Maitland pediatric dentist

whitening kids teeth

When Should I Let My Child Whiten Their Teeth?

As your child loses his primary teeth and permanent teeth begin to erupt, you’ll probably notice that the secondary set isn’t as white as your child’s primary teeth. There’s nothing to worry about – it’s completely natural. Primary teeth are much whiter in appearance. However, this change often leads parents to ask about whether they should allow their child to whiten their teeth. As teens grow older and more self-conscious about their smile, they may be questioning their parent about whitening treatments as well. Here’s a closer look at when it’s okay to allow teeth whitening and a few alternatives to tooth whitening that can keep your child’s teeth looking bright and beautiful in the meantime.  

Dental Professionals Suggest Holding Off

While there’s not one specific age for when a child can whiten their teeth, dental professionals generally recommend that you have your child wait until somewhere between the ages of 14 to 18 years old. The reason for waiting is that dentists feel that the tooth pulp in permanent teeth should be fully formed before you try whitening to prevent tooth sensitivity and other complications. For most teens, the pulp is fully developed around age 15. Using a whitening treatment too early can damage gum tissue and break down tooth enamel in young adults.

You’ll probably even want to have your child hold off on using over-the-counter whitening options as well. Most OTC whitening products using hydrogen peroxide, and while it’s generally safe for adults, it hasn’t been proven safe for young adults. Teens are more likely to apply these products incorrectly and leave them on for too long, which increases the chance of adverse effects, such as burning gum tissue, tooth sensitivity, or even accidentally swallowing the bleaching product.

Alternatives to Tooth Whitening

Some kids and teens end up wanting to whiten their teeth after they have braces, while others simply want to feel better about their smile. Wearing braces often leaves behind some areas that are whiter than the rest of the teeth, which is normal. Until your dentist feels that it’s okay for your child to undergo whitening procedures, the following are a few great alternatives to tooth whitening that can help keep your child’s smile looking bright.

  • Skip Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth – If your child wants a whiter smile, teach your child to skip foods and drinks that can stain teeth. Many teens love sodas and sports drinks, and both of those options have the ability to stain teeth and cause cavities. Sugar loaded sweets, tea, and coffee can also make teeth look stained and discolored.
  • Try a Whitening Toothpaste – While allowing your child to try OTC whitening strips and trays may not be the best choice, whitening toothpastes can be safer. They’re a lot gentler on teeth and can gently whiten teeth just a bit. Although a whitening toothpaste won’t provide dramatic whitening results, it’s an option your child can try until they’re old enough for in-office whitening treatments.  
  • Get Your Child in for Routine Checkups and Cleanings – One of the most important things you can do to make sure your child’s smile looks brighter is to make sure they are seen for routine checkups and dental cleanings. Your child should be seen every six months, and a dentist can evaluate your child’s oral health and provide them with some care tips for a healthier, whiter smile. A professional clean will leave your child’s teeth looking fresh and beautiful, too.

Talk to your dentist about the best age to begin whitening treatments for your child. When your child is ready to have tooth whitening treatment, make sure you go into the dentist for professional bleaching instead of turning to over-the-counter options. Having the bleaching done by a dentist helps prevent many of the side effects that can come with whitening, such as tooth sensitivity and burns to soft tissue, and ensures that your child gets the best results.

fluoride

Should You Avoid Fluoride?

Fluoride is one of the most fiercely debated topics in the dental industry. Some people and dental professionals believe fluoride is something that should be considered an absolute “must have” while others believe that it should be avoided at all costs as it is toxic and harmful. These conflicting opinions make it difficult for many parents, who are just trying to keep their children healthy, to know what to do. That is why we are here to help.

We will take a closer look at what fluoride is, why it is commonly used in the dental industry, and explore whether or not you need to avoid it.

What Exactly is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is commonly found in water. This mineral has been shown to help improve people’s oral health by doing everything from preventing the spread of tooth decay to strengthening the teeth’s enamel and reversing early damage caused by cavities and decay.

