Blossom Pediatric Dentistry

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Dental FAQ

Establishing a Lifetime of
Happy, Healthy Smiles

We know that dental care for children can raise a lot of questions, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ones we hear. Take a look and see if we’ve already answered your question. If not, feel free to give us a call or ask us at your next appointment. We’re always happy to help!

Pediatric dentists care for children of all ages. From first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they’re ready to move on to a general dentist. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents.

Your child’s first tooth will typically erupt between 6 and 12 months, although it is common to occur earlier. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Your child should have their first full set of teeth by their third birthday.

Permanent teeth start to appear around age 6, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors. The age of 8, is generally when the bottom 4 primary teeth (the lower central and lateral incisors) and the top 4 primary teeth (the upper central and lateral incisors) begin to fall out and permanent teeth take their place. The rest of the permanent teeth will start to come in around age 10. Permanent teeth can continue to erupt until approximately age 21. Adults have 32 permanent teeth including the third molars (called wisdom teeth).

Baby teeth are temporary; however, if a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can lead to other teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could cause crooked teeth and biting problems. Baby teeth are important to help with chewing and eating leading to proper nutrition.

One of the most common forms of early childhood caries is “baby bottle tooth decay,” which is caused by the continuous exposure of a baby’s teeth to sugary drinks. Baby bottle tooth decay primarily affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Early symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay are white spots on the surface of teeth or on the gum line, and tooth sensitivity. More severe symptoms can appear in advanced stages of baby bottle tooth decay, and include: brown or black spots on teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, fever, and bad breath. If your child shows any of these symptoms, you need to see your pediatric dentist immediately to prevent further, more complicated problems from occurring.

1 – Don’t send your child to bed with a bottle of anything EXCEPT water.
2 – Clean your baby’s gums after each meal.
3 – Gently brush your child’s first tooth.
4 – Limit sugary drinks and food.

If your child fractures a tooth, then gather any fragments you can find and store them in a clean container of milk, or saliva of the child that lost the tooth. Never use water to transport a broken or knocked out tooth. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped or knocked out teeth. If the tooth is knocked out, only touch the crown of the tooth and not the root. 

If you child experiences a cut on their tongue, cheek or lip, bleeding can usually be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area. You can also apply ice to the area to help stop the bleed. If you cannot stop the bleeding, call your pediatric dentist or visit the emergency room. If your child has an open oral wound, for a long period of time they can be susceptible to infection.

X-rays are valuable aids to help dentists diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be visibly seen. X-Rays can detect much more than cavities. X-Rays can show erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, measure the damage of an injury, or help with planning of orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

Dental X-Rays are very safe and the amount of radiation from dental X-Rays is very small. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. Dental X-Rays are designed to limit the body’s exposure. Pediatric dentists are very careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. In fact, dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

Orthodontic Treatment can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, preventative steps can be taken to help reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment later on.

From ages 2 to 6, the main concern would be habits such as finger or thumb sucking, underdeveloped dental arches, and early loss of primary teeth.

From ages 6 to 12, treatment options deal with jaw and dental alignment problems. This is a great time to start treatment, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.

When adult teeth come in behind the baby teeth can be called “Shark Teeth” It is common, and occurs as the result of a lower baby tooth not falling out when the permanent tooth is arriving. In most cases, the baby tooth will fall out on its own within a couple months. If it doesn’t fall out on its own contact your pediatric dentist.

We offer several options for safe and effective sedation. 

We use Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” to help children become more comfortable during certain procedures. Nitrous oxide as a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. It is not intended to put them sleep but instead is designed to help them feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are temporary and wear off soon after the mask is removed.

Every effort is made to ensure proper dosage and limit mild side effects, if any.

More complex treatments may require deeper sedation to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion, general anesthesia through an IV may be used to cause a temporary loss of consciousness. Your child’s comfort and safety are very important to us.

Yes. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a liquid substance used to help prevent tooth cavities (or caries) from forming, growing, or spreading to other teeth. It can also help to arrest the cavities in young kids to hold on treatment until treatment can be done.

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems.

If your child’s teeth grinding is ongoing, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit.

Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use are habits common in many children. In fact, nearly one third of all children suck on their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers in their first year of life. Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use can lead to many oral developmental issues that negatively affect the development of the mouth. These habits can cause problems with the proper alignment of teeth and can even affect the roof of the mouth.

Boredom, anxiety, anger, hunger, or even sadness can all cause children to suck on their fingers for comfort. Children mostly suck on their fingers for comfort from an uncomfortable emotional state or stressful situation.

