a circular motion, brush the front of each tooth and then do the same thing on the inner surface of the teeth. Finally brush the tops of the teeth. Brushing your child's tongue will help to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
FLOSSING: Floss cleans the areas of the teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Children may need help with flossing for an extended time, even up until age 10 or older. Disposable flossers have made this task easier and flossing should be done as soon as your child's teeth touch each other. For some children who are crowded, this may be very early in their life. This will help prevent cavities from forming between their teeth.
RINSES: A fluoride rinse can be added to the child’s oral hygiene routine at the time where they can spit it out reliably. If a child is at high risk for cavities, have them rinse their mouths just before bedtime and after their last drink of water. Rinse for 30 seconds if possible and then spit out the rinse. This is not meant as a substitute for brushing and flossing.
- Brushing your teeth helps prevent cavities by removing plaque. It also stimulates the gums which helps to prevent gum disease.
- Brush twice a day - once in the morning and once at night
- Replace the toothbrush once the bristles start to wear down or fray (usually between 3-4 months)
- Start caring for your baby’s gums right away. Gently wash them with a damp washcloth after feedings and before bedtime.
- Once your child’s teeth erupt, use a small head, soft bristled brush with toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice
- Ages 3 and over, you can use a pea-size amount of toothpaste
- Brush your children’s teeth until they are able to do a thorough job.
- Flossing helps remove the dental plaque and food particles in between your teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.
- Once your child’s teeth touch, it is time to start flossing. Your child will need your help until they are capable of doing this on their own.
- Floss your children’s teeth until they are able to do a thorough job.
There is no set age at which kids should start seeing an orthodontist, however, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child is screened by an orthodontist by age 7. Often early orthodontic intervention can help guide proper jaw development and allow proper room for normal eruption of the permanent teeth. Children tend to have better treatment outcomes when a problem is identified and corrected early on.
If you are concerned your child may need to see an orthodontist, contact our office to schedule a consult appointment.
The American Dental Association advises against the practices of cosmetic intraoral/perioral piercings and views this invasive procedure with negative health effects that outweighs any potential benefit. There are many risks involved with tongue piercings such as:
* blood poisoning
* bacterial infections
* chipped or cracked teeth
* heart infections
* chronic pain
* embedded oral jewelry
* damaged nerves
* brain abscess
Tongue piercings can have a serious (sometimes deadly) impact on health. If you have any questions or concerns regarding tongue piercings, please give our office a call.
A space maintainer is used to keep the space needed for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth (usually a molar) is lost early due to decay or injury. Once a primary tooth is lost, the teeth around it can begin to drift into the open space. If a space maintainer is not placed, the newly erupting permanent tooth could erupt in the wrong place leading to increased orthodontic treatment, periodontal problems or increased risk of cavities.
It is important to keep the appliance clean and to avoid sticky foods such as gum, taffy or gummy bears. If the space maintainer comes off prematurely, save it and call us for an appointment. Make sure to bring the spacer with you. Most insurance companies do not pay for a replacement. When the permanent tooth starts to erupt, bring your child in for an evaluation and we can determine if it’s time for the spacer to be removed.
Minimally Invasive Treatment
The inner, central core of the tooth is called the pulp or nerve of the tooth. The surgical removal of an inflamed pulp chamber in a child’s tooth is called a pulpotomy, also known as a baby root canal. A pulpotomy is a procedure used to maintain the integrity of the affected tooth, so the baby tooth is not lost until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Traumatic injury and dental cavities are the two main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy.
A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. A medicated material is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to seal the tooth. In most cases, a stainless steel crown is placed over the tooth to restore it. If you have any questions regarding a pulpotomy, please contact our office.
Comprehensive Dental Care
It is recommended that the child is done using a bottle or sippy cup by age 1. Sippy cups should only have water in them.