There are a number of ways fluoride is consumed. Fluoride can be found in both tap water and bottled water, toothpastes you use, mouth rinses, and even as gels or supplemental tablets.

What is the Potential Problem with Fluoride?

People who have a problem with fluoride don’t have a problem with the actual mineral. Their problem is with the fact that people may be over-consuming fluoride. These people believe that consuming too much fluoride can cause a number of health problems from developmental delays to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

The concern over fluoride developed when people started to notice it is being added to so many things people consume on a daily basis. Since it is present in so many things it can be extremely easy for people to consume too much of it and potentially develop health problems.

Is My Child Getting Enough Fluoride?

Parents often come to us asking “is my child getting enough fluoride”. That is a question we can answer, but only after completing a complete dental exam. A dental examination will allow us to see the health of your child’s teeth. If there are noticeable problems, such as extensive tooth decay or weak enamel, it could be a sign your child is not getting enough fluoride.

Without conducting an exam on your child, the only way we can answer that question is by saying “it depends”. Depending upon the source of your drinking water your child may be getting enough fluoride and therefore you don’t really need the supplemental fluoride found in toothpastes, tablets, and mouth rinses.

Most of our patients live in or around Orlando, Florida. For these patients, there is a good chance that the tap water you give to your child has enough fluoride in it. However, different parts of Orlando get their water from different places, so there may be a chance that your child is not getting the proper amount of fluoride and may need use fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinses, or gels.

Some people don’t like the taste of tap water and prefer bottled water. While some bottled water may contain fluoride, it often does not contain enough to help improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums. To get enough fluoride, your child may need to use toothpastes or mouth rinses that are supplemented with fluoride or they may need to take supplemental fluoride tablets, which are available by prescription only.

Concerned about Fluoride? Talk to Your Dentist

We encourage parents who are concerned about the potential health risks of fluoride to talk with our pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist will ask you questions about the type of toothpaste is used and the type of water that is consumed. The answers you provide along with a visual examination of your child’s teeth will help our dentist assess whether your child is getting too little, too much, or just the right amount of fluoride.

Wish to discuss whether or not you should avoid fluoride? Call The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child and to have the opportunity to talk with one of our experienced dentists about fluoride.

 

laughing gas

Laughing Gas in Pediatric Dentistry

While it has a funny name, laughing gas is a seriously safe and effective procedure that helps your child stay relaxed during a dental procedure. Laughing gas helps your child tolerate dental procedures so he or she gets the most out of dental care without all of the worries.

About Laughing Gas

Dentists and other health professionals refer to laughing gas as nitrous oxide (NO).

Laughing gas is a type of sedation dentistry, which is an approach that uses sedatives to help manage anxiety and other special needs when a person receives dental care. Sedation dentistry is helpful when a child must undergo especially long procedures or multiple procedures, has a high fear of dental care, finds it hard to sit still or who has special needs. Laughing gas is helpful during procedures that may be mildly uncomfortable, and for dental care that requires your child to sit very still for a long time. Sedation dentistry is also helpful for kids that have strong gag reflexes.

Nitrous oxide is a very safe, mild sedative that helps your child stay relaxed while he or she undergoes dental procedures. Your child will be able to respond normally to commands while under the effects of laughing gas. Laughing gas has only a small effect on reflexes, so it does not affect coughing, blinking or other protective reflexes.

Laughing gas is safe and effective, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Nitrous oxide does not change your child’s blood pressure, pulse or other vital signs. When administered at recommended levels, nitrous oxide has a superior safety record with no recorded fatalities or significant problems. Safety is always important to you and to your child’s dentist.

It is important to note that laughing gas only provides a relaxing effect – it does not cause your child to go to sleep. The relaxing effects of nitrous oxide will last for up to six hours after administration.

Furthermore, nitrous oxide does not control discomfort or pain during or after the dental procedure. The dentist will control pain by injecting a numbing agent directly into the treatment area. Your child’s dentist will recommend pain relievers as needed to control discomfort related to the procedure.