At Blossom, we recommend attempting to stop your child’s habit before the age of 3. Ways to try to stop the habit(s) include going ” cold turkey”, applying Mavala Stop or No Bite nail polish to the fingernails, positive reinforcement sticker charts, sewing pacifiers inside of teddy bears, giving pacifiers to the “Paci Fairy”, and even reading books about other kids that have overcome habits. If you child has a habit you are concerned about, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

While it can be common for children to breathe through their mouths on occasion (when they are congested, have a cold or are involved in strenuous activity) breathing through the mouth all the time, including when you’re sleeping, can lead to problems.

If your child is suffering from mouth breathing, we may recommend the patient sees an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor and/or sleep specialist for further evaluation. Mouth breathing in children can cause bad breath, inflamed gums, crooked teeth, jaw alignment issues, or  even cavities. 

To attempt to prevent cavities, we suggest enjoying a well balanced diet full of fibrous foods. Drinking water, brushing at least twice per day, flossing and  visiting your dentist every 6 months for routine check ups can also help keep your smile healthy. 

You can clean your Infant’s gums simply by using a cold, clean washcloth. Simply rinse a clean, soft washcloth with cool water and wring it out. After your child has finished eating or drinking, use the damp washcloth to gently wipe out their mouth. Once you child’s teeth begin to erupt, you can graduate from a washcloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers.

Children should eat a variety of foods including grains, fruits, protein, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper are excellent snacking alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to teeth and cause unhealthy buildup, which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your teeth as you eat them! That is also true of fibrous fruits like apples, strawberries and kiwi.

As a mother, Dr. Elle knows that snacking is very common with our little ones. We suggest choosing more fruits, veggies, and cheese for snacks as they wont stick to your child’s teeth like starchy carbs and sugars. Dr. Elle also recommends drinking water with snacks and checking your child’s teeth after to be sure no food is lingering. If you have any questions about healthy snacking, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure of your molars to prevent food and plaque from collecting and forming cavities.

Fluoride is considered to be nature’s own cavity fighter. Fluoride is naturally found in all sources of water such as lakes, rivers and even the ocean. Fluoride is added to most public water supplies, so the tap water in your home has fluoride added to it. Fluoride helps build tooth enamel which helps protect your teeth from tooth decay.

For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to help prevent cavities. The AAPD recommends using a smear or grain of rice size amount of toothpaste for children under 3 and a pea sized amount of toothpaste for children older. Just like anything in excess, using and ingesting too much toothpaste over time can lead to fluorosis. If you have any questions about toothpaste or fluoride amounts, please discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. Mouth guards come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and are designed for multiple sports.

Pediatric dentists care for children of all ages. From first tooth to adolescence, they help your child develop a healthy smile until they’re ready to move on to a general dentist. Pediatric dentists have had 2-3 years of special training to care for young children and adolescents.

Your child’s first tooth will typically erupt between 6 and 12 months, although it is common to occur earlier. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Your child should have their first full set of teeth by their third birthday.

Permanent teeth start to appear around age 6, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors. The age of 8, is generally when the bottom 4 primary teeth (the lower central and lateral incisors) and the top 4 primary teeth (the upper central and lateral incisors) begin to fall out and permanent teeth take their place. The rest of the permanent teeth will start to come in around age 10. Permanent teeth can continue to erupt until approximately age 21. Adults have 32 permanent teeth including the third molars (called wisdom teeth).

Baby teeth are temporary; however, if a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can lead to other teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could cause crooked teeth and biting problems. Baby teeth are important to help with chewing and eating leading to proper nutrition.

One of the most common forms of early childhood caries is “baby bottle tooth decay,” which is caused by the continuous exposure of a baby’s teeth to sugary drinks. Baby bottle tooth decay primarily affects the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Early symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay are white spots on the surface of teeth or on the gum line, and tooth sensitivity. More severe symptoms can appear in advanced stages of baby bottle tooth decay, and include: brown or black spots on teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, fever, and bad breath. If your child shows any of these symptoms, you need to see your pediatric dentist immediately to prevent further, more complicated problems from occurring.

1 – Don’t send your child to bed with a bottle of anything EXCEPT water.
2 – Clean your baby’s gums after each meal.
3 – Gently brush your child’s first tooth.
4 – Limit sugary drinks and food.

If your child fractures a tooth, then gather any fragments you can find and store them in a clean container of milk, or saliva of the child that lost the tooth. Never use water to transport a broken or knocked out tooth. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped or knocked out teeth. If the tooth is knocked out, only touch the crown of the tooth and not the root. 

If you child experiences a cut on their tongue, cheek or lip, bleeding can usually be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area. You can also apply ice to the area to help stop the bleed. If you cannot stop the bleeding, call your pediatric dentist or visit the emergency room. If your child has an open oral wound, for a long period of time they can be susceptible to infection.