What Happens During Administration of Laughing Gas

There are no special preparations for laughing gas, except you should limit your child to only a light meal before undergoing the procedure.

To administer laughing gas, the dentist uses a “space mask” that carries a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. The dental professional will ask your child to breathe in the mixture through his or her nose, rather than through their mouth. Your child may notice a faint, sweet smell.

The sedation should take effect after about 5 minutes. The dentist will leave the mask on your child’s face throughout the entire procedure. While your child is awake during the whole procedure, he or she will experience happy feelings throughout.

The dentist will turn off the laughing gas when the procedure is over. Your child will then breathe in pure oxygen for approximately 5 minutes, just to air out any nitrous oxide remaining in his or her lungs.

Your boy or girl will be able to return to normal activity right away unless he or she underwent a procedure that requires a few hours of quiet time. Most children feel fine after having laughing gas and are even enthusiastic about the “space ride” after they wear the “space mask.”

Some kids say they feel light-headed or a tingly feeling in their arms and legs. Others say their arms and legs feel heavy. These feelings disappear quickly after the laughing gas helps the child feel calm and comfortable. The sensations fade completely after the dentist removes the mask.

For more information about laughing gas in pediatric dentistry, ask your child’s dentist. The more you know about sedation dentistry and other dental procedures, the more your child can gain from dental care.

 

mouth guards

Mouth Guards for Your Grinder

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is relatively common in children, and the Cleveland Clinic estimates between 15-33% of children grind their teeth. Although many children outgrow it, it does have the potential to cause damage to your child’s teeth, resulting in cracked or loose teeth over time. The good news – in many cases a mouth guard can offer an excellent solution to grinding to protect your grinder’s teeth.

Signs Your Child is Grinding

Many parents realize their child is grinding because they hear their child loudly grinding while they’re sleeping. However, even if you haven’t heard it, other signs may indicate that your child is a grinder, such as:

  • Pain while chewing
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Complaining of facial pain or jaw pain
  • Tooth pain
  • Earaches
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Wear on teeth discovered by a dentist

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Many different things can cause bruxism in children, and some of the most common cause include:

  • Stress – Stress is the most common cause of teeth grinding in both children in adults. Children often have a tougher time verbalizing their problems, and grinding can be a sign that something is bothering them.
  • The Eruption of New Teeth – Sometimes the eruption of new teeth can result in discomfort and pain that causes grinding in children.
  • Misalignments – If your child’s teeth aren’t properly aligned, bruxism may occur.
  • Tension Headaches – Some studies have shown that bruxism is more common in children who get tension headaches.
  • Pain – The pain from a cold, ear infection or other illness may result in grinding, particularly at night.

Effects of Grinding on Children

While teeth grinding may be common, it can have some adverse effects. Some of the dangers of bruxism may include:

  • Lack of Good Sleep – Grinding at night is actually considered a sleep disorder, and it can disrupt your child’s sleep.
  • Damage to Teeth Enamel – Over time, continual grinding may wear down the enamel on your child’s teeth. Eventually, this can lead to the exposure of the dentine layer, making the tooth more prone to damage and decay. In some cases, teeth may crack or become loose.
  • Headaches and Pain – Bruxism also has the potential to cause headaches, jaw pain, ear pain, and facial pain. If it’s not treated, it can have a negative impact on your child’s quality of life.

Mouth Guards as a Solution for Grinding

In many cases, bruxism will disappear as your child grows. However, if it’s turning into a problem and putting your child’s oral health at risk, talk to your dentist about a mouth guard. Your dentist will be able to tell if grinding is causing damage and can prescribe a mouth guard to be worn at night to keep your child’s teeth protected. Keep in mind, since your child is still growing, the mouth guard may need to be replaced from time to time to ensure it fits properly as your child grows. It’s also important to realize that a night guard isn’t a cure for grinding – it only helps protect your child’s teeth from further damage.

Other Ways to Stop or Prevent Grinding

A mouth guard for your grinder can prevent damage to their teeth. There are other steps you can take to try to stop or prevent grinding, such as:

  • Talking to Your Child’s Pediatrician – Discuss grinding with your child’s pediatrician as well as your dentist. They may be able to try to find out what’s bothering your child or point you in the right direction for further help.
  • Relax Your Child Before Bed – Try doing things before bed that will relax your child, such as playing relaxing music, giving them a warm bath, or reading a bedtime story together. A glass of warm milk or some gentle stretching may also prove helpful.
  • Talk to Your Child – Ask your child about feelings of stress or anxiety. Helping them communicate their feelings and working to relieve their stress levels may help.

It’s never a good idea to ignore teeth grinding in your child. Severe grinding can cause tooth loss or even lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which causes pain and other symptoms. If your child is grinding, book an appointment with your pediatric dentist right away so you can address the problem before it causes damage to your child’s teeth.

 

first lost tooth

Your Child’s First Lost Tooth

“Mommy, my tooth is loose!” is a phrase parents both dread and welcome. Indeed, this bittersweet milestone means your child is growing up, officially leaving the preschool years behind.

But since the process can also be a little bit scary for kids, assure them that it’s a natural process that everyone goes through. Here are some things that will help you explain the process to your child.

Why do kids lose their baby teeth?

Children lose their baby teeth to make room for permanent teeth, which continue to come in until your child is a late teen. The wisdom teeth, or third molars, are typically the last teeth to erupt.

Your child will have 20 teeth by the time he or she is three years old. The baby teeth typically start getting loose as the root dissolves and the permanent teeth start pushing up from underneath. They usually fall out in the same order they came in. For the grand majority of kids, the bottom two center incisors are the first to come in and the first to fall out. The top two incisors usually follow.

Teeth usually start falling out around the age of six, though some kids may be as young as four. If your child’s teeth start getting loose much before four, consult your dentist. Conversely, it’s not all that unusual for a child to have not lost a tooth by the age of seven or even eight. This is usually not a problem, but you should consult your dentist to be sure.

What happens when a tooth becomes loose?

When your child notices his tooth is loose, encourage him to gently wiggle it using his tongue or finger. Don’t on yank the tooth or pull it forcefully. Wait until it’s ready to fall out on its own. Pulling a tooth out makes its root vulnerable to infection and could damage the gum. Remember, it may take several months for a tooth to come out, even with a good amount of wiggling and twisting. If a tooth simply won’t come out, your dentist may need to provide assistance. This is rarely required through.

Reassure your child that losing a baby tooth will not hurt. It will likely bleed a little. Encourage your child to rinse his or her mouth with water. When the space opens up, it will likely feel strange for a few hours. But your child will quickly become accustomed to the empty space.

Timeline for losing teeth

While the first teeth usually come out around age six, the rest of the baby teeth typically fall out on a schedule, too.

  • The upper and lower lateral incisors are lost between ages 7 and 8.
  • The upper and lower canines are lost between ages 9 and 12.
  • The upper and lower first molars are lost between ages 9 and 11.
  • The upper and lower second molars are lost between 10 and 12.

Other common questions

What if my child swallows the tooth?

Children often swallow baby teeth, especially the first one, as they may not have realized it was loose in the first place. If this happens, don’t worry! There’s no harm done. Just write a note to the tooth fairy explaining the situation. She’ll understand.

Why do the permanent teeth look so big?

Permanent teeth will look bigger and less white when compared to baby teeth. Remember, your child’s head will continue to grow, her teeth won’t. Eventually, her teeth won’t look too big for her mouth!

What are shark’s teeth?

Occasionally, a child’s permanent teeth will come in before the baby teeth fall out. This causes a double row of teeth, called shark’s teeth. The permanent teeth will push the baby teeth out of the way within a few weeks. If the double row lasts longer than three months, consult your dentist.

If you have more questions about losing baby teeth, contact our office at (407) 628-2286 in Maitland or (407) 593-8900 in St. Cloud.

 

dental x-rays

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?

As a parent, it’s normal to worry about exposing your kids to dangers. Perhaps that’s why so many moms and dads express concerns about their children having dental x-rays.

What are x-rays?

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that penetrates the body. An x-ray machine emits radiation through your body. Some of that radiation is absorbed by a digital detector or film located on the opposite side of the body. The resulting image of your bones, teeth, lungs, intestines or other bodily tissues provides doctors and dentists information needed to make a diagnosis or plan treatment.

Since x-rays involve radiation, it’s natural for parents to worry about the safety of dental x-rays. Rest assured, x-rays are extremely safe, only taken when necessary and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

How are dental x-rays used?

Parents often ask if x-rays are really necessary to maintain good oral health. In short, your child should have periodic x-rays. Children who have no permanent teeth and have never had a cavity may only need x-rays every 12-24 months; children who have had cavities in baby teeth probably need x-rays every six to 12 months. As more permanent teeth come in, children will need x-rays more frequently since it’s difficult to see decay between the teeth during a clinical exam.

In pediatric dentistry, we use x-rays to diagnose dental problems or to guide treatment. For example, x-rays allow us to:

  • See cavities between teeth,
  • Identify decay that can’t be seen with the naked eye,
  • See a child’s teeth that haven’t erupted yet,
  • Determine the size, position, and number of teeth that remain inside the gums,
  • Identify missing or extra teeth,
  • Confirm decay is not getting worse,
  • Establish a record of your child’s mouth that can be monitored over time,
  • Find infection in the mouth or teeth,
  • Monitor injuries as they heal,
  • Plan future orthodontic treatment.

Types of x-rays

There are four primary types of dental x-rays.

Bitewing x-rays allow us to see areas between the teeth. We can see where areas of decay may be starting. Kids normally don’t need bitewing x-rays until the teeth in the back of the mouth touch one another.

Periapical x-rays are used to see the entire crown and roots of three consecutive teeth. We’ll be able to see the tooth’s bone structure or any permanent teeth that are waiting to come in. These x-rays are also used to locate abscesses and identify gum disease.

Panoramic x-rays allow us to see all of your child’s teeth along with both jaw bones, the sinuses, and temporomandibular joints. These films can be helpful in assessing injuries or planning orthodontic treatment.

Occlusal x-rays show all the upper or all the lower teeth on one film. We sometimes use these instead of a panoramic x-ray or if a child can’t tolerate a bitewing x-ray.

Are x-rays dangerous?

No, x-rays are not inherently dangerous. We take every precaution to keep your children safe and limit exposure to radiation during dental x-rays. To limit radiation exposure, we place lead aprons and shields on your child’s body, and we use high-speed film and digital x-rays that limit the amount of radiation used during the test. Plus, we don’t take x-rays unless there’s a compelling reason to do so. We would never take x-rays as a matter of routine care.

And while x-rays are not dangerous, they can be uncomfortable for some children. With bitewing x-rays, the film must be held inside the mouth while the picture is taken. This can sometimes cause discomfort in little mouths.

If you have more questions about dental x-rays, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love the opportunity to discuss this topic with you in further detail before your child’s exam. Schedule an appointment by calling our office today at (407) 628-2286 in Maitland or at (407) 593-8900 in St. Cloud.

 

teaching kids to floss

Pro Tips for Teaching Kids to Floss

Flossing is important to healthy teeth and gums. Good flossing habits often begin in childhood, but many kids do not learn to floss regularly or to floss properly. This leaves kids at risk for dental problems later in life. Fortunately, you can help your young ones develop healthy flossing habits early for a lifetime of smiles.

Children should begin to floss when their teeth are large enough for their tooth surfaces to be next to one another. The easiest way to tell is to slide a piece of floss between your child’s teeth – if the floss sticks a little, the teeth are touching enough to benefit from flossing. You may be able to floss between some teeth but not between other teeth. Use an interdental brush, which is a type of very small toothbrush, to clean between teeth that are too far apart for flossing.

Teach Your Kids How to Floss Properly

  • Pull an 18” – 24” piece of dental floss from the container
  • Wrap each of the ends around your index and middle fingers to hold the floss
  • Hold the floss in a “C” shape and gently move the floss in a push-pull motion back and forth across the surface of your teeth; move the floss up and down to life food up and away from your gum line
  • Use a different section of floss for each tooth
  • Get your kids into the habit of flossing once each day

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Flossing – the Fun Way

Make a fake mouth

Flip an egg carton upside down or use a large plastic construction blocks to create fake “teeth.” Push modeling clay, bits of felt or yarn between the bumps of the egg carton or blocks to simulate food stuck between teeth. Let your child picking out the simulated food from between the fake teeth with floss. Show them how to scrape gently along the sides of the fake teeth to dislodge the simulated food.

Use peanut butter to show how brushing alone is not enough

Give your child a spoonful of peanut butter to use during the demonstration. Put on a rubber glove. Spread your fingers wide apart and tell your child to smear the peanut butter all over your hand. Next, put your fingers together and have the child try to remove the peanut butter with a toothbrush. Have the child dip the toothbrush in water as needed. Ask your little one to notice how the peanut butter stays in between your fingers, no matter how much he or she brushes.

Now, have your child try using floss to remove the peanut butter. Be sure to keep your fingers together. Point out that brushing is not enough to remove some food, like peanut butter, from between teeth so flossing is always necessary.

Encourage Flossing

Teaching your kids to floss is one thing – getting them exciting about flossing is quite another. Some kids resist adding new self-care items to their daily routine; others quit practicing healthy dental habits as they take over responsibility for their own hygiene. You can take steps to help kids adopt healthy flossing habits and continue flossing as they become adults.

Try some of the following pro tips to make flossing more enjoyable for kids.

  • Make flossing a family activity by letting your child watch you floss your teeth then encouraging your little one to floss his or hers
  • Let your child choose his or her floss or dental picks, which now come in kid-friendly styles
  • Play a favorite song or make up a “floss dance” to make flossing more fun
  • Watch your child floss and praise your kid when he or she does it right

Remind your youngster to floss every day, but try to avoid nagging. Try asking if your child has flossed as he or she is getting ready for bed. Try not to scold your kid if he or she forgot – instead, invite your child to floss at that time.

Ask your child’s dentist for more pro tips for flossing. Your child’s dentist can even perform a demonstration to help your little one get the most out of flossing. The earlier you instill good dental habits, the more likely your child will continue practicing them into adulthood.

 

pacifiers

Do Pacifiers Have an Effect on Your Child’s Teeth?

Sucking is a natural reflex for babies, and a pacifier is often very soothing to babies. Parents often use a pacifier to calm a baby that is upset and crying, and over time your baby may come to love sucking on a pacifier, even when he isn’t crying. However, it is possible for pacifiers to have an adverse effect on your child’s teeth. Although your child’s baby teeth are just temporary, they’re still very important and influence how their adult teeth will come in later. Here’s a closer look on the effects pacifiers can have on your child’s teeth, how you can avoid dental problems, and tips on how you can phase out the pacifier for good.

Dental Effects of Pacifiers

Pacifiers actually offer some great benefits for babies. They satisfy that natural sucking instinct of babies and provide comfort. Studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as well in babies between 1 and 6 months old. Unfortunately, overuse or long-term use of a pacifier can lead to dental problems. As your child matures and grows, the jaw is beginning to grow around anything that’s held inside of it regularly.

Some of the potential effects overuse of a pacifier can have on your child’s mouth and teeth include:

  • Front teeth begin to slant outwards
  • Bottom teeth start tilting inwards
  • Crooked teeth
  • Narrowing of the roof of your child’s mouth
  • Misalignment of the jaw, such as an underbite or overbite

Can You Avoid Dental Problems and Still Use a Pacifier?

If you use a pacifier correctly, your child can use it for comfort without developing problems. However, it’s still best to wean your child from the pacifier by the time they are two to prevent negative effects on the teeth. Many parents find it’s best to stop using a pacifier when your child is between 9-12 months old since it’s harder to break the habit once your child can crawl or walk, making it easy for them to search for it themselves.

Limiting pacifier use can help. Consider only offering it during sleeping times. This gives your child comfort, reduces the risk of SIDS, but still limits the risk for dental problems in the future.

How to Phase Out the Pacifier

Phasing out the pacifier is essential for your child’s oral health, but it’s not always easy to do. Here’s a look at a few tips that can help you break this habit.

  • Provide a Transitional Object – Many children love their pacifiers because they offer comfort. Offering your child a transitional object that provides comfort and security, such as a cuddly toy or blanket, can help with the transition.
  • Use Distractions – When your child wants the pacifier, try using distractions to change his train of thought. Try playing with a favorite toy, reading together, or another favorite activity.
  • Give Plenty of Praise – Positive reinforcement can go a long way when you’re trying to phase out a pacifier. Praise your child when they don’t use their pacifier to reinforce the action.
  • Soothe Your Child in Other Ways – When your child needs to be soothed, instead of offering the pacifier try comforting your child in other ways like rocking them or singing to them.
  • Avoid Negative Reinforcement – If your child does use the pacifier, avoid negative reinforcement. Don’t punish or scold your child, since these methods usually don’t work.
  • Rewards – Another form of positive reinforcement is offering rewards when your child chooses not to use a pacifier. Come up with a small reward that they’ll really appreciate.

Pacifiers have their place, and they do offer benefits, but they shouldn’t be used long term. Eventually, they have the potential to result in dental issues for your child, so it’s vital to nix the habit before it begins causing problems. Weaning your child from the pacifier can prevent problems, ensuring your child’s baby teeth develop properly to make way for a healthy set of adult teeth later in life.

 

early orthodontics

Signs Your Child Needs Early Orthodontics

Waiting until your child is in their early to late teens to get braces may be a mistake. Correcting dental problems with early orthodontic treatment can help you save money and improve your child’s overall orthodontic experience.

Not every child is in need of early orthodontic treatment. Learn some of the early signs that could indicate your child may be in need of some type of early orthodontic treatment.

Signs Early Orthodontic Treatment May be Necessary

Some of the signs that could indicate your child is in need of early orthodontic treatment include:

  • Teeth that appear to be growing in at weird angles or overlapping each other
  • Jaws that are misaligned
  • Difficulty chewing or talking due to the alignment of the mouth or jaw
  • Habitual biting of the cheek
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Jaws that make weird sounds, such as popping or cracking, when being moved
  • Losing baby teeth too early
  • Delays in losing baby teeth

What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment is sometimes referred to as Phase 1 orthodontic treatment or early orthodontic intervention. It is up to the dentist or orthodontist to determine which term they use, but they all describe the same type of treatment.

The goal of early orthodontics is to treat certain problems, such as overcrowded teeth or overbites, at a time when they are easier to correct. These problems are easier to correct at an early age – usually around 7 to 10 years old – because the bone in the body have not fully formed and therefore are more receptive to being shifted and moved around.

The type of treatment that is used for early orthodontic treatment will vary depending upon the problems your child needs to have corrected. Treatment options that are often used as part of early orthodontics include spacers, expanders, retainers, and braces.

After early orthodontic treatment, there will be a “rest” period for your child. The rest period allows your child’s body to continue to grow. Once the rest period is completed and your child’s permanent teeth have all grown in and settled, Phase 2 orthodontic treatment is started. This phase of orthodontic treatment shifts and realigns teeth so they are all in proper alignment.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

There are two main benefits of early orthodontic treatment: reduced time for future orthodontic treatment and it saves money.

Early orthodontic treatment can dramatically reduce the amount of time needed for future orthodontic treatment. Treatment time is reduced because people who have undergone early orthodontic treatment often do not need to undergo jaw surgery or have teeth extracted. These are popular procedures that often need to be performed when people wait until their permanent teeth have grown in to seek any type of orthodontic treatment.

In addition to reducing the amount of time it takes to complete future orthodontic treatment, early orthodontic treatment can help save you money. Future orthodontic treatment often costs less because it is less intense, shorter, and doesn’t require additional procedures such as surgeries or tooth extractions.

Want to Know if Your Child Needs Early Orthodontics? Schedule an Appointment with Your Local Pediatric Dentist

Think your child may be in need of early orthodontics? Call Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule a routine examination. During your child’s routine examination our pediatric dentists will not only conduct a complete oral examination to look for any possible dental problems, but they will assess if early orthodontic intervention is needed. If it is determined your child could benefit from early orthodontics, our dental staff will either provide treatment recommends or give you a referral to a local orthodontist.

Even if your child isn’t a candidate for early orthodontics at the time of their appointment, it doesn’t mean they will never need this type of treatment. Our dentists will assess the possible need for early interventional orthodontic treatment at every routine examination for your child. Conducting this type of assessment every examination allows us to catch orthodontic problems early on and provide quick, effective treatment for them.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a routine examination for your child.

 

halloween vs your kids teeth

Halloween vs. Your Kids’ Teeth

It’s finally October! Before you know it, Halloween will be here. It’s a favorite holiday with kids, but it can be a holiday that lands your child in the dentist’s chair for more fillings if you’re not careful. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Americans spend around $9 billion on candy every Halloween, and a lot of that candy ends up in the buckets of the millions of trick-or-treating children each Halloween. It’s easy to see why Halloween is a favorite holiday for many kids – who doesn’t love getting a bucket of candy to enjoy?

Unfortunately, there’s a Halloween Horror that comes with all of that Halloween candy – cavities. All the sugar found in candy feeds cavity-causing bacteria, putting your child at a higher risk for tooth decay. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your kids have to give up Halloween or candy, but it is important that you focus on making sure you keep your child’s teeth healthy when trick-or-treating comes around.

Don’t Deny Your Kids

First, don’t deny your kids the fun of Halloween. Depriving them of the Halloween experience and candy sends the wrong message, and it may make candy seem even more desirable to them. The last thing you want is for your kids to sneak candy or binge on candy when they get a chance. Letting them experience the holiday and the treats that come with it is fine. Just use the following tips to make sure that the sweets don’t take a toll on their dental health.

Have a Special Treat Time

Don’t let your kids eat Halloween candy all day. Then sugar just stays on their teeth all day feeding cavity-causing bacteria. Instead, choose a special treat time when they can have a couple of treats from their Halloween haul. They’ll learn about moderation and that they shouldn’t make sweets and all-day feast. When they know they’ll be able to have a treat at a specific time, they’ll be less likely to think about indulging throughout the day.

Know Which Treats are the Worst

Know which treats can do the most damage to your child’s teeth and have them avoid the worst ones. For example, caramels, sour candies, gummies, and anything that’s really sticky will stick on teeth, doing more damage. Have kids skip these treats as much as possible. Candy that melts away pretty quickly is a much better choice. Plain chocolate is one of the better options since it melts away instead of clinging to teeth or staying in the mouth for an extended period of time.

Let Kids See Plaque

Dentists often use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show the bacterial plaque that builds up on teeth. These products stain the plaque on teeth temporarily. You can purchase these products as well and use them as a visual lesson for your kids. They’ll be able to see how much plaque is building up on their teeth and it can show how good of a job they’re doing at brushing and flossing. Letting them see plaque themselves can be a helpful tool as you teach them the importance of limiting candy and brushing regularly.

Make Sure They’re Brushing Well After Treats

After your kids indulge in a Halloween treat, make sure they are brushing their teeth. It’s especially crucial for kids to brush before going to bed. Failing to brush at bedtime allows the sugar to sit on their teeth all night, doing more damage. Flossing well is essential too, making sure that kids get the bacteria that’s between teeth where they can’t reach with their toothbrush.

While you want your kids to have plenty of fun at Halloween, you do not want them to end up with a mouth full of cavities a few months later. Use these tips to focus on moderation this Halloween so your kids have a wonderful time without causing damage to their teeth.