X-rays are valuable aids to help dentists diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be visibly seen. X-Rays can detect much more than cavities. X-Rays can show erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, measure the damage of an injury, or help with planning of orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

Dental X-Rays are very safe and the amount of radiation from dental X-Rays is very small. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. Dental X-Rays are designed to limit the body’s exposure. Pediatric dentists are very careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. In fact, dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

Orthodontic Treatment can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, preventative steps can be taken to help reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment later on.

From ages 2 to 6, the main concern would be habits such as finger or thumb sucking, underdeveloped dental arches, and early loss of primary teeth.

From ages 6 to 12, treatment options deal with jaw and dental alignment problems. This is a great time to start treatment, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.

When adult teeth come in behind the baby teeth can be called “Shark Teeth” It is common, and occurs as the result of a lower baby tooth not falling out when the permanent tooth is arriving. In most cases, the baby tooth will fall out on its own within a couple months. If it doesn’t fall out on its own contact your pediatric dentist.

We offer several options for safe and effective sedation. 

We use Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” to help children become more comfortable during certain procedures. Nitrous oxide as a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. It is not intended to put them sleep but instead is designed to help them feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are temporary and wear off soon after the mask is removed.

Every effort is made to ensure proper dosage and limit mild side effects, if any.

More complex treatments may require deeper sedation to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion, general anesthesia through an IV may be used to cause a temporary loss of consciousness. Your child’s comfort and safety are very important to us.

Yes. Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a liquid substance used to help prevent tooth cavities (or caries) from forming, growing, or spreading to other teeth. It can also help to arrest the cavities in young kids to hold on treatment until treatment can be done.

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems.

If your child’s teeth grinding is ongoing, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit.

Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use are habits common in many children. In fact, nearly one third of all children suck on their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers in their first year of life. Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use can lead to many oral developmental issues that negatively affect the development of the mouth. These habits can cause problems with the proper alignment of teeth and can even affect the roof of the mouth.

Boredom, anxiety, anger, hunger, or even sadness can all cause children to suck on their fingers for comfort. Children mostly suck on their fingers for comfort from an uncomfortable emotional state or stressful situation.

At Blossom, we recommend attempting to stop your child’s habit before the age of 3. Ways to try to stop the habit(s) include going ” cold turkey”, applying Mavala Stop or No Bite nail polish to the fingernails, positive reinforcement sticker charts, sewing pacifiers inside of teddy bears, giving pacifiers to the “Paci Fairy”, and even reading books about other kids that have overcome habits. If you child has a habit you are concerned about, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

While it can be common for children to breathe through their mouths on occasion (when they are congested, have a cold or are involved in strenuous activity) breathing through the mouth all the time, including when you’re sleeping, can lead to problems.

If your child is suffering from mouth breathing, we may recommend the patient sees an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor and/or sleep specialist for further evaluation. Mouth breathing in children can cause bad breath, inflamed gums, crooked teeth, jaw alignment issues, or  even cavities. 

To attempt to prevent cavities, we suggest enjoying a well balanced diet full of fibrous foods. Drinking water, brushing at least twice per day, flossing and  visiting your dentist every 6 months for routine check ups can also help keep your smile healthy. 

You can clean your Infant’s gums simply by using a cold, clean washcloth. Simply rinse a clean, soft washcloth with cool water and wring it out. After your child has finished eating or drinking, use the damp washcloth to gently wipe out their mouth. Once you child’s teeth begin to erupt, you can graduate from a washcloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers.

Children should eat a variety of foods including grains, fruits, protein, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper are excellent snacking alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to teeth and cause unhealthy buildup, which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your teeth as you eat them! That is also true of fibrous fruits like apples, strawberries and kiwi.

As a mother, Dr. Elle knows that snacking is very common with our little ones. We suggest choosing more fruits, veggies, and cheese for snacks as they wont stick to your child’s teeth like starchy carbs and sugars. Dr. Elle also recommends drinking water with snacks and checking your child’s teeth after to be sure no food is lingering. If you have any questions about healthy snacking, discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure of your molars to prevent food and plaque from collecting and forming cavities.

Fluoride is considered to be nature’s own cavity fighter. Fluoride is naturally found in all sources of water such as lakes, rivers and even the ocean. Fluoride is added to most public water supplies, so the tap water in your home has fluoride added to it. Fluoride helps build tooth enamel which helps protect your teeth from tooth decay.

For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to help prevent cavities. The AAPD recommends using a smear or grain of rice size amount of toothpaste for children under 3 and a pea sized amount of toothpaste for children older. Just like anything in excess, using and ingesting too much toothpaste over time can lead to fluorosis. If you have any questions about toothpaste or fluoride amounts, please discuss with Dr. Elle at your next visit. 

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. Mouth guards come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and are designed for multiple sports.